• led light 01.03.2012 No Comments

    Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom has broken his silence to talk about life inside jail, the difficulty he has had settling into the country he wants his children to call home - and how he will beat the United States.

    In his first interview since being granted bail, Dotcom said he was stunned to be locked up in prison over claims of criminal copyright infringements when accused murderers were bailed to await trial.

    He said his month behind bars at Auckland Central Remand Prison had led him to consider appealing to the Department of Corrections to review treatment of those who had yet to be convicted of any crime.

    “The first night I didn’t have a blanket, soap, toothpaste or toilet paper. They didn’t provide us with the basic things.

    “Every two hours, they would wake me up. I was deprived of sleep. I wrote a complaint. I said, ‘This is torture, this is sleep deprivation’.”

    During the day, Dotcom - who court records stated earned $50 million last year - would mix with other prisoners being kept on remand.

    He met methamphetamine cooks who claimed to have prior convictions for manslaughter, and an inmate who showed him a criminal record with an extensive history of convictions.

    “I’m thinking, ‘What am I doing in here?”‘

    Despite the notoriety of his case, Dotcom said had no bad experiences with any of the inmates.

    If there was a bright side to his time in jail, he said, it was weight loss - he dropped 16kg in the month inside.

    Dotcom, who founded the filesharing website Megaupload, denied any deliberate copyright infringement by his company. He said the US could not win the case - although it would take years of fighting through courts to prove his innocence.

    Dotcom and three others were arrested in a January 20 raid by New Zealand police after a request from the US Department of Justice. In a co-ordinated global move, the US authorities shut down Megaupload - which carried 4 per cent of global internet traffic - and froze hundreds of millions of dollars in assets.

    He was bailed last week to a $5m home north of urban Auckland.

    Yesterday, he faced down an appeal over bail, defeating claims he was a flight risk. He shares his home, which is next to his former $30 million mansion, with wife Mona, who is pregnant with twins, and their three children.

    Dotcom, who was granted residency under the National government’s investor category, said he still wanted to live in New Zealand and raise his family here.

    He said it had been difficult fitting into the country after encountering people whose opinions appeared to be shaped by what they had read about him online, which was inaccurate.

    He had become the unwelcome centre of a neighbourhood controversy, which included complaints to the office of Prime Minister John Key about his driving at speed.

    He said he and Mona left the property increasingly less as they felt more and more unwelcome.

    Odd reactions from people began almost from the moment he decided to move to New Zealand, he said. He visited a car yard to buy a Mercedes using his credit card, which cleared and confirmed the payment.

    However, after leaving the car yard, he was phoned and told the sale had been cancelled.

    He was told the decision had been made after someone put his name through a Google search.

    “This is the country where I want to live and where I want my children to grow up. I love it here.”

    Dotcom said the indictment used by the US Department of Justice to trigger the raid represented only a fraction of the real picture. “For every email they have in the indictment, I have 100 others that disprove it.”

    He said the evidence that would clear him was also held by US authorities and questioned why prosecutors had presented such a one-sided picture.

    The evidence included email trails in which Dotcom had personally requested sites carrying links to infringing material to stop linking to Megaupload.

    “How do you cherry-pick in a way which is so misleading and so malicious? For me, sitting in my cell, I’m thinking, ‘Why are they doing this? They can’t win it’.”

    Dotcom said there was clear evidence he and his team had worked to stop copyright infringement.

    The evidence stemmed from Megaupload’s terms of service, which forced users to agree they would not post copyrighted material to the website.

    He said the first indictment, used to trigger the January 20 worldwide assault on his company, had not included the company’s terms of service.

    He said it was a critical piece of evidence to leave out of the indictment, which had convinced authorities around the world to co-operate with the United States.

    The second indictment, issued a month later, did include parts of the terms of service.

    Dotcom also said firms with concerns were given their own direct access to Megaupload to delete infringing links. There were also 20 staff dedicated to taking down material which might infringe copyright, he said.

    One difficulty Megaupload faced was it was issued “take down” notices by copyright holders which turned out to be links to material legally owned by its users.

    “We determined that 10 per cent of all take-downs were false but we continued to take down every link that was reported to us.”

    Dotcom said US authorities knew his movements before the raids, and would have known he was planning to visit the US.

    Instead of waiting, they acted in New Zealand, forcing everyone into an expensive and time-consuming extradition battle.

