Buying a new car…. to save money?

As many projects that seem to have come from nowhere, this one actually did. It all started when I took a random notion to add up just how much money I had spent on fuel for the Toyota Landcruiser in the past 12 months.

£3740

..yes, thats really it, a shocking amount of money! A testament to just how much of a reliance on cars living in the countryside gives you.

And then I started working out why it was so particularly bad, this year I had tried to do less miles than usual.

I started working out some costs of how much fuel the Landcruiser uses.

Cost of fill tank: Between £120 and £130

Normal mileage achieved with a full tank: Between 360 and 400 miles

In essence, it is costing approximately £1 for ever 3 miles I travel.

So I started looking into alternatives and came across a Toyota Aygo. 3 door, in chilli red, 1 litre engine. It gets better…. free road tax… and not only free insurance for the first year, but only £49 per year after that…

So I did a few sums, and it adds up, I now spend £99.14 per month on a new car + the fuel it uses, and so far this is how it is working out:

Cost to fill tank: £44

Number of miles achieved with the first full tank: 640

Thats a staggering 15 miles per £1 of fuel! 5 times the distance of the Landcruiser!

So if you have a big fuel-guzzling jeep, that you don’t want to get rid of, but want to save money…. get your spreadsheet out and visit your local car dealership and get a very small eco-car – its well worth it!

Could Dropbox replace the Small Office Server?

It started as many IT Consultancy visits do – a “quick visit” to sort out a minor problem with sending an email at a small business (9 members of staff with a PC each), and then, out of nowhere comes the question that we dread when on a tight time-scale with the next month already booked up in advance… “we need an server to share files for all of us – could you set that up for us… we need it next week, will it cost much?” In default “IT Consultant Mode” I started explaining the costs of the physical hardware, the Windows Server licence, how long it would take to order, install and configure on each PC, and then, just as I was explaining the electricity cost, I stopped.. Thinking back I wonder if my customer thought I had lost it completely, as I stopped open-mouthed and went “AAAHHH” far too loud, and then I asked a question I have never uttered before..

“There might be a better way – have you heard of DropBox?”

She replied that she hadn’t, and enquired as to what it was. It was then that it struck me, on every previous occasion, what was it that always got added on the end of the shared files question… “can I access them at home?” and I started my explanation with a question: “Would you like to be able to access and update the shared documents from home?”. To say that the customer was shocked was an understatement as she struggled to contain her enthusiasm “you mean I could actually do that???” So I proceeded to explain over the course of about 10 minutes the two possible routes – the traditional route with the server, the new router, the VPN, the approximate cost of £2400 all in, and the new route – the brand new option – Dropbox, which is free for up to 2Gb of storage. I asked what was being stored in the file store, and emphasised the importance of not storing personal information in the new dropbox folder if we were to use it, and the answer “no, its just for a few policies and procedures” meant it was a perfect fit. So, 30 minutes after arriving on-site to fix email, all staff have dropbox installed on their PC with a nice DropBox shortcut on their desktop to the folder, the owner has had the dropbox guided tour and actually understands it all (and added Dropbox on her iPhone there an then), and wow – it works (and is still working) perfectly. One very, very happy customer, with a solution that when coupled in the near future with Office 365 will result in not needing any server for the office at all. Dropbox I salute you – a wonderful new technology that can be applied to revolutionise business file sharing.

Water-powered radio!

During my browsing on the internet I found a device that ought to be a gift to those who have family members that love singing in the shower!

The Water Powered Shower Radio, and as the name suggests, you need not burden your monthly electricity bill with this, and the other advantage would be to have its audio content drown out the voice of the one singing.

This is one radio that’s going to make waves in bathrooms across the country (pun fully intended!), and will ship only at the end of March for £34.95. Now, if only someone could figure out a similar principle and have cars run on water instead of petrol and diesel.

All you need to do is fit the radio in line with your shower hose, where water that flows through the radio when the shower is on and powers the H2O micro turbine that in turn drives a generator which produces energy! Awesome!