Saturday, 26 December 2015

Friday Fact

Lions enjoy chewing discarded Christmas trees.

From the BBC, Jan 2015

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Friday Virus fact

The virus behind the common cold is much happier in a cold nose.

keep your nose warm...

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Heater safety advice

The Nights are drawing now so please be safe when you turn your electric heaters back on

Don't overload plug sockets - An extension lead or adaptor will have a limit to how many amps it can take so, to help reduce the risk of fire, be careful not to overload them.

Regularly check for frayed or worn cables and wires - Check to see if the cable is fastened securely to the plug and check the socket for scorch marks. You should always carry out these checks before you plug an appliance in.

Unplug appliances when not in use - This helps to reduce the risk of fire. Unplug appliances when you go to bed or when you go out unless they are designed to be left on, like freezers.

Keep electrical appliances clean and in good working order - Look out for fuses that blow, circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reason and flickering lights to prevent them triggering a fire.

Check for British or European safety mark - Make sure an appliance has a British or European safety mark when you buy it.

Always check that you use the right fuse to prevent overloading - When you're fitting or replacing a fuse, it's important to use the right fuse for the appliance to make sure the cable doesn't overheat and that the appliance is protected in the event of a fault.

Get Out, Stay Out, Call 999 - Never use water on an electrical fire and don't take any risks with your safety. Pull the plug out or switch the power off if it is safe to do so. Get out, stay out and call 999.

Landlords - are you compliant with the smoke detector law that came into force today?


Changes in legislation for Landlords
Today new legislation will comes into force that concerns Landlords of residential premises.

Landlords are required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties in England.

 Who does the legislation cover?
  This new legislation will cover private landlords. Communities Minister Stephen Williams said yesterday: "We're determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning."
Even so, Aico would recommend that any type of landlord (private or social) should recognise the duty of care they have for their tenants to install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms.
This new legislation is for England only.

Landlords in Scotland are already required by law to install smoke and carbon monoxide under existing legislation.

 On the Government's website it reads as:

"The proposed changes to the law would require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.

Landlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

This would bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed."
 
Section 150 of the Energy Act states: "the appropriate standard", in relation to a smoke alarm or a carbon monoxide alarm, means the standard (if any) that is specified in, or determined under, regulations;"

What we know:

  •Private landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties in England.
•These alarms should meet the relevant European and British Standards.
•This new legislation will come into force on the 1st October 2015 (subject to Parliamentary approval).
•Local Authorities will enforce this legislation.
•Landlords could receive a penalty charge of up to £5000.

Are you ready? can we help?


Thursday, 13 August 2015

International left handers Day!!!

The writer of this blog is left handed... can you tell

I cant figure why we only get 1 day when the 'righties' get the other 364.

Today we are doing a special offer of 10% off all left hand sockets and switches.

Don't delay - phone now for our special offer.

Todays offer is supported by some notable lefties.

Robert De Niro
Angelina Jolie
Prince William
Lady Gaga
Morgan Freeman
Barack Obama
Julia Roberts
Bruce Willis
Ben Stiller
Tom Cruise
Scarlett Johansson
Bill Gates
Hugh Jackman
Eminem
Jennifer Lawrence
David Cameron
Bart Simpson

Are all lefties

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Why didnt The Green Deal work?

The Government has cut odd the funds, all but killing off the much troubled Green Deal scheme.

we agree the theory was good, but it came down to bad execution.

The scheme was over engineered, difficult to market and a nightmare to access.

The decision to scrap Green Deal funding comes less than two weeks after the government also abandoned its zero-carbon homes policy and just a day after it emerged it was consulting on plans to axe small-scale solar farm subsidies.

The govt cant push us to be Green, then kill or abandon all the support. it needs investment and look at long term goals.

Green initiatives always seem to be plagued by bureaucracy and red tape. I do wonder why they don't learn how to get the right balance between making the funding available and making sure it is spent on the right project.

The amount of solar PV installations has actually increased in recent months, which makes the latest decisions even more incomprehensible.

There is still, clearly, a public interest in getting these technologies as people try to get a grip on rising energy costs in the home. with an expected 25% increase in energy costs over the coming years. this will become more apparent.

What a waste.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Friday Fact

There is little international trade in onions - about 90% are consumed in their country of origin.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Is Flash safe?

Adobe's Flash software is now blocked by default on all versions of the Firefox web browser.
Mozilla, which develops Firefox, imposed the block because recently unearthed bugs in Flash were being actively used by cyber-thieves.

The bugs were detailed in a cache of documents stolen from security firm Hacking Team that was hit by attackers last week.

Adobe said it took Flash's security "seriously" and was planning bug fixes.

Flash is widely used on many websites for both multimedia and interactive elements.

On its support pages, Mozilla said the block would remain until "Adobe releases an updated version to address known critical security issues".

Attackers were known to use vulnerabilities in Flash to install malicious software on computers and steal data, it added.

The vulnerabilities in the documents stolen from Hacking Team have been quickly added to so-called exploit kits which are used by many thieves when they craft campaigns that seek to take over victims' computers.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Friday Fact

Benedict Cumberbatch and King Richard III are third cousins, 16 times removed.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

British Gas has updated its range of Hive "smart home" products, with a new thermostat as the centrepiece.

The company hired Swiss designer Yves Behar to shape the look and feel of the device.
Mr Behar had previously designed popular consumer gadgets like the Jambox wireless speaker and Jawbone fitness band.

One expert told the BBC that consumers still needed convincing that they needed "smart home".
"I don't think aesthetics are the only barrier. The rival Nest thermostat looks absolutely fantastic, but hasn't taken off in the UK," said Chris Green, technology analyst at Davies Murphy Group.

The new device is Hive's second version of an internet-connected thermostat, that lets people remotely control their heating from a smartphone app.

Mr Behar said he did not build a touchscreen into the new thermostat because he found them a "distraction".

found on the BBC

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

UK spare electricity capacity to fall this winter

The risk of blackouts this winter has increased compared with a year ago according to National Grid.
It says the closure of some power stations would have left spare capacity on the system at just 1.2%, the worst for a decade.

It has secured extra supplies by paying tens of millions of pounds to have several plants on standby and by asking some industries to switch off power.

The move means overall spare capacity is now expected to be around 5%.

"It's clear that electricity margins for that coldest, darkest half hour of winter are currently tighter than they have been, due to power stations closures", says Cordi O'Hara, National Grid's Director of Market Operations.


To ensure the lights stay on, for the second year running, National Grid will pay firms like Centrica and SSE to keep power plants in reserve.

It is also paying large energy users, such as Tata Steel, to switch off.

A total of 2.56GW of power has been secured which National Grid says will increase overall margins to 5.1%.

That is still lower that spare capacity available last winter after similar measures.

The move will cost £36m and will add 50 pence to the typical household energy bill.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Friday Beiber Fact

Justin Bieber supports Everton.

Nooooooooooo!

Pre-pay meter energy users paid £226 a year more: Citizens Advice

Energy customers on pre-payment meters have been paying an average of £226 a year more than they would have done on the cheapest direct debit tariff, Citizens Advice has said.

The charity said the gap between the cheapest and most expensive tariffs widened by up to a third in six months.

Co-Operative Energy, which had the widest gap of £405, responded by saying it was cutting its pre-payment rates.

found on the BBC

Monday, 29 June 2015

'No going back' Solar Impulse teek to Hawaii

Solar Impulse, A solar-powered plane has passed the "point of no return" in its second bid at making a record-breaking flight across the Pacific Ocean.

Solar Impulse took off from Japan's Nagoya Airfield at 18:03 GMT on Sunday.

The journey to Hawaii is expected to take approximately 120 hours.

I thought a day to get to Hawaii was tiring and that was our whole journey from the UK

They are going to take 5 days for 1/3 of our journey.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Friday fact

Half of the world's pigs live in China.

no comments about ex boyfriend please...

Monday, 22 June 2015

Can I charge an EV in the vehicle in the rain?

Yes, all connections are fully sealed and tested to comply with safety standards. Care should be taken when connecting the car to a power source to ensure that there are no open connections and the car should not be charged when the mains power outlet is exposed to rain.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Spinnaker Tower branding

A Portsmouth landmark is to be painted blue and gold following an outcry over the use of red in the previous plan.
The city council announced a £3.5m deal with airline Emirates to rebrand the Spinnaker Tower earlier this month.

The decision upset 10,000 people who signed a petition against a branding plan as red and white are the colours of football rivals Southampton.

More than 100 litres of red paint, bought in readiness for the work, will now be given away to good causes.

Blue is the traditional colour of the city of Portsmouth and its football team.

Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council said: "We have listened to the public and created a new blue, gold and white design that is in keeping with suggestions from residents.

Councillor Ben Dowling said: "It's good that the new design isn't red but we still have some fairly serious questions about the process that has taken place.

The 170m high tower will be renamed the Emirates Spinnaker Tower

Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates said: "We listened to the feedback and worked with the council to adapt the designs in order to create something that Portsmouth residents will be proud of."

An application for advertising consent has been posted on the Portsmouth City Council website.
It states: "Brand logo and brand name will be adhered to the tower legs and lower ground signage base."

Friday, 19 June 2015

Friday Fact

The Queen once gave former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond a successful horse racing tip.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Earlier end to subsidies for new UK onshore wind farms

New onshore wind farms will be excluded from a subsidy scheme from 1 April 2016, a year earlier than expected.
 
There will be a grace period for projects which already have planning permission, the Department of Energy and Climate Change said.

But it is estimated that almost 3,000 wind turbines are awaiting planning permission and this announcement could jeopardise those plans.

Energy firms had been facing an end to generous subsidies in 2017.

The funding for the subsidy comes from the Renewables Obligation, which is funded by levies added to household fuel bills.
After the announcement was made, Fergus Ewing, Scottish minister for business, energy and tourism and member of the Scottish parliament, said he had warned the UK government that the decision could be the subject of a judicial review.

found on the BBC

Friday, 12 June 2015

Monday, 8 June 2015

Changes in legislation for Landlords - smoke detection


On 11th March 2015 that new legislation will come into force on the 1st October 2015 that concerns Landlords of residential premises.

Landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties in England.

Who will the new legislation cover?
  This new legislation will cover private landlords. Communities Minister Stephen Williams said yesterday: "We're determined to create a bigger, better and safer private rented sector – a key part of that is to ensure the safety of tenants with fire prevention and carbon monoxide warning."

We would recommend that any type of landlord (private or social) should recognise the duty of care they have for their tenants to install Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms.

This new legislation is for England only.
Landlords in Scotland are already required by law to install smoke and carbon monoxide under existing legislation.

Arrow What needs to be fitted and to what standards?
 
It is The British Standard BS 5839-6:2013 that is regarded as the Standard to adhere to when fitting Smoke Alarms and BS EN 50292:2013 when fitting Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarms in residential/domestic premises. These define the type of alarms that require fitting and where they should be sited when complying with Building Regulations.

On the Government's website it reads as:
   
"The proposed changes to the law would require landlords to install smoke alarms on every floor of their property, and test them at the start of every tenancy.

Landlords would also need to install carbon monoxide alarms in high risk rooms – such as those where a solid fuel heating system is installed.

This would bring private rented properties into line with existing building regulations that already require newly-built homes to have hard-wired smoke alarms installed."
 
Section 150 of the Energy Act states: "the appropriate standard", in relation to a smoke alarm or a carbon monoxide alarm, means the standard (if any) that is specified in, or determined under, regulations;"

Expect clarification of alarm types and siting requirements to be defined soon, but we know that landlords must fit a working smoke alarm on every storey of the property and a CO alarm in every room with a solid fuel burning appliance. Even so, Aico would recommend that a CO alarm is fitted in every room with any type of fuel burning appliance. They must be tested and in working order as each new tenant moves into the property. The Smoke and CO alarms should meet the relevant European and British Standards.

Who will enforce this new law?
  Local Authorities will be enforcing this from 1st October 2015. Some Local Authorities are already prepared to do this as they have a licencing scheme for HMOs (House in Multiple Occupancy), where smoke alarms are a requirement.

What is the penalty for non-compliance?
  Local Authorities will be able to serve a remedial notice on a landlord where they have reasonable grounds to believe the landlord has not complied with these new legal requirements for Smoke and CO alarms.
If a landlord fails to comply with the remedial notice within 28 days of the notice being served, the Local Authority under a duty (where the occupier consents) can arrange remedial action. This is to ensure that tenants are protected by working alarms and may involve action to install, repair or check the alarms are in proper working order.

In addition, Local Authorities can impose a civil penalty charge of up to £5000 on landlords who are in breach of their duty to comply with the remedial notice.

What we know:

  •Private landlords will be required by law to install working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their properties in England.
•These alarms should meet the relevant European and British Standards.
•This new legislation will come into force on the 1st October 2015 (subject to Parliamentary approval).
•Local Authorities will enforce this legislation.
•Landlords could receive a penalty charge of up to £5000.

  However, there are some uncertainties in areas of this new law, so this information may be subject to change. Aico will attempt to keep you updated as more information comes through.

 If you are a Landlord and would like to find out more about how to fit Smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms in accordance with the relevant British Standards you can register for contact us http://www.woolgarelectrical.co.uk/

found on the aico web site

Friday, 5 June 2015

Friday fact

Thomas Edison, who invented the light bulb, was afraid of the dark.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

The first LED GLS lamp thats actually impressed us

Nick (Edmundson Luton) came in this morning with a new lamp

This is the first lamp we have seen that really impresses us as quite innovative.

 
The lamp uses gas for heat management and does not have a heat sink, Its only 4w (equivalent to 40w) but for the time being they are not available for dimming but we are told that will be coming soon. The bigger lamps like the GLS have a lot longer guarantee than the smaller lamps like the 40mm round golfball lamps and they do a really funky retro shaped lamp.
 
 
Those long yellow bits are actually LED's. clever eh!
 
 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Solar Impulse to land in Japan because of poor weather

As you know, we have been following the solar impulse around the world.

Its most intriguing, but as regards to practical ability, we think Phileas Phogg might just have beat them around the world.

unfortunately yet again the record-breaking attempt to cross the Pacific Ocean using a solar-powered plane has hit another bump in the road (or should that be an air pocket)

Poor weather conditions are forcing the Solar Impulse craft to head to Japan to land.
The pilot was 36 hours into what was expected to be a six-day journey from China to Hawaii.
The team will now wait in Japan for clearer skies before attempting to continue.

The experimental craft, which is covered in 17,000 solar cells, took off from Abu Dhabi in March.

The Pacific crossing, however, was always going to be the most challenging part of this epic journey.

Solar Impulse had already waited more than a month in Nanjing for the right weather conditions to open up over the Pacific.

It needs not only favourable winds to push forward, but also cloud-free skies during the day to soak up enough energy from the Sun to enable nighttime flying on its batteries.

The team's meteorologists thought they had identified a suitable weather window - and the plane set off at 18:39 GMT on Saturday.

Mr Borschberg had been making good progress. However, in the early hours of Monday morning (GMT), the Solar Impulse team announced it was putting the plane in a holding pattern.

The pilot was asked to circle over the Sea of Japan while meteorologists assessed whether they could find their way through a worsening weather front close to Hawaii.

Mr Borschberg was just hours away from the point of no return - the stage in the flight where, if something were to go wrong, the plane would be too far from land to turn back and Mr Borschberg would have to bail out into the ocean.



Sunday, 31 May 2015

Security warning over Android phone reset systems

Using the "factory reset" option to wipe Android phones may leave behind valuable data, warn security experts.

The reset function may also fall short when used to remotely wipe a phone that has been lost or stolen, report Cambridge University researchers.

For their analysis the researchers bought used Android phones to see what sort of data remained on the handsets.

In some cases they retrieved key files that let them access a former owner's Gmail account.

The study of 21 phones, running Android versions 2.3 to 4.3, was carried out by Prof Ross Anderson and Laurent Simon from the University of Cambridge computer science department.

The flaws they found could mean that up to 500 million Android devices might be at risk of leaving data available to attackers after being reset, the researchers warned in a blogpost.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Supermarket LED lights talk to smartphone app

French shoppers have become the first to experience a new LED lighting system that sends special offers and location data to their smartphones.

The technology was designed by Philips and has been installed at a Carrefour supermarket in Lille.

It transmits codes via light waves, which are undetectable to the eye but can be picked up by a phone camera.

The innovation offers an alternative to Bluetooth-based "beacons", which are being installed by many retailers.



Monday, 25 May 2015

Landlords 'earn £5.6bn a year from unsafe homes'

Landlords are earning £5.6bn a year by renting out unsafe homes which fail to meet legal standards, a report says.

The Citizens Advice study says 740,000 households in England live in privately rented homes which present a severe threat to tenants' health from problems like damp and rat infestations.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "Rogue landlords are putting profits before safety."

The government said it had given councils new powers to tackle them.

The report, A Nation of Renters, says that among these 740,000 households are 510,000 children while 180,000 of them have a disabled resident.

And it says landlords are receiving £5.6bn a year on rent for homes with category 1 hazards - the most severe - which includes £1.3bn in housing benefit.

