Google Plus or Google + : Are Facebook’s days numbered ?

For most guys who read this blog, you will know that we love Google here. And when Google tells us that they have a product that is competition for Facebook of course the excitement levels around here are way too much. Although I do not believe that Facebook will be overthrown as yet, it is clear that the Giant has competition. Google + as its called, looks quite interesting from the sneak preview given through the videos below. A few months back when Eric Schmidt confessed on National TV in the US that they misread the social media scene and did not read the signs of social media it made all the news. Especially considering that he is the CEO of one of the most influential companies in the world. Their products that flopped included Google Buzz, Wave and many similar attempts at Social Media.

Now Google has not only fought back, but by the looks of things it looks a very interesting platform. Google has close to a Billion visitors a month on their site and what this means is that they already have a large user base. Facebook has very loyal supporters, but if you remember s did myspace at some time. The undoing of Myspace or the rise of Facebook was largely attributed to the increasing number of parents and elders into a platform that was started off for college students only. Facebook today has similar issues. People are leaving Facebook just cos they don’t want their parents to see some drunk brawl pics uploaded by a distant “friend”. So will Google + be able to fill up the gap ? Well yes and No. Early adopters are going to love Google +. But the success of Google + completely depends on how it would evolve, just like Facebook.

What Facebook did and what Google was unable to do was provide a face and an identity to their users around the Internet. Google has struggles to pull this off for so long. But with the Google Profiles, Gmail and Google + the offering is going to be pretty strong from Facebook. The identity provided by Facebook was among the first in the industry, it will be keep to see how Google might utilize this to their advantage. It is ironic that I am posting this rant on Facebook to talk about the death of Facebook and possible rise of Google +. Google has the knowledge of all the things that Facebook did wrong, and all the things that Facebook could not pull off. Add to it the innovative nature of Google and we might have a pretty strong offering on our hands.

Not to forget Android. It is a known fact that Android is taking over the smartphone market with a storm, and it is also a known fact that the future of the internet is mobile, Google + deep integration in Android will just make that offering so much stronger and desirable in the days to come. The service is currently invitation only, just like most of Google product releases. This means they will work on the curiosity of the users to being them to the product, however the success is completely going to depend on the usability, privacy control and the new features that the product brings. I am already excited, and have applied to be invited. Videos and the link to get your own invite below.

Google + a Quick Look

Google + and Circles

Google + : Explore Settings

Google + : Mobile Explore

Google + : Video Chats with Hangouts

Google + : More interesting stuff with Sparks

Google + : Circles

Google + : Hangouts

Google + : Huddle (Group Texting)

Google + : Instant Upload

Google + : Sparks


You can read about what Google’s thoughts are when they made this on their official blog here. Want to see what it really looks like well check it out here.

Watch out for sites that mash up both Facebook and Google + to bring you a combined experience as both platforms are going to be pretty strong for a while. Hmm, someone know any developers who might be interested in working on this ?

Guest Post – Exoskeleton Allowing The Paralyzed To Walk

Technology is really doing amazing things. Being confined to a wheel chair for your entire life is something many of us have difficulty even imagining. Small things most of us take for granted like the ability to make eye contact without looking upward is something that up until now just wasn’t possible for those paralyzed. A company called Berkeley Bionics is working to change all of that with the first “practical” exoskeleton.

Berkeley Bionics’s Elegs

The elegs by Berkeley Bionics are a relatively lightweight and portable exoskeleton system that allows those paralyzed from the waist downs to walk again. The elegs are based on HULC technology, which was developed by the US military to allow lifting things heavier than 200 pounds. The person operating the elegs first has their lower body securely snapped into the exoskeleton. A series of complex sensors in the elegs then help the user move one leg forward and evenly distribute their weight. The elegs users hands, meanwhile, use crutches to ensure balance when switching legs. While the system is being developed so anyone can use it, right now it works best with those who were recently paralyzed. If the person was recently paralyzed then they still have walking in muscle memory, and this helps immensely when using the elegs to walk.

