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Archives: April 2005

Everything’s Better With Bacon


In life, as it is in cooking, everything’s better with bacon. Bacon bandaids! Pure genius, brought to us by the crackpots at Archie McPhee

(I stumbled across these on another blog last night, which I forgot to bookmark, so forgive the lack of credit, fellow bacon lover.)

Love Sponge


Grace got all misty on us earlier today, professing her lurv for the design blog community. It’s a great round-up, and of course, Grace loves us each and every one.

design*sponge gets some love from me too. I might not find as much stuff to rave about as she does, crank that I am, but her site is always a great resource for new, innovative and downright cool stuff being done by up and coming designers.

The question is: Will she love me in the morning? I’m preparing a double-barreled rant about her beloved Domino which may convince her that I’ve gone to the dark side.

Spiers Says: MAKE Good

MAKE logoOver on the mothership Ms. Spiers reviews MAKE a new magazine/book (aka “mook”. um, not so catchy, sorry.) being published by geeks O’Reilly. Says Elizabeth:

But the beauty of MAKE isn’t so much the practicality of it, but the way it translates what is nominally a subculture for a general audience, in much the same way Wired (wittingly or un-) did as it adapted. While many of the projects therein require a modicum of technical knowledge, culturally, MAKE is about everyday hacking—which is of increasingly greater interest to a general audience as consumers place higher premiums on customization. Music mash-ups, TiVo programming, made-to-order Nikes are symptoms of larger demand for a wide of consumer choices.

She also notes their smart web/dead-tree integration – MAKE Blog is a consistently good read (says the woman who reads a LOT of blogs.):

The tendency to restrain or compartmentalize the content for fear that the web will cannibalize print, or vice versa, limits the potential for full media integration. MAKE doesn’t seem to have that problem. The MAKE blog is a clear extension of the quarterly content with topically consistent projects and themes.

So, read Spiers’ essay and consider subscribing to MAKE.

Your Boots Are So Money!

moneybootsIf you have a craving to go shoe shopping (that never happens to me, oh no) but only have a couple of bucks to spare, why not make yourself a pair of the hand-crafted money origami boots pictured here?

The Money Origami site has step-by-step instructions, along with lots of photos to make these boots. Also featured: eyeglasses, spiders and butterfiles, oh my!

It’s a Whole New Internet

Janice Fraser, the CEO of Adaptive Path, recently published an essay entitled It’s a Whole New Internet. I have to say that I agree with her – things are definitely simmering at a quicker pace than they have been in a long long time and it’s not a bunch of speculative phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes kind of crap. People are excited about the internet again – smart geeky people are finding more flexible platforms on which to build tools that almost anyone can use (or at least get information from). If my mom doesn’t know what a blog is yet (she does, kind of) she’ll know for sure once she reads this week’s issue of BusinessWeek.

Janice talks a lot about the buzz surrounding Ajax:

matthewtischlerTwo months ago, Jesse James Garrett published an essay that provided a few diagrams, a basic description, and a name for a development technique that’s been around for years. Called Ajax, this approach removes the redraw-refresh paradigm for interacting with web applications. The firestorm of excitement around the idea took us all by surprise. In mere days, the “Ajax” meme was solidified.

Ajax is a bit out of my depth in terms of geekery – I’m not all that interested in the underlying mechanics of it, but I know plenty of people who are (because I love me some geeks). What I am excited about is this: it’s something that is going to be used to develop products that make it easier for me to communicate, easier for me to run my business and easier for me to stay connected to and share information with my clients, my friends & my colleagues.

My recent experience developing the Hey, Hot Shot competition was a turning point for me and my relationship to the internet. I started doing online stuff pre-web. I was the admin of a BBS in, I don’t know, 1994? 1995? And then I went on to work with my friend Omar at a little company called New York Online for a while, before heading out to California at the height of the boom. My specialty was online community and that broadened as I moved through several different jobs to a sort of amorphous “content strategy” kind of role. (One of my last internet-related job titles was Chief Creative Officer. Whee!) After the whole thing went kerblooey in early 2001, I began a slow drift from my internet career that ended in disillusionment. I was happy to open my gallery and be focused on creating an actual physical space that people came to. There’s no doubt that my experience with web stuff has been important to me from the beginning – it’s made it easier for me communications-wise, and it’s set me apart from a lot of other galleries because my fluency with web-related tools allows me to accomplish so much without burning through a lot of resources. (OK, I’m a little burnt out, but aren’t all entrepeneurs?)

Organizing the competition has been an opportunity for me to combine what I know and have learned from running my gallery for a few years with my knowledge and (reingnited) passion for things web-related. The web allowed me to create an inexpensive and stream-lined system to process entries. Backend .php programming (done by a hot shot programmer in Italy, while we communicated over IM and via email) organized the information from those entries in a way that met my requirements and allowed me to keep stuff organized. Email, old reliable email, allowed me to communicate extensively with the panel and with the entrants. My blog, both here where you’re reading this and over on my gallery’s site gave me a place to broadcast information about the competition as it developed.

