Monday, 30 June 2014

Google and Facebook can be legally intercepted

The UK government has revealed that it classifies Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as external communications because the companies are based overseas.

It means that intelligence agency GCHQ can intercept British citizens' use of such platforms without a warrant.

The loophole was revealed as part of an ongoing legal battle with campaign group Privacy International (PI).

PI said the interpretation of the law "patronises the British people".

It is the first time that the UK has commented on how the UK's legal framework allows the mass interception of communications as outlined by US whistleblower Edward Snowden in his leaks about global government surveillance.

The policy was revealed by Charles Farr, director general of the Office of Security and Counter-Terrorism.

Don't you just love a loophole. Just because it legal, doesn't make it right or just / justified.

There are not enough controls on these entities.

The more I here, the more I believe Edward Snowden was right to take the action he did.

Oh!!!! sorry for that mirco-rant. How was your weekend. I hope you have a great Monday.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Vanadium: The metal that may soon be powering your life.

Hawaii has a problem, one that the whole world is likely to face in the next 10 years. And the solution could be a metal that you've probably never heard of - vanadium.

Whats vanadium? we have it in Drill bits and the tips of saws...

Hawaii's problem is too much sunshine - or rather, too much solar power feeding into its electricity grid.

Generating electricity in the remote US state has always been painful. With no fossil fuel deposits of its own, it has to get oil and coal shipped half-way across the Pacific.

That makes electricity in Hawaii very, very expensive - more than three times the US average - and it is the reason why 10% and counting of the islands' residents have decided to stick solar panels on their roof.

The problem is that all this new sun-powered electricity is coming at the wrong place and at the wrong time of day.

Hawaii's electricity monopoly, Heco, fears parts of the grid could become dangerously swamped by a glut of mid-day power, and so last year it began refusing to hook up the newly-purchased panels of residents in some areas. (see the Blog on Wind farms in Scotland - this could help too)

The amount of solar that's coming on-stream is just truly remarkable, but it all hits the system between noon and 4pm.

That does not marry well with peak demand for electricity, which generally comes in the late afternoon and evening, when everyone travels home, turns on the lights, heating or air conditioning, boils the kettle, bungs dinner in the microwave, and so on.

Solution - storing the energy for a few hours every afternoon until it is needed.

Vanadium's alloying properties have been known about for well over a century. Henry Ford used it in 1908 to make the body of his Model T stronger and lighter.

Today, vanadium mainly goes into structural steel, such as in bridges and the "rebar" used to reinforce concrete.

It is a small and sometimes volatile market. Supply is dominated by China, Russia and South Africa, where the metal is extracted mostly as a useful by-product from iron ore slag and other mining processes.

and NOW to the point Vanadium is the basis of a very, very stable battery.

Vanadium "redox flow" batteries are indeed stable. They can be discharged and recharged 20,000 times without much loss of performance, and are thought to last decades (they have not been around long enough for this to have been demonstrated in practice).

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Gloucestershire child neglect couple jailed

An article from the BBC - check out the socket

a tale of woe with Broken sockets and mayonnaise used for medical purposes.

A couple jailed for neglecting five of their children have been branded "inadequate, stupid, stubborn and reckless" by a judge.

Nine children lived in unhygienic conditions. Bedrooms smelt of urine and animal faeces and mattresses were soiled, Gloucester Crown Court heard.

The pair from Gloucestershire were due be sentenced last week but it was delayed after they took an overdose.

The mother was sentenced to two years nine months; the father for two years.

The court heard the couple cared for the children - all of them the mother's - but only the youngest three were fathered by her husband.

At an earlier hearing, the pair pleaded guilty to neglecting five children, between 2007 and 2012. The ages of the children ranged from a baby to a young teenager.

The children were reported as often being dirty and smelly and suffered badly with head lice infestations, which the mother told police she had treated with mayonnaise.

It was after the youngest child was admitted to hospital with severe nappy rash, which had left ulcers on the child's skin, that police arrested the couple.

When officers searched the house they found it in an unhygienic state - carpets and walls were filthy, rubbish and clothes were strewn everywhere and a plug socket was left hanging out of the wall.

