Posts Tagged ‘technology’

My husband has created yet another masterpiece! This Steampunk USB flash drive is encased in a combination of African Blackwood and Amboina wood. The gears in the window were taken from an old watch and actually run when connected to a computer. Due to the noise level, an on/off switch was included for convenience. The unit also has two functioning lights, one inside the window and one on the body of the piece itself. The purpose of the inner light is to enhance the aesthetic quality and show off the inner workings. The outer light serves as an indicator when the device is in use. Below are some images of the project from beginning to completion. I’ve also included a brief video of the final product in action.


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My inventive husband, Max, has finished another brilliant project. This time, his ingenuity resulted in the creation of a steampunk inspired nightlight he calls the “Lightning Trap”.

The finished product


The "Lightning Trap" in operation


Theoretically, the device would be placed outside to collect and store lightning energy when struck. It is then converted and stored in power filters which transfer the energy to the delicately glowing bulb, housed within a chicken eggshell.

All components for this project, with the exception of the egg, batteries and LED lights, were created by my husband with painstaking precision. The the light and battery compartments were soldered together after the internal working components were fitted and tested. Since a ‘AA’ battery was insufficient in terms of power, Max decided to remedy the problem by creating a custom one out of button batteries encased in a container he made, himself.

Homemade battery in production


Homemade battery completed


Light compartment with attached battery compartment


And then there was light...And it was good!


The eggshell (of course drained and thoroughly cleaned) was cut at the base to provide an opening for the light to shine through.

Light testing with mounted shell


The pattern for the external circuit wiring was drawn and the position for the metal contacts were marked.

Mapping the position for the contacts and wire


The final result looks amazingly close to the blueprint!


Here's the blueprint


This entire project took about a month for Max to complete. Though I’m sharing this incredible piece to the best of my ability, I’m sure I’ve left out some details. Feel free to check out Max’s blog at: http://madmaxthesniper.livejournal.com/ He mainly posts in Russian, but Google has a cool translation feature that usually helps to narrow the language barrier. Usually. 😉

Please feel free to comment and/or share this post.

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After many months of drooling and wishing, I’m finally the proud owner of a Kindle DX! Though noticeably larger than the Kindle 3, the DX boasts a 9.7″ diagonal display vs. the 6″ display of its smaller counterpart—a valuable feature for the avid reader. Upon opening the cleverly designed packaging I noticed a screen overlay directing me to plug the device into a power source. At least I thought it was a screen overlay! Turns out, the Kindle was in sleep mode, displaying a screensaver of sorts. As you might imagine I was blown away by the sharpness and crispness of the E-ink screen. It has minimum glare, even in sunlight, and resembles ink on paper. I’ve seen photos and videos of it, but quite honestly nothing compares to seeing it for yourself. Unfortunately, the Kindle DX doesn’t come with a case, which I highly recommend you buy if you purchase this unit—especially if you plan to travel with it. Consider it a worthy investment.
Note: There are many cases on the market, but keep in mind the placement of any bands or closings that may obstruct your access to the navigation keys during use.

My preciousss

The battery didn’t come fully charged, but as I recall, it didn’t take very long to bring it to full capacity. The included USB 2.0 (micro-USB connector) to U.S. power adapter (supports 100V-240V) is smartly designed and allows the user to charge the Kindle via electrical socket or computer.  

Holding the device while typing took some getting used to since the keyboard (located at the very bottom) makes for an awkward balancing act since the Kindle DX weighs 18.9 ounces. However, I found the issue very easy to resolve by propping the device in my lap or against my computer table. Since the Kindle DX’s main function is to serve as a reader, not a word processor, this really isn’t a big deal to me. All things considered, the keyboard is easy to use for its size and it’s a plus that I don’t have to simultaneously hold down the shift key when typing capital letters.

Navigation & Features
The navigation is simple and makes it very quick and easy to find what you’re searching for. The page refresh speed is pretty fast, which helps to maintain the flow of reading. The rotating screen display allows for easy toggling between vertical and horizontal viewing and can be locked in either position if so desired. This is particularly useful when needing to view documents in larger sizes. There is a menu which allows one to choose from a total of eight font sizes. No matter what size is chosen, the text is extremely sharp, dark and crisp. The same menu provides the option of adjusting the amount of words per line. Also included is the text-to-speech feature, which is highly impressive. This feature has options that allow you to choose between a male or female voice as well as modify the speech rate. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that not only is the feature available for most Kindle books (if permitted by the publisher), but that my personal documents could be read using the feature as well—although, it doesn’t seem to work with PDFs. As an author, it is very helpful to hear your work read aloud as it can help catch errors that are sometimes overlooked due to visual fatigue.

Transferring personal files is a snap. I opted to use a free program, Calibre, to convert my .rtf files to Kindle format and transfer versus using the service Amazon provides for a fee.  

Purchasing books and games (yes, games) via Amazon is scarily easy whether you’re purchasing directly from your Kindle DX or your computer—my wallet’s cringing as I type. Yet, there’s a host of great titles you can download for free—mainly classics. Amazon’s Whispernet technology operates via a free 3G connection (for browsing the Amazon store. I believe there are fees for web browsing. I have yet to explore this in depth) is insanely fast! On my first day I downloaded 29 titles in less than 10 minutes. Amazon keeps a record of your Kindle book purchases and allows you to re-download your purchased item if you accidentally delete it from your device or need to temporarily free up some space. The Kindle DX is equipped with the Oxford Dictionary. You can browse the dictionary itself or quickly look up any unfamiliar words you may come across on your reading journey.

To make the reading experience even more enjoyable, you can easily transfer .mp3 music files to the device. The only downside is that the Kindle DX plays the files in the order in which they were transferred. However, there is an option to skip tracks as well as pause the music. As I suspected, the text-to-speech feature cannot be utilized while playing music.

The Kindle DX is said to hold approximately 3,500 ebooks, periodicals, and documents.  

Battery Life
The estimated battery life is up to 1 week on a single charge with wireless on and two to three weeks with the wireless off. It takes approximately 4.5 hours to fully recharge a depleted battery. These figures are pretty accurate. While charging, you can still use your Kindle DX (when charging via computer, you’ll need to eject the device, but keep it plugged in).

After 20 minutes of inactivity, the Kindle DX automatically goes into sleep mode. During this time, the screen is filled with one of several designated images. My jaw dropped at how smooth and detailed the images were—like sketches on paper. The Kindle DX’s display of photographs is as equally impressive. Some people leave their Kindle DX in sleep mode indefinitely between uses, but I prefer to shut it off.

To date, I’ve yet to link my Kindle DX to social networks like Facebook and Twitter, but I hope to do so and update soon.

All of the aforementioned only begins to describe the awesome capabilities of this remarkable device.

In short, I absolutely LOVE the Kindle DX! The pluses far outweigh the minuses, in my opinion. If you don’t enjoy reading or don’t read very often, you may want to save your money instead of buying something that will likely wind up as a $379 paperweight. However, if you’re an avid reader—especially of ebooks—this is an ideal tool and I highly recommend it. I’m in the process of writing two novels and have found the Kindle DX invaluable in saving my eyes from the constant glare of the computer screen. It has also eliminated the need for frequent printouts of my nearly 700-page manuscript.

Your comments and questions are welcome!

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