Everyday items made better

So many things today we take for granted, as a result I don’t think we look at ways to make them better.  Take the example below of the see through highlighter.  One of the problems I always had in school with highlighting was I did not always get the correct area.  Highlighting multiple lines when I wanted one was a common occurrence especially if I was tired

japanese markers

Core77

“Check out Mitsubishi subsidiary Uni’s Promark View highlighter, which pushes the tip out to the end of a clear piece of plastic, so you can see precisely where you’re highlighting.”

— Core77 article: Japanese Over-Design

While the pen looks exceptionally large.  I love the idea and I love how something as common as a highlighter still has the ability to be re-imagined.

Font Men

I saw this on Apartment Therapy last week and have been meaning to post it for others to see..  It is a brief 6 minute file about  Hoefler & Frere-Jones type foundry.  This company has created some of the best known and successful fonts.

This is a little behind the scenes about why they create fonts and some of the process on how it starts.  Unfortunately there is a legal battle between the two now so what will happen with the foundry remains to be seen.

If you are a type nerd though it is worth your time.

Mike Parker, Godfather Of Helvetica, Dies

 Image from Helvetica documentary
Image from Helvetica documentary

Mike Parker was a monster in typeface design creating more than 1,000 typefaces including one of my favorites Helvetica.  

A consultant, type historian, and designer at Font Bureau, Parker has been described as “the font god,” with the development of more than 1,100 typefaces to his credit. His colleagues called him a shepherd of typography, who over the course of 50 years, helped guide the type landscape from hot metal, to photocomposition, and finally to digital printing.

See the full article here that Fast Company just wrote.

If you have any interest in fonts – there is a great documentary called Helvetica that I recommend you see.  You can find it here for streaming:

 

Float Wall Desk — Shoebox Dwelling

I can not tell you why, but in addition to my small well designed space fondness I also love furniture that floats or is on wheels.  Shoebox Dwelling has a nice post about a new desk called the Float Wall Desk by Dario Antonioni.  It appears to be a bent laminate desk that comes in either oak or walnut with a full length drawer/shelf.  Beautifully designed and well executed.  Currently priced at $699.

   
 Float Wall Desk
Float Wall Desk

Simple Elegance: Sliding Door Hardware from Krown Lab : Remodelista

Blending three of my favorite things – glass metal and wood to create some beautifully designed sliding door hardware.  I have seen these a few times before and I continue to try and find a way to reconfigure my house in some way to use them.

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via Remodelista

Wood Works

How small is too small?  I think that is in the eye of the beholder and how much junk they have.  Dwell Magazine’s article called Wood Works shows a 240 sq. apartment in New York city.  There was a time when the bigger your living space the better.  I like small warm and cozy places myself – but even saying the number 240 sq. feet sounds small.  But after viewing the slideshow in the article – it might be possible (providing In continue to get rid of my junk). Regardless it is a wonderful use of space.

  <img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/50059fb5c4aacee3f82e744c/52d6db16e4b0485536ab0434/507c5871e4b0cbc74755a0da/1350326385827/seggerman-apartment-nyc-living-room.jpg" alt=""/>




  <img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/50059fb5c4aacee3f82e744c/52d6db16e4b0485536ab0434/507c588984aebdfe2466aab1/1350326410481/seggerman-apartment-nyc-bedroom.jpg" alt=""/>

Crafstman Software Development

The other day I was listing to Build and Analyze episode #95 This Unicorn Doesn’t Support NFC. Toward the end of the episode Marco Arment demonstrates how his application, Instapaper, uses voice assist to help others may have some visual impairment. He also went on to showed how a few other applications in the category deployed or attempted to deploy a similar. I was very impressed by the demo but did not think about it to much initially.

Since then Marco has released two updates to the popular Instapaper. The first update was for iOS 6 compatitbilty but it included some other features as well.

I consider Marco to be a craftsman developer. His product is great, he is meticulous about the features he adds and why and he is always moving the product forward. In the last 2 releases (4.2.5 and 4.2.6) Marco has taken time to add features for what I can only imagine is a very small percentage of his user base. Marco has added fonts to aid the accessibility of customers with little or low vision.

The first version 4.2.5 added the Open-Dyslexic font to assist reading for people with Dyslecia. 4.2.6 added FS Me which has been used in the past to assist people with learning disabilities. I actually love this font and it seems to make things very sharp and easier to read for a long time.

So why did he add these new fonts? Did he have a plea from the community of visually impaired to add these? Does 70% of install user base need these? Is he getting pressure from his competitors to be feature competitive?

I speculate that none of these are true. I imagine he decided it was the right thing to do and it would assist some small portion of his user base. He took a craftsman approach to taking something really really good and making it even a little better. Instantly I think of the back of the cabinet approach Steve Jobs father spoke of –

“the back of the cabinet should look as good as the rest of it”.

Nice work

A Holiday Home in the Netherlands, Boat Included

There is something I find very appealing about the interior of this house in the Netherlands.  I am not sure if it is the semi-monocramtic color scheme or the simple wood walls.  

  <img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/50059fb5c4aacee3f82e744c/52d6db16e4b0485536ab0434/506b082ac4aa3e125d46d417/1349191723867/700_werf-ijlst-sinneh--skes-dutch-house-rental.jpg" alt=""/>




  <img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/50059fb5c4aacee3f82e744c/52d6db16e4b0485536ab0434/506b083fe4b0331f2e0d9062/1349191743999/700_dutch-boat-table-setting.jpg" alt=""/>

See more pictures here from Remodelista

Book reading on iPhone just got 23% better — macfilos

Michael at MacFilos beat me to writing about this.  I resisted reading on the iPhone for a long time before I took the leap.  My first foray was purely due to laziness of not wanting to get out of bed to get my iPad, I had my phone next to me as an alarm clock.  Ever since then I have been reading at least 70% on my phone.  The new screen makes a very big difference – Michael demonstrates with nice screen shots

Thanks Michael