Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Secret Life of Plants

This video was obviously made pretty long ago, talks about plants having a state of consciousness, that they react to events around them. I'm sure many gardeners can attest to this claim, but i wonder how will the act of trimming plants have an effect on them. I mean the intention is good, but the plants will surely be in pain if it's cut. 


This is a bit freaky if it's true. Maybe we should just wire up our plants the next time to act as a sensor sort of device. Ha.

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Yamaha Desktop Audio System TSX-130



I just saw this sweet looking audio system at the electronic store in Takashimaya. Didn't really get to test the sound but i think it looks really well designed and built. The generous radius and choice of colour gives it a very retro feel.The design looks really clean and buttons look well organise and unobtrusive. The top of the player is made of real wood and kept flat so user can use it as a plate for placing their keys, spectacles etc. The use of wood have always been associated with good speakers, this is because of their dampening or resonance qualities. I'm not sure if the wood does play a part in sound reproduction here as the design includes two bass reflex ports on the back that enhance bass sound dispersion, but it is a good touch as it adds class and perception of quality here. However i wonder will your keys etc on the wooden plate be affected by the vibration and starts creating buzzing sound when music are playing. That will really be a big turn off.

back view showing bass reflex ports

Anyway it's retailing for $599 and features includes iPod docking, USB port, FM radio, CD player and alarm clock.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

JAZZ FC Logo

I came up with this logo for my team when we decided to take part in ESPZEN sunday league. A few names were thrown around but we decided to stick to JAZZ as it mirrors the diverse make up of our squad. Improvisation is a key element of Jazz and our team definitely fits that bill as most of us had to play in a makeshift positions every week due to voids created by missing members.


The style of logo was inspired by tribal tattoo, something very popular among our age group. Dragon was chosen as our mascot for the fact that it is impregnable and armed with great offensive ability. The logo actually spells the word JAZZ. "J" make up by the wing on the left and the head, they double up as a saxophone as well, linking back to Jazz as a music form. "A" is the soccer ball while "ZZ" is created using the right wing and the tail.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

Panasonic LX3 or Canon G10?

That is the question i have been asking myself recently. Both have the vintage look that totally appeal to me, G10 comes with SLR like dials that makes adjustment easy, LX3 equipped with 24mm wide angle fast lens....then i saw this video.


It's totally shot by LX3, there's a couple more of videos taken using LX3 on Vimeo. Seriously, i'm very impressed. There's comparisons made between videos of LX3 and some branded camcorder around and LX3's output looks way better than what the camcorder managed. There's no zoom or auto focus while taking video using LX3 obviously, but it's still damn impressive. Check out the HD version on Vimeo itself.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Something to think about

I always have this view concerning self help books. For example, who will buy a book about power of positive thinking? The answer, people who are willing to try new things and believe in trying. In short people who are positive. So why do they need to buy the book then? On the other hand the people who really need it are too negative about it's effect to buy them.


There's some books written by successful people on how to be successful. These people are normally motivational speakers, meaning they are salesmen. They speak to make you feel good..... Who in the right frame of mind will share with strangers the secrets of being successful? Unless the secrets are some obvious facts or their real secret is to sell people the idea that they can make you successful. Actually I'm still waiting for some guy to announce to the world that he became successful because he read this book. Anyway i'm just thinking for all the successful people out there, only a few wrote books about how to be successful, and most of them happened to be in the motivational business. What happened to the rest? The real success stories?

Anyway most of you should have known about or read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad". I just found a link talking about all the lies that guy talked about. It's really amazing how many businesses that book generated. I personally had a teenager approach me on the street begging me for money so he can take cab to orchard, all of this part of the workshop inspired by RDPD. I wondered why don't they sell some service instead of begging. Till today i'm still very much disgusted by what i saw that day.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Are we in control of our decisions?


A very very interesting talk by Dan Ariely, author of the book "Predictably Irrational". In this video he talks about how our decisions are influence by seemingly harmless options. This points to the fact that we cannot take results from questionnaires for granted. How lousy imitations of apple's product may in fact push apple's sales. To marketing people out there, you can make use of this knowledge to push your products in the next marketing effort. 

What he talks about is kind of related to a book i've read, "The Paradox of Choice" by Barry Schwartz. Very interesting book by the way. It basically talks about the fact that human beings always want more choices, but when given choices they tend not to know what to do.  

