Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Blue Dragon River-Odeleite River

potd Photo of the Day: The Blue Dragon
Odeleite River, Portugal, Photo by Steve Richards@copyright

Friday, October 24, 2014

TheDesignAir’s Top 10 Premium Economy Classes 2014

credit/By  and
Picture 85Our TheDesignAir Top 10 lists have undergone a revamp in 2014, and to aid transparency, our top 10 airlines will now have their rating out of 100 shown, as voted for and calculated by our judging panel. This month we cover our top 10 premium economy classes. With airlines investing more into their new mid-cabin classes, competition is stronger than ever, and with Lufthansa, Hawaiian and Cathay all pushing their new cabin classes this year, and introducing new elements, scores are no doubt going to change. This said, recently, Singapore Airlines announced they too would be entering this field next year too. So hold on to your extra legroom folks, as we review this years top 10 premium economy experiences.
10. Hawaiian Airlines
6351 Rae Huo photo for Hawaiian Airlines 10/13seats
64Our only entrant this year that actually is just a regular economy seat with just added legroom. Hawaiian have developed an already-premium product for Northern American carriers and with adding a little more legroom, they have cleverly created 5 rows of heaven on every A330 from August 2014. The new cabin offers 36 inches of legroom, comfy pillows and blankets. And being Hawaiian, the complimentary food and drink is now supported by complimentary IFE, priority boarding, and on International flights a premium food selection. Sadly, without the seat upgrade and not being available on their slightly older 767 fleet, the score was reduced slightly. Still, a great new product, great service, and worth being on our Top 10 list. Other Northern American carriers take note. This is how you do it!
09. Lufthansa
Premium Economy Class window view
65Another brand new entrant into the field, Lufthansa are offering extra space and a bigger seat on their 747-8 fleet (to start with) with 50% extra space per seat compared to Lufthansa’s economy seats, this new cabin concept seemed the perfect addition to Lufthansa’s long-haul fleet. We love the executive look, the clean lines, and the spacious (and now standard) 38inch seat pitch. What we also like is the fact that the airline has thought about this product heavily, and when it is launched, in Autumn this year, passengers in the cabin can even buy lounge access for as little as €25. The front row of this mini cabin is great, offering a leg-rest, but be ready to sacrifice a couple of inches on your IFE screen. This is one cabin we would be happy to spend hours in.
08. Qantas
70Qantas may have had their premium economy since 2008, but the Marc Newson inspired cabin offers its passengers up to 40 inch of seat pitch, moveable TV screens found in the armrests, and a comfortable 19.5″ seat width. Premium Economy is perfectly suited for the long haul nature of Qantas, and the airline does it well. Footrests at every seat, premium economy dining options and noise cancelling headsets, the cabin features everything a passenger could want. But the modern and comfortable seats, excellent design elements and extra comfort touches makes Qantas a sure hit in our Top 10 this year.
07. Openskies
73Whilst everyone might not have heard about OpenSkies, it is certainly worth a look. Operating between New York and Paris (Orly) the carrier, a sister airline of British Airways is all about a more ‘intimate and luxurious travel experience’. Their self titled ‘Prem Plus’ class, offered on their 757 fleet, is more a North American First Class offering, with 130 degree recline and up to 47 inch seat pitch, big comfy armchair recliners and an excellent in-flight offering. With just a 2 x 2 seating arrangement, these seats are not only spacious, but give a sense of privacy that other airlines struggle to provide. We love the earthy leather finishes, the fast track through security and naturally being Apple lovers, the iPads used for IFE entertainment. Also the use of Orly means for a quicker airport experience, we just wish they offered more routes.
06. Turkish Airlines
74Turkish Airlines have gone leaps and bounds in terms of inflight product over the past few years. ‘Comfort Class’ Turkish Airline’s premium economy product is another example of how airline’s can create a successful product that fits perfectly between traditional business classes and economy classes. Available only on their brand new 777-300ER fleet, the new class offers 46inch seat pitch, 19.5inch seat width and configured in a 2 x 3 x 2 format, meaning less middle seats, something that has always been a drawback of long haul premium economy seat configurations (usually two centre seats) The almost 11inch monitors offer a wide array of entertainment and the tables located in the armrests can be used at a slight angle to prop up your own portable media player. Excellent dining options and priority boarding and disembarking options mean that the comfort class doesn’t fail to deliver across the board – even though sadly, it’s being phased out by the airline!