In a child's bedroom, ivy had come in from outside and was growing across the wall.

I honestly think you should need to pass an exam before you are allowed to have children.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Friday Fact

In most advertisements, the time displayed on a watch or clock is usually 10:10.

Check it out, its true

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Computer AI passes Turing test

A computer program called Eugene Goostman, which simulates a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy, is said to have passed the Turing test at an event organised by the University of Reading.

The test investigates whether people can detect if they are talking to machines or humans.

The experiment is based on Alan Turing's question-and-answer game Can Machines Think?

No computer has passed the test before under these conditions, it is reported.

The 65-year-old Turing Test is successfully passed if a computer is mistaken for a human more than 30% of the time during a series of five-minute keyboard conversations.

On 7 June Eugene convinced 33% of the judges at the Royal Society in London that it was human.

AT LAST! The Energy market to face full competition investigation

The UK's energy market is to face a full investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the regulator Ofgem has announced.

The probe will last 18 months and is expected to include a look at the profits of the six largest suppliers.

Ofgem said in March it intended to refer the industry to the CMA.

"This will help build consumer trust and confidence in the energy market." said Ofgem chief executive Dermot Nolan.

"There is near-unanimous support for a referral and the CMA investigation offers an important opportunity to clear the air."

In March an Ofgem report questioned the effectiveness of competition in the market and recommended a full inquiry. It was then required by law to consult other interested parties before making a final referral.

Ofgem also wants the CMA to examine whether there is sufficient competition between the large energy providers, and whether consumers who do not switch supplier are being set higher prices.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Battery tech playing catch-up with energy-hungry mobiles

Mobile devices have transformed our lives, giving us the freedom to talk, work, watch and listen on the move.

But unplugged from the mains, they only last as long as the energy held within their batteries.

While scientists are constantly dreaming up new ways to generate and bottle energy - from rhubarb and paper to viruses and urine - commercial battery technology has changed remarkably little in the past 50 years, particularly when compared with the advances in the devices they power.

As Tim Probert, editor at Energy Storage Publishing, says: "The battery industry is pretty conservative. It says a lot that we are still using very old technology like lead-acid in batteries.

The humble AA battery has been around since the 1940s and is based on 19th Century technology.

Most laptop manufacturers gave up on 18650s long ago, but Tesla believes this old tech still has a future, and even has plans to build its own "gigafactory" to produce them.

"By choosing smaller, cylindrical cells, we have been able to save on manufacturing costs," explains Tesla's Laura Hardy.

"Smaller cells, which can have a better energy density, gave us more flexibility in packaging the cells and creating the battery pack."

By putting 7,000 of these cells together, Tesla's Model S Sedan is able to achieve a range of up to 300 miles, considerably more than many of its competitors using more advanced battery technologies.
Solid improvement

Most other manufacturers use pouch cells, which involve lithium cells being placed side by side like slices of bread. The danger here is the risk of "thermal runaway", where one cell short-circuits and produces so much heat it sparks a ripple effect and the battery blows up.

This is thought to be what happened to Boeing's Dreamliner passenger jet in Japan at the beginning of last year.

The next generation of lithium-ion batteries will help solve this problem by replacing flammable liquid electrolyte with safer, solid-state components. This type of battery is also more powerful per unit.

The more realistic and exciting developments are taking place away from pure battery technology.

The first is wireless power - charging your gadgets without having to plug them in to the mains.

He discovered that a small amount of power is transmitted alongside the radio waves, and set about researching how best to focus the signal from many antennae working in unison as a means to charge devices remotely. In 2013, more than decade later, Mr Zeine launched Cota.

"Cota comes in two parts - a charger and a power receiver," Mr Zeine explains. "Think of the charger as similar to a wireless router, and the receiver as a button battery."

"The receiver sends out a low power signal to the charger, which in turn sends back a signal from each of its thousands of antennae, targeted specifically at the receiver itself. The receiver will then track the device constantly."

The benefits are obvious. You no longer have to worry about recharging your phone or laptop, as it will do so automatically whenever it is within range of a charger.

