How Technology Is Working To Improve Energy Efficiency In The Home

Whether you’re worried about the cost of rising energy bills, the impact you have on a warming world, or both, there’s a lot to be said for investing in more efficient household energy use. New technologies are making it easier to do and are contributing to a changing perspective on how we live and what it is possible to achieve. Could you incorporate them in your home?

Construction: a changing approach

If you’ve recently purchased a new home, chances are that some of these technologies have been present from the start. The construction sector has changed significantly in recent years, partly due to government regulations as a result of environmental lobbying, and partly due to increasing public willingness to spend a bit more in order to get something that will cost less to maintain. This means that newer houses are better insulated, are likely to have double or even triple glazing in northern climates, and may incorporate features like solar panels and gray water reclamation systems from inception.

Going solar

One of the simplest things you can do to make your house more energy efficient is to install solar panels. Even if you can’t afford to generate all the electricity you need this way, or if you live in a place that doesn’t get much sun, a single panel will usually be sufficient to heat your hot water. This means you can use as much as you like without having to worry about the cost – ideal for those who love long baths. It can also support your central heating system. If you want to start on a smaller scale, you can buy simple solar-powered gadgets like toasters that fuel themselves if kept on a window ledge.

Using shutters

Some energy-efficient technologies have very old roots. Although they were not historically noted in this way, people have known for centuries that shutters are eco-friendly. They’re long lasting, with lifespans of up to two decades before repairs are needed, reducing manufacturing and maintenance costs. They’re much more efficient insulators than drapes or blinds, meaning they can also keep your home cool in summer. Manufactured today with high quality materials, some shutters even incorporate mini solar panels so they can open and close automatically under their own power.

Smart appliances

If shutters sound smart, wait until you see what’s in the kitchen. Modern appliances have the potential to be more than twice as efficient as their older counterparts, so look for their energy star ratings when you next make a purchase. It doesn’t cost much more to get good ones, and it can save you a lot of money over the long term. Using high quality materials, the latest insulation technologies and smart thermostats that adjust themselves, the latest fridges, washing machines, ovens, and more can do a lot more with a lot less energy.

As well as helping you make savings and protect the environment, investing in technologies like these can potentially increase the value of your home, so it’s well worth the effort.

Wrike Project Management Software Review

Today I’m talking about Wrike, a wonderful piece of software for project management. Wrike is a cloud-based tool available via your web browser, mobile apps for Android or iOS, and also has a Google Chrome extension. The app comes as a well-recommended project management tool, and it’s not hard to see why.

Wrike Project Management Software Review

Wrike is fast and friendly, and the project management features keep you up-to-date with all aspects of your project to get it successfully off the ground and keep everyone on the same page. I find it’s also useful when you’re working a solo project and need a little help staying organized, A.K.A. the perfect job for project management software.

The software is free for really small businesses with up to five people. That’s enough for most startup companies. By the time you become profitable enough to hire more employees, you’ll have the confidence in Wrike project management to know it’s worth paying to have it. Anyone, including large businesses and full-size enterprises, can start using Wrike as a free trial rather than jumping right in.

Wrike lets you create and assign tasks to your workforce. It also helps you keep in touch with your team for collaboration and work discussions when you’re outside of the office. If something goes wrong (or very right), you can adjust the timeline of your project easily and keep your teammates in the loop as schedules are changing. You can also easily attach pictures and documents to your project right from your computer, mobile, Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box. There are also many integrations you can use to link Wrike with your other essential work tools. The real beauty of a cloud-based app is that you can check your to do list whenever you want — from work or home — and if someone needs a gentle reminder to do something, you can send out a push notification to their mobile app or email.

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Project management software keeps everyone on their toes and on the same page. Wrike works great with smartphones and computers. The app isn’t perfect (what app is?), but it does everything I need it to do; it’ll do that for you too. People who know project management know that it’s good for business, for everyone from small to large businesses.

All-in-all, Wrike is a great piece of project management software. It includes all the features you need to keep a project organized and going strong, collaborate with all your coworkers, or manage your own project.

 

The Evolution of Mobile Phones

Its fair to say in the past 42 years mobile phones have come a long way. The graphic below will take you back in time beginning in 1973 right up to what’s happening in the future. The majority will look back and remember the late 1990’s being the time they first owned a mobile phone with the Nokia 3210 being the iPhone of the era.

