Think about your water usage

How often do you think about your use of water? Serious question, one which some of our readers will undoubtedly say all the time. Those living in areas of almost constant drought will have water as a very pressing issue on their mind, most of the time.

But then there are some of us, who might not really consider it as much. The authorities are in control of it right? If they aren’t, strictly regulated private companies are, so we are good, yeah?

Water is a resource which we all need, and cannot possibly live without. Whenever scientists are looking for life on other planets, one of the first things they try to work out, is was there ever water on this planet, and is there now? Why? As water is a key component to life as we know it.

Sadly, water is a very scarce resource, and according to National Geographic, a mere 0.007% of our planets water is drinkable. That’s right, just 0.007%. The rest is in the oceans, and the majority of the 3% of freshwater left, is locked up in ice, which ultimately melts into the sea.


As I am sure you heard, in October last year, (2011) the earth’s population reached 7 billion, and is still growing. That 0.007% figure is not getting any bigger, but the population is – rapidly. That is why, currently, on the earth:

One in Five People Don't Have Access to Safe Drinking WaterThat’s right, 1 in 5 people living on our planet does not have access to a safe supply of water which they can drink. If the population is 10 billion by 2050, that statistic could increase to 2 in 5, or maybe even 3 in 5.

In the 20th century, the global population tripled, the use of water sextupled – grew by six times. Los Angeles can support around about 1 million people with its water supply. It currently has a population of 4 million – see a problem? Elsewhere in the USA, in less than 5 years, Central Florida could potentially run out of water.


Some places in the world are naturally dry, and frequently suffer drought. Some places are naturally wet, and frequently suffer flooding.

The thing is, most of us probably don’t think we are in drought right? Say you live in the UK, like me, you probably think our water supplies are fine yes? Recently in the news we have been notified most of the UK is in drought, but are we really? Well the answer is yes, and many other areas of the world might be too, you might not realise it, but where you live could be. Check out this drought monitor, to see if your area is. You can toggle the time period on the left hand side, as you may be in long-term drought, but not short-term and vice versa.

Look after it

We all need to learn to look after our water better. We are not getting any more, so we need to be more careful with what we have. Our lives quite literally depend upon it.

My question to you is how much water do you use? According to Thames Water we use around 8 litres every time we flush the toilet. Brushing our teeth with the tap off uses 1 litre, whilst brushing them with the tap on (assuming a 2 minute brush) uses 12 litres. Our dishwashers typically use 20 litres, whilst our washing machines thirst for a giant 45 litres.

Hose pipes

Everyone always moans when we go into a hosepipe ban. What is the point? Surely I use just as much water as other activities, so why ban that? Well it doesn’t. One toilet flush is around 8 litres, but one hour of hosepipe use is 540 litres. That’s right, 540!

Lets assume you are washing your car. Say it takes you 20 minutes. With a bucket, you would typically use 10 litres – 2/3 buckets. What about with a hosepipe? Well, you would use 18 times as much water, a staggering 180 litres!

More refugees (25 million) were displaced by contaminated rivers in 2008 than were forced to flee from war zones. I don’t have more recent figures, but I would assume the figure would be much greater. The UN state that around every 15 seconds, as child dies from a water-related disease – poor sanitation, which 1 in 3 people on the planet suffer from.

One in Three People Lack Access to Adequate SanitationHow can you save it?

Depending upon how much you use, will determine how much water you could potentially save. Here are some great starting points:

  • Turn the tap off when cleaning your teeth – you could save 11 litres
  • Fill your kettle to the minimum you need, don’t fill it half full, or to the top if you are only making 1/2 drinks!
  • Use a bucket to wash your car and save yourself 170 litres
  • Don’t put your dishwasher or washing machine on until it is full – two washes uses twice as much water
  • Don’t leave the tap running when washing up or cleaning vegetables
  • Fix leaks – if you have one dripping tap, it could use a staggering 3,120 litres a year!
  • Take a water test, to see how efficiently you are using your water

Saving water is very important, and it can save you money.

It's time to give water a second thoughtPlease, think about your water usage, as it is something that affects us all.

How does Google make money?

The other day someone asked me how Google makes its money. At the time I called upon the knowledge I had and talked about the ads they have in the search results, the Chromebooks and Android systems they are selling, and Google Apps and Docs.

This week Google announced, it was disappointed with its 27% rise in revenues. Yes you read right, it was disappointed! Profits were up 6.4% and revenues 27%. In the same period, (the last quarter of 2011) Microsoft saw its revenues rise just 5%, and its profits fall by 0.15%!

Here is the interesting (weird) thing, Google’s share value fell 10% after the announcement, whilst Microsoft’s grew by around 2%! How crazy.

Anyway, this got me thinking, what are all the way Google makes money, as that is a lot to get just from the ways I mentioned.

How does Google make money?

The fact is, the majority of Google’s revenues come from the ads it presents to users on search result pages. However in recent years it has started making more and more money in other ways. So what are these other ways Google makes money?


