Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Sweet Fifty Years: 1957-2007

Above: My parents on their wedding day, 50 years ago

Once again, I am deviating from the usual subject matter on my blog to share something a little more personal.

Above: June 22, 1957

There will be no post today or tomorrow because, this weekend, we are celebrating my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary with relatives and friends. An increasingly rare milestone to reach these days.

Still wonderfully in love, mutually respectful of one another and the best of friends, my parents actually don't know how lucky they are. But I do.

Above left: My dad, 1955 and right; my mother,1957

Above; My parents today, June 2007

Congratulations Dad & Mom!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Want an iphone? Better Read This First

The long awaited Apple iphone hits the market today! Betcha want one, huh? Me too. But read this first-just so you know all you need to.

Written By David Pogue for The New York Times:

Often-Asked iPhone Questions
With its new iPhone, Apple pulled off two masterful feats: creating the machine and creating the buzz around it.

That machine, and that buzz, have inspired a lot of questions. Just how much of a phone, an iPod and an Internet machine is this thing?

Here are the answers to the most frequently asked iPhone questions. Consider them a companion to my review yesterday, which covered the big points like the touch-screen keyboard (adequate with practice), the AT&T Internet network (painfully slow) and the iPhone's overall character (fun, powerful, amazing).

Before you dive in, though, a note about the "Does it have...?" questions. Apple has indicated that it intends to add features through free software updates, so the real, secret answer to some of the "no" answers is actually, "Coming soon."


above: the iphone in stand

Does the touch screen work if you're wearing gloves?
Will a stylus or pen tip work? No. Skin contact is required to operate the buttons. Fortunately, most tappable elements on the screen are big and broad, designed for fingertip access.

Does the iPhone have a speakerphone? Vibrate mode? Airplane mode?
Yes, yes and yes. The speakerphone and the vibrations are both weak, though.

Can I dial without looking? Can I dial one-handed?
You can't do much on the iPhone without looking. Then again, few people can operate a cellphone without looking. Dialing the iPhone one-handed, though, is easy. As your fingers grasp the iPhone, your thumb is free to tap buttons, scroll lists and so on.

Can I use a SIM card from another phone?
The iPhone comes with an installed SIM card, the tiny circuit board that stores your account information and phone number. Apple says that you should be able to replace it with any recent AT&T card, once you activate it in iTunes. No other company's SIM card works in the iPhone.

Will the iPhone work overseas?
If you mean to use your AT&T account, yes; call AT&T to turn on international roaming, and then prepare to pay big roaming charges. If you mean to insert some other country's SIM card, no.

How about voice memos, voice dialing or call recording?

Do I need an AT&T account?
Yes. The iPhone won't work at all without a two-year AT&T voice-plus-Internet plan (and no, you can't use it as just an iPod, no matter how tempting the bigger screen and longer battery life is).

Above: iphone with music and headphones

What iPod features does the iPhone have?
Password protection, Shuffle and Repeat modes, ratings, audiobooks, audiobook speed control, podcasts, SoundCheck, equalization, volume limiter, on-the-go playlists.

What iPod features does it lack?
Games, lyrics, video output to a TV and disk mode (when the iPod acts as a hard drive for transporting computer files).

Does the iPhone work with iPod accessories?
Some of them. The iPod radio receiver works, for example, but FM transmitters may not work. Existing speaker systems trigger the iPhone's airplane mode (wireless and phone features turned off) to avoid interference with the music. Starting soon, iPhone-compatible iPod products will bear a "works with iPhone" logo.

Can you use your iTunes songs as ring tones? Can you download new ones?
No. At the moment, the iPhone's 25 ring tones are your only choices. (They're really good.)

Can you use your own headphones?
Fortunately, the iPhone has a standard miniplug headphone jack; unfortunately, its plastic molding prevents most headphone plugs from seating properly. Inexpensive adapters are available from Belkin and others.


Does the iPhone work with Bluetooth computers, printers, stereo headsets or keyboards?
No. At the moment, it communicates only with hands-free devices like Bluetooth headsets (including Apple's very tiny one, coming in July) and a car's dashboard system.

Does the iPhone alert you when it detects a wireless Internet hot spot?
Yes. In fact, if it's a hot spot you've used before, the iPhone hops onto it seamlessly and quietly.

Can the iPhone serve as a wireless modem for my laptop?

