The solar farms and fuel cells meant to power Apple’s data center in North Carolina are now all online, and we have a better idea about how it all works. Apple’s sites are the largest privately-owned clean energy centers in the country, and consist of two solar farms and and a fuel cell farm. The whole apparatus feeds into the power grid, and then Apple uses the energy it needs, according to Katie Fehenbacher at Gigaom:
Apple’s second 20 MW solar panel farm, which is about 15 miles away from the data center near the town of Conover, North Carolina, is also up and running. All told, the three facilities are creating 50 MW of power, which is about 10 MW more than what Apple’s data center uses. Because of state laws, the energy is being pumped into the power grid, and Apple then uses the energy it needs from the grid. But this setup also means Apple doesn’t need large batteries, or other forms of energy storage, to keep the power going when the sun goes down and its solar panels stop producing electricity.
The solar farms use high-efficiency panels, and one of Apple’s farms contains 50,000 panels in 100 acres. These panels also follow the sun throughout the day to ensure maximum energy absorption. The fuel cell farm is smaller, and uses methane biogas to produce its energy.
Apple decided to build its own solar power because back in 2010 and 2011, they couldn’t buy clean power from the local utility, Duke Energy. They still can’t though Duke has taken steps to gain regulator approval to use clean energy sources to provide power. They’ve been very secretive about this project, and are taking what they’ve learned from it into similar future endeavors. Apple is currently building another solar farm like the North Carolina facilities near their Reno data center.
It also seems likely that Apple’s foray into clean power lit a fire under Duke Energy. Since clean energy wasn’t available from Duke when Apple was making their decisions a few years ago, they had to go their own way. Duke undoubtedly sees an opportunity to provide power to, and thus make a lot of money from, large internet companies like Google and Facebook, both of which have data centers in North Carolina. It’s likely that they view Apple’s data center as a missed opportunity. Google recently announced that they’ll be working with Duke on the energy company’s clean energy pilot program.
How do you feel about Apple’s green energy projects? Would you like to see them do more? Sound off in the comments.
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You might remember the Samsung HomeSync media center from when it was first unveiled in January. After a bit of a wait, the HomeSync can finally be yours come this Sunday, October 6th.
Like Chromecast and similar media streaming devices, HomeSync transforms your standard HDTV into a smart device. Unlike the aforementioned devices, the HomeSync is powered by Android Jelly Bean, works with a wide range of Google Play apps and utilizes your Galaxy smartphone or tablet as a remote control.
Not enough for you? The HomeSync also packs a whopping 1 terabyte of storage, and all of its stored content can be shared with your Galaxy devices. Even better, you can even share through mobile broadband. This syncing relationship goes both ways, which means that photos or videos you take on the go can be easily sent back and stored to the HomeSync.
Similar to the Galaxy Gear, the HomeSync will not work with just any Android device. Your mobile device must support Samsung Link, which includes quite a few Galaxy branded handsets and tablets including the Note 3 and Galaxy S4.
As you might have already guessed, the HomeSync doesn’t come cheap. The media center device will set consumers back 9. Is it worth the money? Honestly it just depends on how ingrained you are into the Samsung ecosystem, and whether or not you like the idea of storing a massive amount of local music, movies and photos.
What do you think, interested in the Samsung HomeSync or not?
With iOS 6, Notification Center had two quick button actions, tweet and post to Facebook, that could be reached from anywhere on the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad with the downward swipe of a finger. Now, in iOS 7, they’re gone. Disappeared. Taken out back and shuttered. So where did they go, and how can you quickly tweet or post to Facebook now, on iOS 7?
Short answer, they got obliterated. Not moved. Not hidden. Obliterated. The truth is, they never fit into Notification Center, because they’re not notifications. They’re actions. They were out of context. However, the brand new Control Center seems to exist to take on just exactly those jobs. Quick access to Settings, quick access to apps, why not quick access to tweeting and posting to Facebook?
Apple, in their infinitely looped wisdom, however, hasn’t seen fit to include them there. Maybe they will in a future update, maybe they’ve decided those quick actions just weren’t right and we won’t ever see them again. In the meantime, if you loved the iOS 6 quick action tweet and Facebook post buttons, you’re in for a huge disappointment. They are no more.
One alternative is to use Siri, which can now post to both Twitter and Facebook. Simply say “Post to Facebook” or “post to Twitter” and then dictate what you want to say. It’s incredibly fast and convenient… if you’re in a situation where you can talk out loud to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.
If not, the alternatives aren’t anywhere nearly as quick or convenient. You can use the Twitter and Facebook app, one or a third-party alternative Twitter apps like Tweetbot or Twitterrific. They’re nowhere nearly as always-accessible as Notification Center, nor are they as single-purpose or streamlined as the quick action buttons, but they still exist.
You can also use the tweet or Facebook post action in the Share Sheets in most apps to quickly send out a message, but the catch is you have to share something to do it, and you’re not always going to want to do that.
In a perfect world Apple would include them in Control Center, or a similar mechanism, and enhance them with actionable notifications so we can reply and reset within apps as well, making even more of our actions quick. Sadly, we don’t live in that world yet. Strangely, the upcoming OS X Mavericks not only retains the quick action tweet and Facebook post buttons in Notification Center, but actionable notifications as well. And it’s not even mobile, where those features are inarguably more urgently needed.
So, no good answers, but if you used and relied on the old quick actions button, feel free to vent in the comments, and if you come up with any brilliant work arounds, let me know!
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