Re: It all comes down to who you believe
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25 posts • joined 20 Mar 2015
"The thing that stands out in the Doctor story was that he terminated the call without any thank you. Which begs the question: in an operating theatre environment do surgeons say "pass the scalpel please" and "thank you". or is everything "gimme gimme gimme"?"
In my (lengthy) Canadian & USian experience of operating theatres the drill is "Scalpel.... Forceps..." and so on. I've never heard a "please" or "thank you" in 40 years.
I've got a Synology 212j, the lowliest of the low, running virtually continuously for almost 4 years, (overseas, in the Doomsday Bunker). One of two off-site backups of all the documents & such that are precious to me, plus surveillance camera there. Easiest to set up of any I've tried (a short list), and if I can set it up unaided anybody reading this can. Great apps for everything I might want and much that I don't. Rapid, frequent bug fixes, security and feature updates. Never a hitch of any sort. Hasn't got the horsepower for trans-coding, but they certainly have others which do, and that's not what I bought it for.
Also very quiet & low power consumption. No way to dim the LEDs, but that's what black tape is for.
This "dongle-dongle" seems like a useful add-on if you already have a ChromeCast and problems with wifi in your own particular situation, although I gather from the discussion over at Ars that you can home brew the same functionality with the right bits. However my Roku 3 will apparently -cast with Windows 8.1 and 10 ( I'm happy for now with 7 and an HDMI cable), and is in every other way a more capable device with a robust ecosystem. I especially like the ability to plug headphones into the remote, and the fact that the remote doesn't require line-of-sight. You can even get an optional bracket to attach it to the back of your TV. Well worth the extra bit of cash.
You are quite right about boiler installations, but at least in North America, many are still be installed which do draw combustion air from within the house, and many, many older units are still in service.
As regards CWI, it all depends on the depth of the cavity and the type of insulation. Loft insulation is far and away the most important part, hereabouts ~20in (50cm) of glass fibre or equivalent is optimal. Most older construction has 6in or less. And it is usually an easy job and cheap.
For air tightness, yes there is such a thing as too little air exhange with the bad effects you describe. However, and again I qualify with "around here", northern North America, the best you can achieve with older homes is substantial draught mitigation, with resultant air exchange which is still much more than adequate. With new construction the additional cost of a good heat and air exhanger should not exceed 0.5% of the overall cost of construction.
Valid point, but not an issue really. Firstly when retrofitting it is not possible to achieve "airtightness." What you do manage to do is reduce the air exhange somewhat. With new house construction of the most energy efficient sort you replace inadvertent air exchange with a heat-and-air exchanger. This replaces the air but reduces the associated heat loss 60-80% (with better units). That said, if you have any sort of combustion appliance, be it boiler, furnace, dryer, range, heater, or whatever, you are always at some small risk and must be careful to maintain and replace these things at approriate intervals.
Elon Musk is no doubt a visionary entrepreneur. My hat is off to him. However the big issue in domestic energy efficiency is not cost reduction and efficiency by load smoothing. The real issue is waste reduction, and there are many pressing issues in that regard, which could and should be addressed as higher priorities and have the potential to produce more rapid cost recovery for householders and less need for expensive and environment degrading energy generation.
1. Most houses (and apartment buildings) are less-than-optimally insulated. Hurts energy efficiency in all climate zones except those where literally no heating or air conditioning is needed. Insulation upgrades are technologically simple, relatively small one-time expenses that can be performed incrementally if need (financial or otherwise) dictates. They require no maintenance or control systems. There are a plethora of options for non-destructive retrofitting of older dwellings of different construction types in different climates. Windows and doors count here too, not just ceilings/roofs and walls. Choices of exterior wall and roof surfaces can also make a differences, particularly in hot sunny climates. Reflecting heat away entails no further cost once the job is done.
2. Most houses are draughty. Air leak is sometimes the biggest enemy of residential energy efficiency and cost reduction, exceeding even insulation in importance. Infiltration of undesired outside hot or cold air means exfiltration of desired heated/cooled inside air, which you then have to replace, at your expense. Many sources of air leak are obvious, like the aforementioned windows and doors, also unplugged chimneys, gaps between sills and foundations, and the like. Others are downright arcane, weird, who'd-a-thunk-it sorts of things. First you address the obvious ones, then you formally test, most often by employing a professional, but you could do it yourself.
3. Household heating (including water heating), refrigeration, cooking, and clothes drying appliances often are working against us in not-so-obvious ways. The gas or oil fired boiler that draws combustion air from inside your house is using air that you've paid to heat or cool, and necessitating the infiltration of outside air to replace it. The technology exists to eliminate this waste of energy. Much the same situation with clothes dryers, be they gas or electric. They exhaust air from within the house, necessitating more outside air being drawn in. I'm not aware of any being made which address this problem, but what's wrong with clothes lines anyway? At least during clement weather. Gas kitchen ranges with pilot lights are both a constant waste of gas and (at least in the warmer seasons, in warmer climates) an unwanted source of heat. The gas waste amounts to about 30% of all the cooking gas a family of four uses. A good argument for ranges with piezoelectric igniters. (Those still with manually lit gas appliances should really consider replacing them for safety reasons). Domestic refrigerators and freezers are another issue. To cool the interior of these you must extract heat, which is then dumped into the room in which they sit, so in the summer you are paying to cool this warm air which you have paid to make because you needed to keep your food cold. I have not yet seen or heard of domestic units which address this issue.
3. Many houses are larger than the occupants need. I'm not a "Tiny House" advocate, but all those extra cubic feet add proportionately to heating and cooling bills, and all that extra external surface area is radiating or absorbing heat too, and that comes at an energy cost. Architecture figures into this too. Some house styles entail much more entail surface area than others. Again I'm advocating nothing; I appreciate a good looking or interesting looking house. It's just food for thought.
Addressing some or all of these issues will potentially save far more for both individuals and society, than Musk & Co's very elegant whole-house load leveller/UPS, and if you still want to go that route (and I'd like to), you'll won't need as big a one, or so many.
I've always felt that HomePlug was the resort of the lazy and the desperate; this article and these comments to this article have only strengthened my prejudice. If an unqualified 'handyman' could retrofit our 150 year old farm house with ethernet in one day - ten wall plates - with all cables terminating in the cellar where the NAS/switch/router/modem lived, including connecting all the wall plates correctly with only my hand-drawn diagram to guide him, it ain't all that hard. The man had never seen Cat 5 before (it was 1999), and had only the haziest notion of what a computer was. There is almost always a way to fish wire up, down, or sideways through walls, or hide it behind baseboard. There are all sorts of stick-on covers and shields for the rare situation where you must run it exposed and it even comes in colo(u)rs. More of a problem if you rent, I understand, but any reasonable landlord (oxymoron alert) should be able to appreciate that you are adding value to the property. Given the several drawbacks of HomePlug it's worth the trouble to run wire.
I have, and I use it when I'm overseas, like outside the Good Ol' USA. Lovely service, and reasonably priced as such things go. But it doesn't work INSIDE the USA (unless you do the VPN thing, I guess), and if you don't pay them anything you get just a low res picture, and only 6 (?) stations, and no time shifting.
But why oh why from Harrisburg PA?
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