Zoo Desk

Came across this while reading Azure on my iPad (using Zinio of course!).  What a great idea for a series of children’s desks.  They are colourful, have animals, and best of all, they are likely cut out using a CNC machine.  Now if only I had designed them…  Also for those of you who have been emailing, last Friday’s “Photo of the Week” is now up on Etsy, only one copy for now, will add more if interest is there.


Rhino for Mac OS X

While I have yet to start buiding my DIY CNC machine, I have started to learn some design software so that I can use the machine once it gets built.  While there are numerous programs out there, I’ve switched almost completely over to Apple right now, so I needed something that would work on my computers.


Rhino is a very well respected design software that is just getting ported over to OS X.  Because they are still in the process, they need feedback, and your feedback is worth free trial copies of the software.  There are bugs of course, but the price is right, and since I haven’t really picked a software yet, this lets me “try before I buy”.  So far I’m still in the tutorials, which although good, are written for the PC version so the menus don’t always seem to match up, but on the whole it is fairly intuitive.


The other cool thing is that they have an App for the iPad that allows you to show your projects on it, even letting you rotate and zoom.  I think that could be key in dealing with clients, being always able to show your product to them.


Zinio – iPad App review


I know I know… I said an iPad review was forthcoming, but I’ve been spending so much time on the iPad, that I haven’t really had time, so instead, another awesome app that I am absolutely loving.  Let me say first that my wife and I love magazines more than just about anything in the world.  That being said, we hate the waste of paper, and the fact that you end up with stacks upon stacks of them all over the house.  You don’t want to throw them away as they’re full of all sorts of great stuff, but the reality is with a million issues of the same magazine, you’re not likely to find what you’re looking for, or to know where to look for that matter.


Enter Zinio.  It’s a company that sells digital magazines.  Once you register for an account you can read them on your iPad or even on your pc.  They have a wide selection of magazines from around the world (which is growing all the time) and you can buy single issues or yearly subscriptions.  The prices are generally close to newstands/actual subscriptions, so it’s more of an environmental/clutter benefit than monetary.


I did find it really nice that you can zoom, and most pages have a “text” button which gives you the text in black and white which was quite nice when my issue of Dwell had turquoise text on a light blue background (kind of dumb for a design magazine, n’est-ce pas?).  The other great feature is that you can click on all web links listed in the magazines.  They aren’t exactly interactive, so the magazines aren’t really taking advantage of all of the iPad’s possibilities, but it’s a nice start.


As an added bonus, you do pay the subscription price as if you are ordering the magazine in the country it is written, this is a real benefit for international magazines as you save on the shipping costs.  For instance, while the US and Canadian dollar are at par, Dwell is double the price to subscribe in Canada, while on Zinio it is the same price.

Cool Hunting

Great new app for the iPad…. Cool Hunting.  Hold on a second, when did I get an iPad? Well as they used to say in “Tales of the Riverbank“… that’s another story (to be told soon of course).

Cool hunting does exactly as it says, it goes round the web and hunts for cool stuff.  It’s all categorized and put in their app, or you can go to their website for those deprived iPadless souls.  Categories include: design, tech, style, travel, culture, food & drink.  New stuff updated all the time.

DIY Macbook Pro Laptop Sleeve

After much debate I recently purchased a Macbook Pro and not an iPad.  For my last laptop, I had a case made out of orange/yellow velour by C.  It was wonderful, but unfortunately a totally different shape than my current Macbook Pro.  So while I was at the fabric store searching for felt to repair the light seals on my Yashica TLR, I picked up some very thick yellow felt.  I’d never seen felt like this before, it seemed just perfect for laptop sleeve as it had a bit of padding to it.  I grabbed some velcro and some thick yellow thread while I was there as well.

Once home I measured out my dimensions and used a rotary cutter and a self healing mat to make the cuts.  I decided to you a carpentry square as it was the right length, however it was hard to keep it from slipping on the felt.  If you’ve never used a rotary cutter before, let me tell you, this is a great invention. So much easier than cutting straight lines with a pair of scissors.

I decided to make the case open on the end instead of on the side like most laptop cases. I figured this way it would be easier to plug it in for charging without taking it out of the case.  All the seams were sewn by hand and then a couple of pieces of velcro were used to keep it shut.

Overall I’m quite happy with this project. The only issue is that the velcro sticks to the felt if you aren’t careful. Besides that, I highly recommend the felt, I may use it to make a camera case or two for some of my thrift store cameras

iPad vs. macbook pro…

Let me start off by saying if you are looking for an in-depth, hard hitting review of either of these devices, you’re not going to find it here. The following are merely some musings of mine as to the usefulness of both of these devices as it pertains to me. You being a reader of this blog likely share some similar needs/wants so may find this useful.

So, on with the show! Let me just say that I am not an Apple fan boy, I am a recent convert to Apple with an iMac purchase a couple of years ago.  I bought it as I was frustrated with my old desktop (a PC, but it was frustrating due to it’s age, not it’s OS).  While I’m not overly pro either, I do prefer Macs now that I’m used to them, however I do find them a little hard to find my way around as I’ve grown up on PC’s.  I really like the design of Apple products, and the way my computers are used, they are a piece of the room, so design to me is important.

With our upcoming trip to Paris, I needed something to bring with us so we could email home, update our blogs, edit digital photos, skype home, and create books.  We already have an iMac, but this isn’t very portable.

When the iPad was first announced, I was intrigued, but was it a must have? No, I thought I could do without it.  I am a gadget guy. I love my gadgets, and I often NEED the latest gadget (or so I convince myself).  The iPad seemed cool, but it didn’t really blow my mind.  But as it got closer to launch date, and more reviews became available, I was getting swayed.  Then I watched ALL the apple videos on what the iPad could do.  I was hooked. It seemed so useful, no INDISPENSABLE!

Looks like I could do the books with iWork, and skype would work but not with video, editing photos would not work, but updating blogs/email would be a cinch.  The big deal is that we could read magazines (our favourite pass-time) and we wouldn’t waste all that paper.  The iPad also seems like a device that is only going to become more useful as more and more apps are developed for it.  The last thing I thought was upon our return, it would still be useful to have and to use curled up on the couch or in a coffee shop.

Then we have the macbook pro. Why not the macbook? Well I think the pro looks cooler.  This can do absolutely everything we need and more. Not only could it run iWork, but it would be more than capable of running CS3 (preferred by me).  It also has a bigger screen, a keyboard included, and much more storage.  So where’s the trouble? Sounds like the macbook pro is perfect?  Well except that it costs more than double, and upon our return in the fall we don’t really need a laptop.  I guess you could argue that whatever we do with an iPad we could also do with this laptop, but it seems a bit wasteful to me.

After much deliberation, I decided that editing photos was a must so we went with the macbook pro purchase.  I think the laptop could be useful in our future business ventures in design, and will likely find a place in our studio in the fall.  While I still think the iPad is a great idea, I think version 2 will likely be even more impressive. Hopefully a forward facing camera to enable video chat is included.