By Michael Mulvey on January 31, 2012 2:00 PM
How quickly you can switch your perception to see each can say a lot about how creative you are.
How quickly you can switch your perception to see each can say a lot about how creative you are.
1955 Maserati A6G/54 Zagato
1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta SEFAC Hot Rod
From the Wisconsin State Journal:
Madison teachers will soon be handing out Apples to students.
The School District for the first time plans to buy more than 600 iPads for use in the majority of schools this spring. Another 800 iPads are expected to be in classrooms by next fall, all paid for with money from a state settlement with Microsoft.
Microsoft better get over those Windows 8 tablet hurdles.
Via The Loop
The 1963 Chevrolet Corvair by Bertone
via Just a Car Guy
Michael De Pippo, like every great, self-motivated designer, didn't wait for permission to create something he loved despite the fact that this something contained copyrighted material.
In this case, this copyrighted something was the members of The Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Movie:
I love the Muppets. And with the movie coming out in the next couple of months, there is no better time for a fun little side project involving the best band ever conceived: Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
My idea was simple; create a vintage concert poster for each band member (Dr. Teeth, Janice, Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Zoot and Animal). Using clean, crisp vectors, negative space and few colours, I wanted to keep them as simple and stylized as possible; reminiscent of retro posters from back in the day.
There's a happy ending to this story. Disney loved Michael's posters too and decided to license and sell them at Acme Archives.
His posters are incredible and it looks like many of the limited runs for each character are already sold out. A quick search on eBay reveals you can still find them, albeit for over double their original $60 price tag.
*For those of you who haven't seen the original Muppet Movie (1979) or are too young to remember, the title of this post is from this scene in the movie.
Check out these insanely awesome posters:
Over at Wired Science, Jonah Lehrer looks into how we identify good ideas:
I've always been fascinated by the failures of genius. Consider Bob Dylan. How did the same songwriter who produced Blood on the Tracks and Blonde on Blonde also conclude that Down in the Groove was worthy of release? Or what about Steve Jobs: what did he possibly see in the hockey puck mouse? How could Bono not realize that Spiderman was a disaster? And why have so many of my favorite novelists produced so many middling works?
A big part seems to lie in letting your ideas marinate in your head for a while to give you some distance and perspective.
iFixit.org sounds very interesting. Probably because I grew up spending a lot of time in junkyards and my dad's basement fixing shit too:
We have been traveling to developing countries in Asia and Africa, visiting e-waste scrapyards and small repair shops, meeting "fixers" who breathe new life into gadgets that the western world has tossed away, and photographing the journey. Part travelogue, part investigative reporting, part soapbox, iFixit.org promises only one thing: a clear-eyed, thoughtful look at global repair culture.
via Minimal Mac
It annoys the fuck out of me whenever I see commercials for a product or company who want you to follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Hey! Check it out, we're tweeting! We tweet! And put something on our wall too! Like us!
Aside from this annoyance, I could never quite put my finger on why social media doesn't work for companies, but Randy Murray nailed it:
The opposite is also true: businesses are not people. For a business to be social, it has to be focused and friendly, but it can never be your friend. I really like Apple products, I own Apple stock, but Apple isn't my friend. I don't need a social relationship with the company that made my car, where I shop for food, or the local dry cleaners. I do find it useful to get news and information from them, and someone to listen and act when I have a problem, but I really don't need another channel of happy talk from businesses.
Clay Shirky responds to David Pogue's stance on SOPA and how we shouldn't be so quick to assume Hollywood's legal dogs are savage, rabies-infected hounds:
If their legal arm gets out of control? This is an industry that demands payment from summer camps if the kids sing Happy Birthday or God Bless America, an industry that issues takedown notices for a 29-second home movie of a toddler dancing to Prince. Traditional American media firms are implacably opposed to any increase in citizens' ability to create, copy, save, alter, or share media on our own. They fought against cassette audio tapes, and photocopiers. They swore the VCR would destroy Hollywood. They tried to kill Tivo. They tried to kill MiniDisc. They tried to kill player pianos. They do this whenever a technology increases user freedom over media. Every time. Every single time.
Sam Biddle for Gizmodo on ultrabooks:
What is an Ultrabook? Intel says they're supposed to be affordable (around $1,000), thin (no more than 0.8 inches), light (no more than 3.1 pounds) and tenacious in the battery. They're to have speedy SSD storage. That is Plato's Ultrabook.
Thank you, Mr. Biddle. The term has been driving me crazy since it was introduced. It was adopted by PC makers to help them compete with the MacBook Air and term 'netbook' started to lose its coolness a few years ago.
Oh, by the way, the MacBook Air just turned 4 years old.
How many times to I have to say I'm tired of writing about Apple?
So Shawn Blanc wrote a thoughtful post today on *stuff*.
He starts his post responding to Dustin Curtis, where Dustin explains how people don't buy computers because of their specs anymore. People select computers because of how they define them. Like cars.
Shawn "generally agrees" with Dustin, but explains how you really need to look beyond the physical "stuff" someone owns to really understand who they are and what they value.
This is true. People are more than their stuff. But it's not just stuff. Stuff is but one facet of a person, but stuff can be a very important facet.
