Are Electric “Smart Meters” A Threat?

February 11, 2012 Leave a comment

In the area where I live, the electric utility company is planning on replacing regular electric meters with some “smart” meters.

This morning, I was browsing the net to find out more about “grid-tie” solar power systems. This is because I currently own a small solar electricity system that I am looking to upscale.

As I was browsing the net, and watching some videos from US and Canada on grid-tie systems. I found out that most of the people having a grid-tie system had a “smart” electric meter installed by the utility company.

I was shocked by the amount of the people I read about or watched on videos that had those meters installed and were clearly saying that they are some privacy issues.

Yes, by monitoring your energy consumption patterns, the electic company can tell wether or not you are at home!

Also your actual power consumption is displayed on the meter out of your house…

Isn’t this another threat to privacy?

I know what’s in the long run for the power utility companies. They will be able to sell you the electricity at various prices depending on when you use it.

So If you cook your meals or take a shower or watch TV during peak hours it’ll cost you MORE…

Then they (the utility co) say that you will end up saving money. The truth is that in most area they were installed an extra “Administration” fee adds up to the bill which is in fact a communication fee and the associated taxes. Yes the smart meters have to communicate over radio radio frequencies too!

In my region, they say (the utility co) that you can opt out of the program, but they will charge you an extra charge.

Health Hazard?

In this post I only talked about the privacy and monetary aspect. But there’s also a big controversy over the health hazard. I find that the “pro” smart meters sides are very short sighted and tend tp generalized the facts. They base their facts on if you only have one meter. What if you live in a building with more than one rental unit and happen to be the unit at the same level as the meter? What if like me, the meter is located on the outside wall of your home office where I sepend several hours a week?

Have a look at this video and tell me why do you think that the light is flickering?

Last Words

I tough that the controversy surrounding the installation and exploitation of the “smart meters” was a local problem to my region but in fact after digging a bit more I found that its spread across Texas, Florida, California, Illinois in the US and British Columbia and Quebec in Canada.

EDIT: Here’s a good video about the smart meters and privacy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4XKq5Cw6bk.

You can find many more in your favorite search engine. (mine is bing)

Smoked By A Windows Phone

February 7, 2012 1 comment

Another great tribute to the makers of the Metro UI of the Windows Phone. At CES 2012 Microsoft was giving 100$ if you could be faster than a windows phone doing a specific task on your current device. It is amazing to see the people’s face when they realize how fast and well tought the windows phone is.

See for yourself:

This is a good start after only a year and a half on the market with the big leagues. I can’t for the multi-core devices to be released witth windows phone 8! And this is also a good prelude to the slate/tablet and desktop version of Windows 8 which are receiving a major facelift “à la Metro” style!

Here’s the url if you want to see more people getting “Smoked By A Windows Phone“.

Categories: Windows Phone 7 Tags: , , , ,

Is Google too powerful?

January 31, 2012 6 comments

Coming March 1st 2012, Google’s new privacy policy will come in effect.

To be honest, I’ve never bothered myself reading the long legal scribbles of privacy policies, end user license etc. In fact, if I would have done so, I would have needed my lawyer sitting next to me every time I login my computer.

But after I heard many times in the past about people complaining about Google’s mishandling peoples personal information, I said to myself. Let’s have a look.

One thing I quickly realized is that Google with it’s ads and Google analysis is now present almost everywhere. They can and they are harvesting information about any sites you navigate to. And they tie that information to your Google profile. Therefore wether you use their services on a daily basis or you used to, they know your browsing history better than your own internet browser!

Worse is by using IP adress geolocation, they can see were you’ve been: you’re at home you use your internet browser to navigate to a site. Bang they know you’re in “smalltown”. You go to a congress out of town, you use your laptop to browse to a site that uses google analytics. Bang again they know you’re in “bigtown”. It’s even worse if you use one of their “materialized” spy codenamed: Android!

Il’ stop here, because this is becoming scary…

I just hope that the people at Google read this. Because eventually this page WILL be index by their search bots. ;-)

What do you think ?

Is this really helping them helping me better?

What GOOD benefits do I have of being tracked all over the planet?

Personally, I am sick and tired of the mechanics in which by using one’s service I automatically betray myself and consent to all that stupidity.

