Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Use the iPhone as a Wireless Webcam

I've been experimenting with an iPhone application called PhoneCam ($3 in the Apple apps store). It automatically takes a photo every x seconds, and uploads the image to your server. There are plenty of settings and adjustments, and the whole thing works well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How to Tether an iPhone

I've been using my iPhone 3GS as a modem for my MacBook. This causes me great joy!

CNET's Brian Tong has the instructions in his 6/26/09 podcast of "The Apple Byte":

Launch the Safari browser on your iPhone running 3.0 (and 3.0 only) and go to help.benm.at/help.php
Under "Tethering & Internet Settings" click "download" next to mobileconfigs and follow the directions. It just takes a moment.
Now Internet Tethering will be an option in your iPhone's network settings. Connect your phone to your laptop with the USB cable, then turn on Internet tethering on the iPhone and select "USB Only". Magic!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Keyring Key by Scott Amron

The proof of concept Split Ring Key Blank (for KW1 or SC1 keyways) by Scott Amron is a key and keyring in one. Carry your other keys on the key.
Thanks TrendHunter

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ron Arad Design 'Rover' Chairs For Sale

Two Ron Arad design 'Rover' Chairs have come up for sale in the San Francisco Bay Area! This is the same limited edition chair used by Jeremy Clarkson on the BBC's Top Gear car show. The beautiful pleated leather seats are taken from 1963-1977 Rover P6's.

From the seller: "I have two of them, not in mint condition, and would like to sell them. I was wondering if you knew of any potential buyers here in the Bay Area."

"I really do not know what the price should be. The only time I have seen them sold was in 2002 when they fetched $1900 each in auction. They were in good condition and my upholstery is not."

Categories:Furniture Cars

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Presidio Spire by Andy Goldsworthy

This spire showed up last year on the Presidio with no explanation. Now there is an explanation: The Spire was made by Goldsworthy from trees felled from the 300 acre Presidio forest. (Trees planted by the army between 1886 and 1900 are being replaced 3 acres at a time to create an unevenly aged forest that will be easier to maintain)

"...as new young trees grow up to meet the sculpture, it will disappear into the forest."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The International Language of Hucksterism

This MINI advertisement is for Dutch consumption. It seems that American English is the international language of hucksterism.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Harry Allen Branch Table

Steal this idea, but make the top opaque.
Or pay $500 retail.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

You're Breaking Up

He thought this would be a good time for them to break up. He was going to make a decision as to what was good for the both of them. As if he knew best. Of course he didn't know best. What he meant to think was "This is a good time for me to break up with you". Whether it was a good time for her was beside the point. He thought they should end now, and all it would take is for him to say "I think we should break up".

Starting a break up is easy. Then it gets harder until all ties are cut. Then it gets better. That takes weeks. Weeks of mental discomfort. Weeks of physical dislocation. For it was he who was breaking up with her, and therefore it was he who must leave. He who must find a place to live.

They had no children, or really even close lives. Their friends were all hers. Their finances were separate. He worked night shift and she worked days. They saw each other on weekends.

So how did the end begin?
She was a naturally unhappy person. In the beginning this didn't bother him. Balancing the unhappieness, she was intelligent and they liked the same movies.

He had seen examples of her irrational anger. In the beginning he just laughed inside and walked away. As the years past it took him longer to recover from her rage. After eight years it was taking him 3 weeks to bounce back. Since she raged every 3 weeks his life was never happy.

He sent her the last paragraph in an email. Breaking up by email? Not really he thought. I'm just sending her something I wrote. What do you think of this? Does it ring true? Could you check the spelling?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Gruber Assist Electric Bicycle Motor

This is clever! Install the geared bottom bracket and then slide the electric motor down the seat tube. The batteries fit in the seat bag. Instant stealth electric bike!

Thanks DV!CE

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Cottage Living and Beyond

I've never lived in a cottage before. With the smallness comes storage problems. My bed (but not the mattress) was delivered on Thursday and it takes up a lot of space. I see what I have to do. I have to find storage for all the odds and ends: work tools , gadgets, and supplies. My books take up a lot of space (I understand why someone would buy a Kindle, but I'm sticking with dead trees) and my books need a home. The First part of the solution is to buy a wardrobe for all the wearables now squeezed into the closet. The second part is to either put a door on my 'carport', which will then enclose a useful 100sqft, or put a locking storage box in there.

