Welcome reddit users

Server is getting slammed today due to a couple of links on reddit… I know lots of people use TimerResolution with Counter Strike and it seems that in the last 48 hours VAC decided that TimerResolution was a hack/cheat and automatically banned a bunch of users. They have seen the error of their ways and have now unblocked the users wrongly blocked. Good job Valve.

Saving Power?

Over the holidays we brought a new TV and I thought I’d best check the power consumption since saving power was part of the justification for the purchase. The old TV was a 3rd generation Plasma (from 2005) and the new one is LCD LED so it will use less power, right?

I’ve already posted about the smart power board we purchased in No more vampire devices but what if the TV was better then the standby power used by the power board? Why would I think this could be possible, well since we swapped TVs around I have had to manually activate the power board as the IR sensor is still attached to the old TV. Each time I’ve noticed that the power board is warm, this means that it is consuming a significant amount of power. Time to attach the power meter!

So what were the result?

The power board, old TV, Wii, and PS3 in standby consumed 7 Watts
The power board, new TV, Wii, and PS3 in standby consumed 4.5 Watts

I measured the new TV by itself, it didn’t even register a reading! That means that my based on my power meter it consumes less than a milliwatt!

What about the smart power board? It measured 2 Watts! So now I’ve just unplugged the Wii (2 Watts) and replaced the smart powerboard with a plain old normal power board and now the standby power is 0.5 Watts. A saving of 6.5 Watts in standby!

Oh and the TV also uses about half the power when it it turned on as well but it does have a 7 star rating!

Technology Prediction – Next Generation Games Consoles

Well with E3 almost upon us I had better get this prediction out in the world.

Say goodbye to DVD and BluRay disks for your next games console. Removing the media drive will allow the consoles to be smaller than ever before, think Apple TV size.

Bluetooth is here to stay for the controller.

Wireless N will allow those games in the cloud to be downloaded with greater speed. All three (Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo) will come with HD Video cameras for gesture based control, think Kinect, and also video chat, Microsoft will use it’s newly acquired Skype.

All will be HD display with 3D and include movie downloads and social media interaction. HDMI, DisplayPort, or Thunderbolt?

Since everything in now in the cloud your games and scores can follow you to your friends place. DRM and other craziness will have some impact to how useful these features will be but the console with the least to loose will set the standard and the other will have to follow if they want their slice to the market.

On the other side will be the TV companies adding their own functionality to the smart TVs of the future. Once Android is built into TVs and the apps store full of games designed for that platform casual gamers may no longer require a console, this prospect will hurt Nintendo the most so I’m sure they’ll be looking to combat that with their next generation console.

Technology Prediction – Local or Cloud – Part 1

With the upcoming release of Apple’s revised cloud solution I think it is best I get my prediction out in the world.

So will all our storage be now be in the cloud? Will my phone keep its contacts online? My iPod only downloads songs as a stream? My camera uploads instantly with no more SD cards?

Yes and No.

Bandwidth, access, cost, and privacy will mean that local storage will be around for a while to come. I think what will take off in the next couple of years is “Sync to the Cloud”

Yes “Sync to the cloud” has been around for a couple of years but no one has really executed it in a way that has changed how we work for the better. My hope is that with Apple’s track record and since this is not their first attempt that they might just get it right this time.

I look forward to never having to worry about backups, running out of space, transferring to a new phone, or worse a stolen camera with all my holiday memories. That day is coming.

The “Sync to the cloud” idea means that all my devices will have access to a common storage pool that is always up to date. My TV has access to the same photos and videos as my laptop and tablet, even it I’m out of the house no matter what operating system they run.

Over half a megawatt!

Our little solar panels have harvested over 500kW/h of sunlight!

The solar meter was installed in December and is a Landis+Gyr EM1200. Details can be found at http://www.landisgyr.com/ap/en/pub/products.cfm?eventProducts=products.ProductDetails&ID=131&catID=61

The full list of display codes was a little hard to track down but here it is for anyone else looking for the information.

[table id=2 /]

Still waiting for our first full power bill to see how much difference the grid connected solar system has made to our household.


No more vampire devices

We’ve finally found a power board that does what we want!

