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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Economist explains How airborne Wi-Fi works

AN ALWAYS-connected lifestyle is a blessing for some and a nightmare for others. Aeroplanes used to be the one respite in a typical business traveller's itinerary—a place to escape from the e-mails and phone calls for a few hours, and perhaps even have some good ideas. (Travellers with long memories might remember seatback phones in some countries that allowed exceedingly expensive, poor-quality in-flight phone calls; fortunately, nobody ever used them.) Starting in the early 2000s, however, this blissful seclusion started to come under threat, as airlines started to provide internet service at 10,000 metres. In-air Wi-Fi is now increasingly common on domestic routes in America, and on long-haul routes elsewhere. Given that many routes fly largely over water or over uninhabited areas, how do you connect an aeroplane to the internet?

Delivering radio signals to a plane is nothing new, but the usual ways of doing it involve low-bandwidth links that would be painfully inadequate for internet traffic. Voice communication remains analogue, even in the digital age. The Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) provides digital links via VHF signals from the ground, or via satellites, allowing planes to send brief bursts of telemetry information. But ACARS operates at data rates comparable to dial-up models, measured in thousands of bits per second (Kbps). These voice and telemetry systems are designed for international compatibility, reliability and resilience. In-flight internet requires something much more zippy, but with less of a requirement that everything must work perfectly at all times. Two approaches have emerged, one based on ground-to-air links and the other on satellites.

Boeing led the first efforts in the early 2000s, leasing dedicated transponder capacity on geostationary satellites that appear to hover at a fixed point in the sky, and designing an enclosure (or "radome") to be retrofitted on top of its aircraft, and those made by other firms. Its Connexion service provided suitably equipped aircraft with an internet link running at a few megabits per second (Mbps), divvied up among passengers. Boeing also had to retrofit Wi-Fi (and, in some cases, Ethernet cabling) inside planes. But the service never became financially viable, in part because of the high cost of installing and operating the equipment, and Boeing discontinued it in 2006. That same year another firm, now called Gogo, purchased a thin sliver of air-to-ground spectrum in the United States, and began service in 2008, deploying dozens of ground stations that point upwards at aircraft, rather than downwards at people on the ground, and use a variant of 3G mobile-data technology called EV-DO. Service was extended to Canada in 2014. This provides enough bandwidth for e-mail and basic web browsing; Gogo blocks both streaming video and internet telephony to ensure that one user cannot hog all the capacity.

But satellite never entirely went away. After Boeing's early, failed attempt, satellite equipment became lighter, cheaper and more capable, and newer planes are designed to accommodate Wi-Fi gear. Several firms now operate in-flight internet service via satellite; some own the satellites, like Panasonic Avionics (United's contractor for its newer internet service), while others, such as Row 44 and OnAir, license the necessary capacity. Gogo has added satellite-based internet to its options as both a standalone new service and as part of a hybrid service that combines, where available, ground and satellite transmission. Meanwhile, speeds are poised to skyrocket as satellite operators expand service from the lower-frequency Ku band to the higher-frequency Ka band. Data rates should jump from a maximum of roughly 10Mbps to 50-80Mbps per plane. And America's telecoms regulator will auction 500MHz of ground-to-air bandwidth in the near future, which could allow connection speeds of up to one gigabit per second for planes travelling over land. Travellers who worry about feeling out of touch while airborne will welcome these improvements. Those who prefer being disconnected can take solace in the fact that thousands of aircraft worldwide still remain unconnected—for the time being, at least.

Original article is from here.

Monday, February 23, 2015

What makes a house ‘green’?

Green is in vogue. Many buyers begin their search with a strong interest in green, even if what they understand by a “green home” is vague. While the growing interest in green homes is an exciting and positive development, some buyers are falling victim to green washing, the practice of marketing a product as eco-friendly when it really isn’t. So, if you want to buy a green home, you definitely have to do some extra homework.