The report also says:
◾16% of privately rented homes are physically unsafe - compared with 6% in the social rented market
◾8% of privately rented homes have serious damp
◾10% pose a risk of a dangerous fall
◾6% are excessively cold
◾Private renters living in homes with a category 1 hazard pay an average of £157 per week on rent
Ms Guy added: "The government has rightly said it wants to tackle the country's housing crisis - it must make targeting dodgy landlords, giving tenants better rights and driving up standards a major part of that effort."

Citizens Advice says there are now more than a million families raising children in privately rented homes in England - three times higher than a decade ago.

It also says private renters are under-protected and that taking court action against a landlord can be a lengthy, complicated and expensive process.

The charity recommends that:
◾Tenants should be entitled to rent refunds where properties are dangerous or not fit to live in
◾A national landlord register should be set up to help ensure landlords operating illegally cannot move to different areas to avoid legal action
◾Councils should also set up local licensing to tackle specific issues in their private rental markets
The report is part of Citizen Advice's Settled and Safe campaign.

In the last year more than 80,000 people asked the charity for advice regarding a problem with a privately rented home.

The campaign called for an end to retaliatory evictions - where landlords unfairly evict tenants who have raised problems - which will be made illegal later this year.

found on the BBC

Are you a landlord in Bedford needing an electrical safety check?

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Council staff electric car 'anxiety'

A Scottish local authority has admitted that its staff are reluctant to use its pool of electric cars for fear of being stranded with a flat battery.

Dumfries and Galloway Council said some workers were wary of the cars' 100 mile range in the sprawling rural area.

The local authority spent £57,600 on four electric Nissan Leafs since 2011. Yet, in total, the cars have covered fewer than 26,000 miles in that time.

They may say "relatively successful" but admitted levels of usage were "considerably lower" than for conventional cars in its pool.

They added: "Staff have been asked to comment on use of the vehicles, and 'range anxiety' is certainly a consideration.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Friday Fact

The name for Oz in the "Wizard of Oz" was thought up Frank Baum (the author of the book) looked at his filing cabinet and saw A-N, and O-Z.

Brilliant film...

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

One selfie Too far...

A teenager burst into flames when she accidentally touched an electrical field while trying to take the ‘ultimate selfie’ on top of a train.

Anna Ursu, 18, went to the train station in the northern Romanian town of Iasi in the hope of taking a ‘special’ selfie to post on Facebook.

But she accidentally touched the electrical field of a live wire with her leg while lying on top of the train, sending 27,000 volts through her body and causing her to burst into flames while her friend was sent flying through the air.

A passer-by attempted to save Anna and extinguish her flaming clothes, but the 18-year-old died in hospital with more than 50 per cent burns. Her friend, 17, is recovering in hospital.

The passer-by who attempted to save Anna said he knew the dangers and called for the girls to get down when he saw them on top of the train.

Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2015/05/13/teen-killed-while-trying-to-take-the-ultimate-selfie-5196087/#ixzz3aCUkF73f

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Tiny Electric Car Can Drive Sideways and Shrink to Fit into Parking Spaces

Anyone who’s reads this blog knows that I love a bit of Sci-Fi so this caught my eye.

A team of German engineers has a concept car designed to make driving and living with an automobile easier in the densely-populated urban areas increasing numbers of people are expected to call home.

Created by DFKI Robotics Innovation Center, the EO Smart Connecting Car 2 adapts to the urban environment like a rat squeezing through cracks in a boarded-up building. It can shrink to take up less space, and even drive sideways into parking spaces.

The pod-like design features seating for two and four electric motors, one mounted to each wheel hub. This design allowed engineers to give the car some serious turning ability. Each wheel can rotate 90 degrees.

By turning the wheels perpendicular to the curb, the car can crab sideways into a space, much easier alternative to parallel parking.

And if the space isn’t quite big enough, the EO Smart Connecting Car 2 can suck in its gut by lifting the body over the rear axle. This allows it to contract from a full length of around 7.5 feet to around 5.2 feet.

Yet while the EO car excels at parking, its not exactly practical as performance is quite limited. with a top speed is just 40 mph means you wont be using any city dual carriageways and a range  estimated at between 30 and 44 miles means its only going to be very local trips you venture out on.

Granted, city driving usually involves shorter trips in dense traffic, and there are more places to put charging stations in built-up areas. This definitely isn’t a car for the country. I don't think we will see many in Bedfordshire.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Friday Fact

The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Friday Fact

The mask used by Michael Myers in the original "Halloween" movie was actually a William Shatner 'Captain Kirk' mask painted white.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

New York dims the lights to save migrating birds.

The state of New York is to turn off non-essential lights in state-run buildings to help birds navigate their migratory routes in spring and autumn.

Migrating birds are believed to use stars to navigate but they can be disorientated by electric lights, causing them to crash into buildings.

The phenomenon, known as "fatal light attraction", is estimated to kill up to one billion birds a year in the US.

Millions of birds migrate through New York along the Atlantic Flyway route.

Now those passing over the city by night will stand a better chance of making it further north.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that bright outdoor lights will be turned off between 23:00 and dawn during peak migration seasons in spring and autumn.

The state will join several well-known New York landmarks that have already signed up to the National Audubon Society's Lights Out programme, including the Rockefeller Centre, Chrysler Building and Time Warner Centre.

Fatal light attraction appears to affect migratory songbirds such as warblers, thrushes and sparrows more than local birds, who learn where they can fly safely.

Daniel Klem, professor of ornithology and conservation biology at Muhlenberg College who pioneered the study of window strikes said the strikes were particularly worrying because the fittest members of the population were just as likely to die in this way as weaker birds.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Mobile phones are changing

Some of the new handsets have a lot bigger batteries but the most interesting change we noted lately was how we connect to the networks.

EE is to begin switching some of its customers to wi-fi enabled calls to help combat mobile signal dead spots.

The UK network suggests the move will particularly benefit people who fail to get a connection or experience dropped calls in their homes and offices.

Other firms already offer a similar service via apps, but EE says its scheme is "seamless" as users are not required to do anything to switch between 3G/4G and wi-fi.

Potential pitfalls. - EE said its Wi-fi Calling facility would initially be limited to pay monthly subscribers using Samsung's Galaxy S6 and S5 phones and Microsoft's new Lumia 640, and the iPhone 5S and newer Apple handsets will also be supported.

Since it requires specific mobile data components to be built into the devices, it cannot be extended to other older models. However, EE said it would soon offer a compatible own-brand budget smartphone.

To join the service, users send the firm a single text message.

Mmm, interesting...

Friday, 24 April 2015

Friday Fact

•The fingerprints of koala bears are almost indistinguishable from those of humans.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Solar plane aims for Chinese coast

Here is an update on the solar plane flying round the world

The fuel-free aeroplane Solar Impulse has taken off from Chongqing in western-central China, and is heading for Nanjing in the east.

It is the sixth stage in a bid to fly around the world that began in Abu Dhabi, UAE on 9 March.
Solar Impulse was only supposed to stay a few hours in Chongqing after arriving from Myanmar (Burma), but poor weather grounded the plane for three weeks.

The team is now confident conditions will remain fair for the Nanjing leg.

Getting to the east of the country would set up the project for its greatest challenge yet - a five-day, five-night crossing to Hawaii.

The latest leg saw Solar Impulse leave the runway at Chongqing International Airport at just after 06:00 local time, Tuesday (22:00 GMT, Monday). Project chairman, Bertrand Piccard, is again at the controls of the single-seater aircraft.

He is taking it in turns with CEO Andre Borschberg. But as the engineer in the partnership, Borschberg wants to do the Hawaii leg, so Piccard has elected to do both Chinese stages. He brought the plane in from Mandalay, Myanmar, to Chongqing, and is now flying the 1,200km to Nanjing as well. It should take him about 17 hours.

Once in Nanjing, the team will stay put for at least 10 days, carefully checking over the aircraft and running through a training programme ahead of the first Pacific leg.

Friday, 17 April 2015

The Star Wars plane

This is totally off topic but I hope you will forgive me

I don't speak about it often but I am an avid star wars fan and when I found this it made me smile



It might not be the droid you're looking for, but a plane painted to look like R2-D2 could be the next best thing for Star Wars fans waiting for The Force Awakens.



Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) has unveiled a Boeing 787 Dreamliner decorated to look like the robot.


The cockpit and front half of the white fuselage are painted with blue panels in the shape of those on the droid.

 
I do hope its not a late April Fool...



Friday Fact

•The Earth weighs around 6,588,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 tons.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

How good is the screen on your Smartphone

We have notices a lot of changes and this new number - 4k keep cropping up in both TV's and now phones.

