Saturday, March 31, 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

OS X Safari Help

On Wednesday, I wanted to establish a direct link to the "Moving Staircase" Flash movie from the blog post. At first I only knew how to link to the page where the movies are listed.
Then I read Chris James Martin:

1) Using Safari, navigate to the page that contains the video.
2) Open the Activity window from the Safari Window menu.
3) In the Activity window, find the link to the video.

The instructions go on to explain how to download the Flash Movie, but I'll stop here.

Thanks CJM
Categories:Gadgets Movies

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Toio Floor Lamp (1962)

The Toio floor lamp uses a 300W(!) car headlight on a height-adjustable stem, and an industrial transformer to convert AC to 12v DC, and for stability at the base. The wires from the transformer to the light are guided through rings from a fishing rod.

Designed by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. Made by Flos lighting.

Photos from DWR and MOMA

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Blue Dot News Letter

Blu Dot ($$$) furniture looks to me like Ikea($).
I must be completely wrong about that. After all, stores like Zinc Details feature their wares. I should make a trip to Zinc to check out Blu Dot in person.

Anyway, I enjoy receiving the Blu Dot News by email, and the "Good Design is Good" section of their website is cool.

Here's a nice little escalator vid from the site:

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Nanjing Begins Production of MG in China

Chinese state-owned Nanjing Automobile Group Corp (NAC), bought the assets of the financially collapsed MG Rover group in July 2005.

They have just started building the MG7 saloon, and the MG TF mid-engined sports car. Their new plant in Nanjing can produce 200,000 MG Rovers a year.

Last year BMW sold the Rover name to Ford, which wants to protect its Land Rover brand name. As a result, Nanjing can not use the Rover name, and have renamed the Rover 75 as the MG7.

Nanjing's Longbridge plant in Birmingham, England will resume production of MG-TF sports cars in May or June. Its annual production is expected to be 50,000 units.

NAC plans to start assembling MGs for the US market in Ardmore, Oklahoma, next year.

Thanks BBC News

Monday, March 26, 2007

Bulb Bulb

This 30W novelty light bulb is designed by Hironao Tsubo and sold by Unica.
Funny and functional.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Furniture History Lesson

Modern Artifacts on Market near 12th has an interesting collection of original mid-century Modern furniture.

It was a challenge for me to identify the real from the fake. At first I thought most of what I was seeing were period fakes. Further investigation when I got home revealed that I'd been looking at original furniture by lesser known designers.

But don't these look like the Wishbone chair and the Panton chair?


Friday, March 23, 2007

MPI from the White Dot

Today I tried the Sheaffer Prelude MPI pen (Multi Purpose Instrument) at Flax, the art supply store at Market and Valencia. The pen is comfortable and the highlighter leaves a nice broad band. Mechanically it's a very good design. I recommend it to anyone needing a pen and highlighter

The Chrome version retails for $50. The street price is $35.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Inner Sunset Burger King Closed

The Inner Sunset Burger King has been "Closed for Renovations" since December. In January I watched the deep fryer, grill and prep tables being loaded onto a flat bed truck. The signs came down too, so I hoped that it was closing for good. It is!

Today I saw this Good Earth Cuisine menu in the window. I don't know anything about this new restaurant. The important thing is that the BK is gone, and Harry Pariser and his neighbours can now enjoy a better quality of life.

Categories:San Francisco

There's Something About Harry

"Hangman's noose and 2m of rope included"

In the same vein as Dead Fred, SuckUK will soon be selling Hanging Harry.
Think of it as a gentle reminder that there is a solution to all of life's problems...


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Rietveld Red and Blue Chair

Javier Olguin is studying design, in Universidad de Valparaiso, Chile.

Chile being in the Southern hemisphere, the university year has just started, and Javier can return to work on the R&B chair he began building last year.

"This week I start my classes again...and I can see my chair!! the summer the university close in january and february. But this month I will finish...... think! saludos a la distancia, muchas gracias y suerte!"

