All posts for the month July, 2006

tesla motor red roadster

It’s here! Tesla Motors just announced their new all electronics sports car due to hit the market next year. I’m not the type that posts on cars much, but for an all electronics car that is virtually silent and makes no pollution, I’m all game for it. I’d write more about it, but WIRED has a short article to chow down on. Also, there’s a brief video on youtube here. Oooo.. the smart car I posted about earlier also announced an electronic version!

Some quick facts on the Tesla:
– Zero to 60 in 4 seconds (silently)
– Top speed 130 mph
– 3.5 hours to charge
– 250 miles/charge, which equals about 1-2 cents a mile.
– $100,000

Chicago. water. led

During my visit to Chicago, I got to experience Millennium Park. One project that stood out was Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa. You can read more about it at their site, but what I want to point out was how happy, joyful, and excited kids were to interact with, play, and to get wet at this particular piece. Kids would run around, line up, learn the art pieces routine. At times, kids would start talking to the projected faces, telling them to hurry up(get them wet). Kids lined up in anticipation right where the fountain would hit. The projected images would hint and tease onlookers of the next event. Once the water started to spill outwards, kids would scream, run around, smile, and be in such delight.

One thing I noticed however was that the only people doing all of this were kids… parents and others would just watch, with an occasional couple treading through the water. Why were there only kids having such fun. Why do we as humans lose our sense of play as we age. I’m not saying all of us lose this amazing ability to play with anything, but many do.

In design, play is one of those things that keeps me inspired, it’s an excuse to rip apart, throw, and crash products together, and I’m allowed to be goofy, cause that’s where great ideas usually come from. On the other side of things, perhaps we as adults do not like to get wet, as tons of adults would act goofy around the big bean(cloud gates, or pics here) mirrored sculpture. Anyhow, this is just a brief thought and reminder of how curious, goofy, and joyful we are, especially as a child. More fun pics I took at this fountain after the jump! Continue Reading

Here’s an interesting set of laws for innovation. I know there are tons of lists out there, but it does’nt hurt to read another one.

Power Law 1: Don’t think “new product” – think social value.
Power Law 2: Think social value before “tech”.
Power Law 3: Enable human agency. Design people into situations, not out of them.
Power Law 4: Use, not own. Possession is old paradigm.
Power Law 5: Think P2P, not point-to-mass.
Power Law 6: Don’t think faster, think closer.
Power Law 7: Don’t start from zero. Re-mix what’s already out there.
Power Law 8: Connect the big and the small.
Power Law 9: Think whole systems (and new business models, too).
Power Law 10: Think open systems, not closed ones.

via core77
doors of perception

cloud gate
I briefly made a trip out to Chicago and finally got to check out the well known and fantastic Millennium Park which kept me entertained for a good evening. I’ll post more about the trip, but for now, some bullets:  

1. Millennium Park rocks! Great environment, really pulls in a crowd, and everyone seems happy 24/7 there. The Cloud Gate sculpture is a real beauty! You can find tons of Flickr images here, though I took the one above 😉 . The garden, art, and concert venue are astonishing.

2. Chicago is fused with some great web companies which I never knew were there. It’s like the Midwest bubble-boom town. It’s a potent location for some amazing things to come!

3. The last time I was in Chicago was 9+ years ago, and from what I’m seeing, it’s becoming a great place to live, get inspired, raise a family, and enjoy life at it’s finest.

salesmanI ran into some moments this week where my perception and respect for certain places or things lost some points. I’ll site a few here briefly:

1. Door bell rings, 2 guys introduce to me to a charity, they keep acting nice, personable, asking me several questions, saying I’m cool, let us send you some free magazines, we should hang out, etc. Next thing I know, all my info is on a receipt and they want my signature. They were sneaky in obtaining my info, without asking the me directly. When I realized this, I said, no thank you, and they ripped the paper up, took the brochures they said I could keep, and sneered at me with some rather harsh words. This was just a reminder that I personally hate it when I am pushed into a sale without realizing it. Please just ask rather than lure. Sure you can push for a sale, but making a sale is not always the most important thing in a sale experience.

2. Art store visit. I bought some nice mylar paper to draw on, new person folds paper in 4 and stuffs in bag! I just looked at her oddly, and manager replaced my paper. When a person running a store does not know how to handle the products they are selling, that store has lost some points in my view.

