Darth Vader Lunch Box Forces Food to Stay Fresh

Darth Vader Lunch Box
Bringing a Darth Vader Lunch Box to school means never having to suffer the indignities of detestable cafeteria food. [Image shared by Amazon]
While the Darth Vader Lunch Box may be a must-have accessory for any Star Wars fan’s collection of Darth Vader toys (I’m looking at you, Chris Pirillo), it also serves a function that’s practical no matter where you find yourself in the Galaxy: it keeps your lunch morsels an appropriate temperature for maximum edibility.

And the one-time purchase of a Darth Vader Lunch Box will eliminate the need for those tired, one-use paper lunch bags, letting you keep those cool credits you won at last night’s sabacc game right there in your pocket.

This is also a win for the environmentally friendly who want to help us conquer resource overuse — since, unlike our friends in a galaxy far, far away, we’ve got just the one planet on which to live, work, play, and have lunch. The Darth Vader Lunch Box won’t single-handedly conquer the ravages of climate change (just ask Luke), but it is a good small step forward.

Is That James Earl Jones’ Voice Beckoning You to Join Him for a Snack (and to Rule the Galaxy)?

In the original Star Wars trilogy, James Earl Jones provided the famous voice of Darth Vader and it was his booming vocal prowess that added character and dimension to the now-classic space villain. This is made all the more noteworthy by the fact that James Earl Jones overcame a severe case of stuttering as a youth — making him an excellent role model for any child who similarly struggles to conquer the difficulties of speech impediment.

Here are some of the impressive — most impressive — qualities of the Darth Vader Lunch Box:

  • Made by Thermos, a company that’s been keeping our lunches hot or cold — depending — for a century.
  • A push of the button lets you hear Vader’s signature breathing.
  • It’s 100% PVC free.
  • Closed cell polyethylene foam insulation keeps inside temperature (and your food!) stable.
  • It opens with a zipper and has a comfortable handle.

The Darth Vader Lunch Box Makes a Great Gift

A perfect gift for kids five and up (way up, considering that a lot of people who saw Star Wars for its first run in theaters as kids are now in their late 30s and early 40s), the Darth Vader Lunch Box will bring a smile to the face of Star Wars collectors and lunch enthusiasts, alike. Whether this is used as a carrying case for geeky goods or precious peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it’s designed to get its contents from one place to another safely and in sleek style.

After all, it’s hard to be a Vader hater when he’s kind enough to carry around your stuff all day long.

Get your own Darth Vader Lunch Box at Amazon and be the coolest kid (of all ages) on the planet!

Guiding Your Way Through The Cloud

So, you want to start moving your life to the “cloud?” Looking for a cheap or even free way to do so? With cloud computing and online storage becoming more and more popular, many companies are starting to put their hands into this highly profitable honey-pot. One thing that you need to keep in mind: You get what you pay for. You are not going to find a free unlimited storage plan online that does not have its limitations. I will be going over several online storage options and list the ups and downs of each. By the time you are done reading, hopefully you will have found an option suitable for you.

What is Cloud Storage?

Before I go into the different options, it is important to understand what cloud storage is. In the past, we have been used to storing all of our music, photo, documents, etc. on our computers HDD, a flash drive, external HDDs, CD/DVDs and even card media (SD/Memory Stick/CompactFlash/etc.). With access to the Internet getting more and more common (with hotspots, cell phones, and expanded broadband coverage), we are relying more on online services. Cloud storage is just that: a huge ass cloud. No, Zeus is not standing up in the heavens with gigantic file cabinets storing away your files. But we have big name companies buying massive amounts of HD space for this very reason. Instead of having to carry around an HDD or a keychain full of flash drives, all you need is a PC and an Internet connection. Plus, cloud storage can be, most of the time, more reliable. I am sure a lot of these online storage providers and not just putting all your info on some cheap HDD without making at least one or more back ups.

Cloud Storage and You

First, you need to lay out what you will need in a cloud storage service. Here are some common options/limitations you need to think about:

  1. Space: This is probably the most important on of all. What’s the point on online storage if you don’t have enough space?
  2. File Size Limitation: Most of the free options of online storage have a file size limitation. Meaning, each file you upload cannot be bigger than XXMB/GB. This is mainly so people do not go get free accounts and use them to host huge files (Movies, ISOs, Games) and suck up bandwidth.
  3. Access Options: To some, this is almost as important as how much space they have. Do you require access to your files on your mobile phone? Do you want to use a desktop client, or a Web-based one? Do you want to be able to give your friends/co-workers access to these files as well?
  4. Price: Free is good, but it is not always the best option. Remember: You get what you pay for. There are several free online storage providers, but you may run into a few issues with them, including file size limitation.
  5. Reliability: Will the company that you are using collapse tomorrow? This is a very important factor. You don’t want to store important files on a storage provider’s server and have them close down tomorrow; you’ll lose access to what you really need.

