It’s a very easy – and all too common – mistake to see your student loan arrive in your bank account and rush out and spend it all on the latest must-have gadgets. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, printers, they’re all “essential” to student life, (well, in a social capacity in most senses, but to some they’re essential).
Obviously going off to University is an exciting time and you want to go fully prepared for the academic year, and to make an impression on your new friends and flat mates. But you can do all of this without breaking the bank.
For instance there are some great laptop deals for students specifically which enable them to get the computer they want as well as all of the software they’ll need to help with the course, and even discounts on devices like printers and wireless routers.
When you think about it, you can get what you consider to be brilliant deals on your computer, printer and tablet – to name just three you might buy together – getting discounts on all three, but it can still add up to upwards of £1,000. But one of the advantages of being a student is being eligible for a package tailor made for getting you through the late night group projects and the 10,000-word essays that you finish at 4am.
An NUS student card
You might not think that some of the devices in the offers are what you would call “top drawer” or even as cool as what your friend has bought, but if you’ve spent £500 and they’ve spent £1,500, you’ve got an extra thousand left in your bank account to enjoy yourself with while taking the necessary “study breaks”, or to keep in hand for emergencies and all-important food shops. There are only so many times you can buy own-brand beans after all!
Budgeting is a key part of Uni life, something you don’t tend to realise until the end of the year (or the end of your third year in a lot of cases) but anything you can save before you start your first term is going to benefit you later on, allowing you to upgrade your gadgets in the future when you’ve got a little bit extra that you can spend without getting into financial difficulties.
The deals on laptops and other tech for students really are worth looking into. A lot of the top brands produce models and packages designed purely for students at prices made for students. If I had one tip, check them out, don’t just splash the cash on the biggest and best because you want to be cool.
This is the second in a series of articles in which I am exploring Remote Heating Control – a technology of the future. Learn more about this series by reading the introductory article, called stepping into the future of smarter living.
In this article, I will be reviewing the installation of the technology I have had fitted in my home: Remote Heating Control.
The install involved three main parts: the wireless hub; the wireless receiver; and a new thermostat.
The wireless receiver was installed first. This was installed near to my boiler, and receives the wireless signal from my new thermostat controller. The wireless receiver is connected to the boiler using a cable.
My British Gas wireless receiver
After the wireless receiver was connected, Nick (the British Gas engineer who installed my technology) installed my new smart linked thermostat. This looked much more advanced than my previous thermostat controller, and wasn’t just a dial. My new thermostat controller has an LED display and four buttons for programming. Programming can be done via two main methods, on the device itself, or via the online portal. The online portal can be accessed either by smartphone or computer. The easiest way to manage my heating will be online.
My British Gas smart linked thermostat
My British Gas wireless hub
Finally, the wireless hub was installed. This is a small device, which plugged into my internet router and the mains – AC power supply. I needed one spare Ethernet port in my internet hub, and a free mains plug socket nearby, which I did. I imagine for most people the mains plug socket shouldn’t be an issue, as the likelyhood is that your router is near a plug socket, so an adapter plug or extension lead can be used. I would also imagine that you will have a spare Ethernet port in your internet hub, however if you are using all the available ports, you may need to buy an extension hub to ensure that you can still have all your devices connected.
How It Works
Here is a brief synopsis of what is now installed in my home, i.e. the technology that makes up Remote Heating Control. My boiler is now connected to a wireless receiver. This wireless receiver ‘talks’ (communicates wirelessly) with my smart linked thermostat, which communicates with my wireless hub. The wireless hub it plugged into my router and sends and receives information to and from the online portal.
To control my heating I can either login to the British Gas portal, online or via a smartphone app, text commands to my heating via SMS, or programme it manually. My new smart linked thermostat which can be used to control the system is wirelessly connected to my boiler. When I change settings on my smart linked thermostat, this affects the behaviour of my boiler, and the information is transmitted to British Gas, which updates the online system.
I have a few opinions and thoughts on the installation that I would like to share with you.
The first is that Nick (the engineer) was very friendly, curious and acted professionally. He phoned me before his arrival to check it was okay with me still and let me know his estimated time of arrival.
When installing my wireless hub, Nick asked me to plug it in at the wall, and into my internet router. This is because he didn’t know exactly how my technology worked, and therefore didn’t want to damage it. I have a standard router, however I think it is good that he asked me to do it, yes it removes his liability, but it does mean that I know nothing was broken.
My impression of what British Gas staff (specifically engineers) are like is very good, Nick seem to be no trouble to deal with.
Regarding my smart linked thermostat, it is a little inconvenient that it runs on batteries. My old thermostat was directly wired into my boiler, however this one is wireless and takes two AA batteries. The batteries are no big deal really, I imagine it will get as routine as checking/changing a smoke alarm, however it is a task I had not anticipated I would need to do. That said, it will be easy to know when to change the batteries, as there is battery indicator online!
In order to set up my online control I need to log in and get the devices to find each other. It was really easy, and the web based interface gives you a really well explained walk through. Once my devices had been discovered by the system, I was asked to create a four digit pin, which I would have to use when texting heating commands. If you get Remote Heating Control, it would be a good idea to write this down – which I did needless to say!
In the next article in the series I will give you my first impressions of using Remote Heating Control for the first time. I will be exploring any issues I encounter, how it helps me, and the potential I believe it has.