Friday

First Utility Vitality Firm Spectacular

First Utility Vitality Firm SpectacularFirst Utility supply’s fuel and electrical energy to homes and companies within the United Kingdom. It's based mostly in Warwick UK.

The company was launched in 2008 by co-founders Mark Daeche, Darren Braham and Marcus Citron as a spin-out from First Telecom.

In January 2012 the company appointed the previous lastminute.com CEO Ian McCaig as its new CEO.

Not like the Massive 6, the company doesn't generate electricity, as an alternative buying it from worldwide markets. The company has a relationship with Shell, which sees it act as an intermediary to purchase wholesale vitality on the global market.

Being a small new entrant to the market without the burden of having emigrate giant numbers of customers from legacy methods allowed the company to experiment with new know-how .

First Utility was the primary vitality provider in the UK to offer good meters to its residential customers.

It has additionally partnered with numerous different suppliers including oPower and Google Power Meter to provide customers with entry to utilization data.

In October 2013 the company was ranked as the seventh largest provider in the UK, making it the largest outdoors the Massive 6. By September 2014 the corporate had a market share of two%.

First Utility are committed to giving customers greater control by sharing the information they should lower their energy spend.

For this reason they are growing new technologies to:
Improve clients home’s vitality effectivity
Be certain that prospects get correct, not estimated bills
They say they wish to save money not simply once, however everyday for his or her customers.

My Energy from First Utility puts you accountable for your usage like never before. With quite a lot of easy tools you possibly can quickly see how to economize by making a few small adjustments like altering your light bulbs or turning the TV off standby.

It’s straightforward to discover how much you can save and tailor these utility financial savings to your individual household.

You can even learn the way energy efficient you are compared to your neighbours with first utility!

First Utility are committed to roll out sensible meters to all clients before 2020.

Good meters are ‘smarter’ than digital and mechanical meters since you usually don’t need to take readings.

With a wise meter:
Your power use readings are taken automatically. They’re then sent via mobile communication technology reminiscent of SMS and GPRS to your power supplier. The readings data is utilized by the provider to supply an correct bill. You Good Meter can be related to our on-line vitality management software giving you even higher perception and control into your utilization and spend.

First Utility, the UK’s fastest rising vitality firm, in the present day introduced it's the first unbiased provider to achieve 1 million buyer accounts.

The significant milestone follows constantly high growth, which has seen a ten-fold improve in buyer numbers in below three years. The company now serves greater than 550,000 prospects, most with each gas and electrical energy, equalling greater than 1m accounts. It is usually the one energy provider to be ranked in the Sunday Instances Fast Observe one hundred every year since 2011.

First Utility’s progress means it now accounts for over 2% of the residential power market, whereas the Big Six’s share has lowered from greater than ninety nine% in 2011 to ninety two% currently1.

It's First Utility that's on the vanguard of this dramatic change.


The DECC faces 90% staff budget cuts – UK’s climate plans could be in danger.

Released on Friday the 3rd of July, the analysis of the Green Alliance has said the DECC could have just over £350mn for all non-ring-fenced activity in 2017-2018 – which includes; health, education, development budgets and major DECC programmes. The Green Alliance has estimated that once all official and unofficial projected spending was taken into account the resource spending would be dramatically cut and by 2018-19 only £40mn would be available for all staffing, analysis and policy implementation functions – from £402mn in 2014-15.

Former energy secretary Ed Davey said that “cutting DECC’s head count so dramatically would damage economic growth and undermine private investment.

“The main effect of slashing the headcount at DECC will be cutting economic growth and undermining private sector investment. It is Osbornomics at its worst, the department is an economic powerhouse for the UK, with energy infrastructure investment dwarfing investments in transport, communications and water combined.”

The report by Green Alliance said “These cuts would result in a dumbed down DECC. This unusual, but dramatic, ring-fencing effect could reduce DECC’s resource spending by as much as 90 per cent by 2018-19, curtailing the department’s ability to make sure the UK has secure, clean, affordable energy supplies and promote international action to mitigate climate change.”

Matthew Spencer, Green Alliance’s director has said “This was a small department with a big impact on British economy and it determines pretty much the future of the UKs energy infrastructure. DECC has two big peculiarities in its budget. It has a huge historical liabilities, principally from nuclear industry, which is not officially protected, but it’s hard not to spend money on keeping nuclear waste safe. Secondly, DECC has a much bigger capital spend, and government has said it’s going to protect capital spending”

How does this affect me, the consumer?

