Its a (cyber) jungle out there!

Its a (cyber) jungle out there!

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Phew – pffft!!! Blerg! Oh my!

What a huge, ongoing and frustrating learning curve this attempt at online trading is!

I have been through, gosh – at least four websites, this is about my third blog and counting (considering ditching this one now too!) and a number of business Facebook pages in the mix!

It really is a bit of a brain twist for someone who has no formal training in the dark arts of techno wizardry – and all the modest skills that I have learned along the way have been wrought from geek-a-zoid zombie land with blood, sweat and tears – often working literally through the night till dawn’s pinkish call reminds me that the body needs sleep and that websites are better built with its sustenance.

Ok – so I lied about the blood part (except the occasional paper cut) – but the sweat and certainly the tears have been a part of the e-commerce cocktail..

Most recently (this morning in fact) more than a tear or two was shed at the frustration of not one but BOTH the websites (with online stores) that I have spent the last couple of months building having been lost due to a virus getting into them and eating them up like nasty little rats feasting on so much popcorn strewn about the movie theater that is the internet. A movie theater showing a tragic comedy called “Thou shall be tested and found lacking in the fine art of the BACK-UP” Waaha ha ha ha!!!

So. Back to square one. Perhaps I will be able to find some software to ‘sift ‘ the corrupted websites, which I belatedly saved, and rectify them. But probably not.

Soooo – in the interim I am on the search for my own web hosting (I had been sharing web hosting in the past which contributed to the websites crashing – so change is in order!).

And this hosting bizo is a whole new challenge and learning curve in itself!

My first parameter is wanting to use Green Hosting – and preferably Australian..

You can just grab the image and insert it on your web page like I did here – or actually go through the process of finding and paying for the real deal – like I will be for the next few hours!

Did you know that US physicist Alex Wissner-Gross claims that a typical Google search on a desktop computer produces about 7g CO2? His research claims that only two Google searches on a desktop computer produces 14g of CO2, which is the roughly the equivalent of boiling an electric kettle.

It is really easy to assume that using a computer at home or surfing the internet on a laptop costs next to no ‘environmental’ energy…However, think again – in recent studies, the internet was shown to be responsible for emitting 300 million tonnes of CO2 each year. That is as much as all the coal, oil and gas burned in Turkey or Poland in one year, or more than half of those burned in the UK.

To quote the above linked, very interesting article (300 million tonnes of CO2):

“It’s possible to take a rough stab at working out the internet’s carbon footprint. A good place to start is the world’s data centres – buildings packed top to bottom with servers full of the web pages, databases, online applications and downloadable files that make the modern online experience possible. Data centres use lots of electricity, both for powering the machines they contain and – all importantly – for the air conditioning needed to keep the servers from overheating.

According to a report by Gartner, data centres already account for around a quarter of the energy consumed (and the carbon emitted) by the information and communication technology (ICT) sector as a whole. In other words, around half a percent of global CO2 emissions.

By Gartner’s figures, the world’s PCs and monitors are even more power-hungry, accounting for around 40% of the total ICT energy demand and 0.8% of global CO2 emissions. If we decided (somewhat arbitrarily) that half of the emissions from all these laptop and desktop machines were down to internet-based activity, add to that the emissions from the data centres that make all this online activity possible, then the internet would clock in at around 1% of all the CO2 emissions released from burning fossil fuels.”

And..

“On the other hand, the internet is likely to be crucial to any move to a low-carbon world. Without its capacity to carry the huge flows of energy data, there could be no “smart grid“, for example, and without online video conferencing it would be much harder to reduce the number of business flights in coming years. Ultimately, then, it’s not just technological developments that will affect the growing carbon footprint of the Internet. Just as important is how we choose to use it.”

Apologies for the big old Guardian quote there –  but it perhaps gives a quick insight into why I want to use “green” hosting.. There are a number of options – companies which use only wind energy for their operations, those who purchase carbon offsetting for their quarterly appraised energy use, those that plant trees for every website signed up, recycle in their offices and the list goes on.

Imagine a refrigerator wrapped around an electric stove, and you have the essence of a server farm: a pig-in-a-blanket that consumes electricity in almost unimaginable quantities.

"Server farms are double-dippers. There, colonies of warehouses packed with rows of racked, stacked computers draw electricity like black holes suck light. That’s the first scoop. Because the heat generated by this conglomeration of circuitry, unless dispersed, will damage the equipment, server farms are then air-conditioned to a brisk temperature. That’s the second scoop. A typical server farm uses at least half of its electricity for cooling." The Energy Nightmare of Web Server Farms by Jane Anne Morris

As one host provider says; “Data centres and their associated cooling and infrastructure account for an estimated 0.8 per cent of the world’s electricity use[1]. That may not sound like much but it is equivalent to the annual output of 14 one thousand megawatt power stations.”

Of course – the more I investigate, the more it becomes apparent that some companies are simply donning the proverbial ‘green glove’ in order to sow a few more seeds of marketability in their potential consumer garden whilst other companies seem to display a genuine commitment to “Green” web hosting..

And then amongst the mix I hope to also find a company which provides me with all the best features I need in order to build a great functioning website for my business Modern Artifacts with which to try to sell genuine environmentally and ethically sustainable products… Phew!

It’s a moral minefield out there any which way you turn!!

The thing that really gets my goat is that I know plenty of people will just copy and paste a ‘Green’ badge on their website (rather than paying the extra that it costs) – in the same way that lots of people throw around the term ‘Fair Trade’ without any integrity behind it.

None-the-less – I am committed to working it out – ethical trade, via environmentally aware cyber store, preferably through an Australian host therefore providing jobs locally.

Well. That is my ‘have a quick vent’ break over and done with!

Better get back to the brain liquefying task of comparing Control Panel capabilities alongside Green Credentials so that I can get this ball rolling!

Wish me luck 🙂 🙂

[1] Power usage figures taken from “Estimating Total Power Consumption By Servers in the U.S. and the World”, by Jonathan G. Koomey, Ph.D., Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Consulting Professor, Stanford University. For the complete report visit
http://sites.amd.com/us/Documents/svrpwrusecompletefinal.pdf

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