This is a random LEGO intermission ~ it’s been a quiet design week… and it the majority of emails i send result in vacation auto-responders… so its just that quiet leisurely time of year! So here are some random lego pics from a today’s stop at the Lego store. So here’s my $1.50 duplo dragon… and below are the crazy angler and divers (complete with glow in the dark fangs, scuba masks & flippers, and spear guns!)… and the Star War’s Legos magnets and tetris magnets… (the secret of how they stick is a bit disappointing sadly - they just jammed magnets up their legs… and with any hair/helmets/backpacks, they have to lean off the fridge/white board a bit)… anyhow - go take a break! and play with some toys! I forgot how amusing/calming it can be to sit and build some legos… and then take it all apart and make something completely random with it.
Art Lebedev’s Matryoshkus showed up as NOTCOT.org #5562 from Fukudo, and this image struck me enough to feature it here as well. A playfully simple way to get kids (or adults) to catch up on a new way to visualize the sizes/naming of our digital forms of measurement which are difficult to visualize. It feels very much like a Montessori tool…
Click the images to find out more! Ok just one more before i settle down to make real posts ~ there’s been a lot of great technology showing up on NOTCOT.org ~ so here’s a quick roundup of some of them. The iphone to xbox conversion is funny… the unboxing of the O2 Cocoon is really sweet… new wii straps are cute… the pleos wassupping is pretty funny… i would be in heaven on that hydroplaning sailboat… the idea of 3 liters of wine and a DVD changes my view of “dinner and a movie”… tinted contacts instead of sunglasses, anyone? Anyhow, feel free to explore.
So, i was just watching this old Sesame Street clip over at Crave ~ nothing quite as awesome on a saturday afternoon as watching Cookie Monster’s Green brother (?) “eat the hell out of a computer” as Tim so nicely put it. And this got me thinking… so about NotVideo, responses were all across the board (and hey, for a made in 3 hour pilot - it was pretty fun!) ~ but hardest thing that kept coming up was “who will be the face of NOTCOT?”… wouldn’t it be incredible to bring back something a little more sesame street and less rocketboom/webbalert meets ze frank/ask a ninja? Or something with a little of all of the above mixed in one? Well, let me know what you’re thinking, or if anyone wants to play around with making some videos that lean more towards the crazy fun artsy side of things… but for now: check out the Green Cookie Monster guy consuming a computer as it rambles on below!
Symbaloo just popped up on NOTCOT.org thanks to John Hawkins, and it was kind of visually interesting, and worth a note for its user experience. First impression, overly web 2.0, and oh so bubbly… reminds me of a homepage version of that Optimus Keyboard… meets the periodic table? Another overly mashed pile of widgets, RSS feeds, searches, etc… but i like the icons (they remind me a lot of the PSP, PS3 navigation icons). And the way you can drag things to the trash in the middle. Also that you can customize the size of the grid you’d like, either based on standard browser sizes, or you can manually add/subtract them. Dan (my other half on all things UX) completely disagrees with my even posting this ~ but although i couldn’t imagine actually using this, i’m intrigued… particularly by what is in their Secrets/Work in Progress section (more after the jump)… like news images showing in the squares: “The latest headlines in a visual environment! It comes with text-rollover’s and deeplinks to the full story.” and also their tv guide integration and map searches with their icons on the maps. So nothing terribly new, but some interesting ways to visualize? I’m posting this one in the name of research on grid views and visual views of news/data… kind of like Yahoo’s OMG - i love how theirs have quick news pop up over the image, and leaves a check mark over ones you’ve read.
Funny how squares as image thumbnails are in isn’t it?
Anymails - i can’t stop watching the videos of this incredible flash/processing project that visualizes your email boxes as its own little ecosystem of organisms - moving, and blobbing about… linking up in groups… changing in size, color, speed, hairiness - depending on read, unread, responded, type, newness. The program uses Apple Mail, and the code is available, although i have downloaded and been too chicken shit to run it yet, that “be careful if you have a large number of emails” thing has me a little weary.
The project was developed by Carolin Horn (Design & Concept) and Florian Jenett (Code) during the MFA thesis “Natural Metaphor For Information Visuzalization” at the Dynamic Media Intitute Boston in 2007. You can see more images, download the full thesis and code, and watch some incredible videos of it in action at their site. For the flash bits with the gorgeously pulsating creatures, see more below as well. (via Information Aesthetics)
There is little that is more amusing than the official Raving Rabbids videos… the first round was amazing with Rabbid Facts… and this time there is the Around the World campaign… so far with Bunnies at Tour de France, and Sumo wrestling! Check out the videos below, as well as the main trailer. Can’t wait till Raving Rabbids 2 finally comes out.
New Gallery Tags! Have you noticed the new tags? On the left and right of NOTCOT.com? AudioCubes is sponsoring them this month, and showcasing some of their many fun and hard to find headphones, toys, accessories, and gadgets you didn’t even realize you’d needed. In fact they even just got the Audrey Kawasaki Gelaskins in (couldn’t resist tossing that one in the pic, after just posting the great new Audrey pieces below) - Dan (yes, co-founder and genius behind our tech) is quite the audiophile, and he swears by AudioCubes having ordered some headphones from them. Personally their robot section was my favorite on the site, as well as those tiny speakers that are so cute, tempted to get one for my ipod. You’ll also probably noticed quite a few products we’ve featured, like that video bulb that you just plug into your RCA and it becomes your tv screensaver? Anyhow, i’m in a giddy shopping kind of mood today!