Shawn intimately understands how important stuff can be as the creator and curator of Tools & Toys, a site which describes itself as, "a collection of items for the pickiest of gadget geeks, software aficionados, snowboard junkies, music lovers, writers, coffee nuts, and all around collectors of fine paraphernalia."
Shawn strikes me as the kind of guy who's very selective with his purchases. Someone who might not have tons of amazing products lying around his home. Maybe just a few well-made, possibly expensive items he thought long and hard about before he bought because what he buys is going to stay with him for a long time. I can respect a man who spends his money thoughtfully.
The thing is, assholes can have great taste in stuff too. There's lots of assholes carrying iPhones out there. There's lots of assholes carrying Android phones too. This is why stuff and a person's taste in it is but one facet that defines him or her. Who you are is a constellation of characteristics.
My wife loves our dog. Loves it to death. Every now and then, when she's in the midst of smothering the little guy with kisses I like to ask her if someone offered her a million dollars for the dog, if she'd give it up and every time she says, "Never."
So yes, I get it. In the face of what's really important, the stuff fades away.
After our dog (and I think me), my wife loves fashion. She loves fashion and probably knows more about it than most people. Regardless, she'd kindly give up her Manolo Blahnik heels she bought for our wedding, or one of her Diane von Furstenberg dresses. The same way I'd give up my signed Shepard Fairey poster of Iggy Pop or my collection of Emigre magazines from the 80's and 90's.
But make no mistake. It's never just stuff.
At some point in 2011, after Volkswagen announced the new Beetle, I was talking to my brother about how ugly it was and how it seemed like it would never reclaim the iconic status it held by the original. Everything that was innovative, unexpected and fresh about the original Beetle was not present in the 2011 version (or the New Beetle of 1997 for that matter).
Then he made the astute observation that the Mini Cooper has taken the place of the original Beetle as an automotive icon.
Now Volkswagen has introduced the E-Bugster Beetle Concept and it seems that not only is Volkswagen trying reclaim the iconic status of the Beetle, but doing it by aligning Beetle's image more closely with the Mini Cooper.
Judge for yourself:
Enrique Allen on The Designer Fund:
For the last few years, I was teaching start-ups to think like designers. But I eventually realized that you can't simply teach this stuff. If you don't have a designer in your founding group, you can't have a culture of design. You see the reasons why all the time: A consultant comes in to improve a design and when they leave, the transformation eventually dies.
This was my aha moment; it challenged whether I was making an impact. My solution? Do the opposite of what I've been doing. Rather than spending as much energy training nondesigners, I figured I'd help designers succeed as part of the founding DNA of startups, thus making great design a natural expression of their operations.
The relationship Apple has with carriers is fascinating to me -- Apple seems to outwardly despise them, while knowing that carriers are (currently) necessary for Apple.
I wonder if Mr. Brooks remembers when Steve Jobs was interviewed by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at D8 Conference in 2010 (around the 4-minute mark):
Mossberg:And another time you talked about, you weren't going to do a phone because you had to sell them through, I think you called them, 'The Five Orifices' at the time.
Jobs: Four, I think.
Jim Dalrymple mocks up the home page for AcerCloud, free of charge.
Looks about right to me.
What a gentleman he was to do that.
Influencer: Apple iCloud, introduced 6 June 2011
Influenced: Acer AcerCloud, introduced 8 January 2012
Yes, Apple's competitors continue to rip off their ideas, but I give them credit for understanding it's not just about the devices, but the ecosystem in which they live.
But could Acer have made a shittier looking cloud? Jeez.
Images via The Verge
Starting off the week with some exhaust on two of the worst new car model names:
Volkswagen Beetle E-Bugster
Are the marketing people doing this to appeal to the hipsters? Do they think adding *ster* to the end of everything is the silver bullet to success?
News alert - it's fucking lame.
MG Siegler responds to the rumor Google will introduce their own Android tablet this spring:
The problem here is that Amazon is selling the Kindle Fire at or near break-even (they may even be losing money on each unit sold when you consider marketing, etc). And customers are getting what they pay for -- a tablet of significantly less quality than the iPad.
If Google is going to undercut the $199 price, the hardware is either going to be shit -- or Google is going to have to take a significant loss on each one sold. Maybe they do that and say they'll make it back in search advertising. But there is real money they're going to have to pay to an OEM to get them to agree to that.
Siegler's whole post is spot on, but what about the ecosystem this "highest quality" Android is going to live in? Eric Schmidt's quote seems to be addressing the hardware of the device. Hardware is only half the story.
It's like selling a car to someone who lives in the desert. Sure, they have a great piece of automotive technology with climate control, and power steering and satellite radio, but it's useless without access to roads and gas stations and mechanics.
This is essentially what Android tablets are today — cars in the desert.
Amazon gets this and while their car might be crappy, they at least have roads to drive on and places to go. Books, music and movies, all a few clicks away. Seamless.
So for me, I could give a shit what Google releases, if they release anything, this spring. If I have nowhere to go when I drive off the dealer's lot, it's not even worth buying.
Justin Williams's definition of friction within mobile applications:
If at any point in that process I see a crash, frustrating design decisions, confusing experiences or perceive a lack of functionality, I delete the app and go on with my day. Put more succinctly, if at any point in the first use experience I experience friction, it's game over.
Sounds right to me.