I've signed a contract to rent the cottage for 1 year. The commute to my job in Fremont is wearing on me. Our union contract is being renegotiated in August, and I'm tempted to accept even a modest buy-out offer. Then what? I'd like to work for the city of San Francisco. They pay well and the benefits are very good. If that doesn't happen then I'll consider moving to the UK. by then I'll have my US citizenship to fall back on, and I'm eligible for a British work permit. I don't know much about living/working conditions in the UK, but I have some idea that there are good paying manufacturing jobs in cities like Birmingham in the north of England. I could spend the rest of my life exploring the UK and holidaying in Europe!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Natali Del Conte Ruins 'Buzz Out Loud'

Buzz Out Load from CNET was my favourite daily consumer-technology podcast. Hosted by the smart and quick CNET staffers Tom Merritt, Rafe Needleman, Brian Cooley and Molly Wood. They had chemistry! Four quick thinkers in one room: What a treasure!

(Now here comes the hate)
But when you replace the marvelous Molly Wood with the sloth Natali Del Conte, then the chemistry becomes poisonous, and the show dissolves into limp conversation. It's like putting ketchup on sushi. It's like putting a speed governor on a Ferrari. NDC interjects at the wrong time. Her comments disrupt the flow of the programme. She is nervous and she has much to be nervous about. I don't mind her voice. I don't mind her putty face. It's her insistence on being treated as equal to the others that I object to. She's not up to snuff. She's no match for the others. She should just read the introduction to each discussion topic, then shutup until called upon again.
(End of hate)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Interpretation of the Wegner Wishbone Chair

From the 2009 Milan Furniture Fair.
This chair is clearly inspired by the Wishbone chair, but without the rope seat and without the complex bend rear legs/arm support. I like the result.

Thanks twentytwentyone
More 2009 Milan photos here

Sunday, May 03, 2009

My Cottage

Last month I moved from our apartment in the Inner Sunset neighbourhood to a small cottage on the west side of Golden Gate Heights. I was heart broken to leave my partner of ten years, but that was her choice and not mine, and we are on good terms.

The cottage is small. A studio cottage. It sits at the front of the property. The main house is far back up a steep hill. From my back yard I can just see the top of that roof behind an enormous tree on the hillside. From the front windows I have a view of the Pacific, Sunset, Golden Gate and Marin Headlands. I can see the breakers on the beach. It's pretty nice really. My rent is a modest amount.

The streets on Golden Gate Heights are narrow and set out like a box of snakes: They go for a few blocks then terminate at sharp angles so as to climb the hills. The street outside is paved and footpathed, but the few cars that pass by must pull to the side if a car approaches from the other direction. Across the street, the roadway is supported by a tall retaining wall with steps down to the next street below it.

My little cottage is refurbished and clean. Most everything is new and quite nice: Hardwood floors. Tiled kitchen and bathroom floors.

There's a Mini Cooper size parking spot downstairs, and some storage space that I share with the owner who lives in the main house. There are 4 generations of family living in that house on the weekend. A 95 year old lives there with a housekeeper, and her family (all woman) stay with her on the weekend.

The houses on GGH are close, but do not touch. Street parking is easy, and parking permits are not required. It's very quiet.

Furnishing the cottage has been fun. It's fun to spend money! But having to buy many items at short notice means having to make compromises. And in the case of my bed, it means having to wait a month for delivery. I've been sleeping on an air bed. Very uncomfortable. So I bought a futon at IKEA for $150 and slept well last night.

Soon my two children will join me. Cats Che and Jawa. Che is too special to me. Jawa is a strong little boy, and I might let him go outside.

Categories:San Francisco

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Emeryville IKEA Annoys

IKEA is a fine place to shop if you're looking for bargains and you shop carefully avoiding the laminated woods and cheap plastic items. Some people even shop there to buy items they can repurpose into something creative and unique.

