Sunday, September 7, 2014

A house with rooms that turn 90-degree

Been itchy to blog for a long time now, and the slow pace in the implementation of the RE and the never ending power supply issues here seem to flame this urge even more. But the semester is busy and blogging has to take the back seat for now.

Anyway, this popped up in my 'green stuff' email subscription recently. Apparently, in the name of efficiency and adaptability, some innovative architects in Iran came up with weather defying house design: A house with 90o rotating rooms. How about that for creativity.

Rotate your room according to the sun position, season or for functional requirement. Photo sourced from archdaily.

Called the Sharifi-ha House, it is a seven-floor house in Tehran with three rectangular rooms that can rotate up to 90o in accordance with the season. The design was inspired by Iranian mansions that had separate living rooms for both summer and winter.

When extended outward, the spaces offer each floor its own terrace. The rooms serve a functional purpose as well - the lowest is a breakfast area, the middle a home office and the top was planned as a guest room.

How it work

The owner is importing CNC and other similar industrial German machines, and the structural system is to be fabricated in Germany. This custom CNC-machined mechanisms functions like the turntables used at auto shows.

"In summertime, Sharifi-ha House offers an open/transparent /perforated volume with wide, large terraces. In contrast, during Tehran’s cold, snowy winters the volume closes down, offering minimal openings and a total absence of those wide summer terraces." - archdaily

Source: If you are interested, there is extensive details here at archdaily.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Five charging myths & One fact

As I travel quite a lot these days, battery life of my mobile devices become a bit of a concern. This is more so as I don't carry with me backup battery or power bank. Sure, there are some power socket outlets there at major airports, but they are limited and you find most of the time that, someone is already sitting near that corner doing the obvious.

Iimage: Sporacle

Do these captions sound familiar to you?:
  • "Don't use your phone while it's charging,"
  • "Don't leave it plugged in overnight"
  • "Always let it die completely"

WRT battery life, there are many little rules for what you can and can't do with your smartphone. While plenty of real rules exist, there are several rumored ones you can simply ignore. Let's look at the 5 phone charging myths (as debunked by mashable) I read this while sitting at the airport waiting to board the plane:

Myth 1: Using off-brand chargers destroys batteries.

The truth: Off-brand chargers, while not optimal, are fine.

It's knockoffs you should avoid. Don't go for cheap brand knockoff chargers when you can at least purchase inexpensive, off-brand chargers (as long as they're made by legitimate retailers. Some experiment to of comparison: knockoffs and off-brand models.

Myth 2: You shouldn't use your phone while it charges.

The truth: Use it all you want, as long as you're not using a disreputable third-party charger.

There are scary reasons behind this myth. People believe that using a phone while charging will make the phone explode, or electrocute the user. That actually happened to a Chinese flight attendant named Ma Ailun in July 2013, when she used her iPhone 4 while it was charging.

However, reports say it's because Ailun was using a third-party charger, not an original Apple charger. If you're using the manufacturer-approved charger and battery, you should be fine.

Myth 3: Charging your phone overnight kills the battery.

The truth: Your phone is smarter than you think. Once it's fully juiced up, it knows to stop charging. That means the battery isn't even in use at all.

However, that doesn't mean you should be charging your phone all night, every night. You wouldn't fill a cup with water if it was already full, would you? Your battery life will last longer if you keep your phone charged between 40% and 80%.

Myth 4: You don't need to turn your phone off - ever.

The truth: Your phone may be a machine, but it still needs to take a few breaks. An Apple Genius said that in order to maximize battery life, you should turn off your phone from time to time, especially when you go to bed at night.

At the very least, Apple experts recommend turning your phone off once a week in order to preserve battery life.Turning off your phone is important for Android devices as well. A simple reboot can help restore battery life.

Myth 5: Don't charge your phone until it's completely dead.

The truth: It's better to charge your phone every day than to do a "deep charge" from time to time.

Lithium-ion batteries, like the kind used in Samsung and Apple products fare better when they're charged. If you constantly let them drain to 0%, they become unstable. Your battery has a finite number of charge cycles, and every time it fully dies, that's another cycle out the window.

Alright, okay, at lease we have one fact about phone charging:-

Fact: Heat will ruin a battery.

The truth: This is absolutely true. Heat and tech don't generally go hand-in-hand, and that's no different with phone batteries. Lithium-ion batteries heat themselves, and get hotter while they're being charged. Cold weather can also have a negative impact on a phone's life, and a cold battery will die faster than usual in low temperatures.

Your phone will be safe if you keep it within its recommended temperatures; Apple says 32o F (0o C)is the lowest recommended temperature for an iPhone's environment. Samsung, on the other hand, guarantees its phones can function anywhere between -4 (-20C) and 122o F (50o C).

Note: Phone batteries have evolved so much over the years, becoming smarter and easier to manage. Most lithium-ion batteries, used by major retailers, should last between three and five years, if you take proper care of it.