Mss Java

Moss Table

27 September 2011

Last Sunday was the last day (officially) of London’s Design Fesival, but there are still 1002 events & exhibitions still taking place throughout the next few weeks. We didn’t talk or give it a lot of buzz besides makingbelieve because we consider it already has enough, although we forgot to mention last weekend’s Designersblock event was a not-to-be-missed section of it.

One of the key shows which always brings the best emerging design to some great locations, this year was at the impressive Farmiloe Building, home to some of London’s best exhibitions. With a focus on Korean & Swedish design students this year’s edition brought us some  of the most imaginative decoration (some of them functional too) pieces around. Take Feix&Merlin Architechs’ flying “high tea” chairs, or Alex Driver and Carlos Peralta’s Moss Table (also with the participation of Paolo Bombelli).

Moss Table by Alex Driver and Carlos Peralta
Moss Table by Alex Driver and Carlos Peralta from Cabridge University (IfM)

Certainly one of the most eye-catching works in the building thanks to the mix of futuristic design and eco-friendly features. Although after a brief talk with Alex he confessed the emerging technology called biophotovoltaics (BPV) behind the concept is at a very early stage and the little lamp wasn’t actually powered by the moss pots (boooo).

BPV uses the natural process of photosynthesis to generate electrical energy. Researchers are exploring how moss, algae and plants could be used as a source of renewable energy in the future and the Moss Table is still a nice dream that we may see one day (Alex told us to wait a few years to make something truly viable with it… and become an alternative to conventional renewable technologies such as bio-fuels).

Moss pots
Moss pots
  share news item

Stay foolish

25 August 2011

Steve Jobs has retired from his throne. A seat at the head of an engineering company who became the most valuable emporium with a designer as a king, as opposed to say… a software company with a royal engineer.

As a practicing designer this brings me mixed feelings, considering that this is the man who has powered perfection and has been rumored to obsess about every typefont, ligature, color and hue value that goes out for production, not to mention the millions of mock ups he approves and rejects, possibly explaining why Jonathan Ive is not always smiling.

Steve Job is arguably the invisible hand of creation and creativity; a gestalt for many designers, artist and the creative types who have spent many fruitful laborious hours in the pursuit of a more aesthetically pleasing world, by choice. Continue reading Stay foolish

  share news item


15 August 2011

Torafu Architects (studio by  Koichi Suzuno and Shinya Kamuro) bring once again one of those beautiful but “useless” objects (long discussion here): the Catch-bowl shelf.

The catch bowl can simply be split into two parts and mounted on the wall as shelves…. focusing o the corner which exist in “every room”… they obviously haven’t thought about the interior of certain buildings like Torres Blancas whose rooms literally have no corners.

As they put it themselves… “When a hemisphere is divided into a quarter and three quarters, the quarter snugly fits into a concave corner and the three quarters onto a convex corner”. So from this idea they created this shelf which allows any user (ejem, buyer) to adjust its height and also use it as a bowl.

The idea is manufactured mainly on plywood and it was produced last summer but there’s no word on pricing or availability… maybe just another of those nice projects that will never materialize. More info on their page.

  share news item


12 August 2011

I personally think Apple should stop suing copycats and focus on what the do best pampering their developer community with even sexier advantages and an easier ecosystem. It’s what still sets them apart from the rest of the crappworlds from their competitors…. although not for long

James Alliban‘s newest app is one of those that still make the iPad the most powerful portable toy out there. The Brit technologist who had brought us Fracture & Construct a few months ago, has now come up with a new painting app with a realistic twist… “Composite“.

An app which allows you to remix your surroundings to create artistic compositions. Inspired by the collages of Robert Rauschenberg, this iPad 2 app gives you the opportunity to paint pictures using the live front and back facing cameras. Simply point your device towards your subject and start painting to reveal it.

$2 for what promises to become another must for digital artists…. and you can grab it on iTunes of course (maybe Android market one day…). More info on his blog post.

  share news item

Chaos Communication Camp

9 August 2011

Europe’s largest hacker group will get together for the 4th edition of  their Chaos Communication Camp near Berlin (city of Finowfurt) starting tomorrow!

The international camp will host for 5 days a large number of events specially thought for the hacking community … and “associated life-forms”. Unfortunately tickets have now sold out but you can start counting down for the next one… in 2015!

