02 / Be enables my local exchange

I’ve been on their waiting list for over a year, and it’s too late for me as I’ve moved house now, but today Be e-mailed me to inform me that they had enabled my local Farnborough exchange for their service. This means Farnborough residents can now get up to 24Mbps downloads and 2.5mbps uploads using Be’s ADSL 2+ modems.

Be Availabillity E-mail

The 2.5mbps upload utilises Annex M of the ADSL 2+ standard and is only available to people who’s whose phone line is less than 2km in length from the exchange. For other users the upload speed is up to 1.3mbps.

I checked and it seems that the Aldershot, Camberley and Farnham exchanges are also now live on Be’s network. If we weren’t about to get a 100mbps fibre connection from NTL I might have considered bonding a few of these together at the office.

Residents of Rushmoor are now fairly privileged in the broadband stakes with multiple offerings available at over 20 Mbps (Virgin Media), and 50mbps on the horizon for 2008.

2008… the year of the Electric Car?

Let’s face it, cars aren’t going to go away. As a means of private transport they are extremely popular for their convenience, comfort and the personal freedom they offer their owners, so anyone who suggests that we should all give them up and use public transport instead is mad. However, there is no denying that they do pose a problem. And that is that, collectively, cars account for 12% of all CO2 emissions in the EU and thus they are one of our biggest sources of carbon pollution.

So how can we keep our beloved cars, without contributing to global warming? For me the answer lies with Electric Vehicles that are recharged from a renewable energy source. You may think that this vision is still 10 years or so away, but you’d be wrong.

Electric cars are here now, albeit for fringe users, but within the few years the mix of economics and technology might just be right for the average motorist to join in too. In this post I’ll be examining what is current available, plus what’ll be around in the near future and how the cost of running an electric vehicle compares to it’s gas guzzling cousins.

Cost Comparison

Car Capacity Range EPM

eMPG Cost per Mile
Reva G Wiz 9.6 KWh 48 miles 0.2 KWh/m 218.5 0.99p
Mitsubishi i-ev 20 KWh 100 miles 0.2 KWh/m 218.5 0.99p
Phoenix Motors SUV 35 KWh 100 miles 0.35 KWh/m 124.9 1.73p
Tesla Roadster 53 KWh 250 miles 0.212 KWh/m 206 1.05p
Lightning Car ? ? ? ? ?

  • A UK imperial gallon of petrol contains about 43.7 kWh of energy
  • A litre of petrol contains 9.6 KWh of energy @ 100% conversion efficiency
  • Equivalent Miles per Gallon (eMPG) = 43.7 (kwh/gallon) / energy per mile
  • Energy per mile (EPM) in kwh/mile = Capacity (kwh) / Range (miles)
  • Cost per mile = EPM * price per kilowatt hour
  • Price per Kilowatt hour = 4.95 pence (off peak, green energy)

Reva G Wiz
Reva G Wiz
Mitsubishi i-EV
Mitsubishi i-EV
Phoenix Motors SUV
Phoenix Motors SUV
Tesla Roadster
Tesla Roadster
Lightning Sports Car
Lightning Sports Car

Real media to Xvid (divx) and cropping with Ubuntu

If you liked my last post on how to save real player streams and convert them to mpeg 4 avi files, then you might find this post useful.

Today I needed to save a real player stream of last night’s 10 o’clock news from the BBC and then convert it into an xvid file. I also wanted to crop it down to just show the particular news item we were interested in (a feature about one of our sites). This is how I did it:

  1. First follow the steps on how to install mencoder and then dump the ram stream as per my previous post.
  2. Next convert the dump file to xvid with the following command:

    mencoder stream.dump -o bbc-10oclocknews.avi -ovc xvid -xvidencopts bitrate=128 -oac mp3lame

  3. Now use Avidemux to crop the video file. If you haven’t already got this program you can install with

    sudo apt-get install avidemux

  4. Open the video file with Avidemux, and then ensure the video and audio are in sync by selecting Audio > Build VBR timemap from the menu.
  5. Use the selection Markers to chop out bits you don’t want (or select the bit you do want), and then save the resulting video with File > Save > Save Video
      And that’s it! Here is the resulting file: