Saturday, March 29, 2014

Green shell suit

I am typing this blog on my new mechanical keyboard. IU have wanted one for ages but this purchase was prompted by my colleague at work buying one. I had some vouchers from doing surveys for IPSOS so I finally bit the bullet and bought one. I ordered a Cooler Master CM Storm Quick Fire TK Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Brown. It has Cherry MX Brown mechanical switches which has a good combination of noise, feedback and actuation pressure to be useful for typing and gaming. So far I am really enjoying typing on it. I have used a Microsoft ergonomic keyboard for years but the key-presses were starting to fail a little, typical of a traditional keyboard as the domes wear out over time.

Its been a touch week, I managed to hurt my back on Sunday so I have had to take this easy this week. Next week I am off to London for DevWeek.  I am excited to go, I have never been to a developer conference before so its going to be an interesting experience.

I just finished a book given to me by my mother. The City of Strangers by Michael Russell. A book set just before the outbreak of the second world war. A country garda Sergeant is sent from Ireland to New York in order to bring back a murder suspect. He gets caught up in intrigue. It is in interesting insight into the beginning of the Irish state, the IRA and the pro German and pro Irish groups in America. It was well worth a read and I enjoyed it.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lucifer son of the morning.

I met Matt yesterday, he wanted me to go with him to Scan. He decided that he wanted three monitor at work as well as home. We spent a lot of time deciding, he wanted size, but suggested that he spend a bit extra and get a 24inch with 16:10 ratio running 1920x1200 rather than the more common 16:9 1920x1080. The extra 120 pixels vertically make for a much more usable desktop. He opted for three IIyama 24inchs and they look gorgeous set up in the triple monitor stand.

Triple monitor

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Solar Installation Day 4

Today the installation was completed, the panels went up and the final wiring was made. I took the pictures in the morning before going to work, if you notice on my consumer meter the red light is solid on. That means at 7:33am the array was producing more energy than was being consumed. Indeed the meter was flashing "rEd" which means reverse energy, so I am exporting to the grid, I hope my neighbours like solar energy :)

Generation meter

Consumer unit

Solar array

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Solar Installation Day 3

Today the installer, Karl arrived. He went onto the roof and installed the mounting rails for the panels.

Karl was an interesting chap to talk to as he had been working with P.V. for many years, being involved in some huge projects, the week prior he had been doing a 50KW commercial installation on a farm. Year ago he worked on the first active solar (where the panels track the sun) installation in the UK.

The inverter and wiring went in, including the new generation meter. All the energy generated by the solar panels is metered. then flows into the standard consumer unit. Solar generated energy is use first saving you money as using the power generated means not buying units from the gird.
My power company doesn't measure power exported to the grid, instead they make an assumption that 50% of the generated units are exported back to the grid.

Roof mountings (and no chimney!)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Solar Installation Day 2

Today the builders removed my chimney, I don't have a fireplace and the chimney would have shaded the panels. According to the figures from Solar energy firm this would have resulted in an 8% drop in output. Given that is close to taking away one whole panel, and the cost of removing the chimney was not too high we decided to have the stack taken down.

The gear arrived today, filling my garage full of panels, an inverter, mounting points and a wattson energy monitor.

The panels are Sunpower E20/327. They are rated for 327 watts per panel, generating 3.27KW at peak performance across the 10 panels. They are highly rated panels both in terms of efficiency and in terms of longevity. Solar panels degrade over time, and Sunpower are supposed to have the lowest level of degradation at the end of the 25 year warranty they are rated to perform at 87% of the minimum peak. As this is a twenty year investment I thought it was better to pay a bit extra for the better warranty and long term performance.

10 Sunpower solar panels

Mounting and roof gear

Inverter and Monitor

Monday, March 17, 2014

Solar installation Day 1

I decided to go ahead with solar panels, and today was the first day of the installation. Not a lot happened other than the skip arriving and scaffolding going up.

Scaffolding up

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Look how far we have come

I was looking at vintage computer advertisements and it made me both nostalgic and amazed at how far technology has come. From having to explain to users what copy and paste did, and how fast electronic mail is most people now have these things in their pocket on a smartphone.

As predicted by Moores Law technology has roughly double in power or put another way more power is increasingly cheaper. So much so that the smartphone in your pocket is considerable more powerful that the computers in these adverts.

My first computer was an Acorn electron it was 8-bit running at 1Mhz and loaded programs from tape. My mobile phone (which itself is a little dated) is a Nexus 4 running a 32-bit processor running 4 cores at 1500Mhz. Incredible really.

However one area which maybe hasn't come so far is design. I recently saw this amazing video on design.
Aral Balkan: Superheroes & Villains in Design from Thinking Digital on Vimeo.