Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Google privacy policy criticised by data watchdog

Google could face "enforcement action" if it does not improve its privacy policies, the UK's data watchdog says.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) believes there are "serious questions" concerning the US search company's compliance with the UK Data Protection Act.

The ICO thinks Google does not make it sufficiently clear how user data will be used across all its products.

Other European data authorities have made similar complaints.

BMW Takes Stake In British Electric Car Firm

The German car manufacturer BMW is to buy a stake in the British company which produces and installs half of the UK's charging points for electric cars.

Sky News can reveal that BMW, which manufactures some of the world's most popular luxury cars, is to buy a small shareholding in Chargemaster.

The deal, which is expected to be announced on Thursday, will underline the potential importance of electric cars to the future of BMW, which plans to launch its first model - the i3 - next week.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Tesla to open store in Westfield London

whoop whoop!!!!

Duane Pearsall is a hero

why, you may ask?

Because  Duane Pearsall saves lives every day, because he invented the humble Smoke detector

Invented in the 1960s, the smoke detector has proven over and over again to be a life-saving gadget, and some people would literally not be alive without it.

According to an article in the magazine Popular Mechanics, Pearsall said the invention happened by accident while trying to develop a static control device intended for photo dark room purposes.

gotta love an invention accident!!!!

need smoke detectors?

Microsoft develops 3D touchscreen with tactile feedback

Details of a touchscreen showing 3D images that can be felt and manipulated have been published by Microsoft's research unit.

The project combines an LCD flat panel screen with force sensors and a robotic arm that moves it back and forwards.

By controlling how much resistance there is to a user's fingertip the firm says it can simulate the shape and weight of objects shown on screen.

Microsoft says the device could have medical uses as well as for gaming.

Work on the project is being carried out at the firm's Redmond campus near Seattle.

looking forward to playing with that.. :)

Monday, 29 July 2013

Mercedes-Benz SLS Electric Drive

found on Top Gear

Guess what's the most powerful AMG on sale? We bet you'll plump for the SLS Black, but you'd be wrong. It's this SLS Electric Drive, with 740bhp and 738lb ft. That's an enormous 118bhp and 270lb ft more than the Black - hardly a slouch when it comes to bare stats. And yet it produces precisely no local CO2 emissions.

So what is it? Bluntly, the SLS ED is possibly the most brilliantly revolutionary thing that the already-bonkers lot at AMG have ever created: a fully electric AWD supercar. It's a serious bit of engineering, too. The ED uses four motors (one for each wheel) connected to two gearboxes, and there are 12 battery modules, most of which are mounted nice and low in the unused space where the transmission tunnel would normally be. The location is key: the batteries weigh a whopping 548kg, so they need to be low down. Mounted as they are and with the car driven carefully, the cells give a theoretical range of 155 miles.

It's a shame to focus on the green and serene engineering of the Electric Drive, though, because its pure, visceral pace is simply extraordinary. I can't think of anything other than perhaps the Veyron that has this tsunami-surge of torque.

Energy watchdog Ofgem failing consumers

The energy regulator Ofgem is not doing enough to ensure that energy company profits are transparent, MPs say.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) report said the watchdog was "failing consumers by not taking all possible steps to improve openness".

The committee said that "working out exactly how their profits are made requires forensic accountants".

Ofgem said it had made energy companies produce yearly financial statements and they had been reviewed by accountants.

Sir Robert Smith, on behalf of the committee, said: "At a time when many people are struggling with the rising costs of energy, consumers need reassurance that the profits being made by the 'big six' are not excessive."

The big six are E.ON, SSE, British Gas, npower, EDF and Scottish Power.

They have different divisions to deal with the different functions of their businesses: generation, trading and supply.

The committee said that the divisions sometimes bought and sold services and energy from each other, making it difficult to work out how much money was being made overall.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Royal recession breakers... (off topic)

Prince Charles' birth in 1948 coincided with the start of a quarter century of strong economic recovery, while Prince William's arrival in June 1982 heralded the end of a bitter recession and another quarter century of unparalleled prosperity.

Can George Alexander Louis do it again???

Cant believe its been a year since the Olympics

Ofgem wants power firms to tackle electricity theft

The energy regulator wants power firms to do more to combat electricity theft, a third of which is stolen each year to power cannabis farms.

Ofgem has published proposals to combat a problem that it says costs customers £200m a year.
Ofgem said new rules should force suppliers to detect and investigate problems, or risk a fine.
The regulator estimates that there are up to 25,000 cases of electricity theft each year.

Under the proposals, suppliers are being asked to set up a national theft-risk assessment service to help them target premises where there are strong suspicions that electricity is being stolen, most commonly through tampering with meters.

Ofgem says theft costs paying electricity customers the equivalent of £7 each a year.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Are solar farms really the answer?

ugly, isn't it...

if the govt get their way, you will be seeing plenty of these...

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

solar PV

The Government is planning a massive expansion of solar farms across Britain, despite being warned the electricity system will struggle to cope with the increase in power.

Greg Barker, the energy and climate change minister, has disclosed that it is his “ambition” for 20GW of energy to be produced by solar panels in 2020 - effectively a ten fold increase in the number of solar farms currently built or being planned.

That level of solar power would amount to panels, many up to ten feet tall, covering a total area of land equivalent to more than 100 times the size of London’s Olympic park.

Ministers have been warned that such a steep increase in power could overload Britain’s electricity system.

The National Grid, the body responsible for the transmission of electricity across Britain, told Mr Barker’s Department of Energy and Climate Change last year that building more than 10GW of solar panels would make controlling the grid “significantly more challenging in its current form”.

The warning suggests that solar farms will, like wind farms, have to be paid not to produce electricity.

William and Kate name their son George

William and Kate name their son George

It is nice when your hard work goes noticed

Two of our team, Darren Meakin and Peter Hall received this today.

Woolgars attended the above scheme this morning to do a void check on flat 1 and, whilst they were there got a call from their office to sort out a problem in flat 3 (Denise ****** rang the job through to Woolgar’s after a phone call from me).  The manager at the scheme felt the engineers went out of their way to sort out the problems whilst they were there and went the extra mile, they waited on site for spares to arrive and completed 2 jobs in one go, by doing this this alleviated the need for an extra visit and the flat is now ready to be re let earlier than thought and 2 worrying Health and Safety issues were sorted out straight away.

