Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way...

George Carlin said there's a forth choice; Obstruct!

I wish someone had stopped these humvee hooligans.

Thanks AutoBlog

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Punk Lamp

It looks rather dangerous, until you find out that that it uses harmless 12V DC instead of 120/240V AC.

£50 at Suck UK

Categories:Gadgets Design

Monday, January 29, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

In WW2 the Allies smashed the European fascists, except for General Franco in Spain. Franco was opposed by rebels and foreign volunteers with some limited Russian support. The short sighted policy of "My enemy's enemy is my friend" led the Allies not to support the communist rebels, and General Franco remained in power until 1975! This movie takes place in 1939/40 when Franco is firmly in control:

There are two main heroes in this movie:
Ofelia is a young girl whose stepfather is a ruthless captain in Franco's army. Her nightmares are feed by the horrors of the civil war. In her dream world Ofelia must solve a tortured, convoluted puzzle to set the world back in order.

This is mirrored in the real world by Mercedes, the Captains housekeeper, who risks her life to support the rebels.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

A Place to Put Your Keys

This gadget comes with a key that you add to your keyring. You then store your keys on the wall mounted 'lock'. $24 here.

Thanks StyleHive

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Frigits Delux

Frigits is a gravity toy that you can arrange on the refrigerator door. A marble makes its way along trays until it reaches the catch box at the bottom.

Arrange the trays so that the marble takes 1 minute to reach the bottom, then use it as a timer for microwaved food.

Thanks StyleHive

Friday, January 26, 2007

Toilet Fish Tank is selling this item. Good for those of us with small appartments.

3/8" acrylic tank
1.6 gpf. (US standard)
22" x 14" x 9" deep

Fits American Standard brand toilet bowls. $1,100

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Champagne Chair Contest

This year DWR lets us pick the finalists in the design contest. As you remember, the only rule is that the chair must be made from the foil, wire, and cork from a champagne bottle.
Voting starts today in round 1 of five.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Children of Men

The premise of the movie is that in the future women are infertile. And the first woman to give birth in twenty years must be smuggled out of the country (England) to join the 'Human Project'.

I didn't understand why it was so important that the woman and child must leave, and the movie didn't make me care which way the plot went.

There's also a lack of suspense in this dark movie (c.f. Orwell's1984). Perhaps the movie would have succeeded without the suspense if it had been more dark, more disturbing.

On the other hand,The bleak urban atmosphere and battle scenes are very well executed. But I expect good production qualities in my movies.

So despite a great performance by Clive Owen, and a refreshing lack of sentimentality, in the end I just didn't care what happened to the characters.

(Lani wrote about the rudeness of the movie audience here)


Monday, January 22, 2007

Hans Olsen Dining Set

Designed by Hans Olsen and manufactured in Denmark by Frem Rojle, this mid-century design allowed the chairs to be neatly stored under the table.
Metro Retro has one for sale, and I've seen them on eBay.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

USB and FireWire Hub

The LaCie Hub might be handy to leave out on your desk to connect those portable devices you don't leave connected all the time. Such as a digital camera, DV camcorder, or iPod.

Notice that you can plug your own extensions into the base , and then cover the ugly mess with the other half of the sphere (I'd ditch the fan).

$80. Ships in February.

Thanks DesignBoom

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Grow Your Furniture

You take three saplings and train them around a jig. It takes 5 years to grow a stool.
"Fruit growers have been training trees to shape since we don't know when, and furniture has been made of wood for thousands of years, so why not train trees to make furniture?"- Chris Cattle from Grown Furniture

Thanks DesignBoom Categories:Furniture

Friday, January 19, 2007

You're Going To Pick That Up, Aren't You?

In my neighbourhood we put our old furniture out on the sidewalk for adoption. Since we only put out good stuff, it quickly finds a new home.

But nobody wants old televisions and CRT's. And you can't throw them in the trash because they're full of poisonous lead shielding.

So this Saturday you can take your E-waste to the Sunset Circle parking area at Lake Merced
(Go to MetrobloggingSF for directions and details).

It may all end up being shipped to a third world country where child labour is used to pick it apart for copper wire. But hey, at least we tried to do the right thing.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Cognac Glasses

Here's a new way to swirl your cognac. £50 for four from Bodie and Fou.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Market Street 1905 and 1906

The 1905 movie taken from a streetcar traveling down Market Street towards the Ferry Building is quite well known. But in this video someone has interspersed scenes from the same line but taken after the earthquake and fire. That's the clock tower of the ferry Building in the distance.

Thanks sfist
Categories:San Francisco

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

3 Litre W9 Engine

I'm intrigued by this 9 cylinder engine designed by Thomas Johansson of Sweden for his MSc thesis.

Mike Spinelli at Jalopnik compares it to a Radial engine. Interesting.

If this was a W3, would it be a Radial engine? Must a Radial engine have the cylinders equally spaced around a circle? In Radial engines I've seen, the master connecting rod on cylinder #1 attaches to the crankshaft, then the other connecting rods attach to the master. Here, each piston has its own complete connecting rod.

And if the W3 was a Radial, then would this W9 be a compound Radial engine. The masive compound radial engines I've seen at the Hiller Aviation Museum have 'banks' of cylinders that spiral. The banks of cylinders on the W9 are straight.

