When I talk to people about technology, others often seem disappointed at the shortcomings of certain gadgets or the pace of improvements and innovations. I think this is preposterous. While our lives are still missing the flying cars and robot servants some people expected of the twenty first century, I am constantly in awe of the outrageous products and technologies that are unveiled every day. Here are some of the things from the past year that remind me that we are living in the future.

Storage Shrinks; Capacity Grows

If you want to see Moore’s Law in effect, look no further than computer data storage. Transcend announced just a few months ago that they have developed a 2 TB flash drive.

In the photo below you can see a data storage facility from the 1960′s. The information contained in this warehouse full of punched cards could fit on a single 4GB USB drive today. Mind-boggling.

Personal Computers Are Everywhere

This one should be pretty self evident unless you were born in the last decade or two. Personal computers have penetrated practically every facet of our lives. With the increasing popularity of smart phones and tablets, more and more people have a computer at their disposal 24 hours a day. With the technology constantly getting better, smaller and cheaper, the line between computers and other everyday objects is getting blurrier. My television set can browse the internet and runs programs, my car has a hard drive to store music. More and more household appliances are incorporating computers to be compatible with “smart houses”. I’d venture to say it won’t be long until all your electronics are networked together, refrigerator and coffee maker included.

3D Printing: What You Need, When You Need It

Not too many people I talk to are as excited about this as I am, but if you ask me, 3D printers are amazing and are something we will see a lot more of in the future. For those who don’t know, 3D printing is the process of creating a three dimensional object from a digital file using a materials printer. There are a number of different methods that have been developed to achieve this, but my favorite is a method that injects resins into a plastic powder and can create objects with moving parts all in one go. I think it is only a matter of time before these become common household appliances. There’s already a product, the Printrbot, being developed through KickStarter that is actually reasonably priced (and the demand speaks volumes about the technology). Check it this video to see how it works for yourself.


Advances in Prosthetics Improve Quality of Life

It’s pretty unbelievable, but thanks to the research and advances being made in the field of prosthetics, scientists say it will not be long before we have “mind-controlled” prosthetic limbs, mechanical wheelchairs and even computer cursors. Testing on primates has demonstrated that robotic arms can be moved by the mind, and sensors attached to the human brain have been used to move the mouse cursor of a computer. While this is, of course, wonderful news for paraplegics  and amputees, this technology can have countless other uses. I, for one, am anxiously awaiting the day I can play video games with my thoughts, or drive my car by thinking of where I want to go. If this technology really flourishes, who knows what its limits will be.  You can read more about this technology here, or check out this video (as well as the related videos YouTube recommends):

The Self Driving Car: Your Personal Chauffeur

A quick Google search will reveal that the autonomous car is a project being worked on by a plethora of companies, with those in the auto industry, unsurprisingly, well represented. A much more unlikely contender in the race is Google. That’s right, the search engine giant is pretty far along in development of a self driving car. Just in the last few weeks, Google was granted another patent for their project: plans for a “landing strip” system to help cars park themselves. But what is the reason for Google’s interest in developing this technology? Information. Google already makes billions by using their users search queries to display ads specifically targeting the user. Having a car that tracks your daily routine and the places you visit allows for even more user specific marketing. If they get their way, I’m sure it wont be long before we have advertising banners displayed on our windshields. See the Google car in action in this video:

That does it for the first half of “Technologies That Prove the Future is Now”. Be sure to check back soon for part 2, and leave your thoughts in the comments below in the meantime. Also if you liked this article please remember to Tweet, Like or Reddit this post!

