Category Archives: Design

Do You Need a Space 10 Growroom?

I am rather confident that your immediate answer will be “no”. But wait! Check it out!

The Growroom

You have to admit that it is funky! And while you might not be drooling to build one of these yourself, it is cool that IKEA is paying designers to think of how urban gardening might look in the future.

This one looks a bit more my size

Image result for IKEA growroom

BTw, you cannot buy this, but you can build one yourself.

This is very cool! But will it fit into the living room?



Do You Live in Space … or the Place?

These days, I live in space only. I am in the middle of renovations. I suffer through this because I aspire to a place. A place that has my personal stamp on it.

But where does one get inspiration to build a “personal stamp”? Err … how about great design blogs? Well, that was what inspired some intrepid folks to go hog wild on design.

Saveur applauds six of the best. If you want eye candy, you got it at the link.

Go for it!

Who Knew? My Apps Want to Socialize!

I am excited about a certain tech trend that keeps on saying “mainstreaming is just around the corner!”

I first got the vision from this 1987 video made by Apple.

The digital assistant acts like an assistant! It is not stupid, like Siri is now.

We are not there yet. But we are getting closer. One way is in improving how apps can communicate with each other.

But welcome IFTTT.

Starting today, developers can embed IFTTT within apps and enable users to connect the hundreds of apps that the service supports. That means that the world of apps is about to get a bit more like the web. Just as any website can link to any other website, apps will readily exchange info with other apps.

But don’t we have this? Well, we do, but

Of course, tech companies have long offered APIs (application programming interfaces) that let third-party developers build integrations with their apps. The problem is developers must write code to support each app they want to integrate with. IFTTT solves this problem by acting as a hub between different apps.

Making these link ups easier means that AI powered bots can more easily connect to apps for services you want. So Alexa might be able to order a pizza and pay for it based on a voice command only.

We are not there yet. But improved integration of apps is a nice step forward.


Now that’s One Smart Flower!

I have posted before that I think solar will evolve faster than people think. These days, we think of clunky and expensive solar panels. Not for long. One likely thread of innovation will be to take solar off the roof and put it in other spaces that are easier to manage.

Smartflower POP is trying to lead the charge there.

Check out the video of the backyard installation. I thought it was cool in the extreme. And these specs might get your attention

Smartflower POP has been dubbed “the world’s first all-in-one solar system” and is easy on the eye and simple to use.  The system is constructed of petal shaped solar panels that automatically fan out to create a structure similar to a flower.  It also includes a self-cleaning system that cleans the solar cells daily and positions itself throughout the day to ensure that the maximum sunlight is being received at all times.  Thanks to the extraordinary design of the solar system it is now able to produce up to a whopping 4,000 kWh per year, which is enough to provide all the energy needed for the average central European household. 

The Secret Sauce to Crowdsourcing

From Fred Wilson

The secret sauce behind (Stack Overflow’s) success is the fact that crowdsourcing information is way better than the top down approach when it is combined with a specific set of tools that make the crowdsourced data super high quality. The latter is what (Stack CEO Joel Spolsky) calls the “reputation stuff” (voting, reputation, tags, community moderation, etc).

You can think of this as the deomcratizing of platforms. Communities grow powerful when they can rely on each other to upload quality stuff.

This is what makes the so called “sharing economy” work. We won’t use a shared commodity unless we have some assurance that wit will work for us. This works for apartments, cars, etc. We are not there yet when it comes to sharing ourselves beyond our “jobs”.

But imagine if we could develop digital tools that enabled us to get rewarded for sharing the expertise we gain we learn as we go. Now we get that reward from salary. But what if we could do as well or better by sharing within global communities?

Just a thought.

100 Web Design Resources, Please

One of the more interesting trends that we are living through has to do with design. In the old days, designers worked for firms that produced stuff. But with internet, we all produce digital stuff. And we are all getting used to dealing with design concepts.

The good news is that there are lots of folks out there who want to help us do the design work that we need. The bad news is that a lot of the value added in what we do is intrinsically related to design. So if we farm out design, we farm out a lot of value added potential. I have lived through this more than once.

From my own experience, I have the sense that over time, we all will become more design oriented. To get there, we need to get the vocabulary and  some basic skills to handle design questions so that even if we do not do the design, we know more precisely what design potential exists.

With that all said, Tomas Laurinavicius offers a rather fun list of web based resources. Nice starting point. Now can someone organize this into a tutorial for idiots?

BTW, Tomas is into “lifestyle design”, a concept that is gaining traction. Stay tuned for more on that.  If you want something NOW, check this out for 64 ways lifestyle designers make a living.