Where The Elegs Are Now And Where They Are Going In the Future

As of right now the elegs are still in the closed testing phase. This means that while the technology is functional now, the total cost and difficult of use makes it impractical for the consumer market. Berkeley Bionics has already hinted at the next version of the elegs currently in development. According to Berkeley Bionics, the next generation of the elegs is designed form the ground up for real world use. The example they gave was being able to put on the elegs in the morning and perform tasks like driving and hiking without ever having to re-adjust the exoskelton. Seeing the amazing strides made with current technology, it’s likely that a viable option to allow those paralyzed to walk again will be available for purchase within 10 years.

Bio: Tracy Sitchen is a veteran coupon clipper, stay at home Mom, and aspiring writer. While she loves shopping, she loves the chase of the deal even more! She’s recently been writing about Houston Aquarium coupons along with Old Spaghetti Factory coupons over at her blog where she shares deals and discounts to help every day people save money.

Inquisitive Interview : Sagar Sen – Scientist / Faculty

Its again that time of the week when I feature an Inquisitive Interview on the blog, and this week its someone that I have knows for close to 10 years now. A college friend who is now a faculty / scientist in France. Yes I know it is still an engineering field like the one for the Marketing Engineer, but as you will see in the series there are many things that an engineer ends up working on, varied and vast in its approach. If you want to keep track of the interviews only please look at his page: http://blog.melvinpereira.com/inquisitive-interviews/

Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewee providing them with some online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

I am Sagar Sen, 28 years old. I am Computer Scientist at INRIA Sophia-Antipolis, France which is close to the beautiful city of Nice in Cote d’Azur. My  career goal is to find a perfect balance between  top-level research in computer science (more info here http://web.me.com/sagarsen) and high-performance sports notably rowing. Finding my mental and physical limits and stretching them everyday is what drives me.

Don’t be frightened! I also enjoy a lot of other activities. I have an inclination to be spiritual with a regular practice of Yoga. I love making friends and turning them into good , and eventually great friends pretty quickly. I have tried my hand at every sport I could including the traditional soccer/cricket ,ping-pong, fin swimming, rock climbing, roller blades, etc. etc. but I stay Fidel to rowing. I not very patient with art in this fast-paced world but I have extrapolated my prior interest in painting to learning to play the piano. This helps me appreciate ambiguity and uncertainty.  I adore family values and have great respect for my parents, family, and my teachers in life.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

I am Computer Scientist working at Sophia-Antipolos, France

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

Yes. The salary is just right to strike a sweet balance between work and life.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

I wake up anywhere between 6 am and 7 am. Depending on my training schedule I either go to the rowing club to row for about 12-15 kms, or cycle down to work from Nice to Sophia-Antipolis (22 km), or do a 1 hour session of Ashtanga Yoga. I am at work at around 10 am at INRIA Sophia-Antipolis. I spend a lot of time discussing with students and engineers on our collaborative projects. We make collective decisions about what to do such as for software projects or performing experiments. I spend a lot of time writing research articles and send them for publication in conferences, journals or magazines. I come back home by 7 pm. I spend some time playing the piano, chatting with roomates or go through a second session of training: rowing, circuit training, running/roller-blading,  or power yoga. At night, on some occasions I go out to meet friends for a drink or a stroll by the sea thinking and clarifying my thoughts. I often have a deep sleep.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

The most interesting part in my job is the interaction with my colleagues and synthesis of ideas from start to finish. A byproduct of this process is witnessing the maturation of a young student into a full-fledged researcher ready to better understand the world and bring order out of chaos.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

The most challenging part of the job is to keep students motivated, focused, and constantly keep a positive atmosphere in the work environment.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

There are only a few things. Improving communication on some occasions can always be a good thing.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Sometimes. However, in research your workplace is everywhere, the kitchen, outside, or on the sea. Most work is mental which is realized quickly when clarity is achieved and decisions are made.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

Yes. At times I report to a senior member in the research team about the ongoing work. However, my workplace is more or less flat. If you are motivated then you can collaboratively make your idea happen without much intervention due to hierarchy.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

Yes. I am glad I learnt a multitude of skills in school. At first I was apprehensive about the different text books I used to read and experiments we conducted in school/college. But today those pieces of information come back to me in new light that helps me integrate ideas to solve real problems.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Kendriya Vidyalaya Indian Institute of Science

Pre University               : Kendriya Vidyalaya Indian Institute of Science

Bachelor’s Degree        : Bangalore University

Master’s Degree           :  McGill University, Canada

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Yes. Of course. I am living a great life and creating value. Why not you? Feel free to contact me.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

I would suggest reading, thinking, and identifying exactly what direction you want to head to in the next 3-4 years. You should be happy with your decision as research involves dedication to a problem or related problems for a few years.

