1. from USA

    "I'm Just Looking For One Design Hammer..."

    For better or worse, Designer Tools are here. Good Grips manufacturer
    Oxo was first off the blocks with, you guessed it, the ergonomic Good Grips
    hammer, designed by Human Factor Industrial Design. Pentagram Design's
    Bob Brunner (former head of design at Apple) followed up with the Ergo Series
    Heavy Hitter, for Taiwanese manufacturer Jyu Mang. Both hammers are
    designed with rubber contrivances to protect walls during nail removal,
    and Oxo's has a magnetized head, to pick up nails.

    The most popular tool in this new market would appear to be the Death
    Stick hammer, which sells 20,000 units a month.
    The skull-and-crossbones-emblazoned tool is being sold with the slogan:
    "Don't just drive it, kill it!"

    "Instead of approaching the hammer market from a strictly technological
    aspect, we added a lifestyle appeal," explains Marty Fortier, co-founder
    of Dead On Tools, manufacturer of the Death Stick. "We understand the
    mentality of the framer-contractor. He's a rugged individual who wants his
    tools to match his lifestyle, and why not?"

    Boy. If this Designer Tool trend continues, expect to see a new Pixar
    feature in a few years: Tool Story.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Industrial Light and Tragic

    40 years ago, designers would be lucky to work on projects as diverse as
    a hair dryer and an exhibit hall. Today, things are a little different:
    Industrial Light and Magic, the design and special-effects force that helps
    realize George Lucas' hackneyed scripts, has been asked to design an opera.
    Fatboy Placido Domingo (a/k/a Pagliacci, the Tragic Clown) signed ILM to
    design a new production of Wagner's The Ring. My predictions:

    1. The design of the sets will be absolutely stunning.
    2. The script will be re-written to accommodate Jar Jar Binks and an
    extraordinarily untalented child actor.
    3. One of the leads will have a huge fish-head.
    4. The action figures for this one may not sell so well.
    ("Collect them all! Darth Tenor and Darth Soprano Alto!")

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    New Mac OS May Suck

    Apple's upcoming OS X may not be all it's cracked up to be, at least for designers.
    It's got the graphic eye-candy you'd expect--transparent menus, brightly-colored
    displays, photorealistic icons--but it works against us designers.
    The transparent menus are a bitch to read if you've got dense images
    (like CAD files or floorplans) underneath, the brightly-hued displays corrupt your
    sense of color judgement, and the photorealistic icons are just counterintuitive;
    the whole point of an icon is that it's a simplified symbol for something complex,
    not just a busy-looking miniaturization.

    Even worse, the new system doesn't allow you to litter the desktop with files in your
    own arrangements; fascist OS X demands you place them in predetermined folders
    (dedicated folders for apps, documents, etc.).

    One supposed plus is that the Unix-type system underpinnings will crash less.
    The reason I say "supposed" is because: I dunno if you guys ever worked for
    slave-driver designers like I did, but man, when the system crashed,
    that was the only time we could eat or go to the bathroom.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Night in Shining Armani

    Last Friday night The Guggenheim Museum (the real one, not the fake Prince Street
    outpost) threw a star-studded bash to kick off their exhibit honoring fashion designer
    Giorgio Armani. With nearly 400 articles of clothing and accessories being shown,
    it's the largest one-man fashion exhibition ever seen in New York

    Armani has said that the largest single regret of his career was letting Philip Michael
    Thomas wear his label on "Miami Vice." Okay he never actually said that, but I bet if
    you got a couple drinks in the guy, you could get him to say it.


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    International Bauble Machines

    IBM thinks products of the future, specifically communication devices,
    may be designed like jewelry. The Design Lab at IBM's Almaden Research Center has
    produced a prototype summarizing their projected vision of the convergence of products,
    miniaturization and wearable technology.

    Who knows, if this catches on, you may one day overhear lines like:
    "Shit, I lost my earring! All my numbers were in here."


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