3. I received a promotional gift for some free printed photos. How great. I went to the website, went through the painful membership process and uploaded pictures, only to find out there was no way to get the promotional gift. Perhaps there was, but I dug deep and could not figure it out…and I’m a tech type, so, if it’s hard for me, it’s probably really hard for many others. Case in point, if your giving away something free, make it easy to get, then let the customer decide if they want to return to learn about your services or products. Start them off with a smile, not a bad experience. I’m never returning to this site.

4. I found a new blog that seemed pretty cool, because it was from a pretty famous person….then, a few days later, the company writing the blog puts up a post to fyi the readers that that the posts are not written by that person, but just in his perspective not written by him. My delete button was the next thing pressed.

Wrangler Jean Instructions

I love it when products add that lil extra something to refreshen themselves after some time. In this instant, I’m talking about some smart and whimsical instructional graphics on the inside of Wrangler Jeans, which depict the proper way to slip into that special pair of jeans. (via ettf, more examples there)
I’ve recently been rediscovering elements in products that add that extra flare for extra kudo points after some years. An old book I bought, fell apart, only to discover hidden images inside the pages, some new jeans by puma slowly reveal several logos the more you wash it, the good ole hidden tracks in the music CD or now some DVD’s, and now these jeans with awesome instructional graphics which I would never notice until later on. It’s these little experiences that make me smile about that particular brand, label, or product.


I was talking to a friend the other day questioning if good design cost more money. Well, in many cases it does, but in this post I’d like to show you that it does not have to with a book by Paola Antonelli, design curator of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The book, “Humble Masterpieces” sites some very simple everyday objects that most of us take for granted such as the post-it note, paper clip, lego blocks, and q-tip. Everyone can buy these products, and pretty much everyone has. Is it good design? You bet damn right it is! So damn good that everyone uses them. Some may argue that these objects are not designed, and moreso inventions, but in my world of design, inventing products that millions of people need and want because it solves a problem is great design. Now, there is the question if mass consumers and affordance equals a successful design, but I’ll post about that later on as it is a blurry topic to cover, though I’ll say yes it is for now. Anyhow, if your interested in this book, here’s a short article on it or you can buy it at Amazon. Enjoy!
The ingenious inventor and designer James Dyson has just announced a new school that will open doors to young minds in September 2008 in Bath England. “The Dyson School of Design Innovation: UK’s first National Centre of Excellence for design, engineering, and enterprise will be the first of it’s kind to encourage and facilitate Britain’s next generation of engineers, designers, inventors, and entrepreneurs. I’ve got a soft spot for engaging and introducing kids to the wonderful world of innovation and design especially after seeing Sir Ken Robinson speak about how creativity should be just as important as literacy” in today’s world. I was never exposed to design until college and have high hopes for kids being exposed to the creative, goofy, and energizing world of design from a young age. If I learned and knew about making prototypes, models, sketching, and design in high school….my goosh, that would rock!


Elephant’s Dream is the world’s first open source movie created with Blender, a completely open source 3D modeling animation program, so, if your complaining about expensive 3D software, you can get this one completely free. As for the Cinema portion of the movie, all the production files are available online for FREE (Whoohoo!)- free for interpretation and manipulation. Re-edited versions of the film are already starting to appear on the web.
I love the idea and power behind Open Source. It just plain rocks! There’s Wikipedia, Firefox, instructables, music mash-ups, and now Blender. (Here’s an explanation of Open source with more examples) The only problem with most open source programs is that only programmers really understand how to manipulate and add/change content. Hopefully one day Open Source will make everything as intuitive and as productive as possible for anyone to use just about anything.
death and taxes

I’ve posted a few times on the fascinating world of information visualization (thinking machines, zipcode fun, flight patterns, google eyed) but I just came across an amazing project by Jesse Bachman titled “Death and Taxes: A visual look at where your tax dollars go” which depicts a somewhat disturbing chart on how the US government spends it budget.

I’m the type that has never bothered to read the stacks of written forms showing this information and am pretty unaware of how our taxes are spent, but being a visualizer as I am, I’ve quickly grasped how taxes in the US are distributed though this incredible image. Anyone can understand this chart, and that is the massive power of information visualization. The chart will surely raise many eyebrows and questions, so have a look at this article, or navigate into the FULL SIZED chart here.