Category Archives: Info

Swedish Man Builds Whimsical Flying Machine



Borg MachineWho hasn’t dreamed of building their very own flying machine? Imagine being able to climb aboard a ship you put together with your own two hands and then piloting that contraption into the deep blue yonder, looking for adventure!

I’m not sure if that was exactly the inspiration for Swedish engineer Axel Borg when he began building his chAIR multi-rotor flying craft. But, he was successful in designing and constructing his own DIY flying machine. Borg took the chAIR craft on its maiden flight last month. He kept the contraption relatively low to the ground, but chAIR turned out to be pretty stable, and may be capable of higher reaches.

It’s fair to describe the chAIR craft as a whimsical thing. If it weren’t for the craft’s very loud set of rotors that allow chAIR to take flight, it seems like something that could’ve fallen out of a Miyazaki film.

chAIR’s first flight lasted eight minutes, which used 57% of the craft’s battery power. So, it’s doubtful we’ll be seeing swarms of chAIRs taking to the sky in place of other transportation options. Regardless, the craft is a true achievement in DIY engineering.

chAIR’s designer, Axel Borg, isn’t a novice to this kind of endeavor. According to his website, he’s already produced ebooks on projects like building an electric skateboard or creating a 3-D printed jet engine.

Check out Borg’s YouTube channel for more videos of the chAIR as well as Borg’s other projects.


Plex Adds Timeline View for Photos



Plex logoDigital photos are ubiquitous in modern life. Nearly everyone is walking around at all times with at least one device that contains a built-in camera. That makes it easy to capture everything from big events to everyday life moments, and preserve those memories forever. But this ability to easily take and save pictures does have its drawbacks. The biggest one of them being the avalanche of content that users have to navigate thru when they want to find a specific photo.

Software developers have done a lot of work in recent years to make it easier for users to find their photos. One such developer is media-center creators Plex, who recently added a Timeline View to the photo viewer built into its apps:

Say goodbye to searching through folders upon folders to find that photo you are looking for! Chronological clusters make it easier than ever to see all your precious memories in the order that they happened. Scroll quickly through your whole photo collection, watching time go by as quickly or slowly as your fingers decide in our beautiful mosaic layout.

This new feature from Plex will soon be available to all users. For now, it’s available on a preview basis for users who are subscribed to the Plex Pass premium service.


Feedly Introduces Boards, Notes, Highlights



RSS aggregation service Feedly has been working hard to expand its service offerings to make it more of a valuable tool to businesses and power users. Feedly recently entered the next phase of its development with the release of its new Boards, Notes, and Highlights features:

Whatever your motivation, the power of information lies in your ability to harness it. Today we are sharing three new features we hope will make your Feedly experience even better: Boards, notes, and highlights.

As you save more stories, your Boards become libraries of the most important stories you find on Feedly. Everyone can create new Personal Boards. Feedly Teams users will see separate lists in the left navigation for Personal and Team Boards.

Feedly goes on to describe this new feature as:

  • Boards: For saving and organizing stories. All Feedly plans (Basic, Pro, and Teams) can save stories. When it comes to naming your Boards, try to keep a singular focus. This will keep you organized by your specific projects, clients, brands you monitor, or other important tasks.
  • Notes/Highlights: Feedly Pro and Teams users can enrich stories using notes and highlights. If you are part of a Feedly Teams plan, your teammates will be able to read your notes and add their own. Highlight the most important passages to make it easy for your colleagues and other executives to scan through stories. Since stories saved to Boards never expire, you’ll be able to revisit these notes and highlights in the future.

Some of these new tools from Feedly are available to users of Feedly’s free-service plan. More features become available with Feedly’s different paid-service plans. For more information, click the link at the top of this article.


Dave Winer Releases Electric River RSS Aggregator



Electric RiverDave Winer recently announced the release of the Electric River desktop RSS aggregator for Mac. Electric River was created within the Electron programming language and it uses elements from the open source River5 project.

The Electric River app is a friendly RSS aggregator currently available as a downloadable Mac app (Winer hopes Linux and Windows versions of Electric River will be released soon). More on Electric River from Winer’s blog:

There’s a lot of power in there — it is the full unmodified River5 from the GitHub site. When you lift the hood there’s your Lists folder, Data folder, Rivers folder, all the pieces are there, and all the generality. While we have a UI for editing one list, you can have as many lists as you like.

There will also be a new release of River5 coming with this, with the addition of three new callbacks that allow us to do things a bit more efficiently because the reading and configuring app is running in the same process as the server.

I approached this project once before, a couple of years ago, but I didn’t have enough experience with Electron, Node and JavaScript to trust the result. Now I am reasonably confident that this will work.

I downloaded and tested Electric River on my iMac. The app comes preloaded with a selection of news sources, including NPR, New York Times, Laughing Squid, and more. The user interface (see image above) is dead simple to use, with immediately recognizable controls for adding and removing feeds.

Clicking the Docs tab at the top of the Electric River interface provides quick access to the files that come with the download, for those who want to manipulate the contents of their RSS aggregation at a more advanced level.

Electric River for Mac is available as a free download.


