Technicalities | Burning to save energy

Like many IT companies today, Intel Corp. likes to emphasize the energy efficiency of its products, such as its recently released quad-core processors, which use only 50 watts each. We were reminded of those chips outside the FOSE show last month when we saw them on a billboard'on one of those trucks whose only function is to be driven around displaying a billboard.

Besides clogging Washington's already-too-crowded streets, a billboard truck is what you might call environmentally questionable. For one thing, it doesn't exactly run on soybeans. For another, its energy (and emissions) serves the sole purpose of advertising a product, as opposed to putting an ad on a truck or bus that would be traveling anyway.

Isn't the whole point of the green movement in the IT world to conserve energy? And aren't IT professionals concerned about this for environmental reasons (as opposed to the lowering of utility bills, which usually aren't paid by the IT department)? In the face of global warming and the greenhouse gases produced by vehicles, traveling billboard trucks must rank as one of the more gratuitous additions to our carbon levels. A company called Mobile Outdoor Promotions USA of Newport Beach, Calif., offers this traveling billboard service, which also has been used by IBM, HP and a number of other IT giants. In all fairness, Intel hasn't been touting its 'greenness' as much as many IT companies have. '[I]t is not about latching on to any particular movement as much as it is offering customers the right choices that meet their needs to lower overall cost,' an Intel spokesman told the eChannelLine IT trade online newsletter. Still, advertising power-saving chips by revving up a tractor-trailer and driving it around town might send the wrong message.

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