Sunday 25 February 2007

A week off

This may come as a surprise to teachers. Teachers in Scotland may well be surprised that the schools on Islay and Jura get a week off for mid term. Teachers elsewhere in the UK may wll be surprised that most Scottish teachers don't get a week off for mid term.

Long before I came to to the Islands the staff had decided to take all the single days that happen throughout the year and roll them into a single week.

This has several advantages.

The biggest is that you get time to do something. Some of the staff are away in sunny places; Portugal, Morrocco...... in my case Manchester!

Some of the staff have taken a group of pupils Skiing in Italy.

The second advantage is that because no one else is off then the flights are cheaper.

So, I want to make this quite clear.

This is our week off! No one elses! Get your own!

PS The academic advantage is that your not disadvantaged for having  a double period on a Monday.

Wednesday 7 February 2007

House Technology

Today was a big day. Nothing to do with the project.

I finalised the mortgage to build a new house. I have been working towards this for 3 years now. So the excitmenting moments have generally come and gone.

Over the last year I have been thinking about the technology that I will put in the house.

So many options:

CAT 5/CAT 6, wireless, telephone, Video, audio, control, heating....... the list of options is long.

One of the first decision that was made was the kind of heating to be used. This has lots of options again. We opted for a Ground Sourced Heat pump. This takes heat from a large area of ground and transfers it to a smaller area of the house. This means that for maximum efficiency we will go for underfloor heating.

Next is the important Having looked and researched I have 2 options:

- Sonos wireless system

- Cambridge Audio CAT 5 System.

I am planning to put in a CAT 5 system anyway for the telephone and (of course) the pc's. So at the moment cambridge audio in in front.

So, should I also put Sky (Council Telly is very bad here) through the CAT 5 as well? At the moment the answer is no. By the time I buy the kit from Sky and then add in the encoders and decoders at each end of the CAT 5 cable the price goes through the roof.

I plan to run the satellite cable throughout the house and place freesat boxes in the bedrooms. The main room will have the the full sky package playing through a projector.

To cap it all I am planning to use Recycled plastic roof tiles. Made from car tyres, plasic and limestone. To these in use have a look at The Centre of Alternative Technology Web site

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