Monthly Archives: September 2008

5 Best BitTorrent Applications

Written by lifehacker

The days of peer-to-peer file sharing tools ushered into popularity by the original Napster are over and done, and today, BitTorrent reigns supreme. It took some time for BitTorrent to gain mainstream popularity, but now that it has, there are a surplus of BitTorrent clients available vying for your downloads. On Tuesday we asked you to share your favorite BitTorrent applications, and now we’re back with the five most popular choices. Keep reading for a breakdown of the top five and to pick the BitTorrent client you count on. Photo by djxspike.

Before We Get Started

By now BitTorrent is a common and popular file-sharing protocol, so chances are you all know how it works. If you don’t, check out our beginner’s guide to BitTorrent. If that’s too elementary for you, our intermediate guide might be more your speed.

uTorrent (Windows)

uTorrent‘s first public release came three years ago today, having been developed with one goal in mind: To create a lightweight, efficient BitTorrent client. Once a popular independently developed app, uTorrent is now owned and operated by BitTorrent the company (not to be confused with the protocol). Despite a continued emphasis on keeping the application small, fast, and light, uTorrent is now loaded with features, including a personal favorite, built-in remote control.

Deluge (All Platforms)

Deluge is a lightweight, cross-platform BitTorrent client. The look and feel of Deluge is very reminiscent of uTorrent, and as much as uTorrent has dragged their heels on porting to any platform other than Windows, Deluge is poised to really take hold as a uTorrent-for-the-rest-of-us. The app is a little over a year old, and in that time it’s already built an impressive, feature-rich client. Another feather in Deluge’s cap is that it supports a plug-in architecture, and though all plug-ins are currently included in the app, the extensibility it offers could mean a lot to Deluge as it continues to grow.

Transmission (Mac OS X/*nix)

Transmission is a free, open-source BitTorrent client with big download bars and an increasingly impressive feature set. Like uTorrent and Deluge, Transmission aims to remain as light on system resources as possible while still offering every feature most users could want or need. The application boasts similar features to most of the rest, like download scheduling and remote control, but also has nice integration with OS X, including Dock and Growl notifications and built-in Quick Look.

rTorrent (*nix)

rTorrent is a text-based BitTorrent client that runs on Linux and Unix-like systems. In contrast to the other options, rTorrent is about as spartan as you can get on features and interface. Most fans of rTorrent love that they can easily control rTorrent remotely over SSH, but a very nice web interface called wTorrent is available if you like the idea behind rTorrent but can’t see yourself managing all your downloads through the command line.

Vuze (All Platforms)

Vuze (or the BitTorrent client formerly known as Azureus) is a free, cross-platform application written in Java. Often criticized for its memory footprint (70MB at startup for me-or about 10 times that of uTorrent), Vuze has recently re-branded; in addition to the torrent downloading, it’s now a content distribution tool for original video. One of the biggest talking points for Vuze addicts is its distributed trackerless network, which allows users to find and download content from peers even when they can’t find anything on a web tracker.

7 Good Movies With the Most Annoying Cult Followings

Written by De Blenniss

Naturally some films develop a cult following. But the following films fan base has seemed to wear itself thin. Here are the top five films where the audience has started to bury their respected favorites.

7. Napoleon Dynamite

Napoleon Dynamite

I found myself in an interesting situation with this movie. I saw a sneak peak of the film, and I had to respect a comedy that didn’t curse or resort to obscene slapstick. However, a week later the high school band started wearing “Vote for Pedro” shirts and the slippery slope began. What respect I had for the film dwindled into an annoyance for anyone who yelled “Gosh!” in my face when suggesting a new idea. The film became inescapable. The Napoleon apex hit its peak when, at Thanksgiving dinner my grandmother turned to me and said, “Hey, you love movies. Have you seen that Napoleon Dynamo? I loved it!”.

6. Fight Club


Like the majority of the public, I saw Fight Club when it was released on DVD. The direction was dark and focused, with a pointed attack at the mainstream. This is very appealing to a rebellious teenager; however, my fellow students began to miss the irony. People started their own fight clubs where they would beat the shit out of each other in their living rooms instead of in a filthy bar like the one in the movie. Over time, vanity took over and black eyes weren’t all the rage. School boards began putting in their two cents, which only pushed the clubs even more underground. I was approached by a member one day after lunch. “This Friday we’re doing a fight club. You in?”. Although I knew my answer, I couldn’t help but think, “Don’t you know the first rule of fight club?”

5. Donnie Darko

Donnie Darko

I like the majority of the cast. I think the idea is interesting, as well as the execution. But like Fight Club, this movie shoots to the top of all time favorites lists. The film’s hardcore fan base argues its validity so hard that it takes away from the overall effect of the film. It’s a state of mind picture which changes easily influenced viewers perception, and the viewer returns eagerly to regurgitate the message. It’s a good film ruined by the fan base, which tells me it’s one of the best films ever. At that point, I suggest that they watch The Godfather.

4. The Nightmare Before Christmas

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Claymation is a difficult art form. Compared to digital effects, it’s a practice of patience and craft. So why is it so hard for me to watch this film again? I blame marketing. Jack Skellington’s face has been plastered all over sweatshirts, baseball hats, and even cigarette holders. Its the complete immersion into popular culture that has stripped this film of its edge and sense of wonder. What a shame.

