Do you know that your gadgets and kitchen appliances are actually costing to run? If you actually take a step back and realise the cost of running your favourite console, your TV’s and stereos you may think twice about taking them off standby.

We all know that we should be keeping an eye on our energy consumption for the sake of the environment, but how many of us actually do? Juice Electrical Supplies recently produced this infographic based on the data collected by the Energy Saving Trust to encourage people to use more energy saving devices, to swap to energy saving light bulbs and maybe, just maybe, turn off their appliances behind them.

When you actually show how much the average home owners energy consumption is you become much more likely to affect change. When it is the consumers’ pockets that are lighter, when they realise that not only will they be helping the environment but also making their wallets a little fatter by saving money more people will make the change.

Take a trip through the infographic and start to add up how much your gadgets are costing you – you may be surprised!


Continue reading “Do you know how much it is costing to power your home?” »

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Automating a greenhouse or a garden can be one of the more interesting and practical projects to get stuck in to at home. Our favorite projects that you can carry out on regular basis to automate a greenhouse are garden are discussed below. They are all driven with by Raspberry Pi mini-computers and integrated with additional gadgets and sensors through Arduino microcontrollers to ensure good functionality.

1. Computerized and Automated Grow box

Existing grow boxes have shortcomings that need to be rectified. For instance, they cannot control the temperature and are can only be used in small spaces. To overcome this, new software with temperature and moisture sensors can be used and using Arduino and a Raspberry Pi as the computer, the heat-emitting bulbs and full light incandescent bulbs can be integrated in a system and controlled separately. The system is very capable of controlling temperature and light in the greenhouse as well as sensing moisture levels using simple humidity sensors. You can also install a monitoring mechanism to detect the presence of wildlife around the green house and to monitor the growth of plants remotely.

2. Installing a moisture sensor

Moisture sensors can be made using two galvanized nails in the soil at a particular distance and connecting them with a conductor.  An electric current can easily pass through if there is moisture and due to the fact that the level of moisture is hard to determine, you have to make sure that the moisture sensor is very accurate and efficient. You will also have to use the following:

  • A soldering iron and wire
  • A conducting wire
  • The wire is soldered on to the PS2 controller

The simpler and more reliable answer might simply to get an off the shelf moisture sensor with a calibrated output.

3. Botanicalls

This is an Arduino project that you can buy from a local electronic shop. It is an integrated Ethernet port with plant moisture meter and tweets moisture monitor that alerts you when the plants need water. The computer development kit contains the following:

  • An Ethernet module
  • 5 resistors
  • Two buttons
  • Leaf shaped circuit board
  • ATMEGA micro-controller chip
  • A number of capacitors
  • Metal probes
  • Headers

To assemble the kit you follow instructions at the official Botanicalls site. By using the Botanicalls together with the components in the computer development kits, you will be able check the moisture level in the greenhouse or garden through your phone, although I’m quite sure whether I would want my plants nagging me on Twitter to water them.

4. Building an Indoor computerized Grow box

This build is a self-contained unit with a plant moisture sensor, soil moisture sensor, and temperature probe, so that the system can easily deal with extended periods of unattended care.  The indoor grow box is created with enough room to withstand bigger plants. The following are some of the requirements:

Ceramic reptile heaters and advanced LED to provide both light and necessary heat for the grow box.

  • A CPU fan
  • A hosepipe and low pressure pump for watering purposes

If you are an expert at using different types of computer software, then this project will be very easy for you. By connecting your phone and other gadgets to Wi-Fi, you will be able to control the fan, the ceramic reptile heaters and a big enough water reserve would, theoretically, allow you to go on holiday without your plants dying from neighbors neglect.  By adding a camera to the system, you could remotely observe and care for your plants from the other side of the country or the world.

5. Wireless Outdoor Camera for a Wildlife Project

Once the other parts are in place, you can add a few additional cameras into the system to watch for wildlife, either to prevent marauding vermin or to keep track of a rare species that might be in your area. A wireless, motion detecting Raspberry Pi to monitor all strange happenings around your greenhouse and garden is the perfect solution to this as it doesn’t require you to have power and network cable all over your garden. Here’s what you will need:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • Wireless LAN USB Adapter
  • A USB webcam cinema
  • 11000mAH External Battery Pack (or similar)
  • Linux and Motion software

Once you have got all the parts together you have a complete package.  A computer controlled greenhouse for tomato plants that could also deal with the sprinkler duty for your lawn is teamed up with a grow box for seedlings and cuttings.  Your houseplants will automatically tell you if they need watering and whether you have groundhogs digging up your vegetables, or a bird nesting in a tree, you will always be up to date and informed.

