For most of the developed world, a flick of a switch brings the lights, television, computer, and dozens of other gadgets and appliances to life without question. This seemingly simple luxury, however, masks a complex network of interactions between a variety of suppliers and services, both public and private. Communication between these entities is complicated -- but smart grid technology attempts to make it more effective, more interactive, and ultimately, more efficient.
Between planned obsolescence and our thirst for new gadgets, we're awash in old electronics -- or e-waste. Some countries and states are writing laws to govern the disposal of technological refuse.
If you turn off the lights in your computer room, you'll probably see the glowing eyes of vampire electronics peering back at you. A smart power strip can help you cut down on how much energy they waste.