Sunday, July 31, 2011

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Link to CleanTechnica

10 More Cleantech Stories of the Week

Posted: 31 Jul 2011 04:00 AM PDT

Here are some more top cleantech stories of the week. Enjoy!

  1. Straw bale homes are helping the UK to improve energy efficiency and address the economic struggles going on their.
  2. Dr. Joe Romm picked apart a new report supposedly on “climate pragmatism” this week. The roadblocks put in front of true climate action and understanding are many. A big thanks to Joe for constantly being a watchdog on these topics.
  3. Arctic drilling is the new gold rush for scrupulous oil companies. Many people have been concerned that oil companies would not be prepared to clean up or at all respond to an Arctic oil spill. The Coast Guard has now testified on the matter and said the same.
  4. Interbrand just announced the “best global green brands” of 2011 (top 50). The top 5 of those are: 1) Toyota, 2) 3M, 3) Siemens, 4) Johnson&Johnson, 5) HP.
  5. The Department of Energy had a piece this week on a tidal energy pilot project in Washington State’s Puget Sound. Interesting project using 2 tidal energy turbines on the floor of Admiralty Inlet that could create over 1 MW of electricity (enough to power about 700 American homes) at peak.
  6. Poland is moving forward on plans to build its first two nuclear reactors. GE is one of the companies working with professionals there on this matter and “signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Warsaw-based engineering firm Energoprojekt Warszawa, S.A. (EW) to discuss the feasibility of partnering on future reactor projects.”
  7. Climate Central, which normally writes about climate science, has been delving into clean energy a bit lately. One piece this week explained how the U.S. could produce 80% of its electricity from “clean energy sources” by 2035.
  8. Ontario has delved into clean energy as much as just about anyplace on the planet with its Green Energy Act. And recent reports show that it’s got a ton of jobs to show for that. Reportedly, 20,000 green jobs have been created by renewable energy measures and 30,000 are expected to be generated by 2012.
  9. The world’s largest wave energy project, a 4-MW project in Scotland, just lost a major backer, German utility RWE. Tidal energy seems to be the favored marine energy technology as wave energy technology is still very nascent according to experts.
  10. The Energy Information Agency delayed a study on energy subsidies this week due to its ridiculous, politically-motivated assumptions and the EIA chief was apparently up in arms about the assumptions being requested by Republican lawmakers.
Photo via foxypar4


Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Link to Envato Notes

Freebie Friday: Freebies on AppStorm

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 11:55 PM PDT

The AppStorm team have been hard at work again. Here is a huge bunch of great free apps and web services they covered.

Mac.AppStorm

Access Anything In Seconds with LauncherAccess Anything In Seconds with Launcher

You've no doubt heard about quick-launcher apps, they are utilities that are triggered by a keyboard shortcut and that let you do things like open apps or files a lot faster than if you did so by going into the menus. You just have to trigger the bar, type in what you are looking for and press enter. The great thing is that it works for so many more things than launching apps.
The app that we are reviewing today is one of these utilities and it's called, of all things, Launcher. Come take a look at what it has to offer!
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Producteev For Mac: The Ultimate Free Task Management Solution?Producteev For Mac: The Ultimate Free Task Management Solution?

Producteev has long been one of my favorite web-based task management solutions. Before Producteev, there were fully-featured GTD solutions and there were free solutions, and the two almost never overlapped.
Then Producteev came along providing free web and iPhone apps, automatic task syncing, multiple workspaces, due dates, labels, and a lot more. The one thing that it has always lacked is a native Mac app. That problem was remedied earlier this week. Let's take a look.
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Web.AppStorm

Quick Look: FotoKuQuick Look: FotoKu

In this Quick Look, we're highlighting FotoKu. The developer describes FotoKu as an Indonesia-based free photo/image hosting with 10Mb max file size for each photo and 1Gb max hot linking bandwidth per month per file. If you need to share large images in high quality online, this might be a good service for you.
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MeetingBurner: Reignited WebinarsMeetingBurner: Reignited Webinars

Remember the days of actually having meetings face-to-face? Sitting around a table in suits discussing finance and such? Well, time's have changed and now we do our collaboration online. I can collaborate with a colleague in Australia from my home in the UK thanks to a wealth of online collaboration tools.
MeetingBurner is another online meeting tool, currently in beta, with some pretty nice enhancements over what the competition currently offers. MeetingBurner advertises itself as being one of the easiest meeting platforms to just get involved with, and it's certainly pretty simple therein. Not only will MeetingBurner reignite your love for screen-sharing, but it will also stream the host's webcam to get a visual conferencing experience.
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OpenStudy: Make the World Your Study GroupOpenStudy: Make the World Your Study Group

