December 11, 2009 AT 8:24 pm

Yahoo and Business Insider says we are 2nd dumbest

Pt 2398

Pt 2399

Over on Yahoo, Graham Winfrey picked the Tweet-a-watt as Yahoo’s #2 of 10 “dumbest green gadgets“.

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The Tweet-a-Watt is a DIY wireless power monitoring system. The project uses an ‘off the shelf’ power monitor called the Kill-a-Watt and adds wireless reporting. Each  plug transmits the power usage at that outlet to a central computer receiver. The receiver can then log, graph and report the data. This pack contains nearly everything* necessary to build a single outlet monitor and receiver. To monitor additional outlets, you will need an add-on transmitter pack. One outlet can monitor up to 1500 Watts.

Pt 2400

You can see the hundreds of (dumb?) kids, adults and hobbyists on Twitter who use the Tweet-a-watt on a daily basis to monitor: power, temperature, water levels, server stats and more. All using the open source power monitoring system we released earlier this year.

Interesting strategy Yahoo, while Google is working with some companies to release power monitoring hardware, APIs and software to monitor / reduce power (Google Power Meter) Yahoo and Business Insider are making top 10 lists about how dumb it is.

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27 Comments

  1. Well – all we can do now is make fun of that stupid hand cranked shaver.

    Stupid shaver. You’re so dumb!

  2. Yeah, its so stupid, trying to save power and become energy efficient. The US smart grid upgrade is stupid, UK smart grid upgrade is stupid, making alternative energy more efficient is stupid, and trying to improve the world is the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard of.

    The fact that millions will have personal home energy monitors soon and that they will change consumer consumption patterns is dumb in its own right:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/12/10/tech/main5962099.shtml

    I’d have to say that the real stupidity lies in ignoring the fact that the DIY hardware community will probably come up with the most innovative ideas on how to use technology to improve things we think are important…

    Akiba
    FreakLabs

  3. I wouldn’t worry too much. Anybody who says “capacitors and resistors and things” clearly doesn’t get it. And anyway, it’s free advertising. :)

  4. Actually, I THINK the gist of the “look how dumb this is” part was the idea that someone would take their Kill-A-Watt apart (gasp) and “attach[ing] the Tweet-a-Watt’s various capacitors and resistors and things” (double gasp).

    Everyone reading this, please, try to put yourself in their shoes. That author and much of his audience can likely barely make a grilled cheese sandwich, let alone something involving the removal of screws and application of a soldering iron. These are folks for whom consuming pre-made pap from the big-boxes is a way of life, and doing things themselves is just not in the cards.

    So of course, the idea of going through all that trouble is “dumb”. They can’t conceive that the “trouble” is as much a part of why we do it as anything, and for many of us, more.

  5. *fistbump* @MikeH (and @Ladyada too!)

  6. A substance free and overly cynical piece about technology written by a business publication intern and regurgitated by the best company in the world at coming in 2nd or worse. I’m sure you guys won’t lose any sleep over this nonsense. The kicker is the tech ticker comment section. Time to stop reading opinions on the net … oh wait. crap.

  7. There is no such thing as bad publicity

  8. The worst part is you only made 2nd place. Try harder, set a goal of being in 1st place on next years list. You can do it!

    Of course, the list itself is dumber than it’s contents. Many of the items don’t even claim to be “Green”.

    And I’ve worn the scuba version of the eco-drive watch for 6 or 7 years. I got it so I wouldn’t have to have the battery changed every few years.

  9. that wind up shaver is going to be hard to beat

  10. Consider the sources. A never was magazine and almost was portal site. Losers in my book.

  11. Here is the comment that I left for “rat-boy” RE:
    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-ten-dumbest-green-gadgets-2009-12#comments

    Maybe your boss should write an article about the ten dumbest tech writers that would rather make fun of people that are trying to come up with great idea’s instead of doing nothing…

    I doubt you even understand how the common telephone works, and would never bother to try to understand how it works and heaven forbid try to take something like a kill-a-watt apart, understand how it works, and then make it better by modifying it to make it do something that the original builder had no idea could be done… and then sell them and make a successful business out of reverse engineering things and sell them to other people (that want to buy them) and make a great deal of money doing it…

    You should try it, instead of slamming people that are making a difference… I’d sum your article up as follows; those to can do, and those who can’t try to make themselves look smart by bullying the people that can…
    shame on you…

  12. Well, any publicity is good publicity, right?

    As mentioned before, the author clearly has little understanding of what the Tweet-a-Watt is meant to accomplish, and no understanding at all of how the Tweet-a-Watt actually accomplishes it.

