Monday, December 11, 2017

Bitcoin benefits Facebook's WhatsApp, Pay Pal and others

Facebook’s stunning achievement this past week with its $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp is more astounding in its beginning of a new business model in consumer technology – away from advertisements and towards direct-to-consumer monetization through micropayments.

This is the key not only for Facebook and its WhatsApp and Instagram business but resonates throughout the technology of micropayments from the consumer into the new financial model that it established. Enter the features that are advantageous in use of Bitcoin.

The old school model of advertising has been used the past twenty five years despite the totally new development of what computer technology has brought into this new age. Old financial structures forced the model to provide advertisers with data, so they could sell to the consumer user of an online media service. The consumer was not served.

Pay Pal charges a 30-cent fixed fee per transaction, and that fee is standard for all the ‘traditional’ payment processors. Vision for the future in digital currency has been embraced by eBay. It is developing the use of Bitcoin as confirmed by CEO John Donahoe. The company is building a digital wallet for PayPal that can take multiple currencies. It is the future and only requires time to develop it in the Pay Pal business model.

If you are a developer and use Apple you pay 30% of app sales, and it’s likely that’s what Apple charges WhatsApp on every 99 cent purchase of the application. Of this 30%, a significant portion (around 20%) goes towards credit-card processing fees. The old financial structure of merchant fee processing is killing opportunity to make a profit and grow. Apple makes money and the credit card processing companies make money but the developer struggles. There are many more struggling developers than there is a WhatsApp success.

Bitcoin removes the money bite associated with online payments. Transactions on the Bitcoin network are instant, irreversible, and almost free of charge, making micropayment business models much more economical for merchants, who are long tired of excessive fees. If they do not have volume they die financially.

Bitcoin also allows consumers to make payments more user friendly, and companies like Coinbase offer two-click checkout, and Oath (an open standard for authorization) features, which make the online payment experience seamless and effortless.

The first newspaper to run a trial test with Bitcoin for payment is the Chicago Sun-Times. The Sun-Times has already been experimenting with bitcoin-enabled micropayments for effortless online payment, and the early results have been promising.

To view other articles on Bitcoin see the Author’s suggestions and view the video atop this article on Pay Pal preparing to use Bitcoin

Monday, November 27, 2017

Tips when choosing a car insurance company

You need insurance and just any old company isn’t going to cut it, however, you don’t want to pick the wrong one and find yourself over paying. For both new drivers and those who’re looking to find a better company than what they have, finding the right company can be difficult. You’re stuck looking through quite a few different companies in hopes that your coverage will be enough for the price that they charge. When choosing a car insurance company there are seven main tips you want to keep in mind so you’re getting the best bargain and coverage on your vehicle.

How to find the right car insurance company

Tips for choosing a car insurance company

1. Know what the minimum is for your state

- Each state will require a different minimum in order to cover both you and whomever you get in an accident with. While you typically are only required to cover one type of insurance, you want to check to see the rules and regulations for your state to find a good price.

2. Consider how much you’ll spend on liability

- Whenever you’re in an accident and bodily injury is involved, things can become fairly pricey and fast. You want to make sure while you’re meeting your states minimum, that you’re also covering enough so it doesn’t cost you out of pocket expenses.

3. Go with a single limit instead of a split limit

- Many split limit rates only cover so much per person and that more than likely won’t be enough depending on how bad the accident is. If you can get a better rate with more coverage using a single limit, then you’re best to go with that.

4. Purchased uninsured and underinsured insurance

- This will make sure that in the event of an accident with someone who either is not insured who doesn’t have enough; your expenses will be covered as will they.

5. Determine if you need physical car coverage

- Some people choose to lease a vehicle instead of just out right purchasing one. When this happens, you’ll likely want physical coverage your car will be replaced or the cost to be repaired can be covered

6. Find the right physical car coverage

- You might find a company that has a high coverage rate as far as replacing the vehicle goes, however, if the premium is extremely high to match the coverage rate then it’s not going to be worth it in the end. You’ll want to find the one that works best for you and your budget.

