Ceiling fans – power saving

It is quite coincidental that I am writing second post on the same appliance in the same day – the ceiling fan.

While the previous post is all dark about suicides and all, this one is green.

As we know, resistive fan regulators have been banned for a long time. They were terrible waste of energy. Now at least we pay for the electricity in proportion to the speed of the ceiling fan.

I think a lot of more energy can be saved further by just relocating that ceiling fan.

In a rectangular bed room, a ceiling fan is typically located at the center of the room. This makes the arrangement beautiful – and wasteful.

Typically a ceiling fan in the bed room is used when the users are sleeping on the bed. A bed is seldom in the center of a rectangular room, right?

If the ceiling fan is moved just in the center of the bed, instead of the room, one needs to run the ceiling fan one or two settings down because of reduced distance between the fan and the user.

Simple saving, green life!


Ceiling fans – suicide prevention

You probably won’t feel the pain of this post if you haven’t lost your classmates of college days, resigning to life, hanging on themselves ceiling fans. I have lost one of my such friends – and memories of my term as the assistant coordinator of PG wing of IIT Kanpur during 1993-1995 just makes me even more sad. Suicide prevention teams of IIT’s suggest getting rid of the ceiling fans altogether in favor of table fans. I am not sure what the plans of IITs are or whether it would ever be done.

But, then, someone was thinking! According to the news in a local daily of my mother-tongue, when a teen in the neighborhood of Prof. R.S. Sharma of Jabalpur Government Medical College hanged himself to death, Dr. Sharma didn’t feel sad, he felt challenged.

With the help of local workshops, he made a suicide-proof ceiling fan – by attaching some springs instead of normal pipe on which the fan hangs. If someone tries to hang himself/herself, the springs will just elongate. Try your luck elsewhere!

I hope this news is true – and I congratulate to Dr. Sharma on this. He has applied for the patent – and may be grated.

As a society, we should make it compulsory for ceiling fans to be hung by springs. If that means the doctor turning into a millionaire, let it be so!


House remodeling and an idea about printing

House remodeling is marching on.

Today, it costs INR 14.5 per sqft to paint a wall. It costs INR 100 per sqft for glass. Carpentry costs INR 850 per sqft. Pretty expensive!

One of the most intriguing options is “false ceiling” for INR 55 per sqft. I don’t know what they call it in the US.

The idea is to hide imperfections in the ceiling and provide lighting points at correct places.

A false ceiling is actually a hung artificial ceiling. It is hung with aluminum sections, which in turn are drilled in the ceiling (or a wall). It can’t take any load.

The material used is 4’X6′ gypsum boards. It can take any color, wall paper and finish.  [Some guys even claimed to me that they can make it appear like polished teak!]

Having said that, the most expensive finishing is (obviously) canvas paintings. A 2’X3′ replica of a good painting of Raja Ravi Verman is whopping INR 4,500! phew!

I always dreamed of having “There comes Papa” and “Lady with a lamp” in my sitting room. I find it too expensive!

Then I found them on bamboo rolls for INR 2,800 each – and they were snapped before I can set my hands on them.

Nevertheless, I was suspicious of the longevity of the medium.

This gave me an idea.

Saint Gobain has standard sized 4’X6′ gypsum boards available. These boards can take *any* color.

Why can’t we design a printer for these boards?

After that point, we can just print out of copyright replicas of maestros on a VERY reliable medium with minimal cost!


Imperical principles of interior design

I must have changed around 9 houses after marriage. I have been living in my own house since last 5 years or so.

Of late, we are working towards remodeling our house. We started registering all the points that we think we should change.

Interestingly patterns of changes started emerging. I am registering them here:

  1. Keep as less number of walls as possible. You can always use grills, curtains, glass or acrylic if you need
  2. Keep as less number of lines in the map as possible. Align lines while the plan is being laid out. Be extra careful about the beams and columns. They are thicker than usual walls and may create lines where you didn’t expect. Take extra time to understand beams, which won’t show up on plans
  3. Be careful about the roof slope. It can put the ceiling view in a room in an odd shape
  4. In the master bedroom, keep windows as towards the corners as possible. This frees up space for bigger bed and a picture on the bed
  5. In other places, keep windows to the center of the wall
  6. However bad it looks, keep as many the electric switches in a board as possible. This frees up space for paintings and furniture
  7. Hall/Sitting room/Family room lights are usually towards the wall AND dining space has light centered
  8. Keep the flooring of the same color as far as possible. Uniform flooring beats high cost flooring
  9. Truly useful interiors are somehow shunned by general public. Examples are
    1. foot pedal activated faucets
    2. vitrified tiles, vertical shutters instead of doors
    3. a hand rail in the bathroom
    4. a basket elevator across floors
    5. a strong stone in the kitchen to crack coconuts
    6. modular furniture
    7. moveable walls
    8. rain water storage
    9. A patch of oil paint around switches etc.
  10. Only vertical blinds are useful on windows.  Curtains and horizontal blinds don’t control light and visibility effectively
  11. Keep all the furniture – and even partitions wheeled. A house for party looks different than a house on Monday morning
  12. Do NOT go for solid wood furniture. It is very heavy to move a mahogany bed around
  13. Do NOT go for big furniture. Use small pieces
  14. Have at least 20% of spares for each type of tiles when you construct the house. Tiles companies don’t care about after sales support. I’d prefer to use local stones instead
  15. Lighting and false ceiling planning go together. Spend a lot of time here
  16. Drinking water arrangements are easy to forget to plan
  17. Hooks on the wall are easy to forget to plan
  18. Garden hose has to have a control in your hands, not across a wet lawn!
  19. Sound waves behave differently than VHF waves of cell phone towers! Worry about acoustics if you don’t want to shout at your family AND worry about good cell coverage if you don’t want to shout on the phone
  20. Uninterrupted power supply is important to Wi-Fi modem, cordless phones and other transponders. They, with uninterrupted power connection need to be placed in the center of the house!
  21. Charging for your cells is very important! Make sure each room has a table near to a plug
  22. It is easy to forget to plan for collecting clothes for washing in each bathroom
  23. If you have multiple floors in the house, near to the stairs, keep an area of “collection for other floor(s)”. It saves a lot of going up and down
  24. Plan the garden for the shadow of your and neighbor’s house. This one is tricky!
  25. Plan for the swinging furniture – khaaT, paaT, jhoolo, hinDoLo, paaTiyun, garden jhoolo, single swinging chairs, hammocks – whatever! It takes double the space but multiplies relaxation infinite times
  26. If you are allergic to dust, make sure you don’t get carved furniture, cornices or false ceiling
  27. In warmer places, mosquito proofing supersedes asthetics
  28. In any place, pest proofing supersedes asthetics

What else have you learned from your life that should be added here?

Setting on the top, standing like a book and hanging on the wall

Talk about changing world!

I am remodeling my house. The first casualty is old entertainment center. It was suitable for old CRT TVs. 2 feet deep. After all the TVs in my home became hanging on the wall LED or LCD TVs, it looked very out of place.

Interestingly, I could not gain as much space as I thought before remodeling. Current horizontal nature of appliances around TV are still horizontal, forcing me to keep an L shaped entertainment center.


Accessories to the TV is still living in CRT era.

  • 10″ deep  set-top box is still trying to sit on a box which is hardly 1″ thick
  • A Blu-Ray(R) player designer had happily ignored the fact that TVs were shallower than a tenth of existent DVD players of the day
  • My home theater is crowded to death with buttons just because the designer still chose to lay the PCB horizontal

The only exception was Wii(R).

And you got it correctly. Even Wii got it wrong by standing like a book, not hanging on the wall.


Going by interior fashion of the world, a TV is supposed to get a wall of its own. All other appliances sit at the feet of the TV, taking another dimension.

I bet the designer of those appliances must be cursing their luck for the lack of space on the front panel.

Is anyone listening?

“DESIGN YOUR DVD/Blu-Ray/STB/Apple TV/Game Consoles/Home Theaters AS HANGING ON THE WALL TOO!

You will have as much space for buttons as you want. You will also be able to have fanciful LCD control displays.

Save real estate! Often real estate is expensive than the appliance! People will LOVE this packaging differentiation!”

Get it?

An humble way to health

Objectively speaking, each life form is a food to some other. Human beings are no exception.

Subjectively speaking, letting our kin die at the jaws of animals of prey or diseases is very painful.

We have overdone protection against wild cats. Now wild cats need protection from us.

We have anti venom for most poisonous bites.

Most diseases that can be prevented through immunization have been successfully controlled – starting Small Pox and the latest being Polio.

Suddenly, avoidable reasons for death – cancer (most of this is tobacco), accidents, heart diseases  and diabetes (most of this is bad food and exercise habits) are now bigger threats than fellow life forms.

Can human life expectancy still increase through technological means? Can humans lead better life through technical means? How?

Ironically, the answer was already known to Sushruta. He stated succinctly: Minimize Contact.

Recent fight against malaria in Africa by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is won not by vaccinations and immunizations but by humble mosquito net. Just minimizing contacts with the vectors!

Interestingly, we can fight water-born diseases and flu also this way too.

Foot pedal is our new friend. Just replace taps (faucets) and handles in public buildings with foot pedals. If hospitals can have them, why can’t schools and hotels and airports and railway stations all other places where people gather?

I bet if implemented with zeal, foot pedal can bring flu, jaundice and typhoid outbreaks under control. What comes in contact doesn’t go near mouth and/or nose – simple and effective.

You’d ask what is wrong with sensor based taps (faucets) and doors? Remember two facts

  1. Most of these diseases are pandemic to developing world
  2. Uninterrupted electricity is a luxury in most of developing world

So, electricity or not – just replace handles and taps (faucets) with foot pedals to get rid of water-born diseases and flu.