    “They knew Mona and I were planning a trip to the US about six months after the twins were born. If you look at how long extradition can take, they could have waited for us to arrive in the US.”

    He said that during his time in jail, he made trips to and from the North Shore court for bail hearings in a prison van which felt as if it had no suspension.

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  • When we came back from winter break we were in a cab and as we crossed 5th Avenue on 34th Street cop cars were convening on the corner, racing up with lights and sirens, cops jumping out of their cars and running. A man was tearing down 5th Avenue carrying something, and we saw the cops tackle him to the ground before the taxi drove on. And these are just ordinary days in NYC, never mind when there are terrorist threats, protests, parades, crowds gathering for any reason.

    Cops are living on that edge all the time, and they are putting their lives at risk, we all know that. And when I’m talking about aggression I’m not even talking about the obvious cases, like the recent killing of a young, unarmed black man in front of his family when he ran because he was scared and was carrying a little pot. Or the even more obvious cases of excessive use of force and brutality that get all over the news. I’m talking about little, everyday encounters where cops have the chance to show restraint and goodwill, or to make a show of coercion and authority.

    Last fall I was walking home with my son on 9th Avenue in the late afternoon of a beautiful day. We were approaching the corner of 30th when I heard a cop say something through his car’s megaphone—that’s what drew my attention. I looked and there was a guy on his bike in the bike lane and the cop car was right behind him. So I put together the cop said something like “move that bike out of the bike lane.”

    I just watched with curiosity since the man didn’t move but stood stock-still. He was standing astride his bike, looking straight ahead. Then the lights on the cop car went on. The car was right up behind the guy’s bike. The guy on the bike still didn’t move. He stared straight ahead. Then the cop actually nudged the guy’s bike with his car.

    The guy looked back at his tire—the position of his bike had shifted and he righted it—and then continued to stare straight ahead. Moments later the traffic light changed and he started to ride across the street. The cop put the siren on and swung around wide to block him, then leaped out of his car and started yelling at the guy to get his bike back up on the sidewalk. He was in a rage and though he didn’t touch the guy he shoved the bike at one point. Suddenly another cop car careens up with lights and siren on and that guy jumps out of his car. The first cop’s bitching at this guy and the other cop chimes in, talking about issuing him a summons. The second cop’s in a long-sleeved white shirt so I take him to be a superior officer.

    I couldn’t imagine what on earth the guy on the bike did and he’s standing there trying to explain to them why he didn’t move—that he didn’t want to ride his bike out into traffic. As soon as the light had changed I walked over and got right up in the scene.

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  • A government proposal to reduce energy consumption would send staff into existing buildings to conduct energy audits. The “Comprehensive Cooling Plan” must still be approved by leadership, but if it goes forward those auditors would search for inefficiencies in air conditioning systems and check for wasteful policies like keeping the building the same temperature all year round.

    “There’s so much wasted energy,” said Edwin Young, a programme adviser for Estidama, the Urban Planning Council’s sustainability programme.

    One challenge is buildings where windows and doors were not sealed properly during construction.

    Simon Clouston, the director of sustainability and energy at WSP Middle East, said auditors can address the problem by pumping non-toxic smoke through a building.

    “You can literally see where it leaks,” Mr Clouston said. “It’s usually around the edges of doors, windows … and then it’s about going around and sealing those gaps.”

    Other modifications include switching old light bulbs for more efficient technology and installing shading outside windows, said Holley Chant, director of sustainability at KEO International Consultants.

    Another measure auditors can take is making sure building staff understand how to operate their temperature control systems. “We did an energy audit at a big hospital in Abu Dhabi last year which had quite good building control systems … but because the operators didn’t understand them, they didn’t use them,” Mr Clouston said.

    Ms Chant said staff sometimes override energy-efficient control systems “because the direction books aren’t in their language”.

    Other energy-saving modifications, like glazing windows or installing better installation, are barely visible, said Rahim O’Neill, an associate planner for Estidama. “You don’t see these changes, although it’s having a dramatic impact.”

    Finally, officials can reduce energy consumption by encouraging building owners and residents to make behavioural changes, Mr Young said.


  • There’s something in the air in Center City Allentown.  It’s dust from the hockey arena demolition.

    Some of the former buildings dated back to the 1800s and contained large amounts of absestos and other toxic elements.  The project’s developers, though, have gone to great lengths to make sure air quality is not compromised around the site.

    Allentown’s newest spectator sport is a spot where the first hockey game won’t be played for another two years.