7. Car Insurance Discounts

- Every car company carries various types of car insurance discounts for those who fall under a few different categories. Make sure when you’ve chosen the company that you want to go with, find the right rate to match your needs. By doing so, you might find that you qualify for a much cheaper rate with great coverage as well.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Invest in Savings Bonds?

If you are looking for a safe investment to save for college or retirement, savings bonds may be the way to go. The return on savings bonds is relatively low compared to other forms of investment but because savings bonds are backed by the US government they are a pretty safe investment. Savings bonds are not short-term investments; but if you're just looking for a long-term investment, savings bonds offer many advantages.


Savings bonds are fully backed by the US government. When you invest your money into savings bonds you can guarantee that your money will be there when the savings bond matures.
Savings bonds are exempt from state and local taxes. When you purchase a savings bond and cash them in you are free from paying any state or local taxes which means more money in your pocket.
Savings bonds are federal tax deferred until you cash them in. Another advantage of savings bonds over other forms of investment is that you do not pay any federal tax until you cash the savings bond in. While other forms of investments require you to pay taxes on the interest earned, you don't have to claim savings bond interest as income until you retire and you may be in a lower tax bracket.
Use the savings bonds for education and be free of all taxes. Sounds almost too good to be true, but it is. If you use the savings bonds to pay for your child's college tuition and you fall within the eligible income brackets you are free from paying any taxes.
These are some great reasons to invest in savings bonds but there are some drawbacks. The rate of return on savings bonds is relatively low, so if you are looking to make money quickly, look elsewhere. Relying solely on savings bonds for your retirement is not the smartest move but savings bonds are a great way to supplement your retirement pension or you 401K.


There are two different types of US Savings Bonds available at this time. They are Series EE and Series I. There isn't a whole lot of difference between the two types, but the most commonly purchased is the Series EE.

Series EE
  1. Fixed rate of return. Currently 3.6 % through April 2007
  2. Government backed. No matter what happens with the market, the value of your Series EE US Savings Bond will continue to gain interest until it hits final maturity.
  3. Can be purchased in many denominations. $50, $75, $100, $200, $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 for paper bonds. Electronic bonds can be purchased for any amount over $25
  4. Paper bonds are purchased at 50% of face value or $50 for a $100 bond while electronic bonds are purchased for face value only. Another reason more people choose the Series EE US Savings bonds. If you purchase your savings bond through a bank you double your money when the savings bond reaches original maturity.
  5. Can be used for education, retirement or given as gifts

Series I
  1. Rate of return higher and fixed. Series I bonds have a fixed rate of return plus an inflation rate that changes in May and November of each year. Currently 4.52%.
  2. Can be purchased in many denominations. $50, $75, $100, $200, $500, $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000 for paper bonds. Electronic bonds can be purchased for any amount over $25
  3. Both paper and electronic bonds are purchased for face value. Some people consider this a downfall for the Series I US Savings Bonds, but if you figure in the higher interest rate over time, Series I could bring greater rewards.
  4. Can be used for education, retirement or given as gifts
  5. The main reason for the popularity of the Series EE savings bond is the government backed guarantee. While the Series I has a higher rate of return, they do not carry the same guarantee so people tend to shy away from these savings bonds.

When you invest in savings bonds you are planning for the future. Savings bonds take a set amount of time to reach face value. When the savings bond reaches face value it is said to have reached Original Maturity. Depending on the Series bond you purchased and when you purchased it will tell you when the bond matures.

Series EE and Series I Original Maturity
  1. Jan 1980-Oct 1980 11 years
  2. Nov 1980-Apr 1981 9 years
  3. May 1981-Oct 1982 8 years
  4. Nov 1982-Oct 1986 10 years
  5. Nov 1986-Feb 1993 12 years
  6. Mar 1993-Apr 1995 18 years
  7. May 1995-present 17 years

The maturity times above are current but not guaranteed. The higher or lower the market rate, the faster or slower the savings bond will mature. At no time will it take more than twenty years for a savings bond to reach face value.

Final maturity
Both Series EE and Series I savings bonds will continue to gain in value after they have reached original value. The value gain stops at 30 years for both series. When the savings bond has reached its maximum value at 30 years it is said to have reached Final Maturity.

