My thought process through the Google I/O.

Watching today’s Google I/O keynote evoked a rather familiar sequence of emotional impulses. A trained mind (sensitized from previous Apple WWDC and such) events reminds the enthralled heart to cool it off a little. A level headed wife helps the situation also.

I usually beef up my mental rejection shield before starting to watch such moving presentations. Like when iphone 5s and 5c were being unraveled, at once I thought that this would be a bad idea. I mean same screen size as previous one ? What was apple shooting at ?

The way they talk about the seemingly technological advancements, with the 64 bit processor and all, slow motion camera, finger print sensor and the song Applause  kind of  takes your logical reasoning away for that brief moment.

I mean if they somehow open the sales counter/website at the same time they present the features, I’m convinced the’ll witness a major spike in their sales.

Of course, cooling down a little (and sleeping over it) through the next day does lead me to other conclusions. Except the finger print sensor, the majority of that feature list was a load of crap. I mean, just seeing what the android devices were up to those days. Iphone, for the first time ever seemed to have looked the inferior product.  Fan boys excuse.

Cut to today.

They were using the stuff in such an elegant manner that it seems to look magic, however orchestrated it might be. It was sheer ecstasy watching those devices interplay. The  watch, with notifications. The car with phone, the TV which would whip up so much information as one searches through content.

Apart from the wear stuff, most of us already have much of the interactions happening at home already, right ? I mean a phone controlling your TV, Phone showing directions/entertainment content. My XBMC  rig suddenly seemed like a dated product. Believe me, it’s a setup many folks would term as “advanced”.

I excitedly asked my wife to get one item of each kind as soon as they are available (are they ever?) in India. She seemed to broom the idea under a rug which is where it is right now. Maybe, if I sleep over this , I’d realize this is not as exciting as I currently think it to be.

Maybe, maybe not. What do you think of the Google I/O? I feel android is looking like a very solid platform right now. But then again, I felt the same about iphone immediately after seeing the presentation.

Gadgets I could fry with.

In continuation with my ongoing battle with the Delhi summer heat this year, I had decided to make my room free of the electronic equipment, that contributes to the largest amount of heat generated. I did some active profiling, and I’m kind of surprised, that my bulky PC, which I had assumed would generate massive amounts of heat (and had it in my hit list), was not so bad.

In fact, in terms of the temperature   additions, my Laptop with a NVIDIA quadro graphics card was a bigger bully.

So, here are a list of five things that should be replaced with better designs (in reverse ranking order).

5. The UPS powering my HTPC rig. I should have bought an inverter, where power switching did not result in such a delay that computer would not trip. Such designs are easily available now. At the time when I bought my power inverters, they weren’t so common place. So I had to add another UPS in between.  Bad choice.

4. The 60 watt bulbs in the room. I got to replace these with CFLs . What if I do want a bright spot of light. CFL’s to not give a crisp light source. They are more for the ambient lights, like tube lights, that do not cast a precise shadow. Maybe their use can be limited, so I can live with these lights. They come up for like half an hour a day, and then CFL kicks in.

3.The HTPC. Hey now, I need something to keep me entertained. Maybe I should replace the bulk with an NVIDIA ion based box like thingy, which would humble my existing setup, both in terms of raw graphics capabilities, and heat generated.

2.The mighty laptop. Yep, my work machine. Do I need that fire power ?  At times, I do, This is a very sensitive topic, I suppose. I think not much can be done in this regard. It’s not just my fun, but the source of bread and butter for me. Had I been filthy rich, I’d probably say, let’s have a separate study room altogether. But filthy richness is a solution to most of the man-made problems, and some natural ones too :).

1. The LCD screen. Yeah , the coveted number one slot in “how much heat one generates” surely goes to my TV screen. I wonder, how this becomes a smart efficient design then. The old CRT based TVs did never become as hot as my Samsung LCD does. Is it a defective piece? It’s only a 32 inch screen. But it heats up like a hot plate. Maybe there’s too much of sex on television these days.

Do tell me your experiences with LCDs. And I thought they were more power friendly by design. I need to profile this one for power consumption as well. I think I’d be surprised for all my beliefs.

Chick is smart

For those who do not already know, my room tends to become a blast furnace during the summers. I still believe that the engineering marvel that it is, it can be hotter than what the out-door temperature is. I just don’t say that, I have many people, who have personally been subjected to “a power cut” in that room during the night. 🙂

So, to counter the unbearable heat of the summer sun, I’ve launched an initiative to use best practices and principles, to cool my “over the top” room.

First change. Putting a bamboo “chick” in front. For the unaware, that would be like a sheet made up of bamboo sticks,  and supported by layers of water proofing material. Now the main window in my  room gets a lot of sun, and I always suspected that to be the cause of my problems.

It has helped. Wonders. Now my room has a dark appearance. It used to be so bright, that I used to put sun film, in summers to achieve the same effect. It is also a little cooler now.

The idea I suppose here is that the chick has created a buffer column of air which is much cooler than the hot air blasts directly out side. So that column of air in front of a small balcony is keeping temperature in check. As auxiliary benefits,   I get lesser dust, and lesser sunlight, and yes, a little bit of sound proofing from what’s happening on the street down below.

I hereby declare it a good investment this summer.

People struggling to have their houses passive cooled, try having such columns of air around the sun facing walls in the house. If you’re designing the house still, it might be a good idea to have that extra room in front and over the main bed room. If you’re pressed for space, there are doors made of aluminum, which slide and open. They are used to get the same effect, as they, along with the regular wooden doors are separated by a distance of a couple of feet to create the same kind of pocket of air. Not only will it keep things cool in summers, it will also make the inner room snug, if you happen to exist in chillier places.

Next up, I’ll be investigating on which appliances of mine contribute to the heat in my room.

In the summertime … we study interior design

Cut to Delhi …

The weather’s not fine, and you got AC, you got AC on your mind.

I guess it’s a universally acceptable fact for people in Northern part of India, that summer is a time to be dealt with. It certainly doesn’t pass you by, but has to be tackled with. It also manages to take along a certain unfortunate set of people. The ingenuity of people and the contraptions that people do come with does give a sort of silver line (The spirit of innovation) to the otherwise grim situation.

If summer in Delhi is like a villain, it is served by “dust” as a trusty sidekick. My battle with dust is ongoing one, and time after time, I try to come up with something that makes my place a little free of it.

Even I play a soldier in sustaining self through the time of the year.

So this time, in my trials to be in a relatively cooler place, I have given my room a darkish appearance, and also created around an open side of it, a dark column of air, By having those heavy sheets made of bamboo, covering the front facing balcony in my room.

Other than day, the basics are already covered, like the fan, and the AC has been cleaned and serviced up to give me the ideal performance.But AC, cooler, etc. seem like patches. As much as India is famous for patchwork, visit an old heritage building, take any example … NeemRana fort, Hawa Mehal … these places seem to be cool, despite having no fans, ACs, etc.

So I decided to do a bit of reading, about what passive cooling is. It’s a vast area, and I’m on it. Certainly very interesting. But it requires work from ground up.

In my case, I have been already presented with a situation. So my work is cut out.

According to passive cooling design, my room has a remarkably bad position in terms of the side it faces, and the area which is directly exposed to the sun.

I am going to study some of the theories and try to put them to good use this year.

I’m gonna post my findings under the tag “Home Improvement”.

Let’s see how it goes.