A car's fuel gauge

Anyone who has attempted to optimize their website for better results on search engines has undoubtedly seen advertisements for applications and services that promise to get your website to the top of the search results. Many of these programs are useful, but unfortunately, they are rarely, if ever, free of charge. If you are a beginner at SEO and don’t want to invest in pricey software before you know what you are doing, you can follow this guide, and use the free services and trials I have compiled into this list:


Free Utilities & Backlink Tools for the Broke SEO

Craawler – Great utility that is still in its infancy. Created by Reddit user Johnsee, the Craawler is still being worked on and tweaked, so expect a few minor bugs. Aside from that, this tool is awesome! The full utility and all of its features are entirely free (at least for now). Craawler can give you info about spelling mistakes on your page, point out ways to improve your meta tags, header tags, internal and external hyperlinks as well as give you social stats (likes, +1′s, follows) for each page of your site. I have been using Craawler a ton and I recommend you try it out too.

Social Monkee – This site has private, High PR private bookmarking sites. You can join for free and get immediate access to 25 sites and three URL submissions per day. That’s 75 links per day just for signing up. You can “refer” 12 people and get upgraded for free to 100 sites per submission. Just ignore the ads and marketing and take advantage of what’s available for free. High PR social bookmarks for free, doesn’t get much better than that.

Ahrefs.comAnother useful utility for tracking competitors backlinks. You will only be shown the “top” 100 links and you are limited to 9 queries each day from your IP address.

tools.seobook.com – A bunch of useful utilities, all in one spot. I’ve been using the Related Link Suggestion Tool and the Free Meta Tag Generator, but the other tools are useful too.

OpenSiteExplorer.orgSEOMoz’s utility is pretty pricey at $99 per month. Useful mostly for tracking backlinks to your (or your competitor’s) site, you can get a brief taste of what the utility is like without signing up at all. You can also take them up on their 1 month free trial to see what they are all about, but remember to cancel if you don’t want to get hit with the hundred dollar charge once your trial has expired. Besides checking out backlinks, the full version will track your sites and keywords weekly and give you suggestions to improve your site right from your browser.

SEscout.com – SEscout is a SERP tracker that runs automatically and hourly. There is a free version good for tracking 10 keywords per account. Set up an account for each of your projects – if you’re just starting out, you shouldn’t be worrying about more than 10 keywords per site anyway. I have found this very useful for accurately noticing changes in my SERPs.

Yahoo Site Explorer – I use Yahoo’s Site Explorer to check out the backlinks of my competitors. You can only get the detailed crawl data on sites that you own, but backlink data is available for any sites in Yahoo’s index. While most other free utilities will list 50-100 backlinks, yahoo site explorer will give you it’s whole list (though many will tell you that no backlink list is complete).

LinkDiagnosis.com – This is a useful free utility that will retrieve plenty of backlinks for you, but you will have to install their plug-in for your web browser.

Majestic SEO – I’m including this one because I found it recommended on a few different sites when I was initially looking for these utilities. You will have to create a free account to use this, and even once you do, too few of the options available are actually useful. You can get a pretty accurate snapshot of the site you look up, but few details. Use this tool to supplement your SEO work, if at all.

SEO Toolbar - This is a toolbar I have installed for Firefox, that I use primarily to see the pagerank of the websites I visit. I know there are plenty of other options to check PageRank, but if you ask me, having it automatically displayed for every site you visit is invaluable.

twitter auto follow – Tweet attacks is a useful program you can download for free to help manage multiple twitter accounts. I haven’t used this too much yet, but it came highly recommended and I will be posting a follow-up once I have more experience with it.


REDDIT EDIT 10/12/11: So I checked out my traffic stats and was pleasantly surprised when I saw a bunch of traffic from Reddit.com. I tracked down the post where it was coming from in the /r/gadget subreddit. There was a load of comments, with some great suggestions for some portable apps I didn’t include in my original article. I’ve read over all the comments and tried out some of the apps you recommended. Here is an updated list of Portable Apps No USB Drive Should Be Without. Updates are highlighted in orangered.


Quick Jump to Category:  Utilities & Tools | Fun & Games | Graphics & Images | Internet


Top USB Drive Applications

Almost everybody I know owns a USB drive these days. Kids in elementary school are carrying them for schoolwork, seniors are keeping their medical records on them at all times and almost everyone at the office carries one on their key chain. While it’s great that these devices are becoming so commonplace, most people who own them are doing themselves a disservice by not taking advantage of the huge library of portable applications that run right off the flash drive, on nearly any computer.


