One of things we pride ourselves on is the long-term robustness of our software. And the way we do that is to start a copy of the software running, and let it run for as long as possible.
This morning we stopped a Version 1.00.7 Update 3 server that we started on August 22nd, 2010. That’s five days short of an entire year, but as we’re hoping to be out of state on the 22nd, I figured it was about time.
greenHouse Computers was originally founded to do something completely different from what we’ve been doing for the past two years. And while business has been good (and getting better), I keep running into people who are confused by the word “Computers” in our name. Like, we make computers. Which we do, but our primary business has become small to medium scale renewable energy system monitoring.
I’m currently looking into what it would take to rename the company, and possibly reorganize to solve some problems that have arisen over the past few years.
We have preliminary sheet metal back from our fabricator, Custom Sheet Metal of Pflugerville, TX. Ron and Amanda are absolutely top-notch and a pleasure to work with.
We’re still a week or two from having finally sheet metal for our new all-in-one enclosures, but with the prototype in house, we’re able to start doing layout and making sure the parts are going to work together once they are all mounted.
The central monitoring server is down. We have a call out to our ISP, but no up time. We will begin looking for a new ISP with a better service policy as soon as possible.
It would seem that most of our sales for the greenMonitor software since we released Version 2.01 have been greenMonitor Lites. We are seeing some demand for the old “stand-alone” software (Version 1.00.9) and are investigating selling it at a discounted price, relative to the price when it was discontinued.
A product announcement will be made sometime near the release announcement for Version 2.02, which should be made in the next few weeks.
It’s now been 3 1/2 years since I started switching all of the incandescent bulbs in the house over to Compact Fluorescent bulbs. Originally I kept the burned out bulbs because of the mercury in the bulbs. I was going to take them to a hazardous waste disposal until I noticed the pile was growing.
I learned a lot about Compact Fluorescent Lamps in the last 3 1/2 years. For example, “Bright White” is really “Bright lots-of-blues”, unlike incandescent bulbs. “Daylight” and “Soft White” are much better colors, and a lot easier on the eyes.
The most important thing I learned is that they really do last, given a large enough sample, as long as they are supposed to last. With more than 50 in service, the pile of burned out bulbs now numbers about 22 or so. With an average monthly lighting savings of around $50, the past 42 months equates to saving about $2,100 in electricity, or 15,000 kilowatt hours not consumed and about 10 TONS of CO2 that weren’t emitted. Okay, so I’ve been using 100% renewable energy since about the time I switched to CFLs, so I didn’t save any CO2 from being emitted, but I did save $2,100 in electricity.
So, what do you call a 1979 Corvette with a 365 horsepower motor? Okay, fuel efficient isn’t a term that would be used, but there is a LOT that can be learned by keeping older vehicles running — the embodied energy in a car is substantial, and the more that can be done to keep them going, the better. With reason.
Every year, for the past four years, whenever my Corvette needed a state inspection, I had them perform an emissions test as well. Not that it’s required — cars over 25 years of age are exempt in Texas — but just because it needs to be as green as it can be.
And the news — once again, it passed the high speed emissions test. It failed the low speed idle test by more than it has in the past, and I think I know why.
What good is this, you ask? As with the “Energy Star” program that has gradually forced consumers to buy more energy efficient appliances, I feel that letting lawmakers know that lower-polluting older cars are are possibility — consumers just need to be nudged in the right direction.
There is a defect in the day-ahead forecasting with the gmManage command when the forecast period includes very high relative humidity (> 75%). This is an upper boundary condition I seldom experience (we’re in a Level 2 drought at the moment) and the weather forecasting logic appears to be getting confused. I don’t know what the cause is at this time, but I do know that it is over-estimating energy production and that may result in under-estimating required generation.
The gmManage command has under-voltage and under-SOC protections, so there is no risk of loss of power or system functionality. However, it may result in greater than expected generation at other than expected times. I’ll add a comment on the end of this post when the bug is fixed.
About all I can say at this point is that we have entered discussions on a joint venture to offer 24/7 remote monitoring for Outback Power Systems customers.
The joint venture is presently called “Project X”. The target for beta testing of this new service is 4Q09, with a limited offering scheduled for 1Q10.
greenHouse Computes, LLC is obviously one of the parties. The others will be named as we get closer to a formalized deal.
I’ve had a laptop for about as long as I can remember. Once they became powerful enough that I could break away from sitting at the desktop computer, and work and surf the ‘net lounging around the house, I did. Except that along with faster and more computer computers, came hotter and hotter laptops, until my present HP Pavillion became so hot that I had to put something between the laptop and me.
Now that I’m spending more time working at home, which means more time with my laptop on my lap, I finally got fed up and went to the Piano Electronics Store and picked up a Logitech Comfort Lapdesk. I checked out all the similar products and they were either too complicated, required a connection to the laptop to run (!), or really designed to be put on a hard surface other than my lap. All of which meant I wasn’t going to buy them.
Then I found the Logitech Comfort Lapdesk. It has a smooth, hard surface for the laptop, with a padded surface underneath for the lap. The smooth surface insures that the cooling fans in my laptop are able to cool, without needing an additional fan and connections to USB ports.
No extra fan means no extra power consumption and no extra noise. Definitely a winner.