Friday, June 24, 2016

Why do Airplane Windows have Holes?

If you have ever traveled on a window seat in an Airplane, you would have noticed a small hole near the bottom of the window pane. This hole is not accessible from the inside (it's not on the pane closest to you), and appears to be on a 'middle' pane. On cold mornings, you can even see ice crystals forming on this pane, like the image below.

Ice on Airplane Window
It's a little unsettling if you don't know why airplanes would need a hole on each window. Isn't the whole purpose of the window to keep the cabin pressurized while allowing for pleasing views to us passengers? A hole in even one of the window panes would make the window as a whole weaker - no? As it turns out, the opposite is true - the hole is a safety feature!

Of the three panes of a typical aircraft window, the first one (from inside) is merely to protect the second and third ones. If you recall your experience with the first pane, it is a little flimsy and bends a little under pressure from your finger. Surely this pane isn't going to hold out against the low outside pressure at cruising altitude. The first pane keeps the passengers and little kids with their toys and spilling hot / cold beverages from interfering with the second and third panes - both of which are independently capable of maintaining cabin pressure. Wait - if both panes are capable of holding cabin pressure at cruising altitudes, why do we need two? For safety, of course. But why the hole?

Icy Art

The hole makes sure only the outer pane takes the load of Air pressure 'usually'. In case the outer pane fails, the inner one takes up the role of maintaining cabin pressure - albeit with a little leakage. This also makes window inspection easier - if the outer pane is OK, all is good and there's no need to inspect the middle pane. Pilots are anyways trained to descend to safer altitudes in case a window pane breaks, and the cabin pressurization system can handle the additional small load (due to leakage) easily in such a case.

So next time you see ice crystals forming on your airplane window, relax and take comfort in the fact that it's been designed as a safety feature. The added visual pleasure of seeing nature make intricate art right at your window is an added bonus.

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Face Detection in Advertising Could Lead To Embarrassment For You

In the very near future, the ads will start watching you. They will capture innocuous information like your gender and age range, and show you ads that you will most likely find useful. The technology is already in place, as seen in this video

While the current technology is in use in Europe, expect it to hit your shores soon enough if there's enough traction. And traction there will be - which advertiser would not want to ensure the right audience is exposed to its advertisements?

If you're obese, expect to see weight reduction ads everywhere you go - at the supermarket checkout, at the fuel stations, even at billboards on the highway :)

Thursday, July 04, 2013

A New Era with 3D Printing

Ok, so Boeing is 3-D printing airplane components now. What does it mean for you?

  1. Printing 3-D objects is going to get cheaper (soon). But that's anybody's guess
  2. Soon you'll be concerned about the cost and quantity of printing material your children are using for their homework and for playing
  3. Traditional supply chain is going to enter a disruption phase. Even for Boeing - it's much easier to simply print a worn-out part for replacement
How about reducing material usage? Or playing with material properties in a hitherto unexplored way? Enter Metal Foams - with the only difference being that now it'll be possible to control exactly how porous the material will be at each load-bearing point. 

A whole new era of material sciences beckons! 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Latest project - Indian payments on eShop plugin for wordpress

Did anyone notice that no wordpress eCommerce plugin offers payments in INR? I use the eShop plugin for one of our eCommerce websites and it was rather painful to integrate INR Payments into the plugin. However, things may be about to change for the better!

Am trying to convince the guys at EBS to integrate their payment gateway in the eShop plugin. What with Wordpress 3.0 being launched and eShop's latest version about to become live, this might be the best time for an Indian payment gateway to be permanently integrated into the plugin. Hope it goes well, will update on this blog - stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Websites that make money from YOUR updates

Never thought this was possible? Well, there are websites out there that make money when YOU write a blog update! Or even when you tweet to your own followers. How's that possible? Well - all they need to do is aggregate your data on their webpages and then have advertisements bring them the money. Typically, such a website will be owned by someone you want yourself to be associated with. Alternatively, they might also have some sort of an incentive for you to stay and have your content published through them. The system is definitely not illegal. In fact, it might be a great idea for you to make money from the internet - just think of something that can leverage the power of the masses. It could be something like a website that pulls data from other websites. Remember though, that one should always give credit to the source you're getting your data from. It's just plain ethics :)

Here's the first website, from Guy Kawasaki, that makes money for him when people write their blogs. Alltop is a great idea, and it solves a real problem - giving people one place where they can find all the top blogs and websites that cover a certain aspect of online publishing. What's more, it has become a rage with bloggers to have their content listed with Alltop. How Guy did it is just plain clever.

What's more, AllTop is also emerging as a one-stop for people to research on various topics that they cover (40 of the top searched topics on the internet). There's a whole section for people who're interested in blogging. You can see entries from your competition, all at one place.

And here's another website - TwitterTops, that attempts to do on twitter what Guy did with blogs and websites. The idea may be smaller, but the central theme is the same - to bring top tweeps together. In its current avatar, the websites appears to only collate TwitterTops from various geographies. Hopefully they'll be able to eventually amass tweeps based on their expertise as well. After all, just being the top twitter user in a particular country or city doesn't mean as much as being a twitter authority on a subject! The TwitterTops management needs to wake up and take notice!

Of course - you can also argue that all the top bloggers are eventually making money off of other people's hard work - TechCrunch does not itself make all the great web services they talk about. Popular Science doesn't invent all they write about. But at least these guys write about stuff! AllTop and TwitterTops promise not to write about stuff - they are only going to show the world what YOU have thought of! If only I could think of the next similar idea that could fly :)

Thanks to the social networks that make discovering such websites easy!  

Monday, November 12, 2007

PutVote redirecting to SalesForce?

Indian social bookmarking site may have lost traction with the public finally. The site is currently redirecting to this page in SalesForce.

To verify yourself, click the PutVote link above. Hover over the link before you click to make sure it points to the right page. The way I see it, PutVote would've been started by SalesForce (correct me if I am mistaken) and had to be shut down on account of either spamming or misuse by people. Here's a snapshot of what the site looked like, from Google's Cache. It isn't too hard to identify the spam links.

Last I remember, the site did not have any bookmarking juice to offer. This just goes to prove that using bad English isn't the best idea to attract the growing Indian internet audience.

Here are some of the other social bookmarking sites available in India:

  • Indianpad
  • NewsCola
  • HumDigg
  • IndiaMarks
  • IndiaGram
  • Formus of \India
  • IndiaBytes
  • NaDa to Report

    Found a great piece of software that works across platforms and OSs, across computers and hand-held devices, never fails in what it does and requires less than a couple of seconds to download and install. Introducing NaDa - it does nothing for everybody!

    NaDa AnimationHere's what the creators have to say about this product:

    NaDa™ is a new concept. A thought, really. It is very light : 1 byte. It doesn't take long to fetch. It doesn't take long to understand. It doesn't disturb your habits nor does it makes you feel insecure. It is a reassuring piece of software that does nothing, and does it very well. That's a lot !
    With good reviews and recommendations from users, there really is no reason why somebody would not want to install NaDa in their systems. Here's the download link. If you like what you install, be sure to leave a comment.