A river that needs crossing political and tech blogs - On the political side, there is arrogance and ignorance, on the geek side there is naivety and over- complexity

My videos are on these two youtube channels visionontv 3,832,876 views and undercurrents 22,689,976 views

 

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Worthwhile grassroots “openspace” projects

The are two current worthwhile grassroots “openspace” projects am involved with. Both have a lot of potential but both are more likely to fail for obverses and avoidable reasons. Lets look at both in turn:

The Hive Dalston is an interesting hybrid project crossing the activist and corporate divide. Its a legal social centre using temporally empty buildings to build community projects. It came out of a long history of doing the same thing by squatting the same sought of buildings.

The Village Butty is a the shifting of an existing boater infrastructure from an individual to the wider community to make it sustainable. Its a village hall for the longest/friendlies village in the world, the London canals.

Why are the both more likely fail on their current course?

The Hive is a balances between the top down of the corporate worlds and the bottom up of the activist/community world. This could/needs to be healthy, currently it is not, the corporate world view is pushing over the community, thus pushing the community out of the space... currently its an echoing shallow space. With out the community having “ownership” in all its messiness the space will/is drifting into barren NGO land. And in the medium/long term NGO's need funding to subsist, with out funding burn out and failer is not far away.

The Village Butty is initially a more hopeful project. The issue it faces is the libertarian nature of the boater community, its hard to bring and hold boaters together to make anything permanent, its by its nature a shifting/money poor community. The nice couple who have take on on this task and starting to show the strain, lots of talk of support and mostly transient action is a course for burn out. In their crowed funding they are reaching out to the boaters themselves, were instead they need to reach out the wider mainstream community who “romanticizes” boaters. This “outside” demographic easily has the money to support the project were the cash poor boaters them selves do not.

So to recap my thoughts, both projects could/can save themselves from “burn out” by shifting structure/outreach. I will go and have a chat to them both and see what happens.

Offgride travel with Small Solar Power

If you are taking your small USB powered devices off grid for a week or so then you will need a way to keep them powered up. In this review I look at 2 small folding solar panels. Both will charge a "dumb phone" or a normal smart phone and can charge larger phones or tablets for occasional use.

We have the Goalzero Nomad 7 from the USA and the smaller and cheaper UK based Bimbalesolar panel (A badged china import)

Both have approximately the same power output but the is a large price difference. The Slightly lower powered Bimble panel (6W) is a few years newer than the US panel (7W) thus smaller due to the use of 20% efficient cells compared to 17% for the older panel

The Nomad 7 has a light wait plastic regulator/plug box and has both USB and a 12v output (3-4W) which could be useful for trickle charging lead acid 12v battery’s. But not much everyday use for this function.

  • Weight: 16.2 oz (460 g)
  • Dimensions (unfolded): 9 x 1.5 x 17 in (22.9 x 3.8 x 43.2 cm)
  • Dimensions (folded): 9 x 1.5 x 6.5 in (22.9 x 3.8 x 16.5 cm)

The Cheaper panel has a heavy folded metal box.

Extend Size: 200 x 400 x 20mm
Folded Size: 200 x 155 x 26mm
Weight: 250g

Is the size and large price diffrence worth it?

Nomad 7 £80

Bimblesolar £28

The build quality of the Goalzero panel is excellent, with custom components throughout, and it will likely survive for longer with hard use. While the Bimblesolar panel has good build quality and will like survive OK. The cheaper panel might prove to be easer to repair if it fails as it is made with standard components. Both will work fine to charge your small USB device.

On balance the price, and to a lesser extent the size differences makes the Bimblesolar panel the clear winner between the two.

How to use:

If you can turn your device off to charge it as this will reduce charging time. (some devices will not turn off while pluged in such as iphone's)

Use a power pass through USB battery pack to store power while your charging your devices. You must look hard for "power pass though" and pay slightly more for this feature.

Keep your expensive electronics dry, cool, in the shade and out of site.

Take care of your USB cables as they are fragile. If you can use the cable that the device came with as each cable is actually different and can alter charging times. Shorter cabals are better than longer cables in general.

Student Loans driving bankruptcy

There are many outstanding questions on the competency of the Honours student loan company. There will be a growing issue around this incompetency driving individuals into bankruptcy though charges on their student loans.