Yes, IKEA is a fine place to shop. But me complaint about Ikea in Emeryville is the inclined plane along which you must push your shopping cart from the store exit to the parking lot. Their shopping carts have all castor wheels, and pushing them along the inclined path is best accomplished in a slightly sideways crab-like motion. If someone is coming the other way then you must straighten-up and risk losing control.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ned Overend

Photo by Rocky Arroyo
Mountain Biking legend Ned Overend scouts out the cross country course at the Sea Otter Classic last weekend.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Book Mark

Mark is a bookmark in the style of Dead Fred (pen holder), Hanging Harry (light pull), and Splat Stan (coaster).

Another favourite of mine is Stress Paul the stress ball

Whimsical figures sold by SuckUK.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sea Otter Classic 2009

Photo by Rocky Arroyo
The Sea Otter Classic signals the start of the US mountain bike racing season. It was so hot that organizers shortened the Men's Expert race from 2 laps to one and a half. Cycling is held in and around the famous 2⋅24 mile Laguna Seca road racing track.

Thanks Rocky

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Two $2500 Utility Vehicles for Sale

Get yourself some 4x4 credibility for just $2500:

First choice is a 1962 Willys (pronounced Willis) wagon that seams to be original except for the wheels and mirror.
Seen today on the 100 block of 8th Avenue in the Inner Richmond.

Second choice is a 1969 Nissan Patrol black plate survivor. The Patrol was to the Toyota FJ what the Austin Gypsy was to the LandRover: Most people chose the latter, so they're not nearly as common as the former.
Seen today in Sausalito.


Friday, April 17, 2009


Designers, architects and artists have built unique pet furniture to raise money for PAWS (that is Pets Are Wonderful Support, and is not Pets Are Worth Saving, nor Progressive Animal Welfare Society).

Room and Board has some of these creations on show, and I was rather taken by the cat tree which integrates three types of scratching surfaces into the bookcase-like structure: Carpet, rope, and cardboard.

It's one-of-a-kind, but this one could serve as inspiration for your own cat tree. Or maybe a combination cat tree and bookcase!


Maria Yee Furniture Design

I looked in on Room and Board today. Specifically I was looking for the Arts and Crafts style couch by Maria Yee. Room and Board no longer sells it, but Maria Yee still makes this couch and sells it through furniture retailers listed on her website.

Which was where this Barrel chair caught my attention:


DWR SF Potrero Sale

The San Francisco sale is today and tomorrow.

The line waiting for the doors to open was around the corner. But the line moved fast as customers quickly noticed no hot bargains (up to 75% off? Yes, but not on anything good).

I was keen on this Eames designed Aluminum Group chair by Herman Miller. It had a patina from years of use in a DWR office. For me, that only increased its value. Sadly the price was $900, so I let it go.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Cats by Charles Bukowski

my cats

I know. I know.
they are limited, have different
needs and

but I watch and learn from them.
I like the little they know,
which is so

they complain but never
they walk with a surprising dignity.
they sleep with a direct simplicity that
humans just can’t

their eyes are more
beautiful than our eyes.
and they can sleep 20 hours
a day
hesitation or

when I am feeling
all I have to do is
watch my cats
and my

I study these

they are my

Sunday, March 29, 2009

1934 DeSoto Airflow

Seen at Sears Point Raceway today:

The DeSoto brand was introduced by Chrysler in 1928 to fill the gap between between high-priced Chryslers and low-priced Plymouths.

This Car is the six-lite four-door saloon. 241.5 cubic inch side valve 100hp six. It has a modern monocoque frame, but old fashioned front beam axle and externally mounted spare wheel. The rounded styling was not a hit, and competitors questioned the Airflow's lack of a separate chassis.

Production of the DeSoto Airflow stopped in 1937. The DeSoto name was killed off in 1960.


Saturday, March 28, 2009


Pogoplug combined with an external HDD behaves like a server and a NAS (Network-attached storage).

Pogoplug just finished manufacturing the first batch and they're available now for $79 if you order before March 31st. $99 after then.

The device plugs into a power outlet and connects to your router. You then connect your USB 2.0 external hard drive to the device and then you can access your HDD files from any browser (Windows),Finder (Mac), or iPhone anywhere in the world. It does all this by cramming a computer brain in with the power brick.

Not a pretty design, but cheap and useful.

Read the Engadget review.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Where the Rubber Sticks to the Road

'R' compound tyres are not what they used to be.

