REC comments on UK solar changes

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

Sissoko leaves on loan

first_imgWolfsburg – VfL Wolfsburg have opted to loan out forward Ibrahim Sissoko to Panathinaikos. The 20-year-old, who can also operate as a right-sided midfielder, has completed a medical examination and will initially join the Greek side on a year-long loan.Sissoko joined the Wolves from Portuguese outfit Academica de Coimbra during last season’s winter transfer window and went on to make two Bundesliga appearances in the second half of last term.“Ibrahim Sissoko will hopefully gain match experience at a top European club,” said Wolfsburg coach Felix Magath. “Panathinaikos finished as league runners-up in their most recent campaign and if he’s able to establish himself then it will be a great step forward for him. In the long-term he’ll strengthen VfL.”last_img read more

WEST GIPPSLAND TENNIS ASSOCIATION

first_imgMIDWEEK LADIES Semi-Final Results: Pakenham 4-43 d Officer 2-33. Nar Nar Goon 6-48 d Maryknoll Blue 0-24….[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Abbott’s utter jubliation

first_imgIn what is just his second Wingless Sprints season, Pakenham’s Jordan Abbott was considered one of the underdogs heading into…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Crash driver speeds off after argument

first_imgBy CASEY NEILL A DRIVER slammed into a stationary vehicle and sped away following what appeared to be an argument…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

The future is already theirs

first_imgBy KATHRYN BERMINGHAM THE future is looking bright, efficient and sustainable thanks to the innovative thinking of students from St…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Tell me a story …

first_imgA shared storytime has become a permanent fixture at Cockatoo. In response to a positive six-month trial, Cardinia Mobile Library…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Are you getting the best deal on car finance?

first_imgThinking of buying a new car in the coming months? Then you’ve no doubt heard about Personal Contract Plans or PCPs. Here, the Letterkenny Credit Union advisors explain what these agreements really mean and share a guide on getting the best deal on car finance:PCPs car finance agreements have been getting a lot of attention – and not always for the right reasons. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) recently released the first public analysis of PCPs in Ireland. The report found that a third of new car purchases in Ireland are now financed by PCP agreements. In 2016, a significant €805 million was extended to consumers in PCP finance – a considerable increase of 65% on 2015. The CCPC says however that because of the complexity of these agreements, there is a concern that consumers do not fully understand how they work. In particular, they say there is a doubt that consumers are fully aware of the balloon payments at the end of a PCP agreement. The CCPC is of the view that further protection is needed in Ireland for consumers availing of these agreements.* Paul Hume, Chairperson of Letterkenny Credit Union said: “For many, headline rates on PCP agreements can at first look more attractive, but these can easily distract from the range of additional charges and a good deal of inflexibility. Paul explains: “Essentially PCPs are lease schemes. The buyer has in effect, hired the car for a particular period of time while they make payments. At the end of the agreement, they will have to make a balloon payment in order to own the car. “With a traditional car loan, the person simply borrows the money to pay for a car, which they own immediately. They can also sell the car on at any time they wish, should they need to, whereas they do not have this option with a PCP.”There is further detail in the ‘small print’ of a PCP agreement which consumers should be aware of. They will, for example, need to be conscious of the mileage they are clocking up, because the balloon payment at the end of the agreement will have been calculated with their annual mileage in mind. On the other hand, if a consumer takes out a car loan before purchasing a car, they are effectively going as a cash buyer to the car dealer and are in a far better position to negotiate a deal. Paul continued: “At Letterkenny Credit Union we offer a car loan with an APR rate of 7.5%** which is typically approved within 24 hours. There are no hidden fees or administration charges with our loan, and we are always happy to work with our members to arrange repayments in a way that best suits their individual circumstances. “We would really encourage anyone thinking of buying a new or used car in the coming weeks to contact us at Letterkenny Credit Union before making any decisions. “We are happy to see all our members, no matter how long it has been, and of course we are always happy to chat to anyone who has never been a credit union member.”For further information just contact the LKCU loans team on 0749102126 or email loans@letterkennycu.ie*CCPC; Personal Contract Plans – The Irish Market. March 2018** For a €30,000, 5 year variable interest rate loan with 60 monthly repayments of €497.88, an interest Rate of 7.24%, a representative APR of 7.5%, the total amount payable by the member is €29,871.16 Information correct as at 30/10/2018. Are you getting the best deal on car finance? was last modified: November 22nd, 2018 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:car financecar loanLetterkenny Credit Unionpcplast_img read more