Jim Watson of the UK Energy Research Centre, Catherine Mitchell of the University of Exeter, and Paul Ekins at University College London warned of higher household energy bills for consumers if DECC’s budget was cut too far.

“Costs to consumers from energy policy are likely to be higher, and energy supply less secure, if government does not protect its in-house expertise to negotiate contracts with the energy industry, to complete energy market reform, and to develop new energy saving programmes for the most vulnerable customers, it’s vital that government protects its impressive track record in climate diplomacy”.

Scott Byrom energy expert makes this concluding statement: “This is a crushing blow to DECC’s existence and their mission “to power the country and protect the planet”. Instead, it looks like they’ll be unable to do either thanks to suggested cuts imposed by a government who look set to pull a U-turn on energy efficiency to reduce bills, secure sustainable energy sources and protect the environment. Combined with a ruthless pursuit of rolling out fracking, the future of the UK energy market looks bleak for the majority of us unless you have a large shareholding in companies such as Cuadrilla”.

Thursday

Sprint Backs Off 600 Kbps Video Throttling After Backlash -


Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure says that the company will back off its plan to start throttling video for all "unlimited" customers back to 600 kbps. Yesterday we noted Sprint had unveiled its new "all in" pricing plans, which offer unlimited text, voice and data for $60 a month, plus a $20 device leasing fee. In the fine print however, Sprint stated that the company would throttle video service to 600 kbps regardless of whether or not congestion was occurring on the network.

Apparently it didn't take long for the company to reverse course after many users complained about the limit.

Posting to Twitter, Sprint CEO Marcel Claure said that the company has heard annoyed users and will be lifting the 600 kbps limit on video. Another tweet suggests Claure was sleeping in Tokyo and "took action" once he heard the public outcry. Claure stated Sprint would still manage the network, but failed to precisely specify what that would entail.

"We heard you loud and clear, and we are removing the 600 kbps limitation on streaming video," Claure also said in a press release. "During certain times, like other wireless carriers, we might have to manage the network in order to reduce congestion and provide a better customer experience for the majority of our customers."

Of course this could all just be a moot point. Claure has hinted several times now that Sprint plans to eliminate unlimited data plans before long.

»twitter.com/marceloclaur ··· 37908736


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Cornering the markets

THE world’s biggest consumer of commodities is no longer just an insatiable buyer of everything from coal to gold. A richer, slower-growing and choosier China is becoming an exporter as well as importer. It is also using its clout to change the way commodities are traded, bringing markets closer to home and drawing up rules that suit its needs instead of those of producers and Western financiers.

This week, for example, Chinese regulators gave the go-ahead for foreigners to trade crude-oil futures in Shanghai. When that starts—probably by November—it will be the first time that outsiders have been allowed to buy and sell a listed Chinese futures contract. This is part of a clear plan to change the way commodities are traded, says Owain Johnson of the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME). The exchange in Dalian, a port through which many commodities enter China, has become the biggest trading centre for iron ore in the world in less than two years. Shanghai has developed big markets in nickel and copper.

Many expect more gold trading to move to China too. Allegations of rigging have rocked the current hub, in London. China—the world’s...Continue reading

A middle-class mirage

AMERICA’S workers have seen better days. Over the past decade private-sector wages have grown at an average yearly rate of just 0.3% after accounting for inflation—a fraction of their typical pace of growth. One response, embraced by Barack Obama this week, is to oblige firms to grant 5m more workers “overtime pay”—1.5 times their normal wage—for any period they work in excess of 40 hours a week. Hillary Clinton, the probable Democratic candidate for president, called it “a win for our economy and workers”. The economic evidence behind the policy, though, does not justify her enthusiasm.

The Fair Labour Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 fixes a threshold salary above which workers are not entitled to overtime. The intention is to strip out managers and supervisors who, the argument goes, are harder to coerce into working unreasonable hours and are well compensated for their trouble anyway. But the exemption has not kept pace with inflation. It is now $23,660 a year, below the poverty line for a family of four ($24,250). The proportion of full-time salaried workers eligible for overtime pay has fallen from 62% in 1975 to 8% today. Mr Obama plans...Continue reading

Fox Sports, NHK Demonstrating 8K Content -


Sure, most broadcasters and cable operators aren't even able to fully deliver content in 1080p, and most consumers have yet to buy even a 4K set, but that's apparently not stopping the industry from hyping 8K broadcasts. Fox Sports and NHK, Japan s national public broadcasting organization, have been conducting a number of demonstrations of 8K content over the last few weeks.

