Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Useful Body Piercings

Body piercing must be a Goth thing that I don't understand (even though I like Peter Murphy). To me, nothing broadcasts your lack of self esteem like punching holes in your face.

I saw the toothbrush tongue stud today, and it made me remember the nose stud eyeglasses from 2004.

Thanks we-make-money-not-art and BMEzine.com

Monday, January 30, 2006

GG Bridge Worker's Sheds

Workers on the Golden Gate Bridge use the west sidewalk to move materials and get about. Then at about 3:30pm the sidewalk is opened to cyclists for the afternoon commute. I've been riding by these little huts for 18 years, but yesterday the curtains were open and I looked inside this one.

There's room for two on a carpeted bench, and tables fold down from the side. There was an orange 'Igloo' water container, flashlight, Magazines. Great view, but not a very comfortable place for coffee break. Perhaps they're used as 'warming huts'.

I asked Mary Currie, Public Affairs Director for GG Bridge District, what these huts are called:"They don't really have a name for them, as you indicated, they are little Huts... we just refer to them as the worker's sheds."


Sunday, January 29, 2006

Amy's Birthday

I finally got to meet Josh's charming friends Charles and Karen at The Melting Pot in Larkspur for Amy's birthday on Saturday. We sat down to our fondue dinner before 8pm and didn't leave until well after midnight. Maybe it's meeting new people and new conversations, or maybe it's because we're cooking for ourselves, but Lani and I weren't ready to leave. We were having a really good time.


Saturday, January 28, 2006

Great British Design Quest

The Design Museum and BBC2 have put together a short list of 25 designs for the Great British Design Quest, a vote to find the public's favourite example of common everyday British design since 1900. Go here for an interesting explanation of each iconic design.

Thanks Retrothing

Friday, January 27, 2006

DWR Champagne Chair Contest

The contest was to make a model chair using the cork, foil and wire from two bottles of bubbly. The quality of the entries was superb. Here are some that I liked:

Categories:Design Furniture

Thursday, January 26, 2006

New McLaren Street Car?

Rumour is McLaren might produce a new road car to follow the SLR it designed and builds for Mercedes.

I've noticed a trend towards front engined super cars with the SLR and Ferrari Scaglietti, but I'd like any new McLaren to be mid-engined like the F1, which is still the best, despite all the hype surrounding the Bugatti Veyron. The F1 is small, light and beautiful!

To feel the difference between front and mid-engine, drive any mid-engined car (x1/9, MR2) and you'll feel the difference in the cornering. The turn-in is sharp and without any initial understeer. Don't lift off the accelerator and the rear of the car will stay planted through the corner to the exit.

Update 12/17/07: Autoblog has the latest rumours on the new McLaren via British magazine CAR.


Embarrassing Mistakes

I was raving here about what a good deal I got on light fixtures. Had I read the fine print I would have known I was only buying the lamp shades, not the complete fitting. So the shades are going back for a refund, and I'm buying this from Home Depot for much less money:

Categories:Design Gadgets Architecture

Behind the Screen Goings On

This morning Earthlink cut off the webcam feed, so I switched the feed to another of the 8 webpages they allow. Why, oh why, can't they just combine the eight 1GB server download allowances into a single 8GB webpage?

On a happier note, I had help from Blogger Forum to solve the drunk sidebar problem in IE. Thanks go to Capt. Canuck and the forum moderator!


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Blog is Love

This blog is 'broadcast' over the Blogger server, so the volume of traffic is never a problem for me (Thank you Blogger!), but the webcam images come from my Earthlink account server and the Earthlink limit is 1GB per month per webpage (come on!).

So on occasion I have to move the webcam to a different webpage at Earthlink. I've been switching between here and here. That involves fiddling with the ftp software, and Treough Blog template (While this is easy enough to do, it reminds me of how much I'd like to switch from DSL to a cheaper cable ISP and ditch my PacBell land line).

On another matter, I compose each post on the Firefox browser, and double check the posts on Safari. Believe me, I'm no tech wizard, so if everything looks ok I move on. Well everything is not ok. When this blog is viewed on IE the sidebar is displaced to the bottom of the page. This may take some time to fix. Leave a comment to this post if you can put me on the right track to solving this IE problem.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Missing Sync for Palm

Version 5.0.3 was released some time ago, but I didn't bother updating until a MarkSpace marketing rep. at MacWorld Expo showed me how it could sync iTunes playlists with my Treo. That makes it perfect for listening to Podcasts from my 1GB SD card!

It now includes conduits for AvantGo and DocumentsToGo. And it will sync any one folder with your PDA.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Construction Next Door

You may have noticed the construction going on next door from the webcam. The scaffolding has been up on both buildings for a few weeks, and I can see that workers are replacing the roof on the left building. I'm guessing that both buildings are getting a thorough renovation to be sold as condominiums.

