Friday, March 30, 2012

G-HUB iPad Cover

I purchased the latest iPad. It is a wonderful thing, but the original iPad cover doesn't fit.

This cover came highly recommended on Amazon, and at a penny shy of a tenner, inc. p&p, I decided to give it a try.

- The 'carbon fibre' finish isn't too tacky.

- The iPad fits snugly in it.

- The closure magnet sleeps/wakes the iPad.

- The front flap folds to make a reasonably stable base.

And, inexplicably, you get a free ballpoint pen/screen stylus thrown in for nowt.

Available here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Warehouse Robot

Kottke reports: [edited]

Amazon announced recently that they bought a company named Kiva for $775 million. Kiva makes robots for fulfillment warehouses, of which Amazon has many. When I heard this news, I was all, robots are cool, but $775 million? But this short video on how the Kiva robots work made me a believer.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

How To Typeset A Poster

Imprint reports: [edited]

Bowne & Co., Stationers at the South Street Seaport Museum in New York frequently produces beautiful letterpress keepsakes. This one from 1989, "Nineteenth Century Job Printing Display - The Poster" is a delightful little guide to the dos and don'ts. Using their enviable stock of metal types, 200 copies were printed on a Vandercook Universal I.

The text was adapted from "The Letter-Press Printer: A Complete Guide to the Art of Printing; Containing Practical Instructions for Learners at Case, Press and Machine" (London, 1881).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Scribal complaints

Brain Pickings reports: [edited]

The history of bookmaking hasn’t been without its challenges, but never was its craft as painstaking as during the era of illuminated manuscripts. Joining the ranks of history’s most appalling and amusing complaints, like this Victorian list of don’ts for female cyclists or young Isaac Newton’s self-professed sins, is an absolute treat for lovers of marginalia such as myself — a collection of complaints monks scribbled in the pages of illuminated manuscripts.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Scrabble Typography Limited Edition

Winning Solutions reports: [edited]

- Solid walnut storage case with drawer

- Six-panel walnut magnetized gameboard

- birch cover

- Metal tile racks

- walnut tiles featuring a variety fonts

- 19.00” x 17.50” x 6.00”

Price: $199, available August 2012

Thanks to Conrad Gempf for the link

Friday, March 23, 2012


aBite Design reports: [edited]

iAcoustic boosts the audio output from the iPhone or iPod Touch built-in speaker up to about 60 decibels without using any external power sources.

While passing through its wind instrument type horn and solid wood base, the audio source is transformed into deep, warm, rich and resonant sound.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Unbroken sleep a modern phenomena?

The Guardian reports: [edited]

Roger Ekirch's book, 'At Day's Close: A History of Nighttime''s most fascinating revelation is that our pre-industrial ancestors experienced what Ekirch calls 'segmented sleep': there was 'first sleep' until midnight, followed by a 'second sleep'.

In between, they tended the fire, read or talked, had sex, smoked and meditated on the events of the previous day. Electric lighting has altered our sleep patterns and robbed us of this nocturnal hiatus.

In fact, Ekirch contends that the 'gradual elimination' of night has impaired the quality of our dreams and deprived us of 'a better understanding of our inner selves'.

480pp, Weidenfeld, £20

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Increase your chance of camera retrieval

PetaPixel reports: [edited]

If you were to lose your camera today, would anyone who found it be able to get in touch with you?

If not, it might be a good idea to put a couple of 'digital dog tags' on your camera’s memory card.

First, add a photo with your contact information onto the card so that anyone looking through the photos on the camera will come across it.

Next, add a series of text documents to the root directory of your memory card (the first directory that appears when you access the card on a computer) with file names that contain your contact info.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Old Maps Online

Ars Technica reports: [edited]

The world’s single largest online collection of historical maps launched earlier this week at Old Maps Online. By the end of the year, the site aims to have 60,000 maps available for public access. Cooperating institutions include the British Library, the National Library of Scotland, the Czech Republic’s Moravian Library and the San Francisco Bay Area’s David Rumsey Map Collection. The University of Portsmouth’s Great Britain Historical Geographical Information System hosts the collection in conjunction with Switzerland’s Klokan Technologies.

Starting from a map of your area, you can zoom in or reorient over a basic world map, then drill down. The right column contains a changing stack of maps germane to your area.

Each historical map you click on is presented in a separate frame that you can enlarge, drawn from the contributing institution. A slider across the top allows you to dynamically change the offerings by moving from as early as 1000 CE up to 2010 (check Google Maps for anything more recent). A search box allows you to navigate by place name.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fungi discovered that eats plastic

psfk reports: [edited]

A group of students and professors from Yale University have found a fungi in the Amazon rainforest that can degrade the common plastic polyurethane (PUR). Several active organisms were identified, including two distinct isolates of Pestalotiopsis microspora with the ability to utilise PUR as the sole carbon source when grown anaerobically.

Polyurethane is a big part of our mounting waste problem and this is a possible solution for managing it. The fungi can survive on polyurethane alone and is uniquely able to do so in an oxygen-free environment.

The Yale University team has published their findings in the article Biodegradation of Polyester Polyurethane by Endophytic Fungi for the Applied and Environmental Microbiology journal.

Friday, March 16, 2012

John Steinbeck on Writing

Brain Pickings reports: [edited]

1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.

2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.

3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn’t exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.

4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it — bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn’t belong there.

5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.

6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

3d Printing of a Model Racing Car

In the video, a race car with dimensions of 330x130x100µm3 is fabricated. The structure consists of 100 layers, each made of an average of 200 polymer lines. It is finished in 4 minutes and resembles the CAD file at a precision of ±1µm.

