Full disclosure - Daniel Frysinger works on the Linksys Velop, and he also founded NOTCOT with me and we’ve been friends for nearly 20 years! Weirdly enough, that means instead of being positively biased, we’ve been even MORE critical of the product (what else would you expect from designers?), and have let him use our home and studio space as testing areas, and turn us into UX guinea pigs while working through the design process! So when it finally made it to store shelves, we had to share unboxing it with you!
So that being said - i’m totally in awe of how good my internet connection finally is in the garage workshop and the pergola/deck… and every corner of the yard/driveway… even the furthest bedrooms are solid now! Mesh networks are definitely a hot trend/evolution in the home wifi router space, and they all seem to advertises how many nodes you need based on the size of your home to properly reach ALL the spots we hang out - both inside and out! With 4-5 Linksys Velop Nodes we cover ~13,000 sqft inside and out amazingly well, and it’s nice that you just need a power cord and close enough proximity to another node to expand coverage. Each node has 2 ethernet ports, so you can easily hook up an ethernet drive or other hard wired accessories where needed. Also, all nodes are equal - no master/slave situation, so they are completely versatile. In other words, if you move and find you need less nodes, you can always share them with a friend, or use them for better wifi at your vacation home.
The other fascinating wifi router trend is an industrial design one! They are finally getting prettier and more interesting as designers help consumers display (instead of hide) their routers. It makes perfect sense, the more exposed and centrally located they are, the better signal you get! Yet somehow, many of us have had them stashed in closets and behind objects on shelves and more. So while the Linksys Velop Nodes aren’t the tiniest, they are filled with thoughtful design details. (Also, when it comes to my wifi, i’ll take slightly larger router with WAY better signal any day.) While most press photos show you the plain, solid, white side with a logo, my favorite view is actually the back at an angle. There’s something almost sculptural with the perforated white square/squircle (?) tower with the cut out corner!
On to the unboxing and up close with the design details! To the next page!
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*NOTCOT in food+drink
- 01.13.17 -
SPYTAIL Ginger Rum!!! The most stunning press kit just arrived from our friends at Biggar & Leith - you know, the folks behind the delicious and beautiful Malfy Gin we tried last March. Well SPYTAIL Ginger Rum taps right into all my childhood loves of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, Tintin’s Shark Submarine, Bathyspheres and undersea adventuring (and the amazing gear that goes with it)… It blew my mind to open up a box and see a porthole staring back at me! Of course with a stunning bulbous bottle of rum staring out from within.
Sipping it straight while i work on this post, it’s deliciously warming, with quite the gingery punch. As for the story ~ “SPYTAIL Black Ginger Rum - Caribbean Rum blended and bottled in Cognac, France. SPYTAIL is based on a 19th Century traditional recipe of aging fresh ginger root and spices in barrels of Rum - resulting in a rich, spicy and complex spirit. SPYTAIL is named after a legendary submarine - plans for which were discovered by our distillers. The first mechanical submarines in the world were invented in France - and tested on the Charente River which flows nearby our distillery. These were the submarines which Jules Vernes used as the inspiration for his famous novel - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” From a packaging standpoint, the bottle is so beautiful, even those who don’t love ginger might want it on their bar!
But on to the press kit ~ through the porthole ~ and into all the packaging details on the next page.
On amazing little details - hidden within the bottle porthole are the co-ordinates of the final resting place of Jules Vernes.
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*NOTCOT in playful
- 01.10.17 -
The Art of Play Curiosity Box 2016 is a magical and wondrous thing that promises “unique & clever amusements” - just what you need to help kick off your 2017! Especially the 3D Card Star of laser cut magicalness designed by mathematician George W. Hart (father of one of my favorite youtubers - Vi Hart)! There’s nothing like a good puzzle to get me out of a funk - though of course all the good ones drive you a bit more mad and frustrated to make solving them THAT much more satisfying. Also the Curiosity Box has delectable dark chocolate - that is ALSO a puzzle (though one that doesn’t last long.) Oh and the spring! So elegant, so pretty… then i handed it to Shawn and he solved it in seconds - reminding me the puzzle is basically a problem he’d accidentally run into when working on cars…
2016 was a funny kind of year, and while 2017 is full of uncertainty thus far - i’m feeling hopeful. And silly, fun amusements like these definitely help - so thank you, Art of Play for the surprise box of hopeful happiness! Ready to dive into the unboxing and details? To the next page!
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*NOTCOT in roundup
- 01.01.17 -
HAPPY 2017!!! I tried to resist looking back too much at 2016 this year, because i’ve been beyond ready for 2017! But i got toooooo curious to see what soared on NOTCOT.org - and once i saw, it seemed too fun not to share! So here are the most popular 100 posts of 2016… click the tiny squares to learn more!