The first thing you should do is ask yourself why you want to invest in a green home. It’s an important question because people tend to buy a green home for one of the three reasons, and while each of those reasons overlap to some extent, they determine what the buyer really means by green. Green can be as simple as saving on energy costs, which means buyers will want to focus on energy-efficient appliances, weather-proof windows and good insulation. A green home can save 30-40% energy from day one of occupancy, which, our research shows, can light up 35 village homes per year. Similarly, water savings are 20-30% above a conventional home. This can provide water to one village home for an entire year.

Alternatively, some buyers define green in personal health terms, so they want a home that uses non-toxic materials. Lastly, some buyers define green as contributing to a sustainable future. For those buyers, it’s often important to look for building materials that are locally sourced and sustainable.

Unlike earlier, when energy-efficient or water-efficient homes could get away with being called ‘green’, new rating systems ensure that a green home needs to address all facets of environmental concerns. Everything from the site of the building, water, energy, materials and indoor air quality are considered in the rating system. A green home isn’t just a green structure; it’s a home that makes the best use of the land and the resources around it. Asking simple questions such as which direction the home is oriented toward can tell you a lot about the home’s green credentials.

Let’s look at the different parameters and how they matter:

Site selection: Here the focus is local building regulations, soil erosion control, basic household amenities, natural topography, heat island effects, parking facilities for visitors and design for differently abled people. Something as simple as the house’s orientation determines how much sun exposure it gets, which affects heating and air-conditioning use.
Likewise, it’s important to understand prevailing winds, because these have an effect on temperature inside the home.

Water efficiency: Evaluate the property on the basis of whether it has rain water harvesting systems, efficient plumbing fixtures, landscape design and waste water treatment systems. A good tip is to pay attention to the landscaping. If it’s dominated by non-native plants, that should raise alarms for green buyers. In some parts of the country, water is a serious issue, so non-native plants are going to raise your costs and make it harder to be green. Apart from sustainable landscaping, you can also use water conserving taps, which save you up to 35,000 litres every year.

Energy efficiency: This rating is based on use of chlorofluorocarbon-free equipment, enhanced energy performance, on-site renewable energy, solar water heating, energy saving measures in appliances and other equipment and energy metering. The simplest fixture you can have is a solar water heating system. You can also have more complex solar systems for providing energy for lighting as well. Also, as a house owner in a green project, you could spend as much as 40% less on energy bills every month. So, clearly green homes are not for any particular economic segment; it is a choice about making smarter energy-efficient buildings.

Materials and resources: Rating parameters for this are based on household waste segregation, organic waste management, handling of construction waste materials, reuse of salvaged materials, materials with recycled content and local materials. You should ask your builder if they plan on using green building materials such as autoclaved aerated concrete bricks, which are not only lighter but also more eco-friendly than regular red bricks. Solid waste collection and disposal that involves composting is essential in minimizing waste from your home.

Indoor environment quality: Parameters considered under this head are based on measures for tobacco smoke control, minimum artificial lighting during day time, fresh air ventilation, exhaust systems, low volatile organic compound materials, paints and adhesives, building flush-out, cross ventilation, and others. You can design the house to maximize ambient light during the day to reduce the use of artificial lights. One can also use special building materials that help to reduce indoor temperatures and thereby decrease air-conditioning costs.

Design innovation: This is all about following standard sustainable design practices. Your house or building can give you significant savings over the long run if designed cleverly. Nobody buys an eco-friendly home just because they are inclined to be green. They see the value of cheaper costs of energy and greater security on water. You can do without the water supply board, bore wells or tanker water suppliers. The energy bills can be minimized and can reduce your dependence on the external grid to just about 30% of all the electricity usage.

It’s a matter of choice.

Prem C. Jain is chairman, Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

Read more here.

Monday Blues: A warfare

Every day is a race, a fight, a warfare. Let us face the reality and move on with what is important, what we should focus on and how we can perform well when faced with multiple choices. When we face the reality and focus on what is important, we would be able to negate the chances of reducing the stress. Usually we would be going towards the easy ones which is a wrong thing to do. 

