Friday, March 5, 2010

Avalanche Breakdown (Semiconductor)

IBM researchers invent a device that uses light to help computer chips to communicate. What I found interesting in this is the phenomenon of Avalanche Breakdown in Germanium.

From Wikipedia : "Most of the time, the electron and hole will just move to opposite ends of the crystal and stop. Under the right circumstances, however, (ie. when the voltage is high enough) the free electron may move fast enough to knock other electrons free, creating more free-electron-hole pairs (ie. more charge carriers), increasing the current. Fast-"moving" holes may also result in more electron-hole pairs being formed."

That is, in Germanium, an incoming light pulse frees a few charge carriers that, in turn, free others until the original signal is amplified many times.

More details:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v464/n7285/full/nature08813.html
http://domino.research.ibm.com/comm/research_projects.nsf/pages/photonics.index.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avalanche_breakdown

Thursday, March 4, 2010

View debug/log information inside Eclipse with NTail

Implementing Debugging and Logging functionality in your application will help you a lot when tracing the details of an error - while developing and also after deployment.
There are lot of libraries out there like log4j, which you can integrate with your app for easier log management. Log4j/log4net have the provision to either log the information to a file or send email.
So, will it be helpful if you can directly see the logs in Eclipse that will get updated whenever the log file gets updated ?

Using NTail, you can achieve this. The content of the log file will be shown in a window inside Eclipse which will automatically get updated.

Steps:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Crystal ball juggler at Oberon Mall, Kochi, Kerala

I saw an amazing maneuver of crystal balls at the show in Oberon Mall, Kochi. I had my digital camera with me and recorded some moments from the show. See them below.