Time to think safety! Holidays are a time for family, friends and celebration.
We engage in numerous cooking, home decorating, and entertaining activities (and an increased risk of fire).
Here are some safety tips from NFPA: In general…
For more safety tips, visit the National Fire Protection Association’s web site (http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information).
Yes – this upcoming Sunday (November 3, 2013 02:00AM) necessitates time change by turning our clocks back one hour. But more importantly, this event reminds us to change ALL the batteries in our smoke detectors throughout our homes and workplaces! The NBFAA (National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association) recommends that thorough alarm system inspections be done on a regular basis.
A significant increase in service provider failures (Comcast, DirecTV, iTunes, and others) has caused us to re-evaluate how we manage service call as a result of these companies’ product or service failures. The “classic service abyss” is the cable television company. When seeking help, if the on-hold wait time (listening to the “how much they care about you” infomercials) is not enough to discourage you, the language and cultural differences when you actually connect will catapult you over the edge.
Because of these challenges, more and more customers are asking that our company deal with the service providers. Of late, the call center’s service representatives are using more and more techno-speak, leaving most customers baffled in the mumbo-jumbo. In days of past, this was fairly simple because we had good working relationships with these companies whereby we were provided special call-in numbers to expedite service corrections. Unfortunately, corporate cost-cutting has eliminated these services so our technicians are faced with the same waiting and communication obstacles faced by all.
Service assistance in these matters is no clocking in at hours – yes multiple of hour! This represents a real challenge for us in two regards: 1) our company still faces the labor cost in acting on the customer’s behalf; and 2) the time deployed addressing the service short-comings of others represents lost income in providing our core-competency product and services. To make matters worse, there are times when customers become irritated with us because the invoice is higher than expected.
The lesson our company takes away from these experiences is to never ever again participate in Comcast, DirecTV, Apple, or other provider driven service problems. Unfortunately, the “transference” factor of the event sticks to us because it takes time to correct, which translates into costly service call invoices! If pressed, we will provide the service (for a fee) expressing our concerns and objections.
Nest announced Thursday that it will be releasing an API (application programming interface) for its Nest Learning Thermostat. Tony Fadell, NEST co-founder and CEO, announced the API release (slated for early 2014) when speaking at the CEDIA Expo 2013.
Nest has been under fire from the CEDIA crowd since the launch of its Learning Thermostat because of the absence of system integration features for other products. Manufacturers of system integration platforms are welcoming the news, which will now allow them to incorporate NEST features into other functions afforded by their products. Look for many to begin offering NEST through their product offerings earlier than the 2014 release date as NEST takes advantage of these new distribution channels.
1) Install a Smart Thermostat (40%)
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 40% of your electricity usage relates to heating and cooling. Using some rough calculations, a 3-ton central air conditioning unit uses 2100 kW hours in a month or 25,200 kW hours in a year (translating into $3,024/year according to SCE&G residential rates). Various studies state that a 5¼% savings is achieved for every one (1) degree Fahrenheit (F) of cooling setback. If for ten (10) hours every weekday (7:30AM – 5:30PM) your thermostat was adjusted six (6) degrees of cooling setback, you would achieve an $865 savings the coming year.
2) Explore Energy Managing Device Retrofits (25%)
3) Measure and monitor your energy usage (5-25%)
As is the case with any plan, it’s important to have a reference point to look back at to see if there has been any improvement. There are a few options you can use to establish benchmarks for your energy reduction efforts. We recommend The Energy Detective (TED). Many industry studies have shown that by just simply knowing how much you are using will lead to your own behavioral changes that reduce energy consumption. Multiple studies have proved this point, measuring typical savings in a range from 5-15%. Some studies show these savings as high as 25%.
There you have it… three steps in managing over two-thirds of your energy bill!! The eLifespaces staff has deployed multiple systems, each designed for the specific needs of the business or home owners. Let us know how we can help.
eLifespaces was called into service this past week to assist a new homeowner in installing a few entertainment systems into their home. “The builder told me the house had Cat5 throughout and distributed coax cabling for any type service we wanted,” proudly stated our customer. While technically the statement was true, the cabling’s function was severely limited in its use.