Categories: Misc, Tech Talks Tags: , , ,

2011 in review…Coming in 2012?

January 8, 2012 1 comment

First of all, I want to thank you all for the 5000+ visits to my blog in 2011.

According to WordPress:  “A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,000 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.”

I want to wish you all the best for the coming year!

This coming year will be a busy one in Microsoft technologies according to a may external examiners. I beleive that this year, Microsoft will target servers and businesses directly with a number of new releases:

And a lot more…

I my coming blog posts, I will cover some of theses as well as some of the highs and lows of Microsoft and software craftmanship in general!

Feel free to comment or suggest about some blog topics you’d like me to cover. I will LISTEN!

Windows Phone 7.5 has arrived!

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Today, Microsoft released the long awaited Windows Phone 7.5 codename Mango.

And guess what Mr. Apple & al… IT’S ALL FREEE (Another proof that Microsoft really cares about people)

You guys are probably saying: “I went to check the updates in Zune and found none”. Well, this is because the updates are bein deployed in waves and your not part of the current wave.

How about getting the update tonight?

What can you do about it? Simply trick it by carefully following the procedure below. This is not a hack, just a trick ;-) :

  • Connect your Windows Phone to a PC and launch the Zune software.
  • Disable the Wi-Fi Synch
  • Put the phone in Airplane Mode
  • Click on Settings/Update. Allow the software to tell you whether an update is available. If so, skip this guide. If not continue to the next step.
  • Click the check for update button again, and this time immediately disconnect your computer from the internet. Do this by pulling the Ethernet cable, disabling Wi-Fi on the computer, etc.
  • Wait 30 seconds or so and you should receive a notification that an update is available.
  • Now reconnect to the internet and continue with the update process through the Zune software

WP Update 7.10.7720.68

Depending on how updated you kept your phone, there will be 3 or more sequential updates here’s the list of all the builds:
7.0.7004.0
Oct 2010
Original WP7 RTM version.

7.0.7008.0
Feb 2011
Intermediate test update (no functionality changes).

7.0.7389.0
Mar 2011
New phones installed with this version includes all the features of OS version

7.0.7390.0
Mar 2011″NoDo” update (copy/paste, performance improvements, market search improvements.)

7.0.7392.0
May 2011
Internet Explorer Mobile Security Update.

7.0.7403.0
Jun 2011
Unknown release (Post-NoDo, Pre-Mango)

7.0.7592.0
Jul 2011
“Mango” Private beta

7.1.7661.6
Jul 2011
“Mango” Developer Beta 1 (Certain public services not yet available in this release, such as Twitter)

7.1.7710.6
Aug 2011
Unknown.

7.1.7720.6
Sept 2011
Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” RTM (Release to Manufacturing)”Mango” update (3rd party multitasking, IE9, Skype, Twitter integration, front-facing camera support…)

The last one below (in mango color ;-)  is the goal!

What does Mango brings you?

More informative tiles, Twitter and LinkedIn, Grouping of contacts (in People), More consistent conversations (IM, email, messages, face book chat etc), much better email threads, sky drive for your office documents, improved multitasking, Bing Cards and the last but not the least IE9 (and of course a nice set of Html5 compliance)

source: http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/40134/windows-phone-7-mango-feature-set

Enjoy your Mango and don’t forget to dig deeper in your phone cause there’s a lot more than what’s advertised!

Update: As mentionned by my friend Dominic, you do have to update your Zune software to the latest version which 4.8!

Yeahhh! Silverlight 5 is in RC!

September 2, 2011 Leave a comment

For those who tought that Silverlight was dead and that the announcements made last year were just a hoax.

There you go:

http://www.silverlight.net/learn/overview/what’s-new-in-silverlight-5

Keep in-touch I feel that there will be some nice announcements during the month of September!

UPDATE Sept. 3th, 2011:

I have got the confirmation that Silverlight 5 will be released with a go-live license be for the end of this year!

Windows 8 feature set news!

September 2, 2011 Leave a comment

Finally, Microsoft is slowly starting to disclose some information in regards to Windows 8!

I believe that the full feature set will be available once they kick in the Build Windows conference on Sept. 12th

 

For those that are interested, here`s a link to the blog highlighting the officially disclosed topics on Windows 8.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/

Categories: Misc, UX & UI Tags: , , ,
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