Doug Ford’s Classroom, Part 1: Digital jolt looms large in big changes

first_imgIn a two-part series, reporters Heather Rivers and Louis Pin examine the Progressive Conservative government’s new education policies, and how they’ll affect students – from kindergarten to university – when classes resume:The smiles and the jitters, in equal measure, are there in every back-to-school cycle.But this year in Ontario, the jitters have the edge.Sweeping changes to education, from elementary school to university, are starting to kick in as Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government takes its reforms – and budget battles – to the classroom.Nowhere will the changes be felt more than in high school, where students will face a larger average class size, fewer optional courses and, many fear, fewer teachers and other grown-ups to help them.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.In low-enrolment rural schools, many of them in Southwestern Ontario, some fear the fallout could kill those languishing on their deathbeds – schools until now protected by a provincial freeze on closings.But the biggest change coming in high school is one unique in North America – a new e-learning requirement that teenagers, over four years, take four of their 30 courses needed to graduate online.Even for a generation that has always known the internet, being forced into digital learning doesn’t sit well with many. And experts say such a move can easily backfire if it’s not backed by proper staffing and technology, which may well mean spending more money – not less.“If students are sitting by themselves in a room with little to no support at the school level – unless that student is a naturally strong, independent learning (type) – they are not going to have success,” warns Michael Barbour, an expert in online learning at Touro University California, a private graduate school.Critics say the Ford government’s shakeup of the $31-billion education system is all about saving money, trying to wring out $1 billion over four years to help the Tories whip a $12-billion budget shortfall.The government insists its changes are about modernizing the school system, and that no teaching jobs will be lost except through attrition. Teachers’ unions and others sharply disagree.None of it makes Lily Ryan and her friends, heading to high school for the first time, feel any better. “It’s definitely scary,” said 14-year-old Ryan, who’s going into Grade 9 at Sir Frederick Banting secondary school in London. “But I have hope.”Ryan figures she can do the math on what’s ahead: A larger average class size means teachers with less time for students, she notes. They’ll also have to work harder, since their numbers are being rolled back.And the stuff that makes school worthwhile for many kids, the options and special programs that bring out passions in many – Ryan fears they’re in jeopardy, as school boards scale back elective options.“The fun classes, or classes that make kids go to school, like the art and tech classes, might just get cut completely,” she said. “If those classes get taken away, then they don’t have that.”The changes don’t stop there.In elementary schools, the average class size is also going up, but less dramatically than in high school.On campus, college and university students will get a 10 per cent tuition cut. But the same government giving them that break is taking away free tuition grants that helped about 200,000 students afford school before. It’s also giving post-secondary schools less money to work with and hooking more of that to performance – measurements like graduation rates and how quickly students go on to find jobs.Welcome to Doug Ford’s classroom.“He’s cutting the budget on the backs of children,” said London New Democrat MPP Terence Kernaghan. A former teacher, he worries about the fallout of larger classes on kids needing more time with teachers.Poorer learning outcomes, kids acting out, more violence – it all comes with larger classes, he said. If that’s not enough, there’s a backlog of $16 billion in needed repairs in the school system, he added.“It is something that is completely scary,” Kernaghan said.The rhetoric sounds apocalyptic. But even in the run-up to the new school year, in back-to-back announcements last week, when school messaging is crucial, the Tories threw everyone two curve balls.First, after vowing to scrap the former Liberal government’s modern sexual education curriculum, one critics saw as a throwback to appease social conservatives not happy about kids being taught blunt sexual concepts as early as they are, the Tories announced a revised curriculum that, with minor differences, largely leaves the existing one intact.Months of hand-wringing and preparing for a new course of studies went out the window.Then, Education Minister Stephen Lecce, moving to counter what he called “misinformation,” dropped another bombshell, saying he’s open to trading cost-saving ideas in the education system for lower average class sizes and that this school year the average will only rise to 22.5 students.Months earlier, the government had said the average class size in high school would rise to 28 students from 22 and in elementary school by one student, to 24, increases the province has said will ultimately mean 3,475 fewer teachers in the system, as attrition reduces their numbers.For school districts that have planned for the larger averages, including cancelling thousands of classes, it was a shot out of the blue. One teachers’ union leader called it a “feeble attempt at sleight of hand,” saying the government still plans to hike the high school class average to 28 over time.Lecce, despite repeated Postmedia requests, was not made available for comment for this story.