This work coincides with my landlords expressed desire to do the same renovation to our building. He called me yesterday to ask how much money we'd want to give up our lease. In discussion with our neighbours we've tossed around a dollar amount. None of us want to move, but we will consider offers.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Consumer Reports Magazine Photos

(Is this where Oakley got the idea for the Thump?)

When I came to the US I was unfamiliar with the various brands of consumer products, and needed help to learn which ones were good. So I subscribed to Consumer Reports and I still subscribe to the magazine.

But even if you don't subscribe, you can search their photo archives going back to the 30's here.

The photos are technically very good.

Catagories:Art Design

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The First Rule of Furniture Design

1) It must be comfortable.

Have you ever sat on a couch in a trailer/caravan/RV that converts into a bed? Remember how the seat back was too low and the cushion was too long? How you couldn't lean back, and you ended up squatting on the front of the cushion?

Well, now we can have designer trailer furniture in our living rooms. Noted Spanish furniture designer Patricia Urquiola has received recognition for her "Tufty-Time" couch.

If you own furniture like this, tip it over, sit on the back and lean against the cushion.

Thanks apartment therapy
Categories: Furniture Design

Friday, January 20, 2006

Cool New Movie Blog

My partner Lani has focused her photographic memory on movies. The result is Lani's Fog Blogs. Her first post is a good example of her awesome memory, and the style of her writing. Look for obscure links between the actors/directors/writers in the movies she reviews.


The Center for Consumer Freedumb

I dislike being tricked by business interests. This organization pretends to advocate consumer choice, but really aims to make us feel good about making bad lifestyle choices so we will continue to consume their products.

According to The Consumerist, 'The Center for Consumer Freedom' is funded by cigarette makers and fastfood companies. I took a quick look at their website, and they're not fooling anyone.

Joel Johnson(x-Gizmodo joke writer) writes The Consumerist and a new site Nextbrick and still finds time for a personal blog.

Categories: Consumer

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Categories in a Blogger Blog

Blogger does not yet support 'categories'. A quick web search found several very complex and clumsy looking hacks to get around this, but I've decided to keep it simple and use del.icio.us to organise my blog posts by tag. So from now on I'll be adding keywords to the end of each post so you can easily find other posts with the same keyword. The Categories will soon be listed in the side-bar.

Categories: Gadgets

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Industrial Manufacturing in NYC?

It's been impossible to find a local retail source for light fixtures for my 12 volt cable lighting system (LampsPlus does sell them, but for over $45 each!). So I shopped at Light Waves Concept and bought 5 of these for $100 with free shipping and no tax. Good deal.

Mains power to the transformer is controlled from a wall switch, and the transformer is connected to the overhead cables via thick copper speaker wire. I tested my wiring on an old desk lamp. My project will be complete when the lamps arrive.

Light Waves have this logo on there site. Nice graphic design.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Wood Clad SF Building

Just a few months after NY, we get a wood clad building of our own at 6th and Howard. I really like the idea, but why didn't the architects use just one shade of wood? They've made the building look like a giant wood sample!

To see how it should be done , visit Tropolism for more photos of this tower in Manhattan:

Update 4/18/2008:
The 106 unit San Francisco building is by partners Leddy, Maytum and Stacy, and is called Plaza Apartments. It houses low income tenants. The rents range from $380 to $440 per month.

Categories:Architecture San Francisco

Monday, January 16, 2006

Martin Luther King Day

Working Class Black Americans will not secure a better life for themselves until they abandon religion, embrace education, and become class-conscious. They need to be politically active in the Labor Unions, not the Democratic Party.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Porsche Cayman vs Citroen 2CV

Click on the image for a QuickTime movie (6.6MB loads in ~2min)

I think the Boxster styling is a bit ham-fisted. A sports car should look light and sleek no matter how impractical that makes it, otherwise why bother making a 2 seater? I prefer coupes to convertibles (and hatchbacks are even better) and the Cayman looks good to me. It has some angularity compared to the Boxster and it looks light and athletic.

On the way home I spotted the Citoen 2CV. The owner had paused to enjoy some wine and brie.

Categories:Movies Cars

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Cable Lighting

The cables run the length of the living room using eye-hooks, cable clamps and tensioners. The cables are securely fixed to the walls six inches apart at the picture rail. The transformer is now wired with a 3 point plug, and the next step is to wire the transformer 12v output to the cables. The final step will be to buy the lamps for up to 300 watts of bright and focused light.

Friday, January 13, 2006

DIY 12 Volt Cable Lighting

After CES and MacWorld I feel overwhelmed by technology. It's time to get the most out the gadgets I already own.

