An underappreciated area of design in most consumer electronics is lighting - power and status lights seem to have a mission to "be seen," but not to "be pleasant." As a result, we have piercing pinpricks of glaring light coming from wifi routers, modems, and receivers while we're trying to watch TV, use the computer, or sleep. (One notable but unsurprising exception is Apple, whose status lights are always understated and unobtrusive.) Anyway, stepping in to solve the problem are LightDims stickers, which come in a variety of sizes and tints to cover all lights and either dim them or black them out entirely. It's a band-aid, but certainly better than suffering from poor light design - and even better than my own homebrew solution of covering annoying lights with electrical tape. It's just a little that LightDims' website is itself even more annoying than the problem it solves!
News today from one of my favorite practitioners of upcycling: Holstee just released the Delhi Rang Wallet made of discarded colored plastic bags collected from the streets of Delhi. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, "upcycling" refers to reusing products or materials in a way that increases their value - which makes it, as far as I'm concerned, even more magical than the other two types of recycling: reuse (where value stays the same), and downcycling (where value degrades, like printer paper being downcycled into toilet paper). Anyway, the wallet has an efficiently compact design for less of a butt-bump, and you can feel good about buying it for all sorts of reasons: their production supports impoverished Indian workers, the packaging is minimal and biodegradable, and each one is unique because the color pattern is made by the plastic bags themselves. Overall, seems like it beats the heck outta leather! Great job, Holstee team.
I'm no guitar player (even Guitar Hero gave me some problems), but that doesn't stop me from liking the Pickmaster Plectrum Punch. It'll make a quick guitar pick - or two or three - from any old credit card, loyalty card, or piece of plastic you don't want in your wallet anymore. I'd call this upcycling, because lots of those cards are junk - and hey, every pick will be unique. Like snowflakes.
It may smack of infomercial tackiness, but the HitchSafe actually seems like a pretty slick idea. A combination lock discreetly and securely holds a small stash inside your trailer hitch - a spare key, cash or credit card, whatever you need. Beats the heck out of magnetic hide-a-key slapped on the undercarriage! It's something I might not be ashamed to use - if I ever have a vehicle with a trailer hitch, that is...
Alarm clocks really represent our battle against ourselves: the part of each person that wants to sleep versus the part that knows he or she needs to get up. Well, to really align your incentives, try this devilish invention: an alarm clock that slowly shreds your cash if you fail to get up on time. How much do you really want to sleep in? Could you put a dollar amount on it...?
I love ping pong, but I can't remember ever loving a ping pong table. They're always light, flimsy, designed to be folded up and stowed away - they practically apologize for their very existence, and all it takes is one forward lunge for a shot and the table might just crumble in front of you. That's why it was great to see these sturdy concrete outdoor tables from Henge - ping pong deserves something like this, even if it's unrealistically aspirational. And sure, the actual sport may suffer outdoors - the slightest breeze would wreak havoc on the ball flight. But the table is a thing of beauty, and it's got me craving a game right now!