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Give equal importance to all aspects of personal development. Try to create equal opportunity for others when you are in the right position in future.

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

 

You can get in touch with Sagar at the links below :

On Facebook    : http://www.facebook.com/#!/sagarsen
On Linked In    : http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=114232733

Thanks Sagar, for all your help and support, I am sure the readers like me would learn something new with this interview. Am sure the most intelligent among us readers would be keen to contact you for some guidance.

The REAL ‘Emirates Palace’ is on its way

Frequenting the Internet, some of the information you find is stunning. Sometimes information of something so close to you is relayed from the internet and you haven’t heard about it. Is that just not the worst ? Well, here is another bit of information that might just give you that feeling, I stumbled on a website which had the details and information about the Real Presidential Palace of Abu Dhabi, which is being constructed in Abu Dhabi. Since I work in construction and have worked n some of the best projects in the region, rarely new projects really do excite me. But this one really did. The Abu Dhabi Presidencies new Palace is definitely worth a second look.


This is the proposed presidential palace being built by the Presidential Affairs Department of Abu Dhabi. It is going to replace the existing palace in Ras Al Akhdar, Abu Dhabi. The project will be constructed over 2 plots and will include the main palace, smaller palaces, villas and other facilities. The main palace itself will be 160,000 square meters or over 1,700,000 square feet! Take, the new presidential palace,$490M project that was awarded to Greek construction firm Consolidated Contractors Company and Abu Dhabi-based architects Ewan Architectural & Engineering Consultancy last year. The compound will sit in good, sweet, ostentatious company beside the Emirates Palace Hotel, which made a name for itself around the holidays by hosting a Christmas tree dripping in $11M worth of jewelry.

While the Guggenheim labor controversy has shed negative energy on the Emirates city of Abu Dhabi, turns out there’s a whole lot of other stuff going on there. The Presidential Palace being maybe the crown jewel when it comes to it. All my reluctance in going to Abu Dhabi for a visit is not slowly being overcome to go see this behemoth coming to life.

More Information on Skyscraper City. More Pics here.

Inquisitive Interviews : Jason Prince – Marketing Engineer

As mentioned in a post earlier about Inquisitive Interviews, this blog is attempting to provide some real helpful information to students and professionals alike. Once a week this blog will feature an Inquisitive Interview of a professional from daily life, from really varied professional backgrounds. No part of this interview has been edited or modified in any way.

I kick start this series with one of the best Marketing guys that I personally know, being part of the events initiative we started, Jason has been an important person within Inquisitive Events. I would request you to add in your best wishes and comments for Jason below.

[ Q ] Tell us something about yourself ?

Name is Prince. Jason Prince.

Born and raised in Dubai, went to Canada, came back with a degree in electrical engineering, got a job 3 months later. Started my MBA program parallely with work.  Been in construction industry for 7 years now & loving it.

[ Q ] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

At the moment, I am a Marketing Manager for a company called InoSafe Lighting Solutions based in Dubai.

[ Q ] Is the job what you had pictured it to be ?

It is my 3rd job in 7 years and it is closest to the picture I had in mind!

[ Q ] Is your salary what you expected it to be ?

It was. But i was surprised to know that there are many other industries that pay much better, for example, media industry.

[ Q ] What is your average day like ?

That is the best part of being a Marketing Engineer, every day is different. If there is a huge project, like an airport; we take a week to design it as perfect as possible, 3 days to make a good presentation out of it and another 3 days to present it the client. If it is a smaller project, one day is good for each one of these activities.

On off peak times like summer holidays and Ramadan, mornings are usually set for meetings and after lunch for paperwork.

[ Q ] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

Meeting people. Usually, the relationship that forms is lifelong and it is interesting to see how each relationships takes form.

[ Q ] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

Deadlines usually. Sometimes, these deadlines can get impractical. And the frustrating part of it is that the deadlines becomes tight when someone along the “work-chain” didn’t complete their work on time.

