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Web Standards New Zealand makes bold socially-responsible move

As many of you may know, New Zealand is facing a serious energy crises. In what could only be considered an extremely brave move, the Webstock conference site has been completely redone to save power. Recognizing the wasted power from downloading all that CSS, javascript, and graphics--they've gone back to 1997-style simple HTML with no pictures, scripting, or style sheets.

From the Webstock site:

"The site with images enabled is around 438,437 bytes total to download. Of that, my (entirely unnecessary) bio picture alone, despite being the third smallest byte-wise, is still 3753 bytes - compare that to the more compact representation below:


Through the use of emoticons for the bio pictures alone, I estimate we can save over 63K. By removing the rest of the images, the bandwidth savings alone are immeasurable (okay, about 97K total). It's important to put this in light of repeated downloads of such a high traffic site (which, incidentally has saved even more through refusing to provide unnecessary "Last-Modified:" headers in each HTTP request response) - if the site is downloaded in its entirety every day by every person in New Zealand, which we may safely estimate at roughly four million people, that is a savings of over four hundred million bytes per day. The work required to uncompress and store in memory a single 4K JPEG image may be estimated at approximately 0.0384 coulomb volts, which gives the following equation:
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They consulted with me about this, afraid they might be alienating their users despite their high-minded intentions. I strongly encouraged them to Do The Right Thing. My quote (from the conference main page) is:
"This is a group that's willing to step up and do the right thing, regardless of the unappealing result. Webstock's move to save power shows how much they care... choosing passion over fashion. To me, this exemplifies the best of what Web 2.0 really means. I hope others will follow Webstock's lead--together we can make a difference, 1 kilobyte at a time."

So please, web developers, let's all do our part... starting with blogs! Does anyone even come to our actual blog pages anyway? Doesn't everyone read our feeds in a reader that strips out all that nonsense like ads, site graphics, and of course CSS? Starting tomorrow--when I figure out how to do it--I'm stripping this blog down to the bare minimum. I hope you'll do the same.

Way to go Webstock. Such an amazing gesture from such a tiny little country. (Must be that Hobbit sensibility)

Posted by Kathy on April 1, 2006 | Permalink


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This is a joke, right?

Posted by: John Evvington | Apr 1, 2006 3:29:34 AM


Check the date. :-)

(look, my bio picture!)

Posted by: JoshD | Apr 1, 2006 4:31:22 AM

Well, I'm reading it on April 1st. I hope that's signifigant.

Posted by: Richard Hoare | Apr 1, 2006 4:34:04 AM

You had me going there for a while. Then I thought, "If you *really* wanted to save energy, why stop at eliminating pictures from your blog? Why not eliminate them as well from your next book?" That's when the light when on (and then I noticed the date of the post). Clever, though!

Posted by: Paul Peterson | Apr 1, 2006 5:16:58 AM

OMG! I was thinking - there are no emoticons for PONIES????

Posted by: I Gallop On | Apr 1, 2006 11:24:46 AM

But.. but.. thinking in a system dynamics frame of mind... What unintended side effects might we witness due to the decline in bloat-web?

Unemployed network managers as badwidth needs decline? Unemployed hard drive manufacturing personnel as disk space needs decline? Unemployed web programmers as complexity declines?

Oh the humanity ;)


Posted by: phillip | Apr 19, 2006 6:52:03 AM

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