Can the iPhone receive songs, files, calendar appointments, contacts or software updates wirelessly?
No, only from your computer through the U.S.B. charging cradle. But this is kind of neat: Unlike the iPod, there's no "do not disconnect" message during syncing. You can yank the iPhone out of the cradle whenever you like - to answer a call, for example; syncing resumes when you're done. You can also operate the iPhone while it is charging.


Can you make phone calls while you're on the Internet?
Yes - if your iPhone has a Wi-Fi connection. When it's using AT&T's Internet network, no.

Why didn't Apple use AT&T's faster 3G Internet network?
Apple says that today's relatively unpolished 3G (third generation) radio chips would drain the battery too fast - and at this point, wouldn't provide enough of a speed boost to justify that trade-off. Apple will release a 3G iPhone model when the time seems right.

How snappy is the real iPhone, compared with Apple's ads?
It's identical, with one exception: Apple never shows the iPhone when it's on AT&T's cellular network. That would just be embarrassing.

What kind of e-mail can it get?
The iPhone comes with presets for Gmail, AOL and Yahoo Mail. You can also set up standard POP3 and IMAP accounts.

Is there instant messaging, like AIM or MSN Messenger?
No. Text-message exchanges appear as sequential, colorful text balloons, just as in Apple's iChat program. But they're still cellphone text messages, not chat.

Does the iPhone synchronize bookmarks with your computer?
Yes: with Safari on the Mac, or Internet Explorer on Windows.

What does the Web browser have?
Multiple open pages (like tabs), fonts, layouts, pop-up menus, checkboxes, clickable links and dialable phone numbers (tap with your finger).

What does it lack?
Java, Flash, stored passwords, RSS, streaming audio or video (except for some QuickTime videos).

What about V.P.N. (virtual private networking)?
The iPhone works with several common V.P.N. systems (that is, secure connections to corporate networks). A Settings screen lets you fill in the configuration details.


Does the iPhone synchronize with my computer's calendar and address book?
Yes. It can sync with Address Book or Microsoft Entourage on the Macintosh, Outlook, Outlook Express on Windows, or Yahoo's address book on the Web. If you add appointments or phone numbers to the iPhone, they are added to your computer the next time you sync.

Do To Do items show up on the iPhone? Do memos in the iPhone's Notes program show up on the computer?

Does the keyboard rotate when you rotate the iPhone?
Only in the Web browser. That's a shame, because the rotated keyboard, stretching the full length of the screen, is much bigger and easier to use than the narrow version.

Above: The iphone's keyboard

Can you type with two thumbs?
I've seen Apple employees flail away with two thumbs as though on a BlackBerry, but it takes loads of practice. After two weeks, I'm still tapping with one index finger.

Without cursor keys, how do I edit something I've written?
If you hold your fingertip against the glass, a magnifying loupe appears around it. You can now slide you finger through what you've written, moving the insertion point as you go.

Can the iPhone replace a BlackBerry?
It's not really even in the same category. For example, only Yahoo Mail accounts offer "push" e-mail like a BlackBerry, in which new messages appear in real time. For other accounts, the iPhone checks either periodically (every 15, 30 or 60 minutes) or when you tap the Check button. Similarly, you can view e-mailed Word, Excel and PDF attachments on the iPhone, but you can't create or edit them. The iPhone doesn't work with corporate Exchange e-mail systems, either, unless the administrator turns on IMAP (the administrator presumably knows what that is).


Above: the back of the iphone

Is there an ambient light sensor?
Yes. A light sensor lies camouflaged behind the black glass. Each time you wake the phone, it adjusts the brightness - to make it brighter in sunlight, for example. You can also adjust the brightness manually.

Does the camera have a flash? Zoom? Self-portrait mirror?
None of the above. The chrome Apple logo on the back is not a self-portrait mirror.

Are there any secret features?
When the screen is off, the glossy black glass becomes a handy makeup mirror.

Wanna see David Pogue's video of the iphone?
click here.

or type the address below into your browser.

Someone tell Officer Sanchez That You Cannot Overdose On Marijuana

Okay, I don't want to 'make fun' of anyone who fears that they are 'dying' but this has got to be one of the funniest 'real' 911 calls I have ever heard.

This is from a Michigan Policeman who stole some pot from a bust and made brownies with it that he and his wife then ingested.