3. A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange

If there were a director I wish I could meet, it would be Stanley Kubrick, strange OCD habits and all. A Clockwork Orange is savage and unflinching but it falls victim to its own iconoclasm. Kubrick even pulled the film out of England due to copycat crimes that were happening because of the film. Those who like the film can see its detached moral sensibility, but the overwhelming marketing and die-hard fan base introduces an interesting debate. Would Kubrick want the general public to embrace a nightmare of violence, or discuss humanity’s potential for the infinite like in 2001?

2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

I must admit that I myself am a comedy nerd, and I adore Monty Python‘s sketches and feature films. However, there are fans of the troupe that have nothing better to do than obsessively quote films. The film is a wonderful farce on the tales of heroes and knights, but it’s the internet browsing indoor nerds that helped bury this film with a majority of the public. We should be thankful that Python moved on to create other projects with their acidic wit and freeform acting and writing style.

1. Scarface


Scarface is over the top excess. Tony Montana’s rise to the top of the drug world has given would-be gangsters a template for excessive big money spending. The film itself isn’t amazing, but it’s also not horrible. Al Pacino began his “hoo ha!” style of acting with this performance. Its glamorization of the underbelly of the crime world has inspired gangsta rappers and teenagers to make money and take money. Despite Tony Montana ending up dead floating face down in a pool, Scarface‘s following is as devoted to the film as Tony was to take over the world, which of course can only end in disaster.

How to Be Outstanding

Written by Simply Tina

Gala Darling
Photo of Gala Darling. One of the most outstanding people who I admire.

If you do what you love to do, then you won’t do it in an average way.”
~ Angela Bassett

Are you exceptional in your line of work? Do you love what you do? Perhaps that’s why you are or aren’t getting the results you want.

People who consistently achieve outstanding results all have this in common: they are passionate about what they do. It’s no longer work, but an active participation of joy and creativity.

This article takes a deeper look into outstanding performance, and gives guidance as to how you can manifest outstanding results in your life.

First, I’ll start with a slice from my own experience:

Five years of my life was spent in University getting a Math and Computer Science degree so that I could get a high-tech job with guaranteed security. School was tough and flew by quickly. After battling it out with other competitors chasing after the same jobs, I got what I wanted and landed in Seattle.

Very soon after, I realized that I wasn’t that great at programming software, nor was I very interested in it. I got my job done, but I felt that I had to work extra hard just to keep up with my peers. I longed to fit-in with other engineers and felt like a sore thumb sticking out in the crowd. “One day, they’re gonna find out…” I used to tell myself during the first six months on the job.

I knew better. I knew that I wasn’t average. I knew that my best was excellent. I pulled long hours, worked on weekends, was addicted to caffeine, and within a few month, I developed an immune system disorder called Psoriasis Rosea from stress. It was the drive to be outstanding, in a position that wasn’t fit for me or my interests which brought me to this low point.

My Story Continues …

Overtime, I recognized that I naturally gravitated towards designing graphical interfaces and that I naturally obsessed over the user’s experience while using software. I wanted to do that professionally, but lacked the education or experience. A roadblock had appeared before me. I had voiced my intentions to my manager and was told No; again, another roadblock.

I didn’t give up. I read books, took seminars, worked on personal design projects and brought my new found knowledge onto the job. I incorporated design and user experience considerations into everything I worked on as an engineer. I developed a small reputation among neighboring teams, and soon was unofficially offering my user-experience expertise to other teams within the company. Despite it not being my job, I did it anyway. I did so because it was what I loved doing, it came natural to me and I felt that I was exceptional at it.

Over the next couple of years, I faced resistance and adversity surrounding my professional transition, but I clung to my clearly desired target. Through persistence and never giving up hope for my dream job, two years later, I officially became a user-experience designer for Since then, I have never looked back with regret.

Lessons from Following My Passion

Here is a summary of lessons I’ve learned through this experience:

  • Anything is possible if you want it bad enough
  • When you follow your heart, not only will you contribute more to your organization, you will utilize less energy and you will feel happier.
  • We are all naturally gifted at certain disciplines. You’ll know when you find it, because you can quickly grasp new concepts, you find it enjoyable, and doing it comes easy to you; almost like breathing.
  • Doing something that is not natural to our abilities and interests is like swimming against the current. You’ll eventually get to the shore, but it will take you longer and will excerpt extra energy.
  • Doing things that come natural to us and align with our interests feels like swimming along with the current. You’ll get to the shore smoothly and with little effort.
  • When you are clear about wanting something, take action towards its attainment, and persist until you reach it, the universe will conspire to make it a reality. Your energy and determination will move people, and they will find ways to help you.
  • Insecurities and negative self-talk derived from fear achieves nothing, except to convince us that we are failures and losers. These are lies that only appear real in our imagination.
  • The roadblocks you encounter on the way to reaching your destination are actually gifts. Treat them as challenges that you were meant to experience and learn from. They are like small tests that the universe presents us with, as if asking: “How bad do you really want this? Have you given up yet?”
  • When you listen to your heart, follow your passion, and do what you love to do, it’s hard not to be outstanding. You’re almost guaranteed to succeed.
Finding Your Passion

At any given point, we have the option to choose one of many potential lives for ourselves. Ask yourself, which of the many lives will inspire me more? Which do I desire the most? What do I gravitate towards? What does my heart say?

Photo by Mike BG

Some of you may be wondering, what if I don’t have a passion? Then, go out and find one. The thing to note is that we’re not restricted to a single passion, we may have many. But at any particular moment there is only one that we want more than the rest. Make that your focus.

