Top 10 energy saving tips for the home

Follow these tips to help save on spiralling energy costs in your home

  1. Instead of making use of the standby function most devices are shipped with these days, switch off all your appliances at the plug. This can account for 6% of all energy usage in the home, nearly all electrical and electronic appliances can safely be turned off at the plug without upsetting their systems.
  2. Switch your microwave off. The clock may be using more energy over time than is used for cooking.  It will cost far less buying a cheap battery powered wall clock, if you really need to know the time.
  3. If you prefer to leave your desktop or laptop computers on ready for use, ensure that you make use of the Hibernate or standby feature.  Ensuring that you also switch off your peripherals i.e. Printers, Scanners & monitors at the mains.
  4. Make use of your Sleep Timer or Count down timer on your TV sets, to ensure that they switch off when not in use.
  5. Switch off your Electirc blankets at the mains before falling asleep, not only is this for your own personal safety but it ensures
  6. Replace your existing appliances for more energy efficient ones. Most new appliances will have a sticker indicating how they are rated.
  7. Try and ensure that you make use of your Dishwasher and washing machines during low tarrif times, say after midnight.
  8. Always use your washing machine with a full load or follow the manufacturer’s instructions for most economical usage such as the economy program. Modern washing machines and washing powders and liquids are designed to work at lower temperatures.
  9. Only boil half a kettle of water and use an energy saving kettle
  10. Timed heating – don’t leave the heating on unnecessarily at night or when you are out of the house. Set the timing for the heating and water to turn on an hour before you wake or return home and to switch off an hour before you leave the house.

What is the raspberry pi and why should I care?

25th December 1983, is a day I remember well, it was the day that I was first introduced to computing. I unwrapped this big box, that was under the Christmas tree to reveal this miracle of the modern age, the Commodore 64 personal computer! I didn’t realise it then but this Christmas present from Santa Claus would have a profound influence on my life.  My Commodore 64 was the only Christmas present I can remember from that Christmas!
commodore 64 box

Within minutes of opening the box and connecting it up to the television were transformed from average boys too geeks! We slowly became obsessed with this box of tricks, both for two completely different reasons.

My brother who from a very early age had become obsessed about anything to do with aviation.  He used to build model aeroplanes,  read countless books about aeroplanes and he used to constantly scanning the skies to spot aeroplanes. I fact I remember, that as a “treat” and probably as means to keep to boys occupied my dad used to take us to Airport on the weekends, just so my brother could watch the planes take off and land!   So for my brother this box, was a means of playing flying games.  We would eventually have all these fantastic games such as Heathrow air traffic control, Time Pilot, Wing Commander, solo flight and a whole host of others.

For me though, the attraction was being able to instruct this box to do things.  I had no idea at the time, that the skill I started to learn was called programming. To me I was just having some fun with this new computer.  I could type in a few commands and I could make it do things, change the screen colours,  display random characters on the screen and whole host of simple programs. I had no idea that I was learning 2 cutting edge programming languages i.e. BASIC and assembler.

That Christmas present back in the mid 80′s transformed mine and my brothers lives, he went on to become a successful airline pilot, flying all over the world. I went on to a lot more glamorous lifestyle of becoming a Computer Programmer!

Raspberry PiThe raspberry Pi is the modern equivalent,  commodore 64. It’s a cheap, credit sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python. It’s also a great platform for you to get to know the worlds most adaptable and scalable operating system Linux!

It may be credit card sized collection of electronic circuitry and components, but it is a highly capable device that can do everything a normal desktop computer can do. i.e Browse the internet, media player, making spreadsheets and documents and playing games!

Further more, the Raspberry Pi has the ability to interact with the outside world, and be be in a wide array of digital maker projects, from music machines, weather stations and smart home servers.  We at threenine.co.uk have even built a secure door access controller for a government client using the raspberry pi as the controller.

