Posted by Jeri Dansky
| 18 Dec 2014
Photo: Rainy Day Magazine
Professional organizers will tell you that any papers with confidential information should either be shredded or taken to a shredding service (or perhaps composted). Shredders come in varying capacities; I'm going to focus on those intended for personal or small office/home office use.
The Bridge paper shredder, designed by One Tenth for Idea International, runs on four AA batteries. With its slanted sides, it's intended to fit on both round and square wastebaskets with a diameter of 21-25 cm. However, this is a strip-cut shredder—better than nothing, but nowhere near as good (for security purposes) as a cross-cut shredder. It's a fairly light-duty shredder, handling four papers at a time, which must be folded to fit into the slot. Also, unlike heavier-duty shredders, it can't handle staples or paper clips.
The Ziszor portable handheld paper shredder is another strip-cut shredder running on four AA batteries. It only weighs one pound. This would work for users who want a shredder they can just throw in a drawer or carry with them—and who don't feel they need the extra security of a cross-cut shredder.
Posted by Ray
| 18 Dec 2014
In the broad spirit of co-working spaces and the sharing economy, 'tis the season for the retail manifestation of nimble business practices: namely, the ever-popular holiday pop-up shop. After all, the ephemeral storefront offers the best of both worlds: not only do you get to personally inspect many of the beautiful things you see on the Internet but you get the cachet of an exclusive, limited-time-only marketplace (some, such as last weekend's NeueHouse Holiday Art & Design Bazaar, are open to the public for but a single afternoon—often to the chagrin of those of us who find out the next day). Better yet, they're often hyperlocal, meet-the-maker affairs—exhibitor/vendor fees notwithstanding—that transcend the 'showrooming' phenomenon with what might be deemed a site-specific shopping experience. Here are a few of our favorite ones in New York City this season.
Following its relaunch at NY Now in August, American Design Club has tapped its extensive network of independent designers and makers to stock a jam-packed pop-up shop in the basement of Michele Varian's eponymous boutique in Soho. Many of the designers need no introduction here, but we were impressed with work by newcomers such as Hey Look Studio, Death at Sea and Aaron Poritz, to name a few.
Merchandising 101: Put the best sellers near the front
Posted by Hand-Eye Supply
| 17 Dec 2014
Deadlines are drawing nearer to make your loved ones even dearer! If you haven't had time or inspiration for those last folks on your lists, it's not too late. Whether you need gifts for creatives or just creative gifts, check our collections of great stuff under $100, under $50 and under $25 for good options for every stocking and budget. Between kitchen supplies, pocket knives, art tools, and cool clothes, we'll be sure to help you find something solid.
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The U.S. Army announced that starting today, a batch of decommissioned Humvees are going to be auctioned off to the general public for the very first time. Here's the listing for the first 26 units, all currently parked in Utah and all with starting prices of $10,000. "This item is offered for Off-Road Use Only," the listing states, meaning it will not be possible to apply for license plates for the vehicles. "No further demilitarization is required. The HMMWV is available for pick up as shown."
In a weird twist on this, a plumber in Galveston County, Texas, named Mark O. was puzzled when his phone started ringing off of the hook—and people began making "really ugly" threats. He was stunned to find that his company's old Ford F-250, which he'd traded in at a Houston dealership last year, had been converted to a mobile anti-aircraft platform by an Islamist extremist group and was being used to wage jihad in Syria. His company's decal—and the company's phone number—was still on the side of the truck, plainly visible in a photo the terrorist group Tweeted of their exploits.
Despite Mark the Plumber having zero connection to terrorism—the dealership claims they sold his truck at auction, and no one has any idea how it came to arrive in Syria—the threats have been pouring in. "We have a secretary here, she's scared to death. We all have families. We don't want no problems," Mark told a local news organization. And Galveston County's The Daily News spells his thoughts out: "I just want it to go away, to tell you the truth."
Moral of the story: If you're trading in a vehicle that can support an anti-aircraft gun, take your company's logo off of it first.