    “There was a lot of people out here,” said Kathryn Weed, who came out to watch demolition for the arena.

    “Probably a good 30, 50 people out here watching it,” added spectator David Ingle.

    The city’s new sports and entertainment complex will be a modern marvel, but first, monuments of eras gone by must make way.

    “Aw geez, my grandmother used to dance down at the Lyric there,” said lifelong Allentown resident Jim Bower.  “There’s been Zollinger’s.  There’s been department stores here.”

    Those monuments have created quite a mess.

    “It was really dusty,” said Ingle.

    Asked if she knew what was in that dust, Weed said: “No, not really.”

    Bob Pfromm is the guy charged with making sure you don’t breathe in something toxic near the demolition site.

    “Any kind of asbestos products, there’s usually a lot you find in old buildings like this,” he said.

    Pfromm’s company, SSM Group of Reading, spent more than a month surveying the buildings that used to stand there.

    “And all of that [toxic material] was delineated where it was located and then crews… came in and did removal of all those materials,” he said.

    SSM crews removed were insulation, fluorescent lights, and radiators, shipping to specially-certified landfills.  Dust is kept down by water hoses.

    “They’re trying their best to water it down,” said Bower.

    Air quality at the site is constantly monitored by several small units, as well as private and city inspectors.

    Spectators are undeterred.

    “If you’ve got allergies, yeah it’ll bother you, but I don’t think it hurt anybody,” said Weed.

    One building that hasn’t had asbestos removal yet is the Rite Aid on Hamilton Street.  The city is still acquiring that property through eminent domain.

    Also Tuesday, the Allentown Planning Commission gave final approval to the hockey arena plan in a 4-0 vote.

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  • led light 06.01.2012 No Comments

    Savant Systems LLC has announced that the company will be showcasing a control, automation and media system at CES 2012 based upon Savant’s scalable SmartMedia solution that is targeted to a broad consumer market segment.

    In addition to controlling lighting, climate, security cameras and more, the versatile SmartMedia controller will be configured to demonstrate multi-zone audio, video distribution throughout the NextGen home and—Savant’s revolutionary on-TV control portal, TrueCommand.

    “As automation becomes available to a larger base of consumers, Savant is excited for the opportunity to demonstrate a powerful yet cost effective whole-home control and automation package at CES 2012,” reported Savant’s General Manager of Residential Business, Jim Carroll.

    SmartEnergy Monitor: Savant’s SmartEnergy technology, which will be operational and on display within the NextGen home, measures both energy usage and production in real-time while delivering historical usage data from multiple energy management devices.

    SmartEnergy Monitor empowers homeowners with critical information and the capacity to improve overall efficiency while maintaining their preferred lifestyle. Once installed, users can monitor every aspect of electricity usage, from appliances to heating and lighting. Energy usage and/or production data can be viewed from home or remotely using an iPad.

    Savant Select: From simple source control to complete two-way whole-home automation, the Savant Select seamlessly merges the familiar functionality of Apple’s latest iPod touch with easy-to-use push buttons, creating a sleek yet powerful home control interface. Supporting Savant’s TrueControl iPod touch App and TrueCommand On-TV navigation, this powerful smart remote delivers the perfect balance of backlit pushbuttons and a 3.5-inch color touch screen.

    TrueCommand On-TV control: Savant’s TrueCommand technology provides the most advanced and visually engaging way to navigate, browse, and select diverse services and multimedia content by boldly presenting attractive icons on any high definition TV. TrueCommand enables complete control of all home systems without the need to interrupt your audio or video programming. While watching your favorite movie, use a Savant home control remote to easily adjust the temperature, dim the lights, check security cameras, obtain weather updates and more.

    TrueImage Control: Savant’s TrueImage Control technology provides an innovative interface that allows you to touch actual images of Smart Home products to initiate commands. Simply touch the image of the actual light in the room you wish to control, and not only does the light in the room turn on/off or dim when pressed and held, but it also illuminates on the iPad confirming the command.

    Savant Sound: Complimenting the SmartMedia multi-room A/V control system, Savant’s impressive array of architectural loudspeakers and 16-channel digital amplifier will be utilized to fill the NextGen home with great sound throughout three independent zones. Full control of the distributed audio system will be demonstrated on the iPad and Savant Select remote.

