The iPad Quartet

The iPad Quartet
You can’t walk without tripping over an article about Apple and/or the introduction of the new iPad. It looks like a wonderful device and deserves more praise than much of the ‘This Article Generating Thousands of Dollars in Ad Revenue Simply by Mentioning New iPad‘ type of article gives. The improvements in screen are impressive and the networking update yawn inducing, what I found most interesting was the bit of theatrics that Apple displayed on it’s GarageBand video. The iOS version of GarageBand has been updated with a number of new music-making features, including allowing four people to play together simultaneously. By magic, the iPads stay synchronized over Wi-Fi, and can create at the end a master recording that can be shared online. That’s far more impressive and potentially more culturally relevant than faster networking or even a higher resolution screen. And it’s all software.

Square Register

If and when it becomes available overseas, I could see Square Register becoming extremely popular with small businesses. In this market and pop-up business culture this would be extremely convenient but I won’t hold my breath in the hope of seeing this in Taiwan, banking here is a mess.
“Everything you need to start, run and grow your business”, except for an iPad of course.

Not all teachers excited about the iPad classroom

iPads in the classroom

Gunn High School in Palo Alto has issued iPads to 30 freshmen in a pilot project. But, students say, most of their teachers don’t let them use the iPads in class, partly because students sneak peeks at Facebook and other social networking sites.
“These devices don’t help our kids be prepared to be in the classroom. They do the opposite,” said English teacher Marc Vincenti, whose classroom is not part of the experiment.
“The access to electronic devices on campus — available to an age-group that is not famous for its impulse control — lends itself to continual waves of emotion, anxiety and preoccupation that can’t help but wash over into classroom time.”
Many students, though, have embraced the iPads, which they get to take home.
Sophomore Allison Paley, 15, last year found her iPad useful on a biology field trip for drawing plants and birds. But for reading books, “I personally like the feel and smell of paper.”
Even for tech-promoter Horn, the bottom line is whether technology makes good teaching easier. It’s not clear if the iPad’s iBooks 2 program is headed that way.
And for many, it comes down to cost, even if electronic books have more bells and whistles. As Palo Alto’s Dunkin said, “I don’t care if an e-textbook is whizzier and better, most people are going to buy the paper.”

I tend to be very positive about the effects mobile devices have had on culture but my experience with iPads and laptops in the classroom mirrors the teachers comments above. These devices are by their very nature explorative and as such have a great potential to be a source of distraction.
I can see the value as an alternative to a textbook but in so many case technology purchasing decisions are made with an inherent bias that it will somehow increase test scores or more importantly increase the educational outcomes in the classroom. As a parent, I remain unconvinced and believe if a school district has limited funds then those moneys should be placed in increasing teachers salaries, training and resources.
Lastly, children learn best when they manipulate, use and create tangible things, not by simply sliding pictures under glass.
Will Apple create the all-iPad classroom?

Urbanflow Helsinki

A thought provoking film showcasing the Urbanflow Helsinki project, a joint effort of and and their vision of ubiquitous urban screens integrated into our lives. A uniquely European bit of futurism.

Our vision is to make the city more accessible and enjoyable for both residents and visitors through a situated interactive service. By sharing real-time data and feedback about the city, we aim to create a more efficient, transparent relationship between city administrators and citizens. The unique benefit of situated urban screens lies in their capacity to be both locally-oriented and general purpose at once. The same urban screen can show contextual, hyperlocal information as well as broader, citywide content, allowing users to peek around walls and across the city. For officials and administrators this means making the city more transparent and efficient to manage through the use of real-time data and feedback.

Urbanflow Helsinki

How to kill time without your phone

Why do teenagers love to text message?
Brenna Ehrlich and Andrea Bartz, the sarcastic brains behind humor blog and book “Stuff Hipsters Hate,” give us five instances in which we can pass those idle moments without hauling out your iPhone and start sliding pictures under glass. One highlight: “Instead of pretending not to see someone 6 inches away from you, say hello.”

During one’s bustling life there are a collection of moments — fragments out of time — that afford one a sense of slow-down reflection. A kind of reprieve from the mania that is living.
The 15 seconds it takes for the light to turn green. The 30 seconds waiting in line for one’s morning coffee. The minute-and-a-half of unsupervised freedom you get before your boss climbs out from under his/her desk, wipes the tears from his/her scarlet face and resumes steering the good ship Your Job.
And how do many of us pass those few free seconds when time slows down, the breeze buffets our staid faces and we’re reminded that we are all pinpricks on some great, spinning orb lost in infinite space? Contemplating one’s very storied existence? Or fiddling with Instagram in an effort to look busy?
Likely, it’s the latter.