There are no right or wrong answers. Your interests, desires and passions are a reflection of the unique brand that is you. No one else can discover or express your passions for you.

Here are some questions and tips aimed at helping you discover your passion. I recommend grabbing a pen and notepad to answer some of them on paper. Write down the first few answers that come to mind without editing.

  • Interest – Explore activities you are interested in; whether they are professional or personal interests. Remember that personal interests can turn professional very quickly if you believe in yourself and keep persisting.
  • Try Something New – Is there a job or activity that you’ve always been curious about? Maybe it’s starting an online store, or the project manager role at your company, or running a marathon. Learn as much as you can about it. Explore your interests, try them out and see what sticks. Much of life is about making choices and filtering out options. What you’re doing here is filtering out potential activities that you can get passionate about.
  • Play By Strength – Look at your strengths and see which jobs or activities demand those skills. Try asking yourself the following questions:
    • What am I good at?
    • What tasks do I find easy to do?
    • What parts of my job do I enjoy doing? Why?
  • Ask People – Sometimes, other people can see our qualities clearer than we can, since their minds are not inhibited by our negative self-talk. Ask your friends, family and close co-workers what they think your best qualities are? Ask them what they think you are good at and what professions they think you would excel in?
  • The Questions – Answer any or all of the questions below. Consider the answers and how they can be applied towards understanding your passions.
    • “If I could have any job, what would it be?”
    • “If I could try any job in my current organization, what would that be?”
    • “If all of my expenses were suddenly paid for every month by an invisible source, what would I be doing with my time?”

Keep in mind that your passions can change, especially after they have been attained. Be flexible, open and sensitive to your feelings. Adjust your current situation as you see fit.

Creating the Way

Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and a need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth). Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.”
~ Abraham Maslow (comments by Derek Sivers)

A common theme I’ve seen in many people is to give up before they even try. “Well, I gotta pay the bills. I’d love to do my music/photography/online-business/<insert interest>, but I just can’t. This is the way it has to be and there’s nothing I can do about it.”

I have personally known far too many musicians, photographers, writers and entrepreneurs who have created successful business and promotional models for themselves, for me to buy into the above belief. Yes, some of these occupations and interests have a reputation for not paying enough money to survive on. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t create a bright future for yourself, if you make it your passion. Hope is within reach, it’s up to us to grab it.

Fear will paralyze us if we let it.

Creating the Way: Real-Life Case Studies

Both examples showcase musicians, but similar stories can be found for other creative professions.

Case 1:

In high school, Joshua Roman excelled at Math and Physics and later had the option to pursue it at a graduate level. It seemed to have been a more secure option with guaranteed income. Instead, Josh took the “high-risk” career path and made the passion-filled, regret-free decision to dedicate himself to classical music. He followed his heart and despite some initial setbacks upon graduation, his faith, persistence and hard work has paid off – big time.

On a flight back to Seattle, my 23 year old friend was asked by the woman sitting next to him, “What do you do for a living?” Josh quickly and proudly answered, “I’m a Cellist.” She looked puzzled, and asked “You can make a living doing that?” Little did she know, Josh was one of the highest paid musicians in the Seattle Symphony and had recently signed a record deal with Sony Japan.

Case 2:

Derek Sivers has been a fulltime musician since he was 18. In 1998, with a passion for music and a desire to help fellow musicians, he created CDBaby – an independent music distribution site. At the time of starting CDBaby, Derek knew only basic html, and had taught himself enough web programming and basic database concepts to get the site going. He continued learning as the site grew.

Most people might instantly shy away from technology, out of fear of the unknown or of feeling stupid. Not Derek. He stepped up and jumped head first into the fire. Pretty cool huh?

Over the past ten years, CDBaby has distributed around 4.6 million CDs and generated 85 million dollars that has been paid directly to independent bands. That’s what I call, “Making History, Baby!”

Common Pitfalls + Tips

There are several pitfalls and myths surrounding making a living while following your passions.

Photo: Simón Pais-Thomas

1. Myth: You need a formal education before you can …

For some professions such as medical physicians, yes, this is true. In most cases, education is optional. In cases where formal education is optional, this myth only acts as a mind trap to cause self-doubt and friction on the path to pursuing our passions.

In many professions, experience, a solid skill set and a drive to succeed are much more valuable and essential than a formal education.

2. Tip: Become your own teacher and your own best student.

Many exceptional people are in their respective fields as a result of self taught skills. Go out of your way to learn, read as much as you can on the subject, take classes that will expand your skills. Then practice as much as you can.

3. Question: “But what if I don’t have any experience? No one will hire me without experience. I’m doomed. Poor me.

Stop complaining. Go out and get some experience! Talking about it is a waste of time – it gains you nothing, except the conviction that you’re doomed.

Offer your time and skill for free. Create the opportunity for yourself by initiating your own projects. Offer yourself as an intern in your desired industry, continue cold calling companies until you get something. Never give up.

4. Tip: Believing In Yourself – Confidence Building

What often stops us from pursuing and succeeding in our chosen passion is ourselves. Out mind gets so cluttered with doubt and self-defeating thoughts that we end up believing them and giving up.

This fear and resistance to change is something we all experience and can relate to. There is no magic pill that’ll make these thoughts go away. Only this advice: practice taking action despite fear and doubt, as often as possible. We are creatures of habit, the more we repeat something, the better we get at it, the more automatic it becomes, and the more natural it feels.

