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Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  24 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Storage that's hard to reach—the rafters in garages, the top shelves of kitchen cabinets, bedroom closets and tall bookcases—is a common problem in homes, and sometimes in offices. As a professional organizer, I recommend step stools (or short ladders) to my clients all the time, so they can make use of the storage space available to them, without standing on chairs and risking their safety.

And different designs serve different situations. Sometimes the space allows for a step stool that does not fold, but rather sits out and becomes part of the decor. The step stool above, from Infusion Furniture, was designed for a loft-style apartment, for an end-user "who wanted a stool that was interesting and elegant enough to live in the kitchen and not in the closet." The handle makes it easy to carry around to different locations.

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The Heaven stepladder, designed by Thomas Bernstrand and manufactured by Swedese, is made of lacquered aluminum sheet metal. There's no second side to provide support; instead, the base does that. This might make some end-users nervous, but others will love the look. That photo is by Fredrik Sandin Carlson.

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And if we're talking about step stools that don't fold away, the Cramer Kik-Step has to be included. This one has been around for 50 years, and it's often found in libraries—but I know someone who uses it in her pantry. The Kik-Step has hidden casters to make it easy to move around on most floors; the casters retract when someone steps on it, and the stool locks into place. The bumpers keep it from scratching the walls. It's made of steel, and supports up to 500 pounds.

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But many end-users, especially those in small spaces, will want a step stool that does fold up. The Lucano step stools, created by Metaphys and Hasegawa Kogyo Co., will each hold up to 220 pounds. The step stools are made of a combination of aluminum and ABS; end-users comment that the light weight makes them easy to move around. One drawback: The grooved steps are too narrow for some end-users; the bottom two steps on the 3-step ladder are just 2.75" deep.

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Posted by erika rae  |  24 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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This is a throwback for two reasons: Andy Warhol and floppy disks. Just recently, a series of digital paintings done by Warhol for Amiga Computers back was exhumed from a group of floppy disks dating back to 1985. The search for these previously unearthed pieces all started with an inquiry from artist Cory Arcangel, who suggested restoring the hardware to the Andy Warhol Museum after seeing a promotional video of Warhol working on the Amiga 100 on YouTube. At the notion of undiscovered work from such a name, Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Club teamed up with the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and the Hillman Photography Initiative to embark on an extraction project to see if there were any unreleased paintings hidden among the floppy disk fossils—and, of course, there were.

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That video Arcangel saw? Here it is (complete with an awkwardly sultry Debbie Harry):

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Posted by erika rae  |  24 Apr 2014  |  Comments (1)

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I grew up treasuring the days my dad would head out to refill the propane tank for the cumbersome grill we bought him for some birthday or Father's Day long past. The ghastly Wisconsin winters we continuously weathered were met with late-April BBQ celebrations out on the deck in shorts. And while that unsightly grill—complete with its fire-singed hood and well-worn trays—holds a soft spot in my heart, there's no denying that there are better designed options out there. Enter the Grillo Portable by formAxiom.

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Grillo was designed with mobility in mind—and certainly won't send you out on any propane tank trips. The grill can be set up with a single handle (much like and umbrella) and doesn't require any extra accessories or "frippery," in the designer's words.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  24 Apr 2014  |  Comments (3)

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"Remember, folks—I gave you the internet, and I can take it away." Those were the words David Letterman jokingly put in Al Gore's mouth during an appearance from the latter on Late Night. And while no one is really going to take your internet away, an ongoing battle in U.S. courts may influence the way it is delivered to you.

To date the internet has been operating under the principle of net neutrality, whereby all content providers are treated equally; this means that Core77's homepage is delivered to you as quickly as Netflix's, as we and them are viewed as equal. (We may not have House of Cards, but hey, we have "True I.D. Stories.") But yesterday the Federal Communications Commission put forth a proposal that would allow ISPs to charge providers more to deliver their content faster, essentially providing "fast lanes" to whomever's got the money.

On its face that might not sound so outrageous, as it seems akin to a motorist paying more to use the Midtown Tunnel instead of sitting in traffic on the Queensboro Bridge; but it's got folks up in arms, as a closer examination of the proposal raises some troubling questions. One sticking point in particular is the wording of the proposal, which states that service providers dole out these new charges "in a commercially reasonable manner." While this sounds like it is intended to promote some level of fairness—i.e. Core77 can't afford to pay what Google can, so howzabout cutting Core77 a break on the fast-lane price?—even a little scrutiny raises thorny issues. For example, internet service provider Comcast happens to own NBCUniversal; couldn't their lawyers argue that it's "commercially reasonable" for Comcast to charge Disney-ABC more, in order to protect their subsidiary's interests and gain a competitive advantage?

