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Off Topic: Time Lapse of Gulf Oil Spill – It Makes You Sick

Here is a time lapse of the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico which started April 20th, just days before Earth Day. The music makes things a bit dramatic, but you’ll get the point. What a horrible disaster and with effects we will see for years.

Hats off to NASA for providing us the technology to view an event like this from an entirely different perspective. It’s important to see this imagery to understand the impact we make on the Earth. Granted, we are a spec of time in the Earth’s life span, but making matters worse for ourselves isn’t very beneficial.

Lets hope something good comes out of this horrible disaster, like it being the catalyst to really sink our teeth into new energy methods and technologies.

Source: Gizmodo.

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Off USB Topic – Have You Seen The Gear Ring?

Once again, I am off topic of USB, but sometimes you get ultra cool products that you must mention.  Today I found a great gadget from our buddies at Gizmos For Geeks.  It’s the Gear Ring.

Gear Ring

Very elegant in design and intrigues the engineering in all of us.  The Gear Ring is comprised of 6 mini gears which rotate in unison as you twist the top portion.

The product is high quality stainless steel and engineer to very tight specifications.  This makes for an easy and smooth feeling as you twist the ring.

Although I’m not a ring guy myself, other than my wedding ring, it is intriguing enough that I’m going to buy one.  It’s not THAT much, only $165.  Ring sizes include 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

Source:  GizmosForGeeks.

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Robot Arm Looks And Works Like Elephant’s Trunk

Engadget posted a video today about a robotic arm which looks and acts like an elephant trunk.  Made by Festo’s it’s an impressive robotic machine.  It appears much bigger than it is, watch the video and you’ll see the arm hand something off to a human.

robotic arm

It really has nothing to do with USB, but just a great video to watch.

After watching it, I do wonder how quickly it can move.

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

So why Green on Saint Patrick’s Day?

Happy Saint Patrick's

According to some accounts, blue was the first color associated with St. Patrick’s Day, but that started to change in the 17th century. Green is one of the colors in Ireland’s tri-color flag, and it has been used in the flags of several Irish revolutionary groups throughout history. Ireland is the “Emerald Isle,” so named for its lush green landscape. Green is also the color of spring, the shamrock, and the Chicago River, which the Midwestern city has dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day for the past 40-odd years.

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Mister Rogers iPhone App

TouchScreen Preschool Games has just released another iPhone app; Mister Rogers.

GetUSB.info doesn’t make it a habit of reporting on iPhone applications, but when you know the author and game publisher it’s worth taking a moment and saying “good job.”

mister rogers iphone app

Murtha Design had their first block buster iPhone app, ShapeBuilder and from that success Murtha Design has teamed with PBS.org to develop the Mister Rogers iPhone app.

Mister Rogers Make a Journal encourages children to identify and talk about their feelings about their everyday experiences like school, playtime, and friends. The App features an animated version of favorite Neighborhood of Make-Believe character Daniel Striped Tiger, who invites children to make a journal to help them reflect on the things they do and to express how they feel.

What is amazing about this application is the goal of establishing Emotional Development truly works.  I have a 4 and 6 year old child and they both create journals about their day and from simply listening to their interaction with the program, I can learn about my child’s day without pressuring them for daily activity reports and grilling them on “how was school today?”

iphone app

Here is a clip of the Mister Rogers iPhone app in action:

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AT&T Will Consider Limiting iPhone Data Plans

AT&T reports that smart phone users, which make up 3% of their market, are eating up nearly 40% of the data bandwidth on their mobile network.

att apple

To no surprise, AT&T is considering ways to free up network bandwidth so that everyone without a smartphone, isn’t effected.  So what does this mean?  It means AT&T might be giving a screw j_b to iPhone users. – by far the biggest consumers of bandwidth from smartphones.

iPhone users on average consume five to seven times more data per month than average wireless subscribers, according to analyst firm Sanford Bernstein. And all this usage is clogging the network, causing many iPhone users, especially in large cities such as New York and San Francisco, to experience dropped calls, slow 3G service, and issues connecting to the network at all.

So what is AT&T considering?  I would think upping the usage fees, but this might not work for those who don’t care about monthly fees.  Another approach are incentives.

“We’re going to try to focus on making sure we give incentives to those small percentages to either reduce or modify their usage so they don’t crowd out the other customers in those same cell sites,” said de la Vega according to a transcript of the conference. “And you’ll see us address that more in detail.”

Either way, I have a strong feeling AT&T will be limiting or slowing data usage for iPhone users. 

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