[ Q ] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

Sometimes, the people who take decisions take advantage of their position. Dealing with these people are never fun or challenging.

[ Q ] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Sometimes. But that is good. It gives a chance to change things. Every company appreciates a positive change. If you can suggest it to improve the company’s turnover and your role in the company, grab it.

[ Q ] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

Yes, I do report to my manager. And the manager can have a huge impact on the work that you do. As a fresher, I believe it doesn’t really matter who your boss is. If he has good qualities, adopt it. If he has bad qualities, add it to the list of things-not-to-do-if-I-ever-become-a-boss. It is all part of learning.

If you are going to look for a job at senior level, then it is important to check the chemistry you have with your manager because firstly, you tend to get a lot crankier by now & it is hard to gel with anybody like before & secondly, he could really have an effect on your growth up the ladder.

[ Q ] What would you say are the growth aspects in this Industry are like ?

Initial growth is slow. But once you gain like 10 years of experience, you are king! You can command whatever you want with respect! But of course, it is hard to generalize. It differs from industry to industry.

[ Q ] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

70-80% of the skills are the ones you picked up at the job itself. But the remaining 30% is crucial too. The person and the habits that you have picked up reflects on your work. For example, there are some people always looking for shortcuts. This stems up from the fact that they were always looking for shortcuts while studying. While there are others who were always looking for the whys and how’s and they have more research type attitude. Mind you, they are both good and required. You just have to pick a job profile that best fits.

[ Q ] What’s your Alumni ? Where have you studied ?

Schooling                     : Our Own English High School, Dubai

Pre University               : Tandem Institute of Engineering, India

Bachelor’s Degree        : University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Master’s Degree           : University of Southern Queensland, Australia (campus in Dubai)

[ Q ] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Construction industry is not the best option right now in Dubai right now. You might not get the salary that will best match your expectations. If the company is concentrating on growing third world countries, it could be an exciting opportunity.

[ Q ] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

Like I said, it is not the best time and it might take a while to establish. Patience & luck goes a long way!

[ Q ] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Keep a hobby. And actively pursue it as you grow at work. It will help.

[ Q ] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

Nope, you learn everything at work. Some companies invest in personality development programs. Those are great!

You can get in touch with Jason here :

On Facebook    : http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=691991915
On Linked In    : –
On Twitter        : –

Thank you Jason, the readers would really appreciate your insights.

Cell Phone Etiquette – someone should really make some rules

Cell Phones are everywhere; nearly all of us have one. In fact during an earlier post on wordless Thursday, we did manage to look at the overall numbers of cell phones and usage statistics which were quite shocking. So, it is absolutely great right, everyone has a cell phone, loved ones are closer? Yes it is. But like everything good in this world when it comes to technology, there is a dark side. Cell phone etiquette.

People somehow do not really seem to know when is it acceptable and not acceptable to use a cell phone. Although I know some of you might think that it’s a free world and there are no written rules for cell phone usage, I still believe that some people should have. Mind you I am not talking about life safety here, like talking on the phone while driving, or using your phone during your wedding anniversary (ask me, it is life threatening), but generally using the phone, the when, where and how. Good cell phone etiquette involves following some simple guidelines of common courtesy when using a cell phone in public, designed to make those spaces enjoyable to all.

I want you to turn off your cell phone

All of us have been annoyed by the guys who talk like their voice would reach the other person even without the phone, the guys who think that technology is still in the late 80’s where we had to scream into the mouthpiece of a wired phone, inside a booth lovingly also known as the Standard Trunk Dial Booth (STD). Yes, we are told the issues that they have even if we don’t really want to hear about it. Be it Private conversations, arguments of details of meetings or even what they just are, things that don’t really want to know. Add to this inappropriate ringtones in places where they are not to be used.