One thing that is fairly amusing is how the size of mobile phones has changed over the past decades. Mobiles have gone from starting of very large in size, to going as small as possible in the early 2000’s and now because of smart phones the size is heading back to where they first started.

Looking into the future having more resistant phones can only be a good thing with the amount of glass now on mobile phones. Having flexible phones also looks interesting with phones now being so large and it being uncomfortable having them in your pocket. Perhaps having a flexible phone would eliminate this.

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This infographic is courtesy of Flexenable, presided by Indro Mukerjee – a leading producer in flexible electronics technology.

The Guide To Building Your Own Custom Gaming PC

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If you would describe yourself as the ultimate gamer and have a real appetite for it then you should have the equipment to match, and custom gaming PC’s are what you should be looking at. The reason why? Because custom gaming PC’s give you so much more in terms of capabilities and set up, and as most gaming enthusiasts would say nothing can beat the quality of gameplay you would get with a custom PC, as it’s specifically tailored to give you the best experience.

Creating your own custom gaming PC won’t be a daunting task it will just take a little research, a bit of thinking about what your gaming priorities are and some decision making. One of first the decisions you’ll make and is the heart of a custom PC is the choice of processor, whichever one you go for will have an impact on the performance of your PC so spending a little extra here wouldn’t be a bad idea. In my opinion the types of processors you should look at are high-powered CPUs such as the AMD A10 or quad-core Intel Core i7 processors, which will provide the computing muscle needed for a rich gaming experience. Alongside this you’ll choose your operating system and your best bet here is going for Microsoft Windows 8.1 64 Bit as it’s fast, reliable and shouldn’t give you any problems gaming wise.

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When you’re building your own custom gaming machine obviously one of the most important aspects is the graphics card, in my opinion to get the best out of your PC you should use discrete graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia. GPU’s by Nvidia and AMD are designed to overcome some of the most complex lighting and graphics challenges in visual computing, and allow you to run a multiple monitor setup. Speaking of monitors when purchasing one aim to get it no less than 22 inches, and make sure it’s a full 1080P HD display otherwise it will just negate having a great graphics GPU.

Alongside your graphics GPU one of the really important things to get right is your memory, as whichever machine you get your memory will seriously be tested by modern games. Ideally you want to fit your custom PC with at least 8GB of RAM but if it’s possible and in your budget get a 16GB as faster memory leads to greater performance and stability. Together with your memory you’ll need to consider the size of your hard drive or SSD if you’re planning to spend more money in this area. In terms of a hard drive you should aim to have around 750GB, but if you’re looking to get an SSD instead then currently high speed low capacity hard drives are best for gaming as they speed up boot and game launch time.

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Once you’ve sorted the key core components of your custom PC you can start looking at extras that will greater your gaming experience. Firstly to hold all those nice expensive components I recommend that you give you’re gaming PC a nice window tower case, and then trick it out with the best gaming keyboard, mouse and headset in your budget. Some other things you should definitely look at is the what Optical Drive you want to play your games on, you’re cooling or Heatsink kit and the quality speakers you want to optimise your gaming experience, but whatever you choose make sure you have fun and enjoy gaming.

If you’re interested in building your own custom gaming PC then head over to Box.co.uk they can build your dream gaming PC at a very reasonable price.

Are Wholesale Changes Needed With Internet Privacy?

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Journalism has a key role to play in the fostering and maintaining of democracy, exposing wrongdoing and providing a platform for diverse views, but journalism has also been abused to damage people’s personal lives and the advent of the internet has heightened the effects of privacy breaches and the damage they can do. As such, there is a need for changes to journalistic practices to ensure that an individual’s privacy is protected.

There are many examples of how an individual’s privacy can be breached for journalistic gain.  The exposure of phone hacking as a widespread practice among newspapers in the U.K., and tabloid newspapers in particular, highlighted that particular practice and its effect in damaging people’s private life, with information gleaned from phone hacking used to write and publish stories that were of little if no genuine public interest but were designed instead to titillate readers. Another widespread practice has been the bribing of officials with access to private information for the purposes of getting that material for publication. Close links between journalists and some police officers, for the purposes of procuring information related to individual’s private lives, has also emerged an issue of great concern for privacy campaigners. More recently, the hacking of cloud services and the subsequent leaking online of images of various celebrities highlighted the dangers of online platforms in releasing private information to a public audience.

