technology

Let your tweets paint a watercolor version of your city

Article: Let your tweets paint a watercolor version of your city

Color Coordinates is a fun website where “tweets mentioning colors are plotted on their coordinates of origin.” This social cartography is a unique live visualization of tweets which incorporates the watercolor maps designed by Stamen Design and available for public use as part of the City Tracking project and funded by the Knight News Challenge. In addition to this watercolor template, Stamen Design created one that mimics the outmoded black-and-white toner scheme and an ecological one labeled as Terrain.

A new app DOES make sending dirty pics safer

Article: A new app DOES make sending dirty pics safer

Once again, the Internets really DO work! Two-and-a-half weeks ago, we told you about a new app called Peek that tried to make sending dirty pics to the objects of your affection safer. The original idea: You take a naughty picture with your phone via Peek, send it out and the recipient can only view the picture once, through a small circular moveable “keyhole”, for only 30 seconds before it disappears (from both your phones). Cool idea, right? But we discovered one massive hole in the app — if you quickly moved the keyhole around and snapped a bunch of screen shots during that 30-second window, in Photoshop you could puzzle together a pretty revealing composite, sort of defeating the purpose of the app in the process.

Well, color us pink, because we were tickled to receive the following note the other day:

A new app tries to make sending dirty pics safer

Article: A new app tries to make sending dirty pics safer

A reader just tipped us off to this 99 cent app called Peek: it lets you take naughty pictures of yourself and send them to the object of your affection with a little less risk. The recipient can only view the picture once, through a small circular moveable “keyhole”, for only 30 seconds before it disappears (from both your phones). Peek encrypts the picture, then decrypts it once when the recipient views it. The image is never uploaded to a server anywhere.

A hard-wired road trip: SMALL, BEAUTIFULLY MOVING PARTS

Article: A hard-wired road trip: SMALL, BEAUTIFULLY MOVING PARTS

America has a great history of road movies. We’ve been able really corner the market because, well…we have more roads, but also because our culture puts a premium on finding oneself. And there is no better way of “figuring your shit out” than going on a long road trip. These sorts of films usually end up featuring an awesome twosome (THELMA AND LOUISE), because watching one person drive around the USA can be pretty boring. But, in SMALL, BEAUTIFULLY MOVING PARTS, while we’ve got an awesome twosome, we only really see one road-tripper. She just happens to be pregnant with her co-pilot.

Crowdsourced funding for a sex toy? Meet the Duet

Article: Crowdsourced funding for a sex toy? Meet the Duet

There’s a new kid in the luxury vibrator town: The Duet by Crave, a clitoral stimulator created by an industrial designer and an engineer. They submitted the Duet for pre-release funding on the international design funding platform CKIE in August 2011, where they raised $104,000 from over 950 backers – 694% of the original target. And now this discreet and design-y vibe is finally being sold by two of our favorite online retailers, Babeland.com and GoodVibes.com. We must say it looks pretty cool:

It's you, perfected!

Article: It's you, perfected!

There are many reasons not to read women’s magazines. One of the biggies? All the retouched photos. The genetic mutants we call models and celebrities can beat the shit out your average Jane’s self image, but Photoshop can chop it up with chainsaw. This before and after cover of Red Book from a few years ago thanks to Jezebel.com says it all. In fact, Jezebel has made one of their crusades exposing the evils of Photoshop (here’s their most recent “unveiling”). One of the funniest commentaries on how fucked up Photoshop is when it comes to setting impossible beauty standards is this recent parody of a beauty product commercial by Jesse Rosten on Vimeo: “Just one application of Fotoshop can give you results so dramatic, they’re almost unreal…istic.”

BUNDLED, BURIED & BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: short doc about the physical landscape of the Internet

Article: BUNDLED, BURIED & BEHIND CLOSED DOORS: short doc about the physical landscape of the Internet

Bundled, Buried & Behind Closed Doors from Ben Mendelsohn on Vimeo.

I guess Senator Ted Stevens really was onto something when he described the Internet as a series of tubes. Ben Mendelsohn created this masterful short documentary, BUNDLED, BURIED & BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, that pulls back the curtains to give us a fascinating look at the actual, physical infrastructure of the digital “cloud” that we increasingly inhabit (and which permits the existence of lolcats). “He takes us inside 60 Hudson Street in New York City, a nondescript building that houses one of the major nodes of the Internet on the east coast.” I’ve walked by this building many times throughout my eight years in NYC (Can I call myself a New Yorker yet?) – probably even while writing a tweet – but without realizing I was passing the main hub that makes this whole Twitter thing possible.