05. Eva Air
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75Although not originally classed as premium economy, Eva Air offers one of the longest running ‘premium’ economy experiences, launching the product back in 1992 on their 747 fleet. If you are unable to afford their brand new business class, then head for their premium economy option. Dubbed ‘Elite’ or ‘Evergreen Deluxe Class’ expect standard 38inch seat pitch, while cushion width is a comfortable 19.5 inches. Business travellers can keep on top of their work thanks to convenient power outlets for laptop computers and other electronic devices. And a touch of the 8.4-inch colour screen, a world of entertainment options awaits. Naturally, all entertainment is AVOD, and on their new 777 fleet, offer a 2 x 4 x 2 configuration. We love the properly thick heavy blankets on offer, perfect for snuggling into on long haul flights, whilst the food isn’t really any better than that in economy, the extra space, and power sockets at every seat make for a much more comfortable experience, and the seats being decently padded, are really super comfy.
04. Cathay Pacific
78When we reviewed Cathay’s Premium Economy late last year, we fell in love with the product. Originally super huge fans of the Virgin Atlantic product we were weary that anything could compare. Yet we were blown away. The seats are super comfortable, and with standard Cathay Pacific service, the product was virtually faultless. Naturally seats with leg rests (front row only), big TV screens, AVOD and noise cancelling headsets, we were transported from London to Hong Kong in what felt like moments rather than hours. The food too was exceptional, and we are still waiting to find eggs cooked onboard that can match what we experienced with this carrier. The little elements such as premium toiletries in the bathrooms and different amenity kits just enhance an already premium carrier’s premium economy experience.
02. Virgin Australia [ joint ]
80The fact that Virgin are sharing two of the three top premium economy’s just prove the group knows how to do this cabin class right. Virgin Australia sneaks in at joint 2nd, due to their premium space, premium product and recently renovated cabins. The new leaf motif that now runs through the Virgin Australia brand matches the designs found in their new lounges, and with 38inch seat pitch, inset power and the most awesome award winning RED entertainment system, its the perfect place to perch yourself for Virgin Australia’s long hay flights between Oz and the US. We love the little reading lights, the fun elements found in the cabin, and obviously the glamorous and fun-loving cabin crew and the order at your seat function on the IFE is a welcome bonus.
02. Virgin Atlantic [ joint ]
virgin atlantic_03
80Now that the whole fleet has had its refresh, Virgin Atlantic have managed to keep their head held high, offering still one of the best premium economy experiences in the world. With their own dedicated check in, large leather seats, welcome drinks, excellent IFE and premium dining options, this cabin was the benchmark that all other airlines had to work to, as it was one of the original premium economies found in the market. Whilst Virgin Atlantic’s premium economy seat is fantastically comfortable, especially compared to their fairly tight economy cabin section, the difference in price is well worth it. We still love all the little extras, from cocktails to ice-cream, the cabin is intimate enough to have excellent service, and depending on the type of flight, you can experience either touchscreen AVOD or easy to use AVOD entertainment that is still seen as some of the best in the skies.
01. Air New Zealand
88Perhaps the best innovator in the skies right now, Air New Zealand have managed to secure our coveted number one spot on our Top 10 premium economy classes 2014. There is a mix of cabins here, either their fantastic space seat, or their new 787 premium economy seat. Both offering unparalleled comfort and innovation. For those travelling as a couple, the space seat is perfect, offering a little more snuggle room (perhaps not so good flying with a business partner) and a lot more privacy compared to regular premium economy cabins. Hell… white leather? Yes please! We love the effortless design aspects here. Flying in the cabin certainly feels more ‘2001 Space Odyssey’ than Long-haul flight. With the fixed shell design (not to everyone’s taste) you have no fear of dunking your seat into the seat behind’s food when you recline.
As for the 787-9, expect Cathay style seats, with leg rests in every row but also expect a whopping 41″ of seat pitch, that’s huge, and surpasses the 38″ standard seat pitch and a whopping 11″ touchscreen TV (all the better for watching their awesome safety videos on). Whilst not as futuristic as the SpaceSeat found on the rest of their long haul fleet, this is one premium economy seat we wouldn’t mind trading for! Well done Air New Zealand, for making beautiful design and beautiful product work in harmony.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Second Anniversary