This means the battery doesn't need to store as much energy, and so can be made much smaller - the holy grail for all consumer electronics manufacturers.

from the BBC

Monday, 23 June 2014

Freeview to launch connected TV service

Freeview is launching a connected TV service, giving viewers access to catch-up services without being tied to a broadband provider.

Freeview Connect will offer ITV Player, iPlayer, 4OD and 5 OnDemand as standard on Smart TVs and set-top boxes.

Jonathan Thompson, boss of Digital UK, called the initiative "a critical step" in the evolution of Freeview.

But some commentators described it as a reaction against YouView, which has largely become a Pay TV business.

Launched in 2012, YouView was originally envisaged as a free-to-air net TV service, with internet providers BT and TalkTalk - who are among the service's backers - offering extra channels at a cost.
But the price of stand-alone YouView boxes has remained relatively high. Of the 1 million YouView set-top boxes installed in the UK, only around 30,000 were bought unsubsidised on the high street,
The rest were sold with subscription bundles or broadband contracts from BT and Talk Talk, often tying consumers into rolling contracts.

This is thought to have disillusioned YouView's other shareholders - the BBC, ITV, Channel Four, Channel 5 and transmission company Arqiva.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Smart TVs subverted by radio attack

Millions of smart TVs can be hijacked by burying attack code in signals broadcast to the net-connected devices, security experts warn.

The attack exploits loopholes in widely used technology that helps smart TVs receive tailored adverts.

Once hijacked, the TVs could be made to send messages on behalf of attackers, find other vulnerable devices in a home or launch other attacks across the net.

Detecting and stopping the attack would be difficult, said the researchers.

The attack uses the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV (HbbTV) standard that is widely supported in smart television sets sold in Europe.

The HbbTV system was designed to help broadcasters exploit the internet connection of a smart TV to add extra information to programmes or so advertisers can do a better job of targeting viewers.
But Yossef Oren and Angelos Keromytis, from the Network Security Lab, at Columbia University, have found a way to hijack HbbTV using a cheap antenna and carefully crafted broadcast messages.
found on the BBC

Friday, 20 June 2014

Got an Itch - Friday Fact

If you have an itchy arm, looking in the mirror and scratching the mirror image of that arm (the one that isn't bothering you) will help, although it only provides a quarter of the relief of scratching the itchy arm.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

$1.5 billion pride of Australia's fleet crippled after electrical meltdown

The first of two $1.5 billion 27,000-tonne Landing Helicopter Docks (LHDs), to be known as HMAS Canberra, suffered excessive vibration in May during her first “shakedown cruise” between Melbourne and Sydney.

The fault was traced to the brand-new vessel’s two German-built Siemens propulsion pods — or azimuth thrusters — which were out of alignment.

Each thruster, fitted at the stern of the ship, has two propellers mounted on large electric powered pods that can be rotated to any angle, eliminating the need for a rudder. And just like the wheels of a car, poor pod alignment causes vibration.

A crew from Teekay Shipping Corporation was hired by prime contractor BAE Systems and was apparently unaware that the pods must be operated in tandem above eight knots.

They ran them independently in low-speed mode at high speed, causing serious vibration throughout the ship.


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Making laser-like beams with 1,000x less power

With precarious particles called polaritons that straddle the worlds of light and matter, University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated a new and potentially more efficient way to make a laser-like beam. They have made what's believed to be the first polariton laser that is fueled by electrical current as opposed to light, and also works at room temperature, rather than sub-zero.

Those attributes make the device the most real-world ready of the handful of polariton lasers ever developed. While the first lasers were made in the 1950s, it wasn't until the semiconductor version, fueled by electricity rather than light, that the technology took off.

This work could advance efforts to put lasers on computer circuits to replace wire connections, leading to smaller and more powerful electronics. It may also have applications in medical devices and treatments and more.

The researchers didn't develop it with a specific use in mind. They point out that when conventional lasers were introduced, no one envisioned how ubiquitous they would become. Today they're used in the fiber-optic communication that makes the Internet and cable television possible. They are also in DVD players, eye surgery tools, robotics sensors and defense technologies

A polariton is part light and part matter. Polariton lasers harness these particles to emit light. They are predicted to be more energy efficient than traditional lasers.