*NOTCOT in design
- 12.23.16 -
Currently smitten by the design and packaging of these mugs and cups from Kinto’s Slow Coffee Style Collection. There’s something so lovely about the nostalgic designs made new in this unique mix of sign painter typography on a vintage-esque milky glass mug and embossed colorful glasses for the Sign Paint Mugs and Cold Brew Coffee Tumblers. The mugs can even be stacked for easy storage. Also the sayings are just adorable - (1) Rainy day means coffee time. (2) Find your SLOW COFFEE STYLE. (3) Make time to brew yourself slow coffee. (4) Let your mind wander. (5) Better not think, just slowly drink. Naturally 4 and 5 are pulling me in the most! The glass tumblers remind you of “The richness of going slow” and to “Enjoy cold brew coffee”… take a look at the details on the next page!
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*NOTCOT in roundup
- 12.22.16 -
We’re inching our way to 2017! Christmas and Hanukkah are around the corner… and NYE is just behind them… and here’s a bit of inspiration helping get us there! Click the squares to find out more.
*NOTCOT in design
- 12.09.16 -
Welcome to the 2016 Ever Growing NOTCOT Gift List - it’s ever growing, because instead of making individual gift guides this year, i’ll just keep adding to this post (and bumping it up with each update for your easy viewing pleasure!) WHY? Well, if i were you, i’d much rather have one page i could scroll through for ideas as i shop, rather than trying to hop all over through a litany of links… AND thanks to our fantastic NOTCOT sponsors (Shout outs to David Kind, Distiller, ICON, AutoNation, and AutoDesk Fusion 360 - we love you guys!) we can focus on finding and sharing awesomeness with you! (Versus the old model of ads, that encourages sites to make you open as many pages as possible, as many times as possible, since they’ve got to get those ad views.)
As for what we’re defining “gifts” as this year - fun products that you can wrap your arms around (i.e. no cars, ovens, walk in greenhouses, etc.) that aren’t basic tech items (i.e. computers, speakers, cameras, gaming consoles, kitchen appliances). We’re going to focus on the fun, random, and unexpected… for all that other stuff - there are so many other places to go look! Also, we’re focusing on products you can actually BUY and have under the tree (i.e. no crowdfunding or pre-sales). So it’s kind of a free for all! I’ll show you some stuff that could make for a fun gift (for yourself or others!) and leave it to you to decide who would like what (instead of Gifts for Mom, Gifts for Travelers, Gifts for “insert stereotype that is unlikely to be true here.”) Oooh, also - these are all items our team already has or wants to gift or wouldn’t mind being surprised by.
So - if you’re ready - let’s get our gifting on! To the next page…
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*NOTCOT in roundup
- 12.06.16 -
We’re SO close to 2017! Really can’t wait to get there - 2016 has been… yea… Anyhow, here’s a dose of 25 inspiring amusements that have been making us happy on NOTCOT.org! Click the squares to find out more.
*NOTCOT in tech
- 12.02.16 -
The Power Practical Luminoodle! Essentially an LED strip that you can power via USB - and before you just buy a basic LED strip and hack it together yourself, they’ve already done the work to make this waterproof with a nice light diffusion, attached adjustable magnets, included straps to attach it to things, and a little white stuff sack that can turn into a lantern. Basically - it’s an awesome stocking stuffer and gift for your campers, road trippers, cyclists, and more. Also, being USB powered, its easy to plug it in to anything from a USB wall or car charger, computer, or even that back up battery you probably carry for your phone… and for those who don’t already have somewhere to plug it in, you can also buy the Luminoodle Plus that includes one. (Ooh and for last minute shoppers, they are available and slightly cheaper with Amazon Prime!
While skeptical at first, i got curious while black friday shopping and impulse bought one… and i’m delightfully impressed with it! Such a simple idea, executed so thoughtfully, they’ve really elevated the LED strip in a lovely, functional way. Also, nice packaging! Take a peek at the details and unboxing on the next page.
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*NOTCOT in design
- 12.01.16 -
I keep finding myself real estate shopping/researching more and more - especially paying attention to unusual design solutions to challenging lots - and today this Bridge House on 8th Street in Hillcrest, San Diego, CA caught my eye. Owners, Rammy and Traci Cortez, and architect, Hector Magnus of Architects Magnus build The Bridge House. Quite the unmissable black and white structure that initially looks like two houses, but is actually a fascinating solution to a 10ft city utility easement running through the center of the property. It is a two-story, 2,700 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths single family home with a grated steel 12-foot bridge, on a mere 4,725 sqft lot. The pictures are a bit confusing to stitch together in my head… until i dove into the 3D Walkintour (pssst - jump to floor 3 to see what’s above the garage, and jump to another floor to get back out.) I wonder what the rules to an easement are - you can build a bridge over it? Or does it have to be see through? Will have to look into that more…
In the mean time - take a peek inside and around the house on the next page!