Truth – Cat5 cabling was run throughout the house, installed in a “daisy chain” style per floor limiting its use to only traditional phone service.
There were two Cat5 cables in “home run” style BUT service end located outside at the service provider demark location. We have yet to procure a data modem, router, or switch rated for outdoor exposure.
Truth – Coaxial (RG6) cabling run in a “home run” method, but all service connection ends on the exterior of the home adjacent the electrical service to the house.
At the end of the day, we were able to offer the homeowner some solutions to the functional challenges they faced. Unfortunately, they could have enjoyed so many more entertainment options had their builder been better informed. If he was, them he simply lied with the buzzwords the homeowners sought in their inquiry.
Breaking a rule with this particular blog article because it is about a new product line we just began to carry. Outdoor living spaces are of great interest, for it is after a long day at work that one can look forward to some “wind down” time. How better to do this than listening to your favorite music in the fine outdoors?
For years the audio-visual industry was only capable of manufacturing “rock speakers.” Try blending these into many of our coastal landscaping plans. However, these past few years, manufacturers have stepped up their game producing an assortment of options for the outdoor music enthusiast.
This particular manufacturer has a refreshing new look and style for outdoor living and entertainment. Their unique planter speaker is made from U/V rated poly resin hand made in five colors to suit any decor. The custom wrought iron stand is also hand crafted and powder coated Silverado for a long lasting finish. The planter conceals a 6 1/2″ high quality weatherized speaker that audibly fill an area of up to 250 square feet with wonderful 360-degree sound. But do not look to purchase these at your area warehouse store… a pair of these puppies cost around $1,200.
Why are the experts telling us that on August 20/21 of this year, we will be experiencing a Blue Moon? It was my understanding that a Blue Moon typically describes the second full moon in a single calendar month (an event which occurred every two to three years). Apparently, the “rule” has been simplified for so many years, we lost track of the real definition.
Dating back to 1946, there was a misinterpretation of the “Blue Moon” term in Sky & Telescope, a misinterpretation that exists to this day. Originally, the term Blue Moon was used to describe the third full moon in a season with four. Confused?
Normally there are twelve (12) fully lit (or full) moons per year – three for every season in the year. When a season has four (4) full moons, the third full moon of the season is described as the “Blue Moon.”
The term has nothing to do with the actual color of the moon. A literal “blue moon” (the moon appearing with a tinge of blue) may occur in certain atmospheric conditions, such as volcanic eruptions and exceptionally large fires, which leave particles in the atmosphere.
Owing to the rarity of a blue moon, the term “blue moon” is used colloquially to mean a rare event, as in the phrase “once in a blue moon”.
According to Wikipedia, the term’s origin was suggested to have been made for “intercalary month” arose by folk etymology, the “blue” replacing the no-longer-understood belewe “to betray”. The original meaning would then have been “betrayer moon”, referring to a full moon which would “normally” (in non-intercalating years) be the full moon of spring, while in intercalating year, it was “traitorous” in the sense that people would have had to continue fasting for another month in accordance with the season of Lent.
We had fun this week with three of our families who were moving in to their new homes. :-o Every family had a great attitude. Enough so that I made a quick census from each of them to highlight 10 basics for moving in to a new home. They are:
“No good deed ever goes unpunished.” Transference is a phenomenon characterized by the redirection of feelings from one person to another (or in this case from an individual to another company). Unfortunately, when the feeling being redirected is negative, you might as well conclude your relationship with the customer as quickly, and as amicably as possible. My blog post this afternoon, is a bit of a airing our dirty laundry, and that companies (hopefully on very few occasions) do experience not so happy customers. But from this comes some self critique, a “zig” instead of a “zag”, a re-examination of how things could be better handled. On to the story…
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