*** Like many kids heading to high school for the first time, Kaya Intini has questions.Perhaps surprisingly, for someone from a tech-savvy generation, she’s concerned about one of the biggest changes in high school – a requirement that students take four online courses to graduate.“I know students taking online courses who have had to hire tutors for help with their studies,” said Intini, who’s also headed to Banting secondary. “A lot of things are not as well explained (as in the classroom). I am not sure how this will work – they will need so much technology. Where will they be getting the money?”ONLINE EXTRA Students, union officials and education experts weigh in on the Ontario Tories’ education changes. CLICK HERE TO READ ITMaya Lopez-Town, also going into Grade 9 in London, has similar concerns. “It worries me, not for my sake but other students,” said the H.B. Beal secondary student.“Not all students have access to a computer or access to the internet so they can do their courses. It’s not fair. . . . There is going to be a change all of a sudden to be switching from (the) classroom, which is how I learn better, to learning to do online courses,” she said.They’re good points, but so far there aren’t a lot of answers.What is known is that Ontario won’t start compulsory e-learning until next school year, but provincial officials can’t yet answer details about how the classes will work, how many students they’ll have, whether students complete the work from school or home, or both, and how they’ll be supervised.The question isn’t whether online learning works, but what’s needed to make it work, said Barbour, the Canadian-born online learning expert teaching in California.“Anybody can learn in any medium,” said Barbour, who has studied and written about e-learning across Canada.  “What impacts learning is how it is designed, and how learning is supported. If they (Ontario) could do a good job on those, it could be very successful.”Only about five per cent of Ontario students now take online courses, so the compulsory move is dramatic. But while it’s easy to see how a government trying to save money might like that, with possibly fewer teachers needed, experts caution online learning done on the cheap is bound to be bad.“I am really adamant about ringing some alarm bells here because I teach it,” said Beyhan Farhadi, a high school and e-learning teacher in Toronto who’s completing a PhD thesis on e-learning in the Toronto District school board.Farhadi is concerned about the sudden, 95-per-cent increase in e-learning students Ontario will have.“Nobody is talking about it,” she said. “It’s unfortunate, because it’s supposed to be coming out in 2020 and we could be spending this year building the competency of students.”Tony Bates, author of Teaching in a Digital Age, has said he’s suspicious of the Ford government’s motives for making online learning mandatory, but that – properly done – it can pay dividends.“If he’s using it to cut government spending, it is a really bad policy,” he said.The upside?E-learning can help students to learn independently, sharpen their self-discipline and encourage them to get more involved in their own education, said Bates.“That’s good, because everyone in the end needs to take responsibility for their own learning. It’s a skill,” he said.People for Education, an advocacy group for public education, estimates e-learning will save Ontario nearly $41 million. While most high schools already offer access to online learning, only about five per cent of students take up that option, the group says.It’s not for everyone, said Farhadi, noting research shows students not going on to university don’t do as well in online learning as academic students. “There is a huge disparity in outcomes for these two.”Chronic under-funding of e-learning programs makes it tough to meet all students’ needs, said Farhadi.“Even folks who are very positive and and proponents of e-learning in general recognize you require face-to-face supports for e-learning to be successful,” she said.KEY CHANGES: Average class sizes:Rising to 28 students from 22 in high school; up one to 24 in elementary. Education minister says average this year will be 22.5. Money:School boards will average $12,246 per pupil this year, down $54 per pupil from last year Teachers:Province has said 3,475 jobs, about three per cent of the total, will be lost over four years. Unions fear higher fallout. Courses:Four required online courses in high school, North America’s highest requirement, starting next year. Thousands of other optional classes at risk as boards plan for fewer teachers. READ IT HERE: Doug Ford’s Classroom, Part 2: On campus, a tough new landscape looms Clockwise from the top: Dylan Lobb, Lily Ryan, Kaya Cygalski and Kaya Intini are entering Grade 9 at Banting in September. Derek Ruttan/The London Free Presslast_img read more