People these days put up sign boards for people not to use their cell phones in certain places, like places of worship, government offices, meetings etc. But you do have the regular rings from the careless people. So people have actually got fed up and have started installing cell phone jammers in these places. These devices knock cell phone users off their lines and prevent a reconnection with the cell tower until the user wanders out of range. The rate at which jammers are selling speaks to the lack of manners among the chatters. If you’re wondering what you can do to contribute to a more polite society, cell phone etiquette can be boiled down to 7 simple guidelines according to me:

1. When a Private Conversation Isn’t Possible. Intimate public settings such as restaurants, public restrooms, waiting rooms, hallways, buses, subways or anywhere a private conversation is not possible is a bad place for a cell phone conversation. To practice good cell phone etiquette, put the ringer on vibrate or silent mode and let the call roll over to voice mail. If it’s an important call, step outside or to a secluded area to return the call. If that’s not possible and you must take the call, keep your voice low and the conversation brief. Let the caller know you’ll get back to them when you’re able.

2. Lights Out, Phone Off. Phones should be turned off in movie theaters, playhouses, observatories or any other public place that creates an atmosphere to transport the imagination of the audience. People pay good money to be entertained and a ringer breaks the illusion.

3. Modulate Your Voice. Cell phones have sensitive microphones that can pick up a very soft voice while blocking out ambient noise. Yelling into a cell phone is not necessary. When people are nearby, be considerate and keep your voice low, your tone unemotional and even, and your conversation private. Arguing or airing dirty laundry in public is very poor human behavior let alone cell phone etiquette.

4. Observe the 10-foot Proximity Rule. Maintain a distance of at least 10-feet (3 meters) from the nearest person when talking on a cell phone. No matter how quietly you speak, if standing too close to others they are forced to overhear your personal business.

5. Love the One you’re with. It’s rude to take a cell phone call on a date or during a social engagement with others. It’s also inconsiderate to take a call in the middle of a conversation. If the caller were present he or she would likely wait to politely interrupt at a more appropriate time. Let the call roll to voice mail and return it later.

6. Drive Now, Talk Later. Multitasking isn’t always a good thing. Some evidence shows that accidents are on the rise due to cell phone use. Most calls can wait until you’ve reached your destination, and if a call is upsetting or distracting pull over to have the conversation.

7. Use Common Sense. Turn off your phone before a job interview, presentation, or boardroom meeting. Leave it off at funerals, weddings, or anyplace a quiet atmosphere is mandated, such as a courthouse, library, museum, or place of worship.

Cell phone etiquette is just a matter of being considerate of others, which pays off for everyone; sooner or later.

 

World’s Cheapest Android Phone – IDEOS

From the beginning of the Android ecosystem, a lot of people have been pushing Android to be the one competitor that can match the flexibility and the feature list of the iOS (iPhone) ecosystem. And all of them have been right, it is everything that a competitor needs to be for the iPhone. Its robust, has the apps, more updates, better online connectivity and great hardware from various manufacturers to match the price.

I have been singing the same song as well, however in the past few months I have also pondered over the possibility of Android overtaking Symbian for world wide mobile phone domination :) Now I am completely convinced that the Android operating system would be ideal to replace the Symbian operating system. First of all you would ask me why ? Well first and foremost its free, open source and not connected to any big player (Google is not evil on this blog) with an agenda. Secondly, the cost of development on the android is on a steady decline making it cheaper to develop specific applications etc for the Android simpler, cost effective and viable. This makes Android an awesome competition to the Symbian. But most Symbian phones (the Nokias) are made for the less expensive markets, and Android Phones tend to be expensive.

Most Android Phones, tend to be expensive because of the touch screen, and related hardware. Most phones that Nokia provides for the less expensive markets do not really have touch screens, wi fi or other expensive components. So, your next question would be is it remotely possible to have an android phone today that is not expensive. The answer to that question is yes.

I just received an email from a social media marketing firm windchimes.co.in, introducing me to this product. Normally I am not one who writes reviews for the sake of writing it, but I looked at the phone and the features that it packed. I wanted to write about it. Enter, IDEOS from Huawei, yes those guys who are famous for networking components. Why was I exited, first of all its the world’s cheapest Android Phone that still includes the touch screen and related features. Yes, its not as cheap as your Nokia 3200 which does not have any smartphone features, but this is comparable to any real smart phone. To tell you more about what got me exited, here are some specifications of the phone.