Thanks Jalopnik

Monday, January 15, 2007

Tesla Motors Developing Passenger Car

Rumours that electric car maker Tesla Motors will build a 4-door passenger car seem to be true. I was hoping that the San Carlos company would build their car here on the Peninsula, but according to TheCarConnection, Tesla will build an engineering facility for the new car in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Unlike the Roadster (which is built by Lotus and based on the Elise) the car is expected to be all new and may be built by an existing specialty automotive manufacturer such as ASC.

Price goal is in the $50,00o-$70,000 range.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Rietveld Chair Plans

So far this month I've had five requests for the Rietveld Chair Plans. I know more people would ask if they'd found the post inviting them to email me. So I'll be working on the TreoughBlog template to make a "Downloads" area in the sidebar for the plans in a .pdf file format.

Thanks Robert Corkey for the photo

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Very Cold

The weather has been colder than normal. It was 36 when I left work in Fremont at 2am.

This time of year the temperature can get well below freezing in inland parts of Northern California. But here on the coast, the ocean and bay water have a moderating effect on the temperature.

So today I was surprised to come across ice while cycling in Marin.

Friday, January 12, 2007

MoGo Dapter Bluetooth Adapter

This USB Bluetooth 2.0 adapter has the distinct advantage of being small enough to be permanently attached to your laptop.

Now, how about a USB Radio Frequency adapter this small for the mouse?

Thanks Red Ferret

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Zebra Crossing

In SF some pedestrian crosssings are either not marked, or painted yellow instead of white. And cars can turn right on a red light.
Crossing the street is hit or miss.

Thanks Design Boom

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Your Name on Toast

YNOT is just a site for sponsored links. But clicking on these links is serendipity.

Thanks Blue Dot

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


The iPhone was announced today at MacWorld in SF.
Apple shares jumped higher on news of the iPhone. Predictions are that it will be a huge hit when it goes on sale at Cingular in June.

On paper it appears to be far ahead of the Treo. But no one has yet been given an iPhone to evaluate, so we'll have to wait for an initial review before we'll know if it lives up to the hype.

The front of the iPhone is all screen like some of the PDA's Sony used to sell. And like the Sony, it uses a virtual keyboard. It uses the OS X operating system, so it leap-frogs ahead of Palm and Symbian smart phones.

If the keyboard is a success, this phone will be mine.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Dodge Avenger

Chrysler has gone back to the 70's for styling inspiration. And they've styled the most awkward looking 'C' pillar since the Mark III Ford Cortina or Datsun 180B. The problem with those cars is that to eliminate the vent window in the rear doors, the door glass and the door had to be a certain shape so that the window could be wound down. Chrysler must like this look, but I think it looks as cheap now as it did in the 70's.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Lindy in the Park

On Sundays I'm used to seeing swing dancing on the Bandshell stage in the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park. But because of the ongoing construction (first the de Young Museum and now the academy of Sciences) and restoration work on the bandshell, this ten year tradition has temporarily moved to JFK Drive next to the de Young.

Categories:San Francisco

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Branie Belt

This unisex Belgian thermoplastic polyester resin belt is strong and waterproof, yet soft and supple. The 'buckle' works like the rachet on a cycling shoe or ski boot. And the tail-end of the belt is hidden out of the way, behind the belt.

$65 at Amazon. $70 at TheMagazine
~$80.25 at the Branie website

Friday, January 05, 2007

Bone Funiture

"If evolution could create a chair...
Trees have the ability to add material where strength it is needed. But bones also have the ability to take away material where it is not needed. With this knowledge the International Development Centre Adam Opel GmbH, a part of General Motors Engineering Europe created a dynamic digital tool to copy these ways of constructing used for optimizing car parts. In a way it quite precisely copies the way evolution constructs. .... The chair is the first in a series and the process can be applied to any scale until architectural sizes in any material strength."
-Joris Laarman


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Blue Origin

Jeff Bezos ( founded Blue Origin in 2000 in Kent(Seattle), Washington:

"Our first objective is developing New Shepard, a vertical take-off, vertical-landing vehicle designed to take a small number of astronauts on a sub-orbital journey into space.

"On the morning of November 13, 2006, we launched and landed Goddard – a first development vehicle in the New Shepard program."

These images are from the test site in Texas. Click on the image to watch the takeoff and landing as seen from the vehicle.

Thanks Engadget

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Shazou is a cool add-on for the Firefox browser that allows you to geographically locate any website using Google maps.

Here's the Shazou for the Blogger website I'm using to write this:

Thanks Red Ferret

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

San Diego Baroque Bordello

This 1888 granite San Diego Baroque Revival building housed the Louis Bank of Commerce for the first 5 years. It later became the Golden Poppy Hotel, a famous brothel.


Monday, January 01, 2007

1952 Vincent Black Shadow

An example of muscular British design.

The Black Shadow was built in England from 1948 to 1954. It has a 998cc pushrod 50˚ V twin engine making 55 bhp and driving a 4-speed gearbox to produce a top speed of 125mph. It uses the engine as a stressed member of the frame. And the frame has a cantilever rear suspension.

From Wikipedia:
"The Black Lightning was a racing version of the Black Shadow, with every necessary steel part on it that could be, remade in aluminium, and anything not essential removed altogether, reducing the weight from 458 lb to 380 lb. Every bit the racer, it had a single racing seat and rear-set footrests."

Richard Thompson wrote a popular song about the Black lightning.

Thanks Wikipedia