Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


How Much will that New Electronic Toy Add to Your Electric Bill?

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 8:18 PM on November 29, 2012

energy calculator Many people are going to be buying and getting new big screen TVs,  computers and other electronic gear  for Christmas and Hanukkah. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to calculate how much these devices will add to your electric bill.  Even if you are not getting any new devices, it is winter in the northern hemisphere which means you are probably spending more times indoors. Watching TV, playing video games and working on computers. This leads to the inevitable higher electric bill.

There are tricks you can use to lower your bill. However first you need to figure how much you are using. This is where the Consumer Electronic Energy Calculator created by the Consumer Electronic Association comes in. The calculator is now available at the GreenerGadget. The calculator is very easy to use. It is divided into various categories, computing, entertainment, home office, digital imaging and telecommunication. Under each category the appropriate devices are listed. You simply move the device you have or want into appropriate room on the diagram. It will ask you how many you have and how often you use it. It will also give energy tip for each item. Once you have added all your items it will calculate your energy usage. It will let you compare your usage to the average American household. It will also show you which category is using the most energy. With this information you can then start making changes on how you use your devices and save some money on your electric bill.  If you have a website and want to encourage your readers to be more green you can download a free widget from the GreenerGadget and add it to your website

Power Sockets with USB Charging

Posted by Andrew at 11:36 AM on June 18, 2012

Last week I was at a trade show for electrical wholesalers and I came across these single and double power sockets with a USB charging point built-in.

Power Sockets with USB

As soon as I saw them, I thought, “Those would be handy…” and then I saw the price…£62.74 for the single and £76.60 for the double socket and they’re trade prices too (ex VAT). In US money that’s $99 and $120 respectively. As Todd would say, “Are these guys smoking crack!?” Who in their right mind would pay that kind of money for a built-in USB socket and a single USB socket at that? I can only hope that it’s a pricing error or a multi-pack.

With a bit of searching, I subsequently found another company that charges a far more reasonable £15 for a single socket and there are doubles going on ebay for £30 which is still pricey enough.

From the specs, it would appear that 1A is the rated current which will be fine for most phones and mp3 players, but tablets will take their time to charge.

For those who despise wall warts and power bricks, it’s a neat way to go, but make sure you aren’t paying over the odds.

Verbatim Demos LED Bulbs at The Gadget Show

Posted by Andrew at 12:41 AM on April 13, 2012

Verbatim LED LightsVerbatim are best known for their data storage products and I can remember having piles of Verbatim floppy disks back in the day, as it were. Younger readers will know the company for blank DVDs, memory cards and USB memory sticks but Verbatim have recently launched an LED lighting business.

Offering direct plug-in replacements, the goal is to encourage consumers to replace existing incandescent lights with LED-based equivalents. The power savings can be considerable with 60 W bulbs being replaced by LEDs closer to 10 W in power.

Verbatim LED Lighting Demo

At The Gadget Show Live, Ian tells me more about Verbatim’s LED lighting products and why we should all switch over.

Green Plug Brings Control to AC-DC Conversion

Posted by Andrew at 10:33 PM on February 14, 2012

Green Plug LogoAs energy prices rise and green credentials come under scrutiny, each step in the energy path is being examined for inefficiency. Andy and Courtney listen to Paul Panepinto from Green Plug on their technology.

Green Plug have developed a digital controller to optimise the conversion of electricity between AC and DC. For the non-engineers, AC (alternative current)  is what is in your wall socket and DC (direct current) is what most of your gadgets use. All those power bricks and wall warts are transformers combined with AC to DC converters to change 110 V AC to 12V / 5V DC.

Green Plug has pioneered the use of intercommunicating digital power and load processors to optimise the AC-to-DC power conversion and increase efficiency. It’s an area that has been typically overlooked in power management but Green Plug has reduced the implementation cost to make the inclusion of the technology cost-effective. Over the next few years, it’s likely that this technology will start to appear laptop and phone chargers, so keep an eye out for it.

Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Allure Energy Intelligent Thermostat with Proximity Control

Posted by Andrew at 9:09 AM on February 1, 2012

Allure Energy graphicAllure Energy introduced their latest energy management product, EverSense, at CES 2012. Andy learns how to save money on your electricity bill from Kevin, Allure Energy.

Allure Energy’s EverSense, a thermostat replacement technology, is based around a tablet device that can make intelligent energy decisions on your behalf. The proximity control feature raises or lowers the temperature in your based on how far away you are from your home. By using a GPS app on your iPhone (or Android smartphone) that sends back your location, EverSense knows where you and if you are coming home, it adjusts the temperature to your preferences. Cool.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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GreenWave Reality Smart Home Services

Posted by Andrew at 1:21 PM on January 17, 2012

GreenWave Reality LogoTodd interviews Greg Memo from GreenWave Reality, a global innovator in the emerging smart home services market including home monitoring and elderly care. On show is their home energy management solution that uses wireless (ZigBee) plug-in devices to monitor and control power consumption.

The system is not just limited to power management as other remote monitoring and control technologies such as lighting and video can be included. The complementary iPad app allows the homeowner to select individual rooms within the property and make adjustments if necessary – for example, a thermostat could be turned down or the timings changed to alter when the heat comes on.

The overall solution won a CES 2012 Innovations Award so congratulations to GreenWave. Available now, starting from $200.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast network.

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Happy New Year from Philips!

Posted by susabelle at 6:49 PM on December 30, 2011

Four the twelfth year in a row, Philips Lighting is providing the lighting technology for the Times Square New Years Eve ball.  And for the first year, to help usher in the new era of more efficient lighting choices (since the incandescent light bulb is going to be going the way of the dodo bird), the ball will be completely lit with the newest Philips technology, the AmbientLED.

The AmbientLED is the first LED on the market to effectively replace the 60 watt incandescent bulb.  The AmbientLED can save up to 80% of energy costs associated with lighting.

The Times Square ball is lit with 32,296 individual lights, and because of the increased efficiency of the LED bulbs, can now be lit year round instead of just for a few hours on New Year’s eve.  When the ball drops tomorrow night, Philips Lighting will put another feather in their cap regarding efficient lighting.

AmbientLED lighting from Philips has seen price drops of late; bulbs that originally cost closer to $100 can now be bought for under $25.  Yes, it’s a lot of money for a light bulb, but with its long life and low energy usage, it could pay for itself within a year or two.  The AmbientLED is estimated to last as much as 25 times longer than a regular incandescent bulb.

Happy New Year!

Philips AmbientLED 12.5 watt Bulb Mimics Incadescent Lighting

Posted by susabelle at 8:25 AM on June 21, 2011

Philips AmbientLED turned onFinally, is this the light bulb for me?  Many of you have seen me complain about the quality of energy-efficient lighting.  My biggest complaint is that the lighting creates weird, sharp shadows, or that the color is completely off.  Since I’m a crafter, color balance is pretty important to what I do.

Philips has announced the release of its AmbientLED 12.5-watt, the closest replacement to a 60-watt incandescent bulb we may ever see.  It has achieved an Energy Star rating as it meets or exceeds the standard minimum light output of 800 lumens, a color temperature of 2700K (for soft white light), color rendering index (CRI) of 80.  Philips is also offering a 7 year warranty on the bulb.  Philips estimates the bulbs will last 15-17 years.

But at a price of nearly $40 retail, I’m not sure I’ll be buying one anytime soon.

I would also want to know if the usual visible “flicker” of the LED is present in this bulb, or if it glows smoothly.  As a mother of an epileptic child, such things need to be taken into account when purchasing for the home environment.

Philips recommends this bulb for table lamps, ceiling fan globes, and accent lighting.  25-watt and 40-watt equivalents are also available in the AmbientLED line from Philips.