Sunday, 30 June 2013

Love this view

The LED light bulb is a Revolution

If you have a modern house with loads of down lighters, you could be saving a huge 90% on your lighting bills, the 2nd biggest contributor to your electrical power consumption, simply by replacing your traditional light bulbs with eco-friendly LED alternatives. Why not call, we offer offering a vast range of top quality, competitively-priced LEDs to meet all your lighting needs.
Why buy LED's?
• Green - Energy efficient & eco-friendly
• Direct replacements for old lights
• LED bulbs can  last over 20 years – typically 35,000 – 50,000 hours
Why buy from Woolgar Electrical
• Bulbs available for every room
• warranty on all bulbs
• We can fit as well and tell you what you need

Friday, 28 June 2013

Friday Funny - How long is the runway in Fast & Furious 6?

Taken from the BBC web site :)

Action movie Fast & Furious 6 has been a huge global success - but it would take a very long runway to make one climactic scene a reality, finds the BBC's Ben Carter.

In the scene that we're interested in, a huge cargo plane lands on a runway where it is chased by fast cars and furious men and women.

(I'm not going to spoil the film for the unlucky people who haven't managed to see it yet. Spoiling the film is the job of the movie trailer... I won't be talking about anything that isn't in the trailer.)

Some cars manage to drive on to the plane through the cargo doors at the back. The plane carries on taxiing for several more minutes before trying to take off.

then the furious men use their cars to pull down the wings to stop the plane flying away.

It's an incredible 13 minutes' worth of high-speed action, but a problem occurs to many people after they've left the cinema.

How long is the runway if people are driving on it for 13 minutes at speeds fast enough to keep up with a plane that is landing and taking off?

The key to this calculation is the speed of the plane. Pilot Ian Hollingworth told The bbc the speed for a large cargo plane coming in to land would generally be 140-150mph (225-241km/h).

As far as calculating the speed of the plane after it has landed - that's difficult because, as Capt Hollingworth told me, once you land and decelerate, it's not possible to then speed the plane up and take off again - as happens in the film.

But actor The Rock did say in an interview that the cars were travelling at 115mph (185km/h) when they drove on to the plane, so we did some calculations based on that.

We also needed to know the take-off speed. Capt Hollingworth added: "It might take you somewhere around about a minute to get to the correct speed - again, around 150mph."

Scene from Fast & Furious 6 The film's stunts defy physics as well as mathematics

The cars speed up and slow down during the 13 minutes and we've used a very conservative estimate that they were travelling at an average speed of 120mph (193km/h). That's two miles every minute, which makes the runway 26 miles (42km) long.

On the other hand, it's a movie - so when the hero is grappling with the villain on the plane, the film can cut from the fight to what is going on outside on the runway. Both these things are probably happening at the same time.

So we looked at the sequence carefully and recalculated how long the plane is actually on the runway. It is difficult to be exact, but we think it is only for nine minutes.

Our best estimate after calculating plane speed, car speed and simultaneous action sequences is that the runway is 18.37 miles (29.6km) long. Which is still very long when you consider the longest paved runway in the world is the Qamdo Bamda airport in China, at around 3.5 miles (5.6km).


DECC to use capacity market to encourage electricity demand reduction

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will use the proposed capacity market included in the Energy Bill to encourage electricity demand reduction in the UK.

The government is proposing that businesses and organisations could be rewarded for reducing energy demand at peak times – similar to the proposed incentives for those supplying backup energy in the capacity market contained in the Energy Bill currently working its way through parliament.
In its response to the Electrical Demand Reduction consultation issued last year, DECC rejected the popular idea of a premium payment scheme, which would provide a payment per kilowatt hour of electricity saved in a similar manner to the feed-in tariff. DECC believes that a premium payment would not enable the same trade off against supply that the capacity market would deliver as well as requiring the creation of a separate delivery mechanism and supporting infrastructure.  

As a result, the capacity market has been chosen as the preferred route to deliver financial incentives for electricity demand. DECC lists the following reasons for the decision:
  1. • It targets reductions at peak demand and so incentivises demand reduction at times when it is more valuable. This is because it costs more to supply electricity during peak periods and generation and transmission infrastructure has to be set up to meet periods of peak demand;
  2. • It enables electricity demand reduction to be delivered where the price reflects the value it provides to the system. This is because, unlike with other delivery mechanisms, within a capacity market demand reduction can compete directly with supply;
  3. • It avoids the creation of a separate delivery mechanism for electricity demand reduction, reducing deliverability risk; and
  4. • It enables demand-side response and electricity demand reduction to be brought together in a single delivery vehicle enabling more effective, joined up delivery of both policies.
The use of the capacity market to encourage electricity demand reduction goes against the majority of responses that DECC received to its consultation. Approximately 20% of respondents thought that this would be a negative option due to concerns over the compatibility with delivering electricity demand reduction at all times.  

Thursday, 27 June 2013

New Scientist - preview of a decent article

EVERY generation likes to blow the young 'uns' minds with tales of the bad old days. For today's 30-somethings, it is the era before cellphones and the internet, when people were sometimes out of contact for, like, hours at a time. For those a little older, it is when televisions were black and white, only had two channels, and few could afford one.

By the middle of the century, today's pre-schoolers will have their own tales to tell the kids: perhaps of a bleak time when electricity was piped to our homes from dirty great power stations, few people made their own electricity let alone stored it, and nobody had even thought of using the car to power the washing machine.

The kids of the 2060s will roll their eyes and get back to whatever kids spend their time doing by then. But they might be the beneficiaries of one ...

exciting times ahead...

Electric Car Sets World Speed Record @328.6km/hr

A British team has set a new world record after its lightweight electric powered car touched the top speed of 328.6 km per hour. Drayson Racing Technologies broke the world land speed record for a lightweight electric car as its Lola B12 69/EV vehicle surpassed the previous top speed of 281.6kph at a Royal Air Force base in Yorkshire.