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  • This fall, San Antonio city officials moved ahead with a plan to renovate the River Walk holiday lights, replacing 85,000 old incandescent bulbs with nearly 2 million LED lights.

    “It’s just amazing when you get under 1.8 million lights and up as high as sixty, seventy feet,” said the city’s downtown operations director Paula Stallcup. “The whole goal here was we had a whole new lighting plan using LED and energy-efficient lighting and created a whole new look and a whole new opportunity to come see the River Walk in a whole new light.”

    Reactions from residents and tourists haven’t all been as glowing as Stallcup’s. “People like it and some people don’t like it. I think it’s going to be all a matter of opinion and I think you’re going to have people who are used to seeing it one way,” said Stallcup in reference to the former arrangement where lights hung down from the trees.

    Now, nearly 200 trees have their trunks wrapped in thousands of lights.

    A move that prompted concerns from the San Antonio Conservation Society after the city originally planned to keep the trees wrapped year-round. However, a city forester assured them they wouldn’t stay on forever.

    “The trees will be unwrapped every three years so there should be no problems with stunting their growth,” said Nancy Hamner Avellar, president of the society.

    While the society doesn’t work in concert with the city in regards to the lighting project, it has brought up other concerns including the stringing of lights along the bridges over the river, many of which are historic.

    “Any kind of penetration with drilling or screws or method of affixing these lights could possibly structurally compromise the bridges,” said Avellar, who said both the Texas Historic Commission and Historic Bridge Foundation agreed with the society’s assessment.

    “That was the same concern that was raised by the city’s Historic Design and Review Commission members and that’s why they sent us back and said, ‘OK, you have to develop a plan that requires less intrusive activity on the bridges because of their historic nature,’” said Stallcup.

    The lights strung along the bridges this year are temporary and rest on plastic tracks.

    The holiday lights will stay lit through Sunday, Jan. 8. Stallcup said the city has had discussions with Paseo del Rio and River Walk businesses to possibly allow them to light up some of the remaining unlit trees along the river between the historic section and La Villita.


  • led light 07.12.2011 No Comments

    Sri Lanka: Orange Electric, a Sri Lankan electrical and lighting products manufacturer and exporter, has invested US$ 500 000 in a joint venture to set up what it describes as South Asia’s first compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) recycling plant.

    The facility, located in Sri Lanka and registered under the name of Asia Recycling, represents a partnership with Nordic Recycling AB of Sweden. It has a stated recycling capacity of up to 30 million bulbs per year, encompassing both CFLs as well as more conventional fluorescent tube lights.

    Capacity is nearly three times greater than annual domestic CFL usage. Outlining future plans for Asia Recycling, which has its sole facility at Homagama South, Pitipana Rideemulla, Orange Electric’s Managing Director Kushan Kodituwakku has indicated that Sri Lanka is just the first step for a venture which hopes to build similar plants in India, Singapore, Malaysia and China. He has also revealed that, in three to four months from now, new recycling technology and machinery will be introduced, and that existing machines will be sent to India.

    Mr Kodituwakku also points out that the country’s Central Environmental Agency is bringing in new legislation regarding the disposal of light bulbs, as well as associated tariffs in this regard. And when this legislation comes into effect, recyclers will also benefit from the added revenue stream, it is noted.

    According to a statement, the recycling processes used translate into a recovery rate exceeding 95%. Nordic Recycling’s founder Per Kristoffersson explains that mercury is integral to electric bulb production. ‘It can only harm if it’s not properly being disposed, and through these recycling measures close to 100% mercury is recovered,’ he has commented.

    Some 10% of vodka bottles in Sweden are made with recycled CFL, he adds.

    The lamps will be replaced with energy efficient alternatives like compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), energy saving halogens and LED bulbs. CFL’s themselves are up to five times more efficient as they need around five times less energy to generate the same amount of light when compared with traditional incandescent bulbs which waste 90% of energy as heat.

    “Homes are currently dominated by incandescent bulbs, and approximately two third of the world’s lighting solutions in use are based on old, less energy efficient technologies”, says Paolo Cervini – General Manager of Philips Lighting Middle East & Turkey. “Making a switch to energy efficient lighting solutions is simple and easy, with a remarkable effect.”

    “Philips is aware that significant savings can be made in terms of energy consumption, carbon emission and costs by switching to energy efficient solutions, therefore, we continue our unilateral phase-out of incandescent lamps and simultaneously educate the public through different initiatives on the benefits of the switch,” he adds.

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