How Starbucks Could Take Wireless Charging Mainstream

first_imgTags:#A4WP#Daniel Schreiber#Humavox#Matthew Guiste#Omri Lachman#Ossia#powermat#qi#Reinier H.M. van der Lee#Rezence#starbucks#wireless charging#WPC Related Posts adriana lee The components were designed to fit inside one of the smallest consumer devices imaginable, so it’s not tough to see those tiny receivers embedded inside the compact casings of wearable gadgets, one of Humavox’s target areas. Another startup, Ossia, believes charging should work entirely over the air.  Though a bit slower than traditional charging, Ossia’s Cota technology can supposedly transmit power safely over a distance. It has been tested at 16 feet, and the company claims it can work up to 30 feet. Ossia has been making motions toward the smart home industry, hoping to power battery-operated sensors and other gizmos. In the controlled setting of a retail environment, Cota devices could theoretically start charging your devices the moment you walk in. But that scenario will probably take a lot of convincing to appease public concerns over safety. If these emerging companies succeed, or the leading troika of wireless charging proponents get their act together, they could banish the drudgery of plugging in cables and power adapters once and for all. We’re not there yet. But Starbucks and Powermat took a big step toward that future. And until it gets here, at least now we can sip our lattes and charge on a table while we wait. Starbucks coffee photo (cropped) courtesy of Starbucks; Ossia photo courtesy of Ossia; all others by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite Offering a shot of one-stop convenience, Starbucks began its roll-out of free Powermat wireless charging last week. The Seattle, Wash.–based coffee purveyor equipped roughly 200 stores in San Francisco with the technology, ahead of a nationwide launch next year.I stopped by a location in Levi Plaza to check out the system and see if it lives up to the promise. There could be no in-between: It would either be a cool new convenience or a lame, over-hyped feature. See also: How To Boost Your Phone’s Battery LifeAs I sat in the cafe, with my phone resting on the table that piped juice to it, the answer was clear. Starbucks should consider extra security; Frapuccino-fueled patrons are destined to jockey for a seat at one of these tables. After years of trying, wireless charging could finally be on the verge of going mainstream in a big, caffeinated way. Getting Juiced Up At StarbucksWireless charging seems like a misnomer. People who have bought Powermat and similar products know that the main charging mat connects to a wall outlet with a cable. But it’s still considered “wireless” because phones, handheld gaming machines and other devices can power up just by sitting on top of it. At Starbucks, the mats (or “Powermat Spots”) are built into some of the tables and countertops. Despite reports to the contrary, Daniel Schreiber, president of Powermat Technologies, claims the charging speed rivals cabled connections. I gave it a try, and found the charging action to be pretty speedy.  The downside is that few phones support Powermat charging out of the box. Some Lumia phones have it built in, and compatible backplates, phone cases, batteries and small Power Ring attachments are available under the joint Duracell-Powermat brand. The system offers some backward compatibility—if you have one, even an older unit, you’ll be able to charge your device on Starbucks’ tables. If not, you can still use the Starbucks charging surfaces. The store loans out Power Rings for free on the spot and sells them there too for about $10, if you’d like to own one. Duracell-Powermat also sells them online. “You’ve got to have a complete system,” said Matthew Guiste, Starbucks’ vice president of in-store digital. “No one has taken the plunge, [but] we want to start giving manufacturers a reason to put it in their phones.” The retailer has a habit of pushing technologies into the mainstream. Back in 2001, the business proselytized Wi-Fi, being among the first to offer it for free. The chain’s knack for popularizing tech was the main reason Powermat partnered with it. “Wi-Fi was not a known commodity then,” said Schreiber. “They’re in a place to educate consumers.” Daniel Schreiber, president of Powermat Technologies, at Starbucks wireless charging roll-outEducation is needed. Wireless charging has been around for quite a while, but despite that, it still hasn’t managed to gain traction with consumers yet. Why Isn’t Wireless Charging A