A new sex toy for men, the REV1000

Article: A new sex toy for men, the REV1000

When it comes to sex toys, men get the short end of the stick. Besides butt plugs (a.k.a. the short end of the stick, ba dum ching!), there’s just not that many innovative options – a few massage sleeves, a couple of love rings and some blow-up dolls (and, if you ask us, blow up dolls are not really a viable option). So when something new in the world of men’s sex toys hits the market, it’s BIG news (at least in our world).
Introducing the REV1000. While it gives the unfortunate impression of sticking one’s dick in a blender, with 7 speeds and 7 functions for a total of 49 different sensation combinations, the REV1000 has the potential to threaten straight women’s vaginal egos as much as The Rabbit Habit vibrator pummeled straight men’s penile ones…

Get your doodle on with a scrapbooking iPad app

Article: Get your doodle on with a scrapbooking iPad app

I have a thing for notebooks. But after years of notebook accumulation, no real pattern or trend has emerged. I collect them indiscriminately—a pink Moleskine here, a cool, cloth-wrapped volume there, some funky vintage find from a flea market. Sadly, most of them sit blank and dusty on a bookshelf in my office, silently pleading for a simple doodle or To-Do list. Alas, my fascination with notebooks doesn’t seem to have come with any real dedication to journaling.

But the creative minds behind new iPad app, Clibe, have come up with a space-saving digital solution for notebook nerds…

Driverless airport Pods make their London debut

Article: Driverless airport Pods make their London debut

Going to the airport is among my least favorite things. There’s always a weird carpet smell, people are generally jerks, the food sucks and there’s no way to feel comfortable in those crappy, plastic waiting area seats. Then, once you actually arrive at your destination, you have to wait forever for a shuttle bus to come and jerkily transport you to a rental car while your duffel bag strap digs into your shoulder. But thanks to a fancy new invention by Advanced Transport Systems, the last part of this otherwise totally annoying process is getting kind of awesome, dare I say fun?

Best of Maker Faire, NYC: day one

Article: Best of Maker Faire, NYC: day one

For anyone who secretly looked forward to their annual grammar school science fair – whose heart leapt at the prospect of thinking up a hypothesis, testing it through a series of experiments conducted with whatever household products you could rummage together, recording your results and then pasting them up on your beloved tri-fold poster board – the Maker Faire is for you. Of course, if you’re one of those people then your inner nerd has probably been unleashed by now, and you’re too busy framing your Maker Faire weekend pass to even read this. But for everyone who didn’t spend their Saturday and Sunday learning how to solder or watching a life-size, Rube Goldberg-inspired mousetrap, here are the first five of the ten best things I saw at Maker Faire, NY, 2011.

Best of Kickstarter, 9/19

Article: Best of Kickstarter, 9/19

We scoured the pages of Kickstarter to bring you this week’s best projects. Have a great Kickstarter project of your own or see one you think deserves some extra attention? Let us know about it the comments and we may just feature it in our weekly roundup.

TECH
Teagueduino: Don’t know how to solder to embed code? Meet Teagueduino, “an open source electronic board and interface” that shows you “the ropes of programming and embedded development (like arduino). Teagueduino is designed to help you discover your inner techno-geek and embrace the awesomeness of making things in realtime – even if you’ve only ever programmed your VCR.”

Helix, a card game based on your DNA

Article: Helix, a card game based on your DNA

Among the many ooh and ahh-inducing technological wonders on display in MoMA’s current “Talk to Me” exhibition is the card game, Helix, or rather its prototype. Why does a card game need a prototype, you ask? Because Helix is unlike any other game you’ve ever seen – seriously. For starters, it requires your DNA. Yep, before you can begin the game players send a swab of their saliva to a lab to be analyzed. From that data, the game’s designers create a customized 50-card deck based on the traits and tendencies revealed by your DNA. One card might be for obesity, another for depression and another for curly hair. The game begins when each player lays their cards on the table and engage in duels that “reward strategy and decision making but are limited by genetic reality.”

Brits incentivize walking to school

Article: Brits incentivize walking to school

Walking to school seems like a quaint notion from decades past: whether for reasons of safety or convenience, the bus, the carpool, or the drop-off on the way to work have become the ways kids get to their schools. While the first two methods are definitely greener than the last, all deprive kids of an opportunity to get some physical activity on a regular basis… and walking definitely has a much lower carbon footprint than any motorized means.

In the UK, government agency Transport for London and company Intelligent Health have paired up to make walking more attractive for school kids… by offering rewards for getting to school on foot. The Step2Get program makes use of electronic cards that students swipe at various readers along designated routes, and a website were the kids can track their walks and rewards. Five walks to school earn a student a movie ticket; for eight walks, s/he receives a £5 shopping voucher.

Spotlight on ScanLAB

Article: Spotlight on ScanLAB

William Trossell and Matthew Shaw run ScanLAB, a series of projects that investigate the capabilities of 3D laser scanning in architecture on all scales, from intricately detailed objects to large cityscapes. The results land somewhere in that exciting new space between technology and art. Their Abney Park Cemetery project is a good example of what that means. Last year Trossell and Shaw visited the London cemetery and took what they call forensic snapshots – eerie, ghostlike images of the chapel, which was severely damaged in a fire and is currently in a state of decay (the chapel is still awaiting funding for repairs).

