Monday, November 30, 2009

Objectified - Interview with Jonathan Ive


Monday, November 23, 2009

Icsid World Design Congress 2009

I've just came back from Icsid World Design Congress 2009. It is the first of 3 days of this congress and i must say there are some pretty good discussions going about among the studio leaders. Bruce Nussbaum of businessweek and Singapore Minister of Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam got the day started with some really good discussions. Both of them obviously really know their stuffs. I've always appreciated people who speaks because he does have a point rather than someone who does that for a statement or just to grab some attention. Unfortunately congress like this often is a magnet for attention seekers as well, as the day went on, you start getting people who will grab any chance to stand up, have the cameras on him and ask the most out of point questions ever. Somehow it's always that few people asking the same few questions.

Most of the speakers are really people with substance, however I find the rest to be too idealistic in their views. They seem to be like they have just rejoined civilization after a really long period out. I'm very sure anyone who reads the newspaper and watches TV (someone who's not out of touch with society) will be able to say, "Yeah i think we should cut down on our spending and move away from this consumption driven society." The question is then how do u propose that happening? Yes rat is a stable in some developing society, but that's because those rats are feeding on natural grains and etc. I don't think rats in cities are safe for consumption really. Even the pigeons in Singapore are known to spread disease with their droppings. Even if we get pass that fact, i do not see the human race moving pass this habit of consumption easily. The consequences are unimaginable.

To be really frank, design and the green movements are really so huge because they push sales. People spend money thus the economy thrive. If people stop consuming, companies will basically go bust, workers lose their jobs and the economy go bust. I think the key is to educate the world to cut down on unnecessary spendings. Products to reduce unnecessary parts and styling, with gimmicks totally taken out. I think we already are moving towards that, although most of the time still really superficially.

Another observation I've made on the first day, is that most designers are really pessimists. Maybe they are just jumping on the bandwagon, but most of their visions of the future are really really dark. I really hope they are bad prophets. Anyway visions of the future have always been more about the present than anything else so that really shows the confidence those designers have of today's world. Bruce Nussbaum made a comment which i totally agree as he said (after a long contemplation) that he had gone through a lot of really dark period, and it always turn out fine. Personally i think what he really wanted to say is that he do not think the earth is as bad as what the media has made of it, but obviously that's not really politically correct thus he decided to rephrase his reply. Anyway to be really frank, i'm wondering, other than the forest fires and pollutions that we're so responsible for, can anyone be sure the change in climate is really our fault? If the scientists have been right to say that the earth has gone through the ice age to the present date, hasn't the earth been constantly heating up then? Maybe the dinosaurs have been producing too much carbon dioxide then. Many scientists also agree that the earth plates have been shifting since its existence. They hypothesize that all the land are joint and the shifting of the crust resulted in our landscape today. If the land area remained about the same, while area covered by the ocean increased dramatically, isn't it to say the earth actually expanded? That alone will result in major errors to our calculations, the poles melting may simply because it is shifting or even earth trajectory have shifted. Anyway we now know that the space is actually expanding, and that by itself also results in shifting of path of the earth...

What i am trying to get across is that with so many other possibilities that we can't prove, why we are so dead on on that possibility that we are the cause? However, on the other hand, i do believe that there's no harm on cutting down on mindless expenditures.


Monday, November 16, 2009

"Barefoot" Running

I've hardly been blogging for a period of time, partly because of my reservist and partly because i decided to spend my free time running rather than gaining weight LOL. With the view that Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2009 is coming up, i decided to talk about running in this post.

Having seen the title to this post, you should have already guessed that i'll be talking about "barefoot" running. Basically the idea is that researchers have discovered that people in more developed country seem to suffer more from running related injuries as compared to citizens of less well off countries. There are in fact published researches that show runners wearing "better" pairs of running shoes to suffer more from injuries associated to running compared to runners who are wearing poorly cushioned and supported shoes.

The image above explains the reason behind it pretty well. Our feet have evolved to the present form for a reason. By introducing cushioned shoes to our feet, we're changing the way we run. Without padded heels support from shoes, no one in the right frame of mind would have tried to run by landing on their heels (what everyone's doing now with shoes). This action will result in a very sore heel that will inevitably lead to the runner trying other method of landing their feet. They will finally settled down to landing on their forefoot, which is "designed" to flex and cushions such impact. This change in landing method will prevent the locking of your knees and back while you run, the impact thus doesn't get transferred to them. In fact we tend to land way heavier when we are wearing shoes as we can't feel the pain and the ground with the thick cushion in between. The pain from the heel in this case is a signal to tell you that you are running the wrong way!
Running shoes are also design to prevents your feet from working too much. In the long run, your feet start losing their ability to work to their best of ability without the shoes. With less than fully developed feet, we will start getting too dependent on shoes. We then get injured easily in the absence of them.

Thus recently, I've been running with Nike Cortez Flywire shoes below.
You can see the slits on the soles that allows it to flex. To be frank, i'm not even sure if they are designed to be ran in. The arch support is almost non-existence, but as I've always been a forefoot runner, I've not have much problem running in these (My friends have always commented that i look more like bouncing than running as a result of my running style). I've since progress from running in them from 5km to about 12km per run to date and so far everything pretty ok. The only problem is that it feels too flimsy to sprint while wearing them. Thus i will wear another pair of shoes if i know i'm gonna do circuit training.
From a design viewpoint, I've always struggle between creating a product that helps and improves people's life or should we design to really benefit users without making them suffer in the long run. As a result of technologies, we become over reliant on technologies such as handphone and personal computers. I'm sure most of us can remember that we used to be able to recall telephone numbers of all our friends by heart, now how many can still claim to do that? Thus i'm a strong believer of "too much help is no help" and hopefully there are many more designers out there who share my view on this. This case also shows that conventional wisdom may not be always correct, by understanding deeper issues and how things works, we tend to get really useful insights.


Monday, November 9, 2009

12th Man

LOL, now everything make sense.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Adidas Predator X Absolion 2

Adidas X Absolion Floor, originally uploaded by linyou.


Adidas Predator X Absolion

Adidas X Absolion B/W, originally uploaded by linyou.

My new Adidas Predator X Absolion Boots. Yes they are not the top of the range Predator X as i've already stated that it's Absolion. I do not see the need to get the top end model. Anyway these boots fit really well, feel right the moment you wear them on. Adidas has made a few changes to this new design, and they are all welcome changes in my opinion.

One of the changes is that the "Predator area (P area)" have been reduced so that the toe end area is free from it. This brings your feet closer to the ball itself, allowing players to feel the ball better. Personally I have always believe that the P area should be at the area where the ball touches just before leaving the boots, that's when the spin gets transferred to the ball. The new position of the P area does just that, so i'm really happy with it. This version of Predator X is amazingly flexible and this allows the real use of your feet to either control the ball or change direction on the field.

I've play in a match so far using this pair of boots and i must say i'm really happy with them. The ball goes where ever i'm intending to send it, i've even tried blasting from 2/5 of the field away and the ball flies right into goal. Seriously so far i'm very impress by it. The best part of this shoe is that is just feels correct, the fit is perfect! It really just wrap around your feet. However i also feel my feet gets pretty tired after a while because of the flexible sole. This could be due to the fact that i'm trying out barefoot running during my weekdays run. But generally i'm happy to have a really flexible boots.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Survival Technique of a Caterpillar


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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