They've been showing off the higher-resolution fare during the FIFA Women s World Cup tournament:

quote:
Fox Sports and NHK, Japan s national public broadcasting organization, are holding invitation-only demos this week and next of live 8K coverage of two tournament match-ups Japan vs. Cameroon (June 12), and U.S. vs. Nigeria (June 16) at the Zanuck Theater on the Fox Studio lot in Los Angeles. They re billing it as a first for North America, noting that the live feeds will be presented in 8K/Super Hi-Vision in 22.2 surround sound.
The companies say they don't expect commercial 8K broadcasts to be available until sometime around 2020. Other than DirecTV, most pay TV operators don't appear to be in any rush to embrace even 4K, something over the top companies like Netflix and Amazon hope to take advantage of. Until then, videos supporting 8K resolution have also recently started showing up on YouTube, including the following 8K (4320p) clip:


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Tuesday

Meizu Announces The MX5

Today at Meizu's event in China the company presented their new flagship phone, the MX5. The MX5 is the successor to the MX4 released last year, and while I haven't been able to review that unit yet, I did take an extensive look at its bigger brother, the MX4Pro.

The MX5's biggest characteristic is the change in display technology. Meizu has now adopted Samsung's AMOLED screen in place of the traditional LCD technology. This also leads to a change in form-factor as now Meizu had to abandon its 16:10 aspect-ratio for the more conventional 16:9 resolutions. At 1080p and 5.5" diagonal, the screen isn't as high resolution as one might have expected and thus regresses in terms of DPI in comparison to the MX4. This is a diamond-structure PenTile subpixel arrangement so the effective resolution is thus even less than the MX4, something one might have to be wary of in a 5.5" phone such as this.

An important metric is power consumption, the MX5 is supposed to use up 40% less power than the MX4's screen, this might point out that PSR is now being employed on the new unit as the MX4 notoriously suffered from a lack of the technology. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3.

Meizu MX5 Specifications
SoC MediaTek Helio X10 MT6795
8x Cortex A53 @ 2.2GHz
PowerVR G6200 @ 700MHz+
RAM 3GB LPDDR3-1600
NAND / Storage 16 / 32 / 64GB
Display 5.5" 1920x1080 SuperAMOLED
Network 2G / 3G / 4G LTE
FDD-LTE / TD-LTE / TD-SCDMA / WCDMA / GSM
(Chinese Bands)
Dimensions 149.9 x 74.7 x 7.6mm
149 grams
Camera 20.7MP Sony IMX220 sensor F/2.2 Main camera
w/ Laser auto-focus

5MP F/2.0 Front camera
Battery 3150mAh
OS Android 5.0
with Meizu FlymeOS 4.5
Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n/ac + BT 4.1 + BLE, USB2.0, GPS/GNSS
SIM Size nanoSIM + nanoSIM

Meizu continues to employ MediaTek's SoCs in its device as we see the MX5 use a new Helio X10 / MT6795. This is a successor to the MT6595 which employed A17 and A7 cores in a big.LITTLE configuration. I was fairly impressed with the performance and battery life of the MT6595 itself, while I'm sort of doubtful the new A53 cores will be able to outperform it in real use-cases, it should still work very well and also improve battery life for the new device. The MX5 comes with a standard 3GB of LPDDR3 memory.

Due to the screen's change in aspect ratio, the MX5 is 6mm taller than the MX4, although width has gone down 0.5mm and the new phone is now also thinner at 7.6 instead of 8.9mm - all without sacrificing battery capacity (And likely battery life) as it now actually even gains 50mAh for a total of 3150mAh.

The camera system remains largely the same, but Meizu now uses a better lens system that is supposed to improve quality of the image. This is still a Sony IMX220 20.7MP sensor with an F2.2 aperture lens. What is new is that there's now a laser auto-focus system right under the flash LED, enabling fast-focus for down to 0.2s according to Meizu.

The fingerprint sensor that we've seen on the MX4Pro carries over to the MX5, enabling a variety of OS security functions such as unlocking the device or accessing private folders or galleries on your phone.

The phone ships with Meizu's FlymeOS 4.5 Android 5.0 operating system. The interesting part here is that Meizu announced its plans to open-source parts of the OS and upload them to GitHub for community development. This might attract a lot of enthusiast users as having a modding-friendly device can vastly increase the life-span of a model beyond what the OEM is willing to offer in terms of support.

For now the device is aimed at the Chinese market (And thus only offers limited western frequency bands) coming in at ¥1799, ¥1999 and ¥2399 (USD $290, $320, $386) price-points for 16, 32 or 64GB versions.

Source: Meizu