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August 12, 2014

The NoPhone, the no-tech smartphone for addicts

Filed under: Gadgets by Orangemaster @ 10:27 am

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There are people addicted to using their smartphones, and maybe you’re one of them. Fear not, you can buy or ask someone to buy you the NoPhone, so you can finally have conversations with humans instead of checking your phone the whole time.

Dutch creatives Ben Langeveld and Ingmar Larsen together with a couple of New Yorkers thought up the 3D printed NoPhone, a black rectangular bit of plastic that feels like a smartphone in your hand, but isn’t one.

According to them, a person touches a smartphone about 150 times a day, significantly reducing a person’s real-life interaction. The NoPhone is like the pen a smoker puts in their mouth to ease cravings.

I bet people would buy the NoPhone for someone else as a huge hint that watching them stare at their phone is annoying. In fact, Langeveld and Larsen made the NoPhone with that specific type of addict in mind.

(Link: www.adformatie.nl, Photo: NoPhone)

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August 9, 2014

17th century book of watercolour paints by A. Boogert

Filed under: Art,Design,Gadgets,Technology by Branko Collin @ 3:39 pm

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Eric Kwakkel found this extensive 800-page book on how to prepare and mix watercolour paints in an online library in France.

It was published in Dutch in 1692 by one A. Boogert:

He explains how to mix the colours and how to change their tone by adding “one, two or three portions of water”. To illustrate his point he fills each facing page with various shades of the colour in question [...]. To top it he made an index of all the colours he described, which in itself is a feast to look at.

The book is called ‘The Clear Bright Mirror of the Art of Painting’ (‘De Klaerlighte Spiegel der Verfkonst’) and is written in plain Dutch. Unfortunately I keep tripping over Mr Boogert’s handwriting, otherwise I might have treated you to a couple of paragraphs. Due to the nature of the work (three colour printing wasn’t available until the late 19th century), it is likely that the author produced only a single copy. And it’s very cool is that this copy survived.

Shown here are two opposite pages of the index (“blatwijser of regisster”).

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July 25, 2014

Sad Dutch Kickstarter projects are sad

Filed under: Design,Food & Drink,Gadgets,Online,Weird by Orangemaster @ 11:24 am

The Dutch have had their own Kickstarter site for a few months now and I have seen many interesting projects get the funding they probably deserve. However, they are a lot of ‘non-starters’ on the site because anybody can ask for money and hope for the best without being serious. The projects that get my attention usually fall into four categories: the good ones that usually get funded, the ones that don’t get funded or get insufficient funding, the ones nobody gives a toss about but could be serious, and the jokey ones. Let’s have a look at the last two categories, the losers and the jokers:

- ‘I need a computer to review stuff on the Internet and become a YouTuber’.
How about you get a job? It would go faster, too.

- Two guys want to deliver apple pie to their friend for his 17th birthday, but would rather someone else pays for it.
You can’t find 5-10 euro for your best friend? Ouch.

- ‘I make music. To make these tracks, I need money. You want to spend money on music’
It sounds more like you don’t want to spend money on music…

- Someone want to sell ‘trustee rings’ to prove their ‘fidelity’ and got 1 euro so far.
They have GPS and Wi-Fi to track your partner. Stalker alert!

- A statue for Louis van Gaal, but only if the Netherlands wins the World Cup, which it didn’t.
Nice try.

- Frying up extreme eggs.
Ever since a potato salad got funded, Kickstarter is full of food-related projects.

- ‘A story about a boy that lives in a crappy world.’
Buy a diary, write it down and take up drinking like the rest of us.

(Link: www.kickstarter.com/discover/countries/NL, photo of a lightbulb by Emil Kabanov, some rights reserved)

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March 15, 2014

Marjan van Aubel’s table harvests electricity for mobile devices

Filed under: Design,Gadgets by Branko Collin @ 1:52 pm

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Why not make your table top a solar cell? Add in a couple of USB ports and you’ve got a cell phone charger that you could eat off. And that is exactly what London-based Dutch designer Marjan van Aubel did.

Writes Dezeen:

Inside the glass panels is a dye-synthesised solar cell that uses the properties of colour to create an electrical current, in a similar way to how plants use green chlorophyll to convert sunlight into energy. [...] Charging times vary depending on the amount of sunlight present. “One cell needs about eight hours to fully charge a battery, and there are four cells for each USB port,” the designer said.

This reminds me of the bookcase with a memory by Ianus Keller and the table shaped case-mod by Marlies Romberg (story here).

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(Link: Bright; photos: Marjan van Aubel)

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September 14, 2013

Phonebloks, a modular open mobile phone platform in search of manufacturers

Filed under: Design,Gadgets,Sustainability,Technology by Branko Collin @ 11:43 am

Eindhoven-based inventor and designer Dave Hakkens is a man of ideas and his latest idea, a mobile phone of which you can swap out parts when they break down or get too old, is getting a lot of attention on the Internet.

The idea behind Phonebloks is to commoditize the hardware behind the mobile phone in such a way that not manufacturers but consumers get to swap out parts—a sort of Lego for mobile phones. There would have to be a ‘Blok-store’ where you could order the parts you want (at a suitable mark-up of course) all the while feeling good about yourself for not throwing out your entire mobile phone when you get tired of parts of it.

Hakkens seems to have learned from a previous project, a power strip called Plugbook, which he ran on Kickstarter but which failed to reach its target. In order to show your interest in Phonebloks you do not have to pledge your own money. Instead you voice your support via Thunderclap in the hope that manufacturers and investors will sit up and take notice.

