On September 27, 2007, I did a post in which I suggested, moderately facetiously, that server farms, which consume large amounts of electricity, might offer free or almost-free gymn services to the surrounding population, so the exercise bikes in use could generate some power for the server farms.
Today the SF Chronicle has a story about Oracle OpenWorld, Oracle's annual customer conference in San Francisco (see http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/09/21/BUOR13189Q.DTL.) In an effort to be a bit greener, there will be exercise bikes available that, when used, will generate the power to charge the user's laptop or cell phone (or, I guess, both.) "If they peddle hard enough, these folks will generate extra energy that Oracle will capture and use to help power the conference."
I am all aflutter at the thought that Larry Ellison might have read my blogpost -- hope he also read the November 16, 2007 post where I thanked Oracle for providing free museum admissions to the public at large during that year's conference. (Mr. Ellison: any chance of repeating that next year?) Or maybe, like me, he just got the idea from the dystopian movie Soylent Green, in which Edward G. Robinson peddles a bike to generate a bit of electricity to light a small lamp. (Let's hope the rest of that movie isn't coming true.)