A big thank you to Woolgar’s and Denise from the staff team at the above scheme

well done team

Big Smile

Royal Baby fact

Babies start dreaming even before they're born.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Reporting the royal baby - who got it right and who got it wrong

Private eye got it right

as usual the Mirror got it wrong

and the telegraph just asks a question - its seem like we make the news, NOT them :)

and this one is so bad I cant even see the name of the publication - is it Woman's Gay?


The Internet isn't that old of an invention, yet it's become such a huge part of our everyday lives that most people forget what it was like to live in a pre-Internet age.

The Internet makes communication and information dissemination a breeze in both our personal and working lives. Not to mention it's a great form of entertainment.

need a network?

Monday, 22 July 2013

Electric Cars Among Dirtiest Transportation

This seems a bit suspect and still doesn't look like a whole world solution - mainly aimed at a backward infrastructure stuck on coal!!!

Electric cars lead to hidden environmental and health damages and are likely more harmful than petrol cars and other transportation options according to a peer-reviewed report published today in IEEE Spectrum.

The report, Unclean at Any Speed, indicates that the recent billions spent on subsidies for the Tesla, Nissan Leaf, and other electric cars may actually be doing more harm than good after considering full electric vehicle lifecycles. It recommends shifting electric car subsidies toward more robust options backed by research, including emissions testing, bicycle infrastructure, smog reduction initiatives, and land-use changes.

The paper's author, Ozzie Zehner, was once an electric car enthusiast but has since changed his position. "Upon closer consideration, moving from petroleum-fueled vehicles to electric cars starts to appear tantamount to shifting from one brand of cigarettes to another," writes Zehner, a visiting scholar at the University of California -- Berkeley and the author of Green Illusions (

His paper identifies how electric cars merely shift negative impacts from one place to another: "most electric-car assessments analyse only the charging of the car. This is an important factor indeed. But a more rigorous analysis would consider the environmental impacts over the vehicle's entire life cycle, from its construction through its operation and on to its eventual retirement at the junkyard."
from the wall street journal

Modern Homes too hot!!!

The average UK one-bedroom home is a compact 46 sq m (495 sq ft), according to the Royal Institute of British Architects. And as well as being on the small side it's also increasingly very insulated.

This can be a good thing when it's cold and damp outside but not always helpful during a heatwave when a nice draught could make all the difference. There are even fears that homes insulated under the government's Green Deal could actually lead to deaths.

And then there's the fact that the typical flat only points one way.

"The problem with British housing provision is there's no legislation to ensure residences have double aspect," says Ellis Woodman, executive editor of Building Design magazine. "This means you get a lot of new flats in cities that only have one room orientation, which means you can't have cross ventilation, or a draught."

In north Africa and the Middle East the ideal home was traditionally based around a central courtyard, helping with air flow and leaving somewhere to cool down. Most British flat owners would relish this.

Saturday, 20 July 2013


Take a moment

Consider your surroundings. You're probably sitting with plenty of light. Perhaps you have music playing in the background. You're obviously sitting with your phone, a tablet or at the computer.

Consider how much of what you use daily -- either consciously or not -- requires electricity.

We take advantage of its existence all day long, and when it goes out, we get a real clear idea of how important it is in our daily lives.

here for you.

Friday, 19 July 2013

BMW i3 electric car to be unveiled on July 29

BMW is all set to unveil the production version of its electric car, the i3, on July 29. Two year back, the German luxury carmaker had displayed this vehicle as a concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It will be the company's first mass production electric car. The official auto show debut of the vehicle will take place at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show in September followed by a later launch in the market.

Plug fuses

The common UK plug – Is generally fitted with a 3A or 13A fuse. For appliances up to 700w you need to use a 3A fuse. And for appliances over 700w you need to use a 13A fuse.Here are some common examples:

3A Fuse – Table lamp, standard lamp, television, video, computer, mixer, blender, fridge, freezer, power drill, jig saw, soldering iron

13A Fuse – Washing machine, dishwasher, microwave, kettle, toaster, iron
Manufacturers have now standardised plug fuse ratings to be either 3A or 13A.  However, 5 Amp fuses are still used in some older equipment and are available to buy.

Did you find this information useful?

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Tips to help you stay safe

When shopping for electrical goods, everybody loves a bargain. But ... the product could be a cheap copy, of poor quality, or made to look like a well-known brand. Or it may be second hand, with damage that can make it unsafe. These electrical products could harm you, your family and your home.

Unsafe electrical products can cause fire, electric shock, burns and other injuries. The last year has seen the highest number of counterfeit electrical goods entering the UK in three years and experts predict that this rise will result in millions of unsafe Christmas presents being given this year.

Ten tips to help you stay safe
  1. Follow our tips to stay safe when shopping for electrical goods, either online or in stores:
  2. Beware of any item that is much cheaper than you expected. If it's too good to be true, it probably is!
  3. Don't rely on a CE mark alone as a guarantee of quality.
  4. Check that the packaging note looks genuine. Does the item come with instructions and a guarantee?
  5. Check for damage when you get home, especially loose or broken fittings or frayed wires.
  6. Check that the item has a three-pin UK plug or charger and that you know the country of origin.
  7. Check that the voltage of products is 230V, 50Hz - the UK's usual domestic voltage .
  8. Avoid buying second-hand products, especially ones where the guarantee or warranty has run out. You won't know who has owned it or what condition it is in.
  9. Use online review websites to find out what people are saying about products and sellers.
  10. Check out the ESC our Product Recalls page for up-to-date information on faulty goods.
If you suspect a product is dangerous to use, or if it is a fake copy of a well-known brand, it is illegal. Contact your local trading standards office or Citizens Advice straight away. If you have any suspicions about a product's safety, or if you think it's a fake, do not use it.

Thank you jet stream

Throughout June the weather across the UK had been decidedly mixed with some pleasant weather interspersed with spells of wet and windy weather. This was because the jet stream was meandering across the Atlantic in a position which was slightly further south than you would expect at that time of year.

