ACLU Dash Button

Amazon Dash buttons are kinda stupid. Trump is really stupid. But hey, can one stupid thing cancel out another? Thanks to intrepid hacker Nathan Pryor, they can! He customized a Dash button so that each press donates $5 to the ACLU. Pressing a button is a satisfying alternative to throwing something across the room or screaming into a pillow - and with this button, it might actually do some good!
[via Engadget & TechCrunch]

Kwik Sip: A drinking fountain in every faucet!

I kind of wish I that I lived in an alternate universe where the Kwik Sip faucet attachment was the ubiquitous norm instead of a weird, geeky outlier. Every faucet magically turns into a drinking fountain anytime you want it? Count me in.
[via Cool Tools]

Curtain Rod Design for Better Darkness

If you really need a dark room - I'm not saying because of a hangover, but I'm thinking it - the cracks of sunlight that creep through the sides of your curtains can be painful. Umbra's Twilight curtain rod addresses that with a simple design tweak: the rod continues around the corner to go flush to the wall, allowing the curtain to do the same. Simple, clever, and effective; rest easy!
[via Lifehacker]

Apple Stores Remove Security Tethers

You know those security tethers that keep on-display electronics from being stolen from stores? Apple is experimenting with removing these traditionally necessary inconveniences. Some reports indicate that iPhones are going untethered in some Apple stores, and this is impressive: Apple is betting that its lost-iPhone mode, which bricks the phone, will make it a sufficiently unattractive target for theft. That's how it's supposed to work with end users, too, and putting it into action in stores may help spread the word: "Don't bother stealing iPhones, they'll just get bricked." Here's hoping!
[via GizmodoCNET, & MacRumors]

Designed Response: Earrings to catch AirPods

Apple's totally-wireless AirPods have the cool sheen of being The Future, but they battle the persistent fear that they'll fall out of your ears and be lost forever. 3D printer company M3D has designed a response: 3D-printable earrings that act as baskets to catch falling AirPods. It's a cute example of design as commentary on another design; a designed response. It's also mainly a marketing move: M3D has made the design files available on Thingverse, and gotten some nice publicity practically for free. The product isn't serious, but the commentary - and the brand awareness - certainly are.
[via Gizmodo]

Tilting pot uses gravity to ask for water.

Perhaps the toughest part of plant ownership is remembering to water the darn things. There have been some electronic devices to solve the problem, but digital technology seems out of place in the analog world of plants. The Natural Balance is a plant pot that eschews technology for old-fashioned gravity: when the reserve of water gradually seeps into the soil and becomes empty, the balance of the pot changes so that it tilts to its side. See how it looks a little crooked in the photo? That means it's thirsty. Clever, elegant, analog, and gravity-powered, it just feels right for plants.
[via Core77]

Chip card readers' bad sound design


Here's a little gem from Roman Mars of the excellent podcast 99% Invisible. A recent episode was about sound design, specifically the NBC chimes, which are one of the few sounds ever successfully trademarked - worth a listen! Anyway, quoth Roman: "My current least-favorite sounds are from credit card chip readers that blare an obnoxious warning buzz that clearly signals to normal humans that something has gone wrong, even though it actually means everything went right, and it's time to remove your card." He's right: people do need to be reminded to remove their cards, but there's a huge disconnect between the intended message and the received message. Is there a more pleasant sound that also gets attention? Or can it be accomplished with any of the other senses? ("That smell means it's time to remove your card" - nah.) It's definitely a design problem in need of a good solution.