What a five-axis CNC mill can do fascinates me as much as what a craftsman from Brescia can. And at their production facility in Gardone Val Trompia, firearms manufacturer Beretta has both, working in tandem to create their high-quality firearms. To show this to the world—with characteristic Italian flair—the company hired commercial firm Studio Ancarani to produce this eye-opening film, which is nothing short of glorious manufacturing porn:
The Gardone Val Trompia factory, by the way, is humungous—110,000 square meters (1.2 million square feet)—and cranks out some 1,500 weapons per day. Says Beretta:
The production departments feature fully automated work centres and highly qualified craftsmen, a prerequisite for achieving the degree of precision and high quality contemplated by its design projects. The design department has advanced systems for calculating pressure by using the finite elements method. The laboratories are equipped for research in impulsive-dynamics applied to the weapon-ammunition system, for metallographic analyses and fatigue tests.
Even more staggering is how long Beretta has been there: They began working in Gardone Val Trompia in the 1500s.
Derby the dog could be considered unlucky, born as he was with stunted, non-functioning front legs that lack paws. But one piece of luck is that Derby was temporarily fostered by Tara Anderson, who just happens to be the Director of Product Management at 3D Systems, the South-Carolina-based 3D printing company. By working with company designers Kevin Atkins and Dave DiPinto and animal orthotist Derrick Campana, Anderson was able to harness 3DS' resources to create prosthetics for Derby. Check out the results:
There are makers with video cameras like Matthias Wandel, who can show us things like his crazy motorized scaffold being built. Then there's makers with video cameras and stop-motion skills, like Frank Howarth, who introduce creative animation into building projects, giving wood and materials a life of its own. The next level of complexity comes from Ryan Higley, a digital artist and "instructional technologist" for Colorado State University, who turned a larger-scale building project into the GIF above and the video below.
Unlike Wandel and Howarth, Higley didn't build this project himself—his background is in design, animation and education, not making—but what he lacks in shop skills, he gains in Adobe After Effects knowledge. Thus when he and his wife recently commissioned their basement to be refinished, Higley turned the entire project into a crazy 60-second animation that would have been impossible to capture in-camera:
Posted by Coroflot
| 17 Dec 2014
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In our series on Beetle Kill Pine, we showed you how some designers are trying to find useful functions for undesireable, fungus-damaged wood. Another tree with fungal woes is Pecky Cypress, whose innards are scarred by rotted-out voids, making its gap-laden boards unsuitable for say, smooth tabletops.
Instructables Community Manager Mike Warren, a/k/a/ Michaelsaurus, has a workaround: He fills the voids with resins, a technique you've probably seen before. But Warren doesn't use any old resin—he adds photoluminescent powder to the mix, producing a filler that "charges up in sunlight and emits a cool blue glow when in partial or complete darkness."
The full Instructable is here, but peep Warren's cool video first:
It's a sad fact, but true, that most of us industrial designers know the feeling of working on something that we don't care about. I myself have worked on many projects that I felt were inferior or even unneccessary, because I was part of The Machine, the one where the Design Group was beholden to Marketing. And for those of us that don't blossom into Marc Newsons, Jony Ives and Karim Rashids, we don't get much say in the process, and must continue to serve our cog-like function by slowly rotating in place.
I think that's why I found this Jerry Seinfeld clip so satisfying to watch. (Part of it is the awkward silence early on, while the audience tries to figure out if he's making fun of them or not.) He's giving an acceptance speech for winning an honorary CLIO Award earlier this year, and while on the surface he's skewering the advertising industry, he may as well be speaking to the thousands of companies pushing out unneccessary product:
Posted by Hand-Eye Supply
| 16 Dec 2014
Tough editors and refined designers can be hard to shop for, but we made it easy. Get your favorite typography-lover an extra glam Clampersand! These colorful clamps are the new super limited edition of coretoonist Tony Ruth's original. They are cast in the Batavia foundry in Chicago, IL, and powder coated five lovely colors in Portland, OR. They're beautiful and whimsical, and they work just about anywhere. Use them as book ends, as a centerpiece in your desk landscape, or to create visual puns around the house and shop. $65 at Hand-Eye Supply.