(Via my Facebook page where people were ‘liking’ the damn thing by the boatloads. Illustration: crop from Dave Hakkens’ video.)

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August 13, 2013

Shoplifter leaves with photos instead of tablet

Filed under: Gadgets,Photography by Branko Collin @ 1:05 pm

Since last week the Amsterdam police are looking for a shoplifter who changed his mind while robbing a Kruidvat drugstore located in the De Pijp district.

Initially the man tried to steal a tablet computer that was stored in a display case, but later changed his mind. He left the fancy gear behind and took off with somebody’s printed photos. The man took off on a bicycle.

The video below shows the man entering the store and taking the tablet from the display case.

My theory is the man came in to collect his photos, saw an opportunity to acquire a tablet he had no money for, then realised the bulge in his jacket would look suspicious at the register. OK, so it’s not a very good theory. What do you think was in those pictures?

The video doubles as a free instructional film on Dutch bicycle etiquette. The shoplifter first secures the rear wheel using his wheel lock, then does the same using a chain lock.

(Photo/video: Politie.nl (YouTube))

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December 17, 2012

DIY ‘Price Is Right’ game as gift box

Filed under: Design,Gadgets,Gaming,Technology by Branko Collin @ 2:20 pm

Richard Garsthagen made this ingenious gift box for his 15-year-old niece for Saint Nicholas’ Eve.

On Saint Nicholas’ Eve many grown ups and teenagers in the Netherlands give each other gifts. To keep things affordable a spending limit is determined and the name of each recipient is drawn from a hat. The gift is hidden somewhere in the house or wrapped in a difficult to unwrap package called the ‘surprise’, and the person giving it writes a poem on behalf of Saint Nicholas in which the good saint mockingly reviews the recipients’ past year.

Garsthagen’s niece did not seem to understand the concept of a spending limit and asked for gifts that were much more expensive than that, so he hid her gift in a The Price is Right game. In the video he explains how it works, and at Instructables he explains how you can create a game like this yourself.

(Photo: crop from a screenshot of the video by Richard Garsthagen)

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December 11, 2012

Two companies to offer 3D printing services early next year

Filed under: Gadgets,Technology by Branko Collin @ 2:03 pm

A company called 3DSVP will start offering 3D printing services on the premises of the Meneer Paprika store in Haarlem next January, Hyped.nl reports.

The store expects to sell products mainly made of polyamide, but also jewellery made of silver and stainless steel. 3DSVP has been running a web shop since September, showcasing the type of products that you can have them print.

A similar service will be offered by Office Centre in the first quarter of 2013, the difference being that the Easy 3D printing service will use paper as its base material. Office Centre is a Dutch company (founded in 1993 as a merger) that is now owned by American office supplies company Staples. According to Engadget the service “will handle architectural designs, maps, medical models, replica weapons and anything else that can be made with fragments of paper arranged in 0.1mm layers up to a maximum height of six inches”.

Note that realistic replicas of guns are strictly forbidden in the Netherlands.

See also: Ultimaker, a lightning fast 3D printer.

(Link tip: Laurent Chambon. Photo of an Ultimaker-printed casing for a small video camera by HeatSync Labs, some rights reserved)

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December 9, 2012

Apple iPad is not a phone, Dutch judge says

Filed under: Gadgets,Technology by Branko Collin @ 2:09 pm

Why would you want to ask a court whether an Apple iPad is a phone or a general computer? Well, if computers given as a Christmas bonus are considered income and phones are not, you might have an incentive, especially if the back taxes amount to 323,687 euro.

Broadcaster RTL Nederland gave 664 of its employees an iPad in 2010, including a Vodaphone 3G subscription. The law says that something supplied by one’s employer does not count as income if this something is intended “to prevent costs, expenses or depreciations needed for a correct execution of one’s employment”, Arnoud Engelfriet reports.

The law also prescribes categories of devices that are applicable, including “phones, Internet and such communication devices, but not computers, nor similar devices or peripherals”.

RTL Nederland sued the Dutch tax office and the question before the court became whether these iPads were mainly computers or mainly communication devices. The court ruled on 30 November that “considering the format of the iPad (the version the claimants provided has a 9.7 inch screen diagonal) verbal communication should not be seen as the central function of the iPad.”

RTL Nederland will appeal the decision. “We are a media company,” a spokesperson told Webwereld. “We work with those iPads, they are part of our daily business.”

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November 30, 2012

Charge your gear on the go using your travel bag

Filed under: Design,Gadgets,Technology by Orangemaster @ 5:11 pm

Dutch prototype travel bag Phorce will not only help you carry your smartphones, tablets, laptops and many more devices, but it can also charge them up while you commute, travel or just leave them in your bag. The Phorce can charge an iPhone 5 more than eight times and provide a MacBook Air with seven more battery hours. And you can charge several devices at the same time, surely not all of them bought from Apple.

Marijn Berk and James Jeffrey are trying to get their project crowdfunded on Kickstarter, and with just 22 days to go, they’ve almost collected their USD 150,000 they need. It’s the first time that a Dutch project has collected so much money on Kickstarter, which apparently doesn’t accept Dutch bank accounts for the funds.

The cost of a Phorce will start at USD 199 dollar (152 euro). If you drop them some cash, you can even vote on the fourth colour they will bring the bag out in besides red, black and dark green. Phorce can be used as a messenger bag, backpack and briefcase. As a consumer, to me this the 2.0 level of a Timbuk2 or Crumpler bag.

(Play spot the filming locations: Waterlooplein metro stop, EYE Film Institute and Brug 34 Utrechtsestraat)

(Link: www.bright.nl, www.getphorce.com, Screenshot Kickstarter)

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