Your Options

Now we are going to look into your options. The ones I list here are just a few. I am sure there are hundreds of online storage providers out there, and it would be almost impossible to list them all. If you know of one that I did not list, post it in the comments so other readers can try it out!

Dropbox: Dropbox hit the Internet around 2007. This company is one of the most popular online storage options. The cool thing about Dropbox is, if you get a free account, you start out with 2 GB. As you refer people, you get more space. I have not found another provider that does this (free or paid). Here are some specs:

  1. Space: From 2 GB all the way to 100 GB
  2. File Size Limitation: A rare feature for a free plan: If you are using the desktop client, there is no file size limit. If you are using the Web-based uploader, you have a 300 MB limit. It does not matter if you have the 2 GB plan or the 100 GB plan.
  3. Access Options: Dropbox has several access options. Of course you have the Web-based version. It also has apps for: Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and more. No matter what OS/device you have, Dropbox has some type of access option for you. The desktop client adds a folder to your OS and it acts just like any other folder on your computer. You can drag and drop, delete, or create like normal. As you modify the files in the folder, your online account is updated in real-time.
  4. Price: 2 GB: Free (This is expandable as you refer more people); 50 GB: $9.99 a month or $99.00 a year; 100 GB: $19.99 a month or $199 for one year.
  5. Reliability: I have been using Dropbox for about a year now and have never had an issue — every company usually has issues (Hell, look at RIM). Dropbox has a very informative yet minimalist status page that gives you the current up/down status of the Dropbox client/Web services.

If you want to give cloud computing a try for the first time, I would HIGHLY recommend Dropbox. With several access options and awesome reliability it would be a good service to test out and see if cloud storage is right for you.

Site: http://dropbox.com

Windows Live SkyDrive: Started by Microsoft (yes, the same people who brought you the awesomeness we call Vista) in 2008, SkyDrive is a good option for users who want to integrate their online storage with cloud computing. One of the unique features of SkyDrive is the ability to edit/create Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote files online without having to install any kind of client. Take a look at the features.

  1. Space: 25 GB
  2. File Size Limitation: There is always a catch, especially when you have 25 GB of free storage. You have a limitation of 50 MB per file. (I don’t think I have any MP3s bigger then 50 MB, but I am not encoding them at the highest bitrate).
  3. Access Options: Currently, there is not an official desktop client for SkyDrive. Any uploading/downloading needs to be done using the Web-based tool. But don’t fret, as there is an alternative. Gladient is a Windows application that you can use to upload/download/alter your SkyDrive on your desktop. Basically, this application will create a virtual HDD that you can access on your computer. Unfortunately, this is only for Windows. Sorry, OS X/Linux users.
  4. Price: Free! That’s easy.
  5. Reliability: Personally, I do not use SkyDrive so I cannot account 100% for its reliability. But, from browsing the net and looking around, I have not found anyone complaining about constant downtime/slow speeds. Like always, though, 100% uptime is almost impossible.

If you do not want to pay for a cloud service and don’t mind using a Web-based tool (non-Windows users) SkyDrive would be good for you. It can be hoped, Microsoft releases an official client that expands farther then just PCs. Who can complain about 25 GB of free storage?

Site: http://explore.live.com/windows-live-skydrive

Box: I just recently discovered this company when I was browsing different apps to download on my Droid X. The Web site is clean and very simple. The company even provides storage options to large corporations!

  1. Space: 2 GB to 500 GB
  2. File Size Limitation: With the free (2 GB Plan), you have a 25 MB limit. For the 25 GB plan, you have a 1 GB limit. For the 500 GB plan, you have a 2 GB limit.
  3. Access Options: Everything is completely Web-based, but it is one of the easiest services I have used. When uploading, you can select as many files as you want to upload, all in one windows (CTRL, SHIFT or command selecting files). Also, with the premium plans, you have integrated access to Google Docs, EchoSign, eFax, and more.
  4. Price: 2 GB: Free, 25 GB: $9.99 a month, 500 GB: $15/user/month
  5. Reliability: I have been using it for about a month and have not had an issue and I could not find anything on the Internet about constant downtime/slow speeds.

This company is an excellent option for users and/or companies who need large amounts of space, simplistic design, and high reliability. With plans ranging from 2 GB to 500 GB, it has something for everyone.

