Archive for the ‘ Dubai ’ Category

India Shining – Construction projects abroad

Gulf news featured an article recently about how Reliance has won a project in the USA for working out GAS processing of a huge Gas deposit along with Atlas Energy. India’s Reliance Industries will join hands with Atlas Energy and pick up a 40 per cent stake in Atlas’s operations in the Marcellus Shale. This natural gas project could hold enough natural gas to satisfy US demand for a decade. The project spans parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New York.

Reliance, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, has been working hard to expand its presence outside India, break into new markets and broaden its various businesses including refining, oil and gas exploration and petrochemicals. I started discussing the same with my friends here, and together we realized that it seems to be like a small trend that is growing.

India has been known for a long time for its software exports as well as agricultural produce, the technology sector including hardware design with the Notion Ink and the Pi also seem to be racing ahead. But a lesser known sector of construction, EPC Contractors (i.e. Engineering, Procurement and Construction) is slowly but surely making its presence felt around the world. Snooping around the internet I found wuite some good examples of companies from India making a mark abroad in EPC.

Starting with Dubai, Dubai’s construction market is mostly comprised of South African companies, but the Electrical engineering world is dominated completely by ETA, a company based in Dubai but owned and operated by a huge Indian work force. Larsen & Tubro are making their presence felt, so is Voltas. Punj Lloyd, Tata Projects and Reliance are now taking major strides in taking over the Dubai Construction scene. The middle east is checkered with projects from the above companies. Moving along, the Indian companies are getting into markets like Europe and Africa at large. Reliance’s entry into US is a good sign.

Having such world class Indian Companies working the ambitions of Indian Architect and developers is making the developments in India world class as well. What still eludes me is why Indian Infrastructure is still so bad ?????

New Invention for Sleep at Airports

The airport Industry is considered the peak in commercial automation in terms of the technologies in use, of course there is Industrial Automation, Military Automation as the other parts or you could say peaks. But in Commercial Automation, working on an Airport is like working on a Spacecraft. The airports often throw up technologies and or gadgets that may in fact one day move into daily life a few examples of these would be travelators, escalators, and image recognition through security cameras etc. I am working on the Dubai Airport expansion project and recently came across this interesting little device from the consultants who have designed the Dubai Airport, Airport De Paris International (ADPi) that they have installed in the Paris Airport as a sample.

Sleep Machines, that allow people to sleep or rest while they wait for flights these seem like amazing machines. It looks just right, the perfect place to catch up on your sleep between long flights. We like its clever design, with sheets that are automatically changed by winding from one roller to another, just like a conveyor belt. Each Sleep Box is decked out with an LCD display, Wi-Fi, a place to stash your luggage, and plenty of sockets for charging up your laptop and cell phone. Sure beats sleeping in a chair. Check out the pictures of the same here below and also the video below.

The Inquisitive Guide for purchasing a new laptop

Instead of a traditional desktop computer, many people are opting to purchase a laptop for use at home and on the go. It is definitely more environmentally friendly (I am referring to power consumption). With so many features to choose from and so many specifications that people talk about, it’s important to know what you need before you buy. Especially when I get asked, “Which laptop is good?”. The answer to that question is then as good as me guessing if Kolkota Knight Riders will win the IPL v3.0, No one can tell you. Not unless you can tell what you are going to use the laptop for.

First and foremost it is important to know what is your primary usage of the laptop. Based on that you can decide for yourself the actual specifications of the laptop. Let’s say that we can broadly classify the laptops in 3 categories:

  1. A. Browse the Internet and do basic computing : You are definitely looking at a netbook which will give you the portability to move around in the house and do very basic work as the processor and configuration are meant for the same.
  2. B. Browse the Internet, Do some work as well as use it for music and entertainment: Now you are looking at a low end laptop that will enable you to do these things with decent hardware to support those functions.
  3. C. Browse, Work, Entertainment, Gaming and Design: As you would have guessed, you need to do a bit more than just the above 2 options and would need a fairly good laptop in order to do it.

If you haven’t gone shopping for a new computer in a while, the laptop ads may strike you as a bit confusing with phrases such as “2GB RAM, 8GB SSD, Level II cache,” etc. Fortunately, a little information is all you need to make sense of today’s laptop jargon. In order to make more sense of the specifications I will explain each term and then tell you what sort of a configuration you would need for optimum performance for the above types A, B and C. Simple enough ? Then let’s start.