  13. You read Yahoo?

  14. What would be really neat is a Tweet-a-watt that works for the whole house. I’ve thought about a design using a wire loop wrapped around the power cable with a battery powered weatherproof transmitter. Feasible?

    PG & E recently installed a “Smart Meter” that’s beaming my house’s consumption out for the meter readers to drive by and collect. If only I could just receive the broadcasts and log them.

  15. If this is dumb, I don’t want to be smart.

    There are people who “get it” and those that don’t. The “get it” group are pulling the world out of the toilet while the others are complaining about things being too difficult.

    It reminds me of another article I saw bemoaning the drop in patents. As if the only way toward innovation was big company protectionism.

    Keep up the great work, Limor.

  16. I’m sorry, but I don’t get the Tweet-A-Watt either. It’s a really nice hack, especially the power-harvesting circuitry, but… Twitter? Really? Someone’s going to have to explain to me why in the blue hell anyone finds any value at all in Twitter. As far as I can tell it’s like Facebook, but with only status updates and nothing more. I get why one might want to wirelessly monitor power usage, but not why anyone would think Twitter would be an appropriate platform for it.

    I also have reservations about the Open Source crowd’s tendency to build things that depend on a commercial product that’s ostensibly free, but still under the total control of a giant, faceless corporation. Sometimes there may be no reasonable substitute (you can’t exactly hack together your own version of Google Maps), but the Tweet-A-Watt would be a lot cooler in my mind if it posted to a web server under my control rather than some third-party, for-profit pseudo-free service on the web.

  17. Well, we’re up to the second step of Gandhi’s famous quote:
    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

  18. Looks like this is someone who Yahoo gets News from and I have sent out a EECB to Yahoo to try and get some info on how they do this.

  19. mike, you may want to spend some time reading the project because, in fact, it does post to a ‘generic’ website and it stores data locally in a flatfile. the twittering part is the last sliver in a large datacollecting project. most people dont even uncomment the tweeting line. :)

  20. There is nothing dumb about this until you get to the Twitter stage.

    Personal monitoring of your energy usage: Great idea.
    Posting your energy usage for others to follow: Lesson in vanity.

    The Google Power API is a great idea. Tie it into your Facebook status, and it becomes moronic.

  21. @Michael – twitter is a free SMS gateway, just because some people use it for “vanity” that doesn’t mean it’s not a free SMS gateway for alerts. as far as posting it facebook (and it being moronic) – perhaps, but we’d rather see people sharing their power usage (or lack of) as opposed to gigs and gigs of photos of drunks at frat parties.

    we are what celebrate, maybe you consider sharing power usage vain or moronic, but we think it’s one possible thing you can do.

    lighten up :)

  22. Hey, I’ve wanted a wind-up shaver since before I could shave. Actually, I think all those gadgets are pretty neat. The fuel efficiency thing is great; I used to plug my Palm Pilot into my Mitsubishi to keep an eye on how the modified turbo boost pressure was affecting my fuel mixture.

    Never did like Yahoo.

  23. Microsoft=Yahoo, explains everything.

  24. Coming from a company willfully named themselves “Yahoo!”, who really cares what *they* think is dumb.

  25. @Michael/@adafruit – I was negative on the social media stuff (twitter and Facebook) until I saw the Tweet-a-Watt and realized the potential. I was guilty of what Mudge (http://makekw.org/node/12) referred to as “Functional Fixation”: if I tell you that twitter is just for connecting with your friends and followers, you’ll ignore the fact that twitter can function as an SMS Gateway, which opens up more possibilities.

  26. The twitter side is all marketing.

    That’s why Lady Ada owns her own company: because she’s super smart.

    First, as soon as you say twitter the media blows a load. Second, if a device can tweet you automatically know that it is internet connected. You don’t have to say “internet connected data feeding device” you can just say that it tweets. Easy enough. Go Adafruit!

  27. Ok, Do NOT read the comments on that site. I lost about 20 iq points from the first few. Seriously. Also, that article is idiotic.

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