When it comes to headphones I never used to be very particular, this coming from a guy who really loves music. The little white earbuds that Apple provided me with were just fine… that until I tried a pair of Sony MDRV150′s that Kyle had, basically studio style headphones. Instantly my life was changed. I was hearing things in songs that I never had heard before; it was like a miracle.
Since then I’ve been curious about other headphones, wondering if other might unlock even more musicsecrets. These new Harman/Kardon BT headphones are my new interest. Harman/Kardon recently decided to dip their toes into the headphone market, releasing 5 new styles. The BT model stands for Bluetooth, which means for once in my life I wouldn’t have to deal with cords. It is 2012, after all, we should have wireless everything. You can’t beat the design of these either. The combination of the metal with the black gives the headphones a classic profile while still feeling fresh. No retro design, thanks. I’ve also owned a pair of Harman/Kardon SoundSticks for about 10 years now and they’re still working great, so I know they make good products. I might just have to take a trip to an Apple store this weekend.
Tobias van Schneider has released an interesting spin on email, calling the concept .Mail. He clearly states that he’s not the first to try and reinvent email, but I think some of his ideas are really strong.
Common email clients are jam-packed with functionalities no one really uses because they don’t work with their personal flow. Your email program doesn’t have to incorporate every aspect of modern communication. It should help you check and read your mails. That’s what you’d expect it to do, right?
We’re able to produce absolutely stunning websites and mobile apps with great interaction design. Interfaces that are smooth and fun and let us understand information without even trying. But when it comes to email clients we get a bit of a boring feeling., like using an old piece of software from 10 years ago.
I think we can better. So let’s do that.
His main points are a clutter-free interface, clean typography, Actionsteps, more emphasis on attachments, as well as social/brand integration to add a bit of personality. I think his idea has boiled down the essentials of what’s really important put it in a slick wrapper that just looks great. I also love the idea of having access to all of the attachments in your email laid out in a grid, much like you would have on your desktop. As someone who dabbles in a lot of images for the site I’m sure this feature would be great. It would also be great for your mom who wants to quickly find pictures of grandkids, you know?
If you’re interested to see more you can click here to see his visual proposal. I’d certainly be interested in trying a product like this.
The guys at The Verge, who are running hands down the best tech site on the web these days, has a really great look at Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet.
I’m happy to admit that the device certainly has me curious, but I also feel weird about it. I think they’ve potentially beat the Kindle Fire from a design/hardware point of view, though they don’t have the same store appeal that Amazon does – Google Play is still so new. But it’s not quite an iPad competitor either, I mean, it looks just like a mini-iPad. So they caught up, but didn’t innovate, you know? And does Jelly Bean, the new operating system, match up to iOS? Does Google Play beat out the App Store in games and content? All of these seem like big questions that I’m sure will be answered over the next year, which I think will truly show if the Nexus can beat any of the big competitors out there.
Late last night Wired published a wonderful piece on Jack Dorsey, the man behind Twitter and Square. Oft compared to Steve Jobs (but essentially nothing like him), it was cool to see such an in-depth piece on him. He’s such an inspiring guy, I mean, he’s only 35 and look at all that he’s done. Here’s a snippet I loved.
Like Jobs, Dorsey has proclivities that have helped him build something of a cult of personality. Every Friday he indoctrinates new employees with a forced march through the streets of San Francisco, beginning at the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at the Ferry Building, heading into the canyons of the Financial District, and emerging in the startup haven south of Market Street where Square resides. During the walk, Dorsey outlines what he calls the Four Corners of Square. “It’s something that codifies our ethic,” he says. “I really spent a lot of time on it.” But he is mum on the details of this vaguely Masonic concept. “If I told you, you’d have to work here,” he says with a tight smile.
Dorsey also boasts a Jobs-like obsession with design and detail. In early 2011 he became captivated by the idea of using a wallet metaphor in a Square app. William Henderson, a former Apple operating system specialist who now works as a software engineer at Square, says, “Jack got so excited that he came to work one day with a stack of 10 leather wallets.” For hours, Dorsey and his team deconstructed every detail. He was especially fond of the Hermè8s. (He adores the brand and pronounces its name “air-MEZH,” as if he were raised in a duty-free shop.) The team designed a digital wallet that faithfully replicated its austere majesty, down to the stitching. It even carried a monogram, extracting initials from the user’s registration information and dropping the trailing dot after the second initial, just as Hermè8s does. The credit cards, which fit into their slots at slightly asymmetrical angles, were stamped with holograms that changed color when the screen was tilted.
Qualcomm has recently been trying to advance e-reader technology, though they’ve been getting their inspiration from a rather unique place: butterfly wings. Their Mirasol color e-ink display uses “tiny mirrors to refract light in a way that is reminiscent of irridescent butterfly wings.” It’s not quite up to par with let’s say, a Retina display, and the colors are a bit washed out, but it’s still interesting to see technology being inspired by nature.
Get the full run down over on Technology Review.
As you could possibly tell from my recent review of Prometheus I’m mildly obsessed. After watching the film Kyle and I did so much research the next few days after seeing it, but I think we only get like 60% of the film. That’s a part of the excitement, in my opinion! This article from FX Guide doesn’t answer the questions to the plot, but it does give you the rundown of how the visual effects were created. Before you click the link, be warned that the article is filled with a ton of spoilers, so be sure to see the film before reading it.
In the history of modern visual effects films there is a small handful of universes worthy of religious veneration: the bed chamber in 2001, the hover cars of Blade Runner, the initial flyover from Star Wars and of course, the fallen broken ship of Ridley Scott’s Alien. This last hallowed and sacred site is known to all serious visual effects artists, but for a select few artists at companies like MPC, Weta Digital and Fuel, they got to rebuild and reimagine these ‘consecrated’ assets – the map room, the ship and of course the pilot’s chair from Alien. The film has erupted a blogosphere of arguments over the meaning or symbolism these objects have in a creationist tale of mankind, but virtually without question even the harshest critics of the film have applauded the stunning visual effects of Prometheus.
Digging around for golden gems I came across these little gold robots which are also 4GB memory sticks. They kind of look like a creepy mixture between C-3PO and a LEGO man, but it’d be pretty rad to have a tiny army of these little guys safeguarding your information.
Jack Dorsey recently sat down with Charlie Rose and had an interesting discussion with him. He brings up a couple of interesting points, like the constraints shared between Twitter and Instagram, the notion that Facebook is about the past, and how good technology really means no technology.