Sooner or later you will want to cash in your savings bonds. Whether you cash them in early or wait until the savings bond has reached final maturity is completely up to you. You need to wait at least twelve months before the savings bond is eligible to be cashed in but if you do cash in a savings bond before five years you will be charged three months interest penalty.
You can cash in a savings bond at any financial institution if the bond was issued in your name. If there was a trustee or guardian to whom the bond was issued to you will need to go to a Federal Reserve Bank or the Bureau of Public debt.

If you want to start investing in savings bonds it is best to get advice from experts first. Finding a good website where you can get information on savings bond investment is essential if you want to be a smart investor. There are plenty of investment websites for you to visit and compare the tips and strategies they offer.
The Consumer Action website offers general investing tips to help the new investor make smart decisions. has a few good articles covering US Savings Bonds investing.
Go right to the source. Visit the website for US Savings bonds to get the best information on investing.
Be a smart investor. Investing in savings bonds is a long term investment with relatively low return compared to other forms of investments. If you're looking to make millions from investing you should probably look elsewhere.
Use savings bonds as a retirement supplement. Savings bonds will give you a cushion to use with your retirement fund or your 401K.
Match your stock investments with savings bonds. Matching your stock investments can give you the peace of mind that even if the market crashes, you won't lose everything.

Purchase savings bonds for your children's education. Planning for your childrens' education is a big decision. Savings bonds offer the security that your money will be there and the freedom from taxes when used for education.
Be in it for the long haul. Everyone remembers getting savings bonds from their relatives as birthday or Christmas presents. You may also remember cashing them in for face value to buy that mountain bike or video game system. The only way to make money with savings bonds is to stick it out until they reach final maturity.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mt.Gox employees reveal abuse of client moneys

In an exclusive interview Reuters had with Mt. Gox employees, it was revealed that there was abuse of client moneys on extravagant spending. Coin Desk today posted an article that employees had since two years ago questioned CEO Mark Karpeles on the handling of money at the Mt. Gox exchange in Tokyo.

There was a challenge to Karpeles regarding client money used for certain expenses according to three employees who gave an exclusive interview to Reuters in Tokyo. Their accounts since 2012 of the questions raised and the information to which they had access will become crucial to the legal process for finding any money, discovery of who was involved in any of the alleged abuse and bottom line who decided to take client moneys for any use of Mt. Gox expense payments or personal handling of money.

According to the bankruptcy administrator there is a loss of $27 million in USD approximate money value held at the bank in a Mt. Gox business account and $450 million in bitcoin at the exchange. The Tokyo start-up that leased expensive office space in the same building as Google is being investigated for every small detail to unravel the collapse of the exchange and Karpeles’ inconsistent statements on the Mt. Gox website and his tweets on Twitter.

It is reported from records under investigation that over one million traders during the past 3 years had used the exchange up until the collapse. They were under the understanding that the bitcoin was being held in cold storage at Mt. Gox.

A bankruptcy Tokyo court appointed administrator on Friday will be key to flushing out the details and finding any of the missing cash or bitcoin in storage. The review is holding clues to which the employees are pointing direction to questionable purchases of personal items.

The interviewed employees began in 2012 to question in addition to the expensive rent space for the business other purchases of high-tech gadgets such as a robot and a 3-D printer. They also noticed that Karpeles had purchased a racing version of the Honda Civic imported from Britain for himself.

A one hour meeting in 2012 occurred with employees asking Karpeles if any client moneys had been diverted to business expenses and personal expenses. The employees did not have access to financial records and Karpeles told them that none of the client funds had been used in any fashion. The employees left the meeting frustrated. Karpeles owns 88% of Mt. Gox and as a private company he was not required to release any accounting details. Tokyo police are also investigating and the employees will remain anonymous as the investigation continues its search.

The accounting details are very complicated with a sum of USD currency equivalents mixed with bitcoin from the exchange. Mt. Gox was doing 90% of the world’s digital trade in 2012. Karpeles had no debt to report.

Transactions according to Karpeles interview with Reuters in 2013 was that $20 million came into the exchange each day and a $300,000 cash out against it.