A good old-school photographer, one raised on film, will always try to get the shot right "in-camera." In contrast, young bucks raised on digital are more willing to rattle off an imperfect burst, pick the most passable shot and then spend hours retouching the errors on a computer.
The reason for the disparity is no secret: Film is absurdly difficult to re-touch by hand. One manual film retouching option was to use an airbrush, with its attendant compressor and requisite masking. Another method, which perhaps required even greater manual dexterity, was to go over the negatives with a retouching pencil or a dye brush. And according to U.S. Patent #2,422,174, retouching via pencil "is done by highly skilled operators who work over the blemish spots [by making] a plurality of microscopic, overlapping check marks or loops which must be so small and so uniform that they will not become apparent on an enlarged print from the negative."
To make this task easier, an inventor named Harry LeRoy Adams filed the above patent in 1946 for his Photographic Retouching Device.
The principal object of this invention is to provide a means for automatically forming these small, microscopic check marks so that retouching will require less skill and less time. [It] will produce retouching marks much more uniformly than can possibly be produced by hand....
While it still required a human operator with a steady hand to hold a pencil or brush down and apply pressure, the device's function was pretty clever. The operator placed a negative—we're talking 4x5, 5x7 or 8x10, not that newfangled 35mm stuff—onto the bed of the machine, between the two donut-shaped "ring plates" you see in the photo. Whichever part of the negative was within the circle was illuminated from below by the device's built-in illumination, which could be cranked up or down. The negative could be scrutinized using the magnifying glass.
Posted by Sam Dunne
| 16 Dec 2014
In only the most recent food fad to hit the streets of London and national headlines, bearded twin brothers Gary and Alan Keery reportedly had the epiphany to open up a cereal cafe one hungover morning whilst craving a mouth-clearing and stomach settling bowl of their favorite sugar-infused processed carbohydrate with lashings of the chilled excretions of cows' udders.
Following a failed attempt to crowdsource £60,000 on Indiegogo, the duo have been riding a wave of media attention after successfully securing a business loan for the venture. Upon opening the shop in an old video rental store on London's famous Brick Lane, press coverage has reached something of a frenzy, with some actual consumers also managing to squeeze in on the fray.
With press from far and wide initially spellbound by the novelty of an establishment offering over 100 different varieties of global cereal brands, 12 kinds of milk and 20 toppings (only a small number taking aim at the sugar content and nutritional value of the so called "cereal cocktails" on offer) things turned a little sour towards the end of the week when a news reporter from UK TV's Channel 4 got up from a table with camera in tow to launch awkward questions at one of the twins about their £3.20 ($5) price tag for a bowl of cereal in an area of the city where many residents live in deprivation.
Posted by Coroflot
| 16 Dec 2014
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Years ago William J. Beaty released a paper called "Ultra-Simple Hovercraft: A DIY Science Fair Project." In it Beaty, a research engineer at the University of Washington, laid out the plans for building a three- or four-foot wide hovercraft made out of a plywood disc and a battery-powered leaf blower.
That was in 1997, so there wasn't exactly any YouTube video of Beaty's concept in action. But earlier this year, the EdVenture Children's Museum in South Carolina took the idea and ran with it. Here's what they came up with:
It works! And EdVenture, it turns out, wasn't the first to realize Beaty's concept. In 2011 Torben Ruddock from Engineering.com built this model, with decidedly better seating:
Have you ever been in the middle of a design project, when a totally different way of solving the problem occurs to you? Doesn't this always seem to happen to you towards the end, when you're already fully committed to the first solution and it's too late to go back?
