Shutting down our hard-working PCs should get easier with new chips coming from Intel. Digital jabs arriving from the Web, such as a call coming in from an Internet phoning company like Jajah, should finally awaken a sleeping computer.
It's potentially a big advance. Smart PCs have proved surprisingly dumb in managing power. Many of us would love to take advantage of power-saving modes on PCs, but we need them ready for phone calls or remote access. It's been all but impossible to have a PC ready for a spontaneous, wee-hours chat or other nocturnal fun unless it's left on.
The light-sleeping chips will come only in new PCs with motherboards from Intel, and later from other makers. So hundreds of millions of rigs out there will continue sucking juice throughout the night. Or they'll sleep peaceably, blissfully ignorant of our calls from the distance.