Let's outline my own current experience. Because of the time I was at university my student loans were shared between the two student loan companies. This has caused a lot of issues over the time of the loan that were never dealt with, even though they were repeatedly agreed to be dealt with.

For more than 15 years the Honours student loan has been failing in its agreement to synchronise and cross check the deferment of my student loans. Each year (that’s more than 15 times) after manually getting this check to happen they have agreed that this would not happen next year. Every time they have failed to fulfil this agreement, and each year the same problems of getting them to do the cross checking happened.

When one company's loan is deferred, the other should also be deferred: basic stuff that should not be a problem. In the final year before the loans were written off, the other loan company refused to communicate that the loan was already deferred because this deferment only had 3 months left to run. I pointed out their clear responsibility for this being an issue due to the loans becoming out of sync due to their repeated negligence. My point was it was a issue directly created by them: thus it was their responsibility to clear this up. Although there were constant phone calls from them they made no attempt to address this and have not yet sent me a meaningful reply to this issue of responsibility.

At the very least I would like this basic issue of how a responsible company can agree to do a basic service, then not do this service, repeatedly leaving me with the possibility of being bankrupted by their failures. Instead of this basic honesty, they are currently avoiding this issue and moving to push me into bankruptcy by calling the loan due in whole, even though it should have already been writern off completely.

The £489 in charges and interest outstanding during the period is a direct result of their failure and they have still not addressed this basic complaint. I am still waiting for a reply to this issue of their negligence being DIRECTLY responsible for the outstanding charges and the failure to write off this loan on the due date.

I look forward to a meaningful reply to this.

Being a Pirate - the CC'ers life

There are two keys to being a CCer

1) Don’t take the piss

2) Be a pirate


That’s about it, now they can overlap, let's look at examples of both:

Don’t take the piss.

* Move every 14 days, not hard, and if you can't regularly keep to this then you probably aren’t cut out for life of a CCer, time to think about getting a flat or a mooring if you can afford it.

* Clean up after yourself, your mum isn’t in your boat, thank god, not taking the piss comes down to you, so clean it up.

* Noise, you're up for a rave good on you pirate, but don’t take the piss by doing it in the middle of built up suburbia near lots of moored up boats who aren’t invited.

* Help your mates, the pirate code is mates rates.

* Don’t be a boss with a machete, a can of special brew, it's not friendly it's not wise.

* Am not sure were this goes "Don't tell me how to live my life."

Be a pirate.

* Fuck the system, fuck the bureaucracy, fuck the police, though sometimes smiles and giles are the pirate way, good to keep balancing this.

* We all love pirate moorings, make good use of them and spread the word of mouth.

* Invite all your neighbours to parties, we all love parties.

* Build you boat under a bridge, it's what they are for

* Pirates are horizontal, the captain gets voted in, remember this.

There are more but that’s enough to get on with.

Overlaps

* Renting you boat out is a fine balance between being a pirate and taking the piss. Going away for 6 months to India, sure be a pirate and rent it out. Have a huge brodbeam or a flotilla of 3 boats permanently rented on the open tow-path/wintermooring is taking the piss. The open tow-path is a commons that belongs to us all, don’t enclose it for private gain.

* Bridge hopping in a popular spot, if you need to for a while no problem, be a pirate. If you do this all year you are taking the piss and endangering all our lifestyles by pushing the enforcement agenda.

*Yarr! Be a pirate-recycle wood for fuel. Don't take the piss by burning it in front of people's homes.

* and a few more to come....

Best small USB Solar Panel

Solar USB Charger 6W

Simply plug your USB charger into the back of the charger and let the sun charge it back up, good for external USB batterys.

Good for travelling, festivals, trips to the park and charging on your car dash board.  If you are traveling then you can use the side tags to strap it to your back pack so it will charge your devices while you walk along.  It has a zip up net on the back to keep all your charging cables neatly together.

Specifications

Maximum Power: 6W±5%
Numbers of Panels:2
High efficiency:20%
Operating Voltage:5V
Operating Current:1200mA
Output Terminal: Intelegent USB
Extend Size: 200 x 400 x 20mm
Folded Size: 200 x 155 x 26mm
Weight: 250g
Bag Material:Fabric (waterproof):PVC
Solar Panel: Sunpower Solar wafer
Color:black
Zip net to keep cables

LINK

Features

  • Recharge by: USB, Solar Panel
  • Power Output: USB, AA/AAA Batts.
  • Ideal for: Phone, GPS, Headlamp
  • Kit Includes: Guide 10 & Nomad 7
  • Weight: 1.2 lbs

With the Guide 10 Plus Recharger and Nomad 7 Solar Panel you have a portable, rugged charging kit as adventurous as you are. Charge AAs from the sun or any USB port, then power your phone, MP3, GPS, or perk up your tablet in a pinch.