As an 88% holder of the Mt. Gox Karpeles had access to the bank accounts and each withdrawal was done manually. This raised suspicion from the employees as they had difficulty in completing transactions to cash out for clients.

The official bankruptcy filing by Mt. Gox did not list bank accounts. The detail showed that it owed 1.3 million bitcoin traders $55 million based on deposits that had been accepted.

The next round for Mt. Gox is a May 9 date for an examination report issued by the Tokyo District Court. There is a lawsuit in the US but Karpeles has refused to travel to the US

The situation remains here in the US requesting that Karpeles comply with testimony in the US to protect creditors. Karpeles has declined and only offered an interview via video link in Taiwan.

To find more articles on this topic view the list below in Author’s suggestions and the video atop this article on the Mt. Gox bankruptcy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How to Lower Your Car Insurance Premium

Your car insurance premium is lower if you are a doctor or a CA. Know what else affects premiums

When you are rearing to buy a new car, insurance premium is a remote consideration in deciding the model. However, the premium can vary markedly depending on several factors, such as the car model, year of manufacture and fuel option, even unlikely ones like fuel tank, safety devices and accessories. The difference in premium can range from 2.5-15%.

Then there are cars that insurers are loath to covering. "Tata Sumo, Chevrolet Tavera and Toyota Qualis have higher premiums as these may be registered in individual names, but are often used for commercial purposes," says an insurance broker.

Here are some factors to consider before getting in the driver's seat.

Fuel option: The premium for cars that run on petrol is lesser than for those that run on diesel, compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The reasoning is that a person who opts for diesel engine has higher usage and wants to keep the fuel cost down. "A diesel car's premium is 10-15% higher than a petrol car's. The rates are similarly high for the cars running on CNG or LPG," says Vijay Kumar, president (motor insurance), Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. It's not just the fuel but also the fuel tank that can raise the premium. The cars where fuel tanks are made of fibre are charged 3-4% higher premiums.

How to Lower Your Car Insurance Premium

Safety devices: Insurers prefer gear and steering-wheel locks, air bags, sensors and other anti-theft or life-saving devices. These have to be approved by the Automotive Research Association of India. Lower premiums also kick in if cars have advanced anti-theft features. "There is a 10% discount on Maruti models because these have iCAT systems in place," says an insurance expert.

Insurers also look at other parameters such as resale value. Sports-utility vehicles (SUVs) are coveted by carlifters because of their high resale value. SUVs are used as public transport in many parts of the country. "If you own an SUV in north India, your premium goes up by nearly 20%," says Rahul Aggarwal, CEO, Optima Insurance Brokers.

Accessories: Many owners fit their cars with top-end audio systems and lights. These draw higher premiums.

Spare Parts: Some cars may be priced low but could invite a higher premium because of expensive spare parts. "The cost of repairs of some imported models is high. On the other hand, low-end cars have more 'local' content and so come with a 10-20% lower premium," says a dealer.

What insurers Prefer*

  • Petrol engine.
  • Installed with anti-theft devices.
  • Safety features like air bags.
  • High-end models.
  • Non-commercial usage.
  • Models that are not accident-prone.
  • Driven in a non-metro.
  • Recent manufacturing.
  • Uses Indian spare parts.
  • Doesn't wear spectacles.
  • Is a doctor or a chartered accountant.
  • Aged between 30-60 years.
*This may differ marginally with insurance provider.

Car Colour: Though internationally some insurers use colour as a factor in deciding premium, in India, the practice is still to catch on. So why should a person driving a red car pay more than one driving a white car? "The colour is just a proxy for buyer behaviour. So a red car is more prone to accidents than a white car as the person who likes red is considered an aggressive driver," says Sanjay Datta, head (customer service), ICICI Lombard General Insurance.

Profile of Owner: Even an owner's profession and lifestyle come into play. Insurers prefer owners in more 'respectable' professions and who those who are more cautious. Insurers think that if you attend safe-driving seminars organised by, say, Automobile Association of India (AAI), you are more likely to take better care of your car. "They offer a discount of 5% to car owners who are members of AAI. Similarly, professionals such as doctors and chartered accountants get a 5% discount," says Optima's Aggarwal.