Modern Retro



plastic seat coversHaving been born in 1955 I grew up through the plastic craze of the 1960’s. Plastic was new and fascinating. Plastic designer products of the 1960’s helped us believe that we were living in the future.

And so that brings us to products such as the Fingerhut plastic seat covers as well as plastic furniture covers. At the height of the plastic craze, it was popular to cover car seats with mail ordered plastic seat covers. They were constructed of clear plastic, and came in two designs – flat or a sort of raised diamond plate bubble design. For whatever reason, the diamond plate bubble design seemed to be the most popular, and that is what my parents had.

sofa-plastic-coverWhen my younger brothers and I would sleep while riding in the car with our faces lying against the seat, we would wake up, with the imprint of the diamond plate pattern on the sides of our faces. The plastic seat covers grew very hot and pliable in the summer and cold and stiff in the winter. Inevitably the plastic would become brittle, crack and tear at certain stress points, often remaining partially intact.

At the very height of the plastic craze some people also covered living room furniture with form fitting clear plastic covers. Somehow some people were convinced that the plastic cover would prevent the new furniture from becoming worn out, despite the fact that the plastic was cold and uninviting.

plastic1It’s a wonder that this plastic craze didn’t result in plastic cosmetics to help “protect” skin. I can imagine children with shining plastic covered faces.

Plastic is certainly still around, though the craze has long since dissipated. Plastic has faded into the background of our consumer lives, quietly weaved into the majority of products around us.

Fortunately the plastic seat cover idea went away. However, like a reconstituted T-2 Terminator the plastic cover is back and lives on department store shelves near you.

plastic screen protectorThe modern idea of plastic covers lurks in the 21st century in the form of useless plastic screen protectors for mobile devices. Screen protectors are a 1960’s fantastic plastic product just waiting to be applied to the screens of beloved mobile devices. And just like those plastic seat covers of the 1960’s, plastic screen protectors are of dubious value.


Ten Must Have Applications for a Mac



Macbook Air I have just received my new 11 inch Macbook Air with 8GB of memory, 1.3 GHz Intel Core iS and 250 GB of storage. I have only had it for a day now and so I have been spending most of my time getting it set up the way I want. This will be my secondary machine as I already have a Mac Mini as my main machine. I was therefore setting it up as a new machine. One of my primary goals while setting the machine up was to be selective when adding applications to it. These are the ten applications that I chose to add at this time.

  1. Dropbox
  2. 1password
  3. Omnifocus
  4. Nvalt
  5. Textexpander
  6. Hazel
  7. Quicksilver, or Alfred
  8. Evernote
  9. Fantastical
  10. MultiMarkdown Composer

The following is why I chose these ten applications. The first application I would install on any computer is Dropbox. Many of the applications I use store their data in Dropbox. The next application I would install is 1password. I have 1password installed on all my computers and it is great for generating and securely storing passwords, notes, credit card, and other personal information. The third application I would install would Omnifocus.  It is currently my task management or GTD application of choice . I don’t know about you but I am constantly coming up with idea that I need to write down quickly before I forget them. I use Nvalt for this purpose it is both simple and powerful at the same time. It allows me to write thoughts down quickly and easily search for them later. If you are constantly writing the same thing, over and over again then TextExpander will become your best friend. Once you create a snippet and add it to TextExpander you can invoke that snippet at anytime with a simple keyboard shortcut. I try to keep my files organized and I like a clean desktop.  However like most people when I find something I want to keep, I have a tendency to throw it on to the Desktop. Hazel is the solution to this problem. You can set Hazel up to automatically move files or folders from one location to another. For example I have Hazel set up to move any image file from my desktop to a folder on Dropbox an hour after it was added. I am a big believer in app launchers such as Alfred or Quicksilver. Currently I am using Alfred on my main machine, but am trying out the new version of Quicksilver on my Macbook Air. Both of these applications can be used to quickly launch any application, but they can be customized to do so much more. I use Evernote as my catch-all for receipts, emails and other things I want to save and access everywhere. Fantastical allows me to quickly enter an event without having to open up iCal. Finally I wanted a text editor that works with MultiMarkdown and MultiMarkdown Composer fills that niche.

These are the ten applications that I installed automatically on my new Macbook Air. If you just brought a new Mac and you could only install ten new applications, what would they be?


Dynamics ePlates: Credit Card for Today’s World



Dynamics Dynamics Inc has developed cards for Visa that have chips embedded into them. The battery inside the card will last at least four years. There is a user interface including buttons and a magnetic stripe that changes so user can make different choices at the point of sale.  The user can easily change the awards available on the cards through the website. There are currently fifty different award partners that the card can be connected to. You also receive the rewards a lot faster than you do with a normal card because of the system they have establish. These cards are more secure than normal cards due to the fact that the information is stored in an embedded processor on the card

Dynamics Inc is also developing a card that has security code embedded in it. You have to punch in the code for the card to become active. When the right code is punched in the card number appears and the magnetic stripe becomes active After a period of time the number disappears and stripe erases. F’or further information and sign up for a card go to Dynamics Inc website or the UMB Bank website.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net, and Daniel J Lewis of the The Noodle.mx Network and the Audacity to Podcast

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