It stands to reason that during his many years of perfecting his Capstan Table, thoughts of alternate methods for an expanding round table would occur to designer David Fletcher. Fletcher apparently found one such idea compelling enough to build a prototype of this "Rising and Furling Table." It takes far longer to transform than the Capstan, has added functionality in that it can raise and lower in height, and is presumably less mechanically complicated. Check it out, it's pretty nifty:
As we've discussed before, dashboard cams have become a crucial safety feature for Russian motorists. But they've also become something else: A series of distributing hit-making machines that capture millions of eyeballs on video-sharing sites. Thus this stunning footage, captured on a German highway, racked up nine millions views this weekend when the original was posted to Facebook:
Cynical internet denizens were quick to question the clip's authenticity: The gents outside the wreck, they explained, are wearing standard-issue Stormtrooper uniforms, rather than Empire-approved official TIE fighter pilot get-ups.
Posted by Coroflot
| 15 Dec 2014
On December 10th, we braved some less than appealing weather to gather at the historical Cooper Union for an exploration of design progress and innovation. This was the fourth edition of the Designing Innovation series presented by Ford and IDSA NY and the conversation did not disappoint. The four panelists discussed fortifying customers' relationships with brands through innovative design, as well as broader ideas like what it means to be a pioneer, accountability in design and providing an 'opt-out' to innovations. As we approach what appears to be a tipping point across many technologies and experiences that have remained stable for decades, the panelists discussed the responsibilities designers have to both shepherd progress and keep the end users in mind at the same time. If you missed the presentation, here's a summary of what Ingrid Fetell, Design Director at IDEO; Steve Schlafman, Principal at RRE Venures; our very own Allan Chochinov, Chair of MFA Products of Design at SVA; and Craig Metros, Exterior Design Director of the Americas at Ford Motor Company had to say.
On Being a Pioneer
Moderator Rama Chorpash, Director of MFA Industrial Design, Parsons the New School for Design, kicked off the night by diving right into the question, "What does it mean to be a pioneer?" Allan offered a quick definition that included the qualifiers "risk-taker", "optimist", and "voracious curiosity", while rejecting the commonly held notions that it's impossible to be dedicated to any passion while maintaining a career and family at the same time. Craig pointed back in time to when Henry Ford's visions of vertical assembly in the 1920's led most to think he had a few screws loose, so perhaps suggesting the unbelievable is a prerequisite for being a pioneer. He credits that assembly line concept innovation with being a source of inspiration; something he admires for the impact it's had, not just on the automotive industry, but on the manufacturing of products in general.
The images projected on stage showed the dramatic contrast between a car assembly line from the 1920's and one today, the latter being completely void of any human presence. Rama used these images to point out that the turn of the 20th century ushered in focuses on both transportation and labor in the United States, which led to dramatic innovations of the assembly line process. Craig explains that automation has made production not just more precise and faster, but also safer by removing people from environments like the welding pit.
On the Cusp
Rama then turned his attention to Steve Schlafman who suggested we are on the cusp of incredible things happening as innovations shake up industries and products that haven't changed significantly in decades. He believes companies ilke Uber, Tesla and Google are on the verge of making fundamental changes to the humble car in the next 20 years. He also sees this type of upheaval happening in the service industries where Managed by Q is taking the task of maintaining an office space to a new level with their software enabled management system. Steve pointed out that Managed by Q is accomplishing this wonderful innovation while adhering to fair labor practices, which led the conversation to the presence of accountability in companies that grow too big, too fast. The element of trust is vital in these innovative spaces where open systems like Uber and Craigslist enable wonderful advances but also present risks to the consumer.
It's a clinical way of looking at it, but that's what pasta is: A bunch of extrusions. The same production method used to make aluminum cooling fins, vinyl threshold inserts and rubber hosing is also what creates tasty fusilli. And as a lifelong pasta lover, I became entranced by that GIF above when I spotted it over at BoingBoing, and I had to track down the machine doing the work. Which was fun because in the process I got to make my own GIF of conchigliette being made:
Posted by Coroflot
| 15 Dec 2014
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