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Forays into the physical with thoughts on industrial design from frog's product design team.

So You Want a Motorcycle: A No Frills Guide to Selecting Your First Ride

After all the feedback I got on my last motorcycle-related post, and having had to answer a lot of requests from folks since about which is the best first bike to buy, I decided to make a handy flowchart to determine exactly which bike is right for you.  Just work your way down the chart to motorcycling bliss.

Beyond the Rational

A few weekends ago, during Oakland’s Art Murmur, my friend and I swung by a rather small gallery to check out the work on display. It was near closing time, and we were obviously late to the party. Aside from the gallery owner, some fancy cheese, broken up crackers, half-empty bottles of cheap wine and the two nouveau-hipsteresque gentlemen in all black, there was nobody else in there. The pieces were hung in the back half of the space and resembled some sort of indigenous dream catchers. At first glance I thought that they might have been remnants of an archeological dig, rather than contemporary art created just few months prior—there was simply a certain air of primitive authenticity to them.

Beauty Is Free

The subject of aesthetics is one of changing paradigms and endless intrigue. In objects, just as with subjects, the meaning of “beautiful” has evolved perpetually with time. But one decision spares debate: given two which only differ in aesthetics, the one we consider more beautiful will always remain.

What's More?

Since the dawn of civilization tools have been an extension of humanity. Today more than ever humans and their tools are inseparable. I’ve noticed that for the past couple of years I’ve gone to sleep with my laptop and my phone flanking my bed. An observation I’ve taken for granted but that has categorically reshaped my night and morning routines.  My two “goddesses— to borrow a meme from Charlie Sheen— are the first things I touch when I wake up-no pun intended: one to check the time and the other to absorb information I missed while I was asleep. Despite this often symbiotic relationship I have with my two favorite tools, I’m never satisfied; I’m always left wanting more. I’m not alone…..almost everyone wants more out of their tools and designers are no exception.

The Sinch: The Story Behind a Deceptively Simple Design

 

We know at frog that good design can improve the experience for life’s problems both large and small. That’s why frog teamed up with Dune Road Design to create a product that alleviates the chaos and frustration of rogue headphone cords. Thus, the Sinch was born: a new, high-design answer to the problem of keeping smart device cords tangle-free.

Bun vs. Plastic Fork

A lifecycle analysis of a design before it flies is tough task, the specs are likely to not exist prior to the product being on the market. It’s next to impossible to locate the hidden toxic traps, logistic nightmares, and energy thieves without expensive testing of the supply chain form start to finish. It’s also possible to miss out on finding better logistic solutions, material and energy savings as well as consumer benefits.

So how about a middle way, a lifecycle guesstimation?

Google-Motorola: The Hardware Story

Google’s purchase of Motorola’s mobile phone division was major news on Monday, but not entirely surprising to industry insiders. Indeed, a fierce battle has been raging in the smart-phone world, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. The ultimate winner will largely control the future trajectory of personal computing.

The Italian Job

Upon stepping off the plane in Milan, Italy, I was immediately faced with a startling realization: I do not speak Italian.

Making the Future

  

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
-Alan Kay 

Motorcycle Form and Function: Why It's Hard to Live With an Italian Supermodel

I ride a motorcycle, and, it's true, I'm also gearhead ... and a mechanical engineer. So it is no surprise that when my friends go shopping for a new motorbike, I'm typically the first place they come for advice. One of the conversations that happens frequently is that someone will ask me for a café-racer or sport bike recommendation. As their friend, I'm torn between helping them fulfill their motorcycle fantasy, or telling them the cold hard truth: sexy bikes are hard to live with—really hard to live with. But why? Well, if we take a closer look, we will notice that all the things that make a café racer or sport bike look cool aren’t there for aesthetic reasons. Each of them is actually a functional design element born from racing, and racing is focused on performance, not on little things like creature comfort, rideability, and ease of use (all things a first time rider will definitely need to get into riding).