Odds are if you are reading this, you PROBABLY should check the Walk Score of your current location and get walking. I mean seriously, we spend a bit too much time at our computers… well me at least. Apparently my current walkscore is well in the green, at 88% - what is that, a B+? A-? Its been a long time since i’ve thought about grades. “70 - 90 = Very Walkable: It’s possible to get by without owning a car.”
This is an interesting mashup - Walk Score uses a patent-pending algorithm to calculate the walkability of an address based on: The distance to walkable locations near an address, calculating a score for each of these locations, combining these scores into one easy to read Walk Score. More details below on how the calculate an areas walkability…
One of the most interesting new products announced by Belkin in the last week is definitely their N1 Vision router, and i got a chance to play with it in person at the Belkin Press Event last week. Finally a router that you don’t need to hide beneath a desk, or behind your couch, that you only look at when your internet is down and you need to reset it. This one has a large digital display and one large button to navigate through its quick overview screens showing you everything from your speed, upload/download usage, devices connected, and even the date and time! (Yes your router just became your room clock). With its sleek and slim upright design, i can already see this replacing airports aesthetically (although no printing/wireless speaker hookups).
Also, while at the event, Belkin was kind enough to let me take a few snapshots of the gorgeous packaging for the N1 Vision, unfortunately the lighting in Vessel was terrible for photographing, but the images below should give you a good idea for now. Basically Belkin is really taking the user experience of its products very seriously, from the time you open the box, to every day usage. They have designed both the box and router to need minimal contact with the user… you unwrap, you open, and there is the router with an easy lift tab, and just below that lays two clearly labeled boxes for the power supply and network cable.
Jealous Computers, apparently quite the outbreak is happening… well according to JealousComputers.com, the latest viral Nokia N95 campaign. Much like their Great Pockets campaign earlier, this one is a beautifully glossy website, complete with loads of youtube videos of “attacks” of laptops and pcs which are jealous of the new N95. Interesting twist, submit your own stories and videos for t-shirts… check out PSAs, attack videos, the shirts, their “how to deal with jealous computers at work” saftey poster, and even their N95 Disguise Mug below!
I’ve never actually craved a fire extinguisher before, and suddenly i find myself here wanting one for the car, desk, kitchen, friend’s house, sidewalk… everywhere basically, b/c as a design object even, this Pinqy extinguisher is ADORABLE. At a mere 14cm tall, apparently it can put out the starts of fires… turning every man, or even girl, into an “ordinary fire man” as the videos say. And this one is by far the best. This looks like what happens when you cross fire extinguisher, a grenade, and a designer. Saw this at Core77, and its been stuck in my head since.
Belkin held their SF Press Event today at Vessel, and Linhchi and i stopped by to see their latest products up close and personal. It was (or is, since its on for another half hour) a dark underground lounge space that managed to feel dark when it was an extremely hot and sunny day above ground… and filled with open bar, appetizers, washable mice, more ipod and iphone cases than you knew what to do with, routers, laptop coolers, USB hubs galore, and more. So, honestly i don’t even know where to start… how about you jump below and you can get a feel for the event, what was there, what we liked… and everything in the Belkin gift bag too (which feels kind of like a back to school bag… go see, and it will make a bit more sense). And it was far too fun to play with the washable mouse in person!
Lonely Planet and PSP teamed up last year to create this PSP Passport to… series of digital guides, and they were only released in Europe/Australia, and cover 6 European cities: Amsterdam, Prague, Rome, London, Paris, and Barcelona. Yes, i know i’m a year late on this one, but i only just stumbled upon them, and two things struck me: 1. Gorgeous covers (although strangely Katamari reminiscent… perhaps the crammed city highlights and the color/style of the illustrations) and 2. conceptually this is an interesting combination of gaming/digital entertainment handheld and lonely planet guide (both of which you are probably carrying while running around traveling), and far more navigable than an ipod guide… although this does make me wonder when the mini iPhone friendly pages will be popping up for travel guides, and for mapping, thanks to google maps on my phone, that part is now taken care of wherever i end up. Anyhow, check out the rest of the covers below, a youtube of the “game” in action, and some screenshots. Conclusion from what i read around the internets is that cool idea that fell short in execution. Also, although 39$ at Lonely Planet… these are all 7 pounds at Amazon UK.
iTrapped, yes this came up on .org yesterday (#5182) linking to Photojojo who then got dugg to the point where they were down and no one could view it. Well… checking out google blogsearch, i saw that one of the guys (Joshua Blankenship) that got iTrapped in the iPhonez actually noticed it on our site, and i agree with him, iTrapped is MUCH better than “Smooshtacts”… he says “It’s weird to open up my daily tabs and find my face on NOTCOT. (Oh, and calling it “Smooshtacts?” Honestly, Photojojo… worst name ever. It’s iTrapped, people.)” Hehe, it made me laugh in my half awake state, and i just loved the iTrapped name and this great image he had up, and am now imagining people starting the trend of photobooths where they are pressing against a glass pane for this effect with a black backdrop… oh the drunken scenarios waiting to happen.