Matthew's blog

The environmental case for multiple cars and insurance reform

There is a strong case to be made, from an environmental perspective, in favour of owning multiple cars.

Wait, what?

Conventional wisdom is that the environmentally friendly thing to do is to not have a car, or if you depend on cars, to have as few as possible. In many cases (indeed, in any case where you can get by without a car), the conventional wisdom is right.

It turns out, though, that if two conditions are true- (1) you depend on cars and have no public transit options, and (2) you need a large vehicle often enough that renting a van on occasion doesn't make sense- the environmentally preferable option may be to own more vehicles, not fewer. Sharing the largest of these vehicles (something that's very difficult under current insurance rules, but could be encouraged with insurance reforms) would make the benefits easier to achieve.

I can fix your computer, but you should know that....

People seem to think that I'm that guy who "knows computers". They're probably right, considering the unholy amount of time I spend building, fixing, programming, cursing at and occasionally using such devices. Maybe you, too, are "that guy", in which case the rest of this article will be face-palmingly familiar.

Or maybe you're looking for such a character, a Wizard of the Order of X86-64 who can help you with "a few little problems" your favourite laptop has developed. The answer is yes, we can (probably) put your hopelessly borked, slower-than-a-tortoise-on-Nyquil, late Paleolithic era Windows machine into a somewhat more usable state. But there are caveats, and you should know that:

DNG: The solution to proprietary RAW files

Almost every new camera seems to bring a new, proprietary file format that nothing else can work with at first. It's quite likely that, 25 years from now, software capable of reading today's proprietary formats will be difficult or impossible to find- in which case your gigabytes of old photos would be unreadable. Is there a solution to this problem?

TL;DR: When shooting RAW, convert the camera raw files to DNG format, and save the DNGs instead of the original raw files.

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