iTools Transfers Music and so Much More!


This program is actually good enough for me to share with you all. I managed to lose a bunch of music from my PC during a transfer (I think we’ve all felt that terror), and needed a way to access the files that were still safely stored on my phone.

If you’ve tried searching for an iPhone-to-PC transfer program, you know most of them are limited to a small number of transfers before you have to pay a ridiculous fee. But I finally found one that’s completely free! it’s called iTools, and it saved my bacon. The utility not only allows you to export part or ALL your music at once, but also modify apps, organize photos and playlists, rearrange the homescreen (better than iTunes does), create custom ringtones, and even access internal storage and file systems, and view system logs.

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Quick intro video:

SpaceControl Heats up 3D Mouse War with “Recycling Program”

I’m in love with my gorgeous SpaceController Carbon. The ergonomic shape, stylish backlighting, and literally infinite customization options make it a must-have tool for any engineer. Whether you’re modeling in SolidWorks of slogging through Excel tables, the SpaceController should be by your side.

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Google Nexus Q – Sexy Streaming Media Hub for Android Users, Made in the USA



If I liked Android stuff (start your flame war below) I’d be all over this sleek new gadget.  Unveiled at a Google developer conference on Wednesday, the “social streaming media player” gets all its content directly from the cloud, or a wirelessly connected Android device.  The Q can be connected to nearly any kind of A/V device, using its built-in 25-watt amp and RCA connectors, plus HDMI, optical audio, and USB ports. If you don’t have any speakers available, not to worry. The Q comes with a built-in set.


Volume, media selection, and group access are all controlled through your Android device. Anything that’s available through Google Play or YouTube can be streamed to the Q, with no limitations.  The Q even has a voice-recognition feature, allowing you to “Ask the Q” for help with life’s great mysteries. It’s no Siri, but it’s a cute little Easter egg.


Although all this technology is impressive, the most notable breakthrough surrounding the Nexus Q is its birthplace. Etched right on the bottom of every device are the words “Designed and Manufactured in the U.S.A.” When’s the last time you saw those words on a piece of high-end technology?


Google is one of the first major companies to bring its manufacturing center out of China – where labor is cheap and regulations are non-existent – and back to the US, where it can make a difference to our economy.  The plant that manufactures the Q employs hundreds of people in Google’s hometown of Mountain View, CA.  That number may rise in the future.


Here’s a short Google video describing the Q’s functionality:

eDrawings for iPad: The Difference 3 Months Can Make


As most of you probably already know, SolidWorks has finally released a mobile eDrawings Viewer. It came hot on the heels of the widely disappointing mobile n!Fuze app, and many would agree it’s been a long time coming. But those people would also agree that it’s better late than never.  It’s ironic, though, that SolidWorks’ tagline for this product is “You asked. We answered.”  We all hope that this is SolidWorks’ first foray into a true mobile CAD platform.

Get it on the App Store ($1.99)

I was actually lucky enough to get to alpha-test the app during a Product Dev session at SolidWorks World 2012. And believe me, a lot has changed. First, and most obviously, every other action made the thing crash, and from what I can tell, that doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore. (My copy seems to have trouble dealing with files larger than about 4 MB, but I think that says more about my iPad 1 than the app itself. Moving on.)  Secondly, the layout is completely different, and much cleaner. In the original version, several buttons performed the exact same command, and the labeling was much poorer.  Now each button has a unique function, and a symbol that follows either the SolidWorks or Apple standard.  One tweak that I especially like is the Home button. It used to return the model to an isometric view, but now returns it to whichever view the model was in when it was imported.  It also wasn’t possible to hide the upper bar (CommandManager?) and side window (Task Pane?), and the UI felt much more cramped. 

A problem that has plagued eDrawings since I can remember is still present: Edited appearances are not carried over (such as brushed aluminum with a color added in, as below) 

SolidWorks Original: 


eDrawings for iPad:


Finally, the most important change is the ability to import models into the app.  When I was testing the early version in January, it was hinted that the ONLY way to get models into the mobile viewer would be to go through n!Fuze. I stopped the testers right there and asked what they were smoking and where I could get some.  I would LOVE to be that far removed from reality for a day.  Thankfully, that’s not the case, as the app allows iOS to recognize SolidWorks, eDrawings, and AutoCAD files, and they can be opened from any app that hosts them, such as Mail, Dropbox, Evernote, etc. Even models embedded in Powerpoint can be opened.