So this weekend's project will be to install cable lighting in the front room (Our building originally had gas lighting and the front room still doesn't have any ceiling lights).

The main cost was $80 for the transformer and cable at $1.50 per foot. It's a commercial transformer and I'll be wiring the input for 120volts myself (If postings to this blog stop, call the ambulance).

Tomorrow I'll go to OSH for a 3-point plug and steel hardware to support the cables. Shouldn't cost more than $20.

Progress report tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


I'm high on the new iMac with Dual core Intel processor that runs 2-3 times faster than the iMac G5. People were three deep trying to get a look at the new machines, but we already know what the case looks like and we can imagine it running faster, so I didn't bother elbowing my way to the front. I'll wait for the dust to settle then buy one later this year.

I still love my iMac G4, but the 15" screen looks small after a day at MacWorld.

Muscle Cars

The Mustang fills a huge gap in the car market for affordable 2 door V8 rear wheel drive cars.

Now Chrysler and GM want a slice of this market segment

with the Challenger and Camaro. Their Detroit Motor Show concept cars look similar to me, so they better add lots of speed stripes,chrome and cheap plastic so we can tell them apart. Perhaps the vinyl roof will make a comeback.

Thanks AutoBlog

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Belkin Discount

Belkin is giving a 25% discount for purchases at www.belkin.com when you use this code at checkout: 9410306.
Offer is good until January 31st.

MacWorld SF-Tuesday

By now you've heard about the MacBook Pro and Intel iMac, but no one has mentioned these my-vu 'video glasses' from MicroOptical. They come with earphones and they plug into a video iPod. There's a small screen in front of each eye, and the image is great! Because they're so narrow you can still see some of what's going on around you. According to the booth babe they'll be $300 in April.

They had no handouts, and the glasses aren't listed on the MicroOptical website. But they are mentioned on this Korean gadget news site.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Between the Shows

CES in Las Vegas is over and MacWorld San Francisco opens Tuesday.

The Consumer Electronics Show exhibited some very nice large screen TVs, and I'd be happy to own any one of them.
But most of the other goods on display were tacky. The manufacturers need to hire product design consultants (or first year design school students) to examine the aesthetics of their products. Most of the gadgets looked like shiny rubbish because of their cluttered random design and chrome plastic (including my beloved Treo 650 and 700W). Now consider the iPod. The iPod is functionally no better than the dozens of other mp3 players on the market, but we want it because it's nice to touch, and a pleasure to look at. Designers, wake-up and pay attention!

The MoGo Mouse. This Bluetooth mouse deserves mention. It stores and recharges inside your laptop's PC slot. Simple, useful.

The Sony Reader. At first glance it's just another LCD screen pretending to be a book. But read the details and you'll find it's a new type of display that is viewable in bright sunlight and uses no energy to display a page. It might succeed, but not at the projected price of $300-$400. Available in the Spring.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Jawa tries to comfort me

Jawa tries to comfort me
Originally uploaded by treough.
A few years ago I broke my scapular and dislocated my shoulder in a mountain bike accident. Painful though it was, it doesn't match the pain I've felt today from a bad sandwich.

No matter what position I sit or lie in, the pain won't go away.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

3 Unit Building For Sale

In SF vacant buildings sell for more money than occupied buildings because the new owners can set any rent they want.

Our rent controlled three unit building was sold 6 months ago for $M1.1 after our neighbours and we (really me) baulked at $M1.05 (My decision not to buy was based on my lack of love for the building). Now the new owners plan to resell in the Spring and they've offered to buy us out of our lease so they can sell it as a vacant building.

Until now, our plan was to stay in our rent controlled apartment. But it's a gamble. If we stay, we might be evicted under the Ellis Act, and we'd have to move anyway. If we take the buy-out money and move, we'll be paying much higher rent elsewhere in the City.

Of course any decision will be made in cooperation with our neighbours, who are pretty savvy about such things.

Friday, January 06, 2006

BMW to make a Triumph Sports Car?

The Triumph car company was devastated during WW2, and the Standard car company bought the name. (I can just remember my father's Standard Vanguard like this one. Was this 'ute' only made for Australia/NZ?)

Now Rumour is, BMW is building a prototype Triumph sports car, and plans to sell the car through their MINI division. If true, the car would take 3-4 years to make it to market.

Here in America, the Triumph name means a traditional 2 seater sportscar like this:

For the rest of the world Triumph made the 2000, Herald, Toledo and Dolomite . They were all rwd, except for the Toledo.
If I could own just one Triumph, it would be the Dolomite Sprint(1973-1980). It's a small car by todays standards, with typical Triumph wood dashboard/door-caps and luxury interior. It was the first modern production car with a four valve engine, and used a SOHC and 2 liters to make 127hp. It had a 4speed gearbox with overdrive in 3rd and 4th.