When buying a fridge, what is most important?

January 24, 2007

So my parent’s side by side fridge has just given up the ghost. It was fourteen years old – strangely enough it replaced a fridge that was also fourteen years old. What are the chances they’ll get the same longevity now?

Anyway, to the point. The most important feature right now, that is an absolute deal-killer, is the dimensions of the fridge.

Show me some way online to search for fridges by dimensions. Go on, I dare you. Bonus credit if the site deals in Australian available units.

This is one of those times when you realise that no one who is building the websites, even the manufacturer sites, not one of those people has stopped to think “what’s most important to the customer?”

Of course I care about energy efficiency. Yes the finish is important, along with the configuration (side by side, freezer on top, upside down etc…) However the only critical factor to allow me to even consider the purchase of your fridge is ‘will it fit in the space I have in my kitchen?’

Duh. Why do you bury the dimensions on your confounded websites?

Put yourself on the Google Map

January 24, 2007

There’s an opportunity for Sydneysiders to get themselves on the Google map this Friday.

Australia Day 2007 on Google Maps

As it happens, we’re hosting a neighborhood BBQ lunch on the day (postponed from Christmas) as it is our turn this year. However a friend of mine does live in a penthouse apartment that looks like it is in the picture zone, so I’ve put the call out to see if our friends can come up with something interesting.

Ultracapacitors – here’s hoping!

January 24, 2007

I thought I had blogged about ultracaps before, but a search didn’t show anything … so here we are.

Ultracapacitors (or ultracaps) are an energy storage device that operate differently to batteries. The main point of difference seems to be in their charge / discharge times – radically faster than batteries. They also handle many more cycles with degrading (the so called memory effect of batteries, for example.) However, all shipping ultracaps have lower energy density than batteries – which means you get to store less electricity per kilogram of device. In fact as low as one tenth of the density at present. Fancy carrying an ultracap that weighs ten times as much as your batteries? Me either.

Along comes a story about a startup called EEStor and how they are claiming to have broken the density problem. That would of course be fantastic, but I’d be wary that this is another press release to hype investors … seeing one of the biggest VC funds in there doesn’t, strangely, reassure me at all.

Ultracaps do have applications in electric vehicles, quite successfully in regenerative braking systems where the high charging rates are suitable – as is the high power available to get your vehicle off the mark again. Whether EEStor (or others) can break through the density problem and replace chemical batteries remains to be seen at this stage, I for one would love to see it happen.