Welcome to the super-long edition of my final newsletter for this year.
I will be taking a break for Xmas and New Year holidays and will return with the next edition of my newsletter in Jan-2023.
So, it finally snowed in the UK and there had been constant <0ºC temperatures every night for almost a week. There was snow everywhere and it finally melted with the rain. It was a good sight to see but of course dangerous to drive. When the snow is there for a long time it can get icy and makes the vehicle slippery.
Google released their Year in Search YouTube video and it's pretty cool. Do watch it.
I also had a really bad back ache and it turned out to be a slipped disc. I arranged an osteopath from the Urban app and the osteopath came to our home to fix me essentially. The osteopath has recommended some exercises and told me that my back ache should get better as the weeks progress and the disc should normally go back where it was initially. The pain has reduced a lot now.
Also, the rumours have been true and the newsletter platform I have been using now for these last 26 issues is now shutting down for good. I will be shifting to a new newsletter platform called beehiiv in the new year. The experience you all have will be the same though.
And finally, Argentina won the FIFA World Cup 2022. What a fantastic game with 3 goals scored by each side. For a final match, that is unbelievable.
☀️ Solar Panels
Recently I got a free Home Energy Assessment done for my house by REST UK to get solar panels installed. Basically, my current fixed rate tariff expires next year and I wanted to check all the available options that I have to save my energy bills. And solar energy is a very exciting technology that a lot of people, I know of, are adopting. Using solar energy would also make me partially grid-independent. I would still need gas from my energy supplier.
A solar PV panel consists of many cells made from layers of semi-conducting material, most commonly silicon. When light shines on this material, a flow of electricity is created.
The cells don’t need direct sunlight to work and can even work on cloudy days. However, the stronger the sunshine, the more electricity generated.
Solar PV systems are made up of several panels, with each panel generating around 355W of energy in strong sunlight. Typical systems contain around 10 panels and generate direct current (DC) electricity. Because the electricity used for household appliances is alternating current (AC), an inverter is installed along with the system to convert DC electricity to AC. This electricity can be used throughout your home, or exported to the grid.
Source - Energy Saving Trust
So with the basics out of the way. I wanted to understand how it will help me.
My main worries are as follows
What happens when it snows? Do they self-clean?
Does it perform well during extremely hot days? When temperatures are >40ºC.
What happens when it's very windy? Do the solar panels get ripped off from the roof?
What about dust getting settled on the panels? Do they self-clean?
What about birds and insects damaging the panels? How do we protect the panels? Are there any deterrent systems?
What is the efficiency of a regular solar panel?
Will the solar panels meet all my energy needs? I work from home mostly and need constant electricity.
What about the gas that I use for heating the house? How can I save energy on that?
I got a quote of £15K for a 12-panel system (440W/panel) with a 6.5 kW battery, an inverter and all the additional fittings and installation. The solar panels are split across the East and West sides of the roof.
The crazy thing is I never got a breakdown of the total figure. Even after asking for it multiple times, I was simply told this is the figure. Which put me off a bit.
I am still thinking about whether to get it or not. And even if I get it, the tariff from the UK government to supply electricity back to the grid is not that great. So I need to do a calculation to see if it will suit my needs or not.
Time to get more quotes.
A while back I created a video to help people download videos from the major platforms. When I first uploaded it on YouTube it was taken down for some reason even though there are a lot of other videos helping you do the same. I recently tweeted about it as well with the exact same response.
@YouTube - Why was my video revoked while others are still on the platform?
Reference - https://t.co/zaCNTfHDuV https://t.co/opL6IVqEoj
— Amit Sarkar (@amit_sarkar007)
Dec 15, 2022
Anyways, the idea was to teach people how to use an open-source tool.
This tool is useful when you want to download audio/video from YouTube and then transcribe that using Microsoft 365. I have used it to quote good stuff from various podcasts. I have used it for this week's newsletter as well.
I ended up posting the video on Vimeo and it's now live there. Feel free to use it and if you have any questions, then please let me know.
🌐 Digital Divide
Recently I saw a very amazing video about Starlink by Cleo Abram and in that video, she mentions the digital divide. So I went ahead and asked ChatGPT what it is all about.
The digital divide refers to the gap between individuals, households, businesses, and geographic areas that have access to modern information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as the internet and computers, and those that do not. This divide can be seen in terms of access to and affordability of technology, as well as in terms of skills and knowledge needed to use these technologies effectively.