Today, please allow me to greet my blogsite Nature's Eye: a Second Anniversary. I never thought I will still be posting up to this moment. I was for quite sometime lost for words and ideas as a writer's blockout came to me for many times that I lost count. My respect to bloggers and writers who keeps writing with so much passion rain or shine. Being in this modern times, I thought signing up there or register here will increase my reader or pageview traffic but it does not work that way. Before my blog was full  of ads that even I can not read my blog clearly which is so annoying that is why I removed a lot of code and I did no t expect the result has increased my viewers. Thank you so much everyone in one point or the other you happened to pass by my blog or through my blog I was able to help you be informed. My motto in life is " The more you get to know about little things the more you will realize how little you know. " 

The truth about in blogging there is no formula... sometimes it works today but next time it won't. There are some will advice you  at least to post twice or thrice a week or just posts regularly.There were times when I posted new article I get to have a lot of views and  there were times as if I no one noticed my new article. And what surprised me the most is when I was not posting any blog at all (ran out of ideas or when I was so busy) and yet it is all time high. In the end what matters most to me is to hope in my own little way I was able to inform,inspire
photo: and  me is in the red one..
and help you. One again thank you  Everyone... 

I wish I get to post about myself and the travel I did this year in Singapore. I am not confortable talking about myself even just to describe myself only one thing is for sure I always describe myself as a proud mom and blogger. Allow me to brag a little of how I feel . The best reward that I received  is when some of my students for such a long time I did not hear from them then all of a sudden send me a message thanking me that I helped them in my own little waythe subject that I was teaching them and seeing my two sons to become successful. My eldest son,  who is a as a Company Nurse and my youngest son is a 1st year college student taking up B.S. Computer Scinece ,who is a scholar in a state college in our city. I feel so old na... I do not know what picture is best to feature this post but no matter what I hope to hear from all of you soon.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Microsoft will replace its Nokia brand with ‘Microsoft Lumia’

It’s been a gradual process since Microsoft finalized the deal to acquire Nokia’s Devices & Services division back in April, but we finally have some clarity on what will happen to the Nokia brand in the hardware realm – though it may not surprise you.
As noted in this Nokia France Facebook post, followers will be notified of a name-change to the Page in the coming days, and it will now be called…[drum roll]… Microsoft Lumia. The Verge has also confirmed that this social media-rebranding will continue in other countries in the coming weeks.
Microsoft has been slowly redirecting some Nokia pages over to, and many would probably have guessed that Microsoft Lumia was a safe bet to replace the Nokia brand on devices. While the Nokia brand will of course live on, given that the Finish company still exists as a standalone entity (it launched HERE maps for Android just today), it’s a notable development nonetheless.

Check also this out: 

Microsoft “loves Linux” as it makes Azure bigger, better

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fashion Icon Oscar de la Renta Dies at 82

photo:Good Morning America and

Legendary fashion designer Oscar de la Renta has died, a family member told ABC News. He was 82.
De la Renta, who most recently designed Amal Clooney's wedding dress, was diagnosed with cancer in 2006.
Born in the Dominican Republic in 1932, de la Renta left home at 18 to study painting in Madrid. It was there he developed a love of fashion design and began an apprenticeship with Cristóbal Balenciaga, who became his mentor, and then, landed a job with Lanvin in Paris.
"When I first arrived here in 1963, all the names on clothes were the name of [the store]," he told Gotham magazine last year. "You made your clothes, you sold them to the store, and they quickly removed the label and put the label of the store. If it was a dress at Saks Fifth Avenue, the label was Saks Fifth Avenue. Bergdorf Goodman was Bergdorf Goodman. But it was a time of transition."
He made his name in the early 1960s when first lady Jaqueline Kennedy frequently wore his designs, and launched his own label in the mid-1960s.

