February 22, 2011
Core 77, the Eames Office and Herman Miller announced the jury winner for the Eames Powers of 10 Video competition today. Entrants were asked to create a 2-minute video response to Charles and Ray Eames’ seminal film, Powers of Ten. The winner’s video, created by the team at Idea Garden Media, is a funny take on the iconic film. You can check out the winning entry here. Also don’t miss the community prize winner’s film “Dreams of Eames” by LA-based Dave Douglass – it’s also very good. Congrats to the winners!
Eames Demetrios, who heads up the Eames Office and was one of the jury members said of the winning entry: “Charles Eames often said, ‘Eventually everything connects.’ I don’t know if Idea Garden Media had that idea in mind, but it was nice to see something that began as a low-tech tribute to the Powers of Ten evolve into a reminder that there is a deep inter-relationship between all the different scales. Their entry started as an homage, turned into a love letter and transformed into a celebration of the implications of the underlying idea. Good job.”
February 22, 2011
There is no comfort in using a hot tempered laptop. Nowadays, the overheating of laptops has become one of the most common problems they have. The fact that most of the time they are resting on our lap, make these cooling units, even more appealing. They are simple to use and harvest the power from the USB source from the computer. The only drawback could be a lower battery range.
Belkin F5L001-BLK Laptop Cooling Pad
The Laptop Cooling Pad’s unique patented wave design prevents your laptop from overheating. It uses natural convection to enhance fan cooling, and ensures low power consumption via your laptop’s USB port. It requires no bulky power adapters. Gentle slope improves typing comfort and reduces wrist strain while raising the screen height to help reduce neck strain. Fits conveniently inside a laptop bag and the wave design enhances cooling capabilities. We love the fact that it even has a convenient storage compartment for USB cable when not in use.
For a fan-equipped laptop cooler, Logitech’s N100 is really silent. It is otherwise a simple construction with an attractive, rounded design. The surface is gray (or an optional pinkish hue), but underneath it is moss green for some reason. Whether you like this particular choice of color is a matter of taste of course, but it is distinctly unique. The single, centrally placed fan in combination with the efficient air channels provide good cooling and exceptionally low noise.
Targus Lap Chill Mat
This is one of few fan-based laptop coolers that do not have fans in the base of the stand, but relies on air intake from the sides. This is great since you will not get needlessly cold when operating it on your lap. In terms of design it’s not spectacular in its dark and light gray appearance – Targus has instead gone for a discreet and low-key approach with the Lap Chill Mat. Neither is it all made of metal. Instead it is clad in neoprene fabric on top and bottom, which provides added comfort when it rests on your lap.
Microsoft Cooling Base
The big fan in the middle of the stand provides adequate cooling, but is also relatively loud. To make matters worse, Microsoft forgot to include a compartment where you can stow away the USB cord when it’s not in use. On top of the Cooling Base are two rubber strips, one at the top and bottom, to keep your computer in place. They are gray while the rest of the board is white. On the black bottom there is a fold-out that allows you to place your computer a bit higher if you want to.
By Joel Pirela.
This story appears in partnership with Unplggd, a site for people who embrace technology and design in their home.
February 22, 2011
Part 2 – Decluttering the Surface
The background: My desk has historically been an impending avalanche. The problem is not only that there is stuff piled on stuff, but I don’t know what to do with the stuff once I want to put it away. Here’s last week’s post.
Since I embarked on Project: Desk a week ago I started noticing some things about myself. Which are not all that attractive. One thing is that I don’t have good follow-through on tasks. Or maybe more accurately, I follow-through, but not in chronological – or even logical — order. So I’ll start an email, then go make a cup of chai, then pick up the living room, and then go back to the email. My desk is in between the living room and the kitchen, so all kinds of things end up on it while I’m distracted by the next item on the to-do list.
This happens in the kitchen too. The other night, surrounded by salad greens on the floor and all over the counter, I pointed out my realization to my husband, Steve. “Why do you think I call you Edward Scissorhands?”
A change in my behavior that will lead to my redemption. The union of thought and action will help me overcome this chronic disorganization, which puts me in a bad mood and makes me too stressed out to go to yoga.
I learned two major things this week. The first – great advice came in from comments on the first blog entry — is about shredding and tossing things you don’t need. I had dinner with my friend Joanna, who is basically perfect. She’s a brown-eyed blonde beauty, a supersmart former corporate VP-turned-shrink. She has a rich spiritual life and laughs at my jokes and is probably one of the best advice-givers I know. But the annoying thing is that she is also very well organized. She told me, as she gripped a cilantro-ginger shrimp with her chopsticks, that she normally just puts each thing in its place when it comes through. She doesn’t even think about it. When she’s too busy, she has everything in a grocery bag that she can stash and then tackles it on Sunday.