However, a major change took place just after the start of July as the jet stream took a dramatic shift northwards. This led rain-bearing weather systems to be deflected towards Iceland and Scandinavia with high pressure becoming the dominant factor across the country. In meteorological terms, this is known as a blocked pattern. High pressure at this time of year means generally fine weather, while the strength of sun can generate some very high temperatures.

It is interesting to note that most of the UK has benefited from the summer weather and the highest temperatures have not necessarily been confined to any one area. Another point of interest is that we have seen very few thunderstorms in the last couple of weeks. It is a common conception that these always accompany hot weather but this has not been the case over the last couple of weeks, mainly because the hot weather has not been imported from France or Spain.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


electricity, class of phenomena arising from the existence of charge. The basic unit of charge is that on the proton or electron—the proton's charge is designated as positive while the electron's is negative. There are three basic systems of units used to measure electrical quantities, the most common being the one in which the ampere is the unit of current, the coulomb is the unit of charge, the volt is the unit of electromotive force, and the ohm is the unit of resistance, reactance, or impedance.

simple eh!!!

glad to work with a phenomena... does that make us phenomenal?

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Qualified Supervisors

NICEIC and ELECSA have hit back at misleading claims about the new technical requirements for Qualified Supervisors, and are reassuring contractors’ fears about the qualifications necessary to be eligible for registration.

As of 6th April this year the technical competence requirements, as set out by the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification Management Committee (EAS), changed for proposed Qualified Supervisors.

A new ‘Level 3’ requirement was developed and introduced for anyone wanting to apply to become a Qualified Supervisor after 5th April. Prior to its implementation a spate of articles appeared in the media urging contractors to apply before the deadline so they could ‘side-step’ the new requirements.

However, following the apparent confusion this has caused, NICEIC and ELECSA have moved to allay any concerns contractors might have, citing the various routes through to qualification. “In the run-up to April both NICEIC and ELECSA noticed a sharp rise in applications for its schemes as contractors sought to ‘beat the new requirements’ - largely due to stories circulating in the media saying the new requirements would make it harder to become a Qualified Supervisor,” commented Alan Wells, certification and standards director at NICEIC.

“We want to let contractors know that this is definitely not the case. The new qualification was designed to produce safer working practices within the industry and those with the relevant experience and technical competence really have nothing to fear.”

There are now five different routes for domestic installer schemes through to satisfying the requirements for registration as a Qualified Supervisor, including on-site assessment, off-site assessment, a mixture of both and the gaining of appropriate qualifications. To help contractors understand the new requirements NICEIC and ELECSA have produced some information sheets for anyone wishing to join NICEIC or ELECSA’s Domestic Installer Scheme or NICEIC’s Approved Contractor schemes (links below). “The routes allow flexibility for individuals who hold older qualifications or have been a Qualified Supervisor within the past two years to be assessed, as well as allowing a route for individuals who can provide auditable evidence of their knowledge and experience of undertaking electrical work,” Wells concluded



Energy bills being pushed up by green policies, Npower claims

Found on MSE

Household energy bills will be £240 higher each year by 2020 largely due to the mounting cost of Government green policies, energy giant Npower claims.

The big six provider says energy company profits are not to blame for rising bills, adding consumers should know the true cost of Government investment in efficiency schemes and greener forms of energy production. It says these will be the main driver behind a hike in bills from £1,247 today to £1,487 by the end of the decade.

Npower says support for low-carbon technologies alone would add £82 to the average energy bill by the end of the decade, up from £34 this year, and £12 in 2007.

It adds the cost of investing in low-carbon power sources accounts for less than 3% of the average household bill, but this will rise to 5.5% by the end of this decade.

Paul Massara, Npower's chief executive, says: "Government policy is rightly delivering the transformation we need to address the UK's poor housing stock and encourage investment required in new infrastructure – but achieving these aspirations comes at a cost, and this is what needs to be clearly communicated to consumers."

Energy profits have risen from £18 on the average dual fuel bill in 2007 to £59 this year. Npower predicts profits will rise to £71 in 2020, staying constant at around 5% of the bill.

Monday, 15 July 2013

OHMS Law vs Voltage Optomisation

What about Ohms Law?
Some doubt the effectiveness of Voltage Optimisation as they believe it may contravene ‘ Ohms Law’, this is not the case as the example below highlights:
  1. • If we take a load with a constant resistance of 100 Ohms, Ohms Law is V=IR
  2. • Suppose the voltage is 250V. Then the equation becomes 250 = I x 100. Therefore the current, I=250/100 or 2.5A
  3. • Now consider reduction of the voltage to 220V. As resistance is constant the current, I, now equals 220/100 or 2.2A
  4. • In this example power = volts x current, so when the voltage was 250V the power is 250x2.5 or 0.625kW whereas for the 220v example the power consumed is 220 x 2.2 or 0.484kW
  5. • And of course it is kWh that we are billed for 

Voltage Optimisation reduces the work done by appliances, this does not in any way reduce their usefulness and it & also contributes to a longer lifespan

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Friday, 12 July 2013

E.on free light bulb blunder to cost firm £3m

E.on has agreed to pay £2.5 million to help some of its most vulnerable customers and been fined £500,000 after it inaccurately reported how many free light bulbs it gave out as part an energy efficiency scheme.

Under the Government's Carbon Emissions Reductions Target (Cert), large energy suppliers had to deliver energy efficiency measures to consumers in Britain – including distributing free energy-saving bulbs to households (see our Cheap Energy Club for help getting the cheapest energy tariff).

E.on said it distributed 3.4 million bulbs in 2010. But regulator Ofgem found that figure included bulbs which turned up in shops in Ireland, as well as others for which E.on couldn't provide evidence they had actually been given away.

80 per cent increase in demand for electricity by 2040

An 80 per cent increase in demand for electricity by 2040 was predicted by ExxonMobil in 2010

sorry it has taken me three years to find this out! :)

Its nearly the weekend

June Stats

Meeting this morning - June; 286 jobs 100% on target, 47 empty houses 100% on target, Fix-1st-Time 93.7%, 98.55% customer satisfaction

We just clocked over 20k views of the blog!!!

