USB Missile Launcher – Hands On Review

USB Missile LauncherWhat do you get for the geek who has everything? Of course! Their very own USB Missile Launcher! But is it really worth it? Yes! Read on and find out why.

Overall Rating: 9 out of 10

Pros:

  • Roughly 12 foot range
  • Accurate within a foot or two even at range
  • 180 degree pan
  • Limited but reasonable tilt control (about 30 degrees above to five degrees below level)
  • Fires three darts one at a time
  • Soft foam darts are safe around the office
  • High quality molded plastic construction
  • Free Mac software better than included PC software

Cons:

  • Couple second delay between clicking “Fire” and actual launch
  • Batteries required (3xAA)
  • Included software does not allow for simultaneous pan and tilt (movign diagonally)

Details:

Launcher in boxThe USB Missile Launcher came to me from the folks at KlearGear.com who have quite a line of toys and gadgets appropriate for the office. They sell the USB Missile Launcher for $55 which I consider a fair price for a toy this cool.

It comes quite attractively packed… the type of thing that you wouldn’t be able to keep on shelves in the right locations. It would make the perfect trade-show giveaway for the same reasons. Have a stack of three or four of these at your booth and you’ll get some attention (hell, at the price just give away a dozen.)

The USB Missile Launcher was equally impressive out of the box. The unit quickly pans through 180 degrees and tilts about 35 degrees. The PC software that ships with the unit is limited to only moving in one direction at a time, while the free Mac software allows movement in two directions.

You can fire one missile at a time and the missiles shoot out with surprising speed, propelled by a small spring which is compressed when you load the missiles. Both software versions suffer from a second or two delay when firing. I have a feeling this is a limitation of the device, but it’s the only major flaw in what is otherwise a great piece of office artillery.

The launcher is solidly constructed and the darts have held up well for me. There is nothing with the unit or on the KlearGear site about replacement missiles, but I’m sure if there’s a demand they’ll become available.

Conclusions:

This is a great office toy and would be a great gift idea for anyone who regularly engages in cubicle warfare. At a cost of $55 from KlearGear.com the USB Missile Launcher is one of the most unique toys you could get someone this holiday season.

I had hoped to get a couple videos up of the launcher but haven’t been able to get any I’m happy with. Perhaps it’s time for a new digital camera.

Thanks to the folks at KlearGear.com for giving me the chance to evaluate the USB Missile Launcher.

cubicle, warfare, office, office toy, office humor, work, fun, usb, robot, robotic, computer, toy

What’s in your cubicle

Cube at GoogleI can’t believe that in the midst of finishing up at one job, starting another and trying to bang out a couple chapters in my book I almost missed this awesome post from positivesharing.com.

Alexander has compiled a list of 10 seeeeeriously cool workplaces including Pixar, Google, Redbull and many more.

It’s astounding how little attention most employers pay to the environment their employees work in. A good environment will do wonders for morale, retention, creativity, collaboration and countless other facets of your business.

My workspace is still emerging but the great part is I now work from home so I have full control.

office, cubicle, work environment

My Cubicle – Song Lyrics

Cube FarmAt the request of a reader I have written up the lyrics (as best I can) to the cubicle song parody of James Blunt’s song “You’re Beautiful”.

Listen to the song (complements of MorningSidekick.com).

“My Cubicle”
Lyrics by: Morning Sidekick
Performed by: Jym Britton
Parody on “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt

My job is stupid my day’s a bore,
Inside this office from eight to four
Nothin’ ever happens my life is pretty bland,
Pretending that I’m working, pray I don’t get canned.

My Cubicle, My cubicle
It’s One of Sixty two
It’s my small space in a crowded place
Just a six-by-six foot booth
And I hate it that’s the truth

Well, I give a sigh as the boss walks by,
no one ever talks to me or looks me in the eye.
And I really should work but instead I just sit here and surf the Internet.

In My Cubicle, My cubicle
It doesn’t have a view.
It’s my small space in a crowded place
I sit in solitude.
And sometimes I sit here nude.

Cube Farm – The Song

Cube FarmFor those who slave away in a cube farm, this song’s for you.

My Cubicle
Lyrics by: Morning Sidekick
Performed by: Jym Britton
Parody on You’re Beautiful by James Blunt

My Cubicle
My cubicle
It’s One of Sixtytwo
It’s small space
In a crowded place
Just a six-by-six foot booth
And I hate it that’s the truth

Thanks to my former cubemate Dee for sending the song to me.

Cube Farm

Cube FarmAnother common term heard around the office is “Cube Farm”. A cube farm is not necessarily a terrible thing, but they need to be planned properly.

Definition: An office filled with cubicles. This really boils down to a room full of people at desks with little more than a smattering of upholstery between them. Cubicles are typically composed of fabric, metal and press-board. Cubicles vary from the full six foot walls on three and a half sides, down to a scant four foot tall partition simply separating you from the next person, if only from the waist down.

When do cube farms work?
In my experience there are two key factors which make cube farms viable, and yes, even beneficial. First, the people within a close proximity are doing very similar tasks. A group of support technicians in a cube farm can generally feed off each other’s knowledge and offer a high quality of support.

The second factor that often plays into cube farm success is that traffic (both walk-in and phone) from outside people is kept to a minimum. Support is the exception to this, however a software developer in a cube farm with support people will be constantly distracted by the support chatter and walk in questions.

To be effective cubes must be planned around the teams and workers they are meant to be occupied by. Cubes put up with little planning just to create a place for employees to work rarely if ever benefit their residents.

When do cube farms fail?
As mentioned above, cube farms often fail due to lack of planning. I am currently working in a cube farm where four different people serve three different functions, all in about 200 square feet.

Another key factor is the height and coverage of the cube. A six foot tall cube wall which completely blocks direct view of coworkers is best. This typically means cubes are almost completely enclosed with just enough space to enter and exit. Cubes with short walls that allow you to see others over them are generally ineffective, and having only one or two walls is not much better than having none.

The two biggest wastes of time in the office are visible distractions and audible distractions. Good cube farms with high walls, workers who spend a minimum of time on the phone, and in an area where foot traffic is minimal can work out very well. Cube farms which are small, poorly laid out, and with no consideration given to the function of the occupants will result in lost productivity, irritability and personal conflicts.

For more information on cube farms check out wikipedia.com’s article on the topic.

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