Can the Grid take future solar PV plans???

One hour's worth of global sunlight would be enough to power the world's energy requirements for an entire year. But even if humankind can someday harness solar power to meet global energy needs, there is another problem engineers will have to tackle: integrating solar power with existing electrical networks.

In a new review of existing research, published online in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, scientists warn that this latter challenge will not be easy be-cause solar cells – also known as photovoltaic, or PV, cells – have numerous negative impacts on current systems used to distribute electrical power.

For example, one potential problem is keeping power systems balanced as PV cells enter the existing network so that the total amount of electricity generated is always equal to the amount of electricity used by the network, explained study coauthor Mohamed ElNozahy, an electrical and computer engineer at Canada's University of Waterloo.

If these two factors – total power generation and total load – are not kept balanced at all times, "severe frequency and voltage problems would occur," ElNozahy said.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Telford trading standards recover most counterfeit electrical goods

The figures show that Telford & Wrekin Council trading standards has seized electrical goods worth £200,000 since 2008 – much of it destined for sale over the internet.

This is more than three times the worth of the second highest number of seizures by Glasgow City Council, which collected counterfeit items valued at £64,000 over the five year period.

The study shows, across Great Britain, the value of counterfeit electrical goods seized has risen from £2,614,783 in 2009 to a staggering £15,725,462 in 2012, according to figures gathered from local councils and Border Force.

Circuit Protection - Dont Mix-n-Match

Below is about Mixing Manufacturers breakers in Consumer units - i.e. fitting a Hager MCB in a Wylex Board

BEAMA takes safety seriously and warns against the incorrect selection of devices (e.g. RCBOs, MCBs, MCCBs) for installation into assemblies1 (e.g. consumer units, distribution boards, panelboards).

There are two scenarios to be aware of:
a) The practice of installing devices of one manufacturer into assemblies of another manufacturer.
b) The practice of installing new devices into an old assembly, even if both are of the same manufacturer.

There is evidence that this practice of mixing products by installers, often without fully understanding the safety implications, is commonplace. Although devices can appear similar; the dimensions, technical performance and terminals are not necessarily compatible and mixing products in this way is likely to result in an unsafe installation.

In the case of scenario a), assemblies such as consumer units, distribution boards and panelboards conforming to BS EN 61439, formerly BS EN 60439 or BS 5486, are tested with specific devices which are usually from the same manufacturer as the enclosure.

In the case of scenario b), it should not be assumed that old and new devices and assemblies from the same manufacturer are compatible, because products are subject to continuous development. Over time, new ranges may be released, which may not necessarily be backwards compatible.
Therefore, in both scenarios, it is essential that the assembly manufacturer’s guidance is sought concerning suitability of any substitution or addition.

In all cases installing devices other than those declared by the assembly manufacturer invalidates any testing/certification and warranty.

BS 7671 regulation 510.32 places specific responsibility on the installer, requiring that assembly manufacturer’s instructions are taken into account.

In conclusion
• It is the responsibility of the installer who intends to mix devices/components in an assembly, to undertake appropriate testing and ensure conformity with the relevant standard.
• The installer has responsibility to act "with due care". If this is not done then there is a probability that, in the event of death, injury, fire or other damage, the installer would be accountable under Health and Safety legislation.

Distributor and wholesaler responsibilities
A distributor or wholesaler also has a responsibility under the General Product Safety Regulations to act "with due care". Distributors and wholesalers should be able to substantiate any advice related to interchangeability of devices in assemblies. If the installer acts on a distributor's advice and information and in doing so produces a non-compliant assembly then both the distributor and installer may be liable for any consequences.
1 An assembly is an enclosure and all its associated mechanical and electrical components such as the enclosure, busbars, terminals and electrical devices.
2 BS 7671:2008 including amendment 1 (previously 510.2).

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Landlords warned over wiring faults

Around one in five private rental sector tenants has been exposed to the risk of an accident or fire due to their landlord ignoring an electrical fault, a charity has warned.

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) found that a fifth of tenants, equating to 1.7 million private renters across the UK, have reported concerns about the electrical safety of their property to a landlord that were either acted upon slowly or not dealt with at all.

The charity urged landlords to make sure they comply with legal obligations to ensure that electrical installations and wiring are kept in a safe condition throughout the tenancy. Failure to do so means that landlords could end up having their insurance invalidated or be fined tens of thousands of pounds.

Tenants also have a responsibility to maintain the electrical items they bring into the house and should report hazards to their landlords immediately, the ESC said.

The findings come at a time when interest in the buy-to-let sector from landlords has been increasing due to strong demand for private rental accommodation from tenants which has pushed up rents. Many people have also become "accidental" landlords because they have found it hard to sell their home in the difficult economy.

Phil Buckle, director general of the ESC, said: "In the long-term, we'd like to see tighter guidelines for landlords on electrical safety, but with the number of non-professional landlords increasing every day, we also need to address this now.

"We need all landlords to understand that they are not only putting people's lives at risk, but they could also face serious financial loss through fines or invalidated insurance if they don't act on their existing obligations."

More than 4,000 people took part in the ESC's research across the UK. The ESC has produced a free smartphone app called "home electrical safety checks" to help people make sure that each room in their property is safe.

A guide for landlords and tenants on their electrical safety responsibilities can be viewed at

Need help?

handy link coming up soon!

Resources for Landlords

Need help

Monday, 24 June 2013

Electrical dangers around the home

Electricity improves our daily lives - but only when used safely. Don’t create hazards by overloading sockets, and never ignore warning signs like burning smells, sounds of arcing (buzzing or crackling), fuses blowing or circuit-breakers tripping. Electrical accidents are most likely to happen when equipment is damaged or misused. Failure to correct the problem could have devastating effects. This sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised how many of us fail to follow basic safety guidelines.