The Raspberry Pi puts the fun back into computing, by being a flexible bit of engineering designed in equal parts for learning and utility. The real fun and joy about computing is not about using systems or solutions other people make for you, it’s about creating and playing around with new concepts and ideas. Computing is not about being confined to one specific device or software application, it’s about making a computer do what you want it to do.   The Raspberry PI, might just be your key to a door that leads to a new life time of adventures!


5 must know tips for successful entrepreneurs

The web is littered with “overnight” success stories, the kind of story that some guy sitting in garage somewhere came up with the next big idea that propelled him to riches mere mortals can only imagine. Most people only read the high level, journalist view of the story, that all it took for this guy to become 3rd place on the worlds rich list, is that he knock up a web page in HTML, because he had some brainwave in the shower! All it took for that brainwave to become a reality was little bit of keyboard jujitsu.

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6 free digital tools

Top 7 free tools for small business

Starting a new business is tough! Especially when you’re bootstrapping the business from your own savings or drip feeding it from income generated from small sales. You are always going to be looking at reducing costs to the point where you will try find way not to spend money unneccesarily, at the same time seeking to improve productivity and efficiency, one of the key areas to make changes is how to efficiently use Information Technology. Often the IT cost centre for alot of new businesses can be crippling.

A little over a decade ago, making use of I.T. was seen as a way of gaining a competitive edge over your competitors. Times have changed and now IT is so ingrained in most organisations, that it is only a means to remain competitive. To truly maximise the returns on any investment into your IT infrastructure you need to ensure, that the products and services you invest in provide the greatest value with a minimum investment.

In this guide we will provide you with the best of the FREE tools for small business available for you get the best out of your IT infrastructure, without losing efficiency and productivity.
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Using Remote Desktop Connection Manager

If you as part of your job, are required to connect to multiple servers or computer workstations over a Remote Desktop Connections, then you will undoubtedly run into the difficulty of remembering various connections details, credentials and settings for all the machines.

You’ll be glad to know that there is a free tool available Microsoft that will help you to store and have all this information available, to help you to effortlessly connect and manage the connections to your multiple servers.  Remote Desktop Connection Manager.


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Can I use cloud computing for my small business?

The terms ‘Cloud’ and ‘cloud computing’ are have become synonymous with small business IT when discussing technology for small businesses.  The issue is that with so much miscommunication and hype about cloud computing many small business owners and even medium to large business owners are confused about what it all really means.  In this article i hope to clear the confusion and to provide you with enough information to help you to decide if using cloud is right for your business.

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Ubuntu skype

Install skype on ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Skype is a very popular business communication tool for users worldwide. The chances are If you are conducting business internationally, the majority of your contacts will be making use of Skype, to make phone calls, video conference and chat.

Although Skype is mostly used on Windows or Macs, most people are aware that it is also possible to use of Skype on linux. In this post I will provide instructions on how to install skype on your ubuntu desktop.
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Energy , the environment & information technology

Our societies in the developed world are built on the assumption that energy is both freely available and relatively cheap.  Our homes,  offices and even recreational areas are often littered with a plethora of energy consuming devices i.e. Televisions, Computers, air conditioners, heating etc.  Our lives and livelihoods have become increasingly dependent and intertwinned with energy derived mostly from the burning of fossil fuels.

The use of fossil fuels to generate energy, and the volume of fossil fuels required to generate energy has rapidly been on the increase for the past 250 years, since the start of the industrial revolution.

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ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Install MEAN.IO on ubuntu 14.04

MEAN.io, is an opinionated fullstack javascript framework which simplifies and accelerates web application development. MEAN is an acronym for MongoDB, Express, AngularJs and NodeJs. MEAN.IO will help you get started and avoid useless grunt work and common pitfalls, while keeping your application organized. The goal is to create and maintain a simple and readable open-source solution that you can use and trust in your projects.

The documentation on the MEAN.IO site is pretty light when it comes to getting MEAN stack set up on a linux terminal.

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