In a broader sense, the celebrity photos hack highlighted the role of internet search engines and sites in the dissemination of private material. In particular, a debate has arisen as to whether search engines and sites can be held responsible in so far as to whether they knowingly accommodate the leaking of the information or not.  The internet is a global platform, so leaked information can be spread around the world in minutes. A breach of privacy can be distressing enough without the realisation that the information and/or images have been seen by millions of people.

The campaign for changes to privacy legislation is being led by individuals who themselves have been victims of breaches of their private life. Max Mosley – privacy campaigner – is one such example. Mosley, the former president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, the governing body for Formula 1 and other motor sports, has campaigned on a number of privacy issues, arguing, for instance, that Google is a publisher and not merely a search engine and has a responsibility as such not to breach an individual’s privacy by allowing what is private information to appear in its search returns.

The internet has had a transformative effect on people’s lives and has been a power for good in many respects, but as with all communication platforms it does need to be policed to ensure it is not abused and that people’s privacy is respected. It has been suggested that the emergence of social media, in particular, has created a digital environment in which people’s expectations of privacy are reduced. It is imperative, therefore, that the proper laws are in place to protect individuals from incursions into their private lives.

A MacBook Skin for Every Personality

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If you own a MacBook laptop, then chances are you’re already a pretty style conscious person. Apple puts a lot of thought into the design of their products, which is just one reason why it has such a high cool factor. With such innovative technologyit’s hard to imagine any way to improve it but, you’d be surprised. If you’ve ever imagined your computer in amazing Technicolor, or maybe in an earthy bamboo finish that matches your inner earth child, then you should look into MacBook skins. You can custom order these things to fit any device.

Computers like the MacBook are an investment and protecting your investment never looked this good. The skins are made of industry leading 3M adhesives which leave no sticky residue on the surface of your device. This makes changing out colors and finishes a breeze. Don’t choose from just one – experiment with every kind and find which one matches you best.

If you’re looking to purchase some customizable MacBook skins, there are a variety of online retailers to choose from. However, only a select few truly cater to their customer. Stick with companies that make it a simple, straightforward process for their customers. They should have an online preview feature that displays how your selections would look on your device. Tools like these make it much easier to shop, as you don’t have to imagine your new fashion statement in your mind’s eye. It’s right there on the screen!

It’s also important to research to find the best prices. You’ve already spent enough money on your MacBook, so you shouldn’t have to spend a tonne to make sure it’s protected. If you check out dbrand online, you’ll find the best deals on cool MacBook skins since they have an amazing selection (through their preview feature) for a fraction of the cost offered by their competitors. They also ensure their skins are precision cut to match your device using the highest quality materials, fitting around its external ports and features. By using 3M vinyl for their skin, dbrand creates skins that offer top of the line protection against scratches and wear.

When Apple continues to make thinner and lighter laptops, you need to be sure your MacBook can withstand your lifestyle. With a variety of colours and textures, you can dress up your computer to be resistant to daily wear and tear. MacBook skins are a quick and easy way to make sure your laptop will last the test of time and look amazing while doing it.

Creating A Tech-Friendly Home Office Design

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Do you remember the days of bulky computer monitors, towers and peripherals in your office? They took up space and although they were part of the technological revolution in terms of work with access to email and the internet, the rise of laptops and mobile media devices has revolutionised how office design can benefit employees and, consequently, business.

New and ever-developing technology has made life easier and more productive for everyone in the world of work. Some may worry about the ubiquitous use of email and chat interaction options on sales websites instead of telephone conversations, but the simplicity of the media on offer has made a real difference to working lives and, by extension, to office design.

Changing office appearances

Those bulky desktop monitors have been consigned to the scrapheap of tech change, and your desktop monitor will now be a smart, slimline screen. Apart from the saving in space, these give an office a slick, modern appearance. Of course, many employees will simply use laptops in the office, instantly available to take with them on a sales or other mission. Again, space that might have previously been at a premium is freed up.