Page views all time history  - 20,099

thank you :)

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Will the carbon nanotube wire rival copper?

Scientists have made a strong, lightweight wire from carbon that might eventually be a rival to copper.

It was the first time that the super-strong carbon wires, spun in a tiny furnace that looks like a candy floss machine with temperatures above 1,000°C, had been made "in a usable form" a millimetre thick.

Krzysztof Koziol of the Cambridge University's department of materials science and metallurgy said commercial applications were still years away as its ability to conduct electricity needs to be improved but that "our target is to beat copper".

Wire made in the laboratory from carbon nanotubes (CNTs) – microscopic hollow cylinders composed of carbon atoms – is 10 times lighter than copper and 30 times stronger, the university said in a statement.

Among advances, the scientists found a way to solder CNTs to metal, something that had previously not been possible, though a big drawback for CNTs is that a kg of copper is 2.5 times more conductive than a kg of CNT.

For the next few years, Cambridge University would focus on copper and CNT hybrids, a programme to create "ultra-conductive" copper that is supported by the copper industry. In some blends, tiny amounts of carbon improve copper's conductivity.

The International Copper Association, representing producers of more than half the world's copper, said that mass production of ultra-conductive copper could be 10 years away if the science can be improved.

60 per cent of all copper sold worldwide was to carry electricity.

Koziol, however, said pure CNT wires could have more immediate uses because they are more flexible than copper. That could be valuable in moving parts such as robot arms or in planes or cars where flexibility is more important than conductivity.

Weight can be crucial.

About a third of the weight of a large space satellite, weighing 15 tonnes, is typically copper. A Boeing 747 jumbo jet uses as much as 135 miles of copper wiring, weighing more than 2 tonnes, the university said.

The UK National Grid said a benefit of CNTs, if developed at commercial scale at a competitive cost, was that they can operate at high temperatures.

Dear Team

We have been wondering how to thank you for all your hard work.

Words just can't describe how much you are appreciated.

1st day of the new system went better than we could ever have imagined.

We really are very proud of how well you handled the transition.

Thank you so much for ‘making it work’

Well Done :)

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Welcome to our brand new full service management and job control system

Woolgar Electrical are pleased to announce that we are going live with our operation software tomorrow.

Epix Systems Ltd are providing the new system, and have carried out extensive testing.

The solution provided by Epix Systems includes interfacing with our largest client, back office system for job control, allocation, sales order processing, and a fully mobile Android application for engineers to remove the need for any paperwork.

Woolgar Electrical - getting better and better at the things we do best

exciting times ahead.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.

Are landlords risking lives and livelihoods by ignoring electrical safety?

  • Private tenants more likely to be affected by electrical accidents and fires
  • Landlord fines have increased to £20,000 but many don’t know fines exist at all
  • The Electrical Safety Council calls for landlord action to protect safety of tenants
A study by the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) previously mentioned in this blog finds landlords are exposing themselves to significant financial risks, from fines and invalidated insurance, through not acting on their electrical safety obligations. Ignoring their responsibilities means landlords are also putting millions of UK private tenants at risk of serious accident or fire.

What is landlord’s awareness of the fact fines for failing to maintain adequate electrical safety have risen from £5,000 to £20,000, but instead found a fifth - around 300,000 private landlords - still believed there were no fines at all. Added to this, many landlords did not know their insurance may be invalidated if they fail to follow their obligations.

 The situation is a real concern as electrical accidents cause more than 350,000 serious injuries each year and cause more than half of all accidental house fires. However, tenants are most at risk – they are more likely to experience a serious electric shock[v] than home owners and may be up to seven times more likely to experience a house fire[vi]. The ESC is concerned that unless landlords take action, the situation will further deteriorate.

  The problem arises from a lack of understanding over who is responsible for the electrical safety of a private rented property. Almost half of all landlords and tenants[vii] admitted they had no idea who was responsible for electrical safety and as a result crucial aspects are ignored.

 landlords must ensure electrical installations and wiring are maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy. The ESC recommends landlords should have electrical appliances checked annually or on change of tenancy  and installations checked at least every five years by a registered electrician, along with carrying out regular visual checks themselves. Anyone can find a local registered electrician by visiting the Electrical Safety Register:
many landlords are ignorant of their responsibilities - we are on there

with non-professional landlords increasing every day, we think it needs addressing
Tenants – your duty  is reporting hazards to their landlord immediately.

 The ESC also advises that they ask the landlord for evidence that electrical safety checks have been conducted or approved by a registered electrician
 The ESC has produced a free guide for landlords on their electrical safety responsibilities, along with an online resource outlining recommended actions for landlords and tenants, to give clarity over responsibilities –
 available at
 it’s more important than ever that landlords take their responsibility for electrical safety seriously.
Can we help?

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

We can’t see Vodafone keeping many of its pay-as-you-go customers

We can’t see Vodafone keeping many of its pay-as-you-go customers after changing charging to by the minute rather than the second - a move that will raise the cost of most calls.

It means a call lasting one minute and one second will now be charged as two minutes - meaning 50p instead of 25p.

"So if your call is a minute and 37 seconds long, it'll be charged as two minutes. That way, you'll always know exactly how many minutes you have left." – and Vodafone will have billed you for 23 seconds you didn’t use. 

Smacks of Fraud or breach of contract and lots more customers for the per second providers or the cheaper Per Minute ones.

It doesn't make anything simpler other than the fact that PAYG customers will essentially pay more for calls.

On Tuesday, Vodafone defended the change – let’s see how long it lasts

 Great value is a perception and trust will be eroded.

Customers with Orange or T-Mobile are already charged on a per-minute basis; however, O2 and Virgin Mobile still have a per-second model, with a one-minute minimum charge.

Aren’t they making enough by overcharging for Data on PAYG?

Fortunately all of our team are on contract.

Wimbledon causes surge in social media

Twitter recorded more than 6.6 million tweets about Wimbledon during the two-week tennis championships.

During last year's tournament the figure was just 2.5 million, according to analysis by Wimbledon partner IBM.

