HS2 Water Main

Today our local daily evening paper published a story about using the route HS2 to lay a water pipeline.

Full details here

Lets look at some of the numbers.

  • HS2 (phase1) Length from Birmingham to London 191.5km
  • Diameter of proposed water main 1.98m
  • Total cost £1.1billion
  • Cost per mile £7million

Thats a big pipe, going a long way. But how much water do you need to fill it. Well

Volume = Pipe Cross section x length

Pipe cross section = 3.07 square metres

Length 191500

Volume = 590,000 Litres

An Olympic swimming pool being 2,500 litres, so about 240 olympic swimming pools.

Now Theres NANODE

So while we’ve been waiting for Arduino ethernet to emerge, Project Nanode has been born. Again it brings ethernet functionality to the arduino platform, using a different ethernet chip

Thanks to the good work of Ken Boak (@Monsonite) and drivers from @andrewdlindsay it’s a arduino with ethernet for £22.

I’m hoping to bring a comparison of these two Ethernet enabled arduino offerings to you soon.

Un-Reasonable Postage Charges.

With more of us making purchases on-line, many of us are now being hit with postage charges that are disproportionate to the actual costs of postage incurred by e-tailors.

Imagine my surprise when having selected 3 items at a new on-line retailer, 2 of which are smaller than a match box, the remaining item being about the size of a pack of cards. I happily supply my details, click thru to select my chosen shipping method and am presented with the following options.


A quick check of Royal Mails site, and £5.67 next-day tracked would post a package 1-1.25Kg in weight to anywhere in the UK, £6.54 0.5Kg Special Delivery by 1pm the next day, £8.95 2-4Kg standard first class postage.

This on-line shop actually listed the weights of the three items as

  • 30 grams
  • 4.2 grams
  • 50 grams

Making a total of  85 grams plus packaging materials. Lets be kind, and say total package weight is 225 grams, and is no bigger than 35cm x 25cm x 20 cm (Large Letter in RM speak) this would imply the following postage charges

  • 1st Class    £.190
  • Signed For  £1.86
  • Special Delivery Next day 1pm £5.90
  • Standard Parcels  £4.41

Nothing like the quoted prices, yes I appreciate that there is the actual cost of packaging, and the effort in actually packaging them. But there’s no reason why the ACTUAL postage price can’t be more transparent.

UPDATE: Changing the contents of my basket to the smallest and lightest item just 4.2 grams I now get the following postage.

  • 1st Class £3.00
  • Next Day Tracked £6.00
  • Special Delivery £7.28

I should add that on both occasions my cart value was <£30 so no need for additional insurance on RM’s standard offerings.

Humax HDR Fox T2 First Impressions

On 14th Feb 2011 Tivo announced to the UK that it would no-longer be providing Guide information to UK Series 1 Tivo owners, read the blog post in full here.

A replacement for beloved Tivo had to be found. After much searching of the net, it was decided that a Humax HDR Fox T2 would be Tivo’s successor.  Available in both 500GB and 1TB models offering twin tuners for simultaneous recording and viewing or multiple recordings.

To found out how we got on after the delivery arrived after the break Continue reading Humax HDR Fox T2 First Impressions

DreamPlug from Globalscale Technologies

Globalscale Technologies have released details of their new plugtop computer, the Dreamplug.

With the following features, the Dreamplug follows on from the Guruplug, and Sheevaplug.

  • Marvell Sheeva core 1.2GHz speed
  • Linux 2.6.3x Kernel
  • 512MB 16bit DDR2-800 MHz
  • 1 GB on board micros-SD for kernel and root file system
  • 2 x Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000 Mbps
  • 2 x USB 2.0 ports (Host)
  • 1 x eSATA 2.0 port -3Gbps SATAII
  • 1 x SD socket for user expansion/application
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g
  • Bluetooth BT2.1 + EDR
  • Audio Interfaces
  • Headphone (analogue) out x 1
  • Fiber Optics (SP/DIF) out x 1
  • Jtag and Uart connections for external module
  • 5V3A DC power supply

More pictures, and our thoughts after the break.

Priced at £135 and available for pre-order from NewIT

Continue reading DreamPlug from Globalscale Technologies

Latest CurrentCost Products

With CurrentCost exhibiting at CES over in Las Vegas.

We’ve been able to find out some more information on upcoming products.


The EMC² whilst’also’providing individual home appliance energy monitoring, the EMC² also enables its customers to control the on/off’switch of’multiple appliances’all in one place. Pictured below.

Optical Meter Reader

Optical Meter readers will be available in multiple versions, that will allow reading of Electricity, Gas, Oil and Water usage. You’ll need to be using the latest EnviR or EnviRW display units to make use of these meter readers.

Senseable Transmitter

This new slimmed down transmitter from CurrentCost is compatible with existing display units (so no need for any upgrades).

It brings the ability to set the voltage of the supply to allow more accurate measurement of the power being used.

It also comes with  a ‘multi add’ display feature to allow easy installation of addition displays around the home.

CurrentCost products are available through the CurrentCost Amazon Store