Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Drobo Review (Gen 3)

Like most DROBO GEN 3 units before it, the new Gen 3 features the easy-to-use BeyondRAID storage technology, which protects data against a HDD crashes and failures and with a very user-friendly interface. The BeyondRAID technology also enables first and second generation owners to switch over to the Gen 3 by simply removing the disk pack from their current Drobo and moving it to their new one, allowing for seamless and hassle-free data migration. All Drobo models are bundled with Smart Volume technology, which are thinly provisioned volumes that automatically use capacity from a common pool of storage when needed. Once data is deleted, free capacity is returned to that common pool, instantly increasing the available capacity.

Another handy feature of the Drobo is their battery backup technology, which protects all data in memory or in cache. When it unexpectedly loses power, the Drobo moves any in-flight data to onboard flash to protect it. Data will then be moved to users’ disk drives once power is restored. In addition, the battery recharges itself and Connected Data boldly claims it is designed to last for the entire lifespan of the Drobo.

The Drobo Gen 3 is priced and is backed by a 2-year warranty.

The Drobo Gen 3 has a familiar look-and-feel of the previous gen Drobo devices, which is a complete black build enclosed in solid metal to help keep the DAS cool. Drobo also uses plastic for several other parts, including the door and the bay enclosure. Though the exterior enclosure feels solid, some of the glossy plastic pieces may be scratch prone depending on usage. That said, this is a really slick looking device.

The front of the Drobo is very simplistic looking, only displaying the logo at the top and two sets of four drive status LEDs, which are located on the right side and bottom.

The Drobo Gen 3 provides completely tool-less access to its carrier-less bays, which is found by removing the magnetic front bezel (or faceplate) from the device. Once removed, there are four bays that each have a drive lock. We found the locking mechanisms to have a nice, snug feel to it when drives are secured in place. To the right of the drive bays are the drive bay indicators on the right (green for active) and a power indicator on the bottom.

Monday, September 11, 2017

What is the Garmin Vivoactive?

Garmin Vivoactive 7
The GARMIN VIVOACTIVE is a fitness watch that cuts all the fat, and some of the muscle, off the higher-end Garmin Forerunner runner’s watches. It delivers a GPS tracking device in a package that looks and feels like a lifestyle smartwatch.

Typically priced between £141 and £159, it’s around the same cost as cheaper Android Wear watches, and a little less than the Pebble Time. It’s also less than the more recent Fitbit Blaze. While the Blaze has the advantage of including an optical heart rate monitor, the Garmin Vivoactive has the edge where it comes to GPS tracking being built in. As the Vivoactive supports ANT+ sensors, you can still at least bolster and augment its capabilities if you find it lacking with accessories such as heart rate monitor chest straps.

But can it really compete with fully-fledged smartwatches? Yes, but only if you’re a bit of a fitness freak. It lacks the wealth of apps available with watches that run Android Wear and PebbleOS, and isn’t quite as hot for notifications either. However, excellent battery life and a side order of smartwatch smarts enable it to cover both bases well enough for most people. If you’re in the market for a new fitness tracker, or even a keen golfer, the Garmin Vivoactive is worth considering.

Garmin Vivoactive – Design, Screen and Battery Life

The Garmin Vivoactive could be described as the Pebble Time’s ugly sister (granted, it actually came out first). Its watch face is square and flat, lacking the gadgety flair of the many showy smartwatches out there.

It isn’t going to turn heads, but there’s a charm to its fairly low-key style. It’s slim and far smaller than many a full-on runner’s watch, or any Android Wear watch. While Garmin probably envisioned the Vivoactive as being the cooler cousin to its more obvious fitness-obsessed wristwear, in this class it’s rather unobtrusive. And we like that.

Design-wise, Garmin could have made a little more effort. While we’re not too put out by the basic rubber strap in a sub-£200 watch, does it really need to have strap holes running so far up it that even a mouse’s arm couldn’t fit into the tightest setting? Of course not – and in tandem with the square face, there’s a slight calculator-style geekiness to the look.

Luckily, it will be easy enough to tart up the Vivoactive a little with a replacement strap. Garmin offers several styles: a leather one costs around £20, and a softer silicone strap is available for around £10-12.

Friday, July 21, 2017

How much panel capacity do you need?

Choosing an installer

The GOAL ZERO NOMAD 7 representing the clean energy sector, accredits both installers and systems that meet certain standards. To be eligible for any small-scale technology certificates, systems must be installed by a CEC-accredited installer.
Retailers can also sign up to the CEC's voluntary code of conduct, which demonstrates a commitment to best-practice installation.
So your best bet is to look for an accredited company that is a signatory to the code of conduct, has been in business for a while and has an established track record, relevant experience, specialist expertise, and a good reputation.

Does the solar PV system meet standards?

You should ensure that GOAL ZERO NOMAD 7 you consider has met Australian and international standards. To be eligible for small-scale technology certificates, your solar panels must be certified – ask your installer to supply proof. You can check the CEC's list of currently approved inverters and modules to confirm.

