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Geek News Central
  Updated Tue, 23 Aug 2016 08:03:00 +0000
Description Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks
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GNC #1139 Email Trail - Geek News Central
Category Podcast
Published:
Description: Never have emails ever plagued one person more that Hillary Clinton. If she wins the White House their will be note paper for everyone and a shredder in every room. More on her email saga and of course all of the latest news and tech. You will also notice I am experimenting with the intro … Continue reading GNC #1139 Email Trail   more...

Never have emails ever plagued one person more that Hillary Clinton. If she wins the White House their will be note paper for everyone and a shredder in every room. More on her email saga and of course all of the latest news and tech. You will also notice I am experimenting with the intro just a little. Enjoy the show.

Download the Audio Show File

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Show Notes:

Pushing Power Back into The Grid - Geek News Central
Category Green Technology, grid tie, net metering, solar, electrical, electricity, energy, grid-tie, home, Solar
Published:
Description: I have always been fascinated by solar power. There’s something quite intriguing about the idea of simple sunlight hitting a solar panel and instantly producing electricity. Home solar systems can take a few different forms. There are power backup systems that require the use of battery storage, as well as systems that allow people the … Continue reading Pushing Power Back into The Grid   more...

Phase Two Array ResizeI have always been fascinated by solar power. There’s something quite intriguing about the idea of simple sunlight hitting a solar panel and instantly producing electricity.

Home solar systems can take a few different forms. There are power backup systems that require the use of battery storage, as well as systems that allow people the luxury of electricity that live completely off-grid. Today, the most popular form of solar by far is known as grid-tie or Net Metering.

Grid-tie Net Metering

With grid-tie net metering solar power systems, no batteries are used. Grid-tied solar panels feed power back directly into the public electrical grid and can actually make the power meter run backwards. The more solar panels integrated into the system, the more potential power can be fed back into the connected electric grid. Power bills can either be reduced, or in some cases, completely zeroed out, depending on local electric power company policies.Solar Phase One

Solar panels produce DC or direct current. The power grid is AC or alternating current. Therefore, to sell power back to the electric utility, it is necessary to convert the DC power coming from solar panels into AC so it can be fed into the power grid. This is accomplished with DC to AC power inverters.Inverters Resize

I recently visited a home solar system installation where the home owner has been slowly expanding his net metering system over the past seven years. He initially began seven years ago with forty-three 100 watt 12 volt solar panels, placed on top of his workshop.

With this first system, it was necessary for him to run wires down the length of the interior roof to a bank of mounted micro-inverters that needed to be protected from the weather. One of the lessons he learned from this initial installation was that lengthy wires carrying 12 volt DC results in power loss. The longer the lines, the more the efficiency drops. Higher voltages don’t experience as much line loss.

The best way around this problem is to mount weatherproof micro-inverters directly to the backs of the solar panels. Once the power is converted to 120 volts AC, the length of the wires to the grid connection point are somewhat less critical because the voltage is higher.Grid Tie Inverter Resize

With the second phase of his foray into solar, he built a rack on a metal pole complete with a sun tracking mechanism that he built and wrote control software for himself. The rack contains nine higher efficiency 280 watt 24 volt panels with weather proof micro-inverters attached to the backs of the panels.

The weatherproof micro-inverters are of a modular design that can allow additional inverters to be plugged in to the to the system. The rack-mounted system produces as much power as the workshop roof-mounted panels, even though they have less surface area, primarily because they are higher-efficiency panels.Solar Porch Canopy

He is currently working on phase three of his system, which consists of panels that form a sort of porch canopy over the garage door entrance to his workshop.These are also 280 watt panels, each with its own micro-inverter. He is in the process of slowly adding additional panels to continue expanding his overall system capacity.Meter Output

At the moment when I took this picture of the system output meter, the total output was about 5.4 kilowatts.

A great way to learn more about solar panels, inverters and net metering is YouTube. Good search terms include solar power, grid-tie, and inverter.

Many recreational vehicle enthusiasts have developed a strong interest in attaching solar panels and power inverters to their RV’s, which can allow them to have a measure of generator-free and thus noise-free AC power and engage in extended off-grid camping.

Samsung Galaxy S7 active Review - Geek News Central
Category review
Published:
Description: The Samsung Galaxy S7 active review unit from AT&T is by far the best model of the Samsung S7 family. If you lead an active lifestyle, this phones shell is designed from the ground up to take a beating. We where specifically asked by the AT&T team to be rough with the phone which is a … Continue reading Samsung Galaxy S7 active Review   more...

s7activeThe Samsung Galaxy S7 active review unit from AT&T is by far the best model of the Samsung S7 family. If you lead an active lifestyle, this phones shell is designed from the ground up to take a beating. We where specifically asked by the AT&T team to be rough with the phone which is a little odd.  With great hesitation we dropped it from chest height to a concrete floor. The rugged shell and shatter resistant screen took the fall with nary an issue.

