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Outdoor Research Fall/Winter Hats

Despite being summer, the weather around here has been highly unpredictable. We are mostly blessed with beautiful days, but early in the morning and after the sun has dropped below the horizon, the air can get a bit crisp. I think the best way to keep warm without feeling stuffy or sweaty is to focus on the extremities and head. I am a fan of the beanie, but recently I saw Outdoor Research‘s new line of warm headgear and I think I may need to add a few to my wardrobe. The Yukon cap, with it’s textured wool exterior and button ear flaps, really caught my eye. However, the one that I think really stands out is the Odd Job hat (pictured). Besides scoring points for the Bond reference, the brimmed hat comes with a bottle opener attached. Come to think of it, drinking beers is another great way to keep warm! Click here to check out their entire line.

Susan Kare Big Wall Graphics

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If you’re the kind of person that enjoys large graphics wrapped around your car, or perhaps a large sticker over your garage door so it looks like a jet fighter is parked there, a custom wall print might just make your day. LTLprints has teamed up with veteran graphic designer Susan Kare to offer some of her best work, blown up and pixelly retro. Kare created many of the original typefaces and icons for Mac OS and recently was responsible for the “gifts” icons on Facebook. There are dozens to choose from and if you take the time to browse through the choices, I am sure a few will be instantly recognizable. For those of you not content with standard offerings, you can also design your own graphic collage with a neat drag and drop online tool.

Twitter Visualization: Tori's Eye

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Two trends are still holding strong in 2009 – the popularity of Twitter and mashups. Using only XHTML/CSS and Javascript, the clan at Quodis Labs has created a beautiful real-time visualisation of updates in the Twitterverse. Dubbed Tori’s Eye, visitors simply click each origami bird as it “flies” across your screen and read the message it’s carrying. You can always change the default search (twitpic) to anything that interests you. Truly a different and quirky way to present information.

Tron Legacy

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With the recent release of the Tron Legacy trailer, some 27 years after the original release, a new generation of moviegoers will get a chance to experience the 3D awesomeness that their parents still fondly remember. I was an 80′s baby so I can rightfully claim that I am part of that original group of the faithful, and after viewing the trailer I can’t wait to watch the movie. The only thing really helping me pass the time is a fan poster created by digital artists James White (aka Signalnoise). It’s tastefully done, with the trademark blue and green light streaks and the grid floor pattern. Looking at his body of work, the Tron Legacy movie seems to be the perfect subject as its style (lights, gradients) matches his own. I love tastefully done fan art and this one is a great example of such!

Camdapter

js_cam2.gifUsually when I take my SLR somewhere, I plan on shooting a large number of shots with short intervals between shots. For convenience and security reasons, I usually hang my 40D around my neck using the included strap. However, this presents a few problems. First, this solution does not lend itself to quick shooting. There is time lost to bring it up from your waist to your eyes. I also wear belts with metal buckles which usually means when I “drop” the camera, it hits against something hard and that can’t be good for the LCD screen.

I was turned to Jim Garavuso’s invention, the Camdapter by some very convincing photography forum posts. A mechanical design engineer with 18 years of experience, Jim created the Camdapter to solve a personal problem but quickly learned that fellow photographers need a solution as well. The Camdapter is made from hard anodized aluminum and your choice of top grain leathers. It cleverly uses one of your neck strap mounts as well as creating a secondary mount on the bottom using an adapter plate attached to the tripod mount on your camera. The strap is fully adjustable and allows you to securely hold the camera with one hand. I run my Camdapter a bit loose so I am still able to access the thumb controls fully. Once you put one on, you’ll quickly learn the subtle movements of your hand that loosen or tighten the strap. As a bonus, if you still wanted to wear your neck strap, you could still attach it, giving you both options. There are multiple adapters which assure the setup is still tripod mountable regardless of whichever setup you may be running. The cost of the set is completely reasonable, in my opinion, and is a small fraction of the cost of the host and glass setup many of us are running.

2009 Bicycle Film Festival

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As we make our way through 2009, Cycling’s popularity has not shown any indication of slowing down. With Lance’s return to the Tour, continued interest in singlespeed and fixies, and a burgeoning market for city cruisers and vintage bikes (thanks Copenhagen), it’s only natural that this pastime be documented on film. In it’s 9th year, the Bicycle Film Festival launched in New York on June 17th and has participation from 39 cities worldwide. With a full roster of events including live performances, art shows, and of course showings, the BFF promises to have something for everyone. The schedules vary from city to city so please check out the website before you attend.

Innate Food Containers

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In what reminds me of a cross between storage Tupperware and tiffin lunch carriers, updated to modern times, the Innate food containers are just what my pantry needs. They are BPA-Free and Phthalate-Free (try saying that 3 times quick), so you know that no nasty chemicals are leeching into your food even when heated. The containers are made of durable 18/8 steel while the tops are made of silicone. The best part is the top fully collapses to fit flat on the container, yet expands and doubles as a bowl. It is also microwave safe which is great since metal and microwaves don’t play nice. There are two sizes available with three color choices.

Nike SB: Debacle

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When word starting hitting the hypebeast sites that Nike was getting into skateboarding, there were plenty of doubters. Afterall, what does a company built on the waffle racer and Air Jordan’s know about the (pseudo) underground sport of skateboarding? The naysayers were silenced and now Nike is respected in the skate world having both a roster of talent and great kicks. One reason I think Nike has always been able to maintain it’s corporate dominance while garnering respect of their customers is they know how to gather the best talent and market themselves to their audience, in a way that shows they understand. That’s exactly what they have done with their new and revolutionary project Debacle. For Nike’s latest skate video, they teamed up with Adobe’s Experience Design (XD) team and Hega TV. Together, along with director Jason Hernandez’s leadership, they have produced a film that is inspiring and breathtaking, in full HD. Luckily for you, the viewer, they flipped the traditional distribution method on it’s head. Nike SB: Debacle is available first online for viewing and download, then a Blu-Ray version will be released later. By now I hope I have convinced you to go watch 30 minutes of the most progressive skateboarding today. Congrats to everyone involved.

Commonwealth x Billabong

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Perennial VA/DC favorite Commonwealth has teamed up with Billabong for a series of board shorts made from a new fabric called Eco-Supreme Suede. The material is made from recycled pure polyester and can be recycled at the end of their life. It takes about ten recycled 12 oz plastic bottles to produce a pair of the tiger camo shorts. I am not a fan of the current options for men’s beachwear but depending how this new Billabong fabric feels, I will probably grab a pair when I am in DC next week. Via Highsnobiety

Sam Potts & The Sport of Design

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Each year, designers and fans anxiously await the start of the Layer Tennis season. 2009 was no different, as Coudal Partners, a Chicago ad and design agency, kicked off a series of live online design events in which professionals trade designs back and forth in real-time, building on top of their opponent’s work. A third party offers commentary which is often whimsical as well as inspiring and unpredictable. The audience can comment during the actual match as well as vote for a winner afterward, all using Twitter. This current season started on February 3 and was held every Friday ending May 29. We are currently in the playoffs in which you can find our featured designer, Sam Potts facing off against Aaron Draplin this Friday, June 12.

In this second season (of its current incarnation), we wanted to get an idea of the impact Layer Tennis has on the participants and the design community at large. Could we find a pattern in the tools or techniques used? What sort of pressures do they face when the ball in in their court and the clock is ticking? Keep reading for the interview…

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