How much panel capacity do you need?

Nowadays you don't make much money from feeding electricity back into the grid. So you want to maximise your own use of your GOAL ZERO NOMAD 7 and minimise your export into the grid.
Unless you're able to get (increasingly rare) high feed-in tariffs or store your surplus energy using (still expensive) batteries, to get a system that is going to pay for itself quickly, you need to calculate how much electricity you use in your home during daylight hours when your panels are generating at their peak and match the size of your system to that consumption pattern. You can find useful information about your energy use by looking at the previous year's energy bills.
If you don't consume much energy during the day then you'll want a smaller system. If you do, you'll want a bigger one.
It might seem logical to choose panels with higher rated output, but there's more to putting an array together than the panel's power rating alone. The amount of space available on your roof, especially on the prime north-facing section, is also important. The panels in our solar panel reviews are each about 1.6 square metres in area, but the higher their nominal power rating (and actual power output, of course), the fewer panels you need to make up a system of a given power output (or conversely, the more powerful the array you can install). 
For example, to make the theoretical 1000W array mentioned above, you could use four 250W Jinko panels, taking up 6.5m2 of roof space, but four 327W Sunpower panels would take up the same overall area and form a 1308W array. So, more power for the area used, though the Sunpower panels are also more expensive. Fewer panels can also mean a quicker installation. It's important to compare prices for whole systems, not just the panels.
And as you'll see in the review, while the panels are of similar area, they do vary a bit in length and width, so if your roof space is limited, some of the panels might be a better fit than others.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

How to Keep Your Business on the Right Side of the Law

As a business owner, regardless of the size of your business, it is imperative to remain on the right side of the law and make sure that everything you do is done legally. It can be difficult to keep your eye on every detail and keep them peeled on all the legal regulations that are put in place due to the fact that there is so much to do every day when you are a business owner, but you must do it. There are no excuses for not keeping on the right of the law, especially not because you were ‘too busy’ or because you ‘took your eye off the ball’, and excuses certainly won’t be accepted in court. Below are a few basic ways to help your remain on the right side of the tracks.

Legally hiring legal employees

Hiring an employee that has not been granted legal permission to work in the country that your business is based in, or going through illegal procedures to have someone work for you, even if they are legal to work in the country, is illegal! To eradicate the first problem, the problem of hiring an illegal worker, you should search out an expert work visa lawyer who will provide you with expert advice on aspects regarding businesses and immigration laws.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Benefits of Online Banking for Small Business

In the age of the Internet, you can do almost anything online. You can watch movies, shop for clothes, purchase plane tickets, and even manage your business with a simple click and a few keystrokes.

The surge of online banking in recent years has been a boon for businesses, especially for start-ups and small to medium enterprises. While it hasn’t completely replaced traditional banking, more and more companies are seeing the advantages of online banking as an industry resource. Here’s why.

It’s more convenient. Online banking means fewer trips to the bank. Most business owners can benefit from more time spent on developing and implementing strategies, for example, than going to the bank to perform routine transactions.

Payment deposits, employee payrolls, money transfers – you no longer have to interrupt your work schedules for these simple processes. All you need is an Internet connection and a computer or your phone. What’s more, you don’t even have to wait for business hours to transact with your bank.

Easier account management and monitoring. Some businesses prefer to have multiple accounts to serve different purposes. One account could be dedicated for paying bills and service providers, while another could be for internal budgets like office supplies and employee incentives. With online banking, you can easily enroll these into one account where you can monitor all transactions. You can even backtrack your account activity and print out transaction histories for your company records.

Friday, March 10, 2017

5 Keys to a Successful Trade Show for Small Businesses

Small business success is rarely easy. It can be challenging to build your brand with limited resources, but one simple way to get increased exposure for your business is to attend trade shows.

An industry trade show provides many benefits: it helps you increase your customer base, build relationships with other small business owners, connect with vendors, and introduce your product line to the public.

Since trade shows can be expensive, as well as labor intensive, the trick to getting a great return on your investment is to prepare well ahead of time. You need a clear idea of how you plan to set up your table or your custom pop up tent and a good strategy on how to engage visitors when they visit.

Here are 5 suggestions on how to do well with trade shows:

  1. Research the right shows for your company. You won’t be able to attend all the trade shows in your industry, so be selective about the ones that you do plan to attend. By doing your research for the year ahead, you’ll be able to benefit from the discounts that come from registering early. This could save your business hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
  2. Develop a team to develop a plan of action. You need lots of ideas on what to do and to assign responsibilities to various leaders to make sure that you represent your business in the best possible way.
  3. Create a budget for your trade shows. Think of trade shows as playing the long game: they will help you promote your business effectively in the fullness of time. In order to be able to afford to attend a few trade shows in the year, you will need to have a good idea of your expenses so that you can plan ahead.