You may have experienced, or been told about, the classic office cubicle, cutting employees off from each other, a little bubble created because managers often didn’t believe that fraternisation encouraged productivity. Not any more; and the new thinking about open office design is perfect for applying to the home office as well.

Thinking through your space

A home office is what you make it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a lot of space; you just need to use what you have to make the most attractive working environment that you can. It depends on what you are comfortable with and whether or not you are likely to have client meetings in your home office space.

You could really make an impression – as well as having a superb working environment – by incorporating specific office furniture into your workspace. You’ll want yourself, and any clients who visit, to be comfortable, so consider your initial furniture requirements. A leather two seater sofa adds both comfort and style to your office, taking away the hard edges of traditional office furniture.

For your own use, why not think about adding a chair that has a keyboard integrated, a multi-touch table and escritoires that are iPad ready? You want to make your environment as hassle-free as possible, removing all the wires and everything else that gets in the way of you functioning at the optimum level when you are working. If you feel relaxed and in control of your home office, then you’re likely to be much more productive.

Integration of devices and hiding behind furnishings anything that people don’t need to see gives a tech-friendly feel that makes for a creative work environment.

Design for what you want

Your home office has to work for you to enhance not only your environment but also to encourage you to get the best out of the time you spend working in it.

Entertainment Themed Websites You’ll Love

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Computing can be a rather tedious task at times, especially when using a device that relies heavily on applications. Hundreds of app downloads, clogging up hard-drives and quickly becoming boring; it seems that this isn’t the best way we could be spending our time on our devices, but there’s an easy answer to app-overload – websites with heaps of click and play entertainment! You’ll never download a single-use app again!

Netflix

The undisputed king of on-demand video streaming, Netflix is something everyone should subscribe to. Sign up now and you can get a month’s viewing free, after that the cost being a very healthy £5.99 a month. For that price you’re afforded access to the thousands of films and television episodes hosted by the site, plus Netflix’s excellent roster of in-house productions.

YouTube

Arguably the biggest media platform online, this is video hosting site that defined the mid to late noughties. Ascending to a near unassailable position as a web icon, it is currently undergoing some major changes, but fear not, this will not be the next MySpace, disappearing into oblivion. You probably know of the cats, pranks and music videos, but did you know that you can also rent films on Youtube for around $3 a piece? YouTube truly has it all.

Spotify

Music fans of all colours love the Spotify #ThrowbackThursday playlists, and for good reason. Anyone can use the service for free and have access to millions of tracks from a similar number of artists, or pay a small premium in order to lose the ads. You can also craft your own personal music collection, all without having to buy and download individual songs.

MrSmithCasino

For online games that allow you to win real cash whilst playing, MrSmithCasino is one of the best providers out there. The site hosts an enormous variety of slots, live casino and table games, and regularly offers bonuses on a constantly changing roster of titles. Right nowThe Dark Knight is our recommendation of the month, but there are other options for those looking for something completely different, including Leprechaun, TV-show and Pirate-themed games!

MiniClip

Every schoolchild knows about the procrastinatory power of MiniClip. The site hosts a massive variety of free to play browser games covering ever genre available. Action, shooter, MMO, puzzle, sports; they’re all featured, and there’s thousands to sink your gaming teeth in to.

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If you’re wanting to visit Las Vegas but can’t really afford it the next best option is a visit to this site. There are over 300 casino games on offer for you to have a play with and some great promotion to get your bank roll going. All you need is the internet, no flights to Vegas! Another good option is Dracula Slot which features tons of amazing slot machine games you can play here.

SoundCloud

The first port of call for anyone wanting to listen to smaller, lesser known bands and artists, SoundCloud.com is today the gold standard of DIY music. You could spend weeks working through the millions of artists, big and small, who post music on SoundCloud and still have millions more to listen to.

What Makes Internet of Things Radio-Microchip so Powerful

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Technology in our lives is growing by leaps and bounds. In order to herald the historic rise of the “Internet of Things”, CES in Las Vegas chose to shed some light on the scope of IoT. Processor chip manufacturers all over the globe are ready to face the challenges associated with adding smarts to everything in human environment—from kitchen appliances to big machines in the industry. Digital electronics video tutorials can simplify the principles and applications of the latest technologies as such.