The CCC is an initiative started by the Chaos Computer Club in 1999 following the success (and highly inspired) of a similar event in Amsterdam: Hackers in Progress (HIP) which then evolved to HAL2001 and then Whatthehack…. etc

An event which may seem or look like just another Campus Party but far from it CCC tries to go deeper into society issues. Nerds and more nerds camp around for 5 days learning and discussing about some complex things…  Congestion control in IP networks, cryptography, information sharing… other more common & mainstream… Android, Open social networks, Arduino for newbies… Then society worries like the police state, global democracy, citizen’s surveillance or security attacks also have a very important place in this hacker gathering.

The Finowfurt Aviation Museum will see once again some interesting discussions around hacking, but also about science, society and culture.

Chaos Communication Camp 2007 - all photos by markhoekstra &

CCC is a proper festival… with its hacking centrals but also its bars, music arenas, family and camping areas. And above all an amazingly eclectic list of workshops that hasn’t stopped growing as most camp visitors can propose to host and teach something… from treeclimbing or home automation to nuclear radiation monitoring classes!

  share news item

Optimistic Weather

5 July 2011

There are great apps, and not-so-great apps. And then you have funny and sometimes useful apps. Android urgently needs more of the latter… all those creative orgasms iOS has and Google dreams of building… of convincing their developer community one day. But little by little we keep seeing new examples arriving to the robot market.

Optimistic Weather is one of those “put a smile on your face” apps which aims to let you control your optimism… over the weather conditions. Not a “conventional forecast we must admit… no charts, no 10-day future guesses… only pure positivism.

These app will always bring you a sunny future because all “tomorrows” are “sunny tomorrows” (English guys @ Nation are behind the project).

  share news item


29 May 2011

“Can a Startup Launcher Launch Itself?” A great rhetorical question that the guys @ LaunchRock asked themselves via their blog last January.

Everything started (although not really, but reached its climax) with the big buzz created around the start-up launch page of Hipster ( Something as simple as a sing-up page with a catchy name, a short URL and an amazing background.

Hipster hasn’t been the only startup using this basic viral loop to attract thousands of users before the launch.. others like Forkly, Socialcam.. and pretty much many start-ups mentioned on Techcrunch on a daily basis are currently using this system. We don’t really know what their services are about…  they’re all social, easy to share, with location-based features… and that’s about it; but we sign-up don’t we?

Then with a bit of a laugh the guys @ Launchrock showed us all earlier this year how easy is to launch your own start-up. Because start-ups can certainly launch themselves.

How does it work? It’s actually fairly simple: after you sign up, we provide a custom, unique short URL that we encourage you to share out via email, social networks, etc. When somebody visits that URL and signs up, we can track it back to you and give you credit for it. After 3 people sign up with your link, you make our “priority access list” and we let you know via email.

If you’ve got a startup, a blog or really any website that you’re working on and you still haven’t put up a “launching soon” page, sign up so that you can start collecting users and encourage them to share your site. The sooner you sign up and get at least three friends to sign up, the sooner you’ll be able to use LaunchRock for yourself. is the latest example of subtle irony towards the start-up 2.0 world, like Alexia Tsotsis puts it herself Baitr is another “viral launch page that does nothing but visualize your email falling into the abyss, isn’t at all useful. But it is funny“.

God knows how many pre-launch apps & pages we’ve signed-up for from or MomB, will we ever get any answers back?

  share news item


13 May 2011

We had already shared it with you, but I Owe You is finally open, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about this once again….

In essence IOU is a new clothing brand with a heavy social component. Their apparel is handmade & based on fabrics handwoven in India (you may think… bah, there’s 23453 fair-trade clothing brands, starting with Oxfam or even M&S!!), the innovative part is that they provide buyers  with the ability to trace the production process from finished goods right back to the weaver that hand-wove the fabric. But how?

Each item has a IOU code as well as a QR code that you can track on-line or with a mobile app (yep, they’ve also released an iPhone app and about to release an Android one). With this code you can unlock the story of the person behind your clothes… get to know exactly who wove their fabric and which artisan company assembled it. Not a bad idea right? Hopefully Gap, Zara, H&M will one day do the same…. right?

This way IOU is trying to build a link between buyer and manufacturer, trying to create an e-commerce social network  between these two worlds which up to now have always been so distant.

The fabric is made by hand in India, and the actual assembly of the items in Europe and for now they’re already shipping to most Western European countries as well as the U.S. & Canada. The clothes aren’t particularly cheap but they don’t seem overpriced neither. We’ll let you discover more & unveil the processes by visiting their website IOU Project.

