Instead of your ordinary old door stop.

This clever take on the old door stop was allegedly first designed for the emergency services. The Wedge-It is made of tough and durable Lexan plastic and it can hold almost any door at 90 degrees. The little device can be applied either on a hinge, like in the drawing above, at the top, or at the bottom of the door like an ordinary door stop. It’s small and reasonably cheap at USD 12:50 a piece. Buy three or more for USD 10:- a piece.brbr

D-I-Y guide for fixing Apple’s laptops, iPods and iPhones.

iFixit is an American web shop working out of Atascadero, CA. They sell spare parts and accessories for Apple’s laptops, iPods and Phones. And even though their purpose clearly is to sell more stuff, they have been kind enough to put up a bunch of very informative and free guides and instructions for different repairs and upgrades. But be warned, even though the instructions are clear, it does not always mean that the operation they describe (above changing the hard drive) is an easy one. No way. As tech-illiterates, we would probably not attempt any of them, except maybe battery change and AirPort card installation. But at least now we know the theory. If you have an Apple laptop, iPod or phone we recommend a look at the site. If not for anything else, it could be interesting to see how they look inside… Thanks to Laurence for the tip!brbr

Flatproof airless tires revisited.

We have mentioned flatproof tires before, and we think it’s a brilliant idea. Earlier we found the Michelin Tweel (picture 2) and a little later the Amerityre (picture 3). The Michelin Tweel seems to be a research project and we have not seen any updates on it for some time. The Amerityre is apparently a tyre meant for slow moving vehicles like golf carts and perhaps motorized wheelchairs and the likes. The new player in this field is American Resilient Technologies (picture 1) who are developing flatless tires for the American army with money from the Pentagon. Now, since wars always give an extra boost to technological development, this project will hopefully take the whole niche several steps forward. The new tire is supposed to be strong enough to be used on a Humvee, but still soft enough to offer at least a rudimentary comfort.brbr

How to get a large jack into a very small box.

Danish engineer Jeans Jørren Sørensen (now CTO of Danish Kataka, who sells the product) in the nineties developed the segmented linear actuator. It’s kind of hard to explain for us tech illiterates, but it’s basically a large jack broken down into small sections that can be stored i a small box and by a rotary motion built up to be a jack whenever needed. Just watch the video, and we’re sure you’ll get the idea.brbr

Fresh thinking in vacuum cleaner bags.

Vacuum cleaner bags are perhaps not the sexiest of products, but why have they made it so complicated to buy them? Why do all manufacturers need to have their own unique bag design, and why do we have to spend fifteen minutes in the store trying to find the right one? These questions must have been asked by the creators of Dustie, too. But unlike the rest of us, they set out to do something about it. The Dustie vacuum cleaner bag system is a new Swedish venture we hadn’t even noticed until the other day. We have just had time to try it out in our own vacuum. The idea behind Dustie is simple and, we might add, seems to us like a stroke of genius. Instead of looking for the particular bag that fits your vacuum, you look for the particular Dustie bag holder that fits. And this you do only once. From then on, all Dustie universal bags will fit your holder and vacuum. We bought bags and a holder for our Siemens DynaPower (#634) the other day, and the system works like a charm. The holder was about GBP 2.50 and a five pack of dust bags was GBP 7.50.brbr

The anti-impotence bicycle seat.

The subject is far from uncontroversial and we’re pretty sure the last has not been said or written regarding bike related numbness to male cyclist’s genitals. However there are works that suggest that the actual design and construction of the ordinary bicycle seat lets the seat’s nose cause an unfortunate pressure in the perineum, i.e. the area behind a man’s penis and in front of his anus. This pressure can apparently compress nerves and blood vessels which in turn could lead to numbness and possibly erectile dysfunction. With the X-Seat (above), however, you could avoid this risk, since the entire seat nose has been eliminated. How riding an X-Seat actually feels like, we don’t know, but in spite of it’s odd appearance, the manufacturer promises a comfortable ride. From USD 88:-.brbr

Combination lock for all things USB.

Japanese Thanko’s have become famous (and perhaps infamous) for all their weird and wonderful gadgets. There seems to be no end to what they can come up with. Here’s the result of one of their latest brainstorms; the USB combination lock. The lock can obviously be used on any USB connector, be it memory sticks, peripherals and what have you. One might question the level of security the little lock offers, but surely it will deter the casual snooper. The lock is JPY 780:- (about USD 7:-) on the Japanese Thanko’s website (Japanese only). If you don’t live in Japan, all you can do is hope the US Thanko’s website will pick it up…brbr

The Designer of 2015

I know, I know. It’s been a long time since I last blogged. OK, it’s been a loooooooong time since I blogged. That said, I felt this the right topic to wake me from my blogging slumber. And there’s even a PODCAST on the way!!!

The Designer of 2015

The AIGA and Adobe have teamed up and done research, conducted focus groups, and condensed their learnings into a report on the AIGA website that details what the designer of 2015 will look like. The competencies required, trends, etc. Here is the stated rationale:

For several years, it has been apparent that design studios and corporate departments have been looking for a new kind of designer, one that has traditional skills and yet a much broader perspective on problem solving. Because one of AIGA’s central responsibilities is to keep abreast of developments in the industry, we recognized that we needed to better understand the emerging role of designers and to enter into a deeper discussion with educators and design leaders on how to prepare designers for future changes.

A bold statement indeed. I was happy to see that this study had been initiated because frankly, I feel too many times the AIGA tends to look backwards, to the design industry’s past glory days, and rarely to the challenges that face designers in the future.

That reaction, however, is far from unanimous. I’ve seen other opinions that mock a survey that looks at the year 2015, since it is “only” 7 years from now. Of course, that notion ignores the obvious realities of today’s business landscape and the speed of light at which change occurs. The skills, knowledge and competencies required a mere two years from are likely to be very different. 7 years may very well seem like an eternity.

I’m interested to see what else comes out of this initiative. Stay tuned…


An easier way to carry boxes.

It’s called Strap-A-Handle and it’s a smart carrying strap for boxes and just about every other burden you might encounter in life. It’s all pretty simple; you wrap the strap around the box, making sure the handle is on top, and there you go. Available in two lengths; six foot for USD 13:- on Amazon, and eight foot for USD 15:- also on Amazon.brbr

Umbrella with a built-in flashlight.

This product came as a minor shock to us when we discovered it on the ‘net. The fact is, we’ve been tinkering with a similar idea ourselves. And the Light ‘N Go umbrella is very much like what we’ve been working on. The idea was that when you’re walking home from the store you’ll be carrying a shopping bag in one hand and and your brollie in the other. With no hand to spare for a flashlight. Well. We’ll just have to munch down the sour grapes and file the lighted brollie under too late. The Light ‘N Go has LED lights and the actual canopy measures 44 inches. It’s available in four discreet colors for USD 25:-.brbr