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The [New] Hype Machine

This morning, Hype Machine re-launched; the new website is brighter, easier to read, and includes several new features including a place to store your favorite songs and a “spy” feature that lets you see what other users are listening to. At the same time, one of the best features of the old site — the little flash player that opened in a separate window when you clicked on a track — has inexplicably and unfortunately disappeared.

I haven’t used the site enough to decide whether I like this redesigned version better than the old one, but as long as the core function remains — and for the most part, it does — Hype Machine will continue to be a daily ritual for me. If you haven’t checked out the site yet, there’s no better time than now, while it’s fresh, shiny and new…and of course, let us know what you think.

Vinyltoys Templates

Vinyltoys Templates is a website that compiles the plans (blueprints?) for a wide variety of vinyl toys from manufacturers that span the alphabet from All City Style to Woodentoy. There are currently about 40 templates up for your downloading and hacking pleasure, with more to come. In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that the information you will find on Vinyltoys Templates means absolutely nothing to this writer. I don’t know much about vinyl toys, nor do I know how to work with vinyl in any sort of artistic way (though I do believe I’ve done a good job of sitting on some vinyl car seats in my day…minus the sliding that takes place during sharp curves). But none of my shortcomings should stop any of you vinylphiles out there from getting high off the fumes and creativity involved in your hobby. If it’s your bag, consider this site your new best friend.

SwitchPlanet

Via Thrillist, the lazy dude’s incredibly well-informed, bicoastal best friend (that’s right, it’s in LA and SF now, so if you live in either of those locales, sign the hell up already), we get word of a new way to get things we want for free (and we like that). The website is called SwitchPlanet, and it works like your favorite file-sharing application might work if instead of downloading files and letting others upload your files, you were mailing actual books and movies and receiving physical packages from others.

You sign up for an account on SwitchPlanet and list all the stuff (movies, books, CDs and video games) you have that you’re willing to give away. For instance, let’s say you used to dig the Black Keys but then you got a girlfriend and now you’re willing to give your copy of Thickfreakness away. You post it, and “blueslover19″ on SwitchPlanet “buys” it from you with his “switchbucks” (a purely theoretical currency, but you’ve got to keep track somehow), which he earned from people “buying” his stuff. You don’t get any money from “blueslover19″ "” in fact, you have to pay to ship the CD to him "” but you earn switchbucks, which you can then use to “buy” stuff you want from others. Basically SwitchPlanet is a fun and efficient way to recycle media. Meanwhile, if anyone is looking for a copy of Frailty, the stunning directorial debut of Bill Paxton, they can contact me directly.

Superspace.dk

Superspace is a two year-old design studio based in Copenhagen; the fact that it’s two years old makes sense, because right now Superspace devotes a lot of its energy towards designing for children. Take their (pictured) Honeycubes product: fuzzy little hexagons with detachable centers that kids can stack, piece together like honeycomb, sit in, sit on, or just play and be silly with. Superspace says that the “dynamic shape” of the Honeycubes, “is designed specifically to support children’s development from the early age of 2.” Then there’s the Sorø Mini Tracks, which are like little interior design building blocks for kids. Now, Superspace has some sweet adult-oriented products too "” I don’t mean to short-change them "” but we here believe that design sensibility should start as early as possible, and their children’s products are a way to give your kid a head-start on developing exquisite taste. And that’s a great thing, because kindergärtners love a snob.

A House Grows in Brentwood

As we told you a little while back, the WIRED LivingHome "” a collaboration between Wired Magazine and LivingHome, an innovative prefabricated housing supplier "” is of equal interest to gadget heads, architecture fans and conservationists. Currently having its finishing touches supplied at its location in Brentwood, CA, this house combines the latest in environmentally-friendly (and tech geek-friendly) technology, with the refined architectural touch of Ray Kappe. The news we can share with you today is that the project will open to the public from Saturday, October 27th through Monday, November 5th Sunday, November 11th. In addition, we can share the project’s website with you, so you’ll know where to go to satisfy every bit of curiosity you might have about this house. At the website, you’ll find out things like what car the WIRED LivingHome has in its driveway (a BMW Hydrogen 7), and how much the whole thing costs ($4 million). What? Too extravagant for the environmental contingent? Come on, this is Brentwood, baby.

Ninja Cruise Update

Our boy Matthew Curry "” Spear Collective member, Grammy Award nominee, artist, occasional ad man and one-time vodka bottle designer "” has just updated his website, Ninja Cruise. Matthew’s no stranger to the pages here; we’ve written about him a bunch of times before, most recently to shout out his collaboration with Enjin Skateboards. He designed some pretty sweet (and reasonably priced) boards for enjin, which we just gave you a chance to buy.