Of late, companies have started considering age as well. Owners above 45 years old are considered careful drivers and, hence, pay a low premium, while those below 20 years pay a higher one.

Before you Bargain: "Lower premiums may mean reduced cover. For instance, some companies had discontinued the cover for damage caused by floods. Only when the floods hit Mumbai, did car owners realised that flood cover was not in the policy," says Mukti Adwani, a car insurance consultant.

So before you press the accelerator and drive off, read the fine print. Know how much insurance cover you have for your car. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

How to deal with Ransomware Malware

The malware used inside the huge NHS hack is now spreading across the world.

The problems are hitting human beings and organizations throughout Europe and Asia, in keeping with experts.

The ransomware – which locks down documents until cash is paid – is a new edition that is hastily spreading the world over. it is referred to as wanna decryptor.

although the trouble has turn out to be most well-known for the harm it has carried out to nhs structures, the outcomes have focused most specifically on spain and russia, according to professionals.

“this cyber attack is tons large than just the nhs," said travis farral, director of safety strategy for cyber safety firm anomali labs. "it seems to be a large marketing campaign that has hit spain and russia the hardest."

a few human beings are already paying to get their files returned, mr farral said.

wanna decryptor, the malware this is getting used, has been recognised to cyber security experts for weeks. however the model spreading throughout the internet has just been updated, according to reports.

"the ransomware used in this attack is particularly new - it became first visible in february 2017, and the latest variation emerged in advance today," said aatish pattni from cyber security company take a look at factor.

"however, it's spreading rapid, with companies throughout europe and asia being hit.
"it indicates just how negative ransomware may be - and the way quickly it can purpose disruption to important services.

"firms want on the way to prevent infections taking maintain inside the first region, through scanning for, blocking and filtering out suspicious files content material earlier than it reaches their networks.

"it's also vital that workforce are educated approximately the potential dangers of incoming emails from unknown parties, or suspicious-looking emails that seem to come back from regarded contacts.

you can eliminate many ransomware viruses without dropping your documents, however with a few variants that isn’t the case. inside the past i’ve mentioned trendy steps for doing away with malware and viruses, but you need to apply some unique pointers and hints for ransomware. the system varies and depends at the form of invader. a few approaches contain a easy virus scan, while others require offline scans and advanced recuperation of your documents. i categorize ransomware into three types: scareware, lock-display viruses, and the in reality nasty stuff.

Getting rid of ransomware

before you could loose your hostage computer, you need to dispose of the hostage taker.

if you have the simplest kind of ransomware, consisting of a fake antivirus application or a bogus clean-up device, you could commonly take away it by way of following the stairs in my previous malware elimination manual. this technique includes getting into home windows’ safe mode and going for walks an on-call for virus scanner inclusive of Malwarebytes.

if the ransomware prevents you from entering windows or jogging packages, as lock-screen viruses commonly do, you could try and use gadget repair to roll home windows again in time. doing so doesn’t affect your personal files, but it does go back system files and applications to the state they have been in at a sure time. the machine restore function need to be enabled in advance; windows allows it via default.

Stopping Ransomware and Malware Infections

fending off ransomware is much the same as keeping off other kinds of other malware.

continually run an amazing antivirus application and maintain home windows and browser-associated additives (java, adobe, and so forth) up to date. hold your browser smooth of junk toolbars and add-ons to save you adware invasions that might result in malware infections. usually, usually be wary of surprising electronic mail attachments and spam.

and just to overcome this dead horse one extra time: constantly have a great backup gadget in area, simply in case your laptop does turn out to be infected and you can’t get better your documents. yes, it’s that essential.

Friday, May 5, 2017

6 Tips to Get Through Airport Security

To get through airport security you need to understand airport procedures; then, you should do what you can to maximise your own efficiency

Air port clearance is perhaps one of the most tiring procedures. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t travel with as much speed and little hassle. Here’s how.

Tips to Get Through Airport Security

1- Know your luggage

One of the easiest ways to get into trouble with security is to carry something in your bag that doesn’t belong there. Make sure that you don’t pack anything that is forbidden, such as explosives, firearms or ammunition. You should also keep in mind that there are higher security standards for carry-on baggage. Personal items like scissors, penknives, matches and lighters should be transported in your checked baggage, otherwise they’ll be confiscated.