Sharp has announced the first smartphone screen capable of showing images in 4K resolution.
The 5.5in (14cm) component packs in 806 pixels per inch.

That outclasses Samsung's Galaxy S6 which only offers 577ppi on a slightly smaller display.

Higher resolutions offer more detail, typically producing crisper images and text. But experts say there is a limit to what the human eye can appreciate.

At a certain point, the improvements get a lot less noticeable.

you and I will hardly tell the difference between 2K & 4K, even if you have perfect vision.

4K - which is also known as ultra-high definition - offers four times the resolution of 1080p HD.

but is it needed n a phone.

Also, with all those extra dots, what does it do to battery life.

I know, from my point of view, the battery lasting is more important than a 4k screen.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

You will need to move quick if you want the Govt £5k subsidy on EV's

2010 seems like a long time ago then transport secretary, Philip Hammond, declared that 2011 would be the year of the electric car. He was WRONG!!!

However, is seems 2015 just might be.

Figures from the UK car industry this week suggest we might finally be waking up to the electric revolution.
In March 2015, we bought more than 6,000 "plug-in" cars, compared with around 1200 in March 2014 - a 400% increase.

Plug-in hybrids - which have a conventional engine as well as an electric motor - saw sales rise by 984% over the same period, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), admittedly from a very low base.

Given the fall in the oil price, which has made conventional motoring cheaper, you might have thought that electric vehicles would stall, but the the opposite has happened.

If the trend continues, we could well buy more than 30,000 electric vehicles this year alone.
But the good news is also the bad: The government's £5,000 subsidy on each new car will run out when a total of 50,000 have been sold - and that target could now be reached before the end of the year. 

There are many more plug-in models to chose from. Then there were just six; now there are 27 models which qualify for the government grant.

The network of charging points has also expanded. There are now 3,000 places in the UK where you can plug in, and by doing so take advantage of motoring costs as low as 2p a mile.

More manufacturers have come in, the infrastructure has grown, and there are a lot of incentives behind buying a car.

Those incentives have been key: Road tax exemption, free entry to London's congestion zone, and the fact that the government currently pays  as much as £5,000 towards the cost of a car - the plug-in grant. Company car tax rates are also much lower

Based on government and the SMMT figures, 31,000 plug-in grants have now been paid - leaving  19,000 before the scheme ends.

Given that we bought 8,500 eligible cars in the first three months of 2015, the grants may well run out by the Autumn. If you're thinking of going electric, it may pay you to put your foot down.

The scheme is due to be reviewed in May, but as yet no one knows whether the subsidy will be extended.

At his show-room in north London, car dealer Larry Wood, of Hummingbird Motors, is unperturbed. The main reason is that Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - a plug-in hybrid SUV - has proved so popular.
It is now Britain's best-selling electric car, with more than 10,000 sales in the last year. He believes customers won't stop buying them, even if the plug-in grant is no longer available.

While the most polluting cars pay 35% in company car tax, electric cars - even though they used to be exempt - pay 5%.

As a result, any business with a fleet of vehicles could still save thousands of pounds a year by going electric.

Most of the problems initially associated with electric vehicles are gradually being resolved, or so the industry would have you believe.

"Range anxiety" - the fear of running out of charge - does not apply if you buy a hybrid car, which switches to its conventional engine as soon as the battery runs out of power.

Nevertheless, those who drive pure electric cars still worry about getting stranded.

The Mega-expensive Tesla S - already on sale in the UK - will go for 310 miles without a charge, according to the manufacturer.

Another problem has been the cost of batteries, the main reason that electric cars are so pricey in the first place.

But advances in technology could make them cost-competitive with petrol engines in less than a decade, according to two Swedish scientists.

The government boasts there are now 7,000 in the UK, in 3,000 locations. 500 of those are "fast chargers", which can offer a 50% charge in as little as 20 minutes.

But in reality, most charging stops are going to be for at least half an hour.

And for motorists, understanding the rival charge point networks - and the different costs for using them - still requires some tenacity.

Public subsidies for infrastructure have also changed, with the government ending its specific grant of up to £7,500 per charge point.

However, there is still some support available for owners under the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme, which pays householders up to £700 to have a charge point installed at home.

What is undeniable is that the appeal of the cars themselves has certainly improved.

Where once electric cars looked like garden shed conversions, the designers of BMW and Porsche have now worked magic.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Check out the new design of an electricity pylon.

The first new design of an electricity pylon in almost 90 years has been erected at a site in Nottinghamshire.

After the best part of a century of service, the traditional steel "lattice" pylon has been updated.

The "T-pylon" is shorter, standing at about 120ft (36m); the old steel giants are typically 165ft (50m).
The National Grid says it will respond to the need to harvest energy from an increasing number of lower-carbon energy sources.


The new tower can be shorter yet still capable of transporting 400,000 volts because of the way the cables are held in place.


Instead of being attached to three arms, a diamond arrangement is used to carry the cables off in one arm in a much smaller space.

Each arm has to carry 60 tonnes. With only eight main structural components plus bolts, it is easier to erect and install - taking a day rather than a week.

According to the National Grid, new pylons are needed to respond to the move away from coal and towards other forms of generation such as wind, solar and nuclear.

These new low-carbon energy sources come from different geographical locations to the "traditional ring" of coal-fired generation in the centre of England.

This test line won't be connected to the rest of the grid, it will be used to train staff and contractors.
In particular, it will be used for people to practise "stringing" the conductors (wires) on to the pylons, as a very different technique is needed.

The T-Pylon design was adopted after an international competition held by the National Grid in 2011, won by Danish company Bystrup.

The claim is that these pylons will be less obtrusive not just because of their shorter stature, but because the design allows them to "follow the contours of the land".

According to project manager Alan Large, maintenance will be easier because operators will not have to climb up the tower, they will work from elevated platforms positioned alongside it. Their smooth, impenetrable surface will also make them more difficult to vandalise.

It won't replace the 88,000 lattice pylons that currently bestride the UK countryside. It will principally be used in the construction of new power lines in England and Wales.

The National Grid is applying to use them to connect the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station to the UK's electricity transmission network.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Fire safety

CLOCKS have gone forward an hour. Did you Check your Smoke Alarm???

Many of us will have a bit of time on our hands this weekend. we want to remind you to check your smoke alarms.

The national Fire Kills campaign is using the arrival of British Summer Time to urge householders to ‘tick tock test’ their alarms when they change their clocks over the weekend.

well we say take Easter as a second chance.

Smoke alarms are inexpensive and can be bought in DIY stores and at many supermarkets.

Stats have proved that you are four times more likely to survive a fire if you have a working smoke alarm. As the clocks go forward, it’s an ideal time to ‘press the button’ and make sure both the time and your home safety are right.

Some households will qualify for a free home fire safety check.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Good Friday Fact

•Marilyn Monroe had six toes.

We hope you have a Wonderful Easter

Thursday, 2 April 2015

US university students discover how to use sonic waves to suppress flames, avoiding the need for toxic chemicals

Did you know you can put out a fire with a low-rumbling bass frequency generator?

No! Neither did I!

Over the two last-year engineering majors at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia, appear to have invented a way to use sound waves to put out fires. It started as an idea for a research project, and after a year of trial and error and spending about $600 of their own money, they have built a somewhat portable sound generator, amplifier, power source and focusing tube that would seem to have great potential in attacking fires in a variety of situations.

Robertson, 23, and Tran, 28, applied for a provisional patent at the end of November, which gives them a year to do further testing on other flammable chemicals – so far they have put out only fires started with rubbing alcohol – and to continue to refine their device. Although they originally conceived of the device as a way to put out kitchen fires and, perhaps, fires in spacecraft, a local fire department already has asked them to test their bass waves on a structure fire; they think the concept could replace the toxic chemicals involved in fire extinguishers.

"There’s nothing on the market that works, so we thought we could be the ones to make it happen."
Seth Robertson

Robertson of Newport News, Virginia, and Tran of Arlington, Virginia, are electrical and computer engineering majors, and the idea for their project came about only because they didn’t like the ideas that their professors had proposed. They had seen research on how sound waves could disrupt flames, “but there’s nothing on the market that works”, Robertson said. “So we thought we could be the ones to make it happen. And that’s the inspiration for the project.”

As with all great scientific inspiration, there were plenty of naysayers, the pair said. They are electrical engineers, not chemical, and were told, “You guys don’t know what you’re talking about,” Tran said. A number of faculty members declined to serve as advisers on the project, but Professor Brian Mark agreed to oversee it and not fail them if the whole thing flopped, Tran said.

