This post is by our LA based, NOTlabs running, automotive loving, Shawn Sims! He just spent the day with Ford and came back with quite the grin on his face…
When Ford reached out to us and asked if we would be up for checking out the new Fiesta ST and their Ford Racing X Games rallycross team I did not expect to take a ride in the fastest machine I have ever been in. The first thing I noticed when I arrived were all the mechanics and support teams running around preping the cars, changing tires, pumping race fuel, and crawling under the cars. I immediately realized I was in for something intense. I signed all the necessary paperwork, grabbed my helmet, and tried to mentally prepare for the g-forces to come. This 600HP 4 wheel-drive race car is not the Fiesta show room model that you can walk in and test drive. It does 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds! It is a fully custom built championship winning car and behind the wheel was Toomas “Topi” Heikkinen, a Finnish rallycross champion, 3 times X games medalist, and arguably one of the most most aggressive rallycross drivers out there. I climb through the roll cage and one of the crew members hooks up my 4 point harness. We chat for a second before he asks me how hard he should drive and I instantly respond saying “full race speed!” Before I know it we are doing almost 100mph with a turn rapidly approaching and he is not slowing down at all. He flicks the wheel and we go sideways, back on the gas, another turn, hard braking just before we go sideways again around the hairpin. At this point my face is melting and my internal organs are moving all around. We are going through turns sideways and only inches from the barricade. The braking is just as impressive as the acceleration, giving you no relief from the g-forces. When it was over it took me a few seconds, but I realized that driving (or riding) like that is truly as amazing as I have always imagined. The human-machine connection I experienced on that track was sublime.
Check out videos and pictures of the adventure, cars, design details, and their tool boxes on the next page.
It’s been a crazy summer of trying new things, which has inevitably lead to more unexpected travel, surprise encounters, and non-stop summer inspiration. Well, adding to the list of firsts ~ Toyota just brought me out to Farmington, PA for the last two days to play with the new 2014 Tundra, which has meant: my first time shooting a shotgun (and getting a taste of “golf with a shotgun”) as well as my first time properly playing with trucks (towing large things and off-roading in lots of water!)… So fun, so exhausting, and while somethings are embargo’d till next week, i did get the ok to share the experiences and design details with you now! It is definitely more angular and more aggressive visually… and designed right in socal at Calty!
So, take a peek on the next page to see my adventures at the bizarrely epic Nemacolin Woodlands Resort (which has everything from shooting, fly fishing, golf, spa, LIONS, airstrip, casino, classic car collection, ziplines, dog sledding, and so much more…) to our quick visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Kentuck Knob, to off-roading and exploring with the new 2014 Tundra, as well as a few of my favorite details!
On booths that make you feel from afar like you’re quick approaching the enthralled crowd around a mind blowing street performer as you come down the aisle… Oswalds Mill Audio’s ICFF booth had that effect. Only as you approach, you realize the group of (mostly guys) are clustered and staring at the beauty and silently listening to the sounds of their impressive speakers! While their loudspeakers, amps, record players, and more are all stunning, the OMA Mini’s beauty was burned into my memory ~ so naturally i had to share that with you first!
Their speakers use a beautiful proprietary conical horn, “designed for the neodymium compression driver selected to achieve optimal performance, and cast in aluminum by a foundry in Pennsylvania,” and it’s perched on the woofer enclosures (either birch of bamboo), all designed by David D’Imperio, on a solid carbon steel stand! You can also pair the set up with a Mini Sub, whose face feels slightly hannibal mask like. As for the technical audio details, “The Mini is a very high efficiency speaker, at approx. 95db/1w/1m, and is 8ohm. This means you can use just about any amplifier with the Mini, from very low powered single ended triode amps (SETs) to high powered solid state amps, as the Minis uses professional drivers, not HiFi drivers, which distort at lower levels. These types of professional drivers offer far greater performance, and bullet proof reliability.They do not extend to the first octave, as hifi drivers do, and so you will not get deep bass extension and output to 20hz from the Mini.” Ok, now you totally have to see the other stunning pictures of the OMA Mini on the next page, as well as a peek at their booth…
This post is part of the NOTlabs Laser Challenge: Shawn and I are alternating days with executing and sharing a Laser Cutter involved experiment! And most importantly - we’re supposed to have fun, explore ideas, and it’s less about a fully formed product/concept at the end of the day, but more about seeing where the experiment takes us!
