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Nigel Bridgman-Elliot

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Everything posted by Nigel Bridgman-Elliot

  1. When did we have the last real boom ? I remember the recession of the 1980's and we've been suffering from it ever since. Yes yes I know the offical figures say things got better, but if you actually visit (Like I do..) towns around the country over the years and revisit them, your see them shrink to a former shadow of themselves, endless closed shops, what are open is the odd pound shop, factories closed, most depressing. I saw a TV programme recently which painted a rosy picture of another country, Chile, how things really improved there, yet when I read another view of the country, it paints rather a different picture... Made me think about the UK and how we are constantly told things are better now than they have ever been, sure for those few with money, those at the bottom aren't really doing as well as you might think and the numbers are increasing.. For those interested: http://www.amazon.com/Ascent-Money-Financial-History-World/dp/1594201927 http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-chichile.htm
  2. I read them as well I think the oldest ones was from 1890's we found in a house in Cumbria, and recently recovered a 1946 Times newspaper from downstairs when the builders gutted the room there. Better to find that than nothing when someones put down a rubber backed carpet and you spend all day scraping the squished gunk off! FX [ runs and hides at the idea of doing anymore carpet/flooring laying, ever! ] I have been considering carpet tiles though, whilst a pain to cut (I wonder what is the best way to cut them, hydraulic press ? I just used carpet scissors and it took forever..), they do allow for easy repair/replacement, hardwearing, but probably burn well in a fire
  3. Years ago I spent a weekend watching the meter dial to try and figure out what was using so much juice in our then home, and found it was the freezer, it was using 10 times what any average one would use ! (Nowdays its a bit easier to google your make/model and maybe find out if you've an efficient design, or like me, had the worst model in the UK! which was obviously why it was cheap 2nd hand..) Amusingly, what uses the most juice now is all the AC I need to keep cool.. (Hence some desire to move someplace colder!) One of these might be useful to check specific plug in devices: http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=38343 Perhaps a business oppertunity for someone to provide a low cost checking service, or at the very least, buy a model and rent it out on a weekly/fornightly basis..
  4. Ah good! I thought a quick warning about the place was in order in case you was about to spend/loose a fortune
  5. Its usual practice for carpet fitters to stick paper underneath when they are laying (Especially foam backed carpet to stop it sticking to the floor.) and in the old days people used newspaper. I would think though that with all that breeze it wouldn't stand much of a chance getting mouldy (But perhaps someone more in the building trade can comment on that one.) I'm interested to know the floor construction, is the house on stilts ? are the airbricks placed such that a howling gale is passing into them ? (Perhaps careful placing of a few spare bricks, not as to block the airbricks intake, but to deflect some of the incoming wind so as to reduce the amount of air passing under your floor might be advisible, again hopefully some builder type with more experience than I might comment as to why your floors might be especially cold.) Are they solid floors, is the house old, new ? Double glazed, loft insulated ? (If not double glazed, a thick lined curtain with a pelmet does almost as well, and keeping stuff in the loft can do almost as well as real loft insulation. (Though I think you can get grants these days for the stuff if you cannot afford it new.) old doors for example to then pile stuff on top of are good for that.) Windswept spot ? (A free trees/bushes near the house can help reduce the wind effect.) Is the house particlarly drafty ? (Eg. do the doors all fit well with draft proofing all around and at the bottom ?) (Here I've 5 layers of carpet on my floor and it certainly keeps out the drafts! even so I had to around the edge of the carpet/floor join and use sprayfoam to plug gaps, but that was mainly to keep the neighbours cockroaches from gaining entry..)
  6. You might want to check out these postings about people having similar trouble. (And maybe even contacting them to find out what happened!) http://www.moneysupermarket.com/community/forums/t/total-control-electric-2435.aspx
  7. A quick google and I find a nice meaty section here talking about it: http://www.moneysupermarket.com/community/forums/t/swoopocouk-real-deal-24819.aspx
  8. I came across this earlier when reading another forum about the subject of how facts are not always how they appear to be at first glance.. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/12/08/how-not-to-measure-temperature-part-79-would-you-could-you-with-a-boat/#more-4455 I wonder what the GISTEMP algorithm does..
