Product Ecology: LCA and Compliance meet usability

WSP Digital today released Product Ecology, a new web based sustainability tool providing Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Product Compliance support.

Aimed at product designers, industrial designers, product developers, engineers, environmental managers and brand owners the tool provides three key features:

  • Compliance Navigator – a compliance guidance tool, covering EU RoHS, EU Batteries and EPEAT with EuP and many other compliance requirements to be rolled out over the coming weeks and months
  • Lifecycle Designer – an easy to use and powerful LCA tool backed by data from the Swiss EcoInvent database
  • ecoCompare – a powerful material/process/transport/waste comparison tool

It’s clear that the tool has been developed with usability in mind, providing a unique and powerful web-based tool for the design community.

Online Tool to Convert .ICS file to Excel/CSV

I couldn’t find a decent way online to convert ICS files into an Excel type format for easy manipulation, or adding to documents etc.  So I’ve built a simple one that is now available online:

This takes an iCal URL and provides you with a CSV file as a download.  Makes it much easier to get a list of dates from ICS files and use them for other purposes.

Also available is the CSV2SQL converter that I made last year, taking CSV files and coverting them into INSERT/UPDATE statements for use on a database.

How-To: Force VMWare Restart/Shutdown (Mac)

I love using VMWare Fusion on Mac, it’s perfect as I can run everything I need on one machine, and minimise my exposure to windows.  However, sometimes things go astray – windows “goes to sleep” and won’t come back to allow me to restart or shutdown the virtual machine.  How do you fix this?

Screen shot 2010-02-12 at 9.04.33 AM

Hold down the “option” key and then go to the “Virtual Machine” menu option. You’ll notice that the options switch from “Shutdown” to “Force Shutdown” when you hold down the “option” key.  Simply choose your required “Force” option and you should be back in business!

How To: PHP OAuth Twitter

So, you’re building a web based twitter client in PHP.  Easy, just use a simple Twitter API client and call the Twitter API directly.  But what if you don’t want to store the user’s Twitter authentication information anywhere?  It’s a security risk anyway and some people don’t want to give up their account details to a 3rd party.  So what to do?  The solution is to use OAuth with Twitter. Continue reading “How To: PHP OAuth Twitter”

How-To: Remove Applications from Startup (Mac)

To remove applications that start automatically when you boot up is a simple process on the Mac, however still one that I get asked by friends and family regularly how to control. To manage the applications that launch when you first boot up, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Apple Icon in the top left corner of the screen
  2. Select “System Preferences” from the drop-down menu
  3. Select “Accounts” then click the “Login Items” tab
  4. From here you can now remove or add applications that start automatically when you log in

How-To: Backup all files on your Mac or PC

Okay, I normally don’t come straight out with a non-technical answer to something like “what’s the best way to backup all my files?”, except that there is a really really simple way to do this.

Backblaze is a backup-to-the-cloud service which costs $5 a month for unlimited backups. It deals with external hard drives, duplicate files, etc etc and requires zero configuration. Simply install and you’re done. Thoroughly recommended.

How-To: Check root DNS settings for domain

Using “dig” you can determine what IP address or CNAME your domain is pointing to quite easily. However what I didn’t know was that you can actually check what the root server thinks your domain is pointing at, so you can check if its set correctly when you are migrating to a new IP address.

To do this, simply type:

dig +trace