Sunday, 27 May 2007

4 things I read this week (sort of)

I'm going to take a leaf out of Eddie Awad's great blog and publish some useful links from around the web. Like a lot of other bloggers I spend a fair amount of time reading other blogs, so it seems like an opportunity to a) catch what I'm reading in my own blog for later reference, and b) share the pain, ah, I mean the useful discoveries from time to time.

So it doesn't look like I'm ripping off Eddie too much, we'll call this the "4 things I read this week" post.

  • Rethinking JSF - The Real Problem - JavaServer Faces, a key technology of Oracle's ADF Faces gets at times a bad wrap on the web. But why? According to Joseph Ottinger on the issue is the quality of the components in the base JSF specification. I wonder how Trinidad and ADF Faces RC fit into this picture?
  • Core JavaServer Faces 2nd Ed - not so much a blog post and I haven't exactly read it yet, but rather a new edition of a popular JSF text by David Geary and Cay Horstmann that I'll get my hands on soon. I find such books invaluable as they give a 3rd party look at the whole JSF framework without the Oracle bias (for want of a better term - no offence intended to Oracle), and a useful insight into alternative explanation of JSF concepts.
  • Ban the Bulb - I spend a lot of my time either a) playing games with my daughter, b) hacking with Oracle related stuff, or c) getting stressed about the environment. Australia has recently taken the initiative of banning the incandescent light bulb. A lot of decisions made by the Australian Federal government (IMHO) just show no foresight but for making money for some geezer or other, but this one seems to be all good so far. I'm currently researching if anybody has any cons on the compact fluorescents replacement - the only arguments so far appears to be that CFLs can contain mercury which are a danger when they break, and they don't work with dimmer switches, both of which are pretty trivial issues.
This post also allows me to trial ScribeFire for the first time, a blog editor add-on for Firefox.


Robert Vollman said...

Besides the fact that I think banning is bad (especially something as benign as a light bulb), the downsides are less trivial than you think.

The mercury in them is a more serious problem than you think. Most people won't know how to dispose of them properly, so you'll wind up with enough mercury in your landfills to poison your land and water, doing a lot more damage than a few extra puffs of CO2.

You forgot to mention that they're more expensive so, like all environmental reforms these days, the end result is to screw the lower class.

Chris Muir said...

Hi Robert

Well they haven't exactly "banned" incandescent light-bulbs in Australia, they're just increasing the energy rating requirements over 5 years (by 2011?) that will phase them out at the sales register.

As for the mercury concerns, I agree and can see that proper disposal is something not yet well documented. I'll need to check the packaging next time to see if it has clear warnings about the issue. The problem is I think the mercury issue has been overstated thanks to some urban myths:

This post gives a more considered response to the issue though doesn't discount the mercury issue:

I do remember reading somewhere that there are 2 types of CFLs, one with mercury, another without (probably cyanide ;). However I can't locate the post.

As for screwing the lower class, among other countries, this is a problem for 3rd world countries with some very strange reports of enviro groups distributing CFLs for free as part of a C2O offset program. While the initial idea is good, concerns about how the poor will buy replacement globes, or more exactly afford the new CFLs if the old incandescent has disappeared has to be raised.

Putting poor countries aside, in Australia a CFL costs about AUS$7 to $8 (and becoming cheaper more recently I notice). An incandescent around $1. (From another report the cost to manufacturers is approx US$0.40 vs US$2.00) If we take the assumptions that the life span is approx 1 to 5 (see my lifespan comment below), and that CFLs use about 3rd amount of electricity, they are comparable in cost over the life of the bulb. This discounts the long term cost, but not the initial outlay cost which is obviously higher. Personally, and this is just my opinion, that initial outlay is still a small amount, and not a heavy burden for the poor, especially considering you don't replace all your house's light bulbs in 1 go. So "screwing the poor" is hard to justify in context of Australia IMHO. Again I wont speak for other countries.

Now if you want a true discussion about expensive light bulbs, the new LED technology is becoming more available, but around AUS$50-$70 per bulb, puts them at the expensive end.

Regarding the lifespan of the CFLs, I have seen a post somewhere stating that the average lifespan quoted for the CFL assume they are left on for approx 3 hr stints, otherwise it shortens the life of the globe. Once again I can't find the original post, but I'd like to see some "consumer choice" analysis of these averages to back up the stated facts.

Finally the Australian Liberal government has been very good at giving Australian's what they want (more money, less taxes, more consumables), not what they need in the past 10-15 years (more water, education for all, etc). So we're in a situation where we now have the lowest water levels in our dams, as a minority group rubbished government initiatives (eg. Jeff Kennett's water saving initiatives of the 90s) to save water sometime back, and the government didn't have the b@lls to stand their ground. So in light bulbs here we have a decision where the government is looking long term to stop Australian's wasting so many resources which we seem to have an infinite ability to do. However I know the nay-sayers are just waiting their opportunity for real negative points to argue against CFLs, so they can protect their back pockets, they always do. I'm curious to see if the Liberals have the b@lls this time (it is an election year) to stand their ground, and are there any "real" concerns about CFLs or just arguments that really don't significantly drive off the benefits of the change, but as per usual confuse the issue so the average punter can't make a decision thanks to all the chaff.



Chris Muir said...

Bah, I meant CO2, not C2O. C2O ain't such a problem for the environment, more a problem for humans, as it just clogs up your lungs as it's too heavy too escape with each breath ;)


edburns said...

Hello Chris,

Thanks for taking the time to stay up to date on JavaServer Faces. On an editorial note, I want to call to your attention the unsavory connotation to U.S. ears of the phrase "mucking about with my daughter". I'm sure it means nothing unsavory in Australia.

Secondly, I would love to have your comments on the JSF book I authored with Chris Schalk, JSF: The Complete Reference".


Ed Burns

Chris Muir said...

Oops, thanks for the pointer Ed. I was just saying to another blogger the other day that Australians have a whole range of sayings and sarcastic replies that are built into our language, and it's hard to know to know without an editor or a little bit of worldly experience if these may offend overseas readers. A quick edit on my part coming up.

More than happy to have a look at your book as I meet Chris last year in Australia. I've been waiting for one to filter down my end of the world. Feel free to contact me a (remove the dashes) to discuss this.