This Ninja Cruise update includes a good deal of hand-made content (ink on paper, rather than hue on screen) that, in an email, Curry called his “most successful paintings and drawings from the last 2 years.” Some of these canvases are for sale at The Beholder. When you go "” and you will go "” to Ninja Cruise to check out Matt’s latest and greatest, you’ll find his news in the middle of the page and those paintings and drawing we just talked about thumbnailed on the masthead. Ah, darkness.

Related: Matt Curry Archive

MWM Graphics Redesigned; Fully Loaded

MWM is Matt W. Moore, a graphic designer who currently lives with his wife and son in the mountains of Vermont. We’ve written about MWM before in his capacity as one of the founders and curators of Wallspankers Magazine, but clearly there is so much more to see, including his work for a virtual who’s who of alternative marketing clients such as Scion, Ecko and Smart Car. There’s so much here that I can’t do the whole site justice, so I’m going to focus on one thing: mandalas. They are a common art form in Eastern religious traditions, perhaps most famously in Tibetan Buddhism where they are made out of sand to (speaking very simplistically) represent impermanence. MWM’s mandalas are certainly not as heavy as their religious counterparts, but they are breathtaking. Some are geometric like the Tibetan versions, while others are reminiscent of Kandinsky. And the nice thing about MWM’s work is that it’s on your computer, so it won’t blow away in the wind.

Dust La Rock: Rocking a New Website

This world is a funny place, and sometimes the people with the funniest names make the most serious sh*t. Take Dust La Rock; we’ve written about his work with Beautiful/Decay and oneonenine before, but we’ve never taken the time to tell you to go to see his full repertoire until today. His new website went public this morning, and it’s a great place to delve deeper into Dust’s (Mr. La Rock’s?) catalog, and to learn a little more about him. (His real name is Joshua Prince, he was born in California and he now lives in Brooklyn. Yes, Brooklyn. Surprise.)

Who’s the star of the show here? Maybe Dust’s website for the Googly Eye Cru or his business cards for Oxy Cottontail…but I don’t like to play favorites with art, so hop on over yourself and have a look. Five minutes out of your day to discover a young graphic designer? Couldn’t hurt.

Happy Ideas From Chile

I first became aware of the problem that electronic waste, or “ewaste,” poses to the ecosystem through the documentary film Manufactured Landscapes, which played here in New York a few months ago. In the film, you see a whole community in China dedicated to tearing apart ewaste "” used motherboards, keyboards, monitors and the like "” and separating the metals that can be reused from the used-up waste. That waste is mostly toxic, and we don’t have a good way of dealing with it so it tends to sit in landfills and slowly contaminate the soil and water supply.

But Chilean designer Rodrigo Alonso has a better idea of what to do with ewaste. A much better idea. His N+ew project (“no more electric waste”) combines ewaste, epoxic resin and aluminum repurposed from soda and beer cans, and turns it all into a stool that is as much a piece of art and a conservationist statement as it is a place to put your butt. When you go to Alonso’s very swank website you’ll see the stool in all of its disheveled glory under the “designs” tab. You’ll also find Alonso’s other, more domestic but no less intriguing designs there. Alonso calls this his “happy ideas lab.” Aptly put, sir.

Evil Monito x Kangol

A family album, a statement of personal identity and a nod to tradition; it’s rare for an article of clothing to be any of these things, let alone all of them. Yet the two hats in the Evil Monito x Kangol collaboration "” a cabby hat and a fedora "” manage to pull off the feat, and to do it with absolute cohesion. These hats are instant classics.

The shape of the cabby model, and the fabric "” British millerain wax cotton "” are nods to Kangol’s past. The lining of both hats, silk printed with Evil Monito founder Rickey Kim’s family photos, are a nod to Kim’s identity as a first generation American and to the debt he owes to his father, who emigrated to America from Korea in the 1970s. It’s evident that Kim has had a complicated relationship with his father. “As a child, I grew to fear him. As an adolescent, I grew to despise him. As an adult, I no longer knew who he was,” says Kim. Yet by including his family album on these pieces, Kim has found a way to both work through his issues and do what he does best: make striking clothing. Of course, if you check out the Evil Monito store you’ll see a lot of nice things for sale, but you won’t see these Kangol hats. That’s because they aren’t available yet….but they will be soon.

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