While waiting for my train this morning I overheard someone complain about someone leaving lights on at home. I know we all do it, but in this case it really costs a lot of money: they had 24 halogen down-lighters in the kitchen alone! If you assume a typical 50W per bulb, that's 1.2kW of lighting in one room alone!
Except where I can't change the light fittings, we have replaced all old style incandescent lights with compact fluorescent, reducing our lighting from 100W to 11W per fitting (on average) and where we can't fit cf bulbs dropping to the next size down, 30W halogens instead of 50W and so on. Given that electricity isn't cheap and is getting more expensive, it's really worth switching to more efficient lighting.
This weekend I went a long to my first LUG meeting of the year. It was a joint meeting of the Surrey and Hampshire LUGs at Surrey University in Guildford. It's less than 1 hour by train, and I arrived in early enough to do some shopping - a nice pair of Karrimor KSB boots on sale.
There was an interesting talk about PackageKit. I felt it was a very fancy tool that solves a problem that doesn't exist. It is overly complex for one use case and doesn't attempt to address another one.
I took part in a useful discussion about slide scanners. I think I need to buy a second-hand Nikon Coolscan, as the current ones have poor/spotty SANE support. Until there is decent driver support there isn't any point in splashing out a serious chunk of change on a scanner. Thanks go to Stephen for bringing his scanner along to demonstrate.
I had an interesting conversation about updating debian based distros once new versions come out. As a general rules it "just works" but you can create a test system in a Qemu or VirtualBox session and test run the upgrade. I did this when I upgraded from Sarge to Etch for my family and it was a useful exercise.
All I have to do now, is find out is Perl runs fine on IBM System i (AS400) and if the Perl DBI works fine with "DB2 400". Otherwise someone will go with a PHP solution... Apparently Perl from 5.8 runs on OS400 via some AIX compatibility layer. It also looks like the DB2 driver for the DBI speaks DB2 for i5/OS: DB2 for i5/OS: Qshell, Perl and DB2 for i5/OS. How easy it all is I don't know.
I've got a lot of stuff to do this year. Some of it will be fun, some of it will be expensive, and some of it just needs to be done.