In pursuit of excellence, we should focus on what is important and what is of high priority. In the words of N. Emil Jebasingh, Director of Transworld Radio, India, Lions are playing a havoc on the nation; but we are hunting the rats! Let us focus on the lions.

Let me hide myself in Thee



Rock of ages cleft of me;
let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
from Thy riven side which flowed
Be of sin the double cure,
cleanse from wrath and make me pure!
                (Augustus Toplady, 1740-1778)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

What are you doing?

The three bricklayers!!!
When asked "What are you doing?", the first bricklayer replied "laying brick". The second answered, "Making $9.30 an hour". And the third said "Me?I am building the world's largest Cathedral"
So, What are you doing?

Stolen from a friend's facebook post.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Gillette turns Indian

Most non-Indians would never understand what cricket means to us. Thank you for this wonderful ad Gillette.

 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Reflections on the Delhi election 2015

1. Interesting to see Anna Hazare warming up to Arvind Kejriwal!
Power changes status I guess. I would respect Kiran Bedi more than Anna Hazare.
2. While Aam Aadmi Party is rejoicing today, they should remember power and trust are double edged swords and comes with great responsibilities. If you don't keep promises, the Aam Admi is watching.
3. The center - state relations would be interesting to watch.
4. The winner is clearly the one with the better marketing strategy!
Congrats Arvind and team. Sleep well tonight for tomorrow you got to get out and deliver.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Imagine there is no heaven

This is a rendition by "Imagine" by Emmanuel Kelly on The X Factor 2011">"Imagine" by Emmanuel Kelly on The X Factor 2011. Stop complaining!

What a mum to have!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Holy Holy Holy

An old hymn today to praise.

Delhi votes



As my national capital votes today, I am proud of the increased interaction and participation all over, especially in the social media. Arvind's team put forth a spirited fight, Bedi and the BJP team weren't far behind and finally moved out of Modi's image. Congress' Ajay proved he can face a losing battle. 

This vote is not for a party, not for an ideology and definitely not the result of a glamorous campaign. This vote is for progress, for development and for the democracy. This vote is not for your or me, this vote is for our children, our future. This vote is not for us to throw away, this vote is for our children to preserve. Hope Delhi votes well.

The winners I should say are the people of Delhi, the Delhi voter whom everyone is trying to win over with schemes and the offers. Hope he chooses his government well and hope they live up to their promises.



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Global Quality Awards

Yay! We won two awards at the Global Quality Awards, Real Estate Awards 2015. 

1. Award for Quality Real Estate Project Development (Ecofriendly Projects) - Samskruti Builders
2. Best Luxury Project of the Year 2015 - Samskruti Hoysala, Bengaluru

Thank you all for your love and support. We are humbled and honored.




Restaurant Review: Delhi's Khan Chacha


So I was told that this place serves the best biryani in Delhi with the most authentic mutton biryani and sheek kebabs. I got to go and see for myself. Khan Chacha is the restaurant in question. There are several branches in Delhi and I was at the one near Connaught Place and we were in for a pleasant surprise. The restaurant is a small shop with an upper deck to take your plate and munch on. As it was a self serviced eatery, there were not many people pushing you around. Once we found a table to sit down, we looked at the menu and decided to try the biryani and the famed sheek kebabs. 


Even the Aam Admi comes here for the kebabs
The decor was done up well with contemporary look and minimalist approach. The relish was the pictures of the celebrities who frequented the place and almost everyone I know has been here. The awards from the foodie world (most of them) had given a high rating and were proudly displayed behind the cashier. Once you have placed your order they foood was made fresh in the kitchen and you could see through the glass. I liked the simple kitchen and by keeping the product offering to a fixed menu, they were able to churn out multiple dishes and service many people.


A hygienic kitchen where fresh food is made to order
The taste was very similar to the Mughalai style and was slightly bland for my taste (I like it with a lot of spices and masalas) but the texture of the kebab was consistent, was dripping with its juices and served hot. The magical dish was the mutton biryani and was delicious. I was glad we had come there as I could taste probably one of the oldest recipes in India for the Mughalai mutton biryani. 