How to kill time without your phone

Leather Black Pouch Wallet

Leather Black Pouch Wallet
Pouches like these are a great way to carry around a number of different objects in one place – with the added benefit that your invest won’t be obsolete when the next great gadget appears. You can likely find these locally but if not these handsome handmade Pouch Wallets are an excellent option. Made with a brass zipper, black matte horsehide outer and natural linen lining.
Black Pouch Wallet Med handmade by Rennes in Boston.

Tom Bihn Ristretto splash-proof zipper

splash-proof zipper
Please excuse the poor photograph (I didn’t follow any of this advice) but I’m incredibly pleased with the splash-proof zipper (#8 YKK Uretek) which closes the front pouch of Tom Bihn’s Ristretto. Fantastic decision – it’s details like this that make all the difference and make having products like this a joy. Tom Bihn has a better photograph on his site.
I just received the Ristretto and plan to later write some thoughts, including putting it though the rigours elementary school! The Osprey messenger we received a couple months ago hasn’t faired too well, while my old Crumpler has passed the test on a number of occasions.
My initial thoughts, beyond the joy of that new bag smell, is just how small both our devices and the bags we carry them have become. The Ristretto is a far cry from the Brain Bag I used to have to carry my laptop in.

iPad Dock Tray

iPad Dock Tray
iPad Dock Tray
iPad Dock Tray
This would make a nice addition to the right desk. A nice metaphor too. Designed by Alain Berteau and made in Germany of oiled oak from harvested forests. Compatible with iPads, iPad 2 and many other devices.
iPad Dock Tray

OLDFLOWERS Leather iPhone Cases

Having a case like this is reason enough to own an iphone.

Exactly! I love small companies such as this and the ability to see, how and by whom, what would certainly be a cherished product is made.These are the companies I like to support.

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Old Flowers provides durable handmade leather iPhone cases. Created by Caleb Flowers, the craftsman comes from a history of skilled leather workers. Old Flowers is a new take on a time honored tradition.


Amazing Anti-Thief Security Case!

Why hasn’t anyone made a laptop case with this same ‘amazing technology’? When someone takes off with the case the handle crushes their hand and telescoping handles make it impossible to carry.

iPhone Cross Stitch Case

iPhone 4 & 4S Cross Stitch Case
It wasn’t so long ago that I thought the iPhone would bring about the death of personalizing the mobile phone, thinking that all the personality would come from software, not external dangles and such. I was wrong. The iPhone has created an accessory market busting with interesting ideas for personalization. A cross stitch iPhone case with a multitude of patterns!

Technology and craft meet in this ingenious kit! This cross stitch kit comes with a 33 by 69 grid cross stitch case, three colors of thread, a needle, and a booklet of designs. Get creative – we love the idea of making this with a vintage cross-stitch pattern for a wonderful juxtaposition of the new and old! Fits both the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S.

There is a great write up on The Purl Bee. See the kit here. Via goh li kim.

Barely There Case for iPhone

Barely There Case for iPhone
This impact resistant PolyCore shell case from Casemate is going to protect your iPhone from the nominal nicks and bumps that regular use might indicate. Which is to say is pretty much indistinguishable from a million other cases out there expect for it’s selection of unique soft pastel colours. Also features a slim profile and access to all ports and functions.
Casemate – Barely There Case for iPhone

A4 Mouse Pad

A4 Mouse Pad
A4 Mouse Pad
I don’t often have the time to respond to submissions or PR email but I’m glad I have this morning. Hong Kong and Montreal based design studio Kitmen Keung has developed a silicone made mouse pad with inspiration from A4 paper. Not a revolutionary new product but an attractive fit for the minimalist desktop.

The 5mm thick, A4-size silicone piece brings together the convenience of a mouse pad and a resting place for tiny desktop accessories such as clips, coins and pencils in the form of an inwards sloping edge. This 4.3 cm wide corrugated secondary surface pulls round objects towards the carved slot much like a magnet. The top surface of the mouse pad is finished with a layer of oven-baked polyurethane coating with tiny micro grids on it, which results in a noiseless, low-friction but rough textured surface. Colors available are Charcoal Gray, Orange and Cambridge Blue.

A4 Mouse Pad