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Age: 37
Sign: Cancer

State: South Carolina
Country: US

Signup Date: 05/22/05

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Monday, February 25, 2008


Design Lesson (and a little bit of news)
Current mood: awake
Category: Art and Photography

I heard this story, but was disappointed to learn that a "mullet" is also a type of fish.
"PERDIDO KEY, Fla. -- A former Olympic javelin thrower will attempt to break the world mullet toss record Friday on Perdido Key.

Roald Bradstock competed in the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games. Last year, he broke the world record in the master's javelin throw, which is open to people over age 40.

He also holds records for throwing an iPod, a cell phone and a golf ball."


Today's main topic is industrial design, the part of art school where the students get to design notionally useful products.  The story begins with me completely giving up on local radio.  When Clearchannel, et al, take a long term business view and begin serving their communities (as specified in their FCC licenses!), there might be something to listen to in the morning.  But for now we have morning jocks that range from idiotic to unforgivably banal [and banality is _always_ unforgivable] and both kinds of music - soundalike flavor-of-the-week or inscrutable noise.

But back to the design problem!  To avoid having the radio come on in the morning, I picked up a spiffy new alarm clock that plays audio from a memory card.  Like this:

Look at the nice clean lines on this unit - the flush front face and the single row of buttons on top... 

Why, it looks like a perfect underclassman-level industrial design project sketch.  I can almost see the marker lines in the fake brushed aluminum wraparound side/back panel.  I'm sure it looks nice on most any nightstand.

But... it's an alarm clock.  The user is typically half asleep and prone when trying to use it, reaching over awkwardly trying to either make sure the alarm is on for the next morning, or trying to beat the thing into submission because the morning has already arrived.  A little tactile feedback from the buttons would  be welcome!  Instead we get an object which deviously hides its functionalty from anyone who's not standing overhead, in good lighting, with the manual in hand to navtigate the menus. [One button, one function - is that so hard to implement??]

Don't ask me why in the world it needed a remote control.  I suppose some people need to put their alarm clock across the room so it forces them to get up... but the remote has a snooze button!
Oh, and the tuner sucks.  My cheap old analog tuner did better.  But I got it for the SD card MP3 player, which rocks.  I could've gone back to putting an FM transmitter on one of the PCs, setting it to play music at a certain time, setting the clock radio to come on just before that... eh, sometimes it's nice to get a box that plugs into the wall and just does its thing.

Most importantly - waking up to '
Dawn of a Million Souls' is a million times better than waking up to "Good good mornin' upstate!  Today's two-fer Tuesday, so here's another two-fer from one of your favorite soft-rock one-hit-wonders.  How about that, Suzie, isn't it cool how we can do that?"  "Um, yeah sure, Bob. {giggle}"  "Next up, the same news feed we played back twenty minutes ago..."

Currently listening :
Universal Migrator, Pts. 1-2
By Ayreon
Release date: By 13 September, 2004

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