Here are the basic features you’re going to want to pay attention to:

Processor: There are many different processors on the market which can make it difficult to find the one that’s right for you. But when you look closely most of the laptops available around use the very famous Intel Processor.

A : Netbooks will ideally use the Intel® Atom™ processors

B : Low end Laptops can do with the Intel® Centrino™ processors

C : High End Laptops would Ideally use Intel® Core™ Processors (Core 2, Core 2 duo etc)

Screen size: The screen size is completely up to your viewing pleasure. By using a smaller screen your portability increases where as by using a larger screen you can work on many things on the same screen real estate. You can choose a tablet-size computer with a screen that’s as small as five inches wide or a desktop replacement laptop with a giant 20-inch screen that’s perfect for playing DVDs, editing photos and videos, or even gaming. The key to making a decision is determining what exactly you expect to do with this new laptop once you get it home.

A : Netbooks ideally would have a 10” screen, enabling good browsing as well as portability

B : Low end laptops might have a 15” screen that would help

C: High end laptops will definitely have a wide screen starting from the 15.4” upto 20” screens

Battery life: These days with amazing advances in processor technology, operating systems, and battery technology, some laptops can run as long as eight hours or more before needing to recharge. Be sure to look at a system that will last as long as you need before recharging. Be it netbooks or even the high end laptops. The Important thing about the laptop batteries is to ensure that you do not leave it connected to the wall outlet all the time. You have to charge and discharge the batteries for optimum life of the batteries, else the batteries life is decreased.

RAM: The first of the Jargons,think of RAM (random access memory) as a way to measure your laptop’s intelligence. You may be able to squeak by with 512 MB of RAM if you’re going to be primarily doing email and surfing the Web, but most computer users will want at least 1 GB or more to run several applications at once. If you can’t afford as much RAM as you would like, you can usually upgrade your RAM down the road. But with new operating systems like the windows 7, vista and the sorts it would be preferable to have a larger RAM for optimum performance. Like they say, you can never have too much RAM.

A : Netbooks would work well with 1 GB of RAM

B : Low end Laptops would need 2 GB of RAM

C: High End Laptops with close to 4GB of RAM is good for good Performance.

CD/DVD drive. A good laptop can act as an entertainment center as well as a business tool. Some disc drives will simply read CD-ROMs while others allow you to record CDs and DVDs, too. However, if you’re looking for the ultimate in portability, like you get in a netbook, a CD and DVD option is not generally an option. Add to it, these devices tend to be power guzzlers and so affect your battery life for longer operation.

A : Netbooks do not usually need a CD/DVD drive

B : Low End Laptops would generally have a CD DVD Drive but most people would prefer having a spare Drive which is more portable.

C: High End Laptops definitely have this as an accessory in the laptop

Storage space: The more storage space you have on your laptop, the better. Though 160 GB means you can load nearly 40,000 songs on your laptop, an internal drive can fill up quickly in just a year or two. Storage space comes in two varieties today—hard drives and solid-state drives (SSD). Though hard drives currently dominate the computer world, solid-state drives are gaining popularity. With no moving parts, an SSD generates little heat, wastes less energy, and can take more punishment than a traditional hard drive. Unfortunately, SSDs tend to cost a lot more, but prices are gradually coming down.

A : Netbooks do well with about 160GB of Hard Drive Space or even less as most of your efforts are not centered to storing and using a large number of files on the netbook.

B : Low End Laptops are different, anything until 320 GB would be of interest when getting one of these

C : High Eng Laptops need to have a lot of Space, 500 GB or more.

One nice thing about hard drives is that you can always buy an external hard drive later down the road to increase your storage capacity as you need to. External hard drives are also nice to back up your information in case your internal hard drive goes bad. The avid downloader needs more than his share of these Hard Drives, because you will find usage for these with the Movies, Series and Songs you are downloading.

Network Connectivity: If your new laptop is WiFi enabled, that means it can use wireless hot spots at coffee shops, libraries, and other public areas, using them to access the Web. More and more businesses and public areas allow you to connect to hotspots free of charge, so you can stay connected almost anywhere these days. Additionally, if you choose to purchase your next laptop with wireless capability, you could choose to set up your own home network so you can be online throughout your house. Most if not all current laptop models contain an Ethernet port, which allows you to connect your computer to a DSL modem and networks that you typically find in a business environment.