When did you last check the condition and safety of your plugs, sockets and flexible cables?
Damaged plugs, sockets and flexible cables can cause electric shocks, burns and fires. For you and your family’s safety:
  1. Check the plug and socket for burn marks, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling), fuses blowing, circuit-breakers tripping or if it feels hot.
  2. Remove plugs from sockets carefully. Pulling out a plug by the cable puts a strain on it, and could damage the contact between the plug and the socket. This could result in the plug overheating, its wires becoming loose or an electric shock (if the earth wire is disconnected).
  3. Use plugs with the British Standard safety mark - they have live and neutral pins with insulating sleeves that allow you to put them in and pull them out of sockets safely.
  4. Always replace damaged cables immediately. Touching exposed live wires may give you an electric shock or you could even be killed.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The art of light polution... The roar of tyrants torn in hell

The dead, the gentle dead – who knows? –
In tungsten filaments abide,
 And on my bedside table glows
 Another man’s departed bride.

And maybe Shakespeare floods a whole
 Town with innumerable lights,
 And Shelley’s incandescent soul
 Lures the pale moths of starless nights.

Streetlamps are numbered, and maybe
 Number nine-hundred-ninety-nine
 (So brightly beaming through a tree
 So green) is an old friend of mine.

And when above the livid plain
 Forked lightning plays, therein may dwell
 The torments of a Tamerlane,
 The roar of tyrants torn in hell.

Poem by “John Shade” in Vladimir Nabokov‘s novel Pale Fire (1962)


The World's Fastest Electric Car: A First Look

Weird Weather

Something for the weekend - not electrical

About 20 of the UK's leading scientists and meteorologists are due to meet at the Met Office to discuss Britain's "unusual" weather patterns.

They will try to identify the factors that caused the chilly winter of 2010-11 and the long, wet summer of 2012.

They will also try to work out why this spring was the coldest in 50 years - with a UK average of 6C (42.8F) between March and May.

The Met Office hopes the meeting will identify new priorities for research.

Over the past three years, British weather records have been under increasing pressure. The big freeze that gripped the UK in December 2010 saw the lowest temperature for the month in 100 years.
Even the buzz of the London Olympics could not disguise the washout that was last summer, the second wettest for the UK since records began.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Londons networks

We have known that the electricity network has been at breaking poinbt for years, but we didn't realise it was actually blowing up the paths

The Health and Safety Executive, a UK public body that oversees safety in the workplace, has ordered UK Power Networks, which runs the power network for London, to carry out a major inspection program in the London area -- and "find long-term solutions" to the problem.

At least five people have suffered injuries in pavement explosions, according to information compiled by government officials since January 2012.

Three women were injured in a blast in central Edgware Road just over a year ago. One, age 55, had 20% of her body burned and was said to have suffered "life-changing" injuries, London's Evening Standard newspaper reported at the time. The other two also suffered burns.

Another woman suffered whiplash injuries a month later when a cable box blew up in north London.

In November, a cyclist who was knocked off her bike after a cable pit exploded to the west of the city was reportedly taken to a hospital, but no details of her injuries were given.

Asked about instances of exploding pavements UK Power Networks said there had been "relatively few cases" where its network has failed or developed a fault.

It has about 100,000 boxes and 36,000 kilometers (22,369 miles) of cables under the city's streets.

"We regularly inspect, maintain and reinforce our network to ensure that London maintains its position as the most reliable electricity network in Britain," the company said in a statement.

"Underground equipment can always develop a fault, but most of the time it has no external impact.

Some events have involved gas or third party damage and were not necessarily just caused by an electrical fault."

UK Power Networks said it was sending teams out to inspect thousands of cable boxes and pits each year and investing tens of millions of dollars over the next several years to ensure they are safe.

The Health and Safety Executive said it had been informed of about 45 incidents involving boxes or cable pits owned by UK Power Networks since August of last year.

Not all of them caused an explosion, it said.

In some cases, passers-by have seen smoke or flames come out of a manhole cover or from link boxes in the pavement, according to the UK government reports.

In other instances, the cover for a cable pit has been blown off, damaging nearby cars or buildings.

UK Power Networks distributes more than a quarter of the United Kingdom's electricity, serving about 8 million customers in London, the southeast and east of England.

It is owned by the Cheung Kong Group, a Hong Kong-based multinational conglomerate. It also operates electricity distribution businesses in Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

expect more failures, especially in the city if the weather gets warmer and the Aircon gets cranked up

Who should carry out electrical work in my property?

Although many incidents are caused by faulty appliances rather that the electrical installation itself, a properly-installed and well-maintained installation could significantly reduce the possibility of an accident or injury.

So, it is important that any electrical installation work is carried out only by people who are competent. This means people who have the knowledge, skills and experience needed to avoid dangers to themselves and others that electricity can create. It's easy to make an electrical circuit work - it's far harder to make the circuit work safely.

Safety for you in your home is very important and so we strongly recommend that you use an electrician registered with one of the government-approved schemes to carry out any electrical installation work you need to be done.

Registered electricians will work to the UK safety standard BS 7671 (Requirements for Electrical Installations), and will issue a safety certificate for their electrical work to confirm that the installation has been designed, built, inspected and tested in line with that standard.

All of the scheme operators have a complaints procedure where they investigate complaints about registered electricians who may not have kept to the national standard.

The legal requirements for electrical installations in England and Wales are different from those in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Electricians carrying out electrical installation work in England and Wales have to keep to the Building Regulations whereas in Scotland it is the Building Standards system. At the moment, there is no equivalent legal requirement in Northern Ireland.

What are the dangers?
  1. Contact with live parts at 230 volts which can cause shock or burns and if these are severe, death;and
  2. Faults in appliances and installations which can cause fires.

On the recommendation of deferring bonuses for up to 10 years - Off topic

former RBS chairman and chief executive Sir George Mathewson told the BBC: "I find that a little strange. If you are going to have bonuses, they are to incentivise behaviours. Ten years out is not an easy way to imagine incentivisation occurring."
Our thoughts on thisThe whole reason for the banking industry being heavily reliant on bonuses it to limit lax liabilities as bonuses attract less tax.