The IDEOS X5

  • 3.8” 800×480 TFT Capacitive Touch
  • Support multi-touch
  • Auto rotate (G-sensor)

Connectivity

  • BT 2.1 (A2DP)
  • Micro USB (High Speed USB)
  • A-GPS/Compass
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • 4G Memory

Frequency

  • UMTS 900/2100MHz
  • HSUPA 5.76Mbps,HSDPA 7.2Mbps (U8800)
  • HSUPA 5.76Mbps,HSPA+ 14Mbps(U8800H)

Battery1500mAh Lithium PolymerCore Value

  • HSPA speed with high performance
  • High quality video playback
  • Capture 720p real life

Internet

  • Google Native browser
  • Streaming Audio & Video
  • Support more markup (XHTML/HTML/WML)

Media

  • 5 Mega pixel Camera AF with Flash
  • 720p Video recording and playback
  • SRS professional audio effect

Applications

  • GMS (like Google Mail, Google talk, Youtube )
  • Google Maps with street view
  • Integrated phonebook with Facebook
  • E-book reader: Aldiko
  • Smart search Local & Internet : Servo Search
  • Office & PDF reader: Roadsync
  • Microsoft® Exchange Email solution : Roadsync

Here is an extract of the press statement that they had made.

… an affordable smartphone powered by the latest iteration of AndroidTM2.2 (also known as ‘Froyo’). The smartphone is priced between US$100 and US$200, depending on the market. IDEOS redefines the “entry-level” concept by combining high-quality hardware and software with a high price-to-performance ratio. IDEOS will be released in a number of countries across Europe, Asia-Pacific, North America and Latin America. …

… it boasts downlink speeds of more than 7.2Mb/s, offers WCDMA + WiFi dual network support, and offers ubiquitous mobile broadband services. The device also doubles as a WiFi router for up to eight devices at a time, making IDEOS an all-in-one solution for a range of wireless connectivity options…

Here are some videos of the phone concept and some features as well.

The Story of IDEOS

Official videos of the Phone

You can check out more videos on their YouTube channel here : http://www.youtube.com/HuaweiIdeosIndia. If you are interested to read more about the Phones, you can check out the website here : IDEOS Website. More about Huawei here.

Remembering the past 7 years, professionally

Not so long ago I completed a hefty 7 years in Dubai, and I have loved most of my stay here. Physically, Personally and professionally I have grown in Dubai, it has been more of an all round development if you can call it that. Having worked very little in India, most of my current professional development has happened in this city. Even now I can remember the time when I was arguing with y folks about not coming into this city, as I thought this was not what I was meant to do, I wanted to work in India, server the nation in what ever way possible. But, fate it seems is not without a sense of irony. I came to Dubai to find it being difficult initially and then as time passed, easier. Like the famous quote from the Movie 7 years in Tibet, Dubai was more than what I had thought initially.

A place rich with all the strange beauty of your nighttime dreams.

From gaining loads of weight, to getting married I have been given new things at every turn in Dubai. Meeting with my ex boss Mr. Thomas changed my professional life fr the better. I was introduced to a world of possibilities, where new technology was the norm and thinking about the future was essential to be in business. The Inquisitive Mind was nurtured and grown in this city, hence the blog as well. The particular focus of this blog was far from just self recognition, the concept of the blog was to share my insights into technology and future thinking mapped with the developments around the world.

In between all of this if there was one particular aspect of mine that has taken shape the most it had to be the professional side. As an engineer finding my bearings in the city to an experienced project manager, the projects I have worked on has really helped along the way. So here’s a small homage of sorts to the various important projects that I have had the good fortune of working on. The best part of working in Dubai in construction is that most projects are unique and high-profile and you are provided with videos that help show what you have been working on. So here is the videos that are available for the projects that I have worked on. (Not all projects used).

Dubai International Airport – Terminal 3, Concourse 2 and Car Park

I worked on this project in various capacities over the years, (5 years in Total) and this is the best of the lot, with a built up area of over 16 Million Square feet, this is the largest building in the world, and the biggest I might ever work on. Emirates has some brilliant videos for this project. Check them out below:

Burj Dubai – Burj Khalifa

Being the tallest building in the world will definitely bring in a lot of recognition to the people involved in the construction. Here are some videos from the Burj Khalifa.

Atlantis, Dubai

Another landmark in Dubai, my involvement for Atlantis, the Palm was very small. But it was there nevertheless. Here are a few videos about the Atlantis.

Dubai Metro

The world’s longest autonomous metro, no manual intervention in the trains. All communications working in the central control room.

