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This may be slightly outside the scope of logic design, but since reducing power consumption is something that we are all concerned with, I thought this was interesting. Check out the power consumption of various electronic products, in-use, “off”, and idle:
Very interesting piece, Jack. It is amazing how much less power the Wii consumes. Its base price is less than the others and that evidently gets compounded year over year as the others gobble up more power! Now, if only I could find a Wii available for the sticker price of $249. :) On the subject of energy meters, I heard an interesting story on NPR a few years back referring to energy orbs: www.inhabitat.com/.../the-energy-orb-monitor-your-electricity-bill Similar conceptually to the meter Rich pointed out, but I seem to recall there being optionally some sort of "social" aspect to the orbs whereby friends and neighbors could be informed of your power consumption if you placed the orb in the window, or if your E-mails, blogs, and online status reflected how well you were doing on conserving energy. Awareness is the first step, but on top of that shame can be an incredible motivator!
This is an area that is getting increased interest. One nifty little device is the Kill-A-Watt (www.p3international.com/.../P4400-CE.html). I keep meaning to get one - I'm sure it would complain like mad about my PS3.
When searching for the above, I came across a story from the UK. They're planning on giving everyone free real-time energy meters. The thought process is exactly as described above - if people know how much energy is being consumed, they'll do something about it.
There's an opportunity lurking here to provide near real-time power information from household appliances. Maybe it is built in to the power unit, maybe it is a plug in device. Either way, it could communicate to your home PC, giving you higher control over where you spend your household energy. Is there a standard for this? Should there be?