We’ve been meaning to test out the LMM-6000 Metal Marking Material for some time, so Shawn played with it for Laser Challenge #13! Basically ~ you spray a layer down on metal, laser over it, and everywhere the laser hits, a chemical reaction occurs! So Shawn tested things out on his MacBookPro ~ check out the details and process on the next page!
p.s. If you have ideas, or want some laser cutting done, or want to play with us… feel free to use the contact form or leave a comment! And if you’re curious about the laser cutter we’re using, here’s the unboxing.
HAPPY EARTH DAY! (And the start of Earthling Month!) To celebrate this crazy box just arrived… and upon opening it smelled like… lasered cardboard! (Yes, we’re VERY accustomed to that distinct scent lately.) And inside was Whole Foods’ “PINEAPPLE Ambassador of the Earthlings” which resembles an armadillo… and it TALKS. Seriously. This fun press kit to celebrate Earth Month of April is all about what Whole Foods is doing for the month of April - “transforming itself into a hub for Earthlings — or humans inspired by the earth’s beauty and bounty — to meet up, share ideas and celebrate our planet online and in stores.” You can learn more about what they’re up to at EarthlingMonth.com, but for now, back to this crazy box - which is the “official vessel of the earthling ambassador”… I love that their creature is actually built from food-safe ceramic and recycled electronics, the packaging is reused cardboard, and the impact from chipping has been offset with verified emission reductions purchased from Renewable Choice Energy… and it goes without saying that the pineapple can be consumed… in fact the TALKING ambassador commands you to “Eat Me!” as you’ll see in the video on the next page! So, if you’re ready to see the full unbox and stab the ambassador parts into the pineapple and hear him talk, head to the next page!
p.s. Just updated the post with a peek INSIDE the electronic guts… and he has a HEART!
Sometimes the best ideas come from the randomest situations (like finding mini buckys around the NOTlabs) ~ and this weekend, on a dare, Shawn and I have agreed to a LASER CHALLENGE! In other words, every day for a while, we’re going to alternate and come up with some random experiment using the laser cutter…
So to kick it off ~ i just found pictures of the quick mini Buckys that I created for this holiday post over at Intel My Life Scoop, that i never had a chance to share here. From quick cell phone pictures of the puppy in the kitchen, to silhouettes, to little (and big) black acrylic cut outs… topped off with hand braided little collars ready to adorn all our holiday gifts! Take a peek at the process and results on the next page! This was such a quick little project, it has inspired us to take on this challenge and see what other amusements we may come up with (and what we can learn about the laser cutter) in the next month!
It has been impossible to ignore Mercedes-Benz’s targeting of the “younger” market with their new entry level CLA model… from the fantastic Super Bowl spot “Soul” featuring Willem Defoe as the devil tempting a young man… to “Kate Upton Washes the All-New Mercedes-Benz CLA in Slow Motion”, which is pretty much what you’d expect… there’s even the Ryan McGinley film featuring model, Karlie Kloss, “Mind of Its Own” that debuted during fashion week… and how can you forget the “Untamed” spot where the car faces off with a wolf? Basically the marketing of the CLA seems to have its target on the younger/college crowd, playing heavily on the affordability and animalistic nature of the car… so when given the chance, i was too curious to see what this affordable, animalistic, compact car (the little sister of the CLS) feels like in person.
Hopping over to St. Tropez to give it a spin, felt like stepping into the “Soul” ad - being given an other worldly experience to play with the car while exploring the south of france… see a peek at our stay at the Hotel de Paris which just reopened. On first impressions - i was first drawn to the grill that seems spotted from afar… and the lights are just stunning up close (both front and rear), with such aggressive eyes that illuminate in the front, and incredible red gills that fill the back lights, they are definitely my favorite features. As for the interior, the dash seems to be where the affordability compromises were made, or my taste has aged me out of the younger demographic they are targeting… and the neon stripe options on some seats were surprising. As far as drivability, it would definitely make a fun little city car ~ and we even tried taking it to an impromptu flea market we found while driving around the french countryside, and it fit in easily (though drawing quite a bit of attention as well)… take a peek at the adventures and details with the Mercedes-Benz CLA on the next page!