I can maybe write another post on the rest for next time. But for the time being, will sign off with these architectural marvels.

The Earthquake, Tsunami and how the world has changed

First of all, my heart felt condolences to all those who have lost lives and property in the earthquake that just happened in Japan today. It is considered the 5th largest one since 1900, from when we started keeping serious track of these earth quakes. This time however, the effect of something like the world’s 5th largest earthquake is not bringing in as much news of destruction and loss. Its an absolutely fantastic thing to happen, so what has changed ? A few years ago if there would have been an event like this one in a place like Japan, where cities have some of the highest density of people on the planet, there would be more loss of life and property.

What has had an impact is the engineering and the government codes and standards. These are the unsung heroes of Japan, who might or might not be recognized in the near future, but should be. Having spend the last 7 years in the building industry, I know how incredibly difficult it gets sometimes for engineers and architects to keep with the budgets, while maintaining budgets. Japanese architects and engineers have since mastered the art, with the infamous Japanese Engineering. Like testing entire building strengths for Earthquake proofing, or designs like the door above that works as a shield in terms of an earthquake.

Apart from the fact that the building codes and standards are helping with the incident, the other part is the way the digital world has evolved, from providing up to date information on the quake on Twitter right up until, videos on YouTube and Facebook. Videos Like these below have been showing up on Youtube and Facebook at the rate of  hundreds per hour.

But the real power of Social Media was not really shown by Twitter or Facebook, but the miracle of Social Media happened when Google showed up to help.

Unlike companies who are providing condolences on their website, Google has reacted to the devastating 8.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Japan with a tool that helps you find a person or provide information on missing persons. The site also aggregates important resources, maps and other related information.

Google has previously used the Person Finder tool. The Japan earthquake version of the tool currently lists about 5,500 records, but the number is rising quickly as news about the catastrophe spreads around the world. Although the tool can be useful for finding information about a friend or a loved one, Google warns users that it doesn’t review or verify the accuracy of the data.

Google’s Crisis Center also shows a map of the earthquake, the latest related news and lists link to warning centers, disaster bulletin boards, and train and blackout information. Another example of why I love Google, and how a complete City Wide Data Management can be achieved through some of Google’s tools.

Driverless Cars from Google

Yes you heard that right, Driver less cars are here, and guess who is working on them ? Its all of our beloved Google. Yes, Google has retro fitted a Toyota Prius to be the latest in the field of Car technologies. Autonomous Driving cars, used as part of their Street View program are going to ensure that the future that was dreamt for us, with automatic cars that drive themselves might just be a reality. Remember iRobot ?? Of course we are not quite there yet, but its a start. So before you asking questions in your head of why and How, I think you should read further.

First of all, what does this car look like ?? yes I have got a picture to picture the car as we look further into why and how are they making it possible.

The Why ?  – My Analogy

If there would be one company that stands by its motto of doing no evil, arguably I will say Google. I know there are many out there who would start talking about privacy concerns and the rest, but with Facebook around privacy is no where close to be the same as it was. So leaving the online role aside Google’s continued attempt at working out solutions in new and emerging markets is something of an astonishment. I am sure that there is no other organization around who tries to give back so much. If we do look, you will know people hate Google for not just privacy :) Here is a funny video that would throw some light :)

Getting back to the topic, with a view of giving back and in order to optimize fuel usage and space on the streets of the world, Google’s venture into autonomous cars, is a welcome breadth of fresh air, in the sales driven cars market.

As of 2010, Google has tested several vehicles equipped with the system, driving 1,000 miles (1,600 km) without any human intervention, in addition to 140,000 miles (230,000 km) with occasional human intervention, the only accident occurring when one of the cars was rear-ended while stopped at a red light. Google anticipates that the increased accuracy of its automated driving system could help reduce the number of traffic-related injuries and deaths, while using energy and space on roadways more efficiently.

The How ?

The modified cars’ most noticeable feature is a rotating sensor on the roof that scans 360 degrees for more than 200 feet in diameter, creating a 3D map of the car’s location. A sensor on the left rear wheel measures the car’s movements in detail and helps locate it on the map. A video camera on the windshield near the rearview mirror finds pedestrians, bicyclists, traffic lights and obstacles in the rod and sends that data to the car’s onboard computer. Radar sensors at front and back help locate more distant objects. A GPS receiver, a laser range finder and an inertial motion sensor complete the package.