Lucas Jackson/Reuters
In 1965, the designer launched his own label, and soon caught the eye of former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Other first ladies including Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton would follow suit, as well as a bevy of A-list stars, from Amy Adams to Sandra Bullock to Jessica Biel and countless others.
Since Kennedy, first ladies Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush all frequently wore de la Renta gowns.
He also launched a successful bridal line, and most recently, designed Amal Clooney's wedding gown.
"George and I wanted a wedding that was romantic and elegant, and I can't imagine anyone more able than Oscar to capture this mood in a dress," she told Vogue last month. "Meeting him made the design process all the more magical, as he is so warm and such a gentleman."Amal Clooney
credit: Good Morning America

Radiology in the Cloud

Cross-posted on the Google for Work blog. Japan faces a critical shortage of radiologists. Although major hospitals are well equipped to conduct scans, the scarcity of experts to read them and give patients their diagnoses means that people, especially those in rural areas, often have to wait a long time to discover their results. This can have tragic consequences for people with serious conditions. To address this shortage and help people get accurate diagnoses faster, Medical Network Systems Inc. (MNES) in Hiroshima started running a remote diagnosis service in 2000. Rather than waiting for patients to come to hospitals, we bring the radiology equipment to them. This teleradiology service has helped combat the challenge of getting scanning technology to people in remote areas; however, we are still short on specialists that can read the scans, and we wanted to find ways to give access to patients in areas without specialists. Last year, our team started using Google Cloud Platform to power our remote-diagnosis systems. Patients used to be given a hard copy of their scan to take to a doctor or specialist. Moving the process to the cloud speeds everything up. All of our buses are equipped with CT scanning machines, so our technicians upload images and scans right from the bus. Specialists can then log into the system from wherever they’re working and see the scans and diagnose the patient remotely. Reading scans is a very specialized process. Radiologists must examine lots of images and scans in a very particular sequence, and it’s important that this process isn’t laggy or slow. One of the benefits of using Google’s services is that they can handle massive volumes of information. Google App Engine processes the images and data in the right sequence and enables us to cross reference patient inputs with existing radiographic and pathological information. Instead of waiting for a few days or a week for a diagnosis, which was the usual turnaround for our teleradiology service, patients get their results within a few hours. And it’s not just our patients benefiting from remote diagnosis; enabling our radiologists to work from anywhere has meant that many of our female specialists are able to stay in the workforce — diagnosing scans while working from home and taking care of their kids. With so few radiologists in Japan, this flexibility helps us keep skilled technicians in the workforce. We’re optimistic about the potential for cloud-based technology to enrich our understanding of pathological issues and believe it signals a new chapter for the healthcare industry by removing geographical barriers between patients and doctors. - Posted by Dr. Naoyuki Kitamura, CEO, Japan’s Medical Network Systems Inc. source:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