The phone comes in three designs. I had the camo design, and everyone that played with it kept looking at the skin and asking where I got the cover. When I told them it is designed that way everyone’s comment was like wow smart.

Just holding this phone you can tell that Samsung built this for folks that are either rough on phones, work construction etc. You will not need a secondary case with this phone. I also prefer the physical buttons on it, as I could easily navigate the phone while not having to look at the screen.  Everything you have heard about the Samsung S7 series is included as far as the technology of this phone.

For the sportsman you do not have to worry about this getting wet in fact if your waders get flooded out the phone can survive being submerged in water of up to 5 feet for 30 minutes with the IP68 rating. I let my son go boogie boarding with this in his key pouch and the phone worked like a champ.

All of the tech specs can be found on the AT&T website. But let me give this phone my highest recommendation. It is the first time in a very long while that I will regret having to ship one back.

Accell USB 3.0 Full Function Docking Station Review - Geek News Central
Category review
Published:
Description: The Accell USB 3.0 Full Function Docking Station is a compact but fully featured docking station option supporting DisplayLink.  When I say compact I really mean it. The docking station fits on my palm of my hand.  Supporting operating systems Windows 7 through 10.  With any docking station it is about the hookups.  This dock is … Continue reading Accell USB 3.0 Full Function Docking Station Review   more...

accellThe Accell USB 3.0 Full Function Docking Station is a compact but fully featured docking station option supporting DisplayLink.  When I say compact I really mean it. The docking station fits on my palm of my hand.  Supporting operating systems Windows 7 through 10.  With any docking station it is about the hookups.  This dock is perfect for the small business owner or even college student that is on the go and wants a clean desktop area.

Inputs:
1x USB 3.0 Type B plug
2x DC Power

Outputs:
2x USB 3.0
1x USB 3.0 with BC adaptable power charging
1x HDMI Port 1.3
1x Display Port 1.2
Gigabit Ethernet
Combo Audio (Headphone/Microphone)

Maximum Video resolutions:
Single Display Port 3840×2160/30hz
Single HDMI Port 2560×1440/50hz
Dual Display (DP) 2048×1152/60hz / (HDMI) 2048×1152/60hz

So if you are hooking up a dual monitors pay attention to the resolution limitations and refresh rates. Single monitor hookups should be no issue for most users. Using this dock with my Dell XPS 13 I had no issues, and everything synchronized quickly and the HD video via HDMI was great. Priced @ $159 the folks at Accell have brought a reasonably priced USB 3.0 Full Function Docking Station

Polaroid Remote Controlled Panorama EyeBall Head Review - Geek News Central
Category review
Published:
Description: The Polaroid Remote Controlled Panorama EyeBall Head could not be a cooler accessory. Designed to stand on it’s own or attach to a tripod. You can mount your GoPro, Digital Camera or Mobile Phone to it with the provided accessories. Designed to pan right or left, swivel 75 degrees or advance 5 degrees every 10 seconds … Continue reading Polaroid Remote Controlled Panorama EyeBall Head Review   more...

polaroidThe Polaroid Remote Controlled Panorama EyeBall Head could not be a cooler accessory. Designed to stand on it’s own or attach to a tripod. You can mount your GoPro, Digital Camera or Mobile Phone to it with the provided accessories.

Designed to pan right or left, swivel 75 degrees or advance 5 degrees every 10 seconds you can capture panoramic images perfectly. The best part you can link your device to it via bluetooth, and then using the provided remote control you can snap images to capture the perfect selfie or family picture.

The Eyeball head fits in the palm of your hand, and can be easily stashed in a backpack pocket.  You charge the device with a standard micro usb cable. With 3 hours of active use per charge take it anywhere you go. The Polaroid Panorama Eyeball Head costs $49.99 through Amazon.

XY Find It Review - Geek News Central
Category review
Published:
Description: The XY Find it Bluetooth item Finder was a product that simply was made for me. I swear my car keys have legs and walk off and hide themselves in the couch crack, under the bed etc. It seems like the keys are anyplace but the hook on the wall where they belong. Because of … Continue reading XY Find It Review   more...

xy-find-itThe XY Find it Bluetooth item Finder was a product that simply was made for me. I swear my car keys have legs and walk off and hide themselves in the couch crack, under the bed etc. It seems like the keys are anyplace but the hook on the wall where they belong. Because of the busy lives we live and the amount of stuff we are touting around it is real easy to leave things behind.

The folks at The Findable Company have made it simple to find any lost item that has one of their  XY Find it tags attached. By downloading their iOS or Android app you sync your purchased tag to your app and then you can have the tag beep or buzz when you need to find the item. Or you can enable the Keepnear feature which causes an alert if you have left the item behind.  You can even see your gears last location on a Map. The device is detectable up to 150ft away, and from my test I was able to easily detect it up to that distance.

I even placed a tag inside a computer bag pocket among other gear, and the Keepnear feature worked flawlessly.  This is great for students that are going to college to add a layer of easy to implement security to their valuables. Each XY Find It tag is $25.00 the XY Find it website has multi packs available as well at very reduced pricing.

RAVPower 22000mAh External Battery Pack Review - Geek News Central
Category review
Published:
Description: The RAVPower 22000mAh external battery pack is simply a power monster.  I am on the go daily with a mobile phone, tablet, laptop and even a MiFi.  No mater where I go I see folks fighting over power plugs. Those days are over with this external battery pack charge 3 devices at once with a combined … Continue reading RAVPower 22000mAh External Battery Pack Review   more...

ravpowerThe RAVPower 22000mAh external battery pack is simply a power monster.  I am on the go daily with a mobile phone, tablet, laptop and even a MiFi.  No mater where I go I see folks fighting over power plugs. Those days are over with this external battery pack charge 3 devices at once with a combined max of 5.8 amps or a max of 2.4 amps each.. With plenty of power in the battery to do numerous rounds of charging.

I keep this battery pack in my car, it always has 3-4 days of power to charge up devices that are running low. @ $39.95 you cannot beat the price on this 22000mAh capacity external battery pack from RAVPower.

 

GNC #1138 Mobile Unlimited Data is Back! - Geek News Central
Category Podcast
Published:
Description: Some minor changes to the show intro format part of a bigger plan on some things coming down the line. Lots of thought provoking news in today’s show. Big thank you to all of our insider supporters. If you are not an insider consider becoming one today. Download the Audio Show File Show Notes: Comcast … Continue reading GNC #1138 Mobile Unlimited Data is Back!   more...

Some minor changes to the show intro format part of a bigger plan on some things coming down the line. Lots of thought provoking news in today’s show. Big thank you to all of our insider supporters. If you are not an insider consider becoming one today.

Download the Audio Show File

Support my Show Sponsor:
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Show Notes:

Twitter is Rolling Out a Quality Filter - Geek News Central
Category Information, Twitter, Twitter quality filter
Published:
Description: Twitter announced some new changes that are in the process of being rolled out to users. Their blog post about the changes is titled: “New Ways to Control Your Experience on Twitter”. These new features are intended to give Twitter users more control over what they see and who they interact with on Twitter. When … Continue reading Twitter is Rolling Out a Quality Filter   more...

Twitter iconTwitter announced some new changes that are in the process of being rolled out to users. Their blog post about the changes is titled: “New Ways to Control Your Experience on Twitter”. These new features are intended to give Twitter users more control over what they see and who they interact with on Twitter.

When turned on, the filter can improve the quality of Tweets you see by using a variety of signals such as account origin and behavior. Turning it on filters low-quality content, like duplicate Tweets or content that appears to be automated, from your notifications and other parts of your Twitter experience.

It goes on to say that the feature will not filter content from people you follow or accounts you’ve recently interacted with. Every user gets to choose for themselves if they want to use the quality filter feature. You can turn it on or off whenever you want (and can find it in your notification settings).

The other feature is a change that allows Twitter users to limit the notifications they see. Starting today, everyone will be able to limit notifications to only people they follow on mobile and on Twitter.com. Just like with the quality filter setting, Twitter users can decide for themselves if they want to make use of this change to notifications.

I’m assuming that when Twitter says the quality filter will filter out duplicate Tweets or content that appears to be automated, they mean it will filter out spam accounts and those annoying automatic direct messages people push out seconds after someone follows them. It is unclear if it will, or will not, filter out Tweets that were automatically scheduled (via the use of something outside of Twitter itself).

Ideally, I want to believe that the quality filter, that looks at “account origin and behavior” will put an end to the serial harassment that occurs far too often on Twitter. I’m also hoping the quality filter will finally make looking at a trending hashtag (or any other hashtag, for that matter) nicer by finally filtering out the accounts I’ve blocked.

 

Amazon Echo Coming To UK on 16 September 2016? No… - Geek News Central
Category amazon, Home Automation, Alexa, Echo, smart home
Published:
Description: Is the Amazon Echo coming to the UK on 16 September 2016? Nothing official from Amazon but a Bing search throws up the following link to a pre-order page on Amazon.co.uk which currently doesn’t seem to be live. Update: Nah…..looks like Bing actually picked up on the release date of a CD called Echoes by the … Continue reading Amazon Echo Coming To UK on 16 September 2016? No…   more...

echoIs the Amazon Echo coming to the UK on 16 September 2016? Nothing official from Amazon but a Bing search throws up the following link to a pre-order page on Amazon.co.uk which currently doesn’t seem to be live.

Update: Nah…..looks like Bing actually picked up on the release date of a CD called Echoes by the Young Guns, not Amazon Echo. Sorry, that’s entirely my fault as I was so looking forward to getting Alexa.

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