Light Pool by Hironao Tsuboi

Light Pool by Hironao Tsuboi
Light Pool by Hironao Tsuboi
Light pool is a mobile phone created for a world where time, light, sound, smell, and other senses seem to flow around you. Composed of a truss-like structure and surfaces, light pool has a unique form never before seen in a mobile phone. The light that flows from the triangular windows give the phone a distinct identity. At the centre of the concept is the blend of light and music. The 22 LEDs arranged along the triangular windows that cover the surface of the phone blend with the rhythm of music to create a ‘gorgeous scene’ in the dark. The design comes with ten preset light and sound sequences developed by visual artist and musician masakatsu takagi and also allows the user to add more of their own from its 60 different light patterns, which can also be assigned to caller IDs [via].
Light Pool by Hironao Tsuboi

Visualizing wireless networks in the physical world

Utopian and radical architects in the 1960s predicted that cities in the future would not only be made of brick and mortar, but also defined by bits and flows of information. The urban dweller would become a nomad who inhabits a space in constant flux, mutating in real time. Their vision has taken on new meaning in an age when information networks rule over many of the city’s functions, and define our experiences as much as the physical infrastructures, while mobile technologies transform our sense of time and of space.

This new urban landscape is no longer predicated solely on architecture and urbanism. These disciplines now embrace emerging methodologies that bend the physical with new measures, representations and maps of urban dynamics such as traffic or mobile phone flows. Representations of usage patterns and mapping the life of the city amplify our collective awareness of the urban environment as a living organism. These soft and invisible architectures fashion sentient and reactive environments.

As technology advances, deep reading suffers

Reading is again becoming a cognitively strenuous job as the mind struggles to keep track not only of the words but also of all the surrounding distractions.

Today, a counterrevolution is under way. As the computer and cell phone become our main reading devices, the book is being pushed to the periphery of culture. According to recent studies by Ball State University and the federal government, the average American spends more than eight hours a day peering into a screen – TV, computer or cell phone (sometimes all three at once) – but devotes just 20 minutes to reading books and other printed works.
Reading from a screen is very different from reading from a book. A book provides a shield against distraction, allowing us to focus our entire attention on an author’s narrative or argument. When text is put onto a screen, it enters what the science fiction writer Cory Doctorow terms an “ecosystem of interruption technologies.” The words have to compete for our attention with links, e-mails, texts, tweets, Facebook updates, videos, ads and all the other visual stimuli that pour through our computers.

Read: As technology advances, deep reading suffers

Haruki Murakami: Travelling and making art

What’s the value of writing so far from home? Why have you written so may books overseas?
It’s easier for you to write about your own country when you’re far away. From a distance, you can look at your own country as it really is. I wrote “Norwegian Wood” when I was on several Greek islands, and in Rome and Palermo, Italy. “Dance, Dance, Dance” was mostly written in Rome, and partly in London. The first half of “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” was written in Princeton and the latter half in Cambridge. And I wrote “After The Quake” in the middle of Tokyo, in an isolated little house owned by my publisher. I guess I have a nomadic spirit inside me that I can’t keep down. Because I now that each one of those books is connected to each of the places where they were written. When I think of them, the scenes of the locations where I wrote them come to mind.

So, you’re not only traveling physically, you’re actually journeying metaphysically into the self, into the imagination. You told me once that the trip into the imagination is fraught with dangers – like falling into a well, a metaphor you use a lot in your novels and stories. What are those dangers?
In almost all cases, the objective of a trip is paradoxical. You ultimately want to return to the starting point safely. Writing fiction is the same; no matter how far you go, or how deep a place you go to, in the end when you finish writing, you have to return to the place where you started. That is the final destination. However, the starting point to which you return is never the starting point where you actually started. The scenery is the same, and the faces are the same, and things placed there are the same. However, something fundamental has changed significantly. That’s what we discover; it’s your discovery. To know that difference is also one of your prime objectives – or at least to acknowledge that difference.