Site: http://box.net

Now I know I only gave you three options, but, like I said before, there are several online. Just do a little bit of Googling and you will find more. I am not saying that these companies will fulfill your every requirement for an online storage provider — it’s just a start. I highly recommend you detail out what you need out of a host before you go hunting. If you do not, you will be flooded by features that you may not need and companies that could restrict what you are really after. Happy hunting!

Chris Kader is a 22-year-old fellow from Arkansas. He’s in the Army and he loves tech. Check out his YouTube channel here.

Windows Vista – Problem No. One Is Getting The Box Open

I wasn’t going to mention this to anyone until I read Andy Pennell’s blog and discovered I was not alone in trying to figure out how to open the darn Vista box that the product comes housed in. I mean, come on, is it really that hard? His description is very accurate:

My first issue with Vista was getting the damn thing out of the box. The box is a weirdly shaped plastic thing, and almost impossible to open the first time you see one. After some cursing I discovered a red tag, so I pulled that: no change. After applying physical pressure to the box I began to see the bizarre way it opens, but it would only move a millimeter. I was seriously considering a trip to the garage and to smash the box open with a hammer, when I discovered another transparent sticker that was holding two parts together. With that gone, the box moved a few more millimeters, until I realised the thing opens sideways, and boom: Vista was opened. I’ve installed entire operating systems more quickly and with less stress than opening this box…

I roared when I read his above description, because guess what? I felt exactly the same way when I first tried to open the box as well.  My first thoughts were ” the guy who designed this box should be taken out and lynched!” But I sure wasn’t going to tell anyone about my experience have have kept this secret to myself for the past few months. Just to clarify one thing. This is the retail box, not the freebie box MS shipped Vista in to testers.

What is really surprising is that Andy works for guess who?

One of the many benefits to working at Microsoft is that you can often find someone who either knows the answer to your problem, or can point you to someone who can. I asked about my epic install problems and I was asked if I had the latest BIOS. Turns out I was running version A04, so I downloaded A08 from the Dell site and ran that. When it finished, the machine powered itself down. When I powered it back on, it gave 3 beeps and no video. Uh-oh. A call to Dell Support confirmed that I had bricked my PC. Dell Support are fantastic by the way: they sent me a new motherboard and RAM right away, and changing the motherboard is pretty straight-forward on these cleverly designed Dells. Fortunately the new motherboard already had BIOS A08 so I didn’t have to risk the BIOS updator again. I reformatted the new drive and rebooted from Vista DVD, looking forward to a speedy install.

But it gets better folks. Andy continued to try to get Vista installed on his Dell box, but no joy. At the end of his story he comes up with some conclusions that those considering a upgrade to Vista should note:

  • Vista cannot install to Dynamic discs (which is the default when you add a new drive to XP): switch them to Basic before attempting a Vista install

  • Only update your BIOS if you have good warranty cover on the motherboard, or are feeling lucky

  • Unplug memory card readers before installing

  • Dell’s warranty and support organization rock

  • My particular hardware cannot install Vista, and no-one knows why

Heh Andy. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with the entire world. You rock dude!

Full story and gory details here.

Comments welcome.

 

[tags]microsoft, vista, box, install, [/tags]

Black Boxes In Our Cars: Could They Be Used Against Us?

Most of us have heard about the injuries that the Governor of New Jersey sustained after a vehicle accident occurred in which he was a passenger. But it came to light that the Chevy Suburban the Governor was in was equipped with a black box of sorts that records data before and after a crash. Seems that the black boxes have been included in some GM and Ford vehicles as a way to monitor stats of car accidents in the hope of improving vehicle safety.

Interesting. Interesting because the black box revealed that the Suburban the Governor was riding in was going 91mph before the crash and that the Governor was not wearing his seat belt. Which brings several considerations we may all be facing in the near future. Could the use of this information be used against us for being issued a citation for excessive speed? Or for a loophole that the insurance companies could use saying you the operator was negligent in violation of the fine print that none of us reads? Or could this information be used against us in a civil case?

How about all of the above? It would seem very likely that, as these so-called black boxes become more common in all of our vehicles, this information could end up being used against us. In fact, there was a case in Florida in which a driver was convicted on evidence derived from a black box where it was determined that the driver was going 114 mph through a residential neighborhood. The negligent driver ended up killing two teenage girls because of his high speed driving and received a 30 year prison sentence.

So as new technology is developed, it is most certain that we will see more cases of this type; where our cars and the information they contain will be used against us or could help us in proving we may have not been at fault in an accident.

What do you think? Should this evidence be allowed against us?

Comments welcome.

[tags]black, box, suburban, speed, accident[/tags]