On holiday

Away in Devon and probably in the rain for a week. See you on the other side.


I went and did an interview with Trim the other day in the Isle of Dogs. Good vibes. He played me most of Soulfood Vol. 2, which is sounding about three and a half times better than the first mixtape, which is a good mixtape because its Trim and I like Trim, but isnt actually as good as I first thought, but I thought very highly of it at first, which means it is still good, but not as good as Volume 2, which is really, really great. If you know what I mean.

Blog orgy

And then this is just insane. Greg from Beatdiaspora has organized a Blogariddims Orgy on WHRB Cambridge, Harvard Radio Broadcasting. (WHRB’s ‘Orgies’ are, apparently, a 40 year old, post-exam tradition – the first was 9 consecutive Beethoven symphonies) This co-production of the Record Hospital (www.recordhospital.org) and The Darker Side (www.whrb.org/tds). A big thank you to everyone who’s made this happen. What a great way to cap off the first (almost) year of an outstanding series. This is my first orgy and I couldn’t have been in better company.

Here’s the schedule:

11 hours (wed 5/16, 10 pm to thur 5/17, 9 am)
12 hours (thur 5/17, 8 pm to fri 5/18, 8 am)
= 23 hours of the entire blogariddims podcast in order of appearance

John’s on 2.2!!!

uncarved.org blog
I’ve upgraded to WordPress 2.2 and started using the Fluid Blue 1.0 theme.
So things look a little different and this blog now supports “widgets”. The first of these is a “recent comments” section at the top of the sidebar.
Feck. No sooner do I update myself to 2.1.3, but they release 2.2 and John is on it already. Bollocks. Well, I’m not doing it again, took ages last time.

Technology Review: Solar Power at Half the Cost

Technology Review: Solar Power at Half the Cost
“A new mechanism for focusing light on small areas of photovoltaic material could make solar power in residential and commercial applications cheaper than electricity from the grid in most markets in the next few years. Initial systems, which can be made at half the cost of conventional solar panels, are set to start shipping later this year, says Brad Hines, CTO and founder of Soliant Energy, a startup based in Pasadena, CA, that has developed the new modules.

Concentrating sunlight with mirrors or lenses on a small area cuts the costs of solar power in part by reducing the amount of expensive photovoltaic material needed. But while concentrated solar photovoltaic systems are attractive for large-scale, ground-based solar farms for utilities, conventional designs are difficult to mount on rooftops, where most residential and commercial customers have space for solar panels. The systems are typically large and heavy, and they’re mounted on posts so that they can move to track the sun, which makes them more vulnerable to gusts of wind than ordinary flat solar panels are.

Soliant has designed a solar concentrator that tracks the sun throughout the day but is lighter and not pole-mounted. The system fits in a rectangular frame and is mounted to the roof with the same hardware that’s used for conventional flat solar panels. Yet the devices will likely cost half as much as a conventional solar panel, says Hines. A second-generation design, which concentrates light more and uses better photovoltaics, could cost a quarter as much. He says that a more advanced design should be ready by 2010.

The Soliant design combines both lenses and mirrors to create a more compact system. Each module is made of rows of aluminum troughs, each about the width and depth of a gutter. These troughs are mounted inside a rectangular frame and can tilt in unison from side to side to follow the sun. Each trough is enclosed on top with a clear acrylic lid. Inside each trough, a strip of silicon photovoltaic material runs along the bottom. As light enters, some of it reflects off the inside surface of the trough and reaches the strip of silicon. The rest of the incoming light is focused on the strip by a lens incorporated into the acrylic lid.”

Lots more in this article from the MIT Technology review (thanks to Fraser Clarke’s newsletter for the tip). I’m not a big believer in domestic micro-generation from PV unless you live in a hot desert because PV technology is inefficient with poor ROI. Investing in insulation is a MUCH better option – PV is essentially a rich boys toy in most cases, though it’s good for hot water and underfloor heating. But it’s good to see that the technology is moving on. As a cursory look at the red herring will tell you there is VAST VC investment in PV going on right now. We’ll have to see whether it pans out as a domestic solution – unlike wind, which for most people relies on economies of scale (and tall windmills) to be worth doing. I.e., big wind farms.

Nevertheless I would very much like a rich boys toy in the shape of some PV panels (we won’t have room – or sufficient wind speed – for a windmill) and I am tracking this space closely.

See also this and this:.

Trim: Soul Food

I don’t know about you but I think there’s a huge grime renaissance going on right now. Alex Bk Bk has moved over to grime from dubstep almost completely and as you may have noticed, John Eden has been blasting it (a few years too late, but I always told him he’d get into it eventually!). Key to this are the Roll Deep CD Rules and Regulations (which you MUST have by now surely, it’s amazing) and Trim’s Soul Food volume one mix tape. It’s taken me a while to get into it but it’s a real grower and his laid back, spooky yet comic delivery is utterly captivating. There are a good seven or eight tracks that are just brilliant – even though I don’t like the skits and the tributes much, and even though the tracks could often be longer, there’s loads of deep tunes on here. Liar, Liar, In the Ghetto, Wot, and But I Still are just superb.

Archive recordings?

I also picked up a few bits and pieces on Archive Recordings from Boomkat, including a very nice 10 inch with Junior Reid’s One Sufferation and some Tubby’s versions. I assume it’s a reissue label but some cursory searching has revealed nothing. Doubtless every reggae fan in the country knows all about them but there you are.