Administration & Developer Tools

SarduCD – Use this to make a boot disk/usb with multiple linux distros and Windows operating systems. (thanks to reddit user, Browsing_From_Work, for the tip)

Knoppix – a Linux distro you can run from your USB drive or from a CD. Great for doing repair work on windows systems. (thanks to reddit user knightfelt)

Nirsoft – another awesome suite of utilities for password recovery, network monitoring, system tools and tweaks. Very useful. (thanks to redditor the sqlguy, great tip)

WinHex – computer forensics, data recovery, hex editor and disk editor. (Thank you to adaminc from reddit.com)

YUMI – can be used to create a Multiboot USB Flash Drive containing multiple operating systems, antivirus utilities, disc cloning, diagnostic tools, and more. (credit for this one goes to shrapnel09)

Hiren’s BootCD - a suite of useful utilities (all open-source), some work within Windows, others require you to boot your system from CD/USB.

DriverPack Solution – An amazing tool that will detect and install/update drivers for all devices on your system. It saves you a TON of time since you’ll no longer have to go out and search for drivers. This tool uses the freely available DriverPacks – www.driverpacks.net.

Microsoft Security Essentials – Free Anti-Malware software by Microsoft. Be sure to download the x86 and x64 versions.

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware – Excellent Anti-Malware software by Malwarebytes.

HD Tune – Awesome Hard Drive Analysis tool, I highly recommend the Pro version if you have the cash.

Tweak-7/VI/XP – Three great little tools that let you tweak Windows 7, XP or Vista, respectively.

HijackThis – Awesome utility that scans a computer for changes possibly made by malware.

Internet Explorer 8 for Windows XP – Terrible web browser, but you’ll need it if you ever do a repair install on an XP machine that had it installed. After you complete the repair install you’ll log into Windows and get stuck after logging in. Reboot into safe mode and install IE8, then reboot, and then you’ll be fine.

ShellExView – Get sick of programs adding their own entries to your context menus? This program can help you get rid of them.

Angry IP Scanner – Great tool for taking inventory of all devices on your local network.

Edit Pad Pro – a powerful and versatile text editor or word processor. The trial version boasts all the features of the full version (as long as you don’t mind the reminders to upgrade), though the software is well worth the $50 price.

– Another great text editor, especially for writing code.

Rkill – kill is wonderful when you need to stop viruses from running on a computer.

– Great tool to run after virus removal to restore your registry.

USB Drive Recovery Tools – For fixing broken USB drives and recovering data.

Trinity Rescue Kit – “CPR for your computer” This is a fully functioning linux distribution that aims specifically at recovery and repair operations on Windows machines, but is equally usable for Linux recovery issues.

USBDeview – Useful utility that lists all USB devices currently installed, and all the USB devices that have been installed on your computer. Very useful for me personally as I work with USB drives often and had thousands of entries in my previously installed list, which I was able to delete with USBDeview. The utility also has other useful tools for running command line scripts whenever a new USB is inserted.

WinMD5Sum – A utility used to verify files. Useful for when transferring files to multiple devices.

Fun & Games

Jooleem Portable – a fun puzzle game that is reminiscent of Bejewelled

Warzone 2100 – single or multi-player strategy game.

Open TTD Portable - an urban planning game, much like SimCity.

Winboard Chess - An advanced chess engine. Brush up on the basics or train to take down grandmasters.

PokerTH Portable - a classic Texas Hold’em style poker game.

LBreakout2 – a breakout style game we all know and love. Use the paddle to keep the ball breaking down blocks.

Graphics, Images & Video

GIMP portable – the popular open-source alternate to Photoshop.

Blender Portable – 3D modelling, animation, rendering, post-production and playback.

Inkscape Portable – A vector graphics editor you can run from your USB drive.