If you have people in the bank just for money
1. You have the wrong people in the bank
2. You are creating the wring cunlture in the bank

People who only ollow the money are not good for business, but worse for that businesses customers
We accept that banks handle our money, but banks have to have a change of ethos away from  money is our only operating factor

bonuses based on short-term goals after a public outcry against the "culture of greed".
The  current incentive system needs seriously revising towards the sustainability model

changes to the bonus system should principally apply across the board
only one third of cash bonuses will be paid out straight away with the remainder held in a special account. This would only be awarded in full if the employees' actions result in positive financial results for the bank long term

Compensation in the form of should only be released after three years, if targets were reached, and must be held by the employee for "several" more years before they can be cashed in.

This is needed to bring about a cultural shift within the whole of the banking industry

Those who are rewarded will be those who deliver good results over several years without assuming unnecessarily high risk

rant over, have a nice weekend...

Friday, 21 June 2013

First it was Aus, Now South Africa is worried that EV's could take down the grid!

battling to keep the lights on -

another drain on its resources in the form of electric cars which apparently take as much power to heat your water.

It takes around eight hours to fully charge the battery of an all-electric car using a plug-in home charger - the equivalent to having a second geyser on in the house.

Water Heaters account for the bulk of household electricity and Eskom has called on South Africans to switch off 'geysers' during the peak consumption period between 5pm and 9pm.

OFF peak charging
Nissan plans to introduce the latest model of its Leaf all-electric car in South Africa towards the end of this year. A full charge of the latest model sold in Europe has a range of 195km. Motorists who travel 20 000km a year would need to recharge their car for eight hours every third day.

Nissan says charging electric cars will “flatten” electricity consumption patterns because consumers will recharge batteries at night.

Eskom has taken delivery of 10 of the electric cars to examine their recharging requirements over the next three years.

The Department of Environmental Affairs has also taken delivery of four of the electric cars, partly to raise public awareness and also to examine the possibility of introducing the cars into government fleets.

Steve Lennon, in charge of Eskom’s sustainability programme, said yesterday they supported electric cars in principle, but the impact of electric vehicles on the electricity utility was “not to be underestimated”.

Electric vehicles appeared to be gaining popularity as a more environmentally-friendly and cheaper fuel option.

But both the slow recharging at home or the fast recharge of 30 minutes at special facilities would have implications for Eskom.

“Also, no special tariffs or charging facilities are available in South Africa. It is important for Eskom to evaluate and determine what tariffs would be recommended and how a charging network would be established.”

Eskom also needed to understand what electricity infrastructure electric cars would need.
Charging stations have been installed at Eskom’s head office in Johannesburg.

Ross Garvie, chief marketing director for Nissan, said yesterday the amount of electricity the battery would take to recharge fully would be similar to the amount of electricity a geyser would use.
“If the battery is flat it will take between seven and a half and eight hours to recharge on a 16-amp plug.

“It’s like having a geyser on at home, but people will be charging it while they sleep when there is excess capacity on the grid,” Garvie said.

At specialised facilities, the vehicles could be fully recharged in 30 minutes.

could the leaf kill a country, or just make it up its game to a better infrastructure?

Friday Funny

Friday Funny

reasons given for not having a TV licence
  1. "Apparently my dog, which is a corgi, was related to the Queen's dog so I didn't think I needed a TV licence"
  2. "Why would I need a TV licence for a TV I stole? Nobody knows I've got it"
  3. "Only my three-year-old son watches the TV. Can you take it out of the family allowance I receive for him? He watches it so he should pay"
  4. "I had not paid as I received a lethal injection"
  5. "I don't want to pay for a licence for a full year. Knowing my luck I'll be dead in six months and won't get value for money"
  6. "I have lost weight recently and had to buy new clothes. That's why I could not afford to buy a TV licence"
go figure

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Longest human electrical circuit: school breaks Guinness world record

Thomas J. Rusk Academy (TJR) fourth grade science teacher Michael Armand organized a successful record attempt; with TJR principal Malinda Lindsey serving as the central link, 669 staff and pupils of TJR formed an electrical circuit which sets  the new world record for the Longest human electrical circuit, according to the World Record

 The previous Guinness world record for the longest human electrical circuit was formed by staff and pupils of Merrill Middle School, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA on 2 June 2010. The circuit consisted of 378 people and was powered by a low voltage powerball.

      The school decided to challenge the current Guinness world record -- 392 people -- after Armand worked with his students on a miniature version in class.

   One of the students asked Armand what the world record was for the number of people in a circuit, and the teacher decided to pursue the idea.

   After a few practice runs, the school lined the perimeter of the playground. When instructed, they linked hands.

   TJR principal Malinda Lindsey served as the central link, holding the golf-ball sized, low-voltage energy ball that linked the rectangle of students and staff together.

    The ball blinked red and made beeping sounds while the circuit remained complete.

well done to Thomas J. Rusk Academy

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Hay fever hell

If you are one of Britain's 16 million hay fever sufferers, then brace yourself - the highest pollen levels in half a century are predicted this year and the late spring is to blame.

Usually, different tree pollen is released in succession, starting with the alder in January. But the cool weather has meant a late start and the different pollen bursts are now expected to occur at the same time. Experts are also warning it will happen around the same time as grass pollen, from late May to July.

buy your anti histamine now :(

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Scientists Invent the 'Thought-Controlled' Robot

University of Minnesota scientists have developed a new interface which allows humans to control airborne robots with electricity generated by thoughts.

Research published in the Journal of Neural Engineering explains that the invention uses an electroencephalography (EEG) cap to measure the electrical signals sent out by the brain. The software is able to recognize when the brain is thinking of something, like a clenched fist, as it knows what the brain signals look like.

