The Earth gets just a little greener this week thanks to a multi-purpose solar charger, a greener Windows, and government road map that isn’t about fiscal stimulus
2-in-1 Solar Charger/USB Hub
Have you been lugging around a clunky USB
hub and a solar charger? Well,
today’s your day. Thanks to Brando the two indispensable gadgets are contained
in one single cube. Featuring 4 USB ports, the aptly named USB Solar Charging
4-Port Hub provides portable connectivity for the gadget aficionado. Bu wait, there’s more! On the go
and off the grid? Why not plug-in your cell phone (6 different connectors
supplied*) or most any other USB-charging device and recharge nature’s way. The
whole shebang only ways 56 grams, has a built in lithium-ion battery to store
juice for later use, and can also charge from a wall outlet, tripling its use
as an emergency backup power source. All this for a scant $20.
* (Connectors include: Nokia II (2mm),
Nokia I (3.5mm), Mini USB (for Motorola/HTC/Dopod/MP3/MP4) LG, Samsung i900,
So just how does an OS from Redmond make it on
the Greenest Gadgets of the Week? Well, it has apparently been a design decision from day
one to make the latest version of Windows significantly easier to manage power
consumption. To that end engineers have built Windows 7 to provided greater
accessibility to the power management features, as well as offering more
customization options to end users. This means a streamlined power-management
interface, allowing users to access it by merely hovering over the power icon.
Microsoft believes that with this small addition alone users will be more prone to fine-tuning their power settings to get the most out of a charge. What’s more, 7
will be more intelligent when it comes to running applications and accessing devices,
such as the DVD drive. All this means the new vista is looking a lot greener.
Alternative Fuels Get Mapped
Google Maps makes everything easier.
Whether you’re planning a trip or tracking a viral outbreak, Google Maps is
there for you. But now the DOE and the National Renewable Energy Labs have
teamed up for a greener kind of map. This one displays alternative fuel
stations across the U.S. of A, complete with a legend to filter between
Hydrogen, Propane, Electric, LNG, CNG, E85, and Biodiesel. You can also view
vehicle density by which alt-fuel they use (clicking Hybrid-Electric, for
instance, reveals some interesting patterns developing on the coasts). All
said, it’s a great way to show that there are alternative-fuel users out there
and they’re growing.