<rachelsussmanThen an interesting thing happened – the day came to announce the winners and Dana was on deadline for another project, so I had to hack together the announcement page on my own. I am really just such an amateur when it comes to coding pages, it’s not my forte. I hacked together a few existing pages from my site, and then Laura Holder made it presentable and up it went. As a temporary solution, I put the images from the winning entrants up in a photo set on Flickr. It turns out the photo set on Flickr is the nexus for the excitement and communication about the competition – the community tools they offer have allowed people to comment on the work, tagging has grouped images together, “favoriting” (Flickr users can create groups of photos from other people that they like) has given me direct feedback about which work is most popular. It’s exciting! It’s also very different – it’s different than the internet work I’ve done in the past and it’s a different way of approaching how I run my business. So, yes, it IS a whole new internet.

The last two paragraphs of Janice’s essay really resonate with me:

Invention inspires invention. Ideas are collapsing into each other, recombining, and having powerful effects. The Internet has always been a medium for democratization, and by reconnecting with our idealism we’re once again uncovering its poetry, nobility, and transformative power.
If you’re not yet amazed, inspired, and a little anxious, you might want to consider it. Then get a good night’s sleep and perhaps take a rejuvenating vacation. We’re going to look back at Spring 2005 as a milestone. Watch closely, ladies and gentlemen. Things are about to change in a very big way.

(All images in this post are from winners of the Hey, Hot Shot competition.)

I Fold

f_1334_tobacco.jpgThe mavens of space saving over on Apartment Therapy just posted a roundup of folding chairs. I like the leather lovelies pictured here, from DWR. They are among the more expensive solutions offered. (Me and my champagne tastes.) There are additional chair recommendations in the discussion thread.

Also, not to be missed, is Design Boom’s Illustrated History of Folding Chairs.

Cool(er) Hunting

feature_redesign.gifJosh Rubin unveiled a redesign of his always interesting Cool Hunting site today. It now redirects right too “” and is known simply a Cool Hunting (before it was Josh Rubin: Cool Hunting, and a subsite on the domain.) The new design and clean and lovely. I am especially fond of the groovy gray category icons. Josh says:

Why the redesign? As a designer with a somewhat short attention span I was getting kind of bored with the last look and feel of Cool Hunting… In addition to refreshing the look and feel of the site, I wanted to bring in some new features and ways to better accommodate advertisers without getting in the way of the content.

The result is what you see here. This time around I served as Creative Director and had an awesome team help make it happen. The graphic design comes from the brilliant Richard Schatzberger, Brian Maniere meticulously wrote the CSS and Joel Niedfeldt magically made all the tricky stuff work.

Nice job!

Dream Bike


I was catching up on design*sponge over the weekend and Ms. Grace pointed me to the lovely Skeppsult Bikes, one of which (the one I want!) is pictured above. Apparently, these bikes are “The King’s Choice” in Sweden, who knew?

I am going to check one out in person as soon as I can, but a little sleuthing led me to a price tag in the range of $1200, which is a bit rich for my current bicycle budget, not to mention rather impractical for a bike that I need to lock up around town. But a girl can dream, can’t she?

What’s Up With That? (Bicycle Edition)

I’ve got bikes on the brain lately, so prepare yourselves for a spate of bike posts this week. I’m still lamenting my beloved blue Bianchi that was stolen from me, for a second time, a while back. Now that the weather’s getting warmer (well, at least it was getting warmer) I’ve been agonizing over whether to get a new bike (which would like be stolen again) or a beater. Also, the next show coming up at the gallery is Bicycles Locked to Poles. (Really!) So, yes bikes on the brain.

I just poked around with no success looking for an image of the ubiquitous yellow type on blue background Bicycle signs that grace the bike shops around NYC (and elsewhere too, I think, but I’m not sure.) Does anyone know what’s up with that? There are places that break the mold, but really most Bike shops that I can think of have those signs and very non-descript names like “14th Street Bicycles”. It seems like an artifact along the lines of a Barbershop pole, but I can’t figure out what it’s origins are. So I’m on the hunt for an image and an explanation. If you have either, email me jen AT unbeige DOT com.

Meet Me at Forth & Towne?

Gap, Inc is making a bid to create a shopping oriented third place for baby-boomer women. Well, actually they’re just trying to sell them some clothes, but I will give them credit for coming up with a fresh angle to do so (even if it is in the what’s-old-is-new vein):

Forth & Towne is named to evoke a gathering place for women… the stores will be designed to encourage shoppers to spend time there. Fitting rooms will be in the center of the store, which he hopes will improve customer service and make it easier for women to get opinions from friends and family.
“We harkened back to what we believe is the old grandeur of those great department stores, the ones that used to sit on the corner of Main and State in great cities,” Mr. Pressler said. “It was a romantic time when women got dressed up to go to department stores, and they felt they were treated with respect.”

Ah, yes, the heady romance of being treated with respect!

Interestingly, a Google Search on Forth & Towne produces few results, most of them being for legal notices filed with our neighbor to the north, Canada. The quotes above come from a Wall Street Journal article which ran today. There’s also a small item in The Chicago Sun Times (four of the five new stores will open in Chicago, one in NYC).