This is the entire call, unlike some other posts.

You've got to give it to the operator for maintaining her composure.

My favorite line " time is passing really slowly, I think we are dying" followed by asking the operator the score of The Redwings game to make sure he's not 'hallucinating'.

Poor Officer Edward Sanchez, he's never gonna live this down.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

'Not For The Faint Of Heart' Design Game

The following was so much fun for me as an art director.

Anyone familiar with design, layout or print production terms for type-setting will have a fun time playing this beautiful gothic online game "Find The 25 Design Terms" A picture riddle brought to you by Colle +McVoy.

And if you can find all the terms within the alloted time, you actually get a free poster of this! (you do have to pay for shipping and handling, however).

Below is a bit of the story and the people at Colle + McVoy in Minneapolis who are behind this inventive and fun idea.

You can also purchase T-shirts here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Will Farrell's latest: Good Cop, Baby Cop

Hot off the presses is the follow-up to the popular viral video “The Landlord” featuring comedian Will Ferrell getting upbraided by a 2-year-old landlord. The Landlord, which featured Funny or Die founders Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, has been viewed over 35 million times. In "Good Cop, Baby Cop" Ferrell portrays “Angel,” a hard-nosed criminal who refuses to cooperate with the police, leaving them no choice but to call in their toughest lieutenant - a baby cop, known in the precinct as “The Confession Machine.”

The clip premiered on on Monday and features a reunited Ferrell with two-year-old actress Pearl, who made her final performance before retirement.

"My ventures as an actor on the internet have been rewarding and spiritually fulfilling, but now I must look to broader challenges as I approach my 26th month," says Pearl in a press release. "I shall always reflect upon these days with much fondness, and also, I have no idea what I just said, and I want banana-nana and the upside down show."

Funny or Die is a new video website that launched in April of 2007 and is already one of the most visited comedy sites on the web.

Good Cop, Baby Cop

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Now THIS is what I call Street Art: Masterpieces For The Masses

I always felt that art should be for the masses. If you're lucky enough to live in England (or to be visiting), you can view the world's largest outdoor gallery. Thanks to The National Gallery of Art and Hewlett Packard, The Grand Tour is a brilliant project which places museum masterpieces (reproductions of course...) out in the streets of London for anyone and everyone to view and appreciate.

Over the next twelve weeks they've turned the West End into a giant gallery by lining the streets of Soho, Piccadilly, and Covent Garden with some of the world's most famous paintings.

The map below (which is actually interactive on the site) shows where the paintings hang around town.

If you're more of a free spirit, you can create your own tour by picking the paintings you want to see, and then calling the phone numbers listed at each painting site to get the who, the why, the what and the when*.

All the paintings on The Grand Tour™ are beautiful reproductions produced by our sponsors Hewlett Packard, but you can visit the real thing every day free of charge in the National Gallery collection.

Of course, you may not live in London-or be visiting within the next 12 weeks-- which is why I have pics for you here. The following pics were sent in via digital uploads from cell phones and cameras from various individuals. To see photo credits, as well as the names of these famous paintings, please go to the site.

Who was behind this?:

The Partners
Award-winning brand and design consultancy, The Partners, created the pioneering Grand Tour concept as part of their ongoing partnership with the National Gallery.

As one of Britain's leading brand and design consultancies, The Partners works with many of the world’s most successful organisations, including the BBC, Ford Motor Company, the Maybourne Hotel Group, Astra Zeneca and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Working alongside The Partners on the development of The Grand Tour, Digit created the interactive on-line presence for the project.

Digit is one of the longest established digital agencies globally. Working with some of the world’s leading brands, Digit creates award winning online environments and content, and more recently ground breaking physical interaction experiences.

Thanks to all these folks:
We would like to thank the dedicated team of professionals who have helped us to create and install the 'works of art' themselves.

Electronic Print Services (EPS)
EPS, produced all of the Grand Tour images on the excellent HP Designjet 10000s, and they mounted and stretched the larger prints onto sub frames, all meeting the exacting standards required for such a prestigious project.

Nielsen Bainbridge and Simon Robinson and Son
Spencer Negus from Nielsen Bainbridge, with Lester and Kevin from Simon Robinson and Son Framing, enjoyed working on this challenging project alongside the other contributors.

