Five years ago, at the height of the Very Light Jet boom, Honda Aircraft announced it would develop the Hondajet; an aircraft that would go on to become one of the most stylish, innovative and potentially successful business jets of the era.
Although the project was officially launched in 2006 the aircraft had flown, albeit in proof-of-concept form, in December 2003 and the design studies began as far back as the late 1980s. The Hondajet prototype performed so well that during a visit to EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh, Wisconsin in July 2006 the company announced that it would commercialise the aircraft with a view to it receiving certification in late 2011. So what has happened in the meantime?
The mostly composite aeroplane has changed very little since it first flew in 2003, something which is perhaps testimony to the relentless development carried out at the design study stage. It benefits from a specially designed natural-laminar flow airfoil section and natural-laminar flow techniques are also the reason for the distinctive, yet stylish, nose design. Each wing is produced from a single sheet of structurally reinforced aluminium; this enabling a smoother and more aerodynamically clean surface than more conventional methods of riveting sheets together. Design testing for the wing shape was done on a modified Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star flown from Mojave Airport.
This drag-reducing natural-laminar flow styling is claimed to provide up to 30% gains in efficiency over the competition’s jets, both in terms of speed and fuel efficiency.
Whilst the fuselage is distinctive it is the unique engine placement that really ensures the Hondajet stands out from the crowd. Using what is dubbed an ‘over-the-wing-engine-mount’ (OTWEM) design enables the cabin to be more spacious than those aircraft that mount engines on the fuselage sides. It also reduces cabin noise and allows the aircraft to sit very low on the ground on a short and sturdy undercarriage specially suited for operations from poorly prepared runways. Of course the OTWEM design is far from new – it appeared on the Fokker VFW-614 in the 1970s – but it has been further developed and perfected by Honda and this innovative design means that wave-drag reduction is now so efficient that the HondaJet actually out-performs clean-wing designs. The over-wing positioning also helps mask engine noise, ensuring that the jet is whisper quiet when viewed from the ground.
What kind of genius is this? A keyboard perfectly matched to your Apple typewriter keyboard. It’s smaller, sleeker and sexier than any mini-key in existence and it packs full-size keys! What’s more they’re velocity and polyphonic aftertouch sensitive. Mastering the action is a cinch and after a little practice you can consistently get your intended velocities and pressures.
Of course it’s never going to deliver performance in line with a ‘real’ keyboard (weighted or not) but given the tiny amount of throw on the keys themselves (a few millimetres) it’s an amazing achievement. And its obvious shortcomings are quickly overcome with the buttons on the left-hand edge: you can lengthen the tiny two-octave range with octave up and down buttons, apply modulation using pressure to adjust the amount, likewise pitch bend up or down. Finally there’s a sustain button -something lacking from ‘full featured’ MIDI keyboards – and as is the norm these days it can be iPad bus powered so you can instantly use it with your favourite apps. Amazing.
It’s interesting to speculate who will find this a must buy. Anyone semi-serious about making music in a home studio will want a keyboard with a better action and certainly more than two octaves. The metal chassis makes it a bit weighty for bag-slinging too. However, for non-players or the casual musician looking to add a keyboard to their plug-in based studio without ruining the look of their aluminium and glass shrine to Apple it’s unbeatable.
The only criticism we can level at the Xkey is its curious curved front edge which means the keyboard is unnecessarily flat when a slight slope would have aided the playability. And the odd bright orange USB lead supplied seems at odds with the Apple-matching ethos. But these are tiny gripes on a clever, well priced, feature-laden and beautifully built bit of kit. Daniel Griffiths
Asthma and allergies affect a number of citizens. Tragically, the rate of affected citizens is continuously increasing year by year. The best home air purifier will help you if you’re having asthma and allergies. But there are some people who are experiencing asthma and allergies and they don’t understand that it is so imperative to pick the right home air purifier.
Every house does contain impurities and contaminants, which may not be excessively risky unless you are having respiratory issues or allergies. A person, who is living with smokers or pets, never knew that the rate of bacteria in the house is drastically rising. Best rated air purifiers may help and give you ease from many of these troubles, in particular, you can find more toxins inside than outside the house.
There are 5 diverse types of best rated air purifier:
Thankfully, a mixture of top room air purifiers is accessible so you can pick the one which suits your needs.
Discover the power of speech by converting your voice to words
Everybody has heard of Siri, Apple’s powerful voice system for iOS that can be used to control apps, answer questions, tell jokes, and dictate messages, emails, and notes. Fewer Mac fans know that you can also perform dictation in OS X. It’s an incredibly useful feature to become familiar with. Although you can’t control a Mac using your voice like Siri, you can dictate emails, messages, and documents using the built-in Dictation feature. Many people overlook Dictation because it’s not switched on by default, and it doesn’t talk back like Siri (yet).
Up until the last couple of years, voice control has had a pretty poor reputation on computers. However, the advent of cloud computing and advances in speech recognition have transformed speech-to-text software, and the results these days are impressive.
You can use Dictation to convert speech to text, and it can be used anywhere you enter text in OS X. Dictation also works in non-Apple programs like Microsoft Word. The only requirement for Dictation is an Internet connection. Like Siri, it sends your words on over the Internet to Apple’s server farm where they are processed and the appropriate text is returned.
Dictation is incredibly easy to use. By default, you tap the Function key (fn) twice to start dictation, speak your text, and double-tap Function again to stop. Let’s get you started.