Kubrick in LA

There’s a new exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art showcasing all sorts of artifacts from his movies:

The exhibition covers the breadth of Kubrick’s practice, beginning with his early photographs for Look magazine, taken in the 1940s, and continuing with his groundbreaking directorial achievements of the 1950s through the 1990s. His films are represented through a selection of annotated scripts, production photography, lenses and cameras, set models, costumes, and props. In addition, the exhibition explores Napoleon and The Aryan Papers, two projects that Kubrick never completed, as well as the technological advances developed and utilized by Kubrick and his team. By featuring this legendary film auteur and his oeuvre as the focus of his first retrospective in the context of an art museum, the exhibition reevaluates how we define the artist in the 21st century, and simultaneously expands upon LACMA’s commitment to exploring the intersection of art and film.

Now I know what I’m doing this weekend.

via Steven Heller





I’m loving the new profile pages on Instagram. Here’s mine.

(although they seem to be a little buggy when you click on an image)





While Tesla wins Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year with their battery-powered Model S, there’s (still) work being done to improve the combustion chamber by a six-year-old startup called Transonic Combustion:

Transonic Combustion is creating an efficient fuel injection system for an internal combustion engine that minimizes heat waste. The system involves heating fuel to a “supercritical” state before injecting it into the combustion chamber, allowing it to combust without the need for a spark. The company uses software to precisely adjust the injection based on the engine load.

The system can run an engine that uses both gas and diesel as well as biofuels, and it is supposed to create an engine that is 50 percent more efficient than standard engines. About two years ago Transonic Combustion showed off a demo vehicle with its engine tech that got 64 miles per gallon in highway driving.

Breakthrough innovations are amazing. They captivate us. They push technology forward. But I also find love when people push existing technologies to their limits, to find out what’s possible with what we’re already using.

There’s no way around that fact that we’re going to run out of oil on Earth, but while we are still using it, why not continue to strive to perfect our use of it, while we search for replacements?




Airbeds & Castles

Over at GigaOm, Eliza Kern on the roots and rise of Airbnb:

First the roots:

“Airbnb was born out of necessarity. Our rent went up. It was born out of a problem,” said Joe Gebbia, the company’s co-founder and chief product officer at GigaOM’s RoadMap conference in San Francisco Monday. “By inflating the air bed, it began that design process.”

Then the rise:

“We started with airbeds,” he said. “And people have listed private rooms, and then… boats and treehouses and castles and villas.”

When someone listed their island in Fiji on the site for relatively decent prices, that’s when Gebbia realized Airbnb had reached a new level of business.

Yeah, I’d say the island-in-Figi-listing is a good indicator of hitting the next level.




The Maps

The presidential race is over, and now we can get to the best part of electing a president: data visualization, particularly maps. Every four years, Mark Newman of the University of Michigan makes a set of maps and cartograms detailing the election results. They are available here. My favorite of his is the map on how counties nationwide voted, applying percentages to red and blue to show how Republican or Democratic leaning the county was:





The Greatest Form of Flattery

Ars Technica: Steven Sinofsky, Windows President, leaving Microsoft effective immediately

Steven Sinofsky, President of Windows and Windows Live Division, is leaving Microsoft effective immediately, reports All Things D.

The move is claimed to be a result of growing discontent within the software giant, with a number of executives reportedly unhappy when working with him due to his failure to be a “team player.” Such a move has striking parallels with Scott Forstall’s recent exit from Apple.

I thought it was enough that Microsoft copied Apple’s integrated approach to hardware and software and their retail store design.

Now they’re copying how they fire senior executives?




Retail Manners

After reading about the horrible retail experiences like those of MG Siegler at a Microsoft kiosk and Marco Arment at a Microsoft Store, I don’t feel so bad about my very short experience at a pop-up Samsung kiosk at a mall here in LA.

I was at the mall over the weekend with my brother, and I spotted a Samsung pop-up kiosk in the middle of the mall. I love Apple products, but I love playing with any new, fun gadgets I can get my hands on so I decided to check out Samung’s latest phones and tablets.

Before I could even get my hands on a shiny, new Android-powered phone, a sales girl jumped in front of me and asked me if I had any questions. I said no, and told her I just wanted to check out their new products.

After a minute she interrupted my brother and I again to hand me a ticket, explaining that if I collected tickets from every station at their kiosk I could win a new Samsung smartphone or tablet.

This pattern of interruption repeated when my brother and I moved over to another station to check out the Samsung tablets.

At this point I put the tablet down that was in my hands, and my brother and I walked away.

When are companies like Samsung and Microsoft going to learn how interact with people in ways that don’t drive them nuts?

Part of the fun of using a new device is the process of discovery. Pressing buttons and icons to see what happens. Samsung and Microsoft don’t seem to understand this. If Samsung and Microsoft were parents, they’d be the type to take a toy or puzzle from their child to show them how to solve it, and then hand it back to them.

Leave people alone. When they’ve hit a wall or are ready to buy something, they’ll tell you.




A Great Collection

Herman Miller has launched a site around their collection:

The Herman Miller Collection draws on George Nelson’s vision of “a permanent collection designed to meet fully the requirements for modern living.” This comprehensive portfolio offers a breadth and depth of products to furnish complete environments in a myriad of settings, both residential and contract, elegant and casual, across a range of prices.

There’s some beautiful photography on the site. Check it out.

via PSFK