There is no denying that the Nocs NS2 Air Monitors are stunning. Beautiful, elegant computer/small room active speakers with built in AirPlay tech, making it ridiculously easy to throw your music around the house… and with AirPlay’s multi-speaker set up being so easy, it’s been fun hooking up the speakers in every room - from laptop to kitchen to living room to bedroom to be in sync, so music follows us around the house and NOTlabs! But back to aesthetics, these are designed in Stockholm (assembled in China) and have hand-built soft touch rubber coated cabinets (feels SO good!), Kevlar reinforced woofers and silk dome tweeters. I’m smitten by the way the red pops - they also come in black, white, grey, orange, and yellow. The set up is relatively easy (but also easy to forget, lest you need to reset and do it again - but you can ping the website for that too) - you basically plug it in, press setup on the back, and connect to its personal wifi network, hitting the usual 192.168.1.1 to set it up to attach to your network. You can also use AirPlay Direct Mode, which allows you to play to the temp wifi network it will create, perfect for wifi-less scenarios (simply double click the setup button till it turns amber.) Ready to take a peek at the details and setup? See the full unboxing on the next page!
Let’s start this off with an important lesson i just learned - puppies can not be trusted… they really will sneak off with things even if you turn your back for just a moment… and then they will curl up somewhere and hide and destroy it… like these pretty awesome HD Spy Camera Glasses from Photojojo! Random upside? While i don’t have many videos to share, luckily i tried quite a few and got pics of it all for you before Bucky got to it… and now we have a “puppy teardown” to show you the guts of what is inside and how it works!
The officially named, HD You Vision Video Glasses from Photojojo, come whiteboxed with a very oakley-esque camera case, usb charger, and 4GB micro SD. As for the fit, they are a bit wide and super light plastic (no real lenses and all), and i had a bit of trouble not looking pretty silly in them, but that being said, the video and audio quality was better than i expected! Full HD, pretty fun, good camera angle (third eye spot)… not great in the dark, and not high quality audio, but it will do for fun adventures that need documenting. And when i tried them out on a walk with Bucky, he didn’t seem to pleased to see them on my face (perhaps that’s why they got sneakily targeted later?) They are surprisingly easy to use - plug in to charge, click the button on the side to start recording, hit it again to stop! Take a peek at the unboxing (and unfortunate puppy tear down) on the next page!
From the adventures last week with Land Rover, so far you’ve seen the stunning off roading, now take a look at what is inside the 2013 Range Rover! This cutaway model sat outside the entrance of Amangiri during our press trip, and amidst the desert landscape, looks like a carcass that has been partially picked apart by vultures. What’s especially fun is the chance to get an up close peek at what is under the skin of the 2013 Range Rover - from the aluminum body to the pillowy air bags that make up the seat massagers, cut away wheels and tires to the Meridian sounds system and more! Take a look at it all on the next page…
Everyone (that didn’t learn to anthropomorphize cars from Cars) knows that the headlights are the eyes of a car. Especially in the dark! As a car zooms up on your rear, the glow of their lights in the rear view are all you see… and more often than not, that’s enough to distinguish them.
