Solar Grid Feed, Google Street View, Google Wallet, Kill-A-Watt and iPhone Applications for Musicians – HT027

Home-Tech-Album-125x125_thumb1_thumb1Jim, Andrew and Christian are joined by Rich O’Neil for this weeks installment of the Home Tech Podcast.

The guys kick off discussing Christian’s latest project, getting SharePoint 2010 up and running, and the upgrade to TheAverageGuy website, before moving on to another free exercising app for the fitness enthusiasts amongst us, with Nike+ for iPhone becoming free of charge for a limited time.  If you have a pair of Nike shoes, the Nike sensor and an iPhone, but haven’t downloaded the app yet, now is your chance to check it out for free!

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IMAG0178Andrew’s Average Guy Tech for the week is the installation of the new Solar Grid Feed System that is being installed to his house this coming weekend, the design software used to design the system, as well as the monitoring system that will be used to be able to provide a visual output via on the Internet.

There will be a new blog post around designing and building this system in the coming few days.

The guys discuss the prevalence of solar grid feed systems in the area Andrew lives in, and the government incentives offered by the Australian Government for installing a system such as this, as well as the expected outputs from the system being installed, and the expected payback timeframe for the system.

The guys discuss how common solar grid feed systems are within the areas they live in, and how some new housing estates are encouraging solar grid feed systems for new housing projects.

For the energy conscious who are interested in where their power actually goes, the guys talk about using a Kill-A-Watt meter, which allows you to to determine where power on your power bill is going.




Jim and Andrew talk about how easy it is to familiarize yourself with an area you have never visited, using sites like Google Street View, Bing Maps, and NearMap (an Australian satellite imagery site).  The guys speculate about using the maps derived from these services to create a virtual treadmill environment to be able to simulate marathons including the visual track, and simulated elevation changes.

Go to Google Maps Home     

Christians’ Deal-of-the-Week is 16GB of G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series DDR3 SDRAM from for $199.99.  The guys discuss the merits of running reputable brands of memory in your system, the benefits of increasing your system memory, and the features of the various generations of memory, DDR, DDR2, DDR3 and the upcoming DDR4, as well as the performance comparisons between SSD and system memory, as well as the improvement adding an SSD drive to your system can make, as well as extending the usable life of the machine.

Christians’ Speed Tip Of the Week is speeding up the performance of Windows Explorer, from Computing Unleashed, via a Registry Patch available at:

For those who like to know what they are about apply to their system, the patch includes the following:

  • Hanged programs will be terminated Automatically it will end tasks of programs that are taking longer to respond.
  • Menus will be shown very faster. When you pause on the main menus the sub menus will be shown up very fast than normal.
  • You will get an option ”Take Ownership” when you right click on files or folders. This will become handy when you want to replace system files while doing customization.
  • Make windows not to search for a program that no longer exist when you click on the shortcut there by saving your valuable time.
  • Adds “Copy To” and “Move To” options in the right click context menu of Windows 7. So from now on copying and moving files from one place to another will be more easier than before.
  • Directly opens up the Files list when you choose “Open With” option there by deactivating the ” search on Internet ” option.
  • Speeds up the navigation in Windows Explorer by disabling searching for network printers and scheduled tasks on network.
  • Disables the annoying “low disk space” message notification in your system tray

Breaking news during the recording of the show was the Google announcement of Google Wallet, which is the Google phone integrated Pay Pass billing system and will tie in with the Google Offers system to allow you to avail yourself of offers near you.


Rich talks about his recent adoption of the password service from LastPass, and it’s excellent integration with the browser and some of the challenges with the iPhone implementation of the service.

Rich brings us a couple of nice iPhone apps for the musicians amongst us, being Amazing Slow Downer, from Roni Music, which allows those who learn by ear to slow down a track to better pick out the notes.  The app has a desktop version, that integrates with the iPhone app as well.

In a similar vein, Christian tells us about Microsoft Songsmith, which generates musical accompaniment matched to a singers’ voice.

Songsmith Logo               

The final app Rich brings us is Song Exporter Pro, which puts your iDevice on your local network, and allows you to browse and play, stream or copy the file from your device to your PC.

Rich reminds us to be vigilant when opening attachments and following links in emails that may be trying to scam you.  Remember, you will never be e-mailed by a vendor such as PayPal, eBay or your bank with links that do not go directly to that organization.  These institutions will never ask you to download an application in order to resolve an issue with an account.

To close, Rich’s latest Audible book recommendation is In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes our Lives by Steven Levy.

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