A single focus

a medicine bottle in the darkMy molar was still aching, even though the dentist with a thick accent completed the filling a week ago. So it was time for ibuprofen.

After the drug was consumed, I returned to our medicine cabinet to place the bottle on its shelf. Being of orderly mind, I attempted to turn the bottle where others could quickly determine its contents.

Not an easy task. In the dark, the front of the bottle looked like the back.

A simple design choice could have solved this problem. If the designer had made “Ibuprofen” in large type with strong contrast, users could speedily identify the contents in low light or daylight.

That points to the idea, dear readers, that whatever communications piece we are creating, whether a simple email or a lengthy novel, we need to focus on our main point.


My longest-owned thing

Victorinox knifeI bought this knife when I was about 12 years old. I still have it. As you might guess, it’s a little too bulky to carry around in my pocket. But I do throw it in the luggage when we’re heading for an overnight.

When I bought it, I was under the illusion that bigger was better. And at the time, the Victorinox Champion was the biggest and most feature-laden model available. I paid $19 for it, which was a lot of money to me back then. (The latest equivalent has a few more features and costs $99.)

I am amazed that the basic design has remained the same over all those years. The seventh-generation Porsche 911 looks similar to the original 1963 model. When a design is good, it’s worthwhile to explore deeply the reasons for changing it, before a re-design.

What is the thing you’ve had longer than anything else?


Add whimsy here

Lamborghini taillightI went to Target a few Saturdays ago and was amazed to see a black Lamborghini parked in a distant corner of the parking lot. Not a usual sight there. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to whip out my cheap camera phone to take a picture.

I zoomed in here for you to see the whimsical concentric starlight pattern that makes up the taillights. This is a very serious car. Serious price, serious performance. But the designer felt the need to inject a little bit of fun into the equation.

I’d urge you to do the same.


What once held value

While we were visiting my sister and her family in Belgium, we went to the Kringwinkel in nearby Herentals. I had a great time photographing things I would have enjoyed buying. One was an old bicycle, circa 1975. It had full Campagnolo components. When it was new, this derailleur was state of the art. Alone, it then cost something like $60 or $75. The aluminum was forged and not cast… ultra-strong and ultra-light.

I didn’t think to look at what the bike’s price was. Transporting it back to America would have cost a lot. Storing it when I returned would have been a challenge. And restoring the old bike to its original glory would be about number 3,000 on my list of priorities.

But it was fun to fantasize.

If you liked this post, here are two more you’ll like: Go digital and Archive it and More Kringwinkel fun.


Think differently and add excitement

Yes, you’ve heard me say this concept before, many times. But I think it’s vital to add excitement to whatever you are doing.

I took this photo at the W Hotel in Austin, Texas. The supreme tour guide Sheila Scarborough was giving me a tour of downtown Austin, Texas, and we popped into W. (It’s named that way since it’s part of the Westin/Sheraton Hotel Group – not after a former president.)

Everywhere we turned, there was an exciting detail to catch. Nothing was left “normal.”

Admittedly, it’s hard to give that much attention to all you do. But choose something today to add spice to. It will make your life more interesting – and also the lives of those your “something” touches.


Samsung Laptop Review

Trust me, this is the coolest Windows laptop ever.

It’s the “Samsung Series 9 NP900X3A-A03 13.3-Inch Laptop.” (Just sort of rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it?)

Anyhow, I visited the Microsoft Store with my wife & daughter a few weeks back… you know, just to check out the enemy. And I was seriously impressed with this Samsung laptop! Mind you, I would never think of buying one. (Regular readers know where my loyalties lie.)

The best I can tell is that Samsung is attempting to compete with the MacBook Air. About the only thing the Samsung has over the Apple is processor speed. The Mac’s hard drive is twice as big as the Samsung’s. They weigh exactly the same.

For a Windows laptop, the design is really not bad. They’re trying.


Never seen a human like that

This falls under the category of bad art direction… Notice where the hands are on this computer. If the model’s arms were at the angle shown, an amputation would have taken place before the shot.

Thanks to 1and1, the company who paid for the ad this photo came from.


A really really bad car

Nissan recently came out with a two-door convertible SUV – the Murano CrossCabriolet. It gets bad fuel economy, carries little, performs poorly, looks ugly, is hard to see out of and doesn’t do off-road very well. And it looks ugly.

A reflection of how hard this vehicle is to categorize is that Car & Driver magazine and Automobile magazine both gave it really unusual reviews. One was an epic poem – “The Oddity”. The other was a Q & A, in which the reviewers asked, “Does it do this well?” for 4 different categories, and the answer in every case was: “No.”

(My apologies if you just bought one. And also, please know that I have nothing against the regular Murano.)

The photo came from Car & Driver magazine.


Good with the bad

Ikea is opening up a store about 8 miles from our house on July 27th. The heating and cooling system has some environmentally-friendly aspects that are unparalleled.

I love so much of what they sell. Cool. Sometimes inexpensive. Often high quality. But I know that many of their products were built with laborers working under non-ideal conditions in China. And Ikea has had some problems with the rights of workers in their factories outside of China.

Alternative to that? Not much. If we all bought fair-trade everything, we wouldn’t drive any car. Or watch any TV. Or enjoy using any computer.

On way forward is to do some things to make a difference. Buying fair trade coffee or chocolate is a small thing, but it will impact the farmers who worked hard to get you those beans. Maybe some day the fair trade movement will extend to furniture. And cool lights.


Cool baby shoes

I saw these and had to take a photo to share with you.

I love them. Almost makes me wanna have a baby again just so he or she could have a pair. (Don’t worry – that’s not gonna happen.)