« April 19, 2012 | Main | April 21, 2012 »

April 20, 2012

Reflections on home-made media

I had so much fun creating today's 12:01 p.m. and 2:01 p.m. posts — what with taking the pictures with my iPhone and then cropping and editing them into some semblance of a narrative — that I've decided to do much more in the way of stuff like that as opposed to almost exclusively featuring things of interest from print and the Web.

It occurs to me that putting more emphasis on what goes down around here gives me access to an exclusive resource, namely the world of Gray Cat and all that's required to keep it functioning in a way that suits Her Highness (above, watching polar bears on TV).

At first I tried to make a movie of the iPhone cord modification hack but after innumerable false starts trying to keep Gray Cat and the earphone cord both in the frame while simultaneously narrating and attempting to avoid filming my big fat fingers, I gave up and reverted to photos.

That was much snappier and more controllable.

I'm thinking that while making a short video and then tweeting it or emailing it is easy enough, it's much, much harder to create something with a trajectory and purpose like demonstrating how to modify a piece of kit.

Live streaming something, on the other hand, once it gets doable by a TechnoDolt®™© — and it's getting ever closer — that's a horse of a different kettle of fish.

Wait a sec....

April 20, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Experts' Expert: Clarington Forge Garden Fork is the apotheosis of a tool


In yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Anne Marie Chaker reported on a visit with Holly Shimizu, director of the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., to discuss gardening tools.


Excerpts from the piece follow.

About 10 years ago, Holly Shimizu [below],


director of the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., decided she was fed up with buying cheap gardening tools that would break.

So she scoured stores and gardening catalogs and bought the best tools she could find. Her favorite continues to be the Strapped Garden Fork [above] by Clarington Forge, a British company that exports its handmade tools to the U.S.

Its heft sets the fork apart, Ms. Shimizu says. "I have had forks that will break, like if you hit a big rock or try to lift it," she says. "That won't happen with this." A Clarington Forge spokeswoman says that's because the fork is forged from a single piece of steel. "There are no welded joints" as with most other garden forks, says Emma Kelly, managing director of the company's U.S. arm.

Ms. Shimizu uses the fork for everything from breaking up clay soil, to dividing perennials, to lifting weeds from their roots. She has owned her Clarington Forge fork for more than 20 years, and the wooden handle has darkened and molded to fit her hand perfectly.

"A good tool becomes almost an extension of you. The older it gets, the more you love it," she says.

The Clarington Forge Strapped Garden Fork costs $107.

April 20, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How to modify your iPhone earphones to prevent cord separation


What is it today with all the homegrown solutions and whatnot, as opposed to things from the great world outside?

I have no idea why I've suddenly got this improvement jones but I'm liking it.


Longtime iPod users will know that from the beginning, the earphone cord has had a little two-channel slider with both channels enclosed (below)


that moves from just above the joining piece all the way up to the earbuds.

I noticed soon after getting my iPhone that there was a subtle modification of the slider, such that it now had one open side (below).


For me this wasn't a good thing, because when I removed the earbuds I ended up separating the two individual wires, requiring me to replace one into the little groove. 

That got old in a hurry so I invoked Edwin H. Land — "Solve the problem with what's in the room." — and sure enough, all it took was a little piece of Scotch tape (below)


placed across the open channel and the slider was like those of old, securely holding both wires and no longer popping open (top and below).


Much better.

April 20, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fauteuil II Chair — Philipp Aduatz


This chair is among the items on display at the 15th annual Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair, opening today at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City.

Wrote Rima Suqi in yesterday's New York Times, "More than 50 galleries showing studio art and design, all for sale and open to the public."

The chair pictured is one of a limited edition of 12 + 3 artist's proofs.

Details on the design process here.

Apply within or email the artist: philipp@philippaduatz.com.

April 20, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Where does the missing sock go?


I just realized that this is the third consecutive post today featuring socks.

What's up with that?

Never mind.

Doing the laundry, occasionally a sock goes missing from a pair.

Where did it go?

Most people long ago gave up wondering, simply accepting it the way I accept the disappearance of my endotracheal tube cuff syringe after induction.

Open the drawer and get another one, move on, nothing to find here.

But I digress.

I was kind of astounded to read the following in yesterday's New York Times "Shopping With" feature: "From a practical perspective, he [industrial designer Stuart Leslie] liked the Sock Cop clips, which hold pairs of socks together 'so the washer doesn’t eat your socks.' ('I asked Samsung where they go,' he said, referring to the stray socks that disappear during laundry, but no one had a good answer.)"

How is it possible that I, an anesthesiologist in a Podunk town in central Virginia, know  where the stray sock go and the mighty Samsung empire with all its scientists and experts hasn't a clue?

Because I do know.

Look at the photo below.

Photo copy

It shows my washing machine from above.

Now look at the photo up top.

See how I've pulled to the side the tub where you put your clothes?

Between the inner tub and the outer wall of the machine is empty space, necessary so the tub can move around and do what it needs to do to agitate the laundry.

Guess what?

Every now and then a sock finds its way into the narrow opening up top between the tub and the outer wall and takes up permanent residence in the space below.

A appliance repairman told me that many years ago.

The only way to see for yourself is to tear your machine apart or get a fiber optic scope and snake it down there to have a look.

If you do that, send me a pic or two of what you find and I'll make you world-famous overnight.

April 20, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Sock Cop Clips



$8.99 for 20 clips (socks not included).

April 20, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

How to keep your shoes on while going through airport security

Screen Shot 2012-04-19 at 6.25.43 PM

The penny dropped Wednesday (proof below)

Screen Shot 2012-04-19 at 6.25.52 PM

but I didn't realize how potentially profound an idea I had just had.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the one thing people hate most about going through TSA screening is having to remove their shoes.

You end up shuffling through in socks, stockings, or barefoot on a surface that's been visited hundreds or thousands of times already just that day.

Well guess what?

Wear Acorn Slipper Socks and you won't have to take off your shoes — because you're not wearing any!

From $35.90.

Sales of these ought to go through the roof once this goes viral.

Yo, Acorn — my shoe size is men's 9-1/2.

April 20, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Glow-in-the-Dark Crowbar


What took so long?

Screen Shot 2012-04-19 at 6.07.15 PM

"Are you having trouble seeing at night while breaking and entering?"


How visible is it in the dark?

Screen Shot 2012-04-19 at 6.06.58 PM

Judge for yourself.



[via ThisIsWhyImBroke and Jeri Dansky]

April 20, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

« April 19, 2012 | Main | April 21, 2012 »