Twenty years ago I competed in the CSP class of SCCA AutoX with a 1800lb Honda CRX. A set of 13" Yokahama 008R tyres would last a season and then go on to do 20,000 miles on the street as the compound heat-cycled and hardened.

These 16" Kumho V700 tyres lasted only 2 AutoX's on my 2800lb MINI before one front tyre corded, and the other front tyre got tread separation. I really miss those Yokahama tyres.

In the photo you can see the line where the two ends of the tread are joined together during manufacture.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sniffing Packets and Throttling Bandwidth

"Sniffing Packets" is such a catchy little term that I had to find out what it meant so I could then use it in a conversation:

For transmission over the Internet, digital information is broken down into small chunks called data packets. They are sent from server to server until they are recombined at the destination to make a file, web page, email, picture, document, etc.

Sniffing Packets refers to the ISP practise of inspecting the information inside these Packets to weed out Torrents that might be sucking up bandwidth. But would you know if your ISP was Sniffing your Packets or throttling your bandwidth because you're using BitTorrent?

Glasnost is an application from Measurement Lab that can tell you if your ISP is Sniffing your Packets or throttling your bandwidth.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I've seen 'seven' written as 'se7en' before, but I never realized that 7 was supposed to be a sideways v. That's clever.

The use started in 1959 with the introduction of a new small car by BMC. BMC was Austin/Morris, and the Austin version of new small car was launched as the Austin Seven (The name referenced a very popular small car made by Austin from 1922 until 1939).

Early marketing brochures made a game of the name:

The Morris version of the car was called the Mini-Minor, and the public soon began calling both cars 'Mini'. The Seven name was dropped after 1961. From 1969 onward the two models were consolidated under the Mini brand name.

Today, 'Se7en' is a popularly used name for the Lotus 7.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Test Pattern Cushion

"When you see the test pattern it's time to go to sleep" -Unplggd, which would be clever if this was a pillowcase and not a cushion.

Monday, March 02, 2009

∏ Day and √ Day are in the Same Month

I knew you'd be excited! This won't happen again for 100 years!

In an attempt to create popular interest in Mathematics, some educators are promoting the observance of these two dates:

March 14th has been designated Pi Day. Using the American Month/Day format, March 14th is written 3.14, and pi is observed every year on this date. And one day we'll get a parade.

March 3rd is being called Square Root day. Written as 3.3.09 in most countries.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Jaguar XJS by Banham

The XJS was not a satisfactory replacement for the XKE. It was too big, less that beautiful, and a GT rather than a sports car.

But the styling of the Jaguar XJS begins to make sense when you see it after modification by Banham. The unnecessary buttresses are removed, and the side glass enlarged to reveal the beauty that was hidden. The car is now visually lighter, and I can fully appreciate the front styling without the distracting rear buttresses. It looks muscular, purposeful, and almost practical. This is the car Jaguar should have made. My only criticism is the tail lights. I would have used tail lights from the series III XJ6.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

SD Card FAT16 Format using OS X

I have a MacBook running OS X Leopard that will only format an SD memory card as FAT32. I have a toy camera that will only work with an SD card formatted as FAT16. So I've been using Lani's old Sony VAIO to do the formatting. But now I know how to format the SD card using my MacBook, and I'd better document the instructions here before I lose them.

In finder, open the Terminal application which is in the Applications folder under Utilities. Then enter this:

diskutil partitionDisk /dev/disk1 1 MBRFormat "MS-DOS FAT16" "TIM" 1000M

where "TIM" is the name I give this SD card.

7/12/13 Update:
The major limitation of the FAT16 format is that the partition size is limited to 2 GB.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Giddyup Rocking Horse

For that real horse smell, designer Tim Wigmore makes the Giddyup Rocking Stool from a used saddle.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Traveling in a Group

Part of an advertising campaign by the Duval Guillaume Agency for the Flemish (Belgium) bus company De Lijn, illustrating that it's better to travel in a group.

Thanks AdverBlog

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cameras at The Container Store

The young woman who cleans our apartment called to see if she could clean today at Five. So while she was cleaning up after us, I went to The Container Store to look for the perfect travel mug. No luck. But I did buy a Swiss+Tech Utili-Key to replace the one I broke on Monday. And The Container Store had these nice old large format cameras as props in the shelving section.