Overall, the app could prove to be very useful. The motion is smooth and the UI is easy to use – especially with the addition of a short help section – and  overall the app looks very professional. I have a feeling that the app will continue to grow over the next few months and years, as SolidWorks realizes that it’s users need more mobile functionality. A few consistent gripes among the rest of the SolidWorks community are the lack of markup, measure, section, and other basic review tools.  SolidWorks needs to realize that the goal of any mobile app, however unattainable, is to replace a computer completely, and if some brave engineer is going to bring only his iPad to a design review halfway across the country, he’ll need more than rotate and explode. 

Keep up the good work!

I Don’t Know What it is, but I Want it.

UPDATE 2/13/12: HPs big secret will be revealed at 11am tomorrow, February 14th.  See the video below.


HP sent an email to the press corps of SolidWorks World 2012, hinting that they’ll be releasing something very big at the show. Based on their teaser ad, we should all be very excited, or very afraid.

Meet BAMF-Raptor 2.0

What do you do when you’ve got thousands of dollars worth of medical bills piling up? Upgrade your computer of course!  With the help of the infamous @CharlesCulp, I scoured Newegg and MicroCenter for deals on the best of the best in desktop hardware.


This is what I ended up with:

CPU: Intel Core i7-2600k Quad-Core (@ 3.70GHz)

RAM: Corsair Vengeance DDR3 8.00 GB (2×4)

Motherboard: Gigabyte Z68XP-UD4 (with HDMI, USB 3.0, SATA 3.0)

Graphics: Nvidia Quadro 600 (slim)

OS: Windows 7 x64


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2012 Dodge Charger Concept Unveiled!



In addition to the 2012 Charger’s undeniable sex appeal (a swift recovery from the 2011 fiasco, in my opinion) the new model will include some impressive new luxury features, technology, and power.  Here’s a rundown:


·         6.4L V8 in the SRT-8 model

·         8-speed transmission with Sport Mode (whatever that is)

·         Active-damping suspension

·         Dual-zone climate control with humidity sensor

·         Heated and ventilated front seats

·         Heated rear seats

·         Heated steering wheel (WHAT?)

·         19-speaker, 900-watt sound system

·         Adaptive cruise control (which maintains your following distance from the car in front of you, using radar. It can also aid in collision avoidance.)


No price yet, but if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.


Pictures below. What do you think of the new front-end and side panels?



New @3DConnexion driver exercises your overactive wrist

3DConnexion, the first and last name in 3D human interface devices (aka: SpaceBalls) recently released the Beta version of their newest driver package.  This update brings your 3D mouse out of it’s current comfort zone of 3D modeling packages and large-number earth viewers, and into your everyday computer shenanigans.  3DConnexion’s description of the new upgrade explains it all:


The simple 3DxWare 10 interface allows you to assign keyboard strokes and traditional mouse or joystick movements in any combination to the 3D mouse. For example, tilt the controller cap to scroll a Web page, twist the cap to adjust the volume in iTunes, or use all six axes to pilot a helicopter in Battlefield Bad Company 2. The choice of application and assignment of the six axes and up to 31 function keys (depending on the 3D mouse model) is entirely up to you.

3DxWare 10 offers limitless possibilities for incorporating 3D mice into everyday use, including:

  • Documents and Browsers
    3D mice now offer a compelling alternative to traditional mouse wheel navigation in documents, spreadsheets and Web pages. Gently tilt the 3D mouse cap to scroll the view up or down or twist the cap to zoom in and out.

  • Games
    Most PC gamers rely on a combination of traditional mouse and keyboard to control their character or camera view, but with 3DxWare 10 a 3D mouse can be used to deliver intuitive and comfortable control in games like The Sims 3. It’s also possible for the 3D mouse to emulate a joystick or gamepad for a rich 3D experience in games such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, Wings of Prey and Need for Speed.

  • Media Players
    Until 3DxWare 10, controlling the volume, track selection or position was typically handled by the traditional mouse and keyboard shortcuts. With a 3D mouse, you can twist the cap to adjust the volume, tilt the cap sideways to fast forward and rewind, and tilt the cap forward or backward to move between tracks in your playlist. If you want to handle it a different way, it’s easy to customize the 3D mouse to your needs.

  • 3D Collaboration
    3DxWare 10 also provides a new feature for professional users by allowing multiple 3D mice to be used on one workstation. This innovative development enables easier viewing of 3D models in group design reviews or client presentations.

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