Monthly Archives: January 2012

Forget McFly’s hoverboard – we still aren’t quite at that point yet – but if the innovations unveiled at CES 2012 tell us anything, it’s well on it’s way. As if pretending to know how to surf concrete on a long board wasn’t easy enough, two companies have recently created a new generation of electric skateboards. Why get outside and exert any amount of effort if you can zip around town on battery-powered boards?

The Zboard is set to launch on the 1st of March of this year and has two different models to choose from – the Classic and the Pro. The Classic can reach speeds of up to 15 mph and has a range of about 5 miles on its sealed lead acid batteries. The Pro is a little more powerful and has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that allows for up to 17 mph and a range of just over 10 miles to every charge.

Both models offer a very close simulation of riding the real thing – with a highly-intuitive electric motor that’s hands-free, it can accelerate and decelerate based on how the skater shifts their weight on the board. They both also include regenerative braking. Pre-orders are now available (with a $100 deposit), and prices have been set at $500 for the Classic and $800 for the Pro. Check out their website for more details.

Metroboard is another company that has also launched its own line of electric skateboards, which are currently available to consumers online. They’re more customizable than the Zboard, offering different board choices such as standard long boards (36″ and 41″), and the shorter cruiser-style (27″ and 32″). The longer boards have less maneuverability but are far more stable, and the shorter boards tend to give the skater quite a bit more agility. These boards all max out at about 19 mph and are powered by rechargeable lithium batteries.

The only difference with the Metroboard is that speed is controlled by a wireless remote that is very similar to the Nintendo Wii controller and uses Bluetooth technology to communicate with the board, so you kind of lose that feeling of being self-propelled. To prevent runaway boards, the regenerative brakes engage automatically when you drop the remote and the board is more than 10 feet away from it. Metroboards are available for purchase through their website with prices ranging between $500-$545.

Foodies rejoice – the world of culinary exploration is upon us! No need to prop your iPad precariously on your countertop, or fumble with multiple apps to get the information you need while you prepare succulent dishes – the French have created an all-in-one tablet for the kitchen connoisseurs out there, aptly named “QOOQ” (pronounced “cook”). This fully-loaded gadget has a 10 inch screen with a simple interface and an abundance of options for any type of gourmand.

While they aren’t really revolutionizing the market for tablets, they have put a lot of effort into creating a kitchen assistant that is resistant to most of the abuse that chefs throw at it. It’s splash-proof and has a thick tamper-resistant cherry red casing with rubber feet so it won’t slip. The software included is built off of a customized Linux OS, and includes media streaming capabilities as well as web browsing and connectivity to social media. The ability to access other online content opens the user to an unlimited resource of recipe information.

I haven’t yet found an all-inclusive cooking app that I truly love, but the QOOQ comes close. It includes 3,600 recipes and 1,200 expert chef tutorial videos (if you sign up for their monthly subscription service). You can also upload your own recipes, and share them with others. And the most impressive features – a well-rounded recipe calculator which helps you figure out how much to make for however many people you are serving, and generates a menu and shopping list for you, which is a real stress-reliever in my opinion. You can also plan out your meals for the entire week, helping you stay on track, effortlessly.

You can check out QOOQ’s content online if you’re wary of spending $399 on a tablet that only has one purpose, but if you’re a regular techie/foodie, you’re going to love the high quality construction and regularly updated content that’s available.

A recently upgraded model is soon to hit the U.S. market this Fall, complete with updated recipe content that is more suited to the North American palate. If language isn’t an issue, the French version is currently available online via the QOOQ online store.

You’re crafty and innovative with a flair for design. You’ve got your awesome creations posted for sale on Etsy and eBay. You’re super excited because things are starting to sell  – but how are you going to package them and still retain your entrepreneurial “DIY” image? Why leave the last stage of production up to the pros? Make your own original packaging! It’s easier than you thought with Paul Jackson’s new book “Structural Packaging: Design Your Own Boxes and 3-D Forms”. Now you can create some really cool box art and add all the finishing touches that will enhance your company’s image and make you look like a creative genius. Or if you simply want to make papercraft sculptures, the sky’s the limit.