But how does it work? The basic concept, Tran said, is that sound waves are also “pressure waves, and they displace some of the oxygen” as they travel through the air. Oxygen, we all recall from high school chemistry, fuels fire. At a certain frequency, the sound waves “separate the oxygen from the fuel. The pressure wave is going back and forth, and that agitates where the air is. That specific space is enough to keep the fire from reigniting.”


Found on the Guardian - http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/27/students-fire-extinguisher-sound-waves

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

FB and Google club together to buy the Catholic Church

ROME. The Pope announced today that the Catholic Church had been bought by a Facebook and Google.

There will not be any rebranding, but all of the finance systems will be reviewed and audited. The transition will be hardly noticeable. Genesis is to be moved to page 3 of the bible due to a prologue written by Larry Page and a promotion of Google AdWords.

The combined resources of  these 2 corporate giants is hoped to bring the church kicking and screaming into the 21st century and allow 'us' to make religion easier and more fun for a broader range of people.

The pope announced this via his Facebook page.

Following on from last December when Pope Francis said equating Islam with violence was wrong and called on Muslim leaders to issue a global condemnation of terrorism they have set up a framework agreement for joint webcasts starting in May.

Facebook has brokered a deal for future strategic partnerships with Hinduism, Shinto, Daoism sighting that the church would like to increase their market share in India, Japan & China.

As part of the deal, Vatican city will get an upgraded wifi and the first location to trial 6G and the catholic church will get free sponsored links on the Google search engine.

Please remember what date it is and note that the joint webcast thing might not be such a bad idea...








Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Without widespread public charging infrastructure, electric cars are doomed

Rubbish!!!

Recent studies suggesting that charging at home--and, crucially, at work--are by far the most important locations.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Longer-range electric cars coming closer

Battery power is the future, that motoring will become cheaper, cleaner and greener

The Guys at LG Chem have reportedly made a series of breakthroughs that will allow its lithium-ion batteries to be more energy-dense; that is that they can store more energy for a given size and weight, allowing the range of a car they’re fitted to to increase. Indeed, LG Chem claims that its advances in battery technology could allow an ‘average’ electric car to go for around 200-miles, on a single charge.

From a Reuters report, LG Chem Chief Executive Prabhakar Patil said that “several factors are at play that are landing at this 200-mile range. We’ve been talking to several OEMs regarding where our battery technology is and where it’s going.”

Those OEMs, or car makers to you and I, apparently include Ford (which is planning a stand-alone all-electric model to rival Toyota’s Prius), Volkswagen (which is keen to launch a longer-range and more practical e-Golf by 2018) and Nissan (which is also keen to launch a second-generation Leaf by 2018).

That combination of range and price is significant because it’s exactly where Tesla is going to pitch its forthcoming affordable car, the Model 3. Tesla boss Elon Musk has repeatedly said that the ‘sweet spot’ for range, and the point at which pure-battery electric vehicles start to become relevant to a much broader swathe of the car buying public, lies between 125 & 220 miles

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Solar energy 'could provide 4% of UK electricity in a decade'

The plummeting cost of solar panels has caused the government to revise upwards its forecast for solar energy use.

This has influenced the government's decision to reduce solar subsidies from this month.
But the solar industry said the cuts were a mistake and would prevent it from competing with fossil fuels.

The price of solar panels has reduced by 70% in the past few years as subsidies in many countries created a mass market and drew in Chinese manufacturers.

In the UK this prompted the government to withdraw subsidies from large-scale solar farms - above 5MW - from the end of March.

That in turn has created a temporary solar boom as firms race to connect to the grid in the coming days.

The Solar Trades Association said as much new capacity has been installed in the first three months of this year as in the whole of 2014.

But after April it expects installations to fall 80%, because most firms will not be able to compete.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Google researchers hack PCs using DRAM electrical leaks

Google researchers have written the first-ever attack code that takes advantage of electrical interference between densely packed memory cells, a unique style of attack that could require changes in chip design.

The work builds on a paper published last year by Carnegie Mellon University and Intel, which found it was possible to change binary values in stored memory by repeatedly accessing nearby memory cells, a process called “bit flipping.”

DRAM memory is vulnerable to such electrical interference because the cells are so closely packed together, a result of engineers increasing a chip’s memory capacity.

Chipmakers have known about electrical interference, but may have viewed it as a reliability issue rather than a security problem, wrote Mark Seaborn, a Google software engineer. Google’s work shows bit flipping can have a much larger impact.

They tested 29 x86-based laptops manufactured between 2010 and last year and found some vulnerable. All of the laptops, which were not identified by make and model, used DDR3 DRAM.

A lack of technical information makes it hard to figure out more broadly which computers would be most vulnerable.

found on http://www.pcworld.com/article/2896032/google-researchers-hack-computers-using-dram-electrical-leaks.html

Friday, 27 March 2015

Thursday, 26 March 2015

'Misleading' 4K TV Advert Banned - Advisory Group Warns Against 4K Over-Promising

Leading UK electrical retailer DSG Retail – owner of the Currys and PC World stores – has been officially censured by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over its use of a television advert stating that LG’s 4K TVs let you “watch your favourite Christmas movies in greater detail”.

The offending advert, which ran over the key pre-Christmas marketing period, received complaints from an unspecified number of viewers, leading to the ASA investigation. The main thrust of the complaints was that the advert implied native 4K sources were commonplace, when in fact they’re anything but. There are no broadcasters currently broadcasting 4K films, Ultra HD Blu-rays are still just an unfinished list of specifications, and 4K streaming is still in its infancy (and only available to people willing to subscribe to Netflix NFLX +0.76% and/or Amazon Prime).

The defence put up by Currys to the ASA investigators was that the LG 4K TVs referred to in the advert “would show an increased resolution compared to standard full HD (1920×1080)” due to the quality of the processing LG uses to remap (upscale) HD sources to the 3840×2160 pixels in 4K UHD TVs.

The ASA, though, refused to accept this argument on the grounds that it had not “seen evidence showing how ‘near to’ 4K quality that increase in resolution was, or that any increase in quality was, therefore, comparable with, and similar to, genuine 4K quality.”

The ASA ruling further concluded that: “Because there was such limited 4K content available in the UK, we understood that any improvement in quality in films or programmes watched over the Christmas period was unlikely to be achieved by the use of 4K technology specifically.”

LG’s Commercial Director of Consumer Electronics in the UK stated at a product launch event last week that he believes the upscaling in LG’s latest 4K TVs delivers ’95-96%’ of the experience with HD sources that you get with native 4K content. The ASA, though, clearly doesn’t agree – and to be honest, based on my experience of testing  many 4K TVs over the past two years, neither do I. Yes, some 4K TVs do upscale HD more effectively than you might expect considering the process involves conjuring up more than six million new pixels of picture information, but at no point has any upscaled image I’ve seen got within a few per cent of rivalling the look of a good true 4K source.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Hotel manager handed £200,000 fine for flouting fire safety laws

Ouch!! A hotel manager has been handed the biggest ever fine secured by the London Fire Brigade for flouting safety laws and risking the lives of guests.

Salim Patel, former owner of the Radnor Hotel, in Bayswater, was fined more than £200,000 after fire inspectors found numerous fire safety breaches.

The Old Bailey heard during a routine inspection in 2011 investigators found missing fire doors, inadequate emergency lighting and no fire risk assessment.

The basement storeroom had also been converted to be used for sleeping.

A follow up inspection found there was no working fire detection system.

Mr Patel was ordered to make the hotel safer, but he ignored the warning and was taken to court by the LFB.

Sentencing, Judge Kennedy said the public expected “absolute attention” to fire safety and Mr Patel did not provide it.

Mr Patel was handed a four month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months during a hearing at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

He was fined £200,000 and also ordered to pay £29,922 court costs.

Neil Orbell, head of fire safety regulation, said: “This is the biggest fine we have ever secured against an individual for breaking fire safety laws and it should send a message to all business owners that if they are shirking their fire safety responsibilities and putting the public at risk we won’t hesitate to prosecute.

“The size of the fine should also serve as a stark reminder that the courts take fire safety just as seriously as we do."

found at - http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/hotel-manager-handed-200000-fine-for-flouting-fire-safety-laws-10103689.html

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

One day, you could buy a chocolate bar with your heart’s electrical signal

Fancy the idea of paying for things with our fingertips is taking hold, thanks to the likes of the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6’s efforts to bring the authentication tech to the masses. But one Canadian company is already looking ahead.

Toronto-based firm Nymi has created a band which can authenticate users using a person’s cardiac rhythm, and it's already successfully allowed users to sign into their online banking accounts in a trial run.

The Nymi Band measures and records the electrical activity of a user’s heart and, combined with a Windows, iOS, Android or Mac app via Bluetooth, allows people to confirm their identity.