The Chip That has Become the Talk of the CES Town

Thanks to the soaring ambition of chipmakers, these devices will be capable of communicating data, co-ordinating a number of tasks and also maintaining themselves. This could only be possible with transmitters that are powerful enough to convey data wirelessly to devices in distance. These transmitters require being durable and power-efficient to draw energy from renewable resources.

A cluster of MIT academicians are working to turn the vision of Internet of Things into execution. The cutting-edge radio chip developed by Professor Chandrakasan and his team is still on its experimental basis. They claim that the chip will prevent energy from leaking. So, it is expected to consume less power and save more energy.

Mechanism of Digital Electronic Circuits

The new radio chip for “Internet of Things” is designed to initiate an economic use of energy in digital circuits. Digital circuits consist of transistors in which silicon or any other semiconducting material connects a couple of electronic leads. These connecting materials do not behave as conductors in their original states. A second wire is employed on the top of semiconductors running vertically to the leads.

The gate or the wire, when electrified, pulls electrons towards itself, creating a bridge between the leads allowing currents to flow. But unfortunately, semiconductors do not behave as good insulators either. And even during the absence of electric charge through the gate, currents do leak. Although it may appear as a marginal loss, after a while it can wane battery life that mostly rests at leisure.

IoT Radio Chip Goes a Step Ahead

The IoT-friendly radio chip designed by Chandrakasan and his MIT associates lessens the power leakage by employing a negative charge at the wire or the gate atop the semiconductors. As a result, even when the transmitter is inactive, it acts as a relatively more powerful insulator by warding off electrons from the pair of electronic leads. By adapting this path-breaking technique, the power leakage can be ingeniously prevented from the digital circuit.

This innovation of radio microchip is soon to serve as a boon for modern technology with an eye to save more and spend less energy. This is not just a joyful moment for the “Internet of Things”, it is a realistic step towards sustainable development. Digital electronics video tutorials can lend a clearer perspective on the nuts and bolts of circuits as such.

This article was contributed by Lisa Rose penned to benefit technology enthusiasts and hobbyists. High-quality video archives can also provide analog and digital electronics tutorials for beginners studying Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

High Speed Broadband: An Investment in Your Business’s Future

Fast and reliable broadband connection is now a crucial asset in business operation whether this is in a multi-national company or an individual working from home. If you’re connection isn’t fit for the job you risk handing over business to competitors. However, there’s no reason to panic just yet. This is a problem that can be easily and inexpensively remedied.

High speed broadband won’t guarantee business success but it can increase workplace productivity, win you customers and help you to steal the edge over your competitors.

Fast broadband in the workplace

A slow internet connection can be summed up in one word: frustration. This applies not only to employees who take longer to complete online tasks but also to customers who switch to a competitor’s website after a time-consuming end user experience. Consider how much a business now relies on emailing, social media, website sales, customer service, data analysis and even video conferencing. A sluggish internet service will mean a decline in staff productivity with hours of wasted time across the entire company. If it’s affecting staff, it’s also affecting customers.

Your business competitors

One of the major reasons to invest in high speed broadband is to stay ahead or at least gain a level playing field with competitors. Consider a company that provides an interactive video customer service facility but the connection continually cuts out, is of low quality or lags due to a slow connection. Customers today don’t feel any loyalty to companies — they want the best user experience as quickly as possible. Inadequate broadband can definitely damage a company’s image and it is business competitors who will benefit when customers decide to switch.

Investing for the future

Today’s internet service providers are hugely competitive in terms of price, and financially there’s no reason why a business shouldn’t sign up to high speed or superfast broadband. The price difference between standard connection and superfast broadband is small enough to make it a no-brainer when it comes to investing in a business’s future. The best broadband deals will provide superfast speeds during peak hours, a consistently reliable connection, access to Wi-Fi hotspots for employees in the field and 24 hour technical support. Essential business options such as cloud and off-site storage also mean you can free up more office space and access to files and data wherever you are and whenever you need them.

Switching to high speed broadband is easy and inexpensive. The first step is to compare companies and the services available in the local area. Most areas will have access to superfast fiber optic broadband, although some rural locations may still have to wait a little longer. However, fast broadband is one asset that requires only a small investment but can make a big difference to long-term business survival.

Image by KaiChanVong, used under Creative Commons license