The importance of institutional education varies depending on culture and geography. For instance, in the part of the world I live, at least one professional college degree is a must to have a fair chance in landing a decent job. The number of degrees is directly proportional to the social status.
On the contrary, in countries like USA, college and school drop outs don't have so much hardship in life. In fact, successful people like Peter Thiel encourage students with upfront cash to drop out of college. In my opinion, both the mindsets are flawed. Not everyone is brilliant, self starting and adaptive to changing conditions.
The thing is, it's not a degree per se that is so important, but the education you gain from it. Education is what gives the rest of the average and below average students a sense of direction and a chance to figure out what they are better suited to do in life, and can even broaden advanced students' world view. OpenStudy is a virtual meeting place for students from across the globe to form study groups and learn everything from Math to History. Let's see how you can use this to broaden your own horizons and learn more, whether you're in college or starting the next Facebook.
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Do It (Tomorrow) – A Beautiful and Simple Task ListDo It (Tomorrow) – A Beautiful and Simple Task List

In today's mobile and tablet-centric world, it often feels like the best apps come out only for smartphones. Web apps and traditional PC apps often aren't as fancy as their mobile counterparts. Plus, they're often much more expensive than the dollar or two you might pay for a high quality mobile app.
This morning on Hacker News, I came across a new web app from the developers of a popular mobile to-do list app, Do It (Tomorrow). It turned out to be an impressive example that web apps don't have to be saddled with bland interfaces. Best of all, it's been designed to make it easier to manage your tasks, so it's an elegant UI with a purpose. Keep reading to get a quick tour of Do It Tomorrow and see if this free web app is the to-do list you've been needing.
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Minimalistic file-sharing with Min.usMinimalistic file-sharing with Min.us

We briefly covered Min.us a few months ago when it was basically a 'single-purpose' app: you could upload pictures to instantly create a simple gallery that you could share with anyone. Since then, the app has been under heavy development and now has a boatload of features designed to improve the image-sharing experience and allow for other kinds of files as well.
There's a lot of new stuff under the hood, so much so that we thought we should take another look at it. Min.us now works not just as a web app, but also as an app for desktop and mobile platforms. The galleries and editing options have been streamlined and several issues have been ironed out, making for a smoother user experience. Let's delve deeper now, shall we?
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500px: A Worthy Flickr Alternative500px: A Worthy Flickr Alternative

Over the past several years, there was an avalanche of photo sharing and showcasing web apps. Interestingly, though, most of these have been aimed at letting you quickly share simple pictures, rather than being designed around professional photography like Flickr. Facebook usage exploded and it turned into the World's largest photo sharing site, while services like Instagram and Twitpic picked up where Twitter dropped the ball on photo sharing. Flickr and Photobucket stayed around, but there's been much less innovation on professional photo sharing.
500px is a great photo community with a rating system, editorial selections, and professional portfolios. With a great selection of beautiful photographs, and the tools to make your work shine, it seems much more like a Flickr competitor than many of the newer sites aimed at quickly sharing photos. But is it awesome enough to take on established players, each with their own breed of loyal followers? Let us go find out.
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Gojee: Taking Web Recipes to the Next LevelGojee: Taking Web Recipes to the Next Level

In a lot of ways, the sharing of recipes harkens back to times past. To a time when family recipes were closely guarded secrets, when picnics and get-togethers were an every weekend affair, and showcasing those family specialities was a point of intense pride.

Sharing recipes was an intimate thing, but in the Web 2.0 world, recipe sharing joined the list of digitally social things to share. Like music and video and status updates about your life, a cacophony of sites sprouted up around the idea of sharing recipes with your friends, family, effectively the world. Beyond that, skilled culinary experts started embracing the blogging culture, spreading their knowledge and sharing their passion with all who would listen.

But as of late, there hasn't been much innovation in the field of recipe sharing and curation on the Web. Most sites are pretty straightforward, nothing out-of-the-box or original to speak of. Until now.

Enter Gojee. They have a different take on the curation of recipes. Less interested in user generated content, Gojee culls the best recipes from some of the best sources on the Web. They present it in a beautiful, cutting-edge manner. But enough with the summary. Let's dive into Gojee, see what it has to offer.
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Quick Look: Clicktotweet.meQuick Look: Clicktotweet.me

In this Quick Look, we're highlighting Clicktotweet.me. The developer describes Clicktotweet.me as a tool that allows individuals and businesses to gain insight on their own Twitter campaigns. Using Clicktotweet.me, one can enter a message they want others to tweet out, generate a Clicktotweet.me link, and share it anywhere. Stats are provided for the link such as demographics, click count, and the number of people that actually tweeted the message. It's a great marketing tool for Twitter users.
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Minutes.io Makes Meeting Notes EasyMinutes.io Makes Meeting Notes Easy