The Smart Home Theatre Power Saver power board from Mort Bay. We found ours at Bunnings

It comes with an infra-red sensor that learns the “off” command from your remote. It then waits 60 seconds and if the power consumption of the devices connected is low it then turns them off at the power board. It also has 1 outlet that is always left on which we use for our PVR.

It is nice to hear the little “click” and see all the red and green stand-by lights turn off.

Chromium Project uses Timer Resolution to debug battery life issue

Based on the information at https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=46531 it looks as if Timer Resolution has been used to identify and verify an issue with Chromium.

Chromium is the open-source project behind Google Chrome. I use Chrome every day on my work laptop and also no my netbook. I had no idea that Timer Resolution had helped to create such a great browser!

New Playstation 3 – Prices and Where to buy in Australia

Ok, now that ABC has joined the party and is now offering iView on the PS3, that is the deal maker for me.

So where to buy it? Well America is the best answer as our friends in the US of A get the console for about AUD$375 compared with the RRP of AUD$499 here in Australia. However shipping, 110VAC power supply, and region locked Games and BluRay movies make this money saving purchase unviable.

So what deals are the locals offering?

JB HiFi gives it to you for $494 and throws in a HDMI cable.
Dick Smith has done nothing but at least they read the RRP and have it listed at $499 unlike Big W who must have missed that detail and have it listed for $587.44!

Harvey Norman will give you a game although they don’t say which one and they have knocked a whole dollar off the price at $498.

So far the lowest price I’ve seen is dStore at $474.95

Most of the other major national retailers still don’t seem to have grasped the whole internet thing and only have web pages showing the catalogues that I’ve already seen over the last month and have nothing about the new PS3.

If I’ve missed any bargains let me know!

Twitter, the Internet, and the Victorian Bush Fires

First up my thoughts go out to those directly impacted by the fires.

I found myself in  a location that could have been at risk yesterday but thankfully we escaped with little more than some smoke and a glow on the horizon. We also has a near miss with some roof iron that fell from the smoke cloud meters from us but really compared to some of the stories it was nothing, a story for another day.

This post is to point out a problem I see with our emergency communication within Victoria and the growth of the real-time internet.

I’ve found that Twitter has been the best source of information for the fires. Two useful hashtag have been setup #vicfires and #bushfires. These two feeds have had the most up to date information. @774melbourne deserves a special mention as their tweets come from CFA and DSE and are very accurate.

The CFA and DSE sites haven’t handled the load, the following is the message on the DSE site

Please note – due to unprecedented demand on this website, DSE is requesting that people who do not need to access this information for reasons of personal safety, please refrain from doing so.

What this tells me is that the Victorian Government websites cannot handle an event that causes Victorians to go online looking for information in a large number. This concerns me, and it should concern all Victorians. How would the government infrastructure hold up if Victoria has an event that directly affects all of us? Where would we go for up to date information?

Due to the limited availability of the official communication channels others have set up their own. Google Australia has the best I’ve seen so far at http://mapvisage.appspot.com/fires/FireMap.html

Why are the DSE and CFA not using Google maps as part of their reporting? Why do we have two disparate reporting systems on fire locations and even naming conventions and categorisations?

A friend of mine was involved in the fires last week, he stayed to protect his property. At one point a CFA truck came up to his house to ask for directions, they were not local and only had paper maps and a compass! How can we send these guys out to fight fires in the 21st century without even giving them a basic GPS? Shouldn’t they be equipped with full 2 way GPS so the the fire controllers and command centres can see exactly where every resource is at any time? I know this costs money but really if Taxis and couriers can have it then why not our fire fighters! I’m certain that this would save lives.

Now that the internet is many people’s primary information source how does it fit within the Government’s emergency response plan? The call centres are overloaded, TV too slow to update, the radio stations do an OK job but the information is sometimes difficult to visualise, in my case I was in an unfamiliar part of the state so the points of reference like roads, towns, and mountains didn’t mean very much.

This is not a criticism of the fantastic work that the fire fighters have done and continue to do, I fully support them. I do believe that our State and Federal governments can do more to support them and use technology sensibly to provide the community and the emergency services with accurate and up to date information they need when dealing with these situations.