Here are some tips that I have personally found helpful in confidence building:

  • Take Massive Action – And doing so often. As much as possible. The more you do this, the less scary it will seem, and the more confident you will feel.
  • Visualization – Our repeated thoughts (whether conscious or unconscious) create the tracks for the train of our mind to run on. The train ends up looping in a cycle unless we create new tracks for it. Visualization is an effective tool for creating new neural pathways in our brains, thereby introducing new experiences through our imagination. Our brains cannot distinguish between what is happening in reality and what is being vividly imagined. (Shakti Gawain has a great book on the topic if you’d like to learn more.)
  • Affirmations – Similar to visualization techniques, affirmations create or thicken neural pathways in our brains. It’s effective in replacing negative thought patterns with thoughts more conducive to our wellbeing. Affirmation is simply writing down a positive statement in present tense that includes where you want to be or states qualities of the more wholesome ‘you’ that you would like to embody. Repeat this statement as often and as much as you can. Posting this statement on walls where you’ll see it is also helpful. Examples, “I am an outstanding person. I live in the present moment. I embody love, compassion and kindness towards others.” Or “I am an achiever. I achieve my goals. I live life with passion! I am contributing in massive ways. I am outstanding!” Note: This is not lying to yourself, but rather feeding positive messages to your unconscious mind. We get enough self-defeating thoughts as it is from our ‘ego-ic’ minds. This is just a tool to help us undo some of that.

As you strengthen your beliefs about your skills and continue to perfect your craft, you’ll notice a shift in the way in which people respond to you. They will start to see you as the more wholesome you.

5. Tip: Talk often about what you want

In addition to taking action towards what you want, tell other people about it. Tell your close friends, your manager, and your family. Telling others does four things:

  • Helps you define your intentions. You’ll gain more clarity through talking about it.
  • Sends out your intentions to the Universe.
  • Let your inner-circle and support-system in on your desires, so they can help support you in your desires to attain something that means a lot to you.
  • Telling other about what your doing has a tendency to hold you accountable, and encourages you to continue taking action towards its attainment.

Continue to take action every day and every week towards your target. However small the action may seem, it will help you get one step closer to your goal.

My only caveat is to avoid telling people who generally lean towards the negative. Reserve it for people who want to help you, are supportive, and preferably have a positive outlook on life.

6. Tip: Find a Mentor

Having a mentor will not only accelerate your learning in a particular field and steer you away from common mistakes, but also gives you valuable insight and visibility to helping you determine whether this is something you really want.

If you’re working at a company as a computer programmer but are interested in working as a project manager, talk to a senior PM and see if you can be mentored by them. Make it clear that you won’t take too much of their time.

If you’re a photographer trying to get into commercial photography, find someone who is already doing that and offer your time as an assistant for free, in exchange to be in the studio to watch and learn.

If you don’t know anyone personally who is achieving the kind of results you desire, go out and find them. Go to cultural events where such people would frequent. Alternatively, a wealth of information is available online or in books at minimal cost.

Be thoughtful and considerate when approaching potential mentors. Don’t take “no” personally. Think about what you can offer them (that is actually valuable to them) in exchange for their time.

Parting Words

We all posses the seed for being Outstanding, it’s just that some of us haven’t fully bloomed yet. We all have the capabilities, imagination, and foundation to achieve extraordinary results. The secret lies in having a clear target, following our heart, taking continuous small steps, acting despite fear, adjusting as we proceed and keeping moving without giving up.

With these simple ingredients, every-day-people can and will achieve exceptional things. Guaranteed!

I have faith in you. Throw out your fears and listen to your heart. I look forward to seeing the Outstanding person that you are, come alive.

Until next week…What are you passionate about? Share your thoughts in the comments! See you there.

19 Really Cool Gadgets for Your Office or Cubicle

Written by Bob C

The office can be a cold, hard, unfeeling, life-sucking place to spend your working days, but then again you don’t have to live in Dilbertsville. For all the stigma surrounding “the office,” you’re getting unique opportunities to interact with people and your environment in between filing TPS reports.

Here are 19 gadgets that will help to turn that day job prison into a techy heaven!

  1. Newton’s USB Cradle

    A new take on an old office classic, the USB Newton’s Cradle from Boynq gracefully suspends 4 USB cables aloft like the classic Newton’s cradle, affording you great functionality in a slick form factor.
  2. The Stealth Switch – Tap It With Your Foot To Hide Your Games or MySpace Windows At Work

    What fun would work be without a little procrastination? This foot pedal attaches to your Windows machine and sits on the floor while you play your games or browse around, carefully avoiding your work. If the boss walks into the room, simply stomp the pedal and it will hide your troublesome open windows! You can snag one now for $39.95.

