Entries for February 2008

February 19, 2008

Idea: A new typography term

keming. noun. The result of improper kerning.

Update: Now available as a t-shirt.

Update 2: I’m writing this update several years later. Since I coined this term, it has made its way into textbooks, a Google easter egg, and other places. So I’ve written an updated post to catalog all the places people are using keming.

February 18, 2008

Idea: The last product Polaroid should make

You may have heard the recent announcement that Polaroid will stop making instant film soon. They’re manufacturing just enough to last through 2009, and then they’re shutting down the factories. That gives them almost two years to develop what I think should be the last Polaroid product: a digital picture frame that makes sure the familiar look of a Polaroid photo lives on.

You just put your memory card in a slot on the bottom of the frame, and navigate using the touch screen to select whether you want to view your photos in “Standard” mode, which functions like any other digital picture frame, or in “Classic” mode, where each photo slowly fades into view over the course of a minute or so while you watch and wonder what photo is coming up. (In Classic mode, you can try shaking the frame to make the photo fade into view more quickly, but it won’t really do anything).

If you’re the sort of person who prefers to pin your Polaroid pictures to your cork board in your cubicle, you can take advantage of this innovative feature: The stand on the back of the frame can rotate to an upward position, sticking up above the top of the frame and revealing a hole for you to stick a pushpin through. The rechargeable internal battery allows you to showcase your photos that way even if you don’t want a wire dangling down from your cork board.

The bottom portion of the frame features a dry erase surface, so you can write your own title for your slideshow by hand, using a dry erase marker. Because sometimes it’s nice to preserve at least a little bit of the old way of doing things.

Previously: Idea: The Digital Jewel Box

February 16, 2008

Blogs: The Book

When I started this blog, I never imagined that the silly things I post here might one day end up in a printed anthology alongside writing by Nobel Prize winner Gary Becker, federal judge Richard Posner, and the New Yorker’s Alex Ross. But we all have blogs which, along with 24 others, have been anthologized in a new book out this week called Ultimate Blogs: Masterworks From the Wild Web compiled by former New York Times reporter Sarah Boxer. I’m flattered!

The printed page might seem like an odd way to read blogs, but the compilation actually makes for good reading. And the fact that the book features relatively short entries that can be read in any order makes it an excellent bathroom book. (I mean that in a good way.)

You can read reviews of the book on-line for a better idea of what the book is like and what’s included. Here are a couple of them: LA Times, Newsweek.

Note: Sarah Boxer selected the posts that she feels work best in her compilation. But they aren’t necessarily my favorite posts from my blog. I do maintain a “Favorites” list that can be found among the Categories list in the sidebar, or by clicking here.

February 11, 2008

Idea: Scientist Valentines

Thursday is Valentine’s Day, a holiday where it’s customary to give a card to your loved one just to say “I Love You.” But even before the Catholic Church decided to honor one of its Saints with a holiday on February 14, this month was celebrated as a month of fertility festivals going all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome. I’ve decided to honor an entirely different group of people with this collection of romantic cards you can e-mail to your loved ones on February 14th, or any other day of the year. It’s Scientist Valentines!

You can click on these to get larger versions:

Previously: You say you want an evolution…

February 1, 2008

Idea: Other Custom Islands

You may have already heard about The World, a man-made archipelago currently being built off the coast of Dubai. When completed, the grouping of islands will resemble, more or less, the whole world, and each individual island can be privately purchased by a billionaire who wants to live surrounded by other billionaires..

It’s a clever gimmick. But for the truly eccentric billionaire, why stop there? For enough money, you could build your own island in the shape of whatever you want. Here are a couple more island ideas I came up with.

For the classic TV lover, the Isle of Lucy:

Isle of Lucy

Of course, the same billionaire should also build Gomerp Isle nearby. But no Gilligan’s Isle. That’s too easy.

And for the practical jokester, here’s Compass Island:

Compass Island

Okay, the practical joke isn’t immediately obvious. Let me show you what it looks like from space:

Compass Island

That’s right, it’s oriented upside-down. It’s sure to disorient pilots flying overhead, and confuse people who come across it on Google Earth.

The idiom-loving billionaire could build islands which spell out the phrase “NO MAN” so that, finally, No Man is an island. The person who made his or her fortune in pancreatic medicine could live on the Islets of Langerhans, in the shape of the human digestive system. Oh, the island-pun possibilities are endless.