Laptops these days have more than just network connectivity Bluetooth for your phones, ample number of USB ports to connect devices like webcams, standby mouse, cameras, camcorders etc. Ensure whatever you buy will have a lot of USB ports on it.

Now software : Well I have a post about the software for your new laptop and it’s here : 11 Must have software for your new laptop.

Buy a piece of the future at Sharaf DG : Power Mats

[tweetmeme] Sharaf DG in Dubai is one of my favorite stores, offering a lot of electronics gadgets and offers at the same time. Personally, my experience is of a kid going to a candy store. I always find something noteworthy and something of utter uselessness when I go there, however it might not stock the latest Google Nexus One or Samsung Droid, it still sports something that grabs my attention.

My pick at my last visit was the Power Mat, well you have heard about normal mats, but this will help your gadgets charge and juice up wirelessly, yes you hears that right wirelessly. We’ve seen quite a few induction-based “wireless power” systems make the scene, and while the idea is interesting both in theory and prototype, actually getting it to market has proven to be quite difficult, with some casualties along the way.  Unlike other induction-based “wireless power” contraptions, this one came out earlier this year as total vaporware and has now resurfaced as a collaborative effort by Michigan-based HoMedics Powermat North America (HPNA).

It seems as though Powermat is a shoe-in to the first company to really hit with something usable, affordable and practical. When you need to give something with a USB port a bit of juice, you can simply plug it into the PowerMat and let it transfer power across. It’s nice and neat, and a simple concept. Of course, it tackles the question of wireless charging, that charges devices without them needing to be attached, but it’s no less interesting for it.

I would have got one except that they do not really support Nokia devices and my N95 would not really make use of it, but really when they support it, I would be more than happy to get it. Priced at about Dhs 300, it is something that will drop price as the sales increase.

Checkit out here:

http://www.powermat.com/us/home/
http://www.sharafdg.com/shop/index.aspx

Dubai Like you have never seen it before

I am a fan of architecture, and photography and videos. When I found some of these videos of HD time laps photography of some of the latest architecture in Dubai, I could not hold my excitement. Here is my share of the excitement. Please wait as all the videos are worth the wait to load.

Before Sunrise

After Sunset

In fact the artist who made the sunrise and sunset photos made also a 2.3 Gigabit (yes that 1.97568496 × 1010 pixels, or 1.97568496 × 1010 dots on the photo) check it below, the video is of the person scrolling the gigantic photo of the Burj Khalifa. Did you know

While we are talking about the Burj Khalifa here is another HD video of the Opening

And 2 of the Fountain

To wrap it all up, the Metro ride in time lapse.

More from the artists here and here.  My special interest is because I did really work on the Burj.

Via Source

Burj Khalifa is NOT the tallest …

[tweetmeme]  The massive Burj Khalifa here in Dubai officially opened after nearly 5 years of work including some from yours truly, It succeeded Taipei 101 as the world’s tallest building. There is no disputing its preposterous height: At 169 stories, or 2,717 feet, the $4.1 billion tower stands a little more than half a mile high. But not everyone agrees that it qualifies as the tallest manmade structure. And suppose it does? Given how fast the Dubai boom bubble has bust, it’s hard not to think of the building as a monument to the false economies of the 2000s.

Countries on the verge of economic ascendancy can be relied on to build the tallest structure in the world as an expression of their ambition. It was true of America when the Empire State Building topped out in 1931, as it was Kuala Lumpur in the late 1990s and Taiwan in the mid-2000s. It was almost inevitable that the Middle East would steal the crown. The problem, of course, is that over the past six years Dubai had become the poster child of the maligned borrow-and-build approach to prosperity. Shares of Emaar Properties, the tower’s developer, have dropped 86% since Dubai real estate peaked about a year ago. The structure had previously been known as Burj Dubai, but at the ribbon cutting ceremony it was officially renamed Burj Khalifa in honor of Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi or so is the official word on it. It might as well be a cost that Dubai had to pay to try and spread its wings before the economy had developed.