The new prototype requires 1,000 times less electricity to operate than its conventional counterpart made of the same material.

hint hint - battery saving and a better viability

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

£3m fines for incorrect lamp disposal

Harsher penalties are being introduced for environmental crimes, including the incorrect disposal of mercury-containing fluorescent lamps.

The Sentencing Council has advised judges to hand down harsher sentences to individuals and companies convicted of environmental crimes.

It is the first time a guideline has been produced for these types of offences. The harshest fines of up to £3 million are recommended for large businesses that knowingly contravene the law, while individuals who knowingly break the law could face jail terms of up to three years.

The guideline covers offences where there is a risk of causing pollution or harm to health.

The new guidelines apply the highest offence category to hazardous chemicals. Given that waste fluorescent lamps are classified as hazardous, this means that all those collecting or transporting waste lamps should double check that they are following legal requirements.

More importantly, the risks to any individuals or companies who knowingly fly tip or dispose of waste lamps inappropriately are now much higher.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Lamp recycling best year ever

According to the latest figures, the UK lamp recycling rate increased from 40 per cent in 2012 to 53 per cent in 2013, according to the Environment Agency. At the same time, the luminaire recycling rate improved from 0.6 to two per cent.

The rate is calculated from the amount of products recycled compared to the amount put on the market, and has been driven by the falling number of gas discharge products being sold, as well as by increases in the actual number recycled.

This year, the lamp recycling rate is expected to drop again, as a result of LED lamps being classified for the first time in the same category as gas discharge lamps.

The UK is well placed to meet targets of 45 per cent by 2016 and 65 per cent by 2019.

Good fun was had by All at the Flitwick Carnival

Sunday, 15 June 2014

There may be a few Blogs missing in the near future

I am the only one in the company who contributes to the Blog (currently) and my wife is heavily pregnant.

now she is not due until the 27th but as most of you know, baby's come when they want to, not when they are due...

So I will make you groan with this and see how I get on...

One pregnant lady was in an accident and she woke up in the hospital. She noticed she was not pregnant anymore and asked the nurse what happened to her baby.

And the nurse replied -- -"You have two healthy babies, a boy and a girl!" The lady said, "Oh, I must name them," but the nurse said, "You were unconscious, so we called your brother, and he named them!" The lady said, "But he's as dumb as a box of rocks! So what are their names?-

The nurse said, "The girl is called "Denise." The woman replied, "Well that is a pretty name, so what did he name my boy?"

The nurse replied, "Denephew!"

have a great day...

Wow. Who would have thought the biggest story out of this years E3 is...

James Therien, (echdirector at Ubisoft) really put his foot in it when he said that the latest instalment of Ubisoft hit Assassin's Creed would not feature any playable female characters because it would have "doubled the work".

Talk about alienate half the population (and Market) in one foul swoop. What an idiot.

#womenaretoohardtoanimate - are you like us scratching you head... there has to something wrong here

The stats
  1. Average gamer is 31 years old
  2. 48% of gamers are female
  3. 71% of gamers are 18 or older
  4. 53% of gamers play games on their smartphones
Is it because developers just don't have any imagination or are they just too damn lazy?
There are generally only two types of female characters: the 'damsel in distress' or the 'ultimate warrior'
But the dynamics of who is gaming has steadily changed in the last five years, as women increasingly flock to video games, with the latest industry figures in the US showing that 48% of gamers are female.
I feel the wind of change coming...

Totally off topic - happy to be a Muggle

As I am reading the first Harry Potter book to Elise as a bedtime story this story caught my eye..

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has called some campaigners for Scottish independence "Death Eaterish".

very clever, very clever indeed....

JK Rowling has given £1m to Better Together, the campaign to keep Scotland part of the UK.
In doing so, she criticised "a fringe of nationalists who like to demonise anyone who is not blindly and unquestionably pro-independence".

She likened some of them to the scariest characters in her books, saying that, when trying to "make this debate about the purity of your lineage, things start getting a little Death Eaterish for my taste".
The Death Eaters are a group of wizards described as "pure-blood" supremacists led by the evil Lord Voldemort, Potter's arch-enemy. They are contemptuous of "half-bloods" and human "muggles".