Our hearts create electrical impulses generated by the polarisation and depolarisation of cardiac tissue, creating a unique waveform - essentially a fingerprint for the heart - and it’s this signal which ECG readers like the Nymi Band, can detect.

In its current state you simply touch a sensor on the band with one finger while it’s strapped to your opposite wrist, and we can’t see any reason why the technology can’t be used to authentic contactless purchases in future. As you can imagine, it’s also much harder to fake than a fingerprint or cracking a password, and offers higher levels of security.

The Apple Watch, in tandem with Apple Pay, already lets US shoppers pay for items with a simple tap (or at least, it will, when it hits shelves on 24 April).

While it’s more convenient than whipping out a wallet, you have to enter a 4-digit code each time you wear the Apple Watch to authenticate it to make payments - and that’s after you’ve authenticated the Apple Pay app with your fingerprint.

Sure that all adds up to just a few seconds, but being able to authenticate payments directly with an ECG band will be faster, and more secure than a 4-digit code to boot.

We’re still quite a way off from buying crips with our hearts, but with testing already taking place in the Royal Bank of Canada and Halifax, we’re definitely on the right track.

Found on  http://www.stuff.tv/news/one-day-you-could-buy-chocolate-bar-your-hearts-electrical-

Monday, 23 March 2015

Time for a Fire Risk assesment?

we hear many horror stories... check out this one from a Manchester Newspaper

The Oasis Lounge
     
Bosses and employees of a shisha bar branded a ‘death-trap’ over serious fire safety failings have been convicted in a landmark prosecution.

The Oasis Lounge on Great Jackson Street, Hulme, was torn down in February 2013 because it was deemed to be a fire risk.

The venue - one long room with settees - was covered by a flammable, Bedouin-style marquee and its only fire exit was blocked by barrels of diesel.

Customers smoked Turkish-style water pipes but the fire service said smouldering charcoal made the premises high-risk and it was ordered to close immediately.

Bosses however flouted the order by continuing to host parties for as many as 150 people. Now four men and two women have been convicted of a string of fire safety offences in what is thought to be biggest prosecution of its kind.

They are Wali Yaqub, 35, of Mauldeth Road, Burnage; Tajamul Khan, 26, of Nebo Street, Bolton; Bushra Javed, 25, of Stainer Street, Longsight; Adeel Bhatti, 26, of Chapel Way Gardens, Oldham; Ishtiaq Ahmed, 36, of Chapelway Gardens, Royton, and Salma Jangeer, 32.


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Lighter Batteries For Electric Vehicles - will it help?

For battery electric vehicles to overcome the built-in advantages of vehicles rocking conventional internal combustion engines, many analysts point to battery costs as being the determining factor. But we also need to consider weight. in particular, Battery weight.

The main goal of the Tesla Gigafactory is to bring battery costs down by some 30%, allowing the Tesla Model III the ability to offer a 200-mile driving range for just $35,000. Elon Musk has again and again targeted the BMW 3-Series as the Model III’s main competitor, and with a curb weight of just over 3,400 pounds (1,542 kgs), the Bimmer represents an excellent “goal” weight for the average family sedan. The Tesla Model S, with its 4,600 pound (2,086 kgs) curb weight, is a much heavier car in comparison, with about 1,600 of those pounds dedicated to the battery alone. In order to bring the batteries weight down Tesla must bring the watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg) up, and it will do that with new battery cell technology.

Currently, Tesla uses thousands of individual Panasonic 18650 laptop battery cells in its battery packs, which cost an estimated $250/kwh and offer an estimated energy density of 233 Wh/kg. Once Gigafactory production begins though, Tesla will be upgrading to new 20700 battery cells, which will be physically larger, capable of holding more energy, and thus requiring fewer individual modules. As battery chemistries and energy densities improve, battery electric vehicles could actually end up weighing substantially less than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles.

For battery electric vehicles to overcome the built-in advantages of vehicles rocking conventional internal combustion engines, many analysts point to battery costs as being the determining factor. But an article written for Seeking Alpha emphasizes that there may be another tipping point in the battery electric vehicles vs. internal combustion engines battle, and that’s the weight of the batteries themselves.

found on http://cleantechnica.com/2015/03/17/lighter-batteries-may-prove-tipping-point-electric-vehicles/

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Silicon carbide based devices to protect aircraft electrical systems

Flying in a Storm can be pretty scary. With lightning paths travelling from cloud-to-ground or cloud-to-cloud - and with an aircraft in flight sometimes forming part of this route.

Despite all appearances to the contrary, such an event doesn’t spell danger as the outer skin of the aircraft, which is traditionally aluminium, does much to accommodate the lightning’s path. Meanwhile, voltage surge suppression devices protect aircraft electronics from overload by the current involved.

However, the next generation of aircraft, with their increased use of composite materials for constructing their airframes - and resulting reduced electrical screening - will require a new approach to this. Although lighter and more fuel-efficient aircraft are certainly more attractive, it is highly important that their lightning protection functions are not reduced. 

As a result, researchers are exploring the possibility of using a silicon carbide based device to protect aircraft electrical systems, in the form of Innovate UK-funded Current Limiting Diodes (CLDs), which will absorb excess energy surges induced in the electrical wiring by a lightning strike while reducing the size and therefore the weight of traditional suppressor devices.

The project is being led by Controls and Data Services, part of the Rolls-Royce Group, alongside Raytheon UK, which is lending its expertise in high-temperature silicon carbide (HiTSiC).

Found on : http://www.theengineer.co.uk/news/silicon-carbide-based-devices-to-protect-aircraft-electrical-systems/1020072.article#ixzz3UrF0RVM9

Friday, 20 March 2015

Friday Fact

•In Disney's Fantasia, the Sorcerer name is Yensid which is Disney backwards.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Selfie danger during solar eclipse, eye experts warn

Taking pictures of tomorrows solar eclipse on a smartphone could put people at risk of blindness, eye experts warn.

The College of Optometrists says the danger comes should people look directly at the Sun as they position themselves for selfies or other shots.

Inadvertently glancing at the Sun - even briefly while setting up a shot - can lead to burns at the back of eye.

Tomorrow the UK will experience a partial solar eclipse - the Moon will pass in front of the Sun, blotting out up to 98% of its disc and putting much of the UK into a morning twilight.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

DOUBLE your phone's battery time with a special DSyson battery...

James Dyson is hoping to boost the battery life of our smartphones, cars and - of course - our vacuum cleaners.

He has invested £10 million in Michigan-based battery experts Sakti3.

The company has developed a range of 'solid-state' batteries (SSBs) that store 50 per cent more energy than current models and will make our favourite gadgets smaller and safer.

Firm's solid-state battery stores more power than standard lithium-ion. SSBs replace liquid electrolyte in current Li-ion with a metal coating, This makes them more robust, safer and can double the energy density.

Batteries will feature in Dyson's range of cordless vacuum cleaners

The technology could also be used in anything that has a rechargeable battery.
  

Friday, 13 March 2015

Friday 13th fact

•Months that begin on a Sunday will always have a "Friday the 13th."

Thursday, 12 March 2015

1 in 4 companies endanger employees

A quarter of European businesses are risking the safety of their employees because of badly maintained fire systems, a study has found.

The survey of European fire equipment installers, carried out by FIA member and fire safety solutions manufacturer Hochiki Europe, also revealed that 33% of customers do not have up to date fire detection records on site.

The company stresses that failing to properly maintain a fire safety system risks lives and leads to false alarms.

The study also highlights legislation such as the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, which dictates that businesses must meet certain standards regarding the maintenance of safety systems and protection of the workforce.

To help support businesses accurately assess their existing security equipment, Hochiki Europe has developed an online tool which quizzes the user on the performance status of a building’s current solution and provides guidance about how to improve it.


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Heat-gathering concept tyre charges your car while you drive.

At the Geneva car show, Goodyear showed an intriguing concept tyre that would feed an electric car's batteries while rolling down the road.

Since no one wants to be stranded with an empty battery, electric-car-range anxiety is a real thing. A

The basic idea behind the BH03 is that it takes the heat generated while driving and transforms it into electrical energy that could be used to recharge a car's batteries.

Details on the tyre, which is constructed with a layer of thermo-piezoelectric material, are very vague.

The BH03 tyre is also designed with ultra-black textured patches meant to absorb both light and heat. Sunlight warms up the tires on a parked electric car, adding to the heat that can be transformed into electric energy.

The BH03 is just a concept at this point. we think it could take quite some time for us to be able to buy them in real life.


Tuesday, 10 March 2015

SpaceX Falcon 9 Brings All-Electric Satellites Into Orbit

Space transport services company SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Sunday, March 1, to place the first ever all-electric communications satellites into orbit.