Professor Bin He, the team's lead scientist, was able to develop it after he successfully translated brain signals from an EEG helmet to control a computer-rendered helicopter in simulation.
Scientists conducted tests on five subjects with EEG caps containing 64 electrode which allow the custom software to "learn" the user's brain signals when they think about clenching their fists. They used that thought to trigger the flying drone.

As the subjects practiced, they were eventually able to use only their thoughts to navigate the drone through an obstacle course.

There are already products available that are similar to the robot, able to help disabled people with computer interactions.

Monday, 17 June 2013

How old is your wiring? 5 quick points

Electricity is usually out of sight, out of mind because cables are conveniently hidden inside our walls and switches and sockets. So it’s not surprising that we forget to check our electrical installations for wear and tear. Faulty and aging wiring is one of the major causes of electrical fires in the home. You can avoid these by having regular checks carried out on the condition of your cables, switches, sockets and other accessories. There are clear signs that can help you tell the age of electrical installation in your home.
These are:
  1. Cables coated in black rubber (phased out in the 1960s);
  2. Cables coated in lead or fabric (before the1960s);
  3. A fusebox with a wooden back, cast iron switches, or a haphazard mixture of fuse boxes (before the 1960s);
  4. Older round pin sockets and round light switches, braided flex hanging from ceiling roses, brown and black switches and sockets mounted in skirting boards (before the 1960s); and
  5. Wall-mounted light switches in bathrooms (before the 1960s).
need help?

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Lets celebrate Fathers Day - sorry no video this time

Japan tests 4K television streams over the internet

A Japanese telecoms company is carrying out tests to try to prove 4K-resolution video can be streamed over the internet to television set-top boxes.

NTT West is hosting the trial - which runs until Friday - and says it believes it is the first of its kind.
A new video compression standard is being used to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transmitted.

4K broadcasts offer four times the amount of detail as 1080p high-definition content.

Compressing technologies allow broadcasters to transmit material using much less data than would otherwise be required while minimising the loss of picture quality.

With regard to video, instead of sending data describing each pixel of each frame as if it were a standalone entity, a variety of algorithms are used to analyse how colour is distributed across each image and what changes occur between each frame.

This is then used to allow redundant information to be discarded, providing instead only the information needed to reconstruct a sequence based on an understanding of how each pixel and frame are related to each other.

At present the H.264/MPEG-4 codec is commonly used to broadcast digital TV - including the UK's Freeview HD and Sky HD satellite services - as well as the vast majority of video clips on the web.

In January the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN agency, approved a new format to succeed it called the H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard.

It allows 4K and 1080p videos to be streamed using roughly half the bit rate, meaning half as much data needs to be transmitted, thanks to the use of more advanced algorithms.

The ITU said it should meet the needs of broadcasters for "the next decade".

Although 4K ultra-high-definition televisions are already on the market, content is scarce and most owners have relied on the sets' ability to upscale existing HD signals.

Japan plans to become the first country to broadcast 4K programming over satellite from 2014, in time for the football World Cup.

But the ability to stream ultra-high-definition video over the net would open the door to other services.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

I know what you are thinking

Awful light pollution :)

Super Glue

We love quirky stories, so here's one for you

Harry Coover, a scientist at Cornell University was researching new compounds to improve military gun sights with his team from Kodak in 1942 when he discovered cyanoacrylate, the scientific name for Super Glue. At first, the glue was criticised because it had ruined the machinery used for the research. However, in 1958 it was eventually marketed by Kodak as Super Glue.

I didn't know super glue was military tech...

EDF Energy calls for 'petrol station forecourt' pricing

One of the UK's biggest energy suppliers has called for single-unit pricing for gas and electricity to help consumers compare tariffs as easily as they currently shop around for petrol.

EDF Energy said it would introduce the system if all other suppliers did too.

The energy regulator Ofgem said the proposed scheme would not be as easy to implement as it might appear.

This was because of the number of payment options and special "dual fuel" packages that currently existed.

A plan by Ofgem to simplify the energy market will be included in the forthcoming Energy Bill.
It will require companies to limit the number of tariffs on offer to four for each of gas and electricity.
But EDF said that plan was still too complicated.
'Simple way'

The French-owned firm called for all companies to set a single-unit price for gas and another for electricity.

It compared the idea to a petrol forecourt, saying it would mean customers could easily spot who was offering the lowest prices for fuel - just as easily as customers who drive between different petrol stations can instantly see where the best prices are offered.

But EDF said it would only implement such a pricing scheme if all the other energy firms followed suit.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of consumer group Which?, said simplifying tariffs would help customers.

"When we've tested prices being presented in this simple way we've found eight in 10 consumers can readily spot the best price for them," he said.

"So the current system is too complicated, the regulator and the government want to simplify the energy market for consumers, and the reforms they're proposing at the moment are still too complex."
However, the UK's largest energy supplier, British Gas, rejected the proposal.

BBC business correspondent Joe Lynam said normally consumer choice was a good thing but the hundreds of different types of tariffs had left consumers confused.

Source - BBC

Friday, 14 June 2013

Blowing our own Trumpet

We have just had a monthly performance meeting with one of our biggest contracts.

impressive reading

276 Jobs issued - 100% in target

Fix jobs on the 1st visit 93.48%

Empty properties 'turned round' in 1 week 98.4%

Customer satisfaction 98.91%

Jobs recalled 1.45%

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What next for LCD's


Among the 110 patents registered to Dr Schadt's  (Inventor of the LCD) name, one sticks out: a 1969 document detailing his work on an organic light-emitting diode screen.

He abandoned the research in favour of liquid crystals, but now LG, Samsung and others are promoting OLED TVs as the superior option.

Deep-pocketed customers are promised brighter colours, deeper blacks, thinner screens and lower electricity bills.

However, Dr Schadt isn't convinced OLED screens will ever match LCD equivalents for price or lifespan.

Reflective LCD Japan Display's reflective LCD screen offers extended battery life

"The blue OLED materials are not as stable as the red OLED materials," he says.

"So if you have an RGB display the blue colour will age differently from the red and green ones and this will change the colour quality of the display.