Apart from the non-vegetarian dishes like fish tikka, paneer tikka, chicken tikka you also have a vegetarian paneer tikka, aloo tikka and vegetarian biryani and the rolls are the best sellers. The recipes are passed down from generations when Mr. Khan who started the restaurant in a small shop and grew to what it is today.  Salim and Javed are Khan Chacha's sons who are running the show now and I should say, quite successfully. 


Mutton Sheek Kebab
The Delhi crowd likes it as they are serious about the quality and freshness while being true to the authentic taste of Delhi. The Kebab is the showstopper with its softness, flavours, masala, appropriate chewiness achieved with the right amount of marination. 

I liked the way they adopted the modern fast food culture to an Indian restaurant where they have a self service system as it helps in reducing the burden on service and is loved by the college crowd. If you are Delhi, you must drop in and taste their Kebabs.

Ratings:
Ambiance: 4/5

Parking: Street
Food: 4/5
Taste: 4/5
Cost: 4/5 (about 12$ for two)


For more restaurant reviews click here.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Don't talk, just chat

You got to agree that it is a pain to sell old stuff. Stuff that you loved once and bought it after a lot of care. Stuff you cherished and wanted use and made plans. Like that vacuum cleaner that you researched and bought expecting to make your life easy but is stored in a cardboard box in some corner in your house or that wonder storage boxes that matched your new curtain designs or that gift from your ex that you want to get rid off. Well there would be so many things like that in every Indian home and with the advent of the new online revolution, it was supposed to be easy yo sell and get them off your shoulders in a easy way. But the reality is something else!



A latest ad from Quikr
The moment you fix up a free ad on any of the reselling sites the flurry of the calls is too much to handle. Even after you say serious buyers only and even when you mention all the details in the description, you get asked the same questions and the same explanation for the same product only to add to your agony. In such a case, the need for innovation is desperately needed and long due. 

We were looking to move to a new home few days ago and the landlord was asking us if we would want any of the electronic items like fridge, washing machine, oven and so on. I said I would check and let him know. Next day he called me back saying none of that stuff is available as he has placed an ad online and finished all the sales. It is that fast you know but the problem, he mentioned, was the number of calls he had to answer and how silly he felt explaining the same process again and again to all the people who called. When you have to explain the same point again and again and to do that on a daily basis, it gets tiresome. How about we reduce your time spent and simplify the process. How about making it Quikr? It is to this note that there is a blessing from www.quikr.com which chose to allow the chat option to cut off all the unnecessary calls and just chat. The same feeling is shared from people on the other side of the line. 

Here are the three reasons why I prefer chat over a phone call.

1. When you are buying, you would have some doubts and it would be great to record some of the communication in the sale process and chatting allows you to do that. 

2. The mobile app provides a chat option that allows people to connect and talk to each other so as to reduce the number of interactions and at my own convenient time. 


3. It is also essential to complete the discussion as I have an option to copy and paste the points rather than repeat the same again on phone through a call. 

With innumerable calls coming your way, when a service provider tries to reduce the effort in completing the transaction, it is a welcome drive. Any brand which thinks about its client's use and is looking to improve the experience is a progressive one at that. Let us change the way we are approaching the sales mechanism. Let us reduce the clutter in the selling and make it easy. So why would you talk when you can chat?

This entry is for the Indiblogger Happy hours.

Beware! Those carrots could make you sick

Niranjan Kaggere writes in today's Bangalore Mirror...

The fresh and nutrition- rich vegetables sold in the markets of Bengaluru have left the state government worried! In a major shock to veggielovers several vegetables and fruit sold in the markets of Bengaluru tested positive for pesticide residue, particularly organo chlorine pesticides that can take toll on your nervous and digestive system and weaken muscles! 

A random check conducted by the Horticulture department run Bio Centre in Hulimavu on different vegetables has revealed shocking details about the 'freshness' and nutrition value of vegetables. 
Fruits like papaya, vegetables including cabbage, green chilli, capsicum, carrot, tomato, bottle gourd and ginger were found to contain considerable amounts of the banned pesticide. 