You can also become an ambassador (meaning… sell & show the stuff to your friends) or as they call it “Trunk Show Host” and get their clothes for free as well as earn a commission. This is another strategy they’re using to spread the message. They’ve pretty much thought of everything these people!

And behind the project we find Kavita Parmar, Iñigo Puente, Ricky Posner, Iñigo Manso, Alicia Malumbres & Carlos Hidalgo.

  share news item

Bla | Bla | Bla

26 April 2011

Mondays is always the best day to discover, download and renew your iPhone app catalogue. Because every Monday 32452345 new apps are added to the Appstore. From such figure, 99% are useless but from that figure 10% are great time funny killers!

Just like  Bla | Bla | Bla: a sound reactive application developed by Lorenzo Bravi as part of a one-day workshop held last December at the design department of IUAV of Venice and in February 2011 at the ISIA of Urbino.

Lorenzo created the app as part of an exercise called “Parametric Mask” within the aim of this workshop called “Procedures of Basic Design”, which is willing to go beyond the classic exercises about form and perception that characterize the course of Basic Design. The programming language used in the workshop is Processing. The porting for iOs was written in Open Frameworks.

More info and source code … this way.

  share news item


5 April 2011

Ahhhh the power of data visualization tools and in general… the power of information availability. Here’s a new site that may come extremely handy for your future university works, power points … etc: TargetMap!

Basically TargetMap allows you to reate your own data maps from any data set and topic you can think of using Google Maps as a base and all the parameters you choose. Our first thought? Great! Now we can falsify any ppt or work making up our own data maps (and if they ask for the source we shall say… “TargetMap”)!

Such a powerful and subjective tool that as soon as you get into their site you’ll be able to see some complete random & personal maps like the “To visit / to avoid” one where it states France as the highest mark on this very personal (and frankly pathetic… everyone knows Belgium is the best place for vacations…).

As you can see from the tour below (or test it yourself) this tool is pretty easy to use and allows plenty of customization, using excel spreadsheets, map data combination… oh and the best part… it’s embeddable!

I think they explain it way better than us:

  share news item

Geek Run

17 March 2011

Sony seriously have to rethink their gaming strategy (mostly their product roadmaps & launch dates) because Kinect has not only become the hottest developing platform, but also the “coolest” way of making new art. Every new technologist will tell you that, use Kinect, an open source visual code, and you’re set to create the next best thing.

But let’s go back to the main idea here: Geek Run!  A collaborative game (a prototype for now) played with cubes and Xbox’s Kinect controller and developed by Maria Maria Beltran, Emilie Tappolet & Raphaël Munoz, 3 students from HEAD (the Media Design program at the Geneva University of Art and Design) (via).

“By moving cubes on the floor in front of the Kinect, players control different functional elements in the virtual world. The lead character, a geek, follows a series of forking paths; the goal of the game is to help him get to a final destination without getting killed. By placing the cubes in the correct position, the geek avoids the obstacles and/or opens up a new path in the game. As in a choose-your-own-adventure book, your choices open up new possibilities for gameplay”.

Sounds like a play!

  share news item

London dot com

2 February 2011

From this list we chart the seismic shift in how people in the UK are spending, eating, listening, shopping, working (see people per hour), being entertained by home delivered blue-rays, buying and selling properties, bidding for lady-gaga’s front row stubs, and embracing micro-loans to finance new kitchen fittings. While at work, in mids of another social media project , we periodically chart our online presence via that standard chart of influence to see who’s who following who and how many.

Klout... just like peer-index, another obsesive site to measure your on-line influence

Boris announcement of turning Shoreditch hipsters into the next multi-billionaires might be a bit delayed since the founder of WWW himself left his hometown for the states two decades ago this list attest to a gleeful outlook for London is poised to be the next tech-magnet for the young, brash, aspiring, curry-loving crowd (brick lane as the next sillicon alley quoting @bohemiacademia).

As far as public education is concerned, UK’s matured home viewers are well-informed by state-wide campaign at; in between expired reruns of scrubs and latest episodes of holly oaks, your future target audience/market are already here in the present.

  share news item

Prius C

11 January 2011

Detroit Motor shows opens 2011 with an optimistic spirit but with very few few novelties, so far we’re liking the Hyundai Curb concept, Kia’s KV7 and this other concept… the Toyota Prius C….

Continue reading Prius C

  share news item