There are a few videos that have started creeping up on youtube and the likes of the Google Automated Cars driving, like these below.

What’s the Google angle? Not surprisingly, the cars relate back to Google data centers to process the information the cars gather and need to use. Google says its goal, though, is “to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people’s time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use.”

Google also says it has a “trained safety driver” behind the wheel at all times and a “trained software operator” in the passenger seat — and that the local police have been “briefed…on our work.” Read the information from the Horses mouth, here on the Google Blog.

Unlike a lot of people, I like driving. I’m sure there are others out there too who like driving, but a majority of people seem too busy to be bothered to enjoy the experience. Then again, I don’t have a hectic daily commute and I don’t deal with traffic very often. I worry that one day, driving a car yourself might actually be outlawed and driverless cars will be law, rather than an option. Getting these cars off the ground also will pose a problem, many people will have their own misgivings about trusting a car to deliver them safely to their destination, and manual override systems will be a must. There is also the cost; while Google hasn’t said what all this technology costs, I know it wasn’t cheap. It would probably be cheaper to just hire a chauffeur instead.

All that aside… the future is now, people. Driverless cars are possible within our lifetime, and we may one day find ourselves sitting shotgun as the computer takes us to work.

Science Experiments at home ? YouTube to the rescue

YouTube is just great, I know when you I say something like that, people usually think, its a Google product, so of course I love it. Yes, I do think its awesome not just because its a Google product (Its a part though) but also cos I think the wealth of resource available on YouTube is nearly unmatchable. In fact, for the sake of How to videos I think YouTube is the best place. For professional looking videos there is Vimeo, which is the video equivalent of Flickr for pictures; but amateur videos, how to videos, guides and music videos, YouTube is just fantastic.

Growing up all of us had chemistry and physics in school, even some experimentation learning as part of the curriculum, but not all of us took that passion forward. When I joined engineering, there were more experiments and lab works that were part of college, and they were interesting as well. However, as we grew older the joy of learning was replaced with the pain to score marks. An in this race, the engineering course which is supposed to create an inquisitive mind in all of us has nearly lost its charm in India. Having said that I do know of a lot of kids who still like to ahead and try some experiments, and these kids are from all ages I might add. That includes, Ryan, my cousin. Interestingly, YouTube will provide them with all the information they need for experiments like this.

Here are some examples of some of the experiments that are available on YouTube. I should say these really did impress me, with the simplicity and the ease of trying them at home.

Psychedelic colors with Milk

Fire Proof Balloons

Invisible Ink with Milk

Crazy Baloons

Create a Lemon Battery

If you do look around YouTube, these are the simplest of the experiments that you will be able to do at home. If you are trying, please let me know.

 

Google and Facebook on Indian streets

We are all fans of the giants called Facebook and Google, we use them each and every day, numerous times sometimes. With the growing popularity of these giants (can’t really call them websites anymore can we ? ) people are promoting their businesses on them more then ever, from linking Facebook and Google Ads right to Customized Facebook pages and also a presence on twitter. But what about the businesses that don’t really deal with online activities and dont really have a presence online ? Those are some of the companies that cannot really make use of the Facebook / Google / Twitter aura in the real world. Or can they ?

According to this Mumbai based book store apparently you can ! Facebook Books and Stationary in Mumbai has just shown that the name of Facebook can be reused. I am not sure what the legal team at Facebook would think about it. But I think being a company that lets people connect with each other it would make a lot of difference if the giant embraces this as a fan base. I am sure that there are a few Facebook users in this household that owns the store, and this image now going viral would definitely bring it into notice. Lets be honest this person is not going to make a million with just a name on his store. They should deal it with the similar grace as coco cola had dealt with their fans with the Facebook page of coco cola.

Another sample would be the above Google Golas that are being sold outside malls in Mumbai again. Its awesome that people are using more than their marketing and creativity skills to come up with these sort of real like mash ups.

Moving along the path is this Saree from Satya Paul, which is based on Google search results. I dont think this will be seen on the streets anytime soon, but to be honest its better if it is not seen on the streets. :)