Photo of the Day (10.04.10)

One of my favorite songs is “Somebody’s Watching Me” by Rockwell. Sure, he only got to record it because he was Motown chief Berry Gordy’s son. But it features a chorus sung by Michael Jackson and Jermaine Jackson (one of the top seven Jacksons) on backing vocals. It’s a fantastic song and a real anthem for paranoia.

This fantastic photo by Flickr user Flavio@Flickr is best enjoyed while listening to Rockwell. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that your nosy neighbor isn’t watching your every move.

Have a picture you took while spying on someone? Or, perhaps more appropriately, just some great travel photos? Submit your images to Gadling’s Flickr group and we might use one for a future Photo of the Day.

Bring games – Road trip tip

Entertaining kids — or adults! — on a road trip is all about what’s in the bag. Bring along an eco-friendly grocery tote stuffed with some of your favorite items that aren’t heavy or messy. Some key items to pack include:

  • write on/wipe off boards with appropriate markers
  • an Etch-a-Sketch
  • a Rubik’s Cube
  • trivia cards
  • books and/or magazines with entertaining or funny questions or quizzes
  • a book of Mad Libs

Paris Air Show 2009: New 787 Dreamliner window shade technology

If you’ve been following the development of the Boeing 787, you may have heard about the electronic shades on their extra-large passenger windows.

So far, we’ve had to imagine how effective this technology would be, knowing it would be over a year before the first revenue flight of the Dreamliner.

Luckily, we managed to find the PPG Industries booth at the Paris Air Show, and scored a demonstration of this signature feature of the 787 known as Alteos Interactive Windows.

We’ve all been on airliners with plastic shades that frequently become stuck between the interior panel above the window. Sitting in that seat can be torturous on a sunny day. Not to mention the scratches they produce on the plexiglass inner pane.

Boeing and the airlines have found that these mechanical window shades represent an added maintenance cost, and for that reason, these reliable electronic shades will be a standard feature on all Boeing 787s and possibly other airliners in the future.

Passengers will be able to control the windows through five different settings, which take about a minute and a half to go from full dark to fully bright, at least on the version we saw. While this delay is a limitation of the design, the gradual transition could be a nice feature for passengers sleeping nearby.

Mark A. Cancilla, Director of Commercial Transparencies at PPG gave us a demonstration:

Flight attendants will have some control over the cabin as well. During a movie or as the sun begins to rise after a transatlantic flight, they’ll be able to lower the brightest setting without eliminating the view for someone who would rather look outside. And catching one of those sunrises can be more entertaining than an old sitcom episode you’ve seen three times that month anyway.

For some reason, I had imagined the darkest setting wouldn’t be dark enough, but I was thrilled to discover that PPG had designed a system that would allow as little as just .1% of the light to come through. Boeing has chosen a range of 70% transparency down to .1% for the Dreamliner over the five available steps.

The technology for these windows originally came from the automotive industry. In fact, you may have it in your car. The auto-dimming rear view mirror found in newer cars is the same technology behind these shades.

But will this technology make it into the pointy-end of the airplane or will pilots continue to resort to newspapers and safety briefing cards to shade themselves from the sun? We learned a bit about the 787’s cockpit windows and the new technology they’ll be using as well.

Check out the rest of Gadling’s Paris Air Show coverage.


Photo of the Day (6/18/09)

Gadling’s photo of the day today was taken by Sean Roskey, who managed to capture this shot of Gadling’s editor, Grant Martin enjoying a tour of the 767 cockpit given by yours truly before heading off to the Paris Air Show.

Given Grant’s near destruction of Virgin Australia’s 777 simulator, we made sure he didn’t touch anything.

Are you a Flickr user who’d like to share a travel related picture or two for our consideration? Submit it to Gadling’s Flickr group right now! We just might use it for our Photo of the Day!

Photo of the Day (1.12.09)

I’ve always had a thing for images which give a glimpse into the everyday life in a foreign land. This shot, captured by in Brussels, Belgium, is a great example of this — you get the feeling you just missed the person leaving their blankets to air out in the open window, and you wonder what additional chores are being attended to inside. Lovely shot.

If you’ve got some great travel shots you’d love to share, be sure to upload them to the Gadling pool on Flickr. We might just pick one as our Photo of the Day.