The Extraordinaries

It is easy to make excuses about not doing volunteer work, but what excuse do you have not to do a little micro-volunteering?  The Extraordinaries is a group that helps everyday people do good, 35 seconds at a time.  Just go to their website or download their mobile app and get access to all sorts of small activities that will help others.  You can help a child out of extreme poverty by providing some worlds of encouragement, tag some photos for a local museum, or  help build a database of dog shelters.  Lots of the activities can be done right from your computer or phone.  Most take less then a minute.  You can do good on the bus, while waiting for take out, before going to bed, or in an otherwise unproductive meeting.  What is your excuse now?

I couldn't be more excited about this app if I had thought of it myself.

The GOOD 100

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.


I went to see Objectified tonight, along with every other designer in Seattle. I enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to seeing it a second time. It had your usual cast of Industrial Design characters, examples, and stories. Jonathan Ive, Karim Rashid, and Marc Newson, all talking like design superstars (unfortunately no Philippe Starck). The IDEO team was talking about toothbrushes and the Smart team was talking about OXO and arthritis. There was a large part of the movie which was, appropriately, ID 101. I'm looking forward to sending my mom to see it. I've spent a good 10 years trying to explain to her, what it is I do. Maybe hearing it from someone else will answer all her questions.

There were a couple parts in the film that I thought were absolutely fabulous. Dieter Rams was his usual brilliant, classy, and fabulous self. I could have listened to him for the whole 2 hours. The second best part to me, unexpectedly, was the contributions of New York Times Magazine writer, Rob Walker. I'm going to have to start reading his column, Consumed, because he said a lot of stuff that really resonated with me.

Go see the movie. It rocks that documentaries about design exist. All designers should go and show their support.

Microsoft's Project Natal

Microsoft's Xbox announced its Project Natal at E3 today. It is the next revolution in gaming and entertainment where no controllers are required. They system uses a camera mounted on your TV to capture full body movement, allowing participants to control and interact with the game using natural movements. They advertise that the only experience you need is life experience. The system also incorporates facial recognition, voice recognition and the ability to scan in your own gear for use in the virtual world. Watch a full video here.

This looks super cool. I can't wait to try it.

Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog

For some holiday Monday fun, check out Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. It is a short musical by Joss Whedon which was created last year as an internet only release. It stars Neil Patrick Harris as a video blogging super hero named Dr. Horrible... (could you ask for a more amazing premise for a musical). If you watch it I guarantee you will wake up singing "With my freeze ray I will stop the world".

Playing for Change

My dad sent me the link to this video a couple weeks ago. The video is an unlikely combination of street musicians from around the world playing Stand By Me. Each musician was recorded individually and then digitally edited together into the final fantastic song.

The video is part of an ongoing project called Playing for Change (great name!), which tries to use music to "break down boundaries and overcome distances between people". Although the Stand By Me video has gotten the most attention on the internet, there are actually seven videos so far, featuring different combination of street performers playing different songs. The other songs include One Love, Don't Worry, and Bring It On Home.

This is such a simple and effective idea. You can't help but love it. (Thanks Dad!)

Popularity Dialer

Popularity Dialer is the best fake phone call application yet.  The basic idea behind any fake call app is that you can force an incoming call to your phone to get yourself out of a situation (i.e.  dull meeting, bad date, looking like a loner).  Popularity Dialer has gone a step further to provide you with a fake conversation on the other end of the line (in case anyone overhears, or you are just bad at making up fake conversation).  They provide a choice of fake calls.  My favorite is The Boss Call.  Which goes something like this... "Hey, this is Mr Johnson, calling from the office.  Did you complete that thing... about a month ago... that photocopy training"  Ha!  Uhhh, my boss is calling.  I gotta take this.

Neon Sign Boneyard

In a recent trip through Flickr-land,  I came across this photo set from Flickr user arZan.  The photos are of a Neon Sign Boneyard in Las Vegas, where old signs go to retire.  The signs are piled on the ground in colorful and playful combination.  Creating a kind of niche Vegas history museum.

This looks like such an inspiring little adventure, and a fun place to take photos.

We Tell Stories

We Tell Stories is a website created by Six to Start for Penguin books. It features 6 writers, telling 6 stories, in 6 weeks. The project takes classic Penguin titles and retells the stories in a digital format - but not your typical, eBook style digital format.  Six to Start consider themselves modern storytellers who tell stories using high tech interactive methods and media.  Of the 6 stories, one is told using areal view map fly overs, one is told using twitter, two are web based choose your own adventure stories, another was written in real time with real time readers, and yet another was interpreted by Nicholas Felton's data driven infographic style.

Whew.  And I'm sure there is much more to come.  The world of digital and location based storytelling is just beginning.  (Found through Half Deserted Streets).

Neave Vote

I can't get enough of Neave Vote.  It is a tongue in cheek voting website intended to make you question the legitimacy of voting.  The questions themselves are pretty humorous, but it is the answers that are the true entertainment.  There is often just no good answer.  You are forced to choose an answer that you probably wouldn't have said, had the question been open ended.

Paracord Survival Bracelet

When does 18 feet of military grade paracord not come in handy?  I mean, come on.  If you agree, maybe you should invest in one of these Survival Bracelets.  The bracelet is made of knotted cord that can be unwound in the case of emergency.  If you purchase the bracelet Survival Straps they are willing to retie the bracelet after use, as long as you send it back with a (true) story about how you used it.

If you are not interested in the story factor (which I think is the main selling point) you can always make your own Paracord Bracelet with these how-to instructions from

Passive Aggressive Anger Release Machine


The Passive Aggressive Anger Release Machine is a vending machine full of breakables.  Insert money, smash something.  Brilliant!  Unfortunately this is just an interactive sculpture created by Yarisal and Kublitz. I say unfortunately because I would really get good use out of one of these.  They could put one in my office next to the regular vending machine, and charge $50 per plate.  I can't think of a more satisfying way to release some afternoon frustration. (Found through Thriving Too).

Reminds me of Smash Shack.

Follow Cost


Ha!  I'm not sure if this website is made in jest or not, but it makes me giggle.  Follow Cost calculates just how annoying it will be to follow a particular user on Twitter.    Annoyance is measured in milliscobles, or 1/1000th of Robert Scoble's Twitter output (  For example I ( am only 40.82 milliscobles of added annoyance to your life, where as Guy Kowasaki ( guykawasaki) is 1661.68 milliscobles of annoyance (no offense Guy).  In case you don't find a lot of tweets annoying, they also show the percent of recent tweets that mention politics and the percent of tweets that are @ replies.  Ha!  This would be much better if you could specify that things that found annoying and then rate each user based on your criteria.


Twistori is an emotive collector (heavily) inspired by Jonathan Harris' fantastic project We Feel Fine.  It pulls and displays Twitter content containing the words; I love, I hate, I think, I believe, I feel, or I wish.  It is easy to get caught up reading the tweets around any one emotion.

My favorite is I Hate.  I was expecting it to be super negative, but it is actually very amusing and uplifting in a round about way.  (Thanks James!)