We understand she is trying to get back at the people who say she's not really Scottish and shouldn't intervene in the debate.

What is a Death Eaters??? they are very unpleasant, and their belief in bloodlines has, if not a racist, then at least a racialist idea behind it.

It just goes to show that her books have become part of a greater national psyche, if not global one.

we are happy to be Muggles, and the Black and White world of the Death Eater does NOT exist in the Real World. Shove that in your debate.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Can wind farms cause Black outs.

This is a new one to me, I think it must be just scaremongering and I sure there is something that can be done to smooth out the spikes.

The Scottish Government is considering more than 40 applications for major projects, which could clear the way for nearly 1,000 turbines.

Each wind farm could produce enough electricity to power thousands of homes, but objectors claim that even if just some of them were approved, the grid would become overloaded and trigger blackouts.

Campaigners cite the Czech Republic, which installed security breakers near its border with Germany, because its network could not cope with the electricity produced by its neighbours during peak periods.

The anti-wind farm lobby says a surge of electricity from turbines caused by high winds was to blame for a power cut last month that affected 200,000 properties in parts of the Highlands and islands.

The overload claims have been dismissed by the National Grid and energy giants Scottish Hydro Electric said it had positively identified the cause of the blackout as faulty equipment in a substation.

There is no evidence that adding more onshore wind generation will lead to blackouts.
Michael Rieley, of Scottish Renewables

SNP ministers are examining 41 applications for developments of 50 megawatts or more, a total of 966 giant turbines, including 10 in the Highlands, one each in Moray and the Western Isles and three in Argyll and Bute.

Andrew Mackay, a campaigner and electrical engineer from Tain, Easter Ross, said that when it was blustery, turbines produced “junk” electricity that could not be used.

He said: “We are going to get more power cuts because more and more junk electricity will end up on the grid.”

is he right? maybe!

But Michael Rieley, of Scottish Renewables, said: “There is no evidence that adding more onshore wind generation will lead to blackouts.” A spokesman for Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission said last month’s blackout was caused by a faulty relay.

He said: “Our investigation identified that the outage was triggered by a mal-operating electronic relay within Knocknagael substation, south of Inverness. A review of the network has been completed and we are confident that the cause has now been addressed.”

watch this space...

Friday, 13 June 2014

Friday Fact

Qantas' Sydney to Dallas service is the world's longest commercial flight at 8,568 miles (13,790 km).

Thursday, 12 June 2014

We hope you enjoy the world cup!

BBC to stream World Cup matches in 4K ultra HD

Three World Cup football matches being played in Brazil this summer will be streamed in ultra high-definition (UHD), the BBC has announced.

The format, also known as 4K, offers four times the resolution of 1080p high definition video.
The matches - including a quarter final and the final - mark one of the first times a live event has been streamed over the air in UHD in the UK.

They will only be made available to a limited number of TVs at BBC sites.

But it could pave the way for more widespread use of the technology.

One of the biggest challenges of distributing UHD TV to the home is how to make it compatible with existing broadcast and broadband capacities.

Users need speeds of around 20Mbps (megabits per second) in order to watch 4K content without glitches, experts say.

"It's a good idea for the BBC to trial these things and the results on a large screen look impressive but it also needs to be realistic about the potential to push this across current broadcast networks," said Toby Syfret, an analyst at Enders research group.

Previously the BBC has worked with Japanese broadcaster NHK on such trials. Rival broadcaster Sky has also run 4K trials.

The live streams will be sent via satellite from Brazil, and then distributed via Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) and Internet Protocol (IP) but only to a handful of UHD TV sets in selected BBC Research and Development facilities.

Matthew Postgate, controller of BBC Research and Development said: "The trials will prove hugely valuable in furthering our understanding of UHD technology, and potential distribution models for the future."

4K is the next great hope for TV manufacturers hoping to persuade viewers to upgrade their sets but like any fledging technology it has experienced teething problems.

There is not a great deal of content available yet in the format and the costs of 4K TV sets remain high.