  9. I've not heard of 3pm to 6pm before when it comes to Economy 7, its more like : http://www.energychoices.co.uk/economy-7.html > It’s called Economy 7 because for seven hours every night > (normally from 1am until 8am) your electricity will cost considerably > less than the standard daytime rate. Although times can vary > dependent on suppliers and regions. I'd be most interested to know supplier so we can check to see if the times are the same. (They might recently have changed them and not told you..) http://www.eonenergy.com/FAQ/Meters/Economy-7-Details.htm Also, your Economy 7 meter might be playing up, perhaps its not getting its radio signal to switch: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_7 > The specific times when Economy 7 applies vary between different > regions and at different times of year. Usually the seven-hour > period starts at 1:30am during summer and 12:30am in winter. > Some regions use radio teleswitching to control consumers' systems > and vary the timing — this uses data carried on the > 198 kHz BBC Radio 4 LW signal. Lets hope its not an issue with the radio 4 transmitter.. (If I recal correctly, if that goes down, then our nuclear deterant is supposed to be fired..) http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Longwave.htm > Royal Navy nuclear submarines carrying ballistic missiles are > allegedly under standing orders to monitor the BBC Radio 4 > transmission on 198 kHz in waters near the U.K. It is rumoured > that they are to construe a sudden halt in transmission as an > indicator that the U.K. is under attack, whereafter their sealed > orders go into place. I'm not familar myself enough to know if there is any indication on the meter or not to let you know when its working correctly. Its also possible your storage heaters might not be wired into it, had anyone around to do wiring for you recently ? (Maybe check where the wiring ends up.) Also, if you have a loft, check it! (Once someone I knew moved into a house and wondered why their electric bill was so high, they checked the loft and found a hot air heater had been left running 24/7!)
  10. Being that the UK is expecting brownouts again this winter, and our electric generating capacity is falling and reckon to continue to fall for some years to come, I reckon its a fair bet that for at least the next maybe 5 years, that electric prices will go up. Beyond that, its hard to tell with the likes of solar/fusion/something else/ not too far away. But then it comes down to your operating costs, even if the price falls, as long as your costs are low and you can still make a profit, then all is good. One might ask, how low can the price go per unit before its a problem ? (Aren't they getting some subsidy for producing green electric that means they are guaranteed an income for X years no matter what the price...)
  11. If your using storage heaters then your most likely I imagine on Economy 7 tariff, and from what I remember thats very much more expensive per unit during the day, its only cheaper at night. So if you have heavy electric usage items on during the day, its costing you way more than you might imagine! You might have them all on timers to run at night, but in case you don't, thats another thing to look at. If there is a cold wind coming up through the floor, (wooden floor?) I'd suggest if you've carpet to lay newspaper under it, and if you can afford it, underlay. (You can sometimes get free 2nd hand underlay if you ask around, asking in carpet shops for example, they might give you a ring when they are next on a job where they are ripping out old underlay and you could go and pick it up, if no transport, then it might cost you a few tenners to get them to deliver it/etc. I got mine for free from a housing association that was refitting a home, or rubbish day in middleclass neighbourhood.) Some fluorescent bulbs might help if your not using them. (But not on the stairs!)