When I was in college (4 years ago, for those of us keeping count), I had the pleasure of being the Student Government's first ever Director of Technology, cementing myself as the school's top geek (at least top social geek). We'd have bi-weekly meetings to discuss pending bills, campus updates, and more. After each meeting, the secretary would type up her hand written minutes, email them to everyone on Student Government, and have me upload a copy to the website. While it was a cumbersome process, I didn't really explore a better way to do things. After using minutes.io, I now know there is a now considerably better way to take meeting notes.

minutes.io is a very simple (and beautifully designed) way to to keep meeting notes. It doesn't require a login and its got a lot of great features packed into such a focused app. Let's take a closer look.
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iPhone.AppStorm

Songkick: 100,000 Concerts in Your PocketSongkick: 100,000 Concerts in Your Pocket

Now you can finally become that friend in the group who always knows about a live show first. Able to scan your iPhone's music library within seconds, Songkick creates a personalized concert calendar for you, based on your music and your city, and tracks your favorite artists so you never miss an opportunity to see them perform live.

And although Songkick has 100,000-plus concerts in its database, you can make use of the app's alerts and other customizable features to ensure you're being fed information on only those artists and venues you love the most. Want to see how it works? Hit the jump and I'll show you.
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Uploading Mobile Files to CloudApp with StratusUploading Mobile Files to CloudApp with Stratus

If you've ever had trouble uploading and sharing files around the web you certainly wouldn't be the first. There are so many services today which include tons of free storage space. Dropbox may be the most well-known and it also features a fantastic iOS app. However, with the release of Stratus, CloudApp is now a hot new contestant in the ring.

You can check out CloudApp on their official website where you may sign up for a free account. If you already have a login, proceed into your account settings page. You'll need to have an account either way to access and store content onto Stratus. Once you're all set, let's continue and see just how accessible Stratus can be.
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Quick Look: RateThis!Quick Look: RateThis!

In this Quick Look, we're highlighting RateThis!. The developer describes RateThis! as a social interactive media application that allows any two things to be compared and dynamically rated on by your surrounding community. You, in turn, have the opportunity to have your voice heard rating on other peoples Rates! Rate your way to achievements and popularity.
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Quick Look: NYC WayQuick Look: NYC Way

In this Quick Look, we're highlighting NYC Way. The developer describes NYC Way as an app that bundles a variety of features for anyone living or visiting NYC! It is the most popular NYC App, and is available on the iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry. With around 1.2 million downloads across all platforms, NYC Way is a one stop shop for everything NYC, and it has 60+ NYC Apps in ONE Package.
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How to Share Pictures Using PiictuHow to Share Pictures Using Piictu

Mobile app Piictu has been gaining some attention from the public in recent months. Since the app launched it has been in competition with other networks in the same niche, namely Instagram and even Twitter.
But Piictu has combined iOS mobile and camera functionality with the social networking craze. By using Piictu you have access to an entire community sharing their photos and streams across the globe, and their servers are loaded with tags and categories to sort and search out unique images. It's practically an extensible mobile network of photographers! Find out more after the break.
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Quick Look: GeoSocialsQuick Look: GeoSocials

In this Quick Look, we're highlighting GeoSocials. The developer describes GeoSocials as a free location-based social treasure hunt game for your iPhone which lets you play, win and socialize with people around your immediate vicinity. GeoSocials also allows users to make instant and real-time social connections with people around their location with the games built-in "Social Mode." Unlock your neighborhood today! Checkout www.geosocials.com for a quick intro.
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HootSuite: Get SocialHootSuite: Get Social

There are people who play around with Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, and then there are those who have made a career out of posting online. For a long time, people in both camps had to use multiple sites or programs to access the various networks, but today there's HootSuite for Twitter, which contrary to the name, puts all of your social networks in one convenient location.
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iPad.AppStorm

Friendly: A Native Facebook ExperienceFriendly: A Native Facebook Experience

Facebook has not yet seen fit to introduce a version of its official iPhone app optimised for the iPad, even though we are all waiting to hit the Install button and download. Mark Zuckerberg now famously said that the iPad isn't mobile, suggesting that we may never get a native Facebook app.

Unless you want to use the pixel-doubled iPhone app, or browse in the somewhat-incompatible website in Safari, your only other option is one of the third-party applications available, such as Friendly.
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AutoTrader for iPad: Find Your Perfect Used CarAutoTrader for iPad: Find Your Perfect Used Car

Buying a car is a big decision — it's probably the second most expensive thing that you own or rent (after your house!) — so it's important to have the best tools at your disposal when making a decision about a new purchase. Although manufacturers have plenty of information on their website, what if you're not looking for a new car?

