Archive for October 10th, 2008

Saving the planet

The jury is out in my household on just how legitimate the screams on “climate change” really are. I guess you could call me an agnostic.

Some may accuse me of being selfish and not caring. Perhaps I am. I have no children. My wife and I are in our mid to late sixties, and a warmer Britain in our remaining years won’t come amiss. But that doesn’t really stop me doing my “bit”.

I have been trying to get the great British public to wake up to how we are all manipulated by the people behind the visible reigns of government. However, people are more interested in having what they think of as “fun” rather than getting involved. Now it is almost too late for them. Terrorism, on the whole is a put up job. “Al Qaeda” means a “database” in Arabic, and in the slang patios of some Arab tribes, it means “toilet bowl”. Can you seriously believe that an Arab group of terrorists would call themselves anything that could be construed as defecating?

Have you flown lately? The harsh rigmarole you go through at the airport is not “security”. It is to make life as difficult as they can for the public to enjoy themselves. I have never travelled first class but I know these people go through different gates. I would love to know whether they go through the same pain as we do. I would assume they don’t! Wouldn’t you?

However, for purely selfish reasons, I have purchased from Amazon three “Intelliplugs” made by One Click Power for £68.06. The situation for TV and computers in my household are: the main TV and accessories in the lounge and two separate computer installations in our office.

The smaller TV Intelliplug has a special socket for the television, a special socket for a SKY box, and a spare socket for another item, or you can plug in a 4/6 way adapter here if you have many other items. The plug comes with a long wire with a sensor button at the end. You train your remote to work with it and when you turn off the computer by pointing at it, it turns off the computer, waits for half a minute, then turns off the SKY box, then resets it and places it in stand-by mode. You must have this on in standby mode all the time as software updates are pushed out to it in the early hours of each morning. It then turns off any other boxes plugged in. In other words, one click turns off all the equipment working in stand-by modes (other than the Sky box).

The larger device has a special socket for the computer and five separate sockets for your other apparatus. Like the TV Intelliplug, if you have more than five additional accessories (I do) you can plug in a 4/6-way adapter. There are sockets in the front for line in and line out if you use a modem, and a through-path for a telephone. There are also in and an out sockets for your router.

There are lots of other Intelliplugs and you can have a smaller one for the computer or a larger one for the TV, all depending on the amount of plug-in accessories you have. £20 may be sufficient for the minimum of TV and the minimum of computer accessories.

We have to bypass fitting the router as we have more than one computer but it is easy just to pull the router plug out over night. When my wife stops working the one morning a week for her old company, we will put her computer into mothballs and use mine. Then we will put the router through and have it turn off automatically.

The one bugbear is we have an HP all-in-one printer (C7280). Alas HP are not environmentally friendly as they insist you cannot turn off this printer from withdrawing current to it. You have to use the on/off button and allow it to close down properly. This is a pain.

We estimate this will save us around £51 in the first year (taking into account the cost of the Intelliplugs) and then £120 a year thereafter. This is assuming the price of electricity does not go up. And we know it will don’t we? This also assumes electricity prices won’t go down. And we know they won’t, don’t we?

As Tesco never gets tired of telling us: “Every little helps”.

I have to admit. Whilst money was in more plentiful supply, I was never interested in saving a penny here and a penny there. If I could get £50 off a £250 product, then I would be interested.

I remember a saying my father taught me (he used to change well-known sayings to make them more memorable) “Take care of the pennies and you can have fun squandering the pounds”.

I am now examining all my spending habits and cutting down where I can. I don’t really need to, but I have no idea of what is in store for us, just around the corner.

Pam and I have discussed this and we are putting a savings plan into action and our thinking runs along these lines.

Whilst the problem of the financial crises isn’t apparently hitting us too much we will put into place an expenditure cost cutting procedure with the following criteria. It mustn’t change the quality of our life. We like to go out to restaurants. We will continue to do so, but will look favourably at lower priced ones. Our holidays will be reduced by just one star. We have set up the Intelliplugs which will save us money without affecting our lives. You get the picture? Long ago we sold our car – we live in London and have free travel everywhere in an approximate area of 5,000 square miles. We can still afford to rent a car for the occasional weekend and will still be a couple of thousand pounds a year in pocket.

Don’t wait until you lose your job, or your father loses his or your child loses hers. We will all have to look to help our family, neighbours and friends in the coming five to ten years. Yes it will take that long. We have been living on borrowed time for over a century and that won’t right itself over night. Our politicians still haven’t realised it is because we run on fiat money rather than real (or commodity) money.

Start saving money. But continue to enjoy yourself. The main thing here is to know the best things in life are free. Our ancestors knew this – we have forgotten it.



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