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*NOTCOT in design
- 11.28.16 -
As you may have noticed - i’ve been doing a lot of research on plants as of late. Currently looking into indoor grow lights… and found the beautiful, unique Bulbo lights! Particularly i’m fascinated by the Bulbo Cynara LED Light system. As they say, “Influenced by Italian tradition and inspired by nature. We put sunlight in a lamp.” It’s lampshade is inspired by flowerpots - made from Italian terracotta with a splash of glaze both inside and out (depending on which one you pick), and the expanding aluminum rods allow the light to grow with your plant so it always receives just the right amount of light. It’s a lovely looking alternative to the more industrial setups, and turns your indoor plant setups into stunning design features. It’s also easy to adapt to a changing home/space - you can suspend the lights over the plants, “plant” them in the pots, or have them free standing over a few plants. As for special editions - while they already come in a range of colors, you can currently find a Conran Shop Special Edition which has a glossy white shade and black and white striped cord. The lights spectrum is optimized for herbs and vegetables as well as things like aloe vera and strawberries. See lots of pictures of how lovely the details are on the next page!
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*NOTCOT in roundup
- 11.27.16 -
Phew! We’ve survived Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and nearly Cyber Monday (and whatever other shopping frenzy holidays have been added that i can’t keep track of) - so here’s a roundup of what’s been inspiring me on NOTCOT.org… there’s definitely a theme emerging lately as i dive further into some research projects and experiments!
Also - it’s been a lot more FUN to bring back the gift guide this year as a 2016 Ever-Growing NOTCOT Gift LIST instead! Dropping categories (who likes to be labeled traveler, mom, tech guy, runner, etc?) i’m happily adding products that seem fun into one giant scrollable post all season. It’s up to the gift givers to decide which products make them think of which lucky person! Let’s celebrate the multifaceted nature of our friends and family and SURPRISE them instead of pigeon hole them this season?
But back to the roundup at hand - click the squares to find out more. And hit me up if you’re interested/working with/excited by that magical intersection of plants and technology (especially robots!)…
*NOTCOT in travel
- 11.25.16 -
I can’t stop staring at this stunning photo of the Rumpl Pyro-Fade Puffy - those colors! That lush forest! Can’t deny that the colors scream with a bright pop of colors that flow right into each other, and photograph stunningly! (AKA perfect gift for your instagram/photo obsessed friends?) Also the Ocean-fade blues are just mesmerizingly beautiful too! So tempting - these special Rumpl Faded Puffy throw blankets are exclusive to REI. I’m currently curled up in our Rumpl Down Puffy (which is SO warm, almost too warm for me when it’s not winter) as i write this, and dreaming up how fun the Faded Puffies would be on our adventures (or wrapped up under the tree for our adventurous friends!)… see more pics on the next page!
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Happy Black Friday! The London Design Museum just reopened in its new home - and when we heard that Free Universal Construction Kit (by our own Shawn Sims and friend Golan Levin) was on display in the permanent exhibition: Designer Maker User, Justine excitedly popped over to check it out!
As for the exhibition - “Designer Maker User presents the museum’s collection to look at the development of modern design through these three interconnected roles. Designer Maker User features almost 1000 items of twentieth and twenty-first century design viewed through the angles of the designer, manufacturer and user, including a crowdsourced wall. The exhibition covers a broad range of design disciplines, from architecture and engineering, to the digital world, fashion and graphics. Designer Maker User features a bold, colourful and engaging display designed by Studio Myerscough, with digital interactives by Studio Kin.”
Ready to take a peek inside? To the next page!
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*NOTCOT in tech
- 11.23.16 -
Snapchat Spectacles are having a moment… in fact i can’t imagine a better name than “spectacles” with the way they are launching and dispersing their foray into hardware this insane holiday week. When the WSJ article is titled “Snapchat Spectacles Take Video, Cover Mortgage Payments” you know it’s madness. Short story - only way to get them is currently through their adorable minion-esque vending machines that are popping up across America, and you find out where they are on their Spectacles Bot Map, but when they pop up, get there fast, rumors are there are only 200 or so in each one, and they sell out in under 2 hours? Also expect lines around buildings… they are all over eBay for $500-1000 (and you can swipe your credit card at a SnapBot to get one for $130) All this insanity as they get ready for a rumored IPO… and the Spectacles resell bubble may die down as their NYC store restocks more often?
But, lets look at the SnapBOT! It’s adorable, beautifully poppy and minimal, like a giant rectangular minion beeping cute noises and barfing out rainbow receipts (how very snapchat?) So when Shawn woke me up that the SnapBot was just over at Brentwood Countrymart - we popped out of bed and headed over - figuring worst case we could see the madness and grab a coffee. Apparently the bot landed around 7, and the line was already a few hundred deep at 8:30. It was quite the diverse crowd - and people were already scheming what they were going to do with the money they made reselling them… So with cappuccino in hand, we headed to the bot - just follow the balloons! And it was appropriately placed right in front of the toy store! With its big blinking eye that matches the Spectacles logo and the camera/led on the glasses - it’s a great interaction for the buyer and those waiting around the machine. See more pics and video on the next page.
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