2- Keep your papers handy

Be prepared to be asked for identification more than once at the airport; so, if you want to get where you’re going faster, keep your ID within reach. For domestic flights, you’ll need government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license, as well as your plane tickets. For international travel, it goes without saying that a passport is a must.

3- Prepare for scanning procedures

When approaching x-ray machines and metal detectors, a little preparation will get you through faster. Security will want to make sure that your personal electronics are legit, so have your laptop, PDA or cell phone ready for inspection.

To get through the metal detectors more efficiently, take coins and keys out of your pockets in advance and remove your watch. Take care not to wear steeltoed boots, or other items with metal in them, to the airport. Make sure that any metal that you do wear (in a belt buckle, for instance) is conspicuous, so that security will know what’s setting off the detectors.

4- Remember your itinerary

Have a sense of your travel history and future plans, so that when asked at customs, you can be as clear as possible. When travelling with others, make sure that everyone agrees on where you were, where you’re going, and for how long. If you start telling officials contradictory stories, you may be detained until they’re all sorted out.

5- Avoid guilt by association

Airports can be boring, especially if you’re travelling alone. While it’s okay to chat with other travellers on the plane or in the terminal, make sure you don’t associate yourself with the stranger through customs and security. Don’t say you’ve been travelling with someone just because you sat beside each other on the plane. You don’t want to be responsible for the security transgressions of someone you’ve only just met.

Airport Travelling Alone

6- Be careful with chemicals

Security personnel doesn’t just look for bombs anymore — they look for signs of bomb-making, which includes chemical tests for explosives. Beware of circumstances under which you could be inadvertently stopped. For example, some heart medications contain nitro-glycerine, which is an explosive. If you use your laptop right after you take such pills, you could transfer trace amounts of the chemical to it, creating a false red flag for security officers. Be mindful of what you handle before going on the plane, and get supporting documentation for prescriptions or other legitimate uses of suspicious substances.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Simple Tips to Protect THE ENVIRONMENT

If your wish to make a difference to the environment, and help change it for the better, there is no better way than to start with your home. Use electricity-saving devices and follow a few tips—not only will this save you money in electricity bills, it will also reduce the pressure on existing resources. Cell Tips & Tricks writes

Today, the market is full of smart, home appliances that not only save energy, but also have higher efficiency compared to similar devices of only a decade ago. These energy-efficient devices not only cut energy consumption but also help cut down on our electricity bills at the end of the month.

Many environment conscious people are enthusiastic about energy-saving products, especially where the returns in terms of saving of power are assured. They are proactive in directing and supervising their electrcal contractors in the selection and installation of electrical fittingsand the products that are making the cut are the star-rated energy savers that offer customers a 'green' solution.

An expert in the field says: "Energy crisis is perhaps the most critical problem that the human civilization has ever faced. Home appliances that save as much as 50% more power than their most energy efficient versions are going to hit the markets in about a year, under the government's rewards plan to manufacturers."

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), an agency of the power ministry, is set to launch a 'super-efficient equipment programme' to encourage the manufacture of products that are 30-50% more efficient than five-star labelled goods, considered to be most energy efficient in the country.

This programme seeks to promote domestic manufacture of energy-efficient gadgets by reducing their cost through market incentives. "However, for the initiative, such appliances would have come to India in about 10 years from now," points out BEE director general, Ajay Mathur.

A super-efficient fan should consume just 25-30 watts per hour against 50 watts by a normal fan. All large ceiling fan manufacturers evinced interest in the scheme. "There is a big market for super energy-efficient products in India, as 90% of the consumers today are opting for star-rated products. However, consumers may have to pay more," the expert says.

Kamal Nandi, the executive vicepresident of a home appliances company, says: "Whether it is an energy efficient airconditioner or refrigerator, the premium spent on the product would be paid back by your savings on electricity, by the end of the first year. Today, consumers are quite aware of their options and clear about what they desire. In the airconditioner category, they are looking for more than just cooling; they are looking for stylish exteriors and energy-saving attributes to match their lifestyles, while still being conscious about freshness and health concerns."