*A friend commented that these videos are not really about design. To me, they are about how  human beings behave, how the nature is designed, things we have to know to make better judgement during designing. Anyway be open and you can get insights from everything and everywhere, regardless of your field of profession/study. 

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'Ida' The Missing Link




A monkey-like creature called an adapid is thought to be the missing link in human evolution. The documentary presented by Sir David Attenborough is expected to be screened later this month on BBC.


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Eva Solo's Waste Bin

I've always wanted to design a rubbish bin because i do not really like the bins i've been seeing around me. In fact I've started listing down the brief and done some sketches about 2-3 years back. 


Current Designs
Most current bins focus so much on designing of the lid that they even go all out to include electronic switches etc. Adding more to a bin carrying waste. They forgot all about what happens to something that holds waste, it gets dirty! So my focus is to design a bin that's really easy to clean with minimum or no edges, hinge (hinge traps the most dirt and it's impossible to clean) and other nonsensical details. It's side profile will be like a cone shaped as it is the shape that's easiest to clean and at the same time easiest to manufacture. It'll be made of stainless steel for the fact it's easiest to care for. I'm still trying to solve the problem of designing a lid without the hinge when i saw this brilliant design.


Access from all Directions
It is everything i could thought of and more! I did not even attempt to pursue the possibility of a "hinge" that can be operated from all directions. A round shape is basically non directional, thus we normally have to add features like graphics etc to give it a direction. So that user knows how to approach it. In this case, it's not needed as you can open it from every direction. It is logical as well as a bin should always be accessible, meaning it's best position will be somewhere which is near to everywhere (center of the room). When something is placed in the center of a room, you can expect user to operate it from all directions.

Excellent attention to Details
The rubbish bag will be held by rubber coated ring that doesn't slide down the bin as the bin is cone shaped. My guess is that the lid actually rest on the rubber coated ring  rather then one the bin, this prevents the lid from making a loud bang when it's pushed to close. The ring and "hinge" are rubber coated to minimise sound created during contact between themselves and cone shaped body. The bonus of the "hinge" design is that it can be used to collect your rubbish if needed. See the video below for how this brilliant design really work. 


The bins come in 3 sizes (S,M,L). The problem? You gotta pay between USD 314-560 for one of them.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Hornets from Hell



This is one of the coolest documentary i have ever seen. Amazing cinematography! If the term is suitable to be used in this case ha. I caught this on TV few years back, it's way cooler in high quality. Skip to 1.34 for the action to start. Ha can the end be considered a proof of evolution?

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Body Invaders



One thing we can never understand is how they screwed with the brains of these hosts.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Designed By Logic Logo is out!

Haha just 5-10 mins of work involved and here it is.

It looks like someone in deep thoughts, haha look at my profile picture.

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The worst laugh in the World!



I'm so glad i do not have a friend who laugh like this!

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The problem with anecdotes




This is something designers constantly have to deal with in our line of work. Some tend to zoom in and focus on  a single observation/experience and deem that as the problem/solution. Very often we hear people commenting, "my mum/friends..... so that must be true or something must be very wrong with it." However a single observation proves nothing, an experiment that's not controlled could be influenced by lots of factors.

Lucky spot?
People who bet like to believe something about lucky spot, or lucky betting shops. Mind you, these shops do in fact end up producing frequent winning tickets. Personally i do believe there are things around that can't be explained by science and logic. However in this case, i do believe it's a case of self fulfilling prophecy. If you were to take a look at the number of people queuing up for tickets at these booths, and then look at the percentage of winning 4D or toto entries they generated. My guess is you may and will be shocked, that these lucky shops have equal or worst ratio of hits. The reason they kept generating winning entries is because of the huge amount of tickets they sell.

Long distance runner is more likely to die?
I have a friend who once made the statement above. This is because of the constant report of people collapsing during long distance run. He said, " Have you ever heard of a splinter dying while running? But so many cases of people dying after or during long distance!". 
Well here's my answer, first look at the amount of people taking part in marathon, long distance running, compared to sprinting! How many are well trained individuals? Doesn't appear in newspaper doesn't mean it didn't happen. Reporters tend to look for news that people are looking out for, so obviously there's more casual long distance runner compared to all sprinters. Thus the chance of one collapsing and being reported is way higher than if they're sprinters.

