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Archive for the Industrial Design Category

Three G’z

Posted by Scott

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Unless you live in an actual cave or have an actual life, you know / care  that the iPhone 3G is now available and that the entire world is completely freaking out. When the first one came out I tried to play it cool and pretend like I didn’t want one; but once the lines died down about a month later, I caved in and got it. I was planning on doing the same this time around, but thanks to a bit of luck I was able to get one at an overlooked AT&T store by my house after only 30 minutes of waiting. Apparently everyone thought the only place that was selling them in San Francisco was the downtown Apple Store, because there were like 15 people in line at the Mission AT&T.

I always really enjoyed the original one, it’s a huge help while traveling, and as a designer, the slide show functionality is invaluable for client meetings and giving impromptu portfolio viewings. There were definitely a lot of little (and not so little) problems I had with the old one, and while most have been addressed in the new version it still leaves a bit to be desired. Regardless, it’s without a doubt a major triumph of design and usability; the user experience Jonathan Ive & Co have delivered is light years beyond anything else out there. The original iPhone was the first Apple product I ever owned and the experience led me to switch over to Mac for my work. It’s a pretty major feat to distill an all-encompassing user experience like that found in OSX and nearly replicate it in the form factor of a phone. That was enough for me to take a harder look at OSX as a design / work platform.

There are countless articles written about the iPhone by far more informed people than myself, so I won’t go into detail about my opinions (but needless to say I am loving this one even more than the last). But I am interested to know what the design community thinks of it: Do you have one? As a designer, do you feel devices like this benefit your workflow / business? Do you see it as a successful design? Do you want to bang your head against a wall every time you hear about the f&*$%ing thing? Let us all know what you think.

AKAT 1: Analog Computer

Posted by Scott

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This is the AKAT-1, a Polish made analog computer from the 1960′s which apparently was rumored to have been used as a synth on Beatles recordings [source]. I happened upon it while reading an article about analog computing on Wikipedia. I’m not trading in my digital computers for the analog variety any time soon (as I did with my synthesizers), but if they would just make a MIDI / DAW controller that looked like this I would be set.

"An analog computer (spelled analogue in British English) is a form of computer that uses continuous physical phenomena such as electrical, mechanical, or hydraulic quantities to model the problem being solved."
Source: Wikipedia

Olivetti Valentine

Posted by Scott

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Olivetti Valentine Typewriter (c.1969)

"Sottsass designed the Valentine typewriter (with Perry A. King) for Olivetti in 1969 to be an "anti-machine machine," for use "anyplace but an office. Undoubtedly one of the great design classics, the Valentine expresses the mood of its time: goodbye to the bulky cast-iron housings of old typewriters, hello to the new mobility of a light, modern, plastic casing made from ABS. The Valentine typewriter is a very collectible portable in spite of the fact that it is relatively of recent vintage. "
Via mytypewriter.com

Top ad via ninonbooks, Braun + Design cover via Alphanumeric.

EMI TG Consoles

Posted by Scott

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Unless you are way into audio production (read: geek) you don’t have any good reason to care what the EMI TG console was (it was essentially a giant mixer for recording music and several were installed at Abbey Road Studios and used on the Beatles album of the same name). Regardless, I’ve posted these images since these consoles have always intrigued me from an aesthetic point of view as well. I really enjoy the industrial design they put into this old equipment, such functional design and usually built to military spec. 

It has always been a dream to have a Neve, API, EMI, or SSL console in my studio but they run around $50,000 – $100,000+ so it’s going to keep being a dream until I find a bag of money at the park like in that one after-school special about being honest minus the honesty part. A company called Chandler now makes clones of these things and they look almost as good. My friend who does the post production work on my music uses a couple Chandler pre-amps and swears by them, but they’re pretty damned expensive too. I currently use a set of Neve clones, but it’s only 2 channels so still not coming anywhere near these massive old consoles.