Thanks for the photo Javier.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Swing axles

Old rear wheel drive cars with swing axles will get up on tip-toes (positive camber) and lose tyre grip if you let up on the accelerator during hard cornering.

It's best to slow down before the turn, then accelerate hard through the corner.

Here are some great examples of dangerous swing axle oversteer:

Thanks Winding Road
Categories:Cars Movies

Monday, March 19, 2007

ALMS: Exciting GT2 Finish at Sebring

Audi was the overall winner and LM1 class winner of the 12 hour American Le Mans Series race at Sebring last weekend.

But in an exciting finnish, the GT2 cars of Jorg Bergmeister (Porsche 911) and Jaime Melo (Ferrari F430) were less than a second appart on the final lap.

Watch the thrilling finish:

Thanks AutoBlog

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Save This Triumph Stag

I loath seeing a nice old car slowly deteriorating.

This car came to my attention back in October 2005. It had a "for sale" sign in the window. The car hasn't moved from this spot since then. At one time it had a flat tyre that was fixed, so it is being cared for. Today I noticed the drivers door was ajar. Someone may have broken into it.

I used the opportunity to take a photo of the interior. The Interior is complete but showing its age. The Gauges are all there, and the wood veneer is ok. The top doesn't fit very well, and the plastic window is opaque. It has a 5-speed gearbox.

The exterior has the original paint. There are a few minor dings, and a small piece of trim missing from the right headlight. It has Panasport Minilite-style wheels.

It appears to have a 302 Ford V8 engine.

I'm sure the car is still for sale, but I couldn't see a phone number. If you'd like to rescue a nice old car, or you'd like to have a British V8, then leave a note on the car. Or email me your info, and I'll do it for you!


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Stupid Car Stickers

Here in California, "Local Motion", Calvin peeing on Ford, Body Glove, and other car stickers have been popular. Of course for the last few years we've had "Support Our Troops" ribbons (I'm told that christians place these ribbons sideways to resemble the fish symbol).

Now the latest juvenile car decorations are fake bullet holes. I predict that within a month you will not be able to walk across a parking lot without seeing at least one car with fake bullet holes.

The owner of this truck has expressed his opinion on the subject with real bullet holes.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Blog Using Flickr

I posted the last blog entry from work by emailing it to Flicker using my cellphone.

I don't like the way Flicker places unnecessary text below the photo. This text can be altered or removed by manipulating the html in Flickr preferences.

I've altered the code to create a cleaner, simpler look for mobile blog postings:

Thursday, March 15, 2007

1963-1976 Hillman Imp

My Nephew Jon in Wellington NZ is not content with owning the best unrestored Citroen DS21 in the world: He has now adopted a humble Hillman Imp for his adorable partner Este.

The Imp was Hillman's answer to the Austin Mini. The Rootes Group were given a Govt. grant to build a new factory to assemble the Imp in an area of Scotland plagued with high unemployment. Quality was poor in the first few years.

The Imp is superior to the Mini in some ways. Unusual for a british car, the engine is mounted behind the rear axle. It uses an all aluminium 875cc SOHC engine that was originally designed to meet the requirements of the British Fire Dept as a pump engine. It had to be light and powerful. Good qualities for a car engine too. The motor responds well to inlet and exhaust tuning.

The Imp never caught the attention and affection of the car buying public in the way that the Mini did. Now might be a good time for a revival of interest in the Hillman Imp. Imagine a field of Austin Minis and Hillman Imps competing against each other in historic car racing at Sears Point!


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Pack Chair

Edourd Larmataud. The Pack Chair. Aluminium and plastic.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007


I wonder what it's like to wake up in the morning and want to go to work.

Thanks Paso Straw Bale Construction
Image from Linke-t-shirts

Monday, March 12, 2007

π Approximation Day

Wednesday March 14th (3.14) is π day in the month/day/year date format we use in the US.
(July 22nd (22/7) is π approximation day in the European date format.)