The other thing I learned is that I don’t mind cleaning up as long as I have a little reward for myself. I only watch two TV shows, 30 Rock and The Office, which happily, are available online. So I’ve made a new rule: While I’m cleaning my desk off, I absolutely must also be watching something I enjoy. Or the other way around.
So today I’m sitting at my newly clean desk, with some tulips and a Valentine’s Day card in the feng shui relationship area. I have a lot more to do. Empty out drawers. Get rid of adaptors for long-gone electronics. Sort through a giant redwood tree’s worth of clean paper and envelopes. Figure out where to store the books I need to read and review for 40licious so they don’t get all mixed in with my Latin primer from college. Why am I keeping a Latin primer from college anyway? That is another story that involves books as a cultural shorthand to a person.
What I’m realizing is that I don’t have to do it all in one day. If I break Project: Desk up into phases and really think about what’s next and why, chances are I’ll make some changes that really work.
PS – In case you were wondering, frēti fidē tuā nōn timēbimus means “Relying on your trustworthiness, we shall not fear.”
Balance, Products, Technology
February 21, 2011
We had a reader ask about the screensavers in last week’s Inspiration story. The digital clock is by the clever people at 9031 and can be downloaded here. I’ve also included Amy’s roundup of other desktop clocks that we ran last year.
1. Swiss Railway Clock This animated screensaver drew its inspiration from the easy-to-read face of the clocks that keep time in more than 3,000 train stations throughout Europe. Get it: CNET
2. Real Simple‘s Clock Screen Saver Designed by Alan Dye, this colorful clock celebrates the tenth anniversary year of Real Simple magazine. Get it: RealSimple.com
3. Blu Dot Desktop Clock This timepiece takes up one inch of your computer desktop, displaying a different image for every minute of the day (if you’re doing that math, that’s a total of 720). Get it: Blu Dot
4. Word Clock British digital designer Simon Heys programmed this typographic screensaver to tell time by highlighting appropriate words as each second passes. Get it: simonheys.com
5. PolarClock The bright hues of these concentric circles adjust their length as time marches on. Get it: blog.pixelbreaker.com
Images linked to their sources within the numbered text
Balance, Design, Products
February 18, 2011
Where we’ve been this week…
1. Design Crisis for Karly Hand’s frank and funny writing and the great images of interiors.
2.Design Traveller for strong inspirational interiors and a refreshingly clean design.
3. Eye Spy for graphic designer and Atlanta-based Susie Q’s warm modern aesthetic.
4. Pink Wallpaper because I am clearly on a girly interiors bent. But this blog somehow circumvents the obvious and gives us some very beautiful spaces.
5. Lonny magazine’s blog for its awesome coverage of interior design. This online magazine is wonderful and the blog lives up to its hefty monthly cousin.
6. Belle Maison for the interviews with designers. Nice informative series.
7. An Afternoon With for Michael Mundy’s beautiful photography and the voyeuristic pleasure of peeking inside elegant people’s homes.
8. julia for its amazing layout and her book-filled desk.
9. My Vibe My Life for a peek into interior designer Kelly Wearstler’s colorful world.
10. Dwell magazine for its strong round-up of incredible home offices and home office ideas.
February 18, 2011
If you are like people I know, then you have a to-do list a mile long. And, everything on that list feels like it’s of the utmost importance.
It is an unfortunate truth: your to-do list will actually never end. Even though you may never have a truly completed to-do list neatly crossed off you can have a list that feels doable and a lot less stressful.
Recently I was preparing to go on a much-needed vacation with my husband. Instead of becoming giddy and excited about the idea of a sweet romantic getaway for two, I was irritable, exhausted, and, quite honestly, resentful of my pre-vacation to-do list. This list was full of work to-dos, family to-dos, and vacation prep to-dos. I felt absolutely overwhelmed.
I realized that in order to gain clarity, and a better attitude, I had to re-invent my to-do list. I had to transform it into a helpful tool. I took charge of my to-do list in three easy steps.
1. Make a New List - Get cozy and quiet in a place that is different from where you usually make your lists or plan your days. Make this time and space different somehow. Take some deep breaths and let yourself slow down. Now, write a list of all of your responsibilities for the day or week. (Don’t forget to keep breathing while you write!)
2. Divide - Divide a separate piece of paper into two columns and label them: Must Do’s and Would Like to Do’s. Put the items from your list above into the appropriate column. Challenge yourself to place at least half (maybe even most) of the items from your initial list in the Would-Like-to-Do column. Closely examine what beliefs, patterns and resistance emerge. You may feel like everything belongs on the Must-Do side, but does it really? For example: If you believe that you must return every phone call or email on the same day you receive it, then challenge yourself. What would happen if one day most or even all of your emails or calls went unanswered? The world as you know it probably wouldn’t end. Get creative and let yourself think outside the box.