Designer Mind Games

Article: Designer Mind Games

“The Statistical Clock”
Design/art collective Dunne & Raby don’t actually call themselves artists. Anthony Dunne is a design professor at the Royal College of Art in London and Fiona Raby has a background in architecture, but unlike design studios that specialize in creating fonts or objects or furniture, Dunne & Raby make projects that “use design as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate about the social, cultural and ethical implications of existing and emerging technologies.” Their work is in the permanent collections of the MoMA, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Frac Ile-de-France and FNAC.

To give you an idea of what those discussion-generating projects are like, let’s take a look at “Do You Want to Replace the Existing Normal?” (2007/08), a four-part installation that anticipates design in a “time when we will have more complex and subtle everyday needs” as opposed to our current “unimaginative and practical” desires.

Quirky is Coming!

Article: Quirky is Coming!

It’s almost time to get your quirk on. The all new original series QUIRKY is coming to Sundance Channel June 28! Quirky is the unique technology company that has re-engineered the business of innovation. They’re fast-tracking the product development cycle to new extremes. To check out the buzz, click here.

Jimmyjane's new toy, the FORM 4

Article: Jimmyjane's new toy, the FORM 4

Jimmyjane just released it’s third and final toy in the “Pleasure to the People” series (a collaboration between designer Yves Behar and Jimmyjane founder Ethan Imboden): first there was the Rabbit-ish FORM 2 (that won an IDEA Award), then the flexible FORM 3, and now finally the stout FORM 4.

Kibera slums community turns trash into cooking fuel

Article: Kibera slums community turns trash into cooking fuel

Extreme poverty, opens sewers, and lots and lots of trash: all are a part of normal conditions in Kenya’s Kibera. One of the largest slums in Africa, Kibera’s lack of sanitation services (or almost any government services) makes it a hotbed for disease. But an organization based within the community, Ushiriki Wa Safi, has implemented a concept that can help with at least one aspect of the unhealthy environment: using the massive piles of trash as fuel for community cookers for residents.

Beyond Earth Hour: three days of digital silence?

Article: Beyond Earth Hour: three days of digital silence?

Could you go for three days without your phone? Internet access? Game console? Television? For most of our work and lifestyles, this seems like an impossibility: digital connection is often essential to our productivity, and, to some degree, our sense of connection.

Yet that’s what one small campaign is suggesting. Digital Silence started in January, and has now set March 26-28th as suggested dates for disconnecting, going offline, and “reconnecting with reality.” While complete disconnection may be completely impossible for many of us — do you really want to have your cell phone off if the kids are out? — the founders of this effort suggest picking some element of you digital life to forgo, and using that time for genuine person-to-person and community connection…

In the year 2000

Article: In the year 2000

In 1910, a French artist Villemard painted 24 funny illustrations that forecasts what a 21st century Paris might look like.  In the year 2100, there will be people looking back at our predictions and laughing in the same way. [Via]

Scientifically proven first-date questions

Article: Scientifically proven first-date questions

Regular readers of this blog will know that we are mildly obsessed with the dating research blog OKTrends (it’s attached to the dating site OKCupid) — check out our past coverage of OKTrends on the myth of gay evangelism, the (consistent, predictable) way we lie online, misconceptions about online profile photos, and the real stuff white people like. We’re not stats geeks, but we love it when someone else geeks out to show us what we think about when we think about sex, love, and dating. The latest installment to catch our eye is a post about the best questions to ask someone on a first date. Because, admit it, what you really want to know on a first date is: Are we going to have sex tonight? Is this person liberal? How did they vote on the last election? Are we soul-mates? But it’s not necessarily considered polite to come right out and ask those questions point-blank — and even if you were brave enough to ask those questions, there’s no guarantee that (a) your date would answer honestly or (b) they actually know the answer. But the stats — the stats don’t lie!

Brits to offer green jobs training nationwide

Article: Brits to offer green jobs training nationwide

Here in the US, community colleges are often at the forefront of training for emerging career fields… and we’ve seen that happening with various forms of green technology. That happens on a system-by-system basis here; in the UK, however, they’re taking green job training nationwide with the launch of the new National Skills Academy for Environmental Technologies.

Social networking leads to Oscar nominations, casual sex

Article: Social networking leads to Oscar nominations, casual sex

The movie THE SOCIAL NETWORK scored eight Oscar nominations last week, but that’s not the only way in which social networking, lower case, is scoring. According to a poll conducted by Men’s Fitness and Shape magazines (not exactly the ivory towers, we know, but the sex and dating research coming out of there is often just…

A blue Xmas without Mojowijo

Article: A blue Xmas without Mojowijo

It was supposed to be available in time for the holidays but, alas, Mojowijo won’t be out until the new year — to the great disappointment, we imagine, of sexually frustrated tech geeks who don’t get much sunshine in their basements. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Mojowijo is a teledildonics device. It transforms your Nintendo Wii remote control into a body stimulator (i.e. vibrator) that’s operated by someone remotely, whether in the same room or across the world. The peeps at Mojowijo have told us, rather vaguely, that the product will be available in retail stores throughout the world as well as online. We’d tell you to hold your breath, but we don’t want any other body parts turning blue.