  3. Nappak – Portable Sleeping Cube

    A well rested employee is a productive employee. Either that or they’re just lazy! Either way, this portable sleeping cube dubbed the Nappak is sure to provide some peaceful office Z’s for those who need it. Hey, it works for Google!
  4. USB Coffee Warmer
    Technological convergence can be a great thing. For those of you who require their caffeine fix, this little USB-powered hot plate is your newest best friend. While it won’t bring your cup o’ joe (or favorite tea) to a bubbling boil, it will keep it nice and warm around 104? F right next to your computer!
  5. Carpet Skates

    These were too funny not to include! Just slip these guys over your shoes and their sheer surfaces will reduce the friction enough to allow you to glide at blinding speed across your office carpet! Late for that 3 o’clock meeting on the other side of the floor? No problem any more! Note: Speed skating/ninja suit not included, though strange glances from your coworkers are something you’ll be sure to attract. (Of course, you’re productivity will probably skyrocket as well, so you’ll have the last laugh at your mid-year review!)
  6. USB Beverage Chiller
    USB ports are a great thing and should be put to use! Maybe the beverage warmer above isn’t your, ahem, cup of tea. In that case, why not cool down with this USB Beverage Chiller. It’s guaranteed to keep your favorite drink at a nice, frosty 45? F.
  7. Optimus Popularis – A Keyboard With LCD Keys


    After a long period if use, the standard office keyboard can become a pretty boring thing to look at. Well you can just get this guy and you will have the hottest keyboard in your office. Each key on this keyboard is actually and LCD screen and it allows you to customize each one to fit your preferences.

  8. myKey0 Keyboard and Stash Box
    Maybe cleanliness isn’t your primary concern when it comes to picking a keyboard. But perhaps the office is a bit cramped? No worries, the myKey0 Keyboard comes with an added tray underneath for easy storage of all your desktop essentials.
  9. Babble Voice Privacy – Stops Eavesdroppers
    An interesting concept for sure, the Babble Voice Privacy system is comprised of a base unit and two speakers which emit a prerecorded track and white noise, to cancel out your confidential conversations that the overeager ears of your coworkers wish to eavesdrop on.
  10. USB Tape Dispenser Hub
    You can never have too many USB ports, so why not stick them into what has become a staple (no pun intended) in nearly every office worldwide? The best part? Since your USB tape dispenser hub is tethered to your computer, it’s virtually guaranteed to never leave your desk!
  11. Portable Office Workstation
    This modular station has got some really great functionality built in. What happens is that the unit starts out as a big, draggable block on rollers. Lock it in place and unfold it to reveal space for two fully loaded workstations with plenty of storage space. Instant modular workstations – perfect!
  12. The Three Stage Cubicle Security System

    This security system for your office or cubicle is equipped with a motion sensor. First it flashes and sounds a siren. Then it sends a signal to the second stage which is a louder alarm. The third stage is then triggered and it will fire two foam missiles at the intruder.

  13. Office Multitool
    You’ll suddenly find yourself in Milton’s predicament as everyone drools over your stapler. and scissors, measuring tape, paper-clip holder and calculator that are all wrapped up in one handy multitool. If they only sold it in red.
  14. Bright Blinds
    Not everyone gets the glorious office in the corner with the big windows. Natural selection (or nepotism, depending on how you look at it) in the workplace will often mean that the higher-ups get the best view. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to do without. These Bright Blinds mimic the look of a well lit window and give your office that bright, gentle, diffuse glow. Now if they made these with full spectrum lighting, then you’d really be mimicking outdoor light!
  15. Aeron’s Ultimate Self-Adjusting Office Chair
    If you’re going to spend hours on your kiester in front of a computer, you might as well be comfortable. Other office chairs require you to make adjustments every time you move. This chair adjusts for you. Each section of the chair is designed to adjust with your body to help you maintain good posture. Counterweights provide appropriate resistance to prevent back pain. Neat!
  16. The Webble
    Your chair already has wheels, so why keep your feet stationary? This skateboard-looking device dubbed the “Webble,” from Yanko Design is described as the world’s first active footrest. This wheelie cushion is covered in a tough membrane and rolled on four casters for omni-directional turning. It’s currently available for $139.95.
  17. High Dexx USB Flash Drives
    Executives: consider this as your next corporate gift. Designed to be ordered in bulk, this group of seemingly innocuous cubes contains three highlighters and one USB flash drive. Capacities of up to 2 GB are available, making it perfect for carting around documents and other important files.
  18. Ubiko, the Corporate Robot

    UBIX, a Japanese company, has built this guy, nicknamed Ubiko. While he is no astromech droid, Ubiko is designed to serve in corporate environments and perform specific tasks like welcoming clients and promoting products. The robot speaks and also responds to voice commands. How soon until everyone’s jobs are replaced by robots? Not too soon, I hope. It would be tough to do that anyway, seeing as a 2 hour rental costs nearly $1000.
  19. USB Humidifier with Aromatherapy

    This USB powered humidifier generates cool, moisturized air to help you breathe easier at work. It also has an aromatherapy option which means you’ll have the best smelling space at work.

Thanks for checking out our list of 19 Really Cool Gadgets for Your Office or Cubicle. We hope you enjoyed it! (on your own spare time, not the company’s, right?) Do you have any really cool gadgets in your office that you want to share? Let us know in the comments below!

The Best Media Converter that All In One Multimedia Application

Blaze Media Pro is the best audio-video softwares i have ever used and had before. As there is not just a single software embedded in it but multiple features are available in it, including an mp3 player, video player, audio and video converters, video encoding softwares.It offers powerful and fast software that lets you manage your audio and video files. Since I had an opportunity to try Blaze Media Pro (15days free trial), maybe I can share something here.

Audio Converter: Since I use the Blaze Media Pro audio converter lots than other applications. I strongly recommended you to download this tool.It can edit and convert any audio files and also can merge different audio file formats.This part also has some extra added features like amplification settings, stretching,pitch changes etc.Let say you have your favorite songs in an audio CD and willing to play them in your MP3 player. You need to convert from audio CD to MP3 format. The all in one converter software from Blaze Media Pro allow you to convert CD, MP3, OGG, WMA, MIDI, WAV and also compress MP3 and WAV files.