The second-hand car market is huge, with thousands of people buying and selling old vehicles every day. In the UK, one of the largest online car marketplaces is Auto Trader. Their recently released iPad app provides an innovative way to search and find used cars, and today I'll be taking it for a spin (if you'll pardon the pun…)
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AroundMe: Know Your Surroundings!AroundMe: Know Your Surroundings!

Ever since the release of the App Store, a market has clearly existed for "what's around me" applications. One of the very first was Where To?, an application that proved to be incredibly popular on the original iPhone. We've come a long way since then, and this category of apps has plenty to offer!

Today I'm going to be taking a look at a popular free choice at present – AroundMe. AroundMe quickly identifies your position and allows you to choose the nearest anything in your nearby vicinity. It's a nifty app, and we'll take a closer look after the break!
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Android.AppStorm

Gowalla: The Social Travel GuideGowalla: The Social Travel Guide

A couple of years ago, it seemed like a ridiculous idea to let other people know where you exactly are. Privacy and security were paramount concerns. Tune in today, and not only is everyone quite happy to broadcast their location but also to take a peek at where others are visiting. Thanks to this trend, we now have a bunch location based startups (LBS) with really crazy valuations.

Foursquare and Gowalla stand out in the crowd of LBS apps. And, even though it's a distant second to Foursquare in the LBS game, Gowalla is a compelling alternative that has its own strong suits. After the break let us take a look at how helpful the app really is.
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Latest from: CleanTechnica

Link to CleanTechnica

New BMW i Concepts Debut (w/ gallery)

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 05:40 PM PDT

Countries with ‘TLC’ Climate Policies Gain Competitive Edge in Economic, Jobs Growth

Posted: 30 Jul 2011 09:54 AM PDT

Countries with leaders that have been busy enacting strong domestic climate change policy frameworks with built-in TLC – transparency, longevity and certainty – “will attract more investment and will build new, clean industries, technologies and jobs faster than their policy lagging counterparts,” according to a just released study by Deutsche Bank’s DB Climate Change Advisors.

The countries who rank at the top of DBCCA’s list of countries that have enacted strong climate during 2010 and to date in 2011 are pretty much the same ones who ranked at the top in previous years’ studies.

Germany and China continue to develop strong policies that serve to drive down carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions, with the UK increasingly doing so. Russia, the US, Spain and Canada, in contrast, either failed to initiate, or in some cases, reversed or threatened to reverse “crucial climate policy initiatives,” according to DBCCA’s July 2011, “Global Climate Change Policy Tracker: Winners and Losers.”

DBCCA believes that the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan and the oil price shock that came about as a result of the “Arab Spring” movements in the Middle East have caused a sea change that is “likely to mark 2011 as a key inflection point in the global energy mix and as catalysts for a transition toward cleaner, sustainable and more secure energy supplies.”

Comprehensive in nature and by design, DBCCA has come up with a interlocking and self-supporting framework for evaluating the climate change policies of countries and states, the details of which are explained in the July report. This framework tracks the policy momentum of mandates, emissions and supporting policies in the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) countries and key US states that account for approximately 80% of global GHG emissions.

DBCCA monitored 390 climate change policies that are “binding or accountable,” 104 of which are new to the database from March, 2010, when its previous report was published, up to April, 2011.

Evaluating the results, DBCCA found that “policy momentum is still positive, but shows signs of slowing down in recent months as many economies have by now developed and implemented their domestic policies.” Research analysts also noted some “negative revisions and fine-tuning of policies, particularly in FiT (feed-in tariff) markets, largely driven by budget concerns over the recent financial crisis, as well as cost reductions in renewable energy technologies as they achieve greater scale (particularly solar).”

Building TLC into climate change policy frameworks is essential to their success, according to DBCCA, and explains the failure of some countries to realize resulting benefits. Navigating what amounts to uncharted economic development waters, also crucial to success is to “identify the winning policy structures which reduce uncertainty,” DBCCA finds.

Germany and China have emerged as global leaders when it comes to investing in low carbon technologies and creating strong domestic policy frameworks that support this. “In stark contrast, a politically divided US Congress and vast budget deficit has resulted in very little significant regulation at the Federal level, with substantial implications for emerging clean technology industries in the US.’

More on DBCCA’s July 2011 report to come…

Related Reading:

  1. Forget Carbon Capture & Storage; Think Carbon Capture & Utilization
  2. Clean Tech (& Dirty Tech) Policy & Politics News
  3. Australia’s Climate Legislation Meets Surprise Success