Does that mean that travel and making art are connected by the trip?
Yes, in that sense, traveling and writing fiction may be a similar experience. You first start by visiting near by places, convenient places, places everyone knows about, and then gradually, you start traveling to more distant, deeper and darker places – even more dangerous places. Just like a surfer goes farther away from the shore to find bigger waves. That’s probably in the very nature of the traveler and the fiction writer.

Read: Haruki Murakami: Nomadic Spirit

Urban Junket Laptop Tote

Urban Junket Laptop Tote
I know a few people who would love a bag like this. Made with coated canvas with non-toxic dyes Urban Junket’s T.O.T.E Bags are designed to protect your laptop while observing the environment and your sense of style. The T.O.T.E features a removable clutch, backpack and messenger straps, lots of pockets and a zippered compartment for your phone. Beautiful bold colours.
Of note are the newJamie Raquel File Totes. I often forget that there are many who need to carry a pile of paper and these totes allow you to do so practically and with style.
Urban Junket Laptop Tote

People with E-readers Read More

A growing body of evidence shows that people with e-readers are reading more books. A recent survey found that 40 percent of those with e-readers said they were reading more books than they used to before they had the device, which is consistent with earlier data on e-reading habits. E-book sales climbed by more than 200 percent in the first six months of this year, according to the Association of American Publishers.

The survey by Marketing and Research Resources found that 58 percent of those with e-readers (including the Apple iPad, the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader) said they read about the same number of books as they did before, while 2 percent said they read fewer books. More than half of those surveyed said that they expected to use the device to read even more books in the future.

Amazon reports its customers buy 3.3 times as many books after buying a Kindle.

E-reader users are also more likely to buy books. Twenty percent of respondents without e-readers said they have not purchased any books in the past year compared with only eight percent of e-reader users who said the same.

Read: E-readers Boost Reading Habits and Why E-readers Are Good for Books: People Read More

The State of Our E-Readers

A truly modern e-reader is one that is intimately connected to the Web and allows a user to make queries as a series of asides, while reading or after immersive reading has ended. – Liza Daly

Craig Mod’s essay on embracing the digital book:

Physical books and e-books are both text at their cores. Book designers long ago established rigorous rules for laying out text blocks so they disappear to the reader. They took pride in turning the physicality of a book into a tool for efficiently and elegantly getting information into the mind of the reader. As any good typographer knows: the best typography goes unnoticed.

Our e-readers seem to have forgotten this heritage. They’ve forgotten that their core purpose is simply to present text as comfortably as possible; to gently pull the reader into the story. Every other aspect of experiencing a book is predicated on this notion.

And though unrelated (this seemed like as good a place to put this as a whole new post) here are his thoughts on travel.

I think traveling is a fundamental cornerstone of personal growth. There are few things I enjoy more than those first days in an unknown city or countryside — where you can feel your memory of that locale being painted with broad, thick strokes of new experience.

I completely agree.

The Future of the Book

Meet Nelson, Coupland, and Alice — the faces of tomorrow’s book. Watch global design and innovation consultancy IDEO’s vision for the future of the book. What new experiences might be created by linking diverse discussions, what additional value could be created by connected readers to one another, and what innovative ways we might use to tell our favorite stories and build community around books?

Some great ideas for kids.
Via swissmiss and many others

Ribandhull Felt Kindle Sleeve

Ribandhull Felt Kindle Sleeve
Though the Kindle 3 may have a much lower price, making it far more mass market, that doesn’t mean you should skimp on a stylish bag nor need your sleeve have a mass-market look. Handmade with 3mm thick German wool felt this simple sleeve will protect your Kindle in an analogue and classic style. Ribandhull ‘s Kindle Sleeve features a naturally died leather that will only look better with age and secure snaps that won’t damage your reader.
Kindle Sleeve

Pattaya tries to clean up

Good luck. A beautiful beach marred by broken beer bottles, needles and endless lines of prostitutes, touts and the worst kind of tourists. Slightly interesting place to visit for a night but not a place I could ever imagine enjoying with my family.