Facebook reported more than 20 million posts, comments and "likes" relating to the competition.
Mobile phone provider EE said there was a 39% increase in traffic on its 4G service during the men's final on 7 July.

On the same day, Google recorded more than two million searches for match winner Andy Murray.
During the same time period, more than 500,000 people chose to search for information about his girlfriend Kim Sears.

Over the course of the championships, the Facebook profile of Murray's rival Novak Djokovic attracted 3.1 million "likes". That was three times as many as Murray, who had 1.3m at the time of writing.

Sharp giant-sized 90in TV

Sharp has released what it says is the biggest LED TV ever to go on sale in Europe.

The Aquos LC-90LE757 features a 90in (229cm) screen, trumping an 84in display from LG.

Sharp has offered the size in the US since June 2012 - the world's biggest market for jumbo-TVs - but said it now believed there was demand in the UK and rest of Europe for such a set.

One analyst said the local market was indeed growing, but remained "niche".

Fifty inch-and-larger TVs represent 6% of units currently sold in the UK, according to research firm GfK. However, it adds that the sector accounts for 16% of the sector's value due to the premium prices they command.

Smartphone becomes in-car head-up display

Sat-nav firm Garmin has made a portable head-up display (HUD) for cars that projects turn-by-turn directions on to a vehicle's windscreen.

The portable HUD works with a smartphone and Garmin app to generate navigation information.
The gadget can project directional arrows, distances, current speed and speed limits on the windscreen.

Information is projected via the HUD's attached reflector lens or on to a plastic film stuck to the window glass.

The navigation system can also provide voice prompts via a smartphone's speaker or a car stereo that works with the Bluetooth short range radio technology. The app associated with the sat-nav system is available for iPhones, Android phones and Windows Phone 8 handsets.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Green Deal 'could lead to deadly summer overheating'

Temperatures could soar to dangerously high levels in some homes insulated under the government's flagship Green Deal scheme, experts have warned.
Energy-saving measures designed to save on winter fuel bills and protect the environment could pose a risk to health during summer heatwaves, they add.
The government says it is aware of the problem and is taking steps to prevent overheating in Green Deal properties.
Homes in densely populated urban areas such as London are most at risk.
Heat can build up during the day and has nowhere to escape at night leading to poor air quality and a greater risk of heat stress for the occupants which, in extreme cases, can kill.

Even More on VO

Npower trialled the installation of a VO system in an average home, and the independent research report released following the installation has concluded that it resulted in

  • a 12% reduction in kWh electricity consumption at the property.

This reduction equates to
  1. annual electricity savings of approximately 600kWh and
  2. a reduction in CO2 emissions of 330kg per annum.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Electric Vehicles at the 2013 Pikes Peak

Electric vehicles are making rapid advances in motorsports, and over the past weekend several electrically powered race vehicles made a great showing at the 2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb. The wins and other impressive results by electrically powered racers were strong enough to put the motorsports industry on notice: Electric racing is rapidly gaining momentum.

Lightning Motorcycles made history by winning in the motorcycle class, beating the closest competitor by more than 20 seconds—outperforming all the world-class gas-powered bikers, some riding 1200cc superbikes. This marks the first time an electric vehicle won a major international competition. Lightning's rider, Carlin Dunne, is the holder of the current record time for motorcycles on Pikes Peak, with a 9:52.819 lap time he set in 2012 with a Ducati 1200. For the 2013 run, he joined forces with Lightning Motorcycles, spending months working with them on development and testing including spending most of June practicing on the mountain.

The 10:00.694 lap time, 71.917 miles per hour average speed, was good enough to earn them 9th place overall, and first place among the motorcycles. His next closest challenger was Bruno Langlois, riding in the 1200cc class, whose 10:21.323 lap time and 69.529 miles/hr average speed put him well behind Dunne. However, Dunne did not do was beat his own record from 2012.

Cars - The electric car racing teams were hampered by weather when a heavy rainstorm broke out just before their start. Both the Mitsubishi and Toyota teams complained about how they had to switch tyres at the last minute, and even then, couldn't get good traction. While they didn't achieve an outright win, their results were still impressive.

Monster Tajima had the best electric car time, achieving 5th place overall with a 9:46.530 lap time and 73.654 miles an hour average speed. This was within one second of beating the 2012 overall win, by Rhys Millen who had a 9:46.146 lap time in 2012.

The Mitsubishi team had two MiEV Evolution II electric race cars. The fastest, driven by Hiroshi Masuoka, had a 10:21.866 lap time and 69.468 m.p.h. average speed, good enough for 13th place overall, and 2nd in the Electric class. The other, driven by Greg Tracy, had a 10:23.649 lap time and 69.270 average speed, good enough for 14th place overall, and 3rd in the Electric class. Tracy said after the race, “Since I was aiming for the win, I am thoroughly disappointed. Due to the heavy rain that came pouring down just before our run, the conditions were not drivable. With that said, we should probably be satisfied just by finishing safely. Since it was dry during every practice session, we literally had zero time in the car in rainy conditions. However, since the MiEV Evolution II ran so well dry, I really would like to come back to do this again, aiming for the win.”

Dramatic light

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Renault Twizy - not for a family man (or woman)

Renault Twizy electric car video review

Don’t put lives at risk from

Don’t put lives at risk from dangerous electrics

As something we use everyday, it’s easy to take electricity for granted. If you attempt to do DIY electrics or use an unregistered electrician to carry out work in your home you could be putting your family’s lives at risk.

Each year around 12,500 house fires, 750 serious injuries and 10 deaths are caused by unsafe electrics in the home.

Can you guess which of the team converted our P-Touch


Friday, 5 July 2013

Got an emergency?

How Safe is Your Kitchen

In How Safe Is Your Kitchen on ITV tonight, Britain’s senior fire officers warn an “unprecedented” number of faulty electrical goods remain in people’s homes, as manufacturers’ safety alerts fail to trace them.

Peter Dartford, of the Chief Fire Officers Association, says: “The average success rate for recall products is between 10-20%, that means that there are between 80-90% unsuccessful and that is unacceptable.”

Now there’s a new call for action from fire chiefs, backed by the Electrical Safety Council, which says there are “potentially millions” of faulty products in homes.