Source - ChatGPT
What exactly is the digital divide, and how is it discussed and calculated? We look at this, and why community networks play an essential role in bridging the gap.
Following factors that affect the digital divide
Economic factors Access to and affordability of technology can be a significant barrier to bridging the digital divide. People living in low-income households may not be able to afford the cost of a computer, smartphone, or internet service, or may not have the disposable income to pay for ongoing internet access.
Social factors The digital divide can also be seen in terms of social and cultural barriers. For example, people who are not fluent in the dominant language of their community may face barriers to using technology or accessing online content. Similarly, people with disabilities may face physical barriers to using technology or may lack access to assistive technologies that would enable them to use computers or other devices.
Geographic factors The digital divide can also be seen in terms of geographic disparities. People living in rural areas may have limited access to high-speed internet or other technology infrastructure, or may be located too far from retail outlets or service providers.
Educational factors People who lack the necessary skills and knowledge to use technology effectively may also be disadvantaged in terms of the digital divide. This includes a lack of familiarity with computer hardware and software, as well as a lack of understanding of how to use the internet and other digital tools to access information and communicate with others.
Following are the ways to reduce the digital divide -
Increasing access to and affordability of technology
Providing education and training
Promoting digital literacy
Ensuring digital inclusion
Source - ChatGPT
Last week I heard an episode from The a16z Podcast by Andreessen Horowitz. Steph Smith interviewed Marc Andreessen in this episode. Marc was part of the project that gave the world its first proper internet web browser called NCSA Mosaic.
Why there is a technology and not nothing? What was life before technology? Say life before steam engines, tractors, telephones, etc.
Well before these technologies existed life was pretty hard, people died young or sick.
So technology does help improve people's lives. Technology is a tool and tools give leverage on the world.
Any technology, when introduced, is always unacceptable in the beginning. People actually have a very hard time anticipating the upside of new technologies. Even something as simple as a bicycle was not accepted initially.
Correction: people freaked out over the bicycle https://t.co/MHeyuOYywp
— Pessimists Archive (@PessimistsArc)
Sep 15, 2020
Why is there a fear of adopting new technologies?
The blowback actually is basically a fear, a statement, an assertion, a realisation that the introduction of the new technology is going to change society and in particular status and power within the society. Who's in charge? Who's in power? Who makes decisions? Who has status? Who gets the money? All of a sudden, the ordering of society is up for grabs, and that's why you get this.
Anything that becomes embedded in society that, as you're alluding to, can impact society at scale. People start to get afraid because they start going through all of these scenarios and thinking, "Oh, who is this going to impact? Is this gonna impact my job? Is this gonna impact the types of people I can interact with? Is this going to impact the power I have in society?"
In the book, Men, Machines, and Modern Times by Elting E. Morison, the author outlines a three-part process that applies to the adoption of any new technology.
Stage 1 is to completely ignore it. Just pretend it doesn't exist. Refuse to acknowledge it. Don't talk about it. Don't even engage in conversations like we're just not gonna do this.
Step 2 is a rational counter-argument. A rational counter-argument is, this can't possibly work because it's gonna be too expensive. It's not gonna be fast enough. It's not gonna scale. People don't know how to use it?
Stage 3 is when the name-calling begins. It's like a full-out power-status political fight. These people, who are bringing this technology, they're bad people, they have bad morals, they have bad intent. They're going to ruin everything.
“I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies,” writes Douglas Adams in The Salmon of Doubt.
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
Source - Farnam Street
Basically, there are 3 eras in human existence.
There was like pre-modern. Which was basically like caves all the way up through like kings, right? And then there was modern, which is like science, technology, democracy, you know capitalism. And then now you could argue we're in this post-modern phase where we're just going to like, sit around and argue all the time instead of actually doing.
There are many things Marc talks about. Like, Segway, cars, guns on ships, web3, cities, remote working, the internet, managerial capitalism, middle-income trap, progress, etc.
It's definitely worth a listen.
I want to end this newsletter with some amazing videos I have seen recently that really knocked up the adrenaline.
The first video features Travis Pastrana going berserk.
The second video is Tom Cruise jumping out of a helicopter so casually that it feels insane.
The third video is Tom Cruise jumping off a cliff 6 times, without any wires, to get a shot right for his new Mission Impossible film.
Thank you so much once again for reading my newsletter this week. Please feel free to Buy me a coffee if you are enjoying what I am sharing.
Until we meet again next year, wishing you all a very Happy New Year 2023 and happy holidays.
Leaving you all with something to think about.