I like these.
David Barboza, for the NYTimes on company, Xiaomi, the Apple Knock-off Extraordinaire of China:
China is notorious for its knockoffs. But now comes a knockoff of one of the gods of American ingenuity: Steven P. Jobs.
In a country where products like iPhones are made but rarely invented, Lei Jun — entrepreneur, billionaire and professed Jobs acolyte — is positioning himself and his company as figurative heirs of Mr. Jobs. The Chinese media have nicknamed his company, Xiaomi, the “Apple of the East.”
The title is a stretch, by almost any measure. But Mr. Lei nonetheless is carefully cultivating a Jobsian image here, right down to his jeans and dark shirts. He is also selling millions of mobile phones that look a lot like iPhones. Chinese consumers — and deep-pocketed investors overseas — seem to be believers.
And yet Mr. Lei’s biggest believer may be himself. He bounds onto podiums to introduce new cellphones. He proclaims things that may, to many, sound outlandish. For instance:
“We’re making the mobile phone like the PC, and this is a totally new idea,” Mr. Lei, Xiaomi’s chief executive, said during an interview at the company’s spacious, high-rise headquarters here. “We’re doing things other companies haven’t done before.”
It brings to mind a quote I love by fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto:
Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find yourself.
Yamamoto is absolutely right. All creative people—artists, musicians, writers, designers, athletes—all start out by imitating their idols. This is how you learn. Copying is a meaning to an end with most creatives, true creatives.
For people like Lei Jun though, copying seems to be the end, not the means. There’s no desire to try and copy Apple with the intention to at some point leap-frog them and do something better.
At least with Android there’s are clear lines of departure between it and iOS. Android started life copying iOS very closely, but because the philosophies of Google and Apple differ so much, Android has charted it’s own hackable, “open”, ad-monetized course.
Imagine what Xiaomi is doing with aping Apple’s product and software design in any other industry. Imagine Kia copying the design of the 458 Italia by Ferrari. Or if Nickleback decided to clone the sound of Radiohead and call themselves TelevisionLegs. You can do these things, but it doesn’t make it right or admirable.
I can’t respect posers.
HAL 9000 Life-Size Replica. $499. Wow.
Of course the HAL 9000 Life-Size Replica has a red LED eye. And of course he talks (one of 15 movie quotes, randomly cycled through). But get this: HAL 9000 also responds to your voice. That’s right, say something to HAL longer than 1.2 seconds, and it’ll activate a sound clip. OR, point almost any IR remote at him and press a button for a sound clip.
My birthday isn’t until April.
Can I wait?
I want to give a shout out to Outgrow.me – “The first marketplace for successfully funded Kickstarter & Indiegogo projects.”
One of the founders, Sam Selig, reached out to me a few months ago and asked me if I was interested in selling the posters from my Kickstarter project on their site. Seemed like a win-win to me—I get a chance to sell my extra posters and have them alongside other great projects.
Browse around their site, there’s some really great (and weird, and funny) products to buy.
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.
Someone decided to redesign the key ring we’ve been using for eternity. It’s called FreeKey:
Save your nails–the Free Key key ring makes it incredibly easy to put keys on without having to worry about prying the rings apart with your fingernails. The Free Key is designed in such a way so that you can press down on the opposite end of the ring and have the opening lift up without much effort.
via Just A Car Guy
Going on at Kickstarter right now, Impossible Instant Lab:
Your digital images transformed into real instant photographs. That’s impossible, right?
Right! We are Impossible and we love instant photography. We love it so much, we were crazy enough to buy the last Polaroid factory in order to save instant film for the future. If you’ve ever held an SX 70 in your hand, you probably understand. It’s such a beautiful piece of design and the photos it makes are so different from any other camera – unique and magical. But even we instant film aficionados take a lot of pictures with our iPhones, so we wanted to find a way to turn those digital iPhone images into true instant photos.
When Apple makes a new product, usually the message is, “Can you believe how great this is?”
And when Amazon makes a new product, usually the message is, “Can you believe how cheap this is?”
My Suunto Lumi watch (Suunto calls them ‘wrist computers’) arrived this past week. It’s the first watch I’ve worn in around 8 years. I saw it posted on a gadget blog and fell in love with it. I mean, look at it, how could you not?
The only issue I have with the watch is the fluorescent orange band. I’m going to try and get a custom leather band made for it.