Turkish-owned kitchen giant Beko alone has 129,361 potentially dangerous appliances still in people’s homes – despite its recalls.

London Fire Brigade warns that fridge freezers from one batch have caused dozens of fires, leading to one death. Some Beko tumble dryers have also caused blazes.

But one of their cookers has killed 10, according to coroners records.

The cooker can be made safe by a simple modification done in the home.But the message never got through to Richard Smith and housemate, Kevin Branton, 32, who died alongside him in Saltash, Cornwall.

The Beko cooker’s manual warned about closing the grill door but it was not prominently displayed in the safety section. The firm did not realise the dangers.

Even if courts decide they have made mistakes, the maximum fine is only £5,000. It is a tiny figure when compared to the turnover of multi­national manufacturers. Martyn Allen, who heads the Electrical Safety Council’s technical unit, wants an urgent escalation in fines.

He says: “What we are calling for is a penalty proportionate to the profit they make on that recalled product.

“To me, the penalty should actually hurt, so that they take notice. At the moment there is no incentive to take action.”

Beko is not the only kitchen appliance manufacturer desperately hunting faulty goods.

Bosch sold a batch of dishwashers, sometimes branded as Neff or Siemens, with a fault that can cause blazes. Some Hotpoint dishwashers can also cause house fires.

Thousands of these recalled items remain in people’s homes yet warnings from safety experts suggest austerity cuts at Trading Standards could hamper the way defective products are policed.

Officials have failed to create a single website where all product warnings are gathered.

Manufacturers often take out adverts and send letters but it is clear that customers can miss them... with catastrophic results.

The big kitchen electrical firms say they have done everything possible to put safety first and have achieved far better results than the dismal industry average of just one in 10 traced.

Beko’s mar­­keting boss Teresa Arbuckle says: “We are incredibly sorry for what’s happened, for any incident or accident that’s been linked to a Beko product. We are deeply sorry.

“Our systems, our inspection, is up to EU standards. We’ve sold 22 million appliances in the UK.”
The company visited thousands of homes and made thousands of phone calls, as well as placing national newspaper adverts.

Friday Fact

Fact of the day - A search on photo sharing app Instagram retrieves over 23 million photos uploaded with the hashtag #selfie, and a whopping 51 million with the hashtag #me.

The first self-portrait photograph is thought to have been taken by camera pioneer Robert Cornelius in 1839, but whether or not it's a true "selfie" is debatable.

have a nice day

Balloon internet for disaster areas

Google is launching balloons into near space to provide internet access to buildings below on the ground.

About 30 of the superpressure balloons are being launched from New Zealand from where they will drift around the world on a controlled path.

Attached equipment will offer 3G-like speeds to 50 testers in the country.

Access will be intermittent, but in time the firm hopes to build a big enough fleet to offer reliable links to people living in remote areas.

It says that balloons could one day be diverted to disaster-hit areas to aid rescue efforts in situations where ground communication equipment has been damaged.

Trying to simultaneously navigate thousands of the high-altitude balloons around the globe's wind patterns will prove a difficult task to get right.

Google calls the effort Project Loon and acknowledges it is "highly experimental"

What are superpressure balloons?
Superpressure balloons are made out of tightly sealed plastic capable of containing highly pressurised lighter-than-air gases.

The aim is to keep the volume of the balloon relatively stable even if there are changes in temperature.

This allows them to stay aloft longer and be better at maintaining a specific altitude than balloons which stretch and contract.

In particular it avoids the problem of balloons descending at night when their gases cool.
The concept was first developed for the US Air Force in the 1950s using a stretched polyester film called Mylar.

More recently, Nasa has experimented with the technology and suggested superpressure balloons could one day be deployed into Mars's atmosphere.

Each balloon is 15m (49.2ft) in diameter - the length of a small plane - and filled with lifting gases.

Electronic equipment hangs underneath including radio antennae, a flight computer, an altitude control system and solar panels to power the gear.

Google aims to fly the balloons in the stratosphere, 20km (12 miles) or more above the ground, which is about double the altitude used by commercial aircraft and above controlled airspace.

Google says each should stay aloft for about 100 days and provide connectivity to an area stretching 40km in diameter below as they travel in a west-to-east direction.

The firm says the concept could offer a way to connect the two-thirds of the world's population which does not have affordable net connections.

Mouse Man invetion touched a billion lives

Computer mouse inventor Doug Engelbart dies at 88

The inventor of the computer mouse, Doug Engelbart, has died aged 88.

Engelbart developed the tool in the 1960s as a wooden shell covering two metal wheels, patenting it long before the mouse's widespread use.

He also worked on early incarnations of email, word processing and video teleconferences at a California research institute.

The state's Computer History Museum was notified of his death by his daughter, Christina, in an email.

Her father had been in poor health and died peacefully on Tuesday night in his sleep, she said.
Doug Engelbart was born on 30 January 1925 in Portland, Oregon, to a radio repairman father and a housewife mother.

He studied electrical engineering at Oregon State University and served as a radar technician during World War II.

How the mouse got its name
He then worked at Nasa's predecessor, Naca, as an electrical engineer, but soon left to pursue a doctorate at University of California, Berkeley.

His interest in how computers could be used to aid human cognition eventually led him to Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and then his own laboratory, the Augmentation Research Center.

His laboratory helped develop ARPANet, the government research network that led to the internet.
Engelbart's ideas were way ahead of their time in an era when computers took up entire rooms and data was fed into the hulking machines on punch cards.

At a now legendary presentation that became known as the "mother of all demos" in San Francisco in 1968, he made the first public demonstration of the mouse.

At the same event, he held the first video teleconference and explained his theory of text-based links, which would form the architecture of the internet.

He did not make much money from the mouse because its patent ran out in 1987, before the device became widely used.

SRI licensed the technology in 1983 for $40,000 (£26,000) to Apple.

At least one billion computer mouses have been sold.

Engelbart had considered other designs for his most famous invention, including a device that could be fixed underneath a table and operated by the knee.

He was said to have been driven by the belief that computers could be used to augment human intellect.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

'Master key' to Android phones uncovered

A "master key" that could give cyber-thieves unfettered access to almost any Android phone has been discovered by security research firm BlueBox.