Living here in Dubai we all kind of know that, 90% of the tower’s 1,044 condo apartments have been sold, but most were bought as investments and will likely go unoccupied for the time being. The first residents are supposed to move in later this month, but the real-estate crash may cause a good number of buyers to abandon their deals. Nor will there be much demand for the thirty-seven floors set aside for offices. Burj Khalifa may be a shining spiral edifice on the outside, but it’s interiors will be 3.7 million square feet of emptiness, a vertical ghost town. It’s the architectural equivalent of Pamela Anderson’s breasts a puffed up esthetic for an era of disingenuous.

However, it may not be the tallest structure, depending on the type of measurement. The Ursa tension leg platform (pictured above), an oil production facility 130 miles southeast of New Orleans owned by Shell Oil, has a total height of 4,285 feet from the sea floor. However, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, an obscure coterie of engineers that presides over height statistics, does not consider an oil platform a building because it extends underwater, has minimal habitation and supports itself with tethers. So for now, Dubai holds the record, however dubious it may seem.

Confusing Dubai now made a little simpler with Google

Dubai is a place of extremities, on one had you can go out for a Desert Safari, or go down the depth of water to check out the sea life at some of the best under water aquariums and on the other hand you could enjoy a refreshing ski down the artificial ski slope. All within a day’s work. But for a new comer into the city, apart from the taxi or ask a friend there are not too many great options available for getting around the city. Until now, The Roads and Transportation department of Dubai along with Google (Maps to be accurate) have found a solution for this issue. It’s not perfect, but still being worked on since Google Maps as a product is evolving daily. And as RTA suggests on their Bus Stands, Dubai is a Map that gets updated every day.

After talking about Augmented Reality applications and especially one application in the UK where users can point their phone and get information about where they are and where they need to go, its bit of a primitive technology. But, it is going to help out a lot of people anyway. I remember the time when I just came into the city, and during my job hunt getting to places from anywhere seemed like a challenge. I am certain I would have found it easier if this was available then. However here is a 8 step process on how you can use Google Maps for planning your route using Public Transport available in the emirate.

Step 1 : Go to

and click on the ‘set default’ option. Type in Dubai and hit the save button. This will set your Google Map to automatically head to Dubai. This will enable Google Maps identify that it is Dubai indeed that you are looking for directions all the time. Future usage is something I want to be able to cover as well.

Step 2: Select Get Directions option and Select “Public Transport” as an option in Google Maps. The cars option is still being worked upon and might be a little bugged, but the Public Transit option was worked on with RTA and Google and so is in ship shape.

Step 3 : Using your mouse scroll across the city to find your destination or you can even enter it in the point B part of the destination (where Google will suggest you landmarks that are close to where you want to reach). You can double click, zoom or use + and – buttons and icons to the left of the screen just like you would use Google Maps in general. This is similar to operation on Google Earth on your desktop for zooming and finding locations.

Step 4 : Similar operation for starting point location, except that you will select ‘Directions from Here’ In the right click menu or enter into Point A on the screen. Then click on “Get Directions”. This will show all possible directions and routes that you can take using the public transport system.

Step 5 : Click on the individual journeys to find out details about the journeys themselves. This will always show you the route for the time that the search is being made. Not often would you use this feature.

Step 6 : To customize the list of journeys based on timing further, you can click on ‘Show Options ‘ where you can enter the timing of the departure or arrival and the time when you intend to be in that place.

The detail now shows the comprehensive instructions for getting around using public transport in Dubai. Including details like what is the time taken for individual lengths of the journey.

Google Maps is making a difference in the way we are doing our business, in some cases like a colleague in Australia, who wanted to buy property; used Google Earth and Google Street view to avoid the trip to Australia as he was in Dubai. He could make decisions like is it a good neighborhood ? Is there parks etc close by ? What amenities are available in the neighborhood etc. The only hindrances to this now, is how often does Google update the maps and pictures and the accuracy of the information. Especially now that Google Map builder is available for public usage where you can mark up routes on the map to be added into the Google repository.

Have you ever travelled into an unfamiliar part of a city or another country and got lost? Stopping to ask directions from the local people is often the best way to get back on track. Lalitesh Katraggadda’s talk at TED India shows us that by using simple tech tools, locals can provide this knowledge, catalogue it, and store it to make it readily accessible to others. Making maps helps people find their way, indexes resources, and makes society run more efficiently. Check out the talk here.