Being connected is more of a good thing than it is a bad thing


As smartphones and social platforms become more and more ubiquitous, debate continues over whether being connected all the time — even in a small way — is good for us, and that debate is probably never going to be settled. But even though I wrestle with the difficulties of ubiquitous connectivity and the “always on” social web, I believe that the vast majority of us are better off than we were before the internet came along.

What got me thinking about this again was a piece that Scottish novelist Andrew O’Hagen wrote in the New York Times‘ style magazine a few weeks ago, entitled “In Defense of Technology.” In it, the author talks about trying to convince his children that things were better when he was younger, before technology came along. But he admits that his heart isn’t really in it:

[blockquote person=”” attribution=””]”One is supposed to stare into…

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Can fuel cells find a home in the data center?


A few weeks ago at a ribbon cutting in Cheyenne, Wyoming, Microsoft officially announced that biogas was flowing to fuel cells to power its experimental data center there. The data center is located by the Dry Creek water treatment plant and has direct access to biogas harvested from the facility to power the fuel cells that are in turn powering its data center. The whole system is completely renewable.

“We’re cutting the cord from the electrical grid. That doesn’t mean that we are never going to connect another data center to the electrical grid. The point is now we have another option,” says Microsoft’s Data Center Research Manager Sean James. “It’s also a very clean option.”

Fuel cells have been around for decades and in many ways have been a technology in search of an application and a market. We’ve seen them tested and deployed in transportation, and megawatt scale…

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