Use The Computer that Gilligan Used

So you've got the hybrid car, the backyard wind turbine, the solar powered water heater - you're a regular Al Gore junior.  Even your home computer is Greenpeace-approved and set to automatically shut itself off if you don't touch it for 5 minutes.  Still, you can't take that stuff out to the street, so what to do when you want to impress the gang down at Starbucks with your eco-cred?

Now there's a laptop that doesn't have to sport an ostentatious Energy Star sticker to look green. Taiwan computer manufacturer Asus has come out with a machine that has its casing made out of bamboo.

Bamboo, (which is actually a grass, in case you didn't know), is whole lot more environmentally friendly than plastic. It grows fast, its harvest doesn't require any clear-cutting, and when you're done with it you can just feed it to your panda. Also, apart from making you look modern and retro at the same time, it's tough and will do a good job at protecting your precious data.

Of course most of the laptop still has to be made out of more conventional materials, but ASUS says that the EcoBook is manufactured using environmentally friendly principles.  This includes avoiding the use of "lead, cadmium, mercury, Hexavalent chromium, PBBs, and PBDEs" and other toxic materials.  The ASUS website also features a page dedicated specifically to their non-EcoBook environmental initiatives and features.

Specs-wise, the press release is a little light on detail. Fortunately, the tech types at (who clearly have better sources than I do or just know how to search a website) advise that features include "Intel Centrino Duo Mobile low-voltage dual core processors, the ASUS Splendid Video Intelligence Engine, Bluetooth 2.0 support for peripherals and high-speed wireless data transfer, and a 11.1¡å widescreen LCD display." No word on cost, but look for it to be similar to the rest of their line, meaning in the $2000 range.

Also, according to ASUS, the EcoBook is the only computer to have been carried up Mount Everest, to what purpose I have no idea. Still, it's kind of cool - I've often wished someone would carry me up Everest.

By the way, if computing with bamboo is something you just can't get enough of, you can order bamboo monitors, keyboards, and mouses (mice?) from Nigel's Eco-Store in the UK.