The two communications satellites were built by Boeing and owned by Bermuda-based ABS and Paris-based Eutelsat Communications, which shared the manufacturing and launching costs of the satellites in a business arrangement prompted by technological innovation.

The pair of satellites was designed to deliver video, internet, data and mobile services worldwide and equipped with all-electric and lightweight engines instead of the chemical propulsion systems that are used conventionally.

Because the satellites run entirely on electric instead of fuel, they are cheaper and lighter to transport making it possible to launch them in a medium sized Falcon 9 rocket.

Fuel takes up 50 percent of the weight of most communications satellites which is traditionally a liquid propellant being carried for in-space maneuvers. Boeing's innovation allows operators of satellites to order smaller spacecraft that can host additional communications capacity in order to replace the mass that is being free up by the removal of the fuel tanks.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Solar Impulse plane begins epic global flight

A record-breaking attempt to fly around the world in a solar-powered plane has got under way from Abu Dhabi.



The aircraft - called Solar Impulse-2 - took off from the Emirate, heading east to Muscat in Oman.
Over the next five months, it will skip from continent to continent, crossing both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in the process.

Andre Borschberg was at the controls of the single-seater vehicle as it took off at 07:12 local time (03:12 GMT).

He will share the pilot duties in due course with fellow Swiss, Bertrand Piccard.

The plan is stop off at various locations around the globe, to rest and to carry out maintenance, and also to spread a campaigning message about clean technologies.

Monday's leg to Oman will cover about 400km and take an estimated 12 hours. Details of the journey are being relayed on the internet.


Found on the BBC

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Ford launches e-bikes

Motor company Ford has launched electric bicycles at Mobile World Congress, as part of its plans to extend its footprint beyond cars.



Increasingly car manufacturers are looking to new ways to make money with many developing so-called smart transportation systems.

Ford's e-bikes come in two flavours - one for use by commuters and one as a commercial bike for couriers.

Both are linked to a smartphone app that provides step-by-step navigation.

The experiment with e-bikes is part of Ford's smart mobility plan - it is keen to study how such bicycles integrate with cars and public transport.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Ikea unveils phone-charging furniture

Ikea has unveiled a range of furniture fitted with wireless charging spots for mobile devices.

The Home Smart range will initially include lamps, bedside tables and a coffee table as well as individual charging pads for any surface.

Ikea has used the wireless charging standard QI, which is also supported by Samsung in its latest handset, the S6.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth urged caution over the recyclability of such products.
The Swedish furniture firm will sell charging covers for incompatible iPhone and Samsung models.
There are currently more than 80 QI-compatible handsets and 15 QI-enabled cars on the market according to QI's backers the Wireless Power Consortium, an industry body whose members includes Belkin, Motorola, Panasonic and Sony.

However it is not the only charging standard in development.

The S6 will also be compatible with PMA, a rival wireless charger solution provided by the Power Matters Alliance, whose members include Starbucks, Duracell Powermat, Huawei and Lenovo.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Thursday, 5 March 2015

World's first lagoon power plants unveiled in UK

Plans to generate electricity from the world's first series of tidal lagoons have been unveiled in the UK.



The six lagoons - four in Wales and one each in Somerset and Cumbria - will capture incoming and outgoing tides behind giant sea walls, and use the weight of the water to power turbines.

A £1bn Swansea scheme, said to be able to produce energy for 155,000 homes, is already in the planning system.

Energy Secretary Ed Davey says he wants to back the project.

The cost of generating power from the Swansea project will be very high, but the firm behind the plan says subsequent lagoons will be able to produce electricity much more cheaply.

It says the series of six lagoons could generate 8% of the UK's electricity for an investment of £12bn.

read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31682529


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

5G researchers manage record connection speed

Researchers at the University of Surrey's 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC) managed one terabit per second (Tbps) - many thousands of times faster than current data connections.

The head of the 5GIC said he hoped to demonstrate the technology to the public in 2018.
Ofcom has said 5G could be available in Britain by 2020.

At 1Tbps, it would be theoretically possible to download a file 100 times the size of a feature film in about three seconds. The speed is more than 65,000 times faster than average 4G download speeds.
It is also far in excess of the previous best achieved in tests: Samsung's 7.5 gigabits per second (Gbps), which is less than 1% of the Surrey team's speed.

According to news website V3, 5GIC director Prof Rahim Tafazolli said: "We have developed 10 more breakthrough technologies and one of them means we can exceed 1Tbps wirelessly. This is the same capacity as fibreoptics but we are doing it wirelessly."

His research team built its own kit and carried out the tests in lab conditions over a distance of 100m.
'Step change'

It remains to be seen whether it will be possible to replicate the speeds in real-world conditions. Prof Tafazolli said he wanted to carry out more tests around the university's campus before going public.
"We want to be the first in the world to show such high speeds," he said.

The regulator Ofcom has been supportive of efforts to get 5G to the public and, last month, it called for input from the industry on how to go about it.

It has said that 5G would be able to use very high-frequency spectrum - above 6 GHz - to run a range of services - from holographic projections to financial trading.

The regulator said it expected 5G mobile to be capable of delivering between 10 and 50Gbps, compared with the 4G average download speed of 15Megabits per second (Mbps).

Speaking as Ofcom launched its consultation in January this year, its acting chief executive Steve Unger said: "5G must deliver a further step change in the capacity of wireless networks, over and above that currently being delivered by 4G."

The breakthrough by the 5GIC team brings that one step closer. But Prof Tafazolli said there were hurdles to overcome before 5G would be ready

"An important aspect of 5G is how it will support applications in the future. We don't know what applications will be in use by 2020, or 2030 or 2040 for that matter, but we know they will be highly sensitive to latency.

"We need to bring end-to-end latency down to below one millisecond so that it can enable new technologies and applications that would just not be possible with 4G," he told V3.

found on the BBC.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The 'Internet of things'

"Internet of things" like it or not is here to stay. The idea that everything in the human environment, from kitchen appliances to industrial equipment, could be equipped with sensors and processors that can exchange data, helping with maintenance and the coordination of tasks. Realizing that vision, however, requires transmitters that are powerful enough to broadcast to devices possible the other side of your house, but energy-efficient enough to last for months -- or even to harvest energy from heat or mechanical vibrations.

A key challenge is designing these circuits with extremely low standby power, because most of these devices are just sitting idling, waiting for some event to trigger a communication.
When it's on, you want to be as efficient as possible, and when it's off, you want to really cut off the off-state power, the leakage power.

Expect a new Bluetooth transmission with an even longer-range 802.15.4 wireless-communication protocol.

While semiconductors are not naturally very good conductors, neither are they perfect insulators. Even when no charge is applied to the gate, some current still leaks across the transistor. It's not much, but over time, it can make a big difference in the battery life of a device that spends most of its time sitting idle.

These are the challenges that face us.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Half of pubs compliant with fire safety regulations

Pubs and clubs could be losing money through out-of-date fire assessments, after a Government report outlined that only half of licensed premises are complaint with the Fire Safety Order.

Research shows that only 52% of 8,200 licensed premises audited were “satisfactorily compliant” after being tested by fire and rescue authorities (FRA), compared to 30% of 4,900 offices and 29% of 6,000 factories and warehouses.

The most commonly non-compliance issues were risk assessments, emergency routes and exits and maintaining precautions.

A fire risk assessments is a legal requirement and determines the number of people a premises can accommodate at any one time.

GET YOUR PUBLIC HOUSE IN ORDER



Saturday, 28 February 2015

Anaerobic digester in Baldock converts food to electricity

A new anaerobic digester has opened in Hertfordshire, turning waste food from restaurants, factories and businesses into electricity.

The £12m recycling plant is between Baldock and Royston, on the A505.

It can process up to 40,000 tonnes of waste, converting it into methane-generated electricity.

see the video here... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-31442496

Friday, 27 February 2015

Frday Fact

•Elvis had a twin brother named Garon, who died at birth, which is why Elvis' middle name was spelled Aron; in honor of his brother.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Should all landlords install smoke alarms?

Expect laws being introduced to ensure that all private landlords install smoke alarms, say Fire and Rescue Authorities across England and Wales.

Currently, landlords are only legally obliged to install smoke alarms if they are renting out Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), but that means there are 3.5 million smaller private rental homes which do not have to have them installed by law.

The government passed a Bill in 2013 which would require all private landlords to provide smoke alarms but this has gone out to consultation and has not yet been brought into force. Now, with a general election looming, Fire and Rescue Authorities are calling for this law to be enacted.

The call for action forms a central part of a key report from the Local Government Association ( LGA ), The Fire and Rescue Service: Making our Nation Safer, which was launched on 7 February in collaboration with the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFAO).

