Posts tagged “esquire”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Dean Kamen: Be A Genius and Get It Wrong – This Esquire profile of Dean Kamen nicely supports with what I wrote in a previous interactions column (Some Different Approaches To Making Stuff).
    "A process that usually begins with Kamen fixating on a pressing human need and following his nose with little regard for precedent or practicality. One day he saw a man in a wheelchair struggling to get over a sidewalk curb. Instead of trying to build a better wheelchair, he asked himself what that man really needed. To be able to go up stairs, to cross rough terrain, to rise up and look normal people in the eye. [The solution:] Wheels that could spin back and forth so precisely and so fast, you could balance on just two of them.
    He made the iBOT come true. It's an amazing accomplishment, but the practical issues still dog him — at $26,100, it costs way too much for most wheelchair users. Same with the Segway, which he put $50 million of his own money into before giving any serious thought to the problem of selling it."

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Toilet seat covers, upgraded – Dora Cardenas, Toletta's cofounder and VP of communications, explains: “The product concept came to me and my husband while we were trying to find small travel packs of disposable paper toilet seat covers to use ourselves. Not only was I shocked to learn that travel packs are hard to find, but the products we did find didn’t have any ounce of style or quality tissues. All the products we found looked and felt like something you would find in a camping supply store—not exactly something retail stores and supermarkets would be proud to carry on their shelves.”
  • TOLETTA – Because you never know – TOLETTA is the world's first premium brand of paper toilet seat covers. From the funky music to the edgy and stylish packaging, it's easy to see that we're not your ordinary toilet seat covers. Not only do our products look great, the premium tissue helps women feel better about using public washrooms. So for all you señoras, señoritas, and diva fashionistas, you'll never have to settle for those cheap and flimsy paper toilet seat covers again.
  • John Maeda's mini-manifesto in Esquire – I don't convulse with joy every time Maeda utters something, but I did enjoy this brief piece (despite his use of "the consumer"):

    "Technology is outpacing our ability to use it. And it's the job of designers to restore balance to this equation. Technological advances have always been driven more by a mind-set of "I can" than "I should," and never more so than today. Technologists love to cram maximum functionality into their products. That's "I can" thinking, which is driven by peer competition and market forces. (It's easier to sell a device with ten features than one.) But this approach ignores the far more important question of how the consumer will actually use the device."

  • Nussbaum says "Innovation" is dead but "Transformation" is the new black – The conflation between talking about ideas and discussing their labels is kinda frightening. Glad to see someone cited my latest interactions articles about the power of words to clarify our interactions.
  • Dan Pallotta, author of Uncharitable, on KQED Forum – What I heard was very exciting; Pallotta considers the unquestioned framework (and its history) around how charities operate and challenges these principles. He's extremely knowledgeable, thoughtful, and passionate. This was one of the best discussions of innovation – and its barriers – that I've heard in a long time.
  • Katherine Bennett explores design research methods and find the journey is at least part of the reward – "I'm two-thirds through with my MSID in design research at Art Center, and I feel the need to take stock of where I am. I've been teaching design research to product design students at Art Center since 1991, but since my journey down the path of getting this additional degree I have been traveling over some interesting ground."
  • I only started a blog because steve portigal told me to – "My name is Bria and I am a designer." Nice to see my writing having impact

Loss of context

From What I’ve Learned: Vint Cerf (“creator of the Internet”) in the latest Esquire magazine (italics mine)

There was a first “Oh, no!” moment. That was the first time I saw spam pop up. It could have been as early as ’79. A digital-equipment corporation sent a note around announcing a job opening, and we all blew up, saying, This is not for advertising! This is for serious work!

(Update: link to article here)

It’s not A digital-equipment corporation (and really, who speaks like that?) It’s Digital Equipment Corporation, aka DEC, aka Digital.

One letter changes the details of the story somewhat (I suppose it’s not crucial to know who sent this first spam), enough to make it clear that the copy editor had no context about the era in technology and business that Cerf was talking about.

I’m reminded of the challenges with interviews transcribed using an overseas service:

Male: It keeps searching and then it is–

Female: So what did it come up with?

Male: Well, I did come up with tickets.

Female: Get out, you are kidding me. I should go, where is this at? In Denver?

Male: Denver, yeah. In the Betsey Center.

Female: Okay, well try and find me some tickets in Tampa.

I’m pretty sure the Betsey Center is actually The Pepsi Center.

Silent Running

I rented two films on Saturday: CQ, and Silent Running. The first is a recent movie about the filming/editing of a cheesy science fiction film in 1969 Paris, and the second is a not-so-cheesy science fiction film from 1971.

I learned about Silent Running years ago when I found an old Esquire magazine that had a series of portraits of the actors who portrayed the “drones” – double amputees who fit inside these plastic costumes to make for convincing little robots. It was a dramatic series of photos – people with no legs glaring with a lot of world experience and attitude, some as young as 16. I was very young when I saw it and really made an impression. I would love to find those pictures again. There are tons of web sites with stuff about the drones – CAD renderings, people who have made their own versions, on and on. But none of the portraits. Do let me know if you ever see what I’m describing.

Update: Found, and posted here.


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