Tag Archives: technology

Connecting the world

Ever wondered how easily you get online and punch a few keys to visit that website half way around the world or send messages to your loved ones instantly? Ever thought about how you can do live video chatting with people several thousand miles away? If you are thinking about those communication satellites hovering around the globe make this possible then your information is marginally correct.

Underwater communication lines: Before humans even thought about satellites, we knew a better way to send electric signals between two places kilometers apart. Human communication has been relying on cables for decades before first satellite launch. Engineers just took that thought to the extreme by deploying long and huge communication lines on our ocean beds. Fascinating, isn’t it?

Submarine cable with repeater showing in the picture

Submarine cables have Multi-terabyte bandwidths making them an ideal solution for future of communication. Today our satellites only count for 1% of international communication. Growing network of these submarine cables provides really high reliability incase of a cable break. Engineers can deploy these cables with help of specially designed ships. However, these submarine cables have limitations. Signal through these cables weakens over long distances so manufacturers have to incorporate these cables with repeaters every 6 to 9 km. Another disadvantage is that, in case of a cable break the repair crew has to deep dive to replace whole affected segment and that makes repair work very risky. Advancements in the filed are now allowing robots to do any hazardous underwater work.

Submarine cable deploying ship
Fiber optic submarine cable design

Submarine cable vs. Satellite
Why does most of our data still travel via submarine cables instead of satellites?
Data traffic through undersea optical fiber cables offer advantages in terms of reliability, security, capacity and cost.
Microwave satellite signals take about 0.2 seconds to travel roundtrip from the ground to an orbiting satellite, while optical submarine cables can send data across the Atlantic in 1/20th of that time, resulting in lower latency.
The microwave spectrum available to satellites is limited, while the spectrum available for optical communications has more room for increasing IP traffic.
Wavelength division multiplexing technology increases the capacity carried by single fibers and thereby reduces the number of cables required; deploying fewer and smaller cables is then more cost efficient for the amount of capacity versus the high cost of deploying and maintaining satellites. [osa-open.org]

If you are curious, check the map below to get some idea of how the world is connected or click here to view an interactive updated map.

Submarine cables map, 2009

Automatic Soap Dispensers

I have always been fascinated with automated systems. Automated processes are almost always smart ways to cut efforts of performing redundant and obvious activities.  

Let me elaborate this by giving example of automated doors. The idea is to avoid activity of ‘pushing/pulling the door’. If any person is approaching the door it is most likely that the person will push/pull the door to pass through it. The idea is most effitiently utilized at entrances to public places, like airport or hospitals.

This same principle can be applied to your household appliances and it works pretty well for automatic soap dispensers. After trying about a couple of soap dispensers and returning them, I came accross one brand which lived upto it’s promises. Simplehuman Automatic Soap Dispenser is one of the best auto soap dispensers in the market. I would like to say it’s the best you can get under $50. 


Above two models are the most selling ones and ideal for bathroom and kitchen respectively. I have tried, BetterHomes, iCooker and some other wierd brand before ending up with Simplehuman.  Choose wisely.

Of course, Simplehuman auto dispensers  are cheap on amazon and other online stores but, you can also find them in your local stores in case you want to return them. In fact, I got them from Macy’s at a discounted price which was definitely lesser than any online stores. Be aware that both models above have chrome finish. There are a few other colored options available which are about $10 cheaper than chrome ones.

Get State Travel Guides

paper map and gps on iphone.jpgDigital age is consuming everything that has to do anything with paper. We are moving from managing file drawers to managing online and cloud enabled storage for personal and professional data, we stopped making todo lists on papers and moved to apps, we stopped reading paperbacks and moved to Kindle and iPads. Similarly we don’t use huge paper maps, now  we use GPS and Google maps. This all sounds fascinating but, sometimes it’s better to take a step back and check what we might be missing.

I live in north-east region (USA) and since I got my car I was always confused about places to go on weekends or holidays. Trust me you do not want to drive 50 miles to find bunch of trees and a small pond. Of course we can search for destinations online that’s what I do all of the time but, when we search on internet for something we always search for same things; for example, specific cuisine that we like or limited activities that we do or hear friends do. So, if you are tired of searching for places and have been disappointed a few times you might want to take a step back to paperback technology and get a State Guide Book.

State guide book is all the information a traveler or even a resident needs to go around interesting places. They usually come with huge map with lots of POIs (Point/place of Interest) around the state. An online map can give you everything of that but only when you look for it, whereas the guide map might be a little old school but just puts all the information there in front of your eyes. Bottom line, you get more options to consider. These guide books also have advertisements about hotels, motels and attractions with discount coupons. They also have targeted zoomed maps for bigger cities such as New York and Atlantic City. Give it a try and you might find new places to go even around you. Checkout a few links below where you can order state guides for FREE!!!

New York – http://nycgo.k-online.biz/cgi-bin/73DBC163/mac/qryitems.mac/itemDisplay?qryType=GRPSG

New Jersey – http://www.visitnj.org/guide-order

Pennsylvania – http://www.visitpa.com/guide-request-email-newsletter

Delaware – http://www.visitdelaware.com/visitors/travel-guide/

Connecticut – http://www.ctvisit.com/getawayguide

Maine – https://www.visitmaine.com/guidebook/?vm=02putto4ue9nevu6a4dqo8e5s3

New Hampshire – http://www.visitnh.gov/planning-and-travel-tools/order-your-free-visitors-guide.aspx

Have a happy and eventful summer 🙂

Please post any links you know for your own state in comments.