  12. Thats does seem somewhat on the high side. I'd suggest an old fashioned approach of spending the weekend checking each electrical item in turn to see roughly how much juice it uses and to check your electric meter reading every hour. (Eg. turn everything off, just turn on the one thing and see how much juice it uses per minute/10 minutes and watching the meter to catch any sudden jumps.) You might find that something is running away with the juice. (I once found a house where the neighbour had wired in his electric to theirs to avoid paying.. or another where the hot water heater was on 24/7 and the bulb had gone to show it was on.) My finger might point towards the underfloor heating myself, but I'm not expert, just a problem solver
  13. Also, encouraging news on the radar issue: http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/display.var.2069406.0.i_want_to_bring_james_bond_technology_to_cathkin_braes.php > The firm had used "stealth technology" to devise turbine blades > which do not register on radar and were looking for a place to trial it. I wonder if its anything like the Carbon Fiber Blades designed by AEROMAX ? And: http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/holographic-infill-radar-offers-potential,589581.shtml > Holographic Radar is a non-scanning, continuously tracking 3D > radar that can discriminate between turbines and aircraft based > on easily observable differences in their behaviour Has it already been mentioned the electric usage locally, compared with whats planned to be generated ? (I'm just wondering, if it was all sold locally, then they could still make a profit, and maybe even reduce the price a little to encourage people to move here.. ;- ) )
  14. Maybe a solar power station instead http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/12/1-gigawatt-solar-power-plant-planned-jordan.php?daylife=1 And if you build a factory too, you've something to export.. I do wonder though, if you used a flow battery: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_battery http://www.metaefficient.com/renewable-power/australian-island-using-flow-batteries-to-store-wind-power.html http://cleantechnica.com/2008/11/18/new-cost-effective-battery-tested-to-store-wind-power/ http://www.leonardo-energy.org/drupal/node/959 How big it would need to be to cope with periods of the wrong type of wind. I'm under the impression the main reason for the wind farm is to generate an income, one only avaliable if the power is exported. Though being connected to a grid does I also imagine improve security of supply as you have a backup if you need it.
  15. Hopefully others will answer to, but for my 2 cents, the signal quality seems to hint towards the low side. With mine, if its less than around 50% then I get issues with frozen screen, some channels not working/etc. Its worth noting if its different when its playing up, and/or its windy/raining. What size dish do you have ? (A bigger one might be needed..) I'd say offhand its a fair bet that if you had someone around to look at it that knew what they was doing, they could make it better. Also, is the dish clean and not covered in mould ?
  16. If I might just add this I saw in the news recently: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7763900.stm > Turbine off after ice falls > > A giant wind turbine near Peterborough has been switched off > after its frozen blades threw shards of ice crashing into > nearby homes. Ice wasn't an issue I had thought or heard of before, I wonder what they do from a design point of view to solve that issue ? (Apart from perhaps building them further away from peoples homes..)
  17. Maybe the house has moved (For some reason is reminded of a building he once worked in that once they put 42,000 tons of books in it, started to sink..) Choice of receiver can effect the signal quality even, if I plug in my old Pace receiver it reports about half the signal than my new Pace box on the same dish/LNB ! What do you get when you look at services, system setup, signal test ? (A picture of that if you've a camera phone/digital camera/etc. would be invaluable, as descriptions of bar percentages/etc. isn't necessarly always accurate.) Maybe a wind break near the dish to help shield it would be handy, as I'm always pretty careful to place mine in a sheltered area for that reason. The dish could always have been slightly out of alignment, also maybe a bolt has rusted here or there and changed it slightly. How long a cable run do you have from receiver to dish ? (Shorter, better quality, or even thicker cable can improve things a little there if you really want to tweak things, and/or a replacement LNB (Though that might make things worse if its not a good one!)) It might also be interferance if your near something like a radar site, mobile phone mast, which might be solved by moving the dish so its shielded by a building. I've spent years twiddling with my setup to get it to work smoothly At one point, I even had a dish inside screwed to the side of my TV and it worked fine through the window! (TV being an old Philips 26" model with wooden casing, hard to screw things to todays plastic jobbies..) Now I've a 90cm dish thats served me well for years, but it was a pain to find that sweet spot outside to avoid the tree as much as possible to get enough of a signal so I'm not annoyed by picture breakup, also keep the cable ridiclously short, good quality, low noise LNB/etc. Before then it was on the back garden wall, and the wall was slowly falling over, so had to build a huge almost Roman seige machine style support structure to hold the wall up using old floor joists. Which, when the builders came to dig foundations next to it, I gently pointed out that removing all that wood would mean the wall would fall down.. When the wall did collaspe when they was working, luckily no one was injuried in the scramble to safety, but it was a close call! Ah yes, the old, turn it off and on again solution, I've wired up a little switch so I can do that more easily with my box, though its been much better behaved since I put a new hard disk in it.
