Despite what you may think based on store displays, advertisements, and the color of your Starbucks mug... IT IS NOT CHRISTMAS YET! If at any point in the next couple months you are confused about whether or not it is Christmas yet. Use the handy tool IsItChrismas.com. It will clear up any doubts.
I've been thoroughly enjoying The GOOD 100, this month. It is GOOD Magazine's list of the most important, exciting and innovative people, ideas and products making our world better. The 100 cover a wide range of scope and subject from smarter trash cans to same sex marriage advocates. The list is made up of of projects, people and ideas nominated by a combination of the extended GOOD team, and its readers. You can check out the whole list online here.
Hello Haptic is a set of tactile flash cards. The cards are designed to teach blind children about the diversity of nature. One side of the card has a braille description of the environment, and the other side is a 3D, tactile representation. The cards are arranged by subject; Forest, Beach, and Zoo. Hello Haptic was designed by Hongik University, Industrial Design student Rhea Jeong. The project won her a Silver award in this year's IDEA competition.
Hunch is an interesting new website to help you find the right answer, make the right choice, or discover something you would enjoy. It was created and programmed by a bunch of MIT nerds (their words, not mine) that specialize in machine learning. The site asks visitors a series of questions to help make a personalized recommendation based on what other people like you enjoy. Each question is progressive, using your previous answer to determine what is the most useful question to ask next, in order to come to a recommendation. Hunch gets smarter the more people that use it, and the more you teach Hunch about your personality, tastes, and preferences. The types of questions Hunch provides answers to include "What book should I read?" "Am I a real Trekkie?" or "Should I grow my hair out?". Answers are sometimes a simple yes/no, but more often a series of 3 solid and 1 wild card recommendation.
My friend Mike Roller wrote this interesting post on the Four Essential Members of a Great Design Team. He concludes that a successful design team needs to be diverse in its leadership skills, its creativity, its sense of reality, and its types of analytical thinkers. He calls the four essential types of members the Evangelist, the Conductor, the Dreamer and the Surgeon. The Evangelist is a high level design strategist that pushes the limits. The Conductor is an analytical thinking that turns all the little ideas into something harmonious. The Dreamer is a blue sky free thinker with wild ideas. And the Surgeon is the one who perfects the details.
As previously announced, Frank Chimero is my new source of design wisdom. I read his 10 Principles that Might Make Your Work Better or May Make it Worse, last week, via Aisle One. And it has been on my mind ever since. It is full of good advice. My favorite is number 6: Embrace the subconscious. Frank - Please publish this as a pamphlet so I can have it on hand at all times - Thanks.
There are many different ways to search photos, one of the more useful ones is by using colour. Multicolr searches 10 million Creative Commons Flickr images, using colour as its search parameters. The process is powered by Idee's visual similarity search, Piximilar. It allows users to specify between one and ten colours to search. The results link directly to the photo's Flickr site, providing easy access to the images.
IDC in England has created this simple Life Cycle Analysis Calculator. This free online tool was developed in response to a need. IDC surveyed a number of design and engineering firms that all agreed - paying attention to a product's environmental impact throughout its life is becoming increasingly more important, but that many firms don't currently do the calculations. The Life Cycle Analysis Calculator helps estimate the carbon footprint and embodied energy of any product and its packaging. This is a great resource for designers. Its quick and easy. I will definitely use it in the future. (Found through Core77).
The BBC's British History Timeline is a (insert best British accent here...) gorgeous (...end accent) way to brush up on your British history. It's a simple but sophisticated interactive timeline that lets you explore significant events in British history from 862BC to today.
If you are involved in product development or just a conciencious consumer, you should take the time to read Greenpeace's latest Guide to Greener Electronics. It ranks some of the big electronics manufacturers based on their global policies, use of harmful chemicals, and on taking responsibility for products at the end of their life cycle. (Found through Engadget).
If you have ever worked on an email campaign, you know that testing your flyer in all the different mail clients can be a time consuming and difficult task. Campaign Monitor has an all in one test which previews how your email will look in 17 of the most popular email clients, as well as testing it against some spam filters and firewall protection programs. Unfortunately it's not free. It's $10/test. Probably still worth it if your are working on high profile email campaigns. Way to see a need and fill it Campaign Monitor creators. (Found through Swissmiss).
The latest version of Google Earth (4.2) includes a feature that they they have been promising for a while, called Sky View. It is an awesome astronomy resource which allows you to navigate the universe, as well as the Earth. It is still Google Earth as you know it, but with a little button that allows you to switch from a view of the Earth to a view of the sky. The Sky View feature includes constellation labels, images and information from the Hubble Telescope, star names, and animated planetary orbits. Watch a video demonstration here. Or better yet, to experience it yourself, download it here.
Adobe Labs has just launched a new site called Kuler.Kuler is a tool to help create color schemes.You can browse through schemes created by other users or create your own.Start with a specified color (using RGB, CMYK, etc.) and Kuler will show you Analgous colors, complementary colors, or different shades of the same color amongst other options.I always find choosing color schemes really difficult.This is a great tool.