Acknowledging the results of the test, Horticulture minister Dr Shyamanoor Shivashankarappa said, "In a random check conducted recently at our centre on vegetables and fruits available from Bengaluru's markets, traces of the banned organo chlorine pesticide were seen. 


"The department has been advising farmers not to use these pesticides and us
e only those pesticides suggested by the department." Shivashankarappa added, "Dicofol pesticide was preferred by farmers to prevent flies and pests in Bhindi (okra), brinjal, bitter-gourd, chilli and beans crops. But the demand for these pesticides has drastically come down after awareness drives by the department."
Sources in the Horticulture department said that even though the number of farmers using organo chlorine pesticide has come down, a few still use it. 

"The government has already banned pesticides with these contents. Yet farmers continue to use them. Even though it safeguards the crop from pests and insects, the residue will remain in the vegetable. 


"Proper washing in warm water will help remove the content," revealed a senior official from the Horticulture department. 


Meanwhile, a consulting physician from a leading hospital told Bangalore Mirror that a short-term exposure to organo chlorine pesticide would result in convulsions, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, slurred speech and sweating. 


"Long-term exposure due to consumption of such vegetables may damage the liver, kidney and central nervous system," he said. Senior BJP Leader and MLC Ramachandre Gowda caught the government's attention about this trend at the Legislative Council and urged the government to discourage the use of pesticides with any of these harmful contents as they are a health hazard. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Friendship is beautiful

After finding out his best friend has cancer, first grader, Vincent Butterfield, shaved his head and raised money to help support the expensive treatments.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday Blues: Keep it simple


While making presentations, either on paper or online, we tend to spend more time on the design, fonts and illustrations and often tend to ignore the power of content on the audience. This is usually the case when we are early up in the career or new to computers. While we explore a lot of this stuff which is supposed to make it 'cool', we need to realize the power of content. 

The power of content is huge and there are chances that your presentation or way of communication like body language might be communicating something entirely different from what you want to say. So today my advice to you as a part of the Monday Blues series is to KISS. Keep it simple. Simple is beautiful, realistic and natural. Simple is a solution.

Pic is from here.



Sunday, February 1, 2015

A gift to you

What a beautiful song to start this month and what a way to praise the Lord. Have a great February.



Everything I am
Everything I'be
I gift it to you Lord
And do it thankfully

Every song I sing
Every praise I bring
Everything I do
Is a gift to you

Everything I have
All you've given
I gift it to you Lord
And do it thankfully

Every song I sing
Every praise I bring everything I do
Is a gift to you

Everything I am
Everything I'be
I gift it to you Lord
And do it thankfully

Small gestures matter

Do care. President Obama forgot to salute when he boarded Marine One. He later realized his mistake and went back to the Marine.

Keep it sleeek and keep it amazing



One thing that has always kept me interested and looking up in the sleek and mean looking gadgets and this time when I was headed to the ITC Gardenia for the Indiblogger meet, I was in for a treat. Meeting friends and having fun is the major agenda than just the product experience in the meets and boy we look forward to that. This Indiblogger meet was no different either. The best thing was that we had a decent crowd of bloggers, decent is an understatement, fully charged and gearing to go.




The fun games and the teams were creative to say the least. The old Hindi movie theme and the gangnam style were the crowd favorites. The fun and food being the other interesting thing, what stole the show was the mean looking baby laptop new on the block. The experience was awesome and the chicklet keyboard is my favorite. The #GosleeekASUSExperience was a pleasant one.




The device is cool for both its pricing and the features and should be a steal considering the market out there. Check the products out on Amazon and may be you would be happy with the 11 hour battery life. And next time, do join us for an incredible experience at the IndiBlogger meets! See ya. Keep it sleeek and keep it amazing.


Here is the group picture that we all love. Keep blogging and live forever.


Pics are from here and by Raksha.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I Love You With the Love of the Lord



I love you 
With the love of the Lord 
Yes I love you 
With the love of the Lord 
I can see in you 
The glory of my King 
And I love you 
With the love of the Lord