  18. Some channels have a weaker signal than others. E4/more4 are good examples of channels that if your having trouble, your see issues with. Could be dish alighnment out alittle. Loose connector either dish side or your receiver side. (Are they covered in nice self-algamating tape to keep them dry ?) Could be wires melting next to your radiator because its too hot Could be water in the cabling if its cracked due to age, or entry point into building or around a corner where its bent too much, or if its swinging lose, or its just aged too much in the sun, or your dogs been chewing on it.. The other day I had a bird strike on my dish and it bent it out of shape! Also, maybe the twist of your LNB is slightly out. (My LNB freely moves, so I had to glue it in position to stop moving when the birds sat on it.) I've also seen dishes only attached by 2 bolts and swinging in the wind!
  19. You could always focus on quality, customer service. I buy from everywhere, and just about everywhere sucks. I'd pay alittle more if I knew when (Not if!) I had a problem/issue that I'd get help and not fobbed off. Maybe if we imported 10,000 IT folk each with their own gaming PC there could be a thriving market..
  20. If an online shop, then postage costs would be an important factor to consider if its indeed more expensive to send stuff from where you are than the majority of your competitors. (As such it can also be handy to be located close to the courier you use to keep your own transport costs down.) This can also effect VAT too, with something called Low Value Consignment Relief; http://www.out-law.com/page-7425 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/6504059.stm Someone I knew used to run such a business and even with their profit on sales as low as 2.5% they still eventually went out of business due to the very competitive nature of the industry. (Had been in the industry for something like 10+ years.) Then you have ebays fees, Paypal fees (The above mentioned person sold online without ebay or paypal fees to worry about.) Its also very time consuming to keep up with news on products, especially faults! Unless you have special advantage in the market place, I think your find it hard going. (And don't forget reputation is also important, so any upset customers can cost you more than you make from them if there are issues, plus some will rip you off!) It would be interesting to know what business rates are in Lerwick/nearby if you ever consider a shop.
  21. Even in London here all the local computer shops have gone out of business, but perhaps if it was part of another business it might survive. Which means, I may as well live in the middle of nowhere as I cannot just pop around the corner anymore for parts I want..
  22. I wonder how much it would cost to run a bus transport network which actually allowed people without a car to get to the jobs..
  23. A little more news/data about the German plant they have built to produce them in Europe and a solar powerstation if you will: http://guntherportfolio.blogspot.com/2008/09/nanosolar-photovoltaic-hindsight.html I wonder how the cost of solar compares with wind power now..
  24. Don't you just build a bit of spare capacity for when its cloudly Which you cannot really do for wind, unless you build a large flow battery.. http://www.metaefficient.com/renewable-power/australian-island-using-flow-batteries-to-store-wind-power.html I thought it was shouted from the rooftops: http://www.theenvironmentsite.org/forum/solar-energy-forum/10412-nanosolars-breakthrough-solar-now-cheaper-than-coal.html Though until we can buy the panels mass produced on Ebay, I'm as skeptical as the next person..
  25. Re. solar, I thought the sun shone every day ? I thought solar was also now cheaper than coal ? (nanosolar panels for example.) Whilst I'm also a fan of fusion, no one seems to pay geothermal much attention these days.. In London last winter we had brownouts, and are expecting them to become more common as our generating capacity falls, I'm sure some of us rememebr what it was like in the 1970's when the lights last went out.. http://century.guardian.co.uk/1970-1979/Story/0,,106893,00.html I certainly think though that nuclear looks the most promising as a known solution. (Incidently, when did Shetland become a nuclear free zone ?)
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