Video Encoder: Video converter is needed to convert any type of video files. The conversion is done to get a video format that suite with your need. For example maybe you want to convert flash movie into VCD or DVD so you can play it on your VCD or DVD player. The software from Blaze Media Pro can handle this kind of job. A big list of videos can be encoded in a single batch at the same time. There is also an option of DVD Shrink Function. There are some basic as well as advanced options for pro users.And the video encoder is a fast and easy-to-use function in Blaze Media Pro.

MOV Converter: The MOV converter absolutely one of the powerful features that this software offer. Easily you can convert any MOV files to MPG, AVI and also WMV with a simple push button option.Some of the formats of videos which can be converted are –
MOV to MPG, AVI, WMV formats.AVI to MPG (MPEG-1), AVI to MPG (MPEG-2), WMV to MPG (MPEG-1), WMV to MPG (MPEG-2), MPG (MPEG-1) to AVI, MPG (MPEG-2) to AVI, WMV to AVI, MPG (MPEG-1) to WMV, MPG (MPEG-2) to WMV, AVI to WMV, WMV to AVI, WMV to MPG (MPEG-1), WMV to MPG (MPEG-2).It also has the capability of converting the videos to other WMV formats which have varying compression levels.

If you still looking a suitable tool for this kind of job, for sure you need to download Blaze Media Pro for a try. There is no need to search any other application to make all the works done, with this complete multimedia application you consider all task done. If you are satisfied, do not doubt to purchase this software at Blazemp site.

You can directly download these softwares here.

Pedestrian Street Art by Peter Gibson

Collected by toxel

Pedestrian Street Art by Peter Gibson

Peter Gibson (aka Roadsworth) began painting the streets of Montreal in the fall of 2001. He was motivated by a desire for more bike paths in the city and a questioning of “car culture” in general.

In the fall of 2004, Roadsworth was arrested for his nocturnal activities and charged with 53 counts of mischief. Despite the threat of heavy fines and a criminal record he received a relatively lenient sentence which he attributes in part to the public support he received subsequent to his arrest.

Since that time, Roadsworth has received various commissions for his work and continues to be active in both visual art and music.

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[for more art by Peter Gibson, visit]

10 things we would like to see in Firefox and Chrome

Written by Christian Zibreg

Chicago (IL) – Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox captured the browser headlines this week, igniting a new discussion about performance increases and possible new features that are likely to drive a new round of innovations. Here is our list of the ten features – five for Chrome, five for Firefox – which we would like to see in the next versions.


1. Browser add-ons: No browser is perfect, particularly Chrome. We want compatibility with Firefox add-ons in Chrome. Better yet, connect Google gadgets to Chrome and you have an instant add-on-galore and a powerful open-source add-on platform that extends beyond the iGoogle home page.

2. Themes: We would want o see an SDK to enable the development of themes that will make it easy to change the UI. Allow users to connect themes with custom add-ons (see previous bullet) and make it easy to apply themes with a single click and you have a winner.

3. Online repository: What about an App Store for Chrome? What about an online content repository for all things Chrome: Themes, add-ons, plugins, etc. Integrate it neatly into Chrome UI, like Apple did with the iTunes Store for the iPhone. Such a feature could also extend to saving user settings, bookmarks and history in the cloud – like Weave for Firefox.

4. Security and privacy: No need to re-invent the wheel here. Google should just copy Firefox 3’s options against malware and phishing and IE8’s excellent privacy settings and we won’t complain. We wouldn’t mind to get highly granular security and privacy settings and on a per-site basis make provide clear warnings when malware is encountered.

5. Put Chrome in Android: Chrome is based on the WebKit rendering engine, which is easily deployed across various form-factors, so it shouldn’t be difficult to get Chrome into Android. Chrome and Android sounds like a winning combination to us.


1. Code overhaul: We know, every application gets heavier with each revision, but Mozilla seriously needs to think about overhauling its base code. Take Chrome’s kernel, especially the memory and process management and make it oversee everything that’s happening. Isolate each tab in its own process, protect tabs from affecting each other and assign UI high priority so that it’s always responsive.

2. Email client: Can we get a lightweight Thunderbird as part of the package? Think Opera, which comes with an integrated email client. And what about an option during the install to choose between browser only or browser + email client integration?

3. Omnibar: No need for a separate address and search bars anymore, those days are gone. We would like to see Chrome’s Omnibar feature and control over what is sent to the chose search provider – we don’t want the browser to become a keylogger for search engines.

4. Firefox for mobile phones: Why is this taking so long? 20% of online users bothered to replace their default browser with Firefox, but we’re not using our desktop all the time. Can we get Firefox for Windows Mobile, the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry?

5. Re-think tabs: Microsoft had a fantastic idea when it decided to group tabs, Firefox should get this feature as well. Give each tab a thumbnail and make them fluid like in Chrome. Multi-thread the tabs provide an option to create a special page when a new tab is opened – which could include page thumbnails, search engine fields, quick access to the browsing history and downl

10 Cartoon Classics to Share with your Kids

Written by Kathy Ceceri

Want to elevate your kids to a whole new level of
Geekdom? Turn them into animation historians!