TheDesignAir’s Top 10 International Business Classes 2014

credit/   and
TheDesignAir Top 10 lists have undergone a revamp in 2014, and to aid transparency, our top 10 airlines will now have their rating out of 100 shown, as voted for and calculated by ourjudging panel. What is interesting for our Top 10 International business classes 2014 is the wide ranging percentage scores within the top 10. Many airlines scored between 60 and 70%, and quite a few just missed out on the top 10 list. 5 of last years list have dropped down the list, signalling the ever changing product levels throughout the industry. Our top 10 really reflects airlines that have invested into their product, or who still are seen as innovators.
10. British Airways [ new entry ]
Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 12.48.22
79percent2013 saw British Airways launch its new 787 and A380 aircraft slowly being rolled out across the network, and with this, the newly improved ‘Club World’ seats. Whilst we aren’t the biggest fans of the back to front seating configuration of the cabin (because of climbing over your neighbour), the improved seats fit perfectly with the new look premium economy and first class cabins. Whatsmore, in the 787 cabin, the solo rear facing seats in the centre of the cabin are the epitome of privacy. The new fleet are just the touchstone of the improvements across the network, including new business class lounges and spas, and improving service levels including at seat drinks service (rather than from the trolley). Even more, the new IFE, with better resolution screens and improved seats make sure that BA keeps on top of its product, offering the best it possibly can. However, with many One World carriers now embracing the reverse herringbone seats with greater space per passenger, we question how long BA will keep hold of the more cumbersome seat layout they have.
9. Virgin Australia [ new entry ]
SHOT 03_100_Crop
80percentVirgin Australia may be new to our list, but its product is long lasting (since the launch of its 777 fleet) and the alignment of the V Australia and Virgin Australia brands have brought together a more unified product. The Virgin Australia experience is one of three Virgin brands that are in our list, and is of great competition to Qantas. Their business class product includes an inflight bar and the infamous row 5, which is super private and intimate and super friendly cabin crew. On the ground, an ever improving product, with a great new lounge in Melbourne is testament to the investment the airline is making into their product. Virgin is seen around the world as a market leader, and their friendly cabin service, comfortable seat and added social extra of an inflight bar, means the offering is better better than ailing Qantas.
8. Etihad [ +1 previously 9th ]
83percentEtihad has featured for the last two years running for good reason. Their product is still an impressive forerunner in the airline industry. We love the staggered seating environment, their clean modern lines that really make the airline a contemporary business class which the worldly traveller will have come to expect in this day and age. Mix together fine dining, massage functions, a fully flat bed seat, and each one of these boxes are well and truly ticked. Whilst the ‘World’s Leading Airline 2013′ has an award list as long as it’s arm, the business class cabin itself hasn’t won any awards for the past couple of years, but we here think this cabin is consistently of award winning quality, and firmly deserves its place in our Top 10 list. Plus secretly we are huge fans of the ‘Humbug’ bedding, super chic!
7. Virgin America [ new entry ]
85percentSo whilst strictly speaking Virgin America‘s short haul aircraft aren’t the first thought when it comes to international travel, with their flights across the border to Mexico, they do fall into this category. The second of our Virgin brands to enter the list, this little upstart airline just oozes cool. So they don’t have flat beds, or a turn down service, but these international flights are short hops and they pack a punch. Big white leather recliners, AVOD that is full of hidden extras and both The Loft in LAX or the Virgin Clubhouse in San Fran as bases, mean that it’s never been cooler to fly to Mexico than now. The service is brilliant, the food excellent and the seats super comfortable, but what we love the most is the mood lighting, in seat messaging, and wifi onboard. If only all American carriers could follow the mantra of Virgin America.
6. Virgin Atlantic [ -3 previously 3rd ]
Virgin Atlantic.indd
86percentVirgin Atlantic recently won our Top 10 Cool Airline brands 2014. The airline was the first airline to introduce Premium Economy and first to introduce individual IFE screens to business class passengers. It has been an innovator since it first started, and whilst it hasn’t created anything really groundbreaking in the past few years, it’s still an airline of choice. Whether travelling on their slightly older Upper Class Suite or their newer one, expect privacy, and a fully flat bed with separate mattress side for a more comfortable sleep. Also extras such as PJs, amenity kits and now onboard wifi on the A330s mean the airline is offering more of a first class product, but manages to match the price of British Airways. They also feature higher on the list than their BA counterparts due to a few key reasons, no trolley service (bar the afternoon tea service) more friendly pro-active cabin crew, and that extra privacy. Whilst best for solo travellers, the ottomans still mean it is possible to dine with a partner. We will be doing a full A330 report in the next few weeks at TheDesignAir so stay tuned!
