The remains of this day

  • The Industrial Design Excellence Awards of 2003. Click on that dark square graphic to see the actual award winners. Among the items which caught my eye were the Zinio Reader and the Bombardier EMBRIO/2025. The Zinio Reader allows you to download individual issues of magazines to read on a Tablet PC. I've never played with a Tablet PC, and I know there's a ton of debate as to whether they're revolutionary or the next MS Bob, but the appeal of reading magazines on a Tablet PC is the option of searching through them or archiving particular articles for the future. I still resort to tearing out pages of interesting articles, leaving piles of paper lying all around my room. Searching through those paper clippings is a pain in the ass. Inevitably I end up throwing all of it out later. The Bombardier EMBRIO/2025 looks like what the Segway would look like if designed by Japanese mecha anime artists. Steve Jobs is right, though...the Segway would be much more of an item of desire if it looked cooler, even if the functionality remained exactly the same. One other thing caught my eye, and that's the IDEO Methods Deck, mostly because IDEO always walks away with a ton of medals in this competition. At $49, that's nearly $1 for each of the 51 cards (one card short of a full deck, representing an incomplete collection). There are four suits: learn, watch, ask, try. Maybe someone will post them online as was done for Brian Eno's oblique strategies.

  • Star Wars, Episode III, began shooting today.

  • After another half hour on the phone with AT&T customer service last night, a trouble ticket was filed. This morning I had to set up my voicemail box yet again. And this afternoon? I'm finally receiving voicemail indicators on my phone.

  • I wanted to rent a Nikon D1H digital camera body for my trip to France, but there isn't one to be found in Seattle. I was both surprised and disappointed. If you know of one, please let me know. The D1H has just 2.6 megapixels which most people would find to be surprisingly low resolution for a $3000 camera body. But many wildlife photographers and journalists among the Nikon faithful use it as their primary camera body. Why? It's the fastest Nikon digital camera body available, and more megapixels don't do you much good if you missed the decisive moment or are simply printing a the photo in a magazine or newspaper, or posting it to the web.

  • Battleground God is a good, mindless way to kill a few minutes. It's a test of the consistency of your personal philosophy about God. I managed to survive without any direct hits, though I received several danger warnings. My answers can be found in the text of this insanely long URL.

  • The Herman Miller Mirra, a lower-cost cousin to the most famous piece of office furniture in my lifetime, the Herman Miller Aeron. The Mirra's already gaining lots of praise and winning gold medals. I've never been important enough to get a company to spring for an Aeron for me. They are spendy, though skimping when it comes to ergonomics if you're in pain is a bad idea. I'm a big fan of the mesh seatback--keeps you cooler in the summertime.

  • The Illustrated Catalog of ACME Products is mildy amusing; the Ian Frazier essay Coyote vs. Acme is very funny.

  • Amazon's reviews build is much faster now. If you write a customer review, it'll show up in no time. Good stuff.

  • Signed up for the DirecTV HD package today. ESPN HD? Not all that impressive thus far. Most of the Sportscenter highlight footage is, of course, not shot in HD and doesn't look all that special. Discovery HD Theater, though, is sweet. As I write, I'm watching this documentary called Alien Insect: Praying Mantis. The picture is stunningly sharp. Most incredible scenes? A female mantis chews the head off of a male mantis on her back while they're mating. The headless male continues to mate, a drop of green fluid forming out of the hole where his head used to be, and when the sexual act is done, the headless male mantis body wanders off by itself until the female runs it down and eats it whole. An apt metaphor, perhaps, for the loss of reasoning of the male in heat. In another scene, a praying mantis catches a 10 inch cow snake and nearly eats it before it squirms free, missing a chunk of flesh. Finally, a mantis snatches a hummingbird out of mid-air while it's feeding and chews its head off. Whoa.