All the step-by-step instructions are laid out and easy to follow with accompanying illustrations, and begins with leading you through the basics and stepping it up a notch for each project. Jackson wrote the book so that it could be followed in chronological order but if you fancy yourself an origami master, feel free to skip to whatever tickles your creative taste buds. He goes into a lot of great detail regarding closures and and self-locking forms, as well as the deconstruction of shapes and gives you a lot of room to work with and gets the ball rolling when it comes to creating custom 3-D paper art. Geometry in the 2-D and 3-D world hasn’t changed, but  Jackson explains, “they can be combined and deformed in a never-ending series of permutations to create a very great number of beautiful and practical forms.”

“Structural Packaging: Design Your Own Boxes and 3-D Forms” hits bookstore shelves in February of 2012, so pre-order your copy now from Laurence King Publishing and Amazon.

Like many of us House Cats, Richard Wheeler got really disgusted by people dressed in Ed Hardy and Affliction when going out to the clubs – so he kick-started a line of tees dedicated to the House music scene that will hopefully change their mindset. He figures, these are nice people – they shouldn’t be dressed like douchebags. And I wholeheartedly agree.

His designs are simple, trendy, and get right to the point – it’s all about the music. He’s even got some of the hottest DJs and celebrities in the world rockin his threads. Though there’s not much of a varied selection as of yet, hopefully we’ll see more designs coming from Richard soon as his company grows.

To see more and upload your own pix, visit Richard’s website.

Studies by Pike Research have recently suggested that by 2016, there will be 466 million electric two-wheeled vehicles on the road, with China as the dominant force behind 95% of the sales. That seems like a huge number, but it’s just the beginning. With the interest in e-vehicles rising at an astronomical rate worldwide, it’s now time for companies to make some innovative strides in engineering. California’s Trikke promises to deliver, showcasing their new line of three-wheeled electric vehicles called the Tribred EV at CES 2012, putting the entire Segway market to shame. And it’s about time.

What I like about it is that it looks like a scooter but handles like a skateboard. There’s three new models to choose from: the 48V, the 36V, and the 36 Vlite. The 48V is at the apex of the electric bike spectrum, powered by a rechargeable Panasonic lithium-ion battery, it can handle up to about 24 miles on a single charge and weighs in at around 36-48 pounds (battery included). It’s got enough torque to get your chubby butt up an average sized hill at speeds up to 16 mph, thanks to its 350 watt motor and it’s so easy to use a third grader could leave you eating dust faster than you can fumble to get it out of the back seat of your Prius. And yes, it collapses easily to store or transport, so those interiors stay pristine – that is, unless you took it onto muddy terrain.

The three-wheeled nature of this contraption allows for super easy maneuverability in really tight corners, and it’s highly flexible and super stable – you can carve into turns like on a snowboard since the whole contraption leans with you. The other two models are scaled down slightly compared to the 48V. The 36V has a 250 watt motor, and carries about 10-16 miles per charge, and the 36 Vlite is featured as the “fitness” e-bike, complete with rugged tires, and a smaller 180 watt motor. You only get 6-10 miles for every charge on this one, and only runs about 9 mph but it’s still a great little toy. You even get a decent workout, since it allows you to use your legs and arms to help propel yourself, and for those who are a little more adventurous, there’s lots of cool new tricks to be learned. There’s even ski attachments so you can shred on snow!

There’s lot of professional applications too – policing, airport staffing, parking inspectors, private security, tour rentals, warehouse logistics, meter reading, and hotel and resort mobility can all benefit from the Trikke. Quiet, zero emissions, affordable, low maintenance, easy to adapt to, and apparently, you can even climb escalators with it – what more could you ask for?

Check out their website to view all the models and get more info.


Ughhh…REALLY? I mean – was there a major need for this one? Has the American animated sitcom community really run out of ideas that badly? Don’t get me wrong – the original film released in 2004 was pretty awesome, and quickly gained cult status – but what made it so great was that it stood apart from all the drivel that they’ve been shoveling down our throats these days. Beating the subject to death through animation seems to take away from all that pithy original content and dilutes it to the point where I think they’ve lost the point. Fox, you’ve really blown it this time, and managed to drag the talented Jared Hess and Mike Scully down with you. Bravo, douchebags.

The plot generally continues along the same lines as the original film, set in rural Preston, Idaho, with characters continuing to go about their daily lives, with additional outlandish deviations from reality forcing them into some sort of dramatic action for each episode. This is a cartoon version, after all – you didn’t expect it to be as realistic as the movie in any way did you? Regardless, Napoleon still strives to acquire “sweet skills”, Deb is still running after him, Pedro and Kip continues to seek love on the internet, so not all is lost.