The only thing you need is an excuse if you still manage to kill the plants.

Featured images:
  • raspberrypi 4 5 Raspberry Pi Projects to Automate Your Greenhouse or Gardens License: Image author owned
  • arduino 2 5 Raspberry Pi Projects to Automate Your Greenhouse or Gardens License: Image author owned
  • stock footage botanical garden automated plant watering system water to stay alive 5 Raspberry Pi Projects to Automate Your Greenhouse or Gardens License: Image author owned

Christopher Parkinson originally studied microprocessor design theory before testing phone lines and repairing faulty circuit boards for a couple of telco companies. His interest in electronics started at an early age when he used a screwdriver to open up a video game console to see how it worked. These days Chris is a home electronics enthusiast who enjoys tampering with the latest technology when not writing about the latest Raspberry Pi kits from Newark.


Looking for a great security app for your cell phone but don’t know where to start? There are hundreds of different apps that you can use to keep your data safe, use for parental control software or even use to keep your employees online.
Security apps have thousands of applications so you can definitely find one for anything that you want to do. Before you go looking for security apps, decide what you are looking for, how much you are going to pay for it and then search. You’re sure to find something for your phone and your phone’s operating system.

Antivirus App – An antivirus app is unfortunately necessary if you have a Windows 8, Android or Blackberry phone. While you can find some antivirus apps for Apple, they are few and far between but still useful. Did you know that about 25% of spammers and hackers are now targeting mobile devices with their malicious software? If you aren’t protected, you could be losing your important personal data! Great options include mobile versions of popular antivirus systems such as Norton or etc.

Parental Control – Keeping your kid’s safe is important and we all want to do our part. If you’ve given your kids a phone you have to worry about cyber bullying inappropriate content and even sexting. In fact, it’s estimated that about 70% of kids either sext or share inappropriate photos! You can use parental software including mobile spy apps like mSpy or etc. or you can learn more about your parental control options and have your kids show you their phones every night. However, this won’t prevent them from texting something naughty and then deleting it.

Phone Tracking – Whether you want to know where your phone is if you lose it or it gets stolen or want to know where the owner of a phone is, phone tracking apps are invaluable. Mobile spy apps will usually contain features that will let you accurately track the exact GPS location of any phone as long as it has battery and internet.
There are hundreds if not thousands of free security apps you can download, but you should remember that the best ones will probably cost money. Most good antivirus apps will cost a yearly subscription and so will any parental control or phone tracking apps you decide to download. You and your families, safety is important, especially on your mobile phone.

Author Bio: Ida C Evans
An experienced writer in the high tech sphere, Ida C Evans works at an mSpy company developing cell phone spy software. Contact her at

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3371720359 66a173472b 10 Social Issues Computers Have Solved

1. Dating

There was a time when a lonely person would be required to place a small ad in a newspaper and wait for a letter or response to arrive through the letterbox. Alternatively, singletons could fill in a form and wait for an agency to respond with suggestions.

Nowadays, any single person, whether male or female, can choose from a variety of websites that offer the opportunity to meet like-minded people. You can see prospective dates before making contact and build up friendships through online messages and e-mails, making the task of meeting someone easier by having got to know him or her a little beforehand.

2. Friendship

With the massive rise in popularity of social networking sites there is no excuse for anyone not to have dozens of friends! When you hook up online with friends and acquaintances you get to see photos of them and all their other friends, read their online posts and get to know them. The internet is unequalled in its ability to connect people spanning races, religions and continents.

3. Networking

Marketing is essential for business and networking provides the opportunity for business people to promote their products and services to each other. Networking is all about spreading the word about what you have to offer. The odds of your business progressing increases as it reaches more people. Quality of leads is important and the internet allows businesses to reach their target audience in a way that is quick, efficient and cost-effective.

4. Family

With so much scope for movement around the globe these days, it is all too easy for families to find themselves in different countries, making it difficult for grandparents and grandchildren to meet up, along with parents and grown-up children or other close family members. A number of websites allow families to post photographs and blogs in order to keep relatives up to date. There are opportunities to post personal messages, videos and chat online via instant messaging.

5. VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)

One of the wonders of the modern age, VOIP allows people to conduct conversations with each other over an internet connection. Distance is no longer the barrier it used to be, as it is possible to stay in touch with loved ones anywhere in the world or at least wherever the internet is available!

6. Bullying

Children subjected to bullying at school have always been reluctant to seek help for fear of further retribution. Anti-bullying websites provide a starting point for children in need of help and advice, enabling them to deal more effectively with the problem.

From gaining an understanding of why they are being bullied to tried and tested ideas for tackling the problem, websites such as these help children to take control of a situation that might otherwise leave them feeling powerless.

7. Instant health advice

Whether it’s a disturbing rash or a persistent cough, the internet is full of health advice and guidance. Although care needs to be taken not to become too alarmist in researching health issues, there are a number of excellent sites endorsed by the medical profession which allow people to list symptoms and view possible causes and treatments.

Where a patient has been given a diagnosis of a disease or illness, the internet can supply a wealth of information and advice that a busy doctor may not recall or know about, particularly when it comes to specific societies and organisations that dedicate themselves to a single health issue.

8. Housing

Whether renting or purchasing, it has never been easier to find accommodation than it is now. There are a number of very good sites that allow you to search for your perfect home.

Whether you want to buy a detached two-bedroom bungalow with a conservatory in York or rent a three-bedroom terrace with a courtyard in Bath, the internet allows you to pinpoint the specific details that matter most to you in your search for a new home.

9. Finance

There was a time when the banks were only open on weekdays and all transactions were made by cash or cheque. The advent of internet banking, however, has revolutionised the industry, enabling people to access their accounts at any time or place.

Internet banking allows you to set text alerts when your bank balance reaches a certain point, meaning you never have to go accidentally overdrawn again. Account holders can also move money between accounts and pay bills whenever they want or need.

10. Childcare

Women nowadays find it harder than ever before to give up work and stay at home with a baby. Now that most women hold down a job or career before becoming a mother, the sudden switch to days at home with a new baby can be a real shock.

There are a number of websites that aim to combat the loneliness and worries that new mothers experience, offering help and advice. This valuable support network also highlights childcare solutions and franchises or job opportunities to help the young mother find her way back into the workplace if she so chooses.

License: Creative Commons image source

This guest post was contributed by COBA Europe; UK suppliers of Anti-Fatigue Matting, Entrance Matting and Rubber Flooring.

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A document scanner can be a essential tool for your business. If you’re the type that wants less paper to deal with, you can quickly scan all those business cards and receipts into your computer. But, which document scanner is right for you. The following will help you choose a reliable document scanner for your business.

Determine Document Types

Do you plan on scanning business cards or full-sheet documents? In most cases, people need a scanner that can handle a variety of sizes. For that reason, you want to look for a document scanner that adjusts to accommodate something as small as a business card or as large as a letter. This ensures that you don’t end up having to go back out and find another scanner than will handle different sizes.

Look at Volume Needs

If you’re only going to be scanning a few documents here and there, almost any document scanner can handle your needs. If you’ll be scanning less than 1,000 pages per day, a workstation style scanner is a great, affordable option. However, if you plan to scan many more documents per day, you will need a more professional scanner that can handle the load. Production scanners can handle up to 100,000 pages per day. In most cases, the typical person, or even small business, will not require this type of scanning output.

Consider Stationary or Portable

Do you want a scanner that sits neatly on your desk or are you more concerned with a document scanner that you can take anywhere? For example, if you meet with clients in their homes, it would help to have a portable scanner that could be used to scan information, such as driver’s licenses or proof of income. If a portable scanner is what you need, make sure to choose a quality scanner that is tough and small enough to be easily carried in your laptop bag.

Remember Your Budget

Budget is essential. When shopping for a document scanner, choose a model that meets your need and your budget. In other words, you don’t want to invest more money than necessary. If a $200 document scanner meets your needs, why purchase one that costs $400? Set a budget that you’re comfortable with, but don’t spend that amount if you don’t have to.

Document scanners are a great way to cut back on the amount of paper that is cluttering your office. Instead of stacks of paper and business cards, you can soon have a neat desk and all your paperwork filed away in the proper folders on your computer.

About the Author: Bryon Mandy loves to look for new technological devices he can incorporate into his workplace. He’s great at finding discount toner, high-quality software programs, and anything computer related.

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