Icon Display
Icon Display were involved in the surveys of the picture sites and the installation of the pictures onto many varied surfaces, working through the night to complete the project on time.

Antenna Audio
Antenna Audio worked closely with the National Gallery Curators to produce all the audio recordings for the project.

Thank you to the tenants and owners of all of the premises that have kindly allowed us to hang a 'masterpiece' on their wall

Shaftesbury PLC
David Bieda
Boom Sound Studios
Caffe Nero
Centaur Media Plc
Clear Channel

Monday, June 25, 2007

Can't Afford To Spend 100 Million Bucks? How About $10,000?

A few weeks ago, Damian Hirst's latest creation graced the cover of the New York Times Sunday Magazine (as well as getting coverage on many a blog). The subject was his latest creation, the world's most expensive piece of art. A life sized platinum skull set with diamonds.

This article reprinted below by William Shaw accompanied the piece:

It’s particularly fitting that the title of Damien Hirst’s new headline-grabbing work came from an exasperated exclamation of his mother’s: “For the love of God, what are you going to do next?”

The answer, pictured here, is a life-size platinum skull set with 8,601 high-quality diamonds. If, as expected, it sells for around $100 million this month, it will become the single most expensive piece of contemporary art ever created. Or the most outrageous piece of bling.

At home in Devon, Hirst insists it’s absolutely the former. “I was very worried for a while, because if it looked like bling — tacky, garish and over the top — we would have failed. But I’m very pleased with the end result. I think it’s ethereal and timeless.”

For Hirst, famous pickler of sharks and bovine bisector, all his art is about death. This piece, which was cast from an 18th-century skull he bought in London, was influenced by Mexican skulls encrusted in turquoise. “I remember thinking it would be great to do a diamond one — but just prohibitively expensive,” he recalls. “Then I started to think — maybe that’s why it is a good thing to do. Death is such a heavy subject, it would be good to make something that laughed in the face of it.”

The dazzle of the diamonds might outshine any meaning Hirst attaches to it, and that could be a problem. Its value as jewelry alone is preposterous. Hirst, who financed the piece himself, watched for months as the price of international diamonds rose while the Bond Street gem dealer Bentley & Skinner tried to corner the market for the artist’s benefit. Given the ongoing controversy over blood diamonds from Africa, “For the Love of God” now has the potential to be about death in a more literal way.

“That’s when you stop laughing,” Hirst says. “You might have created something that people might die because of. I guess I felt like Oppenheimer or something. What have I done? Because it’s going to need high security all its life.”

The piece is not exactly the stuff of public art, but Hirst says he hopes that an institution like the British Museum might put it on display for a while before it disappears into a vault, never to be seen again. Whether the piece is seen or not, Hirst will likely go down in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s most extravagant artist.

“I hadn’t thought about that!” he suddenly snorts with laughter. “I deal with that with all my work. The markup on paint and canvas is a hell of a lot more than on this diamond piece.”


At the going rate of 100 million dollars, chances are you won't be buying it.

But now, a London gallery is selling limited edition prints of this piece, still pricey at 10,000+ USD, but a mere pittance compared to $100,000,000.00

In conjunction with Damien Hirst’s exhibition ‘Beyond Belief’, White Cube Gallery announce the release of eight new limited edition works.

These works include a series of silkscreens depicting Hirst’s extraordinary diamond skull ‘For the Love of God’, a life-size cast of a human skull in platinum, covered entirely by 8,601 VVS to flawless pavé-set diamonds. In addition to these silkscreens there are three works on canvas, each with paracetamol pills and syringes. These relate closely to the new series of ‘Fact’ and ‘Biopsy’ paintings which focus upon issues surrounding Western medicine, and continue Hirst’s long standing interest in the themes of life and death.

Want one of your own? Click here

A little about DAMIAN HIRST:
Damien Hirst was born in Bristol, England in 1965. While still a student at Goldsmith's College in 1988, he curated the now renowned student exhibition, Freeze, held in east London. In this exhibition, Hirst brought together a group of young artists who would come to define cutting-edge contemporary art in the 1990s. In 1991, he had his first solo exhibition at the Woodstock Street Gallery, entitled In and Out of Love, in which he filled the gallery with hundreds of live tropical butterflies, some of which were hatched from the monochrome canvases that hung the walls. In 1992, he was part of the ground breaking Young British Artists exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. In this show, he exhibited his now famous Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, a tiger shark in a glass tank of formaldehyde. That same year he was nominated for the prestigious Tate Gallery Turner Prize, and later won that coveted award in 1995.