VLC Player – plays just about any video file, great for presentations. (Thanks to bbqbot from reddit.com)


Opera Portable – Opera is a lightweight and customizable browser. It has a loyal userbase, and reddit user demonstro was not pleased that I left Opera off my list. Sorry Demonstro.

Mozilla Firefox Portable  - everyone’s favorite web browser on a flash drive. Except the people who like other browsers, it’s not their favorite.

Filezilla Portable – Full-featured FTP client you can run from your USB.

Pidgin Portable - a chat program that works with AIM, Yahoo and MSN accounts.




I’ve been keeping an eye out for cool USB drives and thought I would share some of the more unique ones I’ve come across lately.

These cardboard drives were made by Art.Lebedev Studios in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities. This is a great and novel idea, though the price of these may make them more of a novelty than a practical device. Still, the thought of being able to rip a USB drive off  a sheet of several is pretty cool, not to mention the “green” value of recyclable cardboard drives. Pricing and availability has not been posted yet, but I know I will be keeping an eye on these.



Another cool custom flash drive I found was this USB mini Digital Camera. Something like this is sure to impress your friends, after all, it is hard to believe that this device is capable of taking actual pictures. No bigger than a standard USB drive, this gadget has a 2 megapixel lens and can shoot both still shots and video. And though you won’t be shooting the clearest HD on the block, 720 × 480/30fps is more than reasonable for a camera this size. With a built in battery and usb port, there are no extra parts to lose, everything is attached to the camera, all in all, I’d say this is a pretty awesome device!

Lastly, I came across a photo gallery with a bunch of custom flash drives, some of which were pretty neat. They include a Lego Star Wars Darth Vadar figure, with his lower torso replaced with a USB drive. Other interesting drives included a set of dominoes, as well as a USB gentleman’s pipe. Classy!


After pestering my boss for months, I was finally allowed to bring in some of my own posters to hang up in the office. This is one I got at this years Wanee Music Festival in North FL. It’s not my favorite concert poster, but this is by far the most agreeable poster I’ve got. Now that I’ve got my foot in the door I will be adding more posters with more questionable subject matter. Anyway, at least I get to look at something cool while I work now!




This device, when used in conjunction with your wireless router, will allow you to access USB devices, without wires, from any computer on your WiFi network. This device will be a godsend for less savvy gadget lovers. External hard-drives can be shared on your network with no confusing set-up. Printers without wireless capabilities built in can be accessed from anywhere in your house. Webcams can be set up and used for surveillance or baby monitoring. USB drives can be plugged in at this one designated spot and will no longer be lost somewhere around the house. Flash drives have a tendency to get lost in my house, only to resurface weeks, if not months later. I’m pretty excited to get one of these set up, and since it retails for $99.95, it won’t break the bank. Granted, many of these functions are attainable without the use of a wireless USB HUB, but, in my opinion, the simplicity of the device is it’s major selling point. Just the fact that I will always know where to find my flash drive is worth the price to me.

I’m interested in hearing your opinions on this. Is the functionality worth the price? Is this something you would want to use in your house? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!



And, for your consideration, a new rage face to use in fuuuuu comics.



Anyone who knows about the Flaming Lips, knows that the band is a bit… out there. They are well known for their theatrical stunts on and off the stage.

So it should not surprise anyone that their latest few EP’s have been a bit out there too. Not just in musical style, but in the actual packaging as well. The latest few releases from the Flaming Lips have been made available in the form of USB flash drives, embedded in gummy candy… in the shape of a skull and a fetus. You read correctly, to listen to their latest songs, fans need to purchase and eat their way into the music. I have to say, this has got to be the most unique use of promotional flash drives that I have ever seen. Using custom usb drives has definitely been gaining popularity in the music industry. With notable artists like the White Stripes, the Mars Volta, Lady Gaga, Ringo Starr and others releasing special editions of their albums on USB, it is likely that we will be seeing more and more unique releases like these. How long we will have to wait to be see an artist out-weird the Flaming Lips, is another matter entirely.



I Always thought it would be fun to go on a long rock climbing trip. After seeing this photo I immediately changed my mind.


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