A super energy-efficient airconditioner would be Rs 3,000-4,000 costlier than the existing 5-star labelled ones. At present, BEE rates electrical appliances on a scale of one to five, with higher star ratings implying more energy savings or efficiency. Five-star labelled products are costlier by Rs 2,000-3,000 compared to 4-star labelled products, depending on the product and model. However, experts say that one can do many things to save energy and cut electricity bills.

R Raman, the vice-president (corporate communications) of a real estate firm, says: "In the peak of summer, having a smart airconditioner that can be programmed to switch on only towards late evening, cooling down the house by the time you return from work, rather than leaving it on the entire day, would be a super energy saver. Another energy saver could be a solar panel rather than an electric geyser."

Compact fluorescent lamps or CFLs save energy usage significantly. They can effectively save Rs 30 worth of electricity costs over a typical lamp's lifetime, which is 8-15 times higher than that of natural light bulbs.

They also provide a faster startup and much more efficiency compared to common lamps.

Sanjeev Wadhwa, the country manager of the Indian arm of a New Zealand-based appliance manufacturer, says, "One of the green technologies in use is adaptive defrost mechanisms in refrigeration that activate only when needed and respond to how consumers use their fridge."

Mahesh Krishnan, the vice-president of another home appliances company, says, "There are innovative digital inverter compressors in select frostfree refrigerator models; washing machines too come in various technologies to make them more energy efficient." Wadhwa says: "Refrigerators account for about 20% of household electricity usage. Set your refrigerator temperature to about 38-42o F and your freezer to around three degrees. If your fridge has a power-save switch, turn it on. Make sure the door seals tightly and keep the door clean. If you leave your fridge door open, it tries to cool your whole room, using a large amount of energy." Also, in order to run the system efficiently, you need to defrost your fridge or freezer regularly. Do not keep your refrigeration equipment near other heating devices. If your fridge is next to a hot appliance, then it has to work even harder to keep your food at the set temperature, using more energy, wasting your money and leading to more carbon dioxide emissions.

Also, washing with cold water can cut 80-90% of running costs. Use lower temperatures on your washing machine. Modern washing machines are effective at even lower temperatures. Wash clothes at 40°C rather than 60°C, as this will reduce carbon emissions by a third. Always remember to put full loads in a washing machine. Hang clothes outside to dry rather than in a tumble dryer. Tumble driers use a large amount of energy; so drying your clothes naturally will reduce carbon emissions.

However, with innovations in technology, the parameters for a particular star rating can change. "The table for star labelling changes over time; last year's 2-star-rated split ACs may become 1-star-rated this year," N Venkitachalam, a civic activist, says. There is more you can do at home for energy efficiency. Turn TV, games consoles, computers, mobile phone and other chargers off at the power point when not in use. This can save up to 10% of your power bill. This wasted energy could power tens and thousands of homes. Don't leave appliances charging unnecessarily.

Another common phenomenon is the use of desktops that are far more powerful than necessary, to run typical office applications. Many applications in the office environment would benefit more from additional memory than high-performance processors. In such cases, older machines with more 'frugal' processors could be upgraded and remain in service. Due to their compact housing, notebooks use another technology. They generate less heat, thus, using less energy. You can therefore, consider a notebook as a replacement for your desktop.

One of the most recommended energy-saving devices available today is a standby saver. This device is designed to plug into one's TV, DVD player, PC, etc, and prevent them from spending all day in standby mode.

Typically, most people are too lazy to turn off their TV or PC and leave it on standby mode instead. They do not realize that the TV, DVD player or PC, is still on and is costing them money.

A standby saver conserves energy by automatically putting the devices in the 'off' mode after some time.

Another device available in the market today, is a monitor for gauging energy usage. Energy usage monitors are energy saving devices that calculate how much energy-and subsequently, how much money-is being spent on which device. The device consists of a sensor and a monitor, where one can see the amount being spent on a particular device.

A survey showed that usage of this device saved up to 6.5% energy in an average household. In addition to this, solar energy can also be used if consumption of conventional thermal electrical energy proves to be too expensive. 

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