The bug could be exploited to let an attacker do what they want to a phone including stealing data, eavesdropping or using it to send junk messages.

The loophole has been present in every version of the Android operating system released since 2009.

Google said it currently had no comment to make on BlueBox's discovery.

Data centre power

350 million photographs get uploaded onto the social network every day.

Data centres, the server farms that handle all your snaps and general internet traffic, have emerged as voracious users of electrical power.

They already account for 2% of global power demand, according to research by the campaigning group Greenpeace, conducted several years ago.

The current figure is likely to be higher than that and is expected to rise exponentially in the future as computing increasingly shifts to the "cloud", meaning more stuff gets done over the internet and is stored and processed at data centres.

The trend is a big worry for environmentalists who are concerned about the implications for climate change.

The burning of fossil fuels to generate electricity is a prime source of carbon dioxide emissions - the main gas associated with global warming.

It is also a concern for data centre managers who must wrestle with enormous power bills.
So now the biggies in search and social networking giant need to show their green credentials.
The data centres need to run on renewable energy generated by solar, wind or hydroelectric schemes.
A big part of the cost is cooling so new data centres need to be where cooling is easier – so not in California – they need to be in a sub-arctic location.

A cold climate provides natural cooling for the literally tens of thousands of servers - This saves a lot of electricity.

If you post a status update, upload a photo or do any other kind of activity on Facebook in Europe, it will probably pass through the server farm in Lulea.

Servers are a bit like human beings in the tropics. They like air conditioning and get hot and bothered if the temperature goes too high.

Environmentalists claim the biggies need a bit of a push to get serious about these issues.

The first two facilities Facebook built, both in the US, were in areas where most of the power came from coal-fired generating stations.  Not very green

Greenpeace - "Certainly in the US and in many other parts of the world, data centres are being drawn to dirty sources of electricity much like moths to a candle because it's cheap," says Mr Cook.
Power is cheap in states like Virginia and parts of North Carolina because power utilities have surplus capacity thanks of the decline of traditional industries, but cheap power is not necessarily green power. But it is easy as the power companies offered data companies exceptionally low-priced deals.

Google, has become a major investor in wind power, But online retailer Amazon is still the naughty boy in the equation.

Speed of light data is quite literally costing the earth. Coal produces the highest carbon emissions.

Overfilling kettles wastes £68m a year

Three-quarters of British households overfill their kettles, wasting a total of £68m each year, an Energy Saving Trust (EST) report has suggested.

The study of 86,000 households also found the average shower lasted seven-and-a-half minutes. A minute less and £215m would be saved, the EST said.

Washing clothes at 30C and filling kettles to the required amount were among ways to save money, it added.

It said people must not think they were "powerless to control our water use".

The EST found British homes collectively used nine billion litres of water a day with showers using a quarter of that and toilets using 22%.

Kitchen appliances, such as kettles, dishwashers and washing machines - together with taps - also used 22% of household water, the report said.

The study found 95% of people boiled the kettle every day with 40% boiling water five times a day or more.

The EST said bigger households could make energy and water savings by using modern, efficient dishwashers rather than washing by hand.

Other ways consumers could save money included installing an "eco" shower head, it added.
EST water strategy manager Andrew Tucker said that, when people thought of energy use, "they think of heating and lighting, running electrical appliances or filling the car with petrol".
"It's all too easy to turn on the tap and not think about the consequences," he said.
"But there is an environmental and energy cost attached to water which many people do not consider."

Hot water use contributed £228 to the average energy bill, he said.
"It's clear that we are all using more water-consuming appliances regularly, especially showers, but that doesn't mean we're powerless to control our water use.

"By reducing the amount of water - especially hot water - that we use, we can cut down on the energy demands of our lifestyles, which have changed radically over the last 50 years."

think about it

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Today we say goodbye to Luke

Good Luck Luke

He is off around the world

His first flight is with an Italian airline that flies out of Genoa. It's called Genitalia

Mass protests planned over web NSA spying revelations

Some of the web's biggest names have backed mass protests over internet surveillance carried out by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The Restore the Fourth movement - referring to the US constitution's fourth amendment - said it wants to end "unconstitutional surveillance".

Reddit, Mozilla and Wordpress are among the big web names backing the action, due to take place on Thursday.

Almost 100 events have been planned across the US.

An interactive map detailing their locations has been published.

The site quotes a line from the fourth amendment which pledges "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures".

We don't think it will achieve anything, but sometimes its good to let of steam even if the establishment do ignore them

flower power - photosynthesis for electricity

New technology tricks plant cells into making electricity for human use, potentially sowing the seeds of literal 'power plants' that yield clean, renewable energy.

As humans scour the Earth for energy, venturing farther offshore and deeper underground, a new study suggests the answer has been under our noses all along. Rather than chasing finite fossils like oil and coal, it focuses on Earth's original power plants: plants.

Thanks to eons of evolution, most plants operate at 100 percent quantum efficiency, meaning they produce an equal number of electrons for every photon of sunlight they capture in photosynthesis. An average coal-fired power plant, meanwhile, only operates at about 28 percent efficiency, and it carries extra baggage like mercury and carbon dioxide emissions. Even our best large-scale imitations of photosynthesis — photovoltaic solar panels — typically operate at efficiency levels of just 12 to 17 percent.

But writing in the Journal of Energy and Environmental Science, researchers from the University of Georgia say they've found a way to make solar power more effective by mimicking the process nature invented billions of years ago. In photosynthesis, plants use the energy from sunlight to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. This yields electrons, which then help the plant make sugars that fuel its growth and reproduction.

clever eh!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Car Battery that can Last 27 Years

German scientists developed one of the most efficient lithium-ion batteries which can retain 85% of their capacity for more than 27 years after being used daily. This super battery also displays a high power density which should translate into a fast charging time for electric cars and a superior acceleration capabilities.