Fortunately, they were able to reprise the entire cast (it would have sucked even harder if they hadn’t), so Jon Heder, Aaron Ruell, Efren Ramirez, Tina Majorino, Sandy Martin, Jon Gries and Diedrich Bader return with a couple of guest voices thrown in here and there. The debut season includes  Amy Poehler, Jennifer Coolidge, Sam Rockwell and Jermaine Clement.

The only saving grace of this new show is that it replaces the atrocity that was “Allen Gregory”, which was merely a half-assed vehicle for Jonah Hill that allowed him to befoul our homes with his uber-narcissistic attitude and self-absorbed smugness. And thank fuck for that – the world is now a better place for it. So I guess we’re going to have to stick this “Napoleon” one out for at least 6 episodes while its airs as a mid-season replacement, and if that weren’t enough, word is that they’ve expanded to thirteen. Alongside the impending demise of “The Simpsons”, Sunday nights will never be the same.

World Piecebook

Although it was released in June 2011, this book is still worth getting excited about if you’re a fan of graffiti. Following on the coattails of The Secret Drawings of Graffiti Writers and Piecebook Reloaded: Rare Graffiti Drawings, this volume celebrates the graf artist’s most prized gear: the blackbook. These private drawings hail from around the globe, featuring the art of well-known writers like Casino, Atome and Demote (Australia), Rens, Bates, and Swet (Denmark), Bacon, Zek and Virus (Canada), Zombie, Drax and Oker (England), Rio and Nami (Brazil), Nezm, Sniper and Shiro (Japan), Ders and Dare (Switzerland), Lunar & Dock (Croatia), Resm and Kas (Belgium), Blend, Rek and Ske (Puerto Rico), and many more.

Sacha Jenkins and David Villorente (Chino.A), the masterminds behind this work, are both veterans in the genre, and have many years of collective experience in the international graffiti scene between the both of them, and are sure not to disappoint. Buy it on Amazon or check it out at your local graffiti shop.

For more books on graffiti and street art, check out the shop at Bombing Science.

Street art pioneer Jef Aérosol threw up his first stencil piece in 1982 in Tours, France. Since then, he has graced the walls of dozens of cities worldwide (London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Amsterdam, New York, Brussels, Chicago, Lisbon, and Bejing to name a few), and joined the ranks of the infamous alongside other historical graffiti artists Blek le Rat, Speedy Graphito and Miss.Tic. Functioning mostly as “agent provocateur”, the messages he conveys evoke an emotional response to the urban sprawl that encroaches upon all of us, and tries to incite the importance of peace, pushing towards a world that embraces a zen-like way of being.

His work has been showcased in a variety of venues – at festivals, galleries, solo and group exhibits, art fairs, special events and even auction sales – and he’s been published in books too. In 1986 he was responsible for the cover art for “Vite Fait, Bien Fait” (éditions Alternatives / Agnès B, Paris), which was the first book published on the subject of street stencils, and in 2007 he released “VIP Very Important Pochoirs” (éditions Alternatives, Paris), which I am currently trying to obtain to add to my library. He continues to create commissioned pieces and show his work in galleries across France and Belgium, and yesterday, he opened an exhibit at the Musee-en-herbe in Paris.

To find out more about Jef Aérosol, check out his website, which includes info on the seven upcoming shows he has going on for 2012, and if you ever find his art tucked away in a strange part of the world, make sure you snag a shot and upload it to his Flickr group.

Hailing from Spokane, Washington, illustrator and photo-manipulator David Waters managed to land some pretty big clients while he was recently at the University of Idaho, studying graphic design. Huge companies like Adidas, Nike, and ESPN feature some of his work in their ads and he has had his work appear in a multitude of publications (on and offline), such as Advanced Photoshop Magazine, Computer Arts Magazine, Abduzeedo, and Digital Arts Magazine. And no wonder – this guy’s work is amazing!

What I love about Waters is that he doesn’t really stick to one formal artistic genre – he bounces around the grid creating a really rich and varied body of work. Inspired by his day-to-day experiences, and mentored by his colleagues and professors, he genuinely embraces creativity and makes a point of keeping his skills sharply-honed by constantly producing imaginative creations.

To see more, visit his website.

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