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  24 Apr 2014  |  Comments (2)

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We've looked at desks designed to cut cable clutter, desks with storage and desks with gutters. But this deceptively-simple-looking desk by Artifox may be one of the most efficient designs we've seen yet for modern-day usage. Designed for pure functionality, if not flexibility, Artifox's Desk 01 is the type of object that an archaeologist could dig up 1,000 years in the future and study to deduce how we worked in the year 2014.

My biggest gripe with modern-day desks is that there's no allowance for the bags we all carry. Artifox has taken care of that with a simple knob on the front that provides easy bag access. Make that two knobs, with the second providing a handy spot to stow headphones for your Skype session.

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An angled groove in the desk surface provides a handy (if static) spot to place a tablet and smartphone, or just a tablet if in landscape orientation.

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Posted by Coroflot  |  24 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

Work for Zebco Brands!

Zebco Brands is on the search for an experienced industrial designer to join their team who won't mind taking the occasional workday to do some research (read: fishing). As a senior industrial designer, you will be working on projects that vary from youth recreational products to reels designed for the most avid offshore angler. The brand's product lines include such well-known names as Zebco, Quantum, Van Staal and Fin-Nor.

If you have had at least five years of experience as an industrial designer; know your way around Creo, ISDX, Illustrator or Freehand and Photoshop software; can juggle multiple projects and meet aggressive timelines; and have a working knowledge of prototyping equipment and methodologies, then this might be the job for you—Apply Now! (Knowledge and/or interest in the fishing industry is a bonus.)

Posted by erika rae  |  23 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Swiss artist Zimoun has put thousands of packing peanuts (or, "chips," as he refers to them) to work in a mesmerizing installation that's sure to put you in a trance. His newest installation, "36 Ventilators, 4.7m3 Packing Chips," lives inside of the Museo d'Arte di Lugano in Switzerland and depends on 36 fans (which are, of course, continuously blowing) to keep the cycle going.

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Even though you may not have the time (or funds) to make it over to Switzerland to see this one for yourself, an excerpt from the exhibition's catalog does a pretty good job of putting you in the moment:

Even though the swirling of the polystyrene in the depth of each of the windows is actually limited to that space, we have the impression that the movement is propagating to the whole length of the Limonaia. To the visual effect adds the ticking of chips on the window panes, which could remind a thin but insistent rain. If, instead, we cross the threshold and get inside the space, the perception produced by the ebb and flow of the chips changes radically becoming more abstract; the movement appears mechanical rather than natural, the buzzing of the ventilators covers up the ticking of the polystyrene on the windows and thus reveals the artificial origin of the motion.

Check out this video of the installation at work:

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Posted by erika rae  |  23 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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The newest video from Polish knifemaker Trollskyy couldn't have come at a better time, considering Earth Day has barely passed us by. "I love to make something out of nothing," he mentions on his YouTube page—well said considering his designs feature abandoned metal scraps. Trollskyy's most recent YouTube upload follows the process of a knife he made from the leaf spring off of an old Jeep. The end result is a dangerous-looking blade that bears no resemblance to its past life. Take a look:

The Lord of the Rings-esque music just adds to the oh-so-epic transformation (Let your nerd flag fly high and feel free to imagine Trollsky standing at the edge of Mordor, knife in hand—I did.) From railroad spike to old bearings, Trollskyy spotlights rejected metal in a whole new functional way. Check out more of his video documentations:

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Posted by Christie Nicholson  |  23 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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I'm definitely among those who have been waiting for Minority Report-like gesturing to become a reality. While light beams on desks and walls seems close, it's not our hands manipulating objects in thin air. But now researchers at the University of Bristol have developed the starting point, called MisTable. And they're doing it with mist.

Words will only fail to properly describe the look of this thing, but a tabletop computer system projects images onto a thick blanket of fog. They appear as ghostly apparitions, much like R2D2's projected Princess Leia.

We can interact with the 3D images by sticking our hands into the 'objects' and moving them—maybe to the person sitting next to us. At this time it's simple stuff, but still it means moving something as if it were actually something tangible. Check out the video:

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Posted by Kai Perez  |  23 Apr 2014  |  Comments (1)

Lately, I've felt that most products, from cars to headphones, have employed the marketing tactic of releasing limited or special editions. The crazy fact of the matter is that people buy it because they like knowing they are part of a small circle who are privileged enough to own it. I am no stranger to the envy of walking into class with my new shoes, only to have my victory walk ruined my seeing someone else with the same pair. Exclusivity is a powerful tool to sell a pair of Air Yeezy 2's or evoke the urge to wait in line at your favorite meatpacking district club in the hopes of "getting on the list."

What I'm preaching is for a product that speaks to greater lengths of who you are, your favorite color, even the way you tie your shoe. The people at Hickies, who brought out the Jeff Spicoli in all of us by developing a new lacing system that turned any shoe into a slip on, have released their new Kickstarter project.


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