Anyway I'm not disagreeing with anything, more of stating possibilities of other reasoning.  So please think critically before setting your mind on a single reason.

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So who's really Open Minded?



Ha very interesting video about open mindedness. Well it'll be better if the maker didn't focus on supernatural event as example. That surely will make a lot of people miss the point of the whole argument. 

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Majority Wins, but are they correct?


Ha i have to say i kind of agree with this quote. During one of the design workshop i attended recently, they had a voting system to decide one what are the best ideas around. The outcome are pretty predictable. Ideas that are generally deem good and cool, ideas that's been around such that people started to accept it, ideas that's all in one are chosen by the majority.

So i decided to talk to the facilitator concerning this flawed method of choosing, to which he replied, "Oh yes! I almost forgotten about it. We normally allow people to vote just for the kick of it. The real decisions will be made after we (selected members) go through all the ideas."

Yeap so getting views from the general public will do you more harm then good. Well at least this statement is correct if you care to innovate.

[Quote taken from Quotations page]

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Amazing Wall Climber



Wow! He sat on a single hand at one point! But actually it's really just free climbing with style.


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Font Smoothing

Recently i'm thinking of switching to using Safari as my internet browser because of their font smoothing function that shows fonts as they should be seen. But now i realised something. After using Window XP for so many years, i do not know they actually have this function that allows usage of this effect call "cleartype". If you not using a Safari browser, and haven't activated this effect, i suggest you go do it. It improves legibility of fonts and obviously things looks better. You do not need to stress your eyes that much as well. I've attached a screen shot of how my fonts look like now below(click on it for a larger view).




Big improvement! However still not as good as what a Safari can do (see below).


Anyway to activate cleartype in window xp, do this.
Control Panel > Display > Appearance > Effects > ClearType > OK
*Remember to click apply after that

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OBJECTIFIED





Objectified
 is a feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. It’s a look at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets. It’s about the designers who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured environment on a daily basis. It’s about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability. 

Through vérité footage and in-depth conversations, the film documents the creative processes of some of the world’s most influential product designers, and looks at how the things they make impact our lives. What can we learn about who we are, and who we want to be, from the objects with which we surround ourselves?

What was said in the intro sounded exactly like what i wrote in my thesis ha. This point about user making many assumptions within a few seconds of seeing a product is exactly what the book "Blink" made me realised. How and why they made these assumptions are due to the environment they are in.

I hope they will screen this show in Singapore, but should be pretty impossible as their "Helvetica" film did not make it over here.


[Via Objectified]

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Terminator Salvation



One of the must watch movie of the year!!!!!

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The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

People who know me will know that I always believe in the power of subconscious mind. Since primary school, i have been playing this prank on my friends that plays on the influence your brain have on your body. Simply point your finger very very close to the face of your friends, but not to touch them actually. They will surely have a sensation of you actually touching them and thus feel very irritated and uncomfortable. Their brain is trick into believing you are touching them and thus provides a reaction. You cannot do it on yourself for the obvious reason that your brain cannot trick itself, very much like how you cannot tickle yourself. There have been reports of tests conducted where subjects are hypnotized into believing that they are scalded, and their skin ended up showing signs of actual scalding. Medically they refer to this phenomenon as placebo effect.


Thus i will like to recommend this book that i really enjoy reading. Blink - The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Personally i find it a very good read as it allows you to know more about yourself. How you do not need to be consciously aware of certain things for it to be registered in your mind. How simply reading a passage that suggest old age makes you move slower. How reading the word "yawn" makes you want to yawn. This from a designer's perspective is really priceless, because it means every detail matters, whether you think the users are consciously aware or not. Every feature, detail, colour will influence the behaviour of user and thus must be considered.
This sadly is not a point that everyone in the industry believe in.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Senator John McCain on David Letterman's show



Ha i just spotted this. A little too late but ha i thought at the end of the campaign, Senator McCain could easily switch to become a comedian instead. This guy has got good comedy timing. Highly recommended also.



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Watchmen Graffiti

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Wow!! Amazing street art by some groups of graffiti artist (Bleach, Probs, Busk and Zadok.) commissioned by Paramount. I guess the only reason they bear to paint over the previous work is because it's not done by them! Ha such waste! They should just do it on canvas and sell it off at the end. But then it'll not be graffiti anymore right?

