Inkjet Printers Lie Steal and Pollute

Turns out you’ve got another reason to go Office Space on your InkJet. It’s something that geeks have suspected for quite some time, printers are set to report that cartridges are out of ink far before they actually are.

EPSON (who turned out to be least evil) commissioned the study to determine how full cartridges were when they reported they were "out of ink." The results…some printers report they are "out of ink" when they’re only half empty. Worse, the firmware will continue to nag you about it and occasionally will not even allow you to print until you replace the cartridge. Kodak came in last place, wasting up to 60% of ink, while Epson faired best, wasting about 20%.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, since one can literally by a new printer for the same cost as new ink cartridges. This kind of hyper-disposable attitude is completely the opposite of what EcoGeek stands for, and I’ve got a mind to take my printer out into an empty field right now and introduce it to Mr. Louisville.

But for those of you who really do need printers, here are a few tips:

  • Avoid single cartridge printers, as the cartridges need to be replaced every time a single color runs out
  • Always recycle ink cartridges, all big stores will take them as printer companies will actually pay to get them back
  • Print in black and white as often as possible. No reason to waste expensive color ink 95% of the time
  • Never listen when your printer says it’s out of ink. It’s lying.

Via TreeHugger and Ars Technica

See also
Reusable Plastic Paper
Electronic Paper
EcoGeek Newsletter MapQuest for your Feet

MapQuest is great and all, but what if I want to get to the burning calories instead of gasoline. Well, that’s where comes in. WalkIt is mapping out cities for bicycle and pedestrian commuters so that they can find the fastest, safest and simplest routes walking routes through their city.

For every trip you map, WalkIt will tell you around how many calories you’ll burn, how long the trip will take at different walking speeds, and how many kg of carbon you’ll avoid. The interface is just as simple as mapquest, though their front page could use a bit of cleaning up.

The biggest problem though, is that only three cities have been mapped out so far, all in the UK. But if you’re a citizen of London, Birmingham or Edinburgh, consider yourself served. A representative from WalkIt has assured me that more cities are on the way, but they aren’t likely to start on the Americas any time soon.

See Also
Google Public Transit
Google Hiking Trails

Google Follows Yahoo! Into Carbon Neutrality

Just a couple of months after Yahoo! announced it’s plans to go carbon neutral, Google is laying down it’s cards as well. Google has a bit of a head start, though, as they’ve just switched on their multi-megawatt solar installation and so automatically have less carbon to offset.

On their own, carbon offsets are not capable of creating the kinds
of fundamental changes to our energy infrastructure that will be
necessary to stabilize global greenhouse gas emissions to safe levels, but we believe that offsets can offer real, measurable, and
additional emissions reductions that allow us to take full
responsibility for our footprint today.

Strikingly similar to the language from Yahoo’s announcement really. Google will obviously focus on decreasing emissions through efficiency and renewable energy first. And then they will fund projects that decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

One project Google will fund, for example, is a methane capture facility at Mexican and Brazilian farms. As Methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2, it’s an easy target for global warming offsets. Google has set it’s neutrality date for early 2008.

Via Reuters

First Look At What’s Being Called The SLC, Mercedes’ New High-Powered Coupe

I’m taking this all with a grain of salt, but according to the fine gentlemen over at Winding Road, pictured before you is a test mule for Mercedes forthcoming Audi R8-slayer, dubbed the SLC. If the rumors are to be believed, the SLC (which will be built by the German company HWA) is set to be powered by AMG’s 6.2-Liter V8, and will be based on the next-generation SL platform. As a result, a front-engine design is expected along with a non-retractable carbon fiber roof.

NHTSA Awards Mercedes Safety Expert Dr. Rodolfo Schoneburg The U.S. Government Award For Safety Engineering Excellence

In awards news, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently awarded head of Mercedes’ passenger car safety development Dr. Rodolfo Schoneburg with the ‘U.S. Government Award for Safety Engineering Excellence.’ The award, which is bestowed every two years on the occasion of the Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV), was presented by the U.S. governement in recognition of the outstanding contribution Rodolfo has made to the field of automotive safety

EcoGeek of the Week: Bill Mckibben

Since the publication of "The End of Nature" in 1987, Bill McKibben
has been a premier mind in environmentalism. Bill’s most recent book, Deep Economy,
helped me re-think the world in powerful ways, by asking one simple question,
"What is the relationship between ‘more’ and ‘better.’" Bill came
up with some pretty exciting answers, and they form the basis of what he calls
the Deep Economy.

EcoGeek: What is the
Deep Economy, and why do we need it?

Bill Mckibben: We need an economy
that asks questions other than "how can I make it bigger?" the two
key additional questions: "how can the economy make us more satisfied with
our lives?" and, in an age of ecological peril, "how can the economy
assure some durability for our communities?"

EG: What scares your
pants off?

BM: Well, I wrote the first book
about global warming, way back in 1989, and it was called The End of Nature.
That was scary enough for one lifetime — now i’m hard to rattle.