In SF, Ask a Scientist's Wes Carroll hosts a Pi Day Puzzle Party, a competition of maths and logic brain teasers. Competitors can go it alone or in teams to solve problems, win prizes, and drink beer. Bring pencils and pad paper.

When: Wednesday, March 14th, 7:00 pm
Where: The Bazaar Cafe, 5927 California St. (at 21st Ave) San Francisco.



This is the first time I've seen cloths drying in the open air in San Francisco for many years.

Our last apartment had the fixtures for a clothesline to run from our kitchen window to a pulley on a pole in the back yard. Just as in this picture. I never put the rope up because we had a dryer in the shed downstairs. And I liked that I could pull my cloths out of the dryer and fold them while they were hot. I only had to iron dress shirts and trousers.

I was able to take this picture because the Safeway at 7th and Cabrillo is being demolished.

Categories:San Francisco

Sunday, March 11, 2007

1969-1974 Moto Guzzi Nuovo Falcone

Horizontal single-cylinder fourstroke
20lb flywheel
88mm x 82mm
26.2hp @ 4,800rpm
6.85:1 compression ratio
29mm Dell'Orto VHB carburettor
18 x 3.5" tyres
Twin leading shoe front brake
Weight 214kg (in military trim)
Wheelbase 1.45m
Top speed 80mph

The New Falcon 500 single was used by the Italian police. It was not popular with civilians because by this time there were much better motorcycles from England and Japan (Honda released the CB750 in 1969).

This Nouvo Falcone was in Sausalito.

Thanks Falcone

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Magazine Sale is Today

Saturday 10am to 6pm at 1823 Eastshore Highway, right next to the Berkeley store.
Click on the image for more details. The Magazine.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Sniper Rifle Hoax

This rifle can not implant a GPS chip in your body from 1 Km away. This is an old hoax doing the rounds of the Internet again.

But the concept is interesting. Imagine fitting a miniature GPS device inside a bullet. If the bullet doesn't stop the perp, then you could track him... to the hospital.

Thanks Gizmodo

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Canvas Coffee Shop

SFist reported yesterday that Canvas will soon close and be replaced by a chain restaurant called Pacific Catch.

Canvas is a coffee shop/art gallery/music/open mic./comedy night/Science night
venue at the corner of 9th and Lincoln in my neighbourhood.
They have free wifi. There are chairs and couches for lounging around. High ceilings. Lots of artwork. Very nice. Lots of space.

Their building was originally going to be a Riteaid pharmacy, but the community protested against the large chain store and won. I wonder if there will be a community effort to save Canvas and keep Pacific Catch away from our neighbourhood?

Categories:San Francisco

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Next Generation Fiesta Bound for US

Autoblog is reporting that the next generation Ford Fiesta will be sold in the US (these photos are of the current Fiesta).

This is good news for those of us wanting a small hatchback European car.
Currently, most small cars sold in the US are from Korea. They're probably reliable, but lets face it: European cars are more fun to drive, and they have soul (I exclude those European cars that have been softened to appeal to average American drivers).


Monday, March 05, 2007


This Microwave/TV/DVD combo is suggested for use in luxury kitchens. But I can't help thinking it would be great for a bedsit or small studio apartment. $800.

Thanks DesignCrack

Sunday, March 04, 2007

MSV Motorhome

This Motorhome caught my attention at Sears Point Raceway on Saturday.
It is designed by Custom Coach Corp. of Columbus OH, and built by Advance Bus Industries. MSV is Mauck Specialty Vehicle.

Inspiration for the design would seem to come from the Vixen 21.

The MSV body is made from fiberglass panels on a steel frame. The rear engine is either a 7 litre GM V8 Vortec or a 5.9 litre 6 cylinder powering an Allison truck transmission. It has a low floor, independent air suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, and gull wing front doors.

An unusual and attractive vehicle.