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Design Thinking

This is a term that's gaining popularity nowadays, a term that i quite like as well (because it means designers do think!!haha). Yes in short it means the design way of thinking. But what do you really mean by that? Is "Design Thinking" a term that's a result of designers' ego? Is it any different from the way others think?

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sony Ericsson W902




Well so far the pictures I've posted in this blog was taken using my newly acquired mobile phone, so i think i should talk about it for today's post.



Music Phone with 5Megapixel camera
W902 is a music phone that is pretty focus on having a "good camera" as well. Marketeers define a good camera by looking at the megapixels. In this case W902 comes with a 5mp camera. However in my opinion they are still way lousier than my super outdated Olympus C-720, which is only a 3mp shooter. The photo above is taken using C-720,  photos in my flickr account are also taken  using that. Photos taken using W902 suffers from excessive sharpening and purple fringing, noise level is amazingly high if pictures taken indoor. Colour rendering can be much better (that's why 2 photos so far are in black and retro coloured). Images are probably usable if you keep them at around 4R size. But why have a 5mp rated camera that can only images usable at 4R size? They should really focus on producing very good 3mp camera for mobile devices. ...anyway who still prints photos nowadays? That is why i agree with apple's decision to put a decent 2mp camera on their iPhone. The camera doesn't come with a dust cover thus the lens gets dirty easily and requires constant cleaning. Luckily the lens can be easily access and clean after removal of battery cover (refer to picture below). The positioning of camera should be shifted to where the LED flash light. This is because we tend to place our index finger right at where they place the camera now, and as a result the lens gets dirty every time we answer a call. Again this is what apple did correctly for iPhone.

Build and Design
The build quality of W902 is really top grade. The actual phone looks exactly like how it does in their marketing posters. The phone measures 110.0 x 49.0 x 11.7 mm and weigh 99.8 gram. Not the lightest of phone but it feels very good and sturdy when held. The battery cover is very shaky and is the main disappointment in the build quality of the phone. The screen is protected by scratch proof mineral glass and images looks really sharp and sweet. However it is disappointing that Sony Ericsson decided to use a different material for the other parts of the glossy surface (refer to image below).

 

Looking at the reflections, only part 2 is made of mineral glass, probably due to costing issues. The screen sits approximately 0.5mm below the rest of the surface. The designers probably hope to further protect it from scratches. However, this together with the closely spaced buttons makes w902 a nightmare to clean. It will definitely be much better if the whole glossy surface is made out of one piece rather than 4.
Another positive part of this phone is how well the buttons feel. The tactile feedback of the keys are very reassuring, the D pad is one of the best I'm tried so far. Being a music phone, W902 comes with dedicated music keys. The music keys are very sturdy so accidental pressing of the keys rarely happens. W902 comes with gyroscope built in, this allows users to control volume and tracks through motion. However you will need to press and hold the walkman key for shake control to work. This brings the question of why don't i simply press skip or volume up button. This usage method is a totally illogical and nonsensical.
One other area i really like is their treatment of textures here. The juxtapose of glossy surface with matte, soft touch buttons and the cross hatching texturing of it's body really appeal to me. This phone is probably designed with guys in mind.

Earphone
The in canal earphone that came with the phone is pretty decent if you are not an audiophile. While definitely not as good as my MDR-EX300SL it is small and really comfortable. The chrome plating of the ear bud could have been better though, it's irregular and makes them look really cheap.

Conclusion
I'm pretty happy with this phone so far, the main irritating point of this phone being Sony Ericsson's insistence on not providing 3.5mm socket for earphone. 
I really believe that once this phone gets dirty, i'll have a major problem trying to clean it up. 
It is really one of the best looking phone out there in the market and the build quality is really impressive. 
The interface is tried and tested other then the stupid Shake control they tried to implement here. 
Lastly, yes it comes with a 8gb memory stick!

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About This Blog

This blog is about looking at design from a logical point of view. Good designs are often good because of the thinking behind it and not because of pure luck. The colour, forms etc can all be and should be rationalised. This belief doesn't mean that any and everyone can design by simply following a formula. It is still an art to decide on the solution that best fit all requirements.


I will be posting on some everyday stuff that's more light hearted and fun. Reviews will be done on products that I’ve gotten my hands on!

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