Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The slooooowest crash in IT history

You can't get humour like this any more.

You may recall (and by skipping back a few posts actually read - oh heck here it is) that I shared the news of the latest Govt. eco/carbon/climate website to consume more funds to 'help' 'us' go greener, namely ActonCo2 (as opposed to EalingCo2...har-har. They may titter in West London).

Well, possibly thanks to the most concerted PR campaign by every Govt. PR agency (I must have had thirty emails) in the land, and the cooperation of the likes of me, it seems that it doesn't work after 5pm (no civil service jokes, please).

Having pointed a few of you at it, I had a flood (well, two) of emails to say that it says 'come back later'. And, checking myself, this seems to be the case.

Now the explanation is that it's because it's so popular. And I would wish for such a 'happy problem'.

Or, just maybe, it's because all the complicated guff I mentioned in my quick review (slow review not possible as there is not access for now) means that it's all tied up dealing with the few folk who can get through. And having failed, and once the PR has worn off, how many will go back?

Expensive. Useless. And looks a lot better than it delivers. Ring any bells?

He IS reading my blog...

... and then making a brilliant satirical cartoon out of it: Dilbert.

OK, so it's just coincidence.

Memo to all Pols, activists and holier-than thou media: try leading by example before climbing in the driving seat. Your lack of deeds vs. the words is starting to grate.

But... is it art?

Well, I don't know much about it, but I know what I like: Turning the place over.

Very little to do with saving the planet (probably a negative enviROI, truth be told, as it obviously had construction and has operational costs. Plus it is only temporary), but as life is about a bit more than that, if we are going to p*ss stuff away, I am quite impressed with this.

Back now to being an eco-grinch.

Two Wongs don't...

In the interview referred to in my last post, Mr. Miliband made a fair point when challenged about relative actions. But it's hard not be struck by today's Guardian lead - China passes US as world's biggest CO2 emitter - and a rather smaller associated plea - 'Are you doing your bit?' - in the same piece.

Now, as my sons titter, and some quango-funded PC-brigade try and figure out how to bust me for that headline, I can only agree with Mr. M that it does probably make his job a lot harder when he meets his Chinese counterpart if we are doing diddly to put our own house in order.


I'm afraid that, as the man to convince me of anything, much less the wisdom of saving my own future, he is not proving the most inspired of choices... or messengers.

Bar this one reasonable retort, in the interview he was not convincing at all. And the examples of what 'we' are being called upon to engage with and/or do are not doing much either.

Even his 'defence' of the point regarding the example of his soon-to-be-ex-boss' predilection for jumping on a plane at the sound of an envelope being opened was fudged, and deliberately spun away without giving any answer. So why should we listen... or act? And speaking of China, the book I am reviewing, Last Call, paints one heck of a picture of the imminent Asia tourist industry. Scary.

You need more than facts to persuade. You need trust. And passion.

I am looking for what's right to support and do, but on this basis I'm afraid Minister. M is not looking like the one to deliver it.

Maybe we need a calculator to calculate the best calculator

Just watched on BBC Breakfast TV Environment Minister David Miliband (for some, unexplained, reason sitting in an internet cafe) talking about the latest 'carbon calculator'.

The first question from the interviewer was the best: why do we need another?

It's a fair point. There are many. According to Mr. Miliband it is 'the gold standard' (see my initial review below). So that's OK then.

And, having calculated away, I wonder what exactly I'll do except file and forget.

Why do I get the odd feeling that a few boxes got ticked in the Ministry and Television Centre (today's eco-slot... check), but little else will get done.

Anyway, it has been done, and as I was about to post I got this nice letter, which I duly pass on:

20/06/2007 08:00

Dear Sir

I know readers increasingly want to do their bit to help combat climate change - and knowing about your carbon footprint is a good way to start.

That's why we have this week launched a new online CO2 calculator, where people can find out their carbon footprint. The calculator will also suggest the practical steps we can take to cut our emissions and, often, save some money as well.

Things we do in our everyday lives have an effect - good or bad - on the environment. And more than 40 per cent of the UK's carbon dioxide emissions come from our homes and travel.

Most of us have become a bit greener already - for example, nearly all of us are into recycling now - but there are lots of other things we can do to reduce our impact on climate change.

Whatever your lifestyle, the Act on CO2 calculator will give you practical pointers about how to cut your emissions, tailored to the way you live.

To check out your carbon footprint, and find out what you can do about it, log on to:

David Miliband
Environment Secretary
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Sadly, having logged on, I was confronted by a wall of complicated, slow, time and energy-sapping fancy graphics that got in the way of simply getting to the point. So I gave up. And I have fast broadband. I wonder if others, and especially those at home with possibly slower lines, will be more dedicated. gets a few justified brickbats for some aspects of design and navigation, but it gets a lot more bouquets for being quick, and giving you what you want, or pointing you at it, very quickly. And in a fun, interactive, real-person to real-person web 2.0 way.

So as an exercise in genuine ROI, I wonder how much this committee-created, ministry multi-layer sanctioned drain on the taxpayer cost, and what it will achieve for that money?

Should you have any thoughts, they are keen to hear from you: Feedback on the calculator can be emailed to