Monday, 28 February 2011

Not So Smart Power Monitor

We received our "smartpower" monitor over the weekend and it was fairly interesting to see how much power various household appliances actually used. The kettle and the cooker being the obvious and totally expected headline offenders. The monitor also has a seemingly useful feature where you can programme in your electricity tariff and it will report current (NPI) usage in pence per hour with a total usage for the day. This was, for me, where things started to go a bit wrong.

I was constantly amazed at how little it costs to run our appliances. TV? A few pence per hour. Computer? A few more. Energy saving light bulbs? Apparently completely free*. I could go on. At the end of the day it turns out we've used a few pounds worth of electricity. This seems like a total bargain to me.

Now there's an obvious trap here, because over the course of a year a few pounds a day adds up to a fairly significant amount of money. It just doesn't seem like a lot when you think of it in the daily or hourly terms the meter is reporting, which is presumably why a lot of dubious adverts say things like "Costs only 67pence per minute!" instead of the more unappealing "Costs £352,152 per year..."**

I would suggest that they need to add a predicted quarterly charge or something to highlight the cost in easily comparable terms.

*Clearly they must use some electricity but it's obviously not a significant amount.

**Not that I'm suggesting anyone would call a premium rate number for an entire year, but it's amazing how much more expensive that sounds.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Attack of the Plastic People!

There are some interesting buildings round the harbour where I'm staying, such as:

Let's hope they're friendly.

My favourite is this one:

A wobbly steel encased building, fantastic!

But do we really need this kind of thing in our hotel room?

Let's all agree now, that we don't.

For Ned

Whilst enjoying a remarkbly nice burger at a German restaurant in Dusseldorf last night, I asked the waiter for a beer*, and he said "Sure." And then he brought me one.

How we laughed.

The end.

*this didn't actually happen.