Thing Yet?Even though the electromagnetic technology behind wireless charging goes back a century, people still mess with cables and power adapters—now more than ever. See also: If The Future’s Battery-Powered, We’re ScrewedPoor battery life forces the hassle. Today, huge phones with larger batteries and power-saving tactics, like Android’s Project Volta, try to prolong the longevity of our devices, but these are workarounds for batteries that just can’t keep pace with advancements in mobile technology. Processing power, new features and our demanding requirements for connectivity make us “more dependent on our devices,” said Schreiber. “[But] it’s reached a crisis point where the industry is bringing us new uses that we routinely disable to give us more battery life.” The issue becomes worse with wearables, as tiny gadgets leave little space for big power cells. Some reports say the system won’t work with iPhones. Don’t believe everything you read. Wireless charging’s convenience can help ease the pain of short battery life. Unfortunately, like the old video rivalry between VHS and BetaMax, warring factions within the industry prevent a universal standard from paving the way for wider adoption.Earlier this year, two of the leading power consortiums—Powermat’s Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP)—made some headway by joining forces. Reinier H.M. van der Lee, director of product marketing at Broadcom, a key member of A4WP, told me then that it would lead to “dual-mode receivers,” or gadgets that support both PMA’s open standard and A4WP’s Rezence standard. But the deal left out a third, the Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi—currently the most popular wireless charging option available in mobile devices. Devices like Samsung’s Galaxy, Motorola’s Droid and some Lumia phones offer built-in support. All three standards essentially rely on the same technology. Coils (in mats) create electromagnetic fields that transmit electricity when receivers (in gadgets and accessories) sit on top. But their approaches vary, and none work directly with either of the others. Rezence devices don’t exist as consumer products yet, but even if they did, single-mode products wouldn’t work on Starbucks’ Powermat charging tables. (They’d have to be dual-mode.) Qi gadgets, the most prevalent so far, won’t directly work either. To cut through the complications, Starbucks and Powermat made a smart move: Those free Power Ring loaners come in a choice of micro-USB or Apple’s lightning port. This cross-compatibility should cover most smartphones, and their in-store availability means people won’t have to plan ahead. This simple decision gives every customer some wireless charging powers. It just so happens to spread the gospel of Powermat to a massive audience as well.  Powermat’s Power Play After starting out with test roll-outs in select stores in Boston and San Jose, Starbucks is ready to go all in with PMA now. Guiste calls Powermat “the perfect partner,” thanks to its focus on commercial installations and managed support. “What we got is not just a standard,” he said. “We got launch partners and a managed network that can tell us what’s going on, down to the location and the [specific] spot at that location.”What Powermat got is a direct line to the vast market of coffee drinkers across the country. (Starbucks serves more than 5 million customers per day.) While obviously beneficial to Powermat, the strategy could also raise the profile of wireless charging overall, giving the whole industry a boost. It may even compel the various camps to work together on a universal standard. If so, it couldn’t come too soon. The already complex landscape of wireless charging could get even more complicated before long. As cable-free power-ups work to establish themselves in the mainstream, fringe candidates have been trying to push it in new directions. Startups like Humavox and Ossia want to ditch the mat entirely, using radio frequency technology to transform charging into Wi-Fi-like affairs. It’s All Up In The Air Humavox CEO Omri Lachman explained the design strategy behind his Eterna charging platform to me earlier this year: Users don’t use mats, he said. Instead, they toss their devices in a box. Those devices can vary, not just in variety, but size. With more than a little showmanship, he told me his company “didn’t start off with these devices,” holding up a smartphone. “We started with these,” he said, pointing to a small in-ear canal hearing aid.  What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more