"The question has not yet been answered whether OLED will be stable over 50,000 hours to prevent the consumer seeing any deterioration in the appearance of the screen."

He adds that a new type of "reflective LCD" screen also promises to beat OLED displays at energy efficiency.

The technology uses light from the surrounding environment instead of a backlight to illuminate its liquid crystals. The result resembles a thin e-reader display capable of playing back colour videos.
"I just came from a conference in Vancouver where there was a presentation of prototypes by the Japan Display Consortium which showed a beautiful 6in LCD display with a power requirement of only two milliwatts," Dr Schadt says.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

In the US 'Crazy Ants' That Eat Electrical Equipment

A new invasion of circuitry-eating "crazy ants" is beginning to wreak havoc in the Southeastern US.
"These ants, commonly called Rasberry crazy ants, probably will be the worse insect that we've ever had to deal with in this part of the United States," pest control expert Tom Rasberry, who first saw the mystery invaders, told The Texas Country Reporter.

The ants are called crazy because of their random, nonlinear movements when looking for food, as opposed to the orderly formations of other ants who line up to transport food to the hive.

A new study, published in the April 2013 issue of the journal Biological Invasions, found that these crazy ants, which are formally known as tawny crazy ants and scientifically called Nylanderia fulva, are driving out the previous ant invaders, the fire ants, which sounds like a good thing, but really, these ants are much worse.

Source -

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The debate on personal data and civil rights (off topic – a lil bit)

I see this thing about Prism and the Echelon system before that is still rumbling on.

It shows just how ridiculous this "war on terror" is. We're spending multibillions of dollars to fight a bunch of primitive clowns that don't have an army, navy, or air force, or a clue

Did you see the terrorists who got convicted this week, they intended to bomb an EDL rally with a nail bomb made out of a firework, got there 2 hours late then got stopped on the M1 in the way back home for not having valid car insurance.

So two guys in a Volvo V70 were more effective than the Utah data centre.

Computer intelligence only works if they understand the vagaries of humanity and what they are looking for – inhumanity. What a waste of storage full of facebook duck face and pictures of food.
I think the debate will continue past "Everybody's a target; everybody with communication is a target" and move on to ROI (return on investment) on tens of billions spent – it seems like contractors are in control of this and not elected bodies.

I think you have to say that with more and more Americans falling below the poverty line is this money well spent?

It’s quite obvious that “total information awareness" is a fallacy, and if this is not regulated, it is logical to presume that big business can buy can buy diplomatic secrets, legal documents, confidential personal communications.

information has a value, we know this from Facebook.

Is it just possible that there is a price list and you can just buy information by knowing the right people and handing your credit card over to Menwith Hill – “That will be £10,000 or would you like a full work up for £25,000”

There  little or no indication that this policies effectiveness has improved in over a decade. In business there is the 80/20 rule. Maybe they don’t understand that.

Is the largest, most covert and potentially most intrusive intelligence agency ever created an ineffective failure – I would think they don’t have much longer to prove themselves.

This won’t be decided on morality, it will be done based on what is understood in business – the bottom line and US $

So for the time being jihadists are safe because on the whole they are under the radar. And we are safe because of their idiotic attempts to execute an attack. We just have to be thankful that they are so disorganised. A computer can’t understand ridiculousness embedded in the world of extremism unless they get the Utah super computers to read the Koran and then very slightly tilt its head to the left.

From our point of view, you are more likely to get struck by lightning or win the lottery 3 weeks in a row. Once we take that on board the expenditure looks even more excessive.

It will all sort itself out in the end as anyone who wants to run the world under Sharia law, will soon find out that his wife won’t let him and after the next election congress will pull the purse strings after they review the contractor’s invoices.

Bell Helicopters and Vietnam anyone?

9700 fake electrical items seized in Glasgow

Trading standards officials in Glasgow have seized almost 10,000 counterfeit electrical goods, more than any other UK council area in the last five years, figures show.

They have seized 9711 items since 2008, with a value of £63,950.

This is more than double the amount of the next highest number of seizures, Telford Council in the Midlands, which grabbed 4500 laptop power adapters in 2011.

The only other Scottish city council to have seized any electrical goods over the five years was Aberdeen, which confiscated 68 pieces of exercise equipment in 2012, according to figures obtained by the Co-operative Electrical.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Can Germany meet its electric car targets?

Chancellor Angela Merkel has reaffirmed her target to bring one million electric cars onto German roads by the end of the decade, despite weak interest from consumers.

Her government is hosting a two-day industry summit in Berlin to promote the fledgling technology, after fewer than 3,000 electric cars were sold in Germany last year out of a total market that exceeded 3 million.

The German auto industry plans to invest roughly 12 billion euros ($15.52 billion) in alternative powertrains, including battery-powered electric cars, in the next three to four years, according to industry association VDA.

source - (Reuters)

Monday, 10 June 2013

Universal Translators

The Brits and protagonists of the English Language, on the whole are pretty lazy so a Uni-trans would be right up our street

technology that is pretty much available as it stands now. With speech recognition software already widely available and translation software getting better and better, it’s only a matter of time.

European researchers are working on one for nearby countries, and global versions will undoubtedly follow.

“Universal” may be a misnomer, but theoretically any language we encounter in future could easily be added once it is understood.

In sci-fi, it’s used to explain why aliens all speak English, but in reality it could allow effortless worldwide communication.

Ugly but fast

I am not sure I like the look of this, but you have to admit it is fast.

Electric Mercedes SLS AMG sets new Nurburgring lap record
The Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive has lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife - 'north loop' - in a record time of 7:56.234 minutes.
In setting this time, the electric SLS AMG has also become the first electrically-powered series production vehicle to have completed a lap in under eight minutes.
"The record for the SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive in 7:56.234 minutes on the Nordschleife shows the special position of our innovative and unique drive solution. With the extremely efficient battery technology deriving from Formula 1, four electric motors positioned close to the wheels, the individual wheel torques 'AMG Torque Dynamics', the SLS eSound and our ambitious 'AMG Lightweight Performance' design strategy, the SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive generates a breathtaking sensation unlike any other model out on the road," according to Tobias Moers, Head of Overall Vehicle Development and member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

what has the potential to be a better energy saver than PV???