LINK

 

Wind Turbine Generator

Small Nemo 400W wind turbine with controller

1. Light weight
2. Silence blades(10meter noise 58dba)
3. Good alternator output (same wind speed the output power more than other brands at least 15%.)
4. Good wind design(excelent design can be working in 3m/s to 49.2m/s wind speed) 

Rotor Diameter:47 inches (1.2m)
Weight:12.3 lbs (5.6kg)
(Shipping: 26.5”x13.8”x8.3” (672x350x210mm) / 17.2 lbs (7.8kg))
Mount:1.5” schedule 40 pipe (1.9” OD, 48 mm)
Magnetic Material: NdFeB  (Neodymium Iron Boron)
Shaft Bearing: High Standard Sealed Bearing
Shaft: Stainless Steel
Fasteners (nuts and bolts): Stainless Steel
Start-up wind speed:7 mph (3.13 m/s)
Voltage:12 and 24 VDC
Rated Power:400 watts at 28mph (12.5m/s)
Controller:Microprocessor-based smart external regulator with Peak Power Tracking
Blades:Carbon Fiber Composite
Body:Cast aluminum (Marine is powder coated for corrosion protection)
Energy Production:38 kWh/mo @12mph (5.4m/s)
Warranty:3 Year Limited Warranty
Survival Wind speed:110 mph (49.2 m/s)
Over-speed Protection:Electronic torque control
Battery Bank Minimum:100 amp hours @ 12V, 50 amp hours @ 24V

Smart external regulator with Peak Power Tracking Controller
1. Automatic Circuit Break protection.
2. High wind protection.
3. Constant output power display LED.
4. Over charge protection.

LINK

 

Cheap solar panels

This is a very good deal for DIY solar power install

Second hand, Kyocera modules are known to last for well over 30 years, these panels have been used for around 10 years so there is still plenty of life left in them.

Link

Chargeing your Laptop form solar power

12V Macbook Magsafe2 Laptop Charger, rather than running an inverter and then your standard charger this will allow you to charge directly from your 12V batteries being more effecient and saving you power. Link

12V Universal Laptop Charger, rather than running an inverter and then your standard charger this will allow you to charge directly from your 12V batteries being more effecient and saving you power.

Adjustable output voltage at 15V, 16V, 18V, 19V, 20V, 22V 24V
Support most of the Notebook for HP IBM COMPAQ and SONY (With circle plug) LINK

 

 

Basic boat 12v electrics

Basic boat 12v electrics

I see so many people with battery issues thought I would do a basic post.

Battery state is a bit of witchcraft, you can get an idea of charge by using a volt meter after leaving the battery’s for more than 3 hours with out use.

State of Charge (v)
100% 12.7
90% 12.5
80% 12.42
70% 12.32
60% 12.20
50% 12.06
40% 11.9
30% 11.75
20% 11.58
10% 11.31
0 10.5

While the battery’s are on charge or after use you will not get a valid idea.

Try not to take your battery’s lower than 12.00v If your battery’s are low recharge them as soon as possible, the longer you leave them flat the more long term life you lose.

Solar panels will help for long term battery health, give the battery’s a rest for a day to come to full charge every few weeks to care for them.

How to use a volt meter

Every boater needs a volt meter to hand. You don’t need an expensive one though spending a bit more will likely get you more robustness. http://www.ebay.co.uk/bhp/digital-voltmeter

Read the instructions of your volt meter.

To use turn the dial to 20v DC then put the red probe (pin/stick) onto the plus and the black probe onto the negative terminals of the battery. You can scrape the terminals if they are dirty to get a good connection. This should give you a volt reading in the range of 10-15v see my last post for what this tells you.

*** Be careful of placing any metal objects that could connect the + and – on the battery or wires as this could course a fire and will spark alarmingly ***

To get to know your battery’s you should do this often at different times of day for a while, if you care for your battery’s they will care for you.

A new banner for WILPF

My parents are makeing a banner for WILPF

 

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