Netflix recently made some of its TV shows - including House of Cards and Breaking Bad - available in the new technology but the decoder required to view the content was not compatible with some early 4K televisions.

Care home fined £70k after 'shocking' fire safety breaches

A CARE home that put elderly residents at risk of fire has been ordered to pay nearly £70,000 after being prosecuted by the London Fire Brigade (LFB).

Fire safety inspectors found "truly shocking" safety failings at Morven House, in Kenley, during an inspection in February last year prompted by concerns from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Blocked fire exits, an out-of-date fire risk assessment and an inadequate fire detection system led LFB to prosecute the care home's owners, Morven Healthcare Limited.

Inspectors visited after the CQC raised concerns about the home, which at the time housed 17 residents, including elderly people with dementia and disabilities.

The company pleaded guilty at Croydon Crown Court on Tuesday to five offences under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order.

It was fined £45,000 and ordered to pay full court costs of £23,488.


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

PingIt (PayM)

We are now signed up to  so you can now pay with your mobile

Short Code = PINGITEDX910
Phone number = 07808 777 399
Search for Woolgar in the ‘pay a company’ directory

or use the QR code

3D-printed, self-assembling robots

MIT are at it again...bakeable robots

Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT, says her research team has made progress in the promise of 3D printed robots.

The team has built printable robotic components that, when heated, automatically fold into three-dimensional configurations, according to MIT. The researchers also have figured out how to build electrical components, like resistors, inductors, and capacitors, as well as sensors and actuators -- from these self-assembling materials.

The components are the electromechanical "muscles or building blocks that enable robotic movements."

By figuring out how to create 3D-printed electrical components needed in a robot, scientists have taken a significant step toward being able to print an entire working robot.

exciting times - watch out, Skynet is coming.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Ofgem challenge Big energy firms' prices

Energy suppliers risk "undermining public confidence" in the market by failing to respond to falling wholesale prices, the regulator has said.

Ofgem said the "big six" gas and electricity companies should explain to customers why falling wholesale prices have not been passed on to household bills.

Under one measure, wholesale prices are at their lowest level for four years.

Wholesale costs make up nearly half of a household energy bill.

British Gas, the UK's largest supplier, said this meant the wholesale price could fall, but this might not push down prices overall.

"Our recent trading update demonstrated that these reductions in wholesale costs have most definitely not translated to increased profits for British Gas," a British Gas spokeswoman added.
Falling costs

The big domestic suppliers tend to buy energy in advance, in what is known as the forward market, in an attempt to avoid any short-term rises in costs.

The forward prices for the coming winter are 16% lower for gas and 9% lower for electricity than last winter, Ofgem said. The mild winter in the UK and Europe has left record levels of gas in storage, pushing down prices.

Spot prices - when firms buy energy for next day delivery - have fallen even more sharply. These tend to be used by smaller suppliers who have more flexibility owing to their smaller market share.
Spot gas prices were down 38% in early June compared with the same time a year ago. This left prices at their lowest level since September 2010. Spot electricity prices were 23% lower than a year ago, taking them to their lowest level since April 2010.

In a competitive market, a sustained reduction in costs would encourage suppliers to cut prices for customers, as they would be worried about losing customers to other suppliers, Ofgem said.
However, the regulator said falling wholesale costs had not been reflected in falling household bills.

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

If the idea of a 2.1-ton car that's capable of 167mph and 91mpg strains your credibility, then prepare to be gullibility-extended to the max here. Porsche’s new Panamera S E-Hybrid plug-in ostensibly offers 89 grand’s worth of luxury eco express capable of outlandish fuel economy, tax-efficient environmentalism and super-quick performance. Can all this be true?

read more here...

Monday, 9 June 2014

Improve viewing video - KISS

I saw this and though you might like it...

By the KISS means Keep It Simple Stupid

Don't blame me, its not my principle.

We hope you had a Great Weekend

Sunday, 8 June 2014

When did we get to the point when Batteries were the most important thing?

Our first mobile phone was when David was running the company as a sole trader. It was a big old Nokia Brick and it didn’t even have a 07 number. Back then Mobiles were aimed firmly at businesses and to be honest, at that point I never thought I would end up with one of my own.