Anyone know the answer?

Woolgar Electrical can help you to slash electricity costs.

guess how? - voltage optimisation as part of a wider energy management initiative includeding LED lighting, lighting sensors, timers and controls.

we could cut you power requirements by over 15% with VO contributing almost half of the savings.

how does it work? the technology capitalises on the fact that supply voltages are often higher than the 220 volts that modern electrical equipment is designed to use to ensure customers furthest from the electricity sub station get enough power.

Users closest to the sub-station could be getting as much as 250 volts, Typically, that means their equipment runs hotter, which shortens its life in addition to wasting electricity.

voltage optimisers work by matching the supply voltage to the voltage needed to run electrical appliances, reducing waste and increasing the lifespan of equipment.

can we help?

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Great View


Percy Spencer and The microwave oven for $5k

In 1945, the US Navy engineer Percy Spencer invented the microwave oven by chance. Spencer had actually been testing new ways to emit electromagnetic waves when a chocolate bar in his pocket suddenly melted. Intrigued by the event he began to conduct experiments with other foods such as eggs and corn. Following more successful tests, he eventually patented the invention. However, the first microwave oven that was placed on the market was a very big and cost US$ 5,000. Consumers had to wait until 1967 for a smaller and more reasonably priced version to come on the market.

45 years on nuking things....

New fuse box

need help?

Electric car racing has a way to go to match F1

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Coke - medicinal remedy

Coca-Cola is the world's most popular soft drink. However, its inventor John Pemberton had actually hoped to create a medicinal remedy. As a colonel in the Confederate Navy, Pemberton had been wounded in battle during the American Civil War. Like so many wounded soldiers at that time he became addicted to morphine as a means of easing his pain. One day in 1886, while experimenting with coca leaves and nut seeds he came up with a non-alcoholic version of a coca wine. He then perfected the formula by adding syrup and carbonated water, creating what we know today as Coca-Cola.

interesting eh!!!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Man Led To Safety From Fire In Bletchley Flat

Fire fighters are urging people to take extra care in the kitchen following a fire at a block of flats in Bletchley on Friday night. They had to lead a man to safety from the 14th floor after he left his grill on and fell asleep.

Crews from Bletchley, Great Holm and Broughton were called to Mellish Court, in Melrose Avenue, just before 11.30pm. A neighbour heard the man's smoke alarm - which was fitted by Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service during a recent community safety campaign visit - going off.

Fire fighters handed the man into the care of paramedics, and used a large fan to clear the smoke from his flat.

top 10 tips:
  1. Carry out a weekly check on your smoke alarms by pushing the "test" button.
  2. Don't start cooking if you are tired or have been drinking alcohol.
  3. Keep the oven, hob and grill clean and in good working order. A build-up of fat and grease can easily lead to a fire.
  4. Avoid leaving children in the kitchen alone when cooking on the hob. Keep matches and saucepan handles out of their reach to keep them safe.
  5. Take care if you are wearing loose clothing - this can easily catch fire.
  6. Keep tea towels and cloths away from the cooker and hob.
  7. Double-check the cooker is off when you have finished cooking.
  8. If you need to leave the kitchen while cooking, take pans off the heat or turn the heat right down to avoid risk.
  9. Keep electrical leads and appliances away from water.
  10. Check toasters are clean and placed away from curtains and kitchen rolls.
remember - you snooze, you can loose your life

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

electric cars and sustainability...

One of the more fashionable concepts that one hears among people who regard themselves as environmentalists, is that the world would be much better off if only we could make the electric car mainstream.   Without having engaged in any kind of systematic survey among serious thinkers on the environment, I certainly feel this is the case, although with a little digging, one can see that this is certainly not universally held to be the case, especially if one looks in the primary scientific literature

A recent article in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, for example noted that China already has 100 million electric vehicles and that the health and climate benefits and deficits of these vehicles is decidedly mixed, particularly because of the high externalities associated with China's overwhelming dependence on coal power.   

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Adding an Electric Car Cut the Payback Point of Our Solar Panel Investment in Half

quite an interesting article I found, in like with the UK DJ who did the same..

When we discussed our home solar panel project in mid-2011 with friends, one of the first questions everyone asked was, “What’s the payback period before you break even?” The second question, unsurprisingly, was, “How much is it costing you?” but the focus always ended up on the payback. After all, if you’re going to invest in green technology, you’re hoping that at some point in the near future, you get ahead of the game. It turns out that something we didn’t plan for—our Chevrolet Volt—is actually helping us boost the return on investment and cut our payback time in half.

I shared details on both the solar panel project and the car before, but let me step back and recap a bit. In October 2011, we added 41 solar panels to our southern-facing roof in southeastern Pennsylvania. Each panel is rated for 230W of direct current (DC) so that works out to an array of 9.43kW DC. In our family of four, with two work-at-home adults, we average around 7,500 kWh of electricity usage. So the system may be a bit oversized for our needs—about 125 percent—but we planned ahead. It’s a four-bedroom house so we thought the next occupants could have at least one more family member and therefore use more electricity.

At the time, we were quoted a price of $5.50 per watt for the project. When you multiply that price times the 9,430 watts of the system, you get the total cost: $51,865. That’s just the gross cost, however. We received a 15 percent federal tax credit for $15,560 and a state rebate check of $7,100, bringing the net cost to around $29,205. Our typical electric bill for a year had been roughly $2,500, which makes the break-even point around 11.7 years.

A year after the solar panels were installed—they generated 13.8 MWh in the first 12 months and you can see the real-time stats here—we opted to add an electric car to our garage. So we traded in an Acura RDX and, after shopping around, replaced it with a 2013 Volt. This was to be our primary car, just as the Acura was. We have another vehicle in the garage, but it’s a rarely driven sports car: a 2007 model that just passed 18,000 miles on the odometer.