The document sets out a blueprint for the next government, with both this proposal and a number of others detailing how fire and rescue services can improve fire safety and save the public purse money.

Latest figures show that more than 200 people die in home fires every year (in both rental and owner occupier properties) and that householders are at least four times more likely to die in a fire if they do not have a working smoke alarm.

The LGA report suggests that more than £6.5m could be saved from the public purse by making smoke alarms mandatory in private rented properties and at the same time reduce the risk of fire and associated deaths and injuries for millions of households.

Fire and Rescue Authorities are already taking the lead by giving out free alarms and launching safety awareness campaigns but they argue that, given the tough austerity climate, it must be down to private landlords to ensure that alarms are installed.

Mandatory smoke alarms is also set to be a key issue at the LGA ’s annual fire conference in March.

found http://www.fia.uk.com/en/information/details/index.cfm/call-for-all-landlords-to-install-smoke-alarms

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

London's Formula E electric car race track

 

The route for the London race of the first Formula E season has been announced.
 
The world's first fully electric motor racing series will finish in London with two rounds held on 27 and 28 June.
 
A specially created 15 turn, 3km circuit will be created to run through Battersea Park in south London.
 
British racing driver Sam Bird said the track had "fast straights, high-speed bends, as well as some challenging chicanes and braking zones."
 
Bird, who competes for the UK-based Virgin Racing team, added: "The track is in the beautiful Battersea Park, right next to the River Thames, just across from Chelsea and with some of the most famous features of London's skyline in the background.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Two companies convicted for NICEIC logo misuse

The NICEIC has been seeing an increasing number of electricians advertising themselves as being registered with the organisation when they are not. In the latest example of this unfortunate trend, two company officials have been ordered to pay over £30,000 for offences concerning mis-selling the Green Deal scheme, failure to provide the appropriate cancellation rights and misuse of the NICEIC logo.

Pretending to be registered with the NICEIC when not actually so is a serious problem, not least because the NICEIC logo is recognised by the public as a mark of excellence and is used by electrical contractors as a way of promoting the quality of their work.

Any person or company abusing the logo is likely to reduce the public’s trust in it, whilst disadvantaging bona fide NICEIC registered contractors. Fraudulent electricians are also far more likely to produce sub-standard or actively dangerous work.

In this latest case, which concerned NICEIC logo mis-use as well as Green Deal scheme mis-selling and other offences, Abdul Muhith and David N Clarke of Becoming Green (UK) were sentenced in January at Cardiff Crown Court in relation to their guilty pleas under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 Act.

Muhith, who is company director, pleaded guilty to six offences related to misleading consumers. Homeowners were led by him to believe they could obtain home improvements under the Green Deal scheme (https://www.gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures/overview) for a one-off payment of £299. They were not told that in reality the Green Deal scheme is a loan agreement that is subject to interest payments.

Clarke, head of operations at Becoming Green (UK), pleaded guilty to three offences under the regulations, including misuse of the NICEIC logo.

Abdul Muhith was sentenced to pay £2,500 per offence (totaling £15,000) and ordered to pay a £2,500 contribution towards prosecution costs, along with a further £1,794 in compensation to the victims in the case. A victim surcharge of £15 was also ordered. David N Clarke was sentenced to a fine of £2,500 per offence (totaling £7,500) and ordered to pay a £2,500 contribution towards prosecution costs and £598 compensation to the victims – again; a £15 victim surcharge was added.

This case against was brought by Scambusters, a regional Trading Standards team for Wales, with assistance from the NICEIC. Scambusters aims to help homeowners and the general public to avoid being taken in by dangerous Internet scams, frustrating spam, devious identity theft, and other cunning online and offline scams – such as this ‘Becoming Green UK’ case. Since November 1994, Scambusters says that it has helped over eleven million people protect themselves from scams.

These are not the only recent NICEIC logo misuse examples. In a separate case, a contractor in the North East has been sentenced for unauthorised use of the NICEIC approved contractor logo (as well as two other logos).

Martin Coverdale, trading as Coverdale & Sons Plumbing & Heating, was taken to court over nine separate misuse counts under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act. He was sentenced to a community order totaling more than 180 hours at Middlesbrough Crown Court in late January.

These, and other, successful prosecutions help emphasise that those thinking about misusing the NICEIC logo will be caught and dealt with appropriately by the courts. Not only that, but contractors caught falsely claiming to be members will be named and shamed on the NICEIC website and their details passed to Trading Standards.

As NICEIC CEO Emma Clancy commented: “These latest prosecutions show how seriously we take misuse of our logo.

“The NICEIC name is associated with quality and we will work with the appropriate authorities to protect those contractors who are legitimately registered with us and have the quality of their work assessed on a regular basis,” she said.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Electrical switches in deadly Perth shopping centre blast 'problematic in UK'

The same type of electrical switch that exploded at a Perth shopping centre at the start of February,  killing two men, has been identified as problematic in the United Kingdom, a supplier says.

Two men died and two others were badly injured when a high voltage electrical switch blew up at Morley Galleria shopping centre on February 3.

Electricity North West in the UK has experienced three incidents in which a GF3 fuse switch unit failed disruptively.

Manual operation of the fuse switches was banned in 2013 when any part of the unit or switchboard was live, after a defect was identified.

Last year, Electricity North West said the defect potentially affected "around 11,000 switchgear units in our switchgear portfolio which have the GF3 fuse switch mechanism".

Further investigation identified 2,200 units potentially needing replacement.

Director of Energy Safety Ken Bowron said the Galleria switch gear was the same type, although he was not aware of the UK problems.

He said the UK's experience would be examined as part of the investigation into the blast.
National switch audit needed: union

found http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-14/electrical-switches-in-shopping-centre-blast-problem-in-uk/6095012

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Many Scottish electric car chargers 'not being used'

Almost half of Scotland's electric vehicle charging points could be lying unused, according to a study.

The RAC Foundation said it believes about 1,100 electric cars and vans are now on the road in Scotland.

But it said official data suggested the country's charging network was running below capacity.
The foundation analysed data - which relates to one month only - from Transport Scotland.

The statistics from last August, which were released under freedom of information rules, showed that 217 of the 482 units in the ChargePlace Scotland network were not plugged into at all during that month.

The remaining 265 (55%) were used at least once.

ChargePlace Scotland is the initiative behind Scotland's free charge point network. - There were some notable exceptions to the Scotland average, however, with all the charging units in Edinburgh, Falkirk and Stirling used at least once in August.

Overall that month, there was a total of 2,885 individual charging sessions in Scotland.
Of these sessions, 46% took place in three cities - Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow.
found on the BBC

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Unplug Now and Save Energy

We are urging everyone to turn electrical items off to save money.

Around £65 a year can be saved on energy bills by not leaving electrical items on standby or plugged in.

This is a very simple step we can all take to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

The simple rule is that anything with a clock or light on when not in use or that gets warm to the touch such as a phone charger plug will still be using energy and costing you money.

A TV left on standby uses on average 1.4 watts of electricity. This may not sound like much but add to it 2.2 watts for a microwave, three watts for a DVD player and 3.8 watts for a laptop plus other appliances left on, and this can add up over a year to about five per cent of the total electricity being used in your home.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Friday Fact

•Donald Duck comics were banned in Finland because he doesn't wear anything on his bottom half

RUDE!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

iCar

as we said earlier, there is a strong possibility that Apple may be about to build an electric car.

The Wall Steet Journal kicked things off with a report that Apple had been hiring “hundreds” of staff with automotive design skills to work on a project called “Titan” that may be a self-driving electric vehicle configured in a (not-so-exciting) mini-van design.

There are several back-stories to this potential move by Apple. In one, we see continuing competition with rival Google, who has been working on a driverless car for some time and are saying that they will be launching a commercial version onto the market between 2017 and 2020. Google’s
motivation behind the self-driving car has been the development of the artificial intelligence software capable of pulling off this feat. Even if the car is not successful, the AI software will have a range of applications and possibility that would make the project still worthwhile. Increasingly, Apple has shown its willingness to develop its own capability in a range of competitive technologies that it can incorporate into products.

In another back-story, there is electric car company Tesla whose CEO, Elon Musk, has claimed that it will be as big financially, as Apple, within a decade. This will in part be based on the release of the Model 3, an affordable (US $35,000) family car with a range of 200 miles. Part of Tesla’s strategy appears to include the poaching of numerous Apple staff. Although it seems that Apple has been reciprocating by offering Tesla staff large signing bonuses to move to Apple.

found at http://www.biznews.com/global-investing/2015/02/16/exactly-apple-keen-making-electric-car/