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Off Topic – Huge Sky Balloon To Lift 150 Ton Gear

So cruising the news today for USB updates, I stumbled upon this article about an Australian company dreaming up a giant sky balloon to carry stuff. When you need to get heavy gear into remote places a road can’t always get you there.  Sometimes the gear is so large, air lifting it in wont get you there either.  So what to do?  How about a ginormous sky balloon?

Sky balloon

To give you an idea of the type of problem this Australian company [Skylifter] is trying to solve; a helicopter is the only aircraft which can float in a product of great size or weight to a remote location – but it’s got limitations.  A helicopter can only carry about 50 tons of gear.  What if the stuff weighs more than 50 tons? The balloon is 150-meters wide and could carry up to 150 tons.  The balloon would have a flight range of 1240 miles and would act like a parachute on decent to make a gentle touchdown. A mini RC version of the balloon is now being tested and is 9 feet across. It can carry about 1 pound with a full-size prototype set to start building in the coming three years. Continue Reading

How To: Make Great Looking iPhone Wallpaper

So here is my tutorial on making a great looking iPhone wallpaper design. The concept is fairly easy, here is the high level over view:  We will set the proper size, create the pattern image, upload the image to a web space, download the image and set it as the wallpaper.  Sounds easy, right? Well it is. First, the correct size for the iPhone screen is 320×480 pixels.  So get into your favorite photo editing program and get a blank file with the size of 320×480 pixels for you iPhone wallpaper. Second, you’ll need to create an image.  Of course you can take a picture and set it that way, but I’m thinking more like a subtle pattern that isn’t obtrusive and is more complimentary to yourself while using the iPhone rather then having an ego trip by setting my kids best picture as my wallpaper. For me, Photochop is my weapon of choice and I created this nice little pattern image which we’ll use for the wallpaper.

iphone wallpapper

Note:  With the new iPhone 4.0+ firmware you have the ability to set the lock/unlock wallpaper and set a different picture as your background image for Home when using your iPhone.  I think the above pattern image is a very nice background image for the Home position. Third, after you’ve created your pattern image, you will save it as a Continue Reading

Off Topic: Rip2iPod Launches New CD Ripper Service

CD ripping is certainly nothing new, but if you’ve ever done it, the process is slow, boring and a massive suckage of time.  For that reason, I wanted to post about it a new service I found.  Rip2iPod is a CD ripping service which converts your CDs into MP3 files. The CD Ripping service is very straight forward.  Ship the discs.  They rip them.  They send them back on a DVD archive.

CD ripping service

At that point it’s your job to finish the task and drop those MP3s into your iTunes or media management software. After reading their FAQ about the CD ripper process I learned a couple things I didn’t know, for example; an average CD collection is 250 discs.  The CD ripping for that quantity would take about 20-25 hours of solid work. The CD ripping process includes meta data [tagging of songs] which include genre, album artwork when available, date, etc etc.  You also have the choice on bit rate compression…or simply put, the quality of CD ripping you’d like. The minimum order is quantity of 100.  To get more details on price, shipping instructions and options, visit their site. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

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. Continue Reading

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