Somewhere in the world there may be a city with a more seedy reputation, a place more devoted to the sex industry and more notorious as a haven for criminals on the lam. But probably not.
When dusk comes to this beach resort, a sea of pink neon bulbs casts a pale glow onto the thickly made-up faces of thousands of women (and some men) who sit on bar stools waiting for their patrons.
If Las Vegas is Sin City, Pattaya is a bear hug from Lucifer himself.
… there are signs of change.

Read: A Thai City of Sleaze Tries to Clean Up

Phones Begin to Replace Hotel Keycards

ReadWriteWeb and Luxist report on how two Holiday Inn hotels have begun using iPhone, Android and Blackberry smartphones as room keys (MobieKey is also compatible with other phones as well), giving guests, after they ‘enrol’, the option of skipping the front desk entirely.

With the new system, which will be in testing through December, hotel guests can reserve their accommodations online. A text message is sent to their phone on the day they reserved with a room number and a link to unlock the door. No more friendly banter with the front-desk clerk when you’re late for a meeting, just get in and go – it sounds great.
The program began earlier this month at Holiday Inns in Chicago and Houston. According to USA Today, hotel patrons can sign up for the pilot program by making online reservations and enrolling through an email that receive prior to the check-in date. It is also careful to mention that smartphones “will always be an option for guests rather than a replacement for all keycards”

The High-Tech Future of Travel

street view
I’m not a skeptic but for me getting lost is part of the fun and the point of travel.

Welcome to the new, hyper-connected, technology-based travel paradigm. It’s the era of the smartphone as ubiquitous tool of navigation, when what matters is not just the here but the now. Google Maps and Google Street View blanket more and more of the planet. Facebook and Twitter allow users to ”geotag” their updates with specific geographic coordinates, while Foursquare turns ”checking in” into a form of entertainment. Users of the photo-sharing site Flickr geotag more than four million photos per month. And augmented reality (AR) technology, which allows travelers to navigate their way to nearby attractions by aiming a smartphone in any direction, weaves together all those geodata points into a miniaturized virtual world.

Read: Horizon Wireless

Ally Capellino Dean Backpack

Ally Capellino Dean Backpack
The orange leather bottom is an interesting and bold choice for this backpack from Ally Capellino. If given a choice I would keep the same leather treatment through-out but that might be too ordinary for this bag maker. The Ally Capellino Dean Backpack is made from 100% cotton canvas and features leather straps, handle and trim, a front zip and an inside pocket. Bags like this should be able to withstand the rigours of urban or rural adventures.
Ally Capellino Dean Backpack

Trends: Context-Aware Mobile Devices

Wired: How Context-Aware Computing Will Make Gadgets Smarter

Small always-on handheld devices equipped with low-power sensors could signal a new class of “context-aware” gadgets that are more like personal companions. Such devices would anticipate your moods, be aware of your feelings and make suggestions based on them, says Intel.
Researchers have been working for more than two decades on making computers be more in tune with their users. That means computers would sense and react to the environment around them. Done right, such devices would be so in sync with their owners that the former will feel like a natural extension of the latter.

iOS Central: Future smartphones will be assistants, companions

“The question is, how do we change the relationship so we change these devices from just devices to assistants or even companions,” said Rattner. “We believe context-aware computing is poised to fundamentally change the way we relate to and react to devices. Future devices will constantly learn your habits, the way you go throughout your day. They’ll understand your friends and how you’re feeling. Maybe more importantly, they’ll know where you’re going and anticipate your needs.”

All this is based on Intel CTO Justin Rattner thoughts presented at the Intel Developer Forum. Here is the original release from Intel which includes a video of the keynote, Context Awareness to Radically Change How We Interact with Technology.
Via Putting people first.