Hirst's best known works are his paintings, medicine cabinet sculptures, and glass tank installations. For the most part, his paintings have taken on two styles. One is an arrangement of color spots with titles that refer to pharmaceutical chemicals, known as Spot paintings. The second, his Spin paintings, are created by centrifugal force, when Hirst places his canvases on a spinner, and pours the paint as they spin. In the medicine cabinet pieces Hirst redefines sculpture with his arrangements of various drugs, surgical tools, and medical supplies. His tank pieces, which contain dead animals, that are preserved in formaldehyde, are another kind of sculpture and directly address the inevitable mortality of all living beings. All of Hirst's works contain his ironic wit, and question art's role in contemporary culture.

Hirst's first exhibition with Gagosian Gallery, entitled No Sense of Absolute Corruption, was in 1996 at the now-closed SoHo location in New York. Superstition is Damien Hirst's first show at the Beverly Hills space.

For the Official Damien Hirst Website, click here.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

6 Great New Finds For Kids

Six great new finds for kids include (clockwise from top left)Did iDunphy's Naugahyde Indoor Skateboards, Boon's Faucet protector/deflector and bubble bath dispenser, the Mod Rocker by Iglooplay, faux leather Teddy Bear Bookends, DIY lamps and The Fresco, the new award winning modern tech highchair from Bloom.

To purchase, simply click on the image below
If it's hip, it's here.

See more of my If it's hip, it's here. list at ThisNext.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cuckoo for Cuckoo Clocks: Many Modern Versions Of The Traditional

What is a Cuckoo Clock?
A cuckoo clock is a clock, typically pendulum driven, that strikes the hours using small bellows and pipes that imitate the call of the Common Cuckoo in addition to striking a wire gong. The mechanism to produce the cuckoo call was installed in almost every kind of cuckoo clock since the middle of the eighteenth century and has remained almost without variation until the present.

Above: Traditional Cuckoo Clocks, carved in the German Black Forest Style

To learn more about the history of Cuckoo clocks, click here.

Cuckoo Clocks have come a long way since the Black Forest Bavarian-looking traditional clock. take a look at some of the contemporary versions on the market.

The modern cuckoo clock below in stainless steel and available in powder coated colors, the Diamantini Domeniconi by Pascal Tarabay was one of the first modern cuckoos on the market:

Another by Pascal Tarabay is the Cuckoo Meridiana Clock:

available for purchase here.

Barbero Design of Italy is one of the biggest manufacturers of modern Cuckoo Clocks.
Here are some of their clocks:

The Gazebo:

The Kalimero:

The Auckland:

The Picchio:

The Nonsparatesulcucu:

Momento Italia carries most of the above clocks by Barbero as well as these below:

The Tu-Tu, designed by Mattia Cimadoro:

E Gamina's The Merlino:

Tip Top by Ilya Titov in maple or wenge

Designed by Rnd_Lab, this comes in painted colors as well as natural wood:

The Silos, designed by G. Lacchetti

Many designers and manufacturers have jumped on the Cuckoo bandwagon, here are some more available for purchase below:
Modern Cuckoo Clock designed by Tobias Reischle, available at the SF MOMA store
Kikkerland's fun retro plastic chrome cuckoo, available at The Abstract Home:

Modern Cuckoo in Pink or Silver, no longer available-sold out at Chiasso:

The Digital Stag Cuckoo Clock by Fly-Pitcher:

This nice chrome cuckoo is now on sale at Chiasso for $148.00:
The all wood Cosine Cuckoo available here:

This Minimalist Beauty in Wood and Brass is designed by Reddish and is available here:

These two cu_cu clocks (as they are named) are available at Unica Home along with many of the Barbero clocks shown here:

And for the kids....

This fun series of modern colorful plastic Cuckoos called CooClocks have been designed for kids and have various animals. On the hour, a wacky farm or jungle character pops out of the doors and sounds with a ’Moo’, ’Neigh’, ’Bawk’, etc. These funny clocks are ideal as children’s clocks or for young at heart adults. Coo clocks are usable as wall clocks or mantle clocks. :

Coo Clocks are made by HeadsUp and are available here

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