30 August 2007

Article: The Scourge of Arial

I loved this article from the year 2000 the first time I read it. I have now re-read it and found it as interesting as the first time. It tells the story of how the typeface Arial came about. Reading this article you can learn:
  • Details about the development of typeface standards at the dawn of the graphic interface era of personal computing ("typefacess" are sometimes inaccurately called "fonts").
  • The way the Arial typeface became to dominate the non-designer world because of its inclusion in Microsoft products.
  • How Helvetica, The typeface of the 20th century was also the most shamelessly ripped-off design product of the 20th century
What I really like about this article is that you can read it and use all those bits of erudition at cocktail parties.

29 August 2007

Senseo Pods

I think the Senseo coffee machine is a great product. It is easy to use, it is convenient, and the coffee tastes OK. It is the perfect coffee machine for those that like a good coffee but are not willing to purchase an espresso machine or pay a hefty price for a Starbucks. The success of the product, in my opinion, is because of its convenience. Just open the lid, place a pod, and press a button.

Now, I read in Wired that a pod maker is available. You can use ground coffee and make a pods at home for your Senseo.

This product is targeted to two types of customers. The first group are high end customers that want to use their special coffee (e.g. organic, fair trade, Java, roasted at home) in their Senseo machine. The second group are those low end customers that want to avoid paying 0.20 euro for each pod.

But the first group of coffee connoisseurs is unlikely to be using a Senseo machine, and the second group is unlikely to fork 40 euros for the pod maker. Further, this product does not appeal to the Senseo customer, who need coffee convenience at home. Therefore, it is hard to say how successful this product is going to be. I am trying to imagine the customer that needs this product and wants to have one, but I can´t. And yet, I wish the coffee lovers at Perfect Pod the best of luck. Besides, who reads this blog anyway?

Am I going to buy a Senseo pod maker? Well, my new Nespresso machine is waiting for me in its box. After years of using a Senseo machine and advicing friends to get one, I have decided to pay more for better coffee. If a Nespresso capsule maker ever reaches the market, I may be able to give it a try.

28 August 2007


Schmap is a company that designs traveler guides. One day I got an email saying that one of my flickr pictures had been nominated for inclusion into the new edition of the Chicago guide. They were asking me permission to make use of the picture. I went to their website and said I would not mind.

This is one of the pictures that was nominated. It was taken during a snowstorm and then digitally turned into a black and white picture.

I do not think too much of the picture above and I am not sure why it was chosen, as it is not representative of the University of Chicago campus.

However, what I like about Schmap is that it is using the huge archive of user generated pictures to make a high quality product. By asking users from the flickr community for their images, Schmap gets images for free and uses the loyal flickr network to build its own community.

23 August 2007

Bulletproof Baby

"When stray bullets hit the pram but narrowly missed my son, I realised there was a gap in the market for a range of products to protect babies in today's increasingly violent society."

This is from bulletproofbaby.net , a company specializing in selling armor, bullet proof prams and chemical protection suits for babies and toddlers. It is definitely an unfulfilled gap in the market. The website is a little creepy. I guess it is supposed to make parents anxious and paranoid. The video shooting of the pram with a living baby (is that real?) is particularly distasteful.