Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Food elevator

This (picture) should jolly well work in Luk Yu Teahouse, Hong Kong. You can argue about holding on to dim-sum traditions but the heavy loads of dim sum over the waiters'/waitresses' shoulders, need to be lightened, especially when they have to climb steep stairs to serve the customers. If you have not seen them, read about them here.

A FOOD the rescue.

I know that is no new invention but it just surprises me when an old store -老店 can embrace that.

Using a food elevator when your eatery establishment has two or more storeys will certainly make operations more efficient.

How it works?
1. You order your food after you are seated (assuming you are not seated on the ground floor)
2. They will take down your orders on a chit and you are given a number
3. They "drop" your orders (somehow, but I don't know how) to the kitchen which will then prepare your food
4. When ready, the dishes will be place on trays and up the elevator they go
5. Your order number is called
6. You collect your food at the food elevator/station

Photo was taken at A-Gei -阿給老店 in Tamsui, Taiwan.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Travel without luggage

While I was reading about Luggage Free and Luggage Forward in NY Times today, I thought of a similar convenient service here in Taiwan - 黑貓宅急便. It all seems new but who would have thought Japan has this convenient service - Takuhaibin- that included the transportation of luggage long time ago. The point of having convenient service, domestic or international, is to have ...yes, CONVENIENCE. Taiwan's T-Cat (黑貓宅急便) has made it so by partnering with 7-Eleven. Well, you could arrange pick up at 7-Eleven since 7-Eleven is touted as the most dense network in this country.

And if all these services are reliable, transportation of bulky luggages while you travel will indeed cut down on air traffic and delays. You just have to put your luggage through a different transportation route when you travel on a plane in future. With so much air traffic restrictions, this might be a good idea. Plus, you don't have to claim your baggage at the destination airport if the luggage transportation service offers door-to-door delivery (means from your home, straight to the hotel you staying, just an example). Now, you can even think about almost any items when you travel. Golf vacation - your golf clubs and sets. Cycling - your bicycles!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Innovative ways to reduce solar panel production cost

I was browsing Technology Review and found this short article on reducing cost of solar panels. One reason for solar panels not being accepted as mainstream is because of COST. The use of silicon in manufacturing of solar panels has made it expensive to produce and costly to buy. These are a few innovative ways to reduce cost.

1. Using clear molded plastic (cheaper raw material) as a collector. To gather the light and funnel it to silicon strips. Since silicon strips only account for half the panel's real estate, less Si material is used

2. Using manufacturing equipment already developed for the semiconductor industry, instead of expensive customized equipment

3. Effectively locate the wires for collecting current and optimizing wires to collect electricity more efficiently

4. Mass production

Partial source: Technology Review

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Bamboo - the next new performance material

Well, they say "longevity" is the new "sustainability" in the future go-green concept. Well, if you hear corn being pursued for future fuel, using natural materials rather than man-made for fabrics....hmmm...I start asking if all these are "protecting the environment" ? Let's take an example of Asus Eco Book which is supposed to be made of laminated bamboo strips. The laptop will be practically toxin-free since a natural wood is used. But can you imagine how much bamboo has to be harvested if bamboo is indeed proven to work to replace plastics and metals? Now they need to ensure heat insulation and other reliability issues work right through in bamboo laptops and/or other electronic gadgets. Is bamboo casing just for aesthetics or performance ?

Bamboo is even touted as the next "metal frame" for bicycles?