It is good to bear in mind that  innovation is not just about inventing things. Somebody has to make the link between the invention and the user. I wonder who made the link from them bulky old phones to see things differently.

I must be getting old; I now have a computer in my pocket, but more than that, so does a rural Romanian that only has a horse and cart and one socket in his house.

But that single socket is used to charge the phone.

How it has changed... and how much more will it change with people abandoning their wallet and paying with the phones with app such as PingIt.

Welcome to the brave new world. But how are you going to pay for your taxi home when the battery is flat on your phone. Or your phone was stolen from the pub and they wiped out your account on fast women and loose cars in a single evening.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Are Electric car sales forecasts 'wildly optimistic'

Don't believe the hype because Govt ministers were misled by “wildly optimistic” forecasts from car manufacturers, a leading civil servant has claimed.

Richard Bruce, head of the Office for Low Emission Vehicles, said “miscalculations” by car companies led to official projections of a surge in demand for green cars which has not yet materialised.

The inaccurate calculations led to the provision of a £400 million package to encourage the take-up of electric cars, including £5,000 grants for motorists buying the vehicles, but the funding pot has since been lowered to £230 million amid lower than anticipated interest.

Demand also suffered initially because of the small range of electric vehicles which did not cater for the needs of all motorists, but this problem is disappearing as more models come to market, he said.

Mr Bruce added that “hostility” from the media, including a report highlighting the disparity between government projections and actual sales, was also a “significant issue” for the sector, while many consumers still have “range anxiety” despite improvements in the battery life of vehicles and the provision of more than 6,000 charging points across the UK.

tittle tattle :(

Friday, 6 June 2014

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A WOW factor - a celebration of Business Excellence

It's not many times that something is delivered by the postman that when you open it makes you think WOW.

I saw this and thought, that is just a little bit special

Good luck to Andrew and Claire
At the awards ceremony tonight.

New fire prevention system was due to be fitted in the Glasgow Art School

Glasgow School of Art, which was severely damaged by fire, has revealed that a new fire suppression system was due to be fitted in the Mackintosh building over the summer.

The school said it was "tragically ironic", but said there was no way of knowing if the system would have made a difference to the spread of the blaze.

Friday's fire completely destroyed the school's iconic library.

But fire crews managed to preserve most of the building and its contents.

They include the archives, museum and lecture theatre.

The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) said the new system would have enhanced the fire safety measures in place, but did not include sprinklers due to the risk of water damage.

The main damage was to the west wing of the building, built between 1907-09, Professor Tom Inns, Director of the GSA said.

The 1897-99 part of the site, including the Mackintosh Museum and Mackintosh Room, has "survived intact", he added.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Pulsed electrical fields destroy antibiotic resistant bacteria

Scientists have successfully used technology that is used to disinfect food products to destroy antibiotic resistant bacteria.

When someone becomes badly burnt, standard burn treatment involves removal of burned tissue, skin grafts, and the application of antiseptic and antimicrobial dressings to prevent and treat infection.

Here antibiotic-resistant bacteria present a major risk to the patient, partly due to the increasing failure of many types of antibiotics.

For this reason, researchers have been looking at new ways to destroy antibiotic resistant microorganisms. The latest method to be examined is pulsed electrical field technology, and the results look promising.

Pulsed electrical fields (PEFs) have been used for decades to preserve food by destroying bacteria. It works by destroying the bacterial membrane. To explore the technology’s application of burns, scientists applied a multidrug resistant strain of a bacterium to small third-degree burns that had been made on the backs of anesthetized mice. After 40 minutes, during which imaging of the fluorescent bacteria confirmed the established infection, the burned area was treated with an electrical field generated by placing the damaged skin between two electrodes. Each animal received two 40-pulse treatments five minutes apart, one group receiving 250 V/mm pulses and another receiving 500 V/mm pulses.

Images taken right after each treatment showed pronounced drops in bacterial levels
It seems that pulsed electrical field technology has the advantages of targeting numerous bacterial species and penetrating the full thickness of a wound. However, additional investigations are needed to confirm the safety of the tested voltage levels and the treatment's effectiveness against deep infections and other species of resistant bacteria before the technology can be applied to people.