3. Conquer - Next, fold the paper in half and hide your Would-Like-to-Do items. Number the Must-Do items in order of importance. Then, go forth, and do the things on this shorter, more focused list. Don’t forget to celebrate what you achieve.
When I followed these steps myself, I realized that almost everything on my pre-vacation to-do list was really a Would-Like-to-Do item. There was very little that I actually had to complete before I went away. I had to make sure my most important work responsibilities were handled and that my kids were safe. Beyond that, I realized that even packing was optional! By focusing the list on only those things I absolutely had to achieve, I created for myself a new, more refreshing perspective and let go of my do-or-die to-do list. I took charge of my to-do list. Using the three simple steps above, you can too.
Illustrations by Jordan Awan.
February 17, 2011
Meet Tom. He’s our 6-month-old Maine Coon mix and the latest addition to the Lifework team. I’m blaming all typos on him from this moment forward.
February 17, 2011
I wonder what Herman Miller’s founder D. J. De Pree would think about yesterday’s Treehugger post on standing desks. Having spent yesterday glued to my work chair writing all day I can see a lot of advantages to a standing desk! Is anyone out there working at a standing desk? Be interested to hear what it’s like.
February 17, 2011
Nicole Walker is the author of This Noisy Egg (Barrow Street Press, 2010). Her writing has appeared in a number of literary journals including Ploughshares and North American Review. Assistant Professor of Poetry and Creative Nonfiction at Northern Arizona University and nonfiction editor of Diagram, Walker co-created the artist/writer collaborative project “7 Rings” on the Huffington Post. Here she ruminates on motivation, adaptability, and the inevitable unloading of the dishwasher.
First, what is ideal about working? The best thing about my work is that it takes place while I’m doing other things.
I empty the dishwasher because the dishwasher is nine feet to the right of the end of my kitchen table, and ten and a half feet from my computer that sits on the kitchen table. I need to get away from that workspace and go dominate another. One percent of that need is that the dishwasher needs emptying. The other 99% is that I need to get away from that bad idea, that half a good idea, the almost idea, the stupid idea, the internal editor that called my idea stupid, the idea that is almost fully formed Athena-like but then evaporated when I went to check my email.
As I empty the dishwasher, I hope the dishwasher simultaneously washes away whatever I was thinking about and recovers the original, best thought. I would like to erase. I would also like my pristine idea.
I like to pretend that if I could record every idea, get the idea at the moment it happened, then the true and good work would prevail. But that’s not what happens. In the middle of Harry Potter, I have an idea of humans and adaptability. Should I get up from where I’m reading in bed and write it down? Should I have some technology that allows me to nod in the general direction of that idea and have it permanently imprinted on a document that one day, if I put it through the dishwasher of revision, it will come out clean?
That idea, if it’s a good one, will emerge again. And so my ideal workspace is wherever there is other work to do to allow the ideas to resurface.
I should go outdoors without shoes on. I should sit in the middle of my garden with my laptop and type the words, “let’s all adapt.” I should pull a weed or two and write, “there’s something very much like the movie Waterworld about humans adapting. I don’t want gills.” I should go find a hoe and dig a trench. Into it, I should plant tiny carrot seeds. “But maybe I do want gills. Who am I kidding? Gills would be rad.” Now I stand up. “If I had gills, would food still taste good?” I both wonder this and write this and I’m so glad my computer doesn’t mind a little dirt and tiny carrot seeds.
The ideal workspace is a place where my computer can be and I can escape from it. It should be in an open enough place where I swear I just saw a fox run out the backyard and with just enough open windows and doors that my kids can find me and bring the kitchen forks outside and take the pinecones inside and the wind can send me away and the flicker of a hawk tail can draw me back. It should be in reach of both popcorn and tea. It should be loud enough that I have to stand up and ask, “what?” and quiet enough that when I do get one of those pristine ideas, I can hear it echo, resound, resonate and come back until it’s finally ready to be written down.
February 17, 2011
Dear Aeron Chair,
How do you do it? I’m 5’2” and my hubby is 6’3”; and yet we can share our love of you equally. Who could cradle us better than you? You, who understand that a long term relationship requires a partner to be flexible, to roll with any situation, and to support even under stress. I can’t wait to celebrate our titanium anniversary.
Rebecca (and Mike)
Dear Roll-Top Desk and Chair,
I was six when I met you two in my father’s studio. With you I was high enough to look out the window and over the city. You shared your pencils and paper and I felt like I could be an artist or a teacher or an astronaut.