Early Adoption – iPad

consumerism, good design, Industrial Design, Marketing, user interface design

As much as I’d like to get excited about the iPad I am trying to wait and see. Several times a year new gadgets are released and people go gaga over the potential they offer, rush out and purchase them, then lament the flaws they discover after using theses as yet untested devices.
As much as companies test their products it’s only in daily use that many flaws can be found. Repetitive daily tasks, various use cases, unusual routines, and mass usage all play out scenarios the manufacturers (and software developers) can’t even imagine. This is the elusive nature of humans and the tools we use.
So here’s the deal with me and the iPad. I want one but I don’t want to figure out all these issues for Apple. I know it will be a good product but I don’t know if it will be good for me. I have specific things I want it to do, but I’m as unique as the next person, and I can’t be sure that there was an engineer with my unique use patterns to play out all the flaws that this device will have for me. I’d love to have a portable sketchpad, movie watcher, note taker. But I don’t know if it will work as a sketchpad for me, it might. So I’ll wait and play and read and let the market solve these problems before I invest in this new technology.

iPhone ChatterBox Cable

commuting, Industrial Design, Motorcycle, Project, Prototype

I am presently on a quest to get my gear connected. My iPhone to pump music and phone calls into my helmet, and my ChatterBox HJC-FRS so that I can communicate with other riders and my passenger. I do listen to music on long rides to break up the wind noise, but don’t really plan on making phone calls while driving. (probably just listening in on early morning conference calls) So how am I going to do this? The obvious solution is to use the equipment I already have and modify it to meet the requirements. So here’s the inventory. EDIT: This cable may break your ChatterBox. I have discovered that the Microphone circuit on my ChatterBox no longer transmits! I do not know if it was this cable that did it…

Forget Gasoline…What about Plastic?

bad design, climate change, consumerism, education, Industrial Design, Marketing, reliability

One of the often overlooked problems with our dwindling oil future is plastic. As we continue to burn oil in our engines we are using a valuable resource that could be used for durable plastic goods. When the oil runs out, or becomes extremely rare and expensive, how will we manufacture plastics? We rely heavily on plastics for all our products; electronics, transportation, medical technologies, construction, and housing. There are few things today that do not rely on plastics and polymers.

How to buy a bicycle

bad design, bicycling, consumerism, good design, Industrial Design, reliability

As a follow up to the article on cheap carbon frames I wanted to make a few additional points about bicycle quality that are less specific than one frame material. To begin, I think that everyone should ride bicycles. Bicycles provide low impact healthy exercise that is fun for all ages, and even more fun to do as a group. To get started you need to have a bicycle. If you already have one, or need to get one, here are some simple rules to follow when looking for a good bike.

“Cheap” Carbon Frames

bicycling, good design, Industrial Design, Scattante

carbon_fillerWhile I was working in the industry many customers asked, “Is X a good brand”. Most people don’t realize that the average $500 mountain bike is made in one of three factories. Giant, in Taiwan, is the largest manufacturer of bikes in the world, and make many of the bicycles you find under other companies names. Remember that these are bicycle shop bicycles, not department store bikes! With that in mind consider that only a few really exotic bikes (expensive), hand built steel, and custom frames being made in Europe and the United States, everything else is made in China (low end) and Taiwan (everything else).

Everyone can do their part

bad design, blogging, climate change, environment, good design, Industrial Design, reliability

Finally an excuse to rant about an environmental issue. Blog Action Day has asked that bloggers around the world call attention to the global issue that affects everyone, the environment. Here’s the details:

Publish a post on their blog which relates to an issue of their own choice pertaining to the environment.

For example: A blog about money might write about how to save around the home by using environmentally friendly ideas. Similarly a blog about politics might examine what weight environmental policy holds in the political arena.

So here’s my take on what designers everywhere can do to help.

Product Design Flaws

bad design, good design, Industrial Design, Motorcycle, reliability

It is with a note of sadness that I must report that my perfectly operating Suzuki SV650S on it’s approach to four years of faithful service has started to show signs of weakness. Not mechanical failures per say, but design failures. While they are very reliable motorcycles there are three specific flaws that I have run across with this bike.