Since the Acura was our primary vehicle, we racked up miles quickly. Even though we both work from home, my wife and I often drive the two kids to activities or head a few miles into town most days for food or other goods. With the Acura we were averaging about $250 per month on gas as a result. Now, with the same general driving habits, we pay a maximum of $50 on gas in a given month.

With the Volt—you can see driving stats for that, too—we’ve already turned 7,228 miles in the six months of ownership. That’s normal driving behavior for us: We typically drive about 15,000 miles on the main car. Of those miles, 5,255 have been solely on battery power and the car reports our gas mileage at 125.33 mpg so far. Even though we’re averaging 1,250 miles per month, we’re only filling up the gas tank once—or maybe twice—in a given month. The tank is small too: just over 9 gallons.
So what does this do to our solar panel payback? It cuts it nearly in half to around six years. How so?
Three-quarters of our driving is powered by electricity. Even with the addition of the Volt, which we charge every night, we still don’t have an electric bill. We’re at the point where we’re much closer to using all of the electricity our panels produce, but we’re not there yet. And we’ve cut down on our gasoline expenditures as a direct result of both the car and the solar panel system, saving around $200 per month that we used to spend.

That works out to $2,400 a year in gasoline savings and when added to the $2,500 in electricity bills we’re no longer paying each year, you get $4,900 in net cash-flow savings. Divide that figure into the net cost of the solar panel project and it works out to 5.96 years before break-even. Best of all, the payment for the Volt is slightly less than the Acura payment was, but I don’t consider that as part of the solar panel payback.
There was a recent intangible benefit gained by the solar investment, as well. Just before we bought the Volt, we decided to refinance our home. The appraiser added $30,000 in value to the house just for the solar panel array. That gave us the best possible rate because of our LTV, or loan to value, ratio.

Without that extra boost in the appraisal, we would have had to pay more in fees to get our low rate or simply have a marginally higher rate. I don’t consider this part of the payback either, but it sure helped!

from -

Monday, 3 June 2013

Spencer Silver & Post-it notes

In 1970, American chemist Spencer Silver created a weak glue while actually attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive for the company 3M. No use could be found for the glue until his friend and churchgoer Arthur Fry began using it to stick a bookmark in his hymnbook. The glue gave him the ability to fix the bookmark for a short period of time before removing it and using it again at a later date. Today, post-it notes are one of the highest-selling stationary items in the world.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Tesla Model S sprint: from 0 to 120 km/h

Garden Safety

Sorry this is a bit long, but in the Garden is where you are most vulnerable - strange but true!

What are the dangers of using electrical equipment in the garden?
Although electricity makes gardening much easier, wet conditions and contact with the ground means that the risk of injury or death from electric shock is greatly increased compared to using electrical equipment indoors. Many garden accidents are the result of handling equipment carelessly, lack of concentration and failure to follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions. By following simple safety guidelines every time you work in a garden, you can easily avoid a serious accident.

Why do I need a residual current device (RCD) when using electrical equipment outdoors?
When using electrical equipment outdoors, RCD protection can be a lifesaver. Without it, if you cut through an electrical lead, a simple job like mowing the lawn could turn into a deadly disaster. An RCD provides a level of protection against electric shock that normal fuses and circuit-breakers cannot provide. All equipment such as lawnmowers, hedge trimmers and other power tools, when used outdoors, should only be plugged into a socket protected by an RCD.

If you haven’t got sockets that are RCD protected, buy a good-quality portable RCD from a reputable source. Whatever the type of RCD you have in your home, you should test it quarterly by using the ‘test’ button on the device. You should test portable RCDs every time you use them.

Extension leads, cables and connections
If you do not check the condition of extension leads, cable and connections and use them correctly, you could get an electric shock.
For safety make sure they are:
  1. Suitable for outdoor use – weather resistant with moulded connections that prevent moisture seeping in;
  2. Rated correctly to suit the equipment connected;
  3. Properly plugged in especially in-line connectors;
  4. Uncoiled to prevent overheating;
  5. Kept clean and free from damage;
  6. Replaced if damage is found;
  7. Positioned appropriately to prevent them being damaged; and
  8. Kept dry

If an ‘inline-connector’ is required it must be correctly connected to the flexible cable ends by a competent person in order to avoid danger from any incorrect connections being made which might result in serious injury or death!

The plug MUST be UNPLUGGED from the main socket-outlet BEFORE:
ANY work is carried out on the electrical equipment,
the 2 halves of the inline-connector are separated

The plug MUST NOT be plugged back in UNTIL:
work carried out on the electrical equipment has been correctly completed,
both halves of the inline-connector are firmly connected together.
Mowing the lawn/Cutting the hedge
Lawnmowers and hedge trimmers have sharp blades and rapidly moving parts, which can damage or cut through electrical cables as easily as grass. The risk of electric shock from a damaged cable is high.

For safety:
  • do not cut the grass or hedge in wet conditions;
  • wear sensible footwear to protect your feet;
  • check the cables, connections and plugs before use;
  • keep the cable clear of the cutting area; and
  • before clearing blockages or carrying out maintenance, unplug the lawnmower or hedge trimmer and wait for the blades to stop moving.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

USB flash drives

I have a faithful old USB flash drive, but I wonder how long I will keep using it?

With the growing ability of tech gadgets to transfer data wirelessly, and with the success of information-sharing-and-storing software such as DropBox, good old memory sticks are going the way of Betamax

Initially created by Sony in 1988, the data-storage-and-transfer tools have always been hindered by the relatively small amount of information they are able to hold. as the drives got bigger, so the info we need to carry round got bigger to, constantly on catch up!!! within a few years the handy little gadgets might roam the Earth no more. providing the internet speed go up with more 3G, 4G, 5G etc