Introduced mid last year, Chromebooks are laptops powered by Google Chrome OS, where the laptop and the internet are one. There are no programs, desktop or start menu, the who experience runs from the cloud, utilising all Google’s (and other) online applications.The Google Chrome Logo

Samsung and Acer are the two firms which currently offer Chrome OS powered laptops, however expansion to more brands in the future is inevitable. Samsung and Acer obviously take their share the sales, as will Amazon and the other places Chromebooks are sold, however the laptops do make money for Google.


I assumed that Google made money from Android, however I was wrong – Google does not make money from its Android mobile operating system. Android is a Google-led open source mobile OS framework, however Google does not profit from it.

Google Android's Logo


Since Google bought YouTube in 2006, the site hasn’t been that profitable for it. YouTube is now the site with the third most traffic on the web, meaning that it has huge potential, however until recently, it was only making money from ads.

Before Google AdSense ads used to appear alongside videos, which they still do, however now they also advertise within videos too. Furthermore, YouTube have started offering online movies, which users can pay to watch from the comfort of their own home – or wherever they are.

Google Storage

Many Google services offer online storage, however this is only a finite amount. Should you want to purchase extra storage for Gmail, Google Docs, Picasa or Blogger (photos on blogger, not posts) then you can do so from Google Storage. I doubt this brings in Google a lot of revenue, but nerveless, it makes the internet giant some money.

Google Store

Google have an online store which distribute to may different locations around the world. They sell everything from branded keyrings and juggling balls, to t-shirts and even accessories with past Google Doodles printed on them.

DoubleClick, AdSense and AdWords

The majority of Google’s revenues come from the advertisers who use AdWords and DoubleClick. These ads are then either shown in the search results, or on websites which host AdSense units. Google makes lots of money out of ads. It doesn’t tell AdSense hosts what cut of the advertisers fees they get, but it makes Google a lot of money, so I would guess that they take home more than website owners hosting their ads.

Other Ways Google Makes Money

These are not the only ways Google makes money, other ways include, Google Apps for Business, Google Cloud Connect, Google Docs, Feedburner (through ads), Google Earth Pro, Google Mini (where you effectively buy the Google search engine to use on your own site/intranet), Google Checkout and more.

Hopefully this gives you some insight into just how many ways there are that the search giant that is Google makes money.

The Kymera Magic Wand – Review

I recently purchased a Kymera Magic Wand. You may be wondering what on earth that is! Basically it is a universal remote control – with a twist.

With a normal universal remote control you just press a button and the channel changed, or you mess with the volume. However with the Kymera Magic Wand you do a magical movement in order to get your device to respond.

A Kymera Magic Wand

My Kymera Magic Wand

It’s one of those things that when you see it you either think to yourself ‘I must have that!’ or ‘what’s the fuss all about?’ I was the former of those two. So after seeing the wand on the show Dragons Den, I rushed out to buy one.

This video of them on Dragons Den really does show off the capabilities of the wand! From about 51 seconds to 1.09 seconds really shows of the wand, the rest is just for interest 🙂

The wand can be used to control almost anything from your simple TV and HiFi to more complicated things like remote controlled garage doors and even remote control lights!

The remote works by learning your existing controls infrared codes, but you do have to program these in for yourself.

Using the wand is a great deal of fun, especially the first time you use it. You can remotely control your TV with a swoosh of your Kymera Magic Wand. If you are a really big fantasy fan, I am sure that you would love this gift, as would those people who love the latest and coolest gadgets – like me 😉

Is The Wand Easy To Use?

The wand can be a little difficult to use at first, however after a bit of practise you get used to it. The Wand Company say

“This wand it not a toy, it is a finely tuned instrument of control.”

showing that if you are looking for some quick fun, this may not be the thing for you, as it can take a while to get used to.

The main problem that I have found with the wand is that it is sometimes too sensitive. Sometimes I will pick it up, change the channel and then place it down again, only for it to bring the guide up onto the screen, as I have placed it down slightly firmer than I should have. This can start to get annoying after time. That and the fact that it doesn’t always respond how you want it to is why I haven’t used it all that much recently.

The Wand Company do provide a useful tutorial on their YouTube channel, however it isn’t really able to help you stop the wands more annoying traits.

Does It Really Feel Magical?

The wand really does look the part, and is a great gadget to show off to all your friends when they come round. It looks like a real magic wand, and is also packaged like one. It also comes with instructions as to how to use your wand, which are printed in such a way to make them look like a scroll.

Scroll like instructions for the Kymera Magic Wand

The Kymera Magic Wand’s scroll like instructions

The design of the wand and the presentation really is fantastic. The packaging really helps make the wand look the part 🙂

The Kymera Magic Wand's Packaging

The wand really does look the part with its fantastic packaging!

Is The Wand Value For Money?

Well the wand currently retails at just under £50 (around $80) which is pretty pricey, but when you consider the technology inside, also reasonable at the same time. The question is, is it worth it?

My honest answer, no. If they were £20, sure, run out and buy one, however for the price that they are, and the amount you would use it, it really isn’t worth the money. You get a novelty factor when you first use it, and when you introduce someone to it who has never seen it before, however it never really becomes an every day item that you use on a regular basis. If you are a big wizard fan and a techie, you will probably enjoy (and use) it more, but is it worth £50? Make your own judgement.

For more information on the wand, please visit The Wand Company’s website, and YouTube channel.