EG: What roll does the
internet play in the Deep Economy?

BM: Crucial. It allows people
to live in tight, close, more economically self-sufficient communities without
being stifled–there’s always a window open to the wider world. Earlier this
year I helped organize the largest grassroots environmental protest since Earth
Day 1970. But isntead of a march on Washington, we had 1,400 marches across
the country. (see there’s no way we could have organized it
without the net, nor linked it together afterwards to be more than the sum of
its parts.

Continue Reading

Bike Rack Air Pump

What’s a heklucht? The designers at Studio HiMom have combined a bike stand with
an air pump, so that bicycle commuters can be assured of having fully
inflated tires for their commute.

"The stainless steel construction lends to its durability while the
polished steel exterior shines brightly against the dull, grey of city
sidewalks. The Heklucht is a perfect combination of design and
functionality, and although originally conceived only as an art project,
it most certainly has a place in our urban lives!"

This isn’t flashy high-tech; it is something that just makes sense. And
making it easier and more convenient for people to use their bikes is good
design for us all.

via: StumbleUpon

Volkswagen to enter Passat in 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge in US

Coming this November 3, 2007, the most awaited and one of the world’s ultimate car races will happen – the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. There will be different teams who’ll enter their “smart” vehicles on a course that run for 60 miles of unknown territory and is designed to imitate the conditions in urban driving, with the goal of posting the fastest time while observing traffic regulations.

This event will require participating vehicles to blend through traffic, cross roundabouts and make their way into busy intersections. Drivers are not permitted as computers will be the one to take control over driving and navigation. This 2007 Urban Challenge will have as their participant the customized Volkswagen’ Passat which was made by the Volkswagen research department and its California-based Electronic Research Laboratory (ERL) with Stanford University assisting them.

This Passat “Junior,” which was named after the founder of Stanford University Leland Stanford Jnr., is fitted with mostly electrically-powered parts – electromechanical power steering, an electric accelerator pedal, a Direct Shift Gearbox(DSG) and an electric hand brake. Volkswagen of America’s ERL team changed these electric systems and the brakes to make the vehicle 100% computer-controlled. Customized mountings for the array of sophisticated sensors were also designed and built by the ERL. The Volkswagen Passat’s “brain” is made up of Intel Core Duo Processors featuring two multiple-processing units per chip. This vehicle will be genuinely autonomous together with the software developed by the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Staford University.

“After our victory at the last DARPA Grand Challenge, Volkswagen is excited to join the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. We see an opportunity to further advance intelligent technologies for use in passenger vehicles of the future. The features developed for the Urban Challenge will ultimately make driving safer and more enjoyable in today’s increasingly dense traffic”, said Dr. Burkhard Huhnke, head of Volkswagen’s Electronic Research Laboratory. “In the fuel-efficient diesel-powered Passat we have the perfect car for this challenge, just as our Touareg ‘Stanley’ was for its 2005 Grand Challenge triumph,” he further explained.

It could be remembered that in 2005 Volkswagen won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge with their Toureg TDI which they named Stanley. Stanley was able to defeat 22 other unmanned vehicles in a 132-mile championship racing in rough desert roads, mountain passes, dried-up lakes and tunnels with the use of on-board sensors and navigation system. Stanley was able to complete the race in a span of six hours and 54 minutes without a single defect.

Volkswagen to offer Sirius Satellite Radio

Volkswagen of America, Inc. will offer SIRIUS as a standard equipment on the 2008 MY Toureg2, new Beetle Convertible, GTI, GLI, and new Beetle, as announced by SIRIUS Satellite Radio on June 19. It will also be available on Jetta, Passat and Eos models. “The Volkswagen of America, Inc. plan to offer SIRIUS as standard equipment in select models not only proves VW’s commitment to the customer, but also shows VW’s commitment to technology that enhances driving pleasure and enjoyment in every sense,” Adrian Hallmark said, the Executive Vice President of Volkswagen of America. “SIRIUS Satellite Radio helps to enhance the driving experience and Volkswagen ownership pride,” he added.

“Since the first launch on the New Beetle in 2004, to now making it standard on the New Beetle and other key models, VW has always shown to be a significant partner in the growth of SIRIUS,” said Mel Karmazin, CEO of SIRIUS. “Volkswagen of America’s decision to move in the direction of standardizing SIRIUS on key models only shows their commitment for expansion and growth of our capabilities,” he also said.

It was in March of 2006 that Volkswagen of America, Inc. and SIRIUS announced their partnership in offering SIRIUS as Volkswagen’s sole satellite radio provider for vehicles sold in America until 2012. Volkswagen has exclusively offered SIRIUS beginning with its 2007 model year vehicles and they expect to install the SIRIUS satellite radios receivers approximately 80% of its vehicles. With this, Volkswagen also offers three months of complimentary service on vehicles installed with the SIRIUS satellite radio.