5. Emirates [ new entry ]
Lie Flat-bed for Emirates Business
90percentWhilst Emirates have a varied product in their business class cabin, they do have an excellent business class product on their A380 fleet, which is quickly being rolled out on all the major international routes. The success of the airline is very much based on their use of the A380, and its comfort and space. The business class seat in its herringbone format is perfect for both solo travellers, and the dual seats in the centre of the cabin perfect for partners travelling together. Together with a roomy and well appointed bar, the upper deck of the A380 is a haven for international travellers, with mammoth amenity kits, and a huge IFE selection played on a huge IFE screen, there is a lot that Emirates offers. On the ground, chauffeur drive service and a gigantic lounge in Dubai make sure that the product is all encompassing. There are no surprises they feature highly on the list, although the older generation aircraft with lie-flat seats and the occasional dip in service levels has left the airline a few points short.
4. Qatar [ - previously 4th ]
Qatar’ hasn’t shifted place this year, scoring a very decent 90 out of 100. Here’s why. Chauffeur services, private terminals, award winning cuisine and service, it is a pure delight to fly with Qatar even before you board. And when you board, the new 787 seating are next generation and competitive with their Middle Eastern counterparts, but not only that, they’ve recently announced new seats to replace the older ones on the A330 fleet, and new flat beds for the A320 fleet. But the previous versions, which cover most of their fleet is still excellent. The new A380 which will launch on the London route this year will be the perfect reason to fly with Qatar.  Winning countless awards inclusive of Airline of the Year 2012 by Skytrax, it is no surprise that the name is on our list, but with the introduction of the new business class seat (pictured above) across the fleet or the improvement of the current seats would boost the airline to the top of the airlines.
3. Korean [ new entry ]
93percentKorean have just a wonderful and elegant product. Light airy cabins, beautiful cabin crew and excellent food and drink, as well as great connections through Incheon make for a great connecting airline between Europe / North America and Asia. The flat bed ‘Prestige sleeper’ seats especially on the A380, that take up the entire top deck, are matched with a ‘Celestial Lounge’ which whilst super clean and modern in appearance, is the perfect place to soak up a martini and chill out with a good book or friends. The whole ethos of the ‘Korean Air’ product is to experience effortless luxury, and they produce it vast amounts. Our judges get excited when they get the opportunity to fly with Korean, as they epitomise the Asian luxury carriers at a fairly decent price point. For those in need of some retail therapy, it’s also the only airline to offer an onboard real life Duty-Free shop. The pristine cabin crew uniforms also won our Top 10 airline uniforms 2013.
2. Cathay Pacific [ -1 previously 1st ]
96percentCathay Pacific has never failed to impress, and can hold its own against Singapore Airlines, or any of the Middle Eastern carriers, synonymous with lavishing luxury on guests. Last year Cathay even won our best international business class 2013, a testament to the new seats they have rolled out through their fleet. What Cathay Pacific has done over the past three years is really impressive in the form of lounges, cabin crew service and frequencies, making them an airline of choice, whilst ensuring their price point still remains competitive. We are huge fans of Cathay, and their design ethos. Simplicity, functionality and luxury all work in harmony to create a quiet environment which makes the passenger the most important element. Seewhy we love Cathay Pacific in our trip report.
1. Singapore Airlines [ +1 previously 2nd ]
100percentThis scoring of 100 from our judges is rare, and well deserved, showcasing how faultless we feel Singapore Airlines’ Business Class product is, and securing it first place on our list. Last year we stated that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, but Singapore Airlines have done just that. Designed by JPA, the new business class seat is even better (can it be possible) than the previous incarnation of the seat – which is more First Class than business class. But the cabin crew, and food are still the biggest selling point to fly with Singapore. Fine china, excellent and extensive menus, beautiful wine pairings and champagne until you are full (and a little giddy) are all reasons to take to the skies with what still is the best airline in the sky. Sadly, they are also perhaps some of the most expensive, as when we have looked at travel options, Singapore has never come up the cheapest option across our flight options. With a home in Changi airport too, the whole experience from booking your flight to arriving at your destination, is effortless, and is as close as it gets to the ‘JetSet’ yesteryear we all wish we lived in.
Note: Check this out last year's: TheDesignAir’s Top 10 International Business Classes 2013