Energy efficient? It's just about printing dollar bills!

Aug 12, 2011 | | 1 comments |

Holy shitballs batman!
We had a new air conditioning condenser unit installed about 7 weeks ago. I wanted something a bit newer because the old one sounded like a diesel train. The newer ones are supposedly more energy efficient.

Well they're not bloody kidding.

Since 2005, our electricity bill for July into August has been anything from $95 at the low end to $150 at the high end. It's never been below $90 since we bought the house 9 years ago. We have a fairly consistent usage too - TV and console gaming in the evening, several loads of washing a week, AC during the day and so on - we're creatures of habit.

Today I received our bill for the same time period this year: $85.
So I checked the kWh usage to make sure there wasn't something dodgy going on with the pricing. Turns out, as you'd expect the price of electricity has only gone up, so it has to be the actual usage that caused the drop in price. I'll say:

This year, 818kwH, average daytime temp was 78F, average kWh/day was 26
2010, 1084kwH, average daytime temp was 81F, average kWh/day was 36
2008, 1091kwH, average daytime temp was 79F, average kWh/day was 36
2007, 1091kwH, average daytime temp was 79F, average kWh/day was 37
2006, 1109kwH, average daytime temp was 80F, average kWh/day was 38

Wow.

The SiriusXM problem

Aug 11, 2011 | | 1 comments |

Here in America we have satellite radio - it's a great idea - commercial-free radio, anywhere in the country without needing to re-tune. The chink in the armour is that it's not commercial-free. You pay for it, then they still put commercials on the air. That might not be so bad if the programming was top-notch but it isn't. There's dozens of Nascar, country & westersn, and R&B channels, then there's Howard Stern who nobody cares about any more, and that's it.
Except it isn't. Or wasn't. The saviour of SiriusXM was that they streamed a time-shifted version of BBC Radio 1 from the UK. Time-shifted, as in you get the morning show in the morning, delayed by 5 hours from when it aired in the UK. This was the only reason we subscribed to SiriusXM, and it turns out that was the case for a lot of other people too. Three days ago, the agreement with the BBC ran out and SiriusXM pulled BBC Radio 1 off their stream and replaced it with an advert telling us similar music could be found on other channels. Apparently they missed the memo. Radio 1 isn't about the music - it's about Radio 1 - the DJs, the live sets, the morning shows - the entire package.
Anyway, their Facebook page has pretty much melted down with complaints, as have their phone lines in Canada and the US. Which is funny because they have 200+ channels of programming and their comments and complaints section of their own website and their Facebook page was dribbling along at two or three comments a day. Since Tuesday morning, both have been consumed with complaints about them removing Radio 1. It would seem that 21 million BBC Radio 1 listeners in the US are the only thing propping SiriusXM up, and now it's gone, people are cancelling their subscriptions in the thousands. Us included. We've still got the hardware of course so if they bring it back we can sign up again and get the new customer bonus.
The BBC finally broke their silence on this issue yesterday after all their twitter and Facebook feeds also melted down and they are renegotiating with SiriusXM to renew the service. So they say. I guess we'll wait and see. For now, our iPad has been pressed into duty as a makeshift radio, bluetoothed to a set of speakers in the house. But there's something just wrong about listening to Greg James in the morning - it should be Chris Moyles ....