By its very nature, animation has always lent itself to science fiction, fantasy, horror and outrageous satire, because – unlike live action film – every animated image is created by the hand of an artist. OK, maybe not as literally as when Winsor McCay was drawing every individual frame of Gertie the Dinosaur on reams of paper with pen and ink. But still more so than live action photography (at least before the advent of CGI).


Anyway, I’d like to present my personal list of landmarks of animation no Geekchild should grow up without. The choices are based on insight gained working with Academy Award-winner John Canemaker, a comprehensive History of Animation class description I found while researching this article, and years of my young life spent sitting in front of my family’s old black and white boob tube.

So here, in chronological order, 10 Cartoon Classics to Share with your GeekKids:


1. Gulliver’s Travels (1939)

Jack Mercer, the voice of

Fleischer Studio’s Popeye, was just one of the talents in this feature length, kid-friendly retelling of Jonathan Swift’s satiric masterwork. I saw this many times on TV as a kid, and always loved its Oscar-nominated songs and score and its great comic characters. And I was fascinated by the expressive drawing style of Fleischer’s use of Rotoscoping, a more subtle counterpart to today’s motion capture.  (Although several public domain versions exist, Amazon customer reviews recommend this remastered edition.)

2. Pinocchio (1940)Pinocchio4

As John Canemaker will tell you,

Pinocchio was one of Walt Disney’s first big-budget extravaganzas. The use of a multi-plane camera gave the oil painted glass panes over a watercolor background more depth and vitality than the standard celluloid (“cel”)

technique. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the little wooden hero plunges viewers from one fast-paced adventure to another. As a kid (I first saw this around age 5 at the Lafayette),

I remember being relieved when Pinocchio and friends landed in the belly of the whale after his harrowing escape from Pleasure Island — an early taste of dramatic catharsis.


3. Bugs Bunny

Disney is about artistry and wonderment; Warner Brothers cartoons are about attitude. And what an attitude Bugs had! Fittingly, my favorite Bugs Bunny cartoons starred Marvin the Martian, in his push-broom

Roman Legion helmet, and the giant hirsute monster from Hair Raising Hare (1946).

See the rest in the Extended Post.

4. Gumby (1954)Gumby_

Stop-motion animation has been used to make models move in everything from King Kong to The Nightmare before Christmas. And the original Gumby TV series used clay animation to good effect. You can find the old episodes on TV

and DVD, and they’re fine. But for a real mind-blowing experience, sit down with your kid and watch Gumby The Movie.

The 1995 feature includes characters added in the 1980s revival of the show, and it is surreal. Somehow I don’t remember TV Gumby being such a freeform  experience, morphing into endless shapes and even splitting apart. The freedom which animator Art Clokey brought to stop-motion animation may have been equaled only by Otto Messmer’s original silent Felix the Cat. Get the VHS, not the DVD, which according to Amazon reviews has had scenes deleted.


5. The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show (1959)

Rocky is a flying squirrel, and Bullwinkle makes bad puns about the Rubyait of Omar Kayam. What more could a geek want? How about Mr.

Peabody, the doggy inventor, his boy Sherman and their Wayback Machine? In the 1950’s and ’60s limited animation TV series like The Flintstones and Mr. Magoo

– where only a body part or two would move in any given scene were the norm. But Jay Ward’s comedic sensibility made limited animation unforgettable.


6. Yellow Submarine (1968)

Seeing The Beatles’ animated feature in the theater with my parents was cool because it was as much a grown-up film as a kid film. Plus, with its Peter Max poster vibe, it tied in with the Pop Art sensibility that was starting to permeate the country. I bought the video of this movie as soon as it came out to put away and save for my kids, but it didn’t impress on the first showing. Having been saturated in

Beatlemania by Julie Taymor’s recent Across the Universe, however, I think they’re probably ready for another try.


7. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

Arguably the most convincing combination of live action and animation. And still more attractive (and clever) than such recent 3D

offerings as Scooby Doo (or, heaven forbid, the Rocky and Bullwinkle remake). A combination of film noir design, comic book evil and Warner Brother’s-style zaniness.

Toystory8. Toy Story (1995)

With this film Pixar transformed computer animation from a novelty to an art form, ushering in a whole new Golden Age of feature cartoons that continues to this day with great films like this summer’s Wall-E. Kids love it, even without the nostalgic frisson of all those Baby

Boomer playthings.

Kiki9. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1998)

I was never particularly excited by Japanese animation, but this film made me a diehard Miyazaki fan. I disagree with Ken’s advice to start with My Neighbor Totoro; set in a European city and employing symbolism which American kids can understand (black cats rather than

Shinto river gods) Kiki is much more accessible — and like all Miyazak films, a nice counterbalance to boycentric Pixar.

10. Flushed Away Flushedaway2

Computer animation meets clay animation, and does it fantastically. Aardman Studios was behind Nick Park’s original Wallace and

Gromit adventure, A Grand Day Out, which harked back to Méliès’ early cinematic moon voyage and took the art form to new heights through its meticulously detailed props and deadpan humor. But with Flushed Away, in collaboration with Dreamworks (creator of Shrek, about which more in a future post), Aardman took the Parks look and made something completely unique. Moms will love Hugh Jackman as a hapless James Bond-like mouse. Kids will love the singing slugs. And

GeekDads can enjoy the obsessiveness that put computerized fingerprints on the virtual clay. Something for everyone!

Kathy Ceceri’s book Around the World Crafts: Great Activities for Kids who Like History, Math, Art, Science and More! has a chapter on animated flipbooks.

