It’s one of those rare gorgeous fall days, ideal for shirking off work (yes, I’ll deal with administrative stuff and packaging details later this evening) and going bicycling. Along the way I stopped at a BCC store, which is an electronics chain that is now flogging itself as “energy-consumption-aware”. That means that they lend out energy meters which measure power consumption at the wall socket. Over the next few days I intend to measure and log the power use of most of my gadgets – I do want to know what my hobby costs me.

One prelimiary result is that leaving my Thinkpad plugged in while off (and there’s no battery in it either) consumes 10W; switching it on raises that to 34W, but that means there really is a relatively large power draw by the power brick even when it’s doing nothing. One thing I was interested in as well was what KDE costs, in terms of power. It’s one thing to be idling at the login screen and something else to be running a full KDE4 Desktop, but I don’t see a meaningful jump in the numbers. “KDE4 is free” or some nonsensical pun on power users will be a good new tagline. Reading from the hard disk with dd does bias the numbers upwards, so this gives me reason to believe that there is a correlation between the numbers displayed by this meter and the actual power consumption.

Because, no, I’m not going to believe that a 7 euro gadget is a paragon of power measurement technology. But for a brief series of I-can-be-more-unscientific-than-you on power use by my computers, it will do.