Well when you see the double V, four eyed headlights appear - you’ll know a Mercedes-Benz 2014 E-Class is coming up on you. While at the Mercedes-Benz Research & Development Studio in Carlsbad, CA yesterday - we joined the #MBRT13 (Mercedes-Benz Road Trip 13 global blogger group going from LA to Detroit) to see the unveiling of the new 2014 E-Class. The first detail to grab you is certainly the lights (even before the unveil it!). “The front end has been completely revised with new headlamps that incorporate all light functions within a single lens, while flowing light elements within the headlamps help to retain the “four-eyed” appearance that is such a distinctive E-Class signature. When it comes to light and sight, the E-Class sets the benchmark - low beam and daytime running lights both come with partial LED as standard, while full-LED headlamps are available as an option for the first time in this class,” says the press release. When you turn the blinker on, the ice cube like units above the swipes of white LEDs light up yellow in sequence, much like playing a piano scale. The effect reminds me of the concept style coupé. Take a peek at the details on the next page! As well as a peek at the crazy basket in the trunk…
Happy almost 2013!!! The final weeks of 2012, i have been giving Windows 8 a real chance. I’ll admit, i’ve been a mac girl for years now, avoiding windows whenever possible… but with the addition of NOTlabs the last year, i’ve had to get back on windows for some of our modeling/lasercutting software and it’s been a bit of an adjustment (even on Win 7). Well, VIZIO convinced me to give Win 8 a proper try when they sent their stunning looking All-In-One Touch PC. It’s so pretty… so sleek… and so much more than just an all-in-one super touch screen. (Side note: we also tried out one of Vizio’s notebooks, but i quickly found that windows 8 is much easier with a touch screen, and stuck to the All-In-One while getting to know the many quirks of the OS… which is another conversation for another day.)
We set up the All-In-One alongside the monstrous NOTlabs Laser Cutter to run the laser cutter software, modeling/graphics software, and more… Veering outside of the purely digital, i’ve quickly been learning that physical fabrication requires much time and patience. Thus, there has been lots of waiting… hours and hours of waiting at times when running larger projects where we end up babysitting the machine… so the All-In-One Touch PC’s HDMI portsessentially turning into a TV at the push of a remote button has been awesome! We’ve been plugging in our DirecTV receiver, PS3, Co-Star, etc. to relax while still keeping an eye on things! And best part, when flipping over to use it like a TV, the computer keeps running, so we don’t lose anything that is in progress and can flip back and forth easily. Verdict? If i’m going to have to have a windows machine around NOTlabs, i’m loving the versatility of the big 27” All-In-One Touch PC. Take a peek on the next page for more details, our unboxing, and a peek into some laser cutting/call of duty multitasking in NOTlabs.
Mercedes-Benz Ener-G Force Concept Car - it’s like the cartoon super hero car that someone between the Fisher Price Rescue Heroes/Team Fortress/Duke Nukem would drive… with an Xterra-esque rear, an FJ like feel, and the illustrations remind me of Kimberly Wu’s JOY concept from 2008. While I was intrigued by the concept images that have been floating around when it surfaced on NOTCOT.org, i didn’t expect to love it as much as i did in person! The sketches are stunning. The attention to details - fascinating! And in person, in the glow of sunset, it really is hard to take your eyes off of. I love that they created the concept and sketches situations of it for Desert, Polar, and Jungle situations using camel, penguin, and monkey icons - even on the tires, which sadly didn’t make it into the final model. However, they did slip in the side view mirror warning: “Penguins, camels, and other wild animals in mirror may be closer than they appear.” Mercedes, please make this into a toy car model - or an R/C car - or a 3D printable R/C car shell… because it is adorable, and would make for some ridiculously fun photoshoots with action figures.
Take a look at the sketches, details, teaser video (the video is pretty epic) - then the unveiling of the full sized model at Mister C in Beverly Hills tonight. There are a LOT of pictures, but there was too much fun not to share! See it all on the next page…
This week we popped by the Sonos Space to see “Missing” created by The xx in collaboration with new media producer Aramique Krauthamer, media artist Kyle McDonald and engineer Matt Mets. The installation is created around the song of the same name from their new album “Coexist” and features 50 robotic Sonos players following the movement of visitors as they pass through… The first thing you notice is the glowing cube in the center of the space filled with Sonos speakers hanging inside, all rotating to face the listeners as they move around. They only let a few people through at a time - and with the opening night crowd, it quickly starts to look like a glowing catwalk as people sashay through.
As for how it works - each speaker is suspended from cables and uses a small circuit board and stepper motor to rotate around. Two Microsoft Kinects are mounted in the upper corners that track peoples movements. A computer uses that data to control the direction of movement for each speaker by creating a vector between the person and the closest speakers. The system constantly sends commands to the motors creating the effect that each speaker is tracking you. Even with 10+ people crowded into the installation the system work remarkably well.
See more of the installation and details on the next page!