Scientists from the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Wurttemburg (ZSW) in German developed a highly advanced type of lithium-ion batteries that retain as much as 85% of their original capacity even after being used every day for 27.4 years. This present a huge leap in battery technology and can have a dramatic effect on the electric car industry as it means that a car's battery pack should probably not need to be replaced through the entire lifespan of the car (given the price of an electric car battery pack this is great news for both car manufacturers and potential costumes).
According to the research team, the batteries already shown incredible stability lasting more than 10,000 full cycles of recharge-discharge. In terms of power density the new cells have a power density of 1,100 W/kg. This number is especially important for electric cars since it means that cars using the new battery technology will have shorter charging times (currently fully charging an electric car's battery can take many hours - depending of the car and the exact charging system - much more than any gas powered car).

source -

Monday, 1 July 2013

Big Brother

The French philosopher Michel Foucault suggested that societies have a tendency towards observation, discipline and normalising behaviour.

According to his theory, all hierarchical structures, like those found in the army, in hospitals and in factories, behave like prisons where man, upon feeling himself observed, usually normalises his behaviour.

Later, George Orwell, in his novel 1984, also envisaged the surveillance culture in his creation of a world in which people are constantly controlled and watched by totalitarian governments.

Today, this vision may well be secretly enforced, due to technologies used by governments and companies to monitor citizens and employees.

Taps in European parliament now.. what next. More embarrassing disclosures we presume...

More on Voltage optimisation - 9 key features

Reduces energy bills by an average of 12%

Operates on all circuits, 24 hours a day, 7 days per week

Quick and simple installation – no change to supplier needed


Extends lifetime of electrical equipment

Works with and improves efficiency of heat pumps and PV systems


Compatible with energy saving and generation systems such as PV and wind power

No maintenance required

Guaranteed savings

Payback within 5 years

need more info?

housing benefit changes 'worse than feared'

The consequences of the housing benefit cut introduced in April are worse than feared, the National Housing Federation has said.

Rent arrears have soared in some areas while larger houses are lying empty as people refuse to move into them.

Housing benefit recipients of working age, in social housing with spare bedrooms, had their benefit cut by an average £14 per week from April 1.

The inventor of LCD

today we say thank you to Martin Schadt for a big part of our lives, our phone and ipad / greneric table screens..

it is easy to take them for granted, but how much could you do without them???

But one of the key players in LCD's development says the innovation wasn't "highly regarded" in its early years. Martin Schadt isn't exaggerating.

In 1970 the Swiss physicist achieved a breakthrough that would pave the way for LCD read-outs at first on calculators, watches and alarm clocks, and then flat-panel TVs, laptops and smartphones.
But one year later his employer, Roche, thought the feat was a mismatch with its other pharmaceutical-focused efforts and canned the project.

Thankfully, the decision proved short-lived and Dr Schadt helped the firm become a major supplier to the screen-making industry, as well as making further contributions to the technology's evolution.
His admirers know him as the "father of the pixel", and this week the European Patent Office gave him its lifetime achievement award, noting that sales of devices featuring LCD panels totalled $120bn (£80bn) in 2012.

TN-LCD prototype Dr Schadt developed a prototype display to prove his theory could be used to make low-power LCD displays

On learning of the news, the 74-year-old stressed that "many people" had contributed to the technology.

But he also wanted to make clear it was too soon to say if the innovation would be eclipsed by rival organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens.

Liquid crystals are unusual. Unlike most substances they can hover in an intermediate state between being a solid and a liquid.

They were first discovered in 1888 by a botanist studying carrots who extracted a compound that appeared to have two melting points. At the first it softened and became milky, at the second it turned transparent.

In the 1960s, researchers at RCA Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey used the finding to create the first basic LCD screen. It used an electrical charge to make liquid crystals scatter light, causing the display to take on the appearance of a frosted glass window.
However, the effort had drawbacks.

"It required current flow so power consumption was an issue, the current degraded the electrodes which limited the lifetime of the device, and the voltages required were relatively high," Dr Schadt says

"So when we started looking at alternatives to this effect we wanted a device with low power consumption, which had a low operating voltage and offered much better contrast."

Dr Schadt achieved his goal at Roche in 1970 with the help of another physicist, Wolfgang Helfrich.
They proved that by using electrical jolts the spiral molecular structure of LCD crystals could be "unwound" causing them to block light, and then "re-twisted" so that they became see-through again.
The voltage required to achieve this was much lower than expected, meaning the effect could be produced with an ordinary battery.

"This was a surprise - we expected from theory [to need] much higher voltages of about 50 volts," Dr Schadt says.

"What I found was that only three volts was needed to get very high contrast.
"But such an experimental finding is often the case in physics - you have a vague idea how things should operate and then you find they operate differently."

The men called the process the twisted nematic effect.

Seiko 06LC watch Seiko licensed Roche's tech to launch the 06LC watch in 1973
By placing a layer of liquid crystals between two plastic surfaces coated in a grid of transparent electrodes, and then applying electricity, they discovered they could create individual "pixels" which could be used to draw shapes.

They filed a patent for the idea in Switzerland on 4 December 1970 and published a paper in the journal Applied Physics Letters four days later.

Although this was to prove highly influential to other LCD researchers, Dr Schadt says the use of organic substances in electronics remained an "exotic" idea to others.

As a result Roche underestimated the value of its team's discovery and cancelled the project. Dr Schadt switched disciplines and spent the next two years studying biological reactions in chickens and other animals.

It was only when watchmaker Seiko offered to buy his LCD patent in 1973 that Roche reconsidered.
The Japanese company was attracted by the fact the technology only needed a few microwatts of power per square centimetre to function, making it suitable for wrist-worn displays
Although Roche opted not to make LCD screens itself, it realised the invention was too valuable to sell off, and decided to license the technology to Seiko and others.

It also reformed its liquid crystal research division and put Dr Schadt in charge, cutting short his brief stint in medical research. The unit was later spun off as an independent company, Rolic, where Dr Schadt served as chief executive until he retired in 2002.

Over his three decades at the helm he helped tailor LCDs to suit consumers' needs.
"To make it commercial one had to find and discover new liquid crystals," he says.
"The target was to find molecules which gave you a specific display performance.
"For example a TV display has to have very fast response times which is not necessary in a watch. Or in an automotive display you need a very broad temperature range... which would not be required in an iPhone, for instance."