Archive for the ‘Labs/Experiments’ Category

Wheres Waldo – the Google Earth version!

Posted on April 11th, 2008 in Games, How To's, Labs/Experiments, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, Things we should do more of, Time Wasters | 1 Comment »

“The striking young man – never without his
red-and-white-striped top, bobble hat, walking stick and glasses – had
a habit of turning up in the most unlikely and crowded of places, from
ancient Aztec kingdoms to medieval battlefields.

Satellite image of 'Waldo'
Melanie Coles, the artist, has released this photo of the figure taken from a helicopter

now a Canadian artist has brought the game into the 21st Century, by
painting an enormous Wally that can be seen by Google Earth satellites.

55ft figure was installed on an undisclosed rooftop in Vancouver last
month, sparking a flurry of interest among internet users keen to be
the first to spot this Web 2.0 Wally.”

. . .

“Coles, an art student who publicised the project on her blog, is encouraging others to follow her lead and create a network of Google Earth Wallys across the world.”

Minas Tirith Matchstick

Posted on April 8th, 2008 in Labs/Experiments, Lacking a Category, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, Time Wasters | 2 Comments »

plans call for his biggest and most detailed model yet as he constructs
a model of the tremendously ancient city that
says “appears hewn from the rock of Mount
in the White Mountains. 
Acton’s matchstick version of the seven-level city was started in February
of 2007. The Minas Tirith model will contain hundreds
of city buildings and will be topped with the Tree of Gondor
and the White Tower of Etchelion. “

From his website, “Iowa artist
Patrick Acton turns ordinary wooden matchsticks into incredible works
of art. The Matchstick Marvels display is wood art at its best,
showing creativity and detail work unmatched by other skilled woodworkers.
Millions of matchsticks have been painstakingly glued together to
represent scaled models of life-like sculptures, intricate machines,
and world renown architecture.”

View more pix here

17 Google Easter Eggs, Gags, and Hoaxes

Posted on March 29th, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Google, How To's, Labs/Experiments, Lacking a Category, Software/Hardware Reviews, Time Wasters | 3 Comments »

I’m just going to let this speak for itself.

Okay, i can’t keep my mouth shut.
I reccomend the following from PCWorlds list as particularly interesting and worthy of exploration.

#3 : The three AM one looks pretty cool.  I haven’t been up till 3 to test it out, but it looks neat.
#4 : I remember reading about Gmail Paper.  There may even be a FLB post on it.
#7.  The Google Earth flight simulator.  The first time I heard of it, i didn’t believe it.  Surprisingly, Brian or Joe hadn’t heard of it either.  So off to Google Earth I went . . . and there it was.  No lie.
#8. Google calculator. One of the things i love about Google.
#12. The Picasa Bear. Just how many it will show is a mystery. . . but its a lot.

Happy Bunnyday!

Posted on March 23rd, 2008 in Dumb Things That Happen, How To's, Labs/Experiments, Lacking a Category, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, Site of the Day, The Never Ending Story/Other FLB Events, Things we should do more of, Time Wasters | Comments Off on Happy Bunnyday!

Just a humorous Happy Holidays from FLB!

One-Handed Xbox controller

Posted on March 21st, 2008 in Labs/Experiments, Photos/Videoes, Software/Hardware Reviews, Tech News | 5 Comments »

Ben Heck has made another one-handed Xbox conroller.   All the buttons are in easy-to-reach places, and the controller still manages to incorporate two joysticks.
Read more about it here :

How do traffic jams form?

Posted on March 12th, 2008 in Dumb Things That Happen, Labs/Experiments, Lacking a Category, Photos/Videoes, Site of the Day, Time Wasters | 1 Comment »

Watch this short video to find out.
It’s quite amazing how with only 20 cars driving around a circle, all supposed to be doing 30kph, a wave of backup slowly flows around the ring of cars.  Quite quickly the spacing between cars starts to change.  As some cars speed up, they create gaps.  Is the cars behind them speed up, other drivers speed up too.  Soon, a bunch of faster-moving cars catch up to slower moving cars.  Only when all the cars before the driver ahead of the slow pack move up does the driver leading the slow pack speed up.  Still confused?  Just watch the video.  Its only 30 seconds long, and shows what happens really clearly.
Still not an excuse for being late to work though. . . . .

