Obama Calls for Recovery With Energy-Efficient Public Buildings

As part of his Economic Recovery Plan that he hopes will create 2.5 million new jobs, President-elect Barack Obama is calling for an effort to make public buildings more energy-efficient. In his weekly radio address, Obama announced a plan to seek energy-efficient upgrades for federal and public school buildings (see video below).

Obama provided few details on how the green building makeover would work — or how many jobs it could provide — but he said he would start by replacing old heating systems and installing energy-efficient lighting. “Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world. We need to change that,” he stated. He said he would unveil more about the plan in the coming weeks and push to have congress start working to get the plan approved in January.



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Another week, another dollar.  Or whatever they say.  It’s been a busy week in the mobile tech world and we covered it all for your education, or at least your entertainment.  Here are the top stories of the week in case you missed them:

Post Online Video and Risk Going to Jail

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) this week published its annual prison census, which puts the spotlight on imprisoned journalists from around the world. 2008 marks the first year in which the report is dominated by online journalists, with 45 percent of those jailed bloggers, online reporters or editors. And the report makes clear that repressive regimes are increasingly targeting online video makers.

The findings serve to show how quickly online all forms of online media are gaining importance. When it comes to online video, many repressive regimes are afraid of the worldwide audience garnered by sites like YouTube, using the same laws meant to control state-run TV stations to crack down on video bloggers and video journalists.

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Macbook Video DRM Problems Continue to Make Waves

macbook-defectiveApple (s aapl) continues to find itself in hot water over its decision to support strict copy protection standards with its new line of Macbooks. Owners of the new generation of Macbooks and Macbook Pros were up in arms last week about the fact that HD movies bought at the iTunes store wouldn’t show up on many external displays, such as LCD screens or digital projectors. Instead, users were greeted by a warning that their displays were “not authorized to play protected movies.”

Apple reacted to the brouhaha this week with a Quicktime update that disabled the copy protection scheme. That apparently wasn’t enough to appease the Free Software Foundation (FSF). The open source advocacy organization just started a holiday-themed “35 Days against DRM” campaign that attempts to point out flaws of consumer electronics with DRM support and dissuade shoppers from buying them, one device a day. Think of it as an advent calendar from the Church of Linux, if you will. Apple’s new Macbooks have the dubious honor of being featured on the campaign’s very first day.

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A Video Handbook for Thanksgiving Day

Today we’re all probably doing a lot of timeless things. Feasting with family goes back to the Pilgrims. Great Aunt Mindy’s cranberry sauce recipe hasn’t changed in generations, nor should it. Even watching football games feels like a prehistoric ritual at this point.
But that doesn’t mean new traditions, like gathering around the laptop to watch silly cat videos, are any less capable of sappy meaningfulness. Still, it can be a bit hard to translate what this whole YouTube thing is to your Luddite relatives, much less the ability to watch TV on your computer or see original online entertainment that’s actually good. So when you’re on the spot, with your wits a bit less quick from the tryptophan, and need the perfect video for any number of situations, we’ve got you covered.
Our picks of online video to queue up if you’re:
Showing your grandma YouTube:
Dancing dog. Best trick in the book.

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TAB Welcomes: Tom Reestman

This is where I’m supposed to write a bunch of stuff about who I am and why you should read my articles until your eyes bleed.
You can read something about me on my author’s page, but here is much more detailed and specific information:

  • I live in a house.
  • The house is in a big city.
  • The big city is in an even bigger state within the US.
  • I have a cat.
  • The cat is fat.
  • I work in some sort of technical capacity with software.
  • I write quite a bit for work, for fun, and now on the Apple Blog.
  • Got my first Mac in ’89. There is currently an iMac, MacBook, Time Machine, Airport Express, two iPhones (original), iPod touch, and three iPods in the house.
  • The cat is still fat.
  • I like to work on computers and read numerous news feeds.
  • Until last January I’d had at least one PC in the house for 15+ years; I know Windows quite well.
  • My daughter has a fish. The fish is not fat. It’s the cat that is fat.
  • My daughter has her own bedroom. It’s a wreck. Actually, I’ve seen wrecks that look better.
  • I have an office. It’s spotless.
  • My daughter is a good student.
  • Did I mention the rather copious amounts of poundage the cat has accumulated?

Perhaps there will be more later. Honestly, though, after the way I just bared my soul to you how can you not want to come back and read my stuff again and again? I welcome, appreciate, and enjoy any and all comments on what I write.

Godzillathon, T-Shirt Folding: NTV Station Today

Nerd T-shirt manufacturer All Tribes has figured out exactly how to reach its target audience — a brief demonstration of how to create a cardboard folder for your t-shirts, complete with precise measurements and a soundtrack borrowed from the SNES edition of Super Mario World.

And how does James Rolfe channel his patented Angry Video Game Nerd energy for the world of film? W. James Au recaps Rolfe’s recaps of the entire Godzilla franchise at NewTeeVee Station!

Web Working, Paris Style

As I mentioned in my last post, I attended the first TechCrunch Meetup in Paris on Tuesday. I confess, I don’t enter the tech meatspace very often, generally preferring to observe from afar via the Web. But I couldn’t pass this up.

I didn’t find the millions of euros I was hoping for (I admit I didn’t try very hard). But I did find some real live French web workers/startup founders (including a delightful web-working couple with the delightfully French names of Sylvain and Jacinthe) and a startup with an app we web workers can use (more on that soon).

I also discovered La Cantine, which is where the event was held. It’s a great co-working space run by Silicon Sentier, a nonprofit networking organization for tech professionals.

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Throwing in the Towel on ZvBox

Written by Liane Cassavoy

I completely understand the desire to link your computer to your HDTV. But my enthusiasm for the concept has waned a bit more with each media extender — devices that allow you to view content from your PC on your TV — that I’ve tried. And after my experiences with the ZvBox, I’m about ready to give up.

The ZvBox, made by ZeeVee Inc., is a device that uses the existing cable wiring in your house to take the content that’s on your PC and make it accessible from any HDTV in the house. It sounds simple, but in reality it’s anything but. To be fair, the company warns you that the product can be tricky to install, but tricky doesn’t even begin to describe it.

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Wind Energy Prospectors Use Satellites to Phone Home

You’ve got to check for wind before putting up a turbine, and wind energy prospecting is a decidedly high-tech affair. Wind energy developer Renewable Energy Systems Americas has signed an agreement to use Globalstar satellite modems to transit data from remote wind-energy monitoring stations assessing potential sites. RES tells us it already has 14 Globalstar modems out in the field transmitting data from a bevvy of far-flung anemometers and wind vanes.

Under the agreement, RES will purchase communications controllers designed by Crystalline Technology Inc. that use Globalstar’s GSP-1620 and 1720 units. Each $1,000 modem connects to Globalstar’s satellite network, which relays the information on wind speeds and consistency to RES headquarters. Read More about Wind Energy Prospectors Use Satellites to Phone Home