For more information click here

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Khan Academy releases iPad app

TUAW reports: [edited]

MIT alum Salman Khan has an ambitious plan. He wants to provide anyone, anywhere with a quality education. To that end, he's created a website with over 2,700 K-12 lectures spanning math, history, science and more. Now he's bringing all this online learning to the iPad with his new Khan academy app.

In keeping with Khan's philosophy of learning, the Khan Academy app and all its resources are available for free. The app lets you login to your Khan Academy account and track your progress as you work through the courses. You can also download videos and playlists for learning on the go and follow along with subtitles that'll help you navigate through each lecture. You can grab the Khan Academy app free from the iOS App Store.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beautiful Chalk Lettering

Trendland reports: [edited]

After graduating in 2007 with a BFA in Communication Design from The University of North Texas, Dana Tanamachi moved to New York City to design Broadway show posters.

Since then Dana works full time as a custom chalk letterer and has been commissioned by clients such as West Elm, Rugby Ralph Lauren, Google, The Ace Hotel, Adidas, EveryDay with Rachael Ray, Lululemon Athletica, and O Magazine.

Thanks to Conrad Gempf for the link

Monday, March 12, 2012

Olympus OM-D E-M5

Simply Robin has published a hands-on review of Olympus' new semi-pro Micro 4/3 offering.

First impressions are that Olympus has taken the format up another level, the images are beautiful, and the low-light performance the best I have seen in the Micro 4/3 format.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Spider silk a superb heat conductor

TG Daily reports: [edited]

Spider silk conduct heat as well as metals do, an Iowa State University professor has discovered.

Indeed, spider silk - especially the draglines that anchor webs in place - is a better thermal conductor than silicon, aluminum and pure iron, and 800 times better than other organic tissues. It conducts heat at the rate of 416 watts per meter Kelvin, compared with 401 for copper and 0.6 for skin tissues.

"This is very surprising because spider silk is organic material. For organic material, this is the highest ever. There are only a few materials higher - silver and diamond."

The reason for spider silk's unusual heat-carrying properties, says Wang, is its defect-free molecular structure, including proteins that contain nanocrystals and the spring-shaped structures connecting the proteins.

Spider silk could be used to help create flexible, heat-dissipating parts for electronics, better clothes for hot weather, bandages that don't trap heat and many other everyday applications.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

iPad - The Third Generation

Faster, LTE (4G) enabled, 5MP camera, and a 2048 x 1536 pixel screen for the same price as the previous model.

For Apple's blurb click here.

For a brief 'hands-on' view click here and here.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Sony SmartWatch

ZDNet reports: [edited]

Alongside Sony's new Xperia smartphone it launched a cool accessory called SmartWatch ($150, pre-order). Unlike the iPod nano, which is an iPod being forced into being a watch, SmartWatch is an accessory to an Android phone. It connects via Bluetooth so that you can receive email and SMS notifications, answer calls and keep tabs on social networks like Facebook and Twitter — in addition to playing music. Plus it clips to any standard watch band.

In addition to the Sony Xperia line of phones, SmartWatch works with the following handsets: HTC Desire S, HTCEvo 3D/Shooter, HTC Sensation, HTC Wildfire, HTC Wildfire S, Motorola Defy, Motorola Droid 2/Milestone 2, Motorola RAZR, Orange San Fransisco, Samsung Galaxy 5, Samsung Galaxy Ace, Samsung Galaxy Fit, Samsung Galaxy Gio, Samsung Galaxy Mini, Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Galaxy SL.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Lions close up

PetaPixel reports: [edited]

UK-based wildlife photographers Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas got the Internet’s attention a couple years ago with the BeetleCam, a special remote controlled DSLR that allowed them to capture close-up photos of animals in the wild that photographers would have difficultly strolling up to. After the success of that experiment, they decided to return to Africa last summer with upgraded (and armoured) versions of the BeetleCam in order to photograph lions in Kenya.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Kulma Bookshelf reports: [edited]

Kulma, 'Corner' in Finnish, is a shelf to be positioned either in a positive or a negative corner of a room. The idea is to utilise and highlight the space within the shelf and the corner surrounding the shelf. Produced by Martina Carpelan, designed with Hong Ngo in 2006

H 250 x W 420 x D 250mm. Solid oak, hand-made in Finland.

Price: €95 + shipping

Thursday, March 01, 2012

10 Commandments for Con Men

Lists of Note reports: [edited]

'Count' Victor Lustig was a con man of considerable note. Born in 1890, by the 1930s he was wanted by approximately 45 law enforcement agencies worldwide. He had 25 known aliases and spoke 5 languages.

In 1925, Lustig posed as a government official in Paris, took five businessmen on a tour of the Eiffel Tower, and then 'sold' it to one of them as 7300 tonnes of scrap metal; the con went so well, he tried it again soon after.

He also wrote the following list of commandments for aspiring con men:

1. Be a patient listener (it is this, not fast talking, that gets a con-man his coups).

2. Never look bored.

3. Wait for the other person to reveal any political opinions, then agree with them.

4. Let the other person reveal religious views, then have the same ones.

5. Hint at sex talk, but don’t follow it up unless the other fellow shows a strong interest.

6. Never discuss illness, unless some special concern is shown.

7. Never pry into a person’s personal circumstances (they’ll tell you all eventually).

8. Never boast. Just let your importance be quietly obvious.

9. Never be untidy.

10. Never get drunk.

via kottke