10 Xbox 360 tricks Microsoft won’t tell you

Written by Alec Meer


1. Connect your Xbox 360 to two screens at once

If you’ve got one of the component/composite dual video cables – the one that comes in the box with most 360s – you can have your console display its gamey goodness on two TVs simultaneously. The trick is to flick the cable’s switch to Standard Definition but hook up the composite (yellow) cable to one screen and the component (the red, green, blue) cables to another. It won’t be high-def, but it could be handy if you’re staging a mini LAN party and want to set up a display for bored spectators to point their eyes at.

2. Play your own music in original Xbox games

That you can fire up your own MP3s during a 360 game is common knowledge (and re-soundtracking moody horror games with the Benny Hill theme tune never stops being funny), but it doesn’t work if you’re playing a title from the original Xbox. There’s a way around it – start playing your album or playlist before you load the game, and it’ll keep on playing once you do fire the title up. The game’s own music won’t be muted, however, so if you can’t do that in its settings you’ll go mad from the weird cacophony.

3. It can write its own blog

Ah, the internet – founded upon crazy men making crazy things for free. Such as a blog supposedly written by your 360, based on what you’ve been using it for. It monitors your Live account and automatically generates entries about what it’s been up to that day (or what it hasn’t been up to – expect many posts about neglect if you don’t turn it on for a while). The tone is very much American geek, but it’s a fun record of your own gaming habits, and of keeping an eye on what your chums are up to. Get set up at

4. Play Xbox 360 games online for free – without a Live account

That you have to pay a subscription for online gaming, something that’s free on other consoles and on the PC, is perhaps the 360’s greatest bugbear. Stage your own form of peaceful process by playing online without paying a penny. You’ll need XLink Kai, a free app you run from a PC on the same network as the console that tricks the 360 into thinking the internet is a LAN.

So it’ll treat remote opponents as though they’re in the same room as you – and you don’t have to pay for local multiplayer. Clever! One snag – Microsoft has set the 360 to boot out anyone with a ping higher than 30ms, so you’ll have to be selective about who you play with. Local chums are best, not your Chinese penpal.

5. Interact with your Xbox 360 music

Hit X whilst playing a music CD or file (whether from the 360’s hard drive, an MP3 player you’ve plugged in, or streamed from a PC) and you’ll enter Psychedelic Wonderland. Well, some artful visualisations, anyway. Grab a controller or two (or up to four, as it happens) and start moving thumbpads and pressing buttons to interact with the crazed shifting colours. There are actually some fairly elaborate controls – read the full manual at Good at parties, this.

6. Connect your Xbox 360 to a wireless network without an official adaptor

The good news is you don’t have to drop £50 on Microsoft’s offensively overpriced Wi-Fi adaptor. The bad news is you’ll need a laptop with W-Fi to do it. Head to Control Panel – Network Connections (In Windows XP) or Network & Sharing Center – Manage Network Connections (in Vista). Select the Local Area Connection and the Wireless Network Connection at once, then right-click and hit ‘bridge connections’.

Disconnect then reconnect to your wireless network, run a network cable from the laptop’s Ethernet port to the 360’s, and you should be good to go. Unfortunately, you may have to remove the bridge (repeat the above process and you’ll see the option) whenever you want to browse the net with the laptop.

7. Play music from your iPod

Not a secret as such, but Microsoft doesn’t exactly shout about the fact it plays nice with a device made by uber-rival Apple. Hidden in the depths of the Marketplace, you’ll find a teeny download called ‘optional iPod support’. Once you’ve grabbed that, plug in your iPod (iPhones aren’t supported yet, sadly) and head to the Media Blade. You’ll see your pod appear there, and can now browse its music by album, artist, genre or whatever. It’ll also charge via the USB port, usefully.

8. Reset your Xbox 360 video settings

Remember this one if you’re in the habit of carrying your console to chum’s houses and hooking it up to different displays. It can end up trying to output the wrong signal, so you can’t see anything or get a flickering screen. Fortunately, there’s a fairly simple fix if this happens. Remove any discs from the tray and turn the thing off. Then turn it on using a gamepad. As it boots, hold down the Y button, then hit and hold the right trigger. The video settings will reset to default, and you’ll stop your sobbing.

9. Play any media file, plus online videos on your Xbox 360

Free app Tversity neatly sidesteps the pointless video/audio restrictions Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo alike slap on their consoles, making them able to play any format. Again, you’ll need a PC on the same network, but it’s a simple matter of installing the program and having it scan the folders you keep your media in. It’ll replace the standard network file-sharing system Windows uses, but behaves pretty much the same way at the 360’s end. As well as that, it’ll convert unsupported files on the fly – though you’ll need a pretty beefy PC to do this with large video files, otherwise you’ll be waiting ages. You can also add online video URLs on the PC’s end – including Youtube – and then access those from the console.

10. Use any HDMI cable and still get digital surround sound

Though the newer 360s have an HDMI output for optimal video quality, they’ve built the ports in such a way that you can’t have the standard component/composite video cable, with its crucial optical audio output, plugged in at the same time as HDMI. Instead, you’re supposed to drop a frightening amount of money on the official HDMI cable with audio adapter. Balls to that. See the big plastic box at the end of the standard video cable that connects to the console? Wedge a knife or screwdriver into the join and twist to pop it off. The result looks messy, but is small enough to plug in alongside a standard, cheapo HDMI cable.

Share your own Xbox 360 tips in the comments!