The study was conducted at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Center for Engineering in Medicine and it has been published in the journal Technology, in a paper titled “Eradication of multidrug-resistant A. baumannii in burn wounds by antiseptic pulsed electric field.

found at :

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

WOW - 4 million fuse boxes. Well Done Hager

Hager UK has seen the four millionth consumer unit come off its production line.

The consumer unit is a staple product in the Hager portfolio. This year marks 30 years since it was introduced to the UK market in 1984 and it remains one of the most common electrical distribution boards found in homes and residential premises across the UK.

well done Simon (our rep) and the Team

we have fitted a fair few in our time. so many we have lost count.

Monday, 2 June 2014

We are the slave to the algorithm – accept it.

You may think the blog today is going in one direction, but it’s like a tarentino film slightly bloody with a twist at the end.

Who should have control over your own data? You? Or facebook and Google.

This recent court case that’s says you can request search terms are removed to irrelevant or "no longer relevant" information about a person where no wider public interest case exists. It is going to upset a lot of people in the Selling information arena.

I am not talking about Experian, I am talking about your friends and spies in your home.

 Social networking sites may call themselves tech  companies, but the truth is, their business is selling information.

With tech companies and social media shaping global speech and publication, the regulatory and commercial restraints on free expression are going to be top of the agenda  in coming years.

What started as one might consider a  trivial complaint has opened up a discussion in real life.

Facebook's news algorithms are a commercial secret, yet they are an increasingly powerful force in society and therefore a dark force in the making and a much deeper cultural issue; who defines the limits of free speech and how we personally view freedom of information.

The world is changing, fewer people are coming by a business via their homepage. Our behaviour is changing and this points  to how much social platforms and search engines influence how we find it.
Add to the mix – religion and the need to remove "blasphemous" material and your may just be popping back to the era of propaganda.

We need free flow of media. We will decide what is relevant

We need to reinvigorate a new age of free expression – no compromises please

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are now more important than ever. So if you don’t like what Google says, just don’t be naughty.

So in answer to the questions who should have control over your own data? Not Google or Facebook, but the users of Google and Facebook.

So the final question is, where is Googlefbooks completion so we have a choice?

How was your weekend? on Facebook? searching Google? think about it :)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

UK Government Temporarily Halts Charging Station Program till ‘Ministerial Review’

The UK Government’s Office for Low Emissions Vehicles has put a temporary hold on its Domestic Chargepoint Grant Scheme pending an investigation into the way domestic charging stations have been installed and marketed under the scheme.

The OFT has requested all accredited domestic chargepoint installers halt future installations while it investigates supposed abuse of the charge point installation program, first launched last year.

Under the scheme, the UK govt offers private plug-in vehicle owners up to 75% of the total capital costs of purchasing and installing a domestic chargepoint for use with their electric car, up to a total value of £1,000. In return, the recipient of the charging station agrees to provide OLEV with charge point usage data automatically via a wireless 3G modem hidden in each approved charge point.

Obviously intended for those who have a plug-in car or are about to get one, the OLEV charging point grant requirements doesn’t require applicants have an electric car at all however, meaning many of the charging stations installed under the scheme have gone to homes with no plug-in car.

Officially, the grant program is pending ‘ministerial review,’ but the word on the Whitehall streets is  numerous complaints & a lack of clarity behind the system and aggressive sales tactics of a select few bad apples in the installation companies keen to cash in on the UK Government’s latest green grant.

As with the Solar Panel installation company boom of several years ago when unscrupulous companies sprung up over night to try and cash in on massive Government incentives designed to encourage homeowners to install photovoltaic solar panels on the roofs of their homes, those inside the industry say charge point installations have become a quick way for get rich quick types wanting an easy piece of government funds.

While most official charging post installations are carried out by fully trained professionals, a small minority of rogue businesses are following sub-standard installation practices which are not only unsafe, but illegal under UK electrical installation law.

May Employee of the Month is...

Darren Meakin

well done Darren