Etch-A-Sketch Clock

Posted on March 11th, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Labs/Experiments, Photos/Videoes, Time Wasters | Comments Off on Etch-A-Sketch Clock

Take a look at this computer-controled Etch-A-Sketch that writes out the time every minute, then automatically flips to clear itself and then records the new time.  I’d like to see a more detailed drawing of what time it is (the simple outline of the line seems a bit plain to me, and also a bit small for the size of the screen), but then again, I’ve never tried to program anything like this, and its probably more complicated then I think.  Either way, its a cool use for a etch-a-sketch.

The Motherboard that powers its own cooling fans

Posted on March 4th, 2008 in Computer software/hardware, Labs/Experiments, Tech News | Comments Off on The Motherboard that powers its own cooling fans

Motherboards and other associated computer chips can do some amazing things, at amazing speeds.  One of the largest issues keeping computer chips functioning properly at such speeds is keeping them cool.  Processing takes a lot of electricity, and generates a lot of heat.  So why not take that heat, and use it to power the cooling fan for the motherboard?  Why waste MORE power to keep the chip cool, while you’ve got all this extra heat hanging around that you’re trying to get rid of?

Read more about it here :

Meet the “Gravity Lamp”

Posted on February 24th, 2008 in Labs/Experiments, Lacking a Category, Science!, Tech News, Things we should do more of | Comments Off on Meet the “Gravity Lamp”

“A Virginia Tech student has won the Greener Gadget Award for a clever
LED lamp that gets all of its power from gravity, which is a seriously
renewable resource. Working kind of like a grandfather clock that needs
to be wound in order to work, the lamp has a weight that’s raised up
every day. As the day goes on, it slowly lowers, with that movement
powering the LEDs.”

Cool.  A lamp that I power (gravity brings the weight down, but I lift it up).
It doesn’t need to be plugged in.  Put it anywhere you want.  And its got a lifespan of 200 years of used for 8 hours a day.

Read more about the gravity lamp here :

Thinking about this lamp gives me some other interesting ideas.  What would happen if we applied something similar to weight lifting equipment?  Charge your cell phone each day with your workout?  How bout an LED gage that shows how much of a power-workout you’ve actually done?  There MUST be other ways to make functional gadgets from this idea.  What if you scaled this up to a larger weight that you carry up a staircase, with a slider that goes to the basement, and every time you go up the stairs, you take one of a few weights, to keep the cycle going.  We’re always complaining that Americans are overweight.  This would help us exercise, and could be a fun way to compete to see who can be “greenest.”

I almost want to try this on a huge scale.  I can picture a conveyor belt, with hundreds of cups that could be filled with sand, and a hopper at the top and at the bottom.  Put in in a busy office building, and get people to bring a cup of sand with them each time they go up in the building – be it via elevator, escalator, or stairs, and dump it into the hopper at the top.  See how long the conveyor could spin, how much sand it could move, and maybe how much power it could develop.

I like the idea of the LED Lamp, but even I have to admit that there are some problems with the idea on a larger scale.  Everything takes energy.  Gravity may pull the weight down, but I need to eat food to burn the calories to raise the weight up.  In an office building, the elevator needs to work harder to raise up that cup of sand.  It may be only a little bit more power, but its a cost none the less.

Thinking about this idea, though, leads to another idea.  One of the largest problems with wind energy and solar energy is that the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t always shine when we’re ready to use the power they generate.  What if we started looking at mechanical means of storing energy, instead of chemical means like batteries?  What if we used solar power to pump water during the day, running on extra power, then use the falling water to generate electricity during the night?  It’s not the most efficient system, because theres loss of energy due to friction, heat, maintenance of the pumps, etc.  But would it be cost effective?  How simple could the system be?  I don’t know that the idea is remotely plausible.  But its a thought.  If a grandfather clock ran run for decades with a simple winding of a key, or lifting of a weight, what else could we do with that little bit of power?

Music using WIN XP and Vista sounds

Posted on February 20th, 2008 in Labs/Experiments, Photos/Videoes, Picture of the Day, Site of the Day, Time Wasters | Comments Off on Music using WIN XP and Vista sounds