Category Archives: Design

Ikea + Lego = BYGGLEK!

“Man, I thought this was gonna feature some Swedish Meatball-printed bricks, but it’s just boxes? Hmm.” — Finn Nack, who at age 12 is now deeply hard to impress 😌

Skepticism of tweens notwithstanding, this seems like a fun, simple way to upgrade storage for kids, and who doesn’t want to yell “BYGGLEK!” (a la Vonnegut’s “Gilgongo!”) from time to time?

The BYGGLEK collection will hit stores worldwide with a variety of sizes, from a three-box set priced at US$10 to a US$15 huge box, from October 2020. There will also be a LEGO brick set with 201 pieces sold along with the boxes.

Google Pixel Buds now translate, transcribe, and read text aloud

I know 2020 sucks a whole lot of ass (just this morning we learned that the beloved Swanton Pacific Railroad for kids may have burned up, JFC…), but it’s good to remember the amazing bits of human progress that sometimes come to life—like this one:

Building on the helpfulness of Pixel Buds’ conversation mode translate feature, which helps when you’re talking back and forth with another person, the new transcribe mode lets you follow along by reading the translated speech directly into your ear, helping you understand the gist of what’s being said during longer listening experiences.

Launching initially for French, German, Italian and Spanish speakers to translate English speech, transcribe mode can help you stay present in the moment and focus on the person speaking.

And your headphones can even detect a crying baby (!) & lower volume:

If your dog barks, baby cries or an emergency vehicle drives by with sirens ringing, Attention Alerts—an experimental feature that notifies you of important things happening around you—lowers the volume of your content momentarily to alert you to what’s going on. 

Guy invents mask launcher to cover others’ faces

“This is not a world of fact anymore. This is a world of opinion and emotion. And if there’s one thing that coronavirus protesters actually care about, it’s the Second Amendment. Guns.”

Pretty sure the anti-mask crowd is gonna be super receptive to this.

Here’s hoping we can find common ground. 😷

After 10+ years of teasing, Microsoft’s dual-screen device arrives

Back in the day (like, when Obama was brand new in office), I was intrigued by Microsoft’s dual-screen tablet Courier concept. Check out this preview from 2009:

The device never saw production, and some of the brains behind it went on to launch the lovely Paper drawing app for iPad. Now, however, the company is introducing the Surface Duo, and I think it looks slick:

Fun detail I’d never have guessed in 2009: it runs Android, not Windows!

The prices is high ($1400 and up for something that’s not really a phone or a laptop—though something that could replace both some of the time?), and people are expressing skepticism, but we’ll see how things go. Congrats to the folks who persevered with with that interesting original concept.