Saturday, March 08, 2008

New Housing Development, Not!

Clever Concept Meets Public Performance Art

This photo has been shooting around the internet. It created quite a chuckle in architecture offices around the country. I thought it was something some wacky Californian came up with (notwithstanding the obvious earthquake danger).

Thankfully, it is NOT some moron's idea of Adaptive Re-Use, nor some hillbilly condo development scheme. It turns out this House Truck cousin is part of a theatrical set for the Openluchttheater outdoor Theatre Company located in Amsterdam.

The original production was back in 2005 for the play "Ivanov" by Tsjechov. Clever set design. You can see more photos of this set at the SonnyRadio website. (But don't use their website button to forward the photo link to your friends. It it could be a vehicle to gather email addresses for spam..)

Funny. Pheeww. Close one.

Siemens Eco Solar Phone - Be Green, Recycle

The Home Electronics Saga Continues..
(updated 3/16/08)

Before my TV started to die, my Siemens cordless phones started to show signs of an impending expiration as well. I have to say, my 8 year old cordless Siemens Gigaset phones performed well. For a cordless phone, the clarity was eq
ual to any corded phone, imo. But apparently, several cycles of re-charging these things has taken a toll.
Now, in addition to looking for a new HD TV, it appears I am inching closer to being forced to buy new phones for home use. (People are complaining my phones are starting to sound static-y. Not good.) Since we all know that electronics equipment isn't always environmentally friendly, I try not to buy products that once disposed, cause harm to the environment.
This is where Siemens comes in..

A ShantyWorld FIRST !
The Siemens Solar Phone (Cordless phone).

This is one gadget that neither Gizmodo nor Engadget have listed first. Since I love my Siemens 2420 Gigaset phones, I decided I would first give their new phones a look. (I like the Siemens phones in part because they are not only the clearest cordless phones I've ever used/owned, but Siemens engineering is consistently solid.)

Siemens also has a line of phones that use SIM chips, so you can pop your mobile phone SIM card into your home phone and have access to your mobile's calenda
r & phone book. Nice. Siemens also has a line of phones that work as intercoms, which let you see a live pic on your handset of who's at your front door.

Anyway, I surfed over to the Siemens site (3/3/08) and saw that they've introduced the "SOLAR" -- clearly an iPhone knock-off in the style department. According to Siemens, it's a "self-charging solar phone". Interesting.

From the Siemens website:
Solar, the high-end phone in the design study “Gigaset Eco Visions” uses all-over solar cells for a self-sustaining energy supply. It recharges naturally in the sun. The eco-index indicates the renewable energy use. Made of pure, separable materials (metal, eco-plastics, glass) the Gigaset Solar is truly state of the art high-tech inside and out. OLED touchpad technology allows a function-depending key indication on the Solar’s transparent display.

According to the Siemens Gigaset blog, the Solar is the second in a Trio of Eco-Friendly Home/Office Communication (SHC) devices to be rolled out over the next year by Siemens. (Errr, EFHOC is a posh way of saying "phones"...) From the Siemens site, "The phones have been engineered to be eco-friendly in terms of design, technology, materials, and characteristics throughout the entire product lifecycle – from manufacturing to recycling." [UPDATE 5/31/08, see new photo of Solar prototype above.]

The Leaf and Stone are the other two models that make up the SHC Trilogy. I've been eyeing the Gigaset S675 & S450 DECT phones & to replace my 2420 system, but consistent with my early adopter ways, I might have to wait until the Siemens Solar comes out. Too many gadgets, too little time (and cash).

Recycling of Electronic Equipment (in the USA) -
A lot of big box office supply and electronics retailers will recycle your old electronics equipment for you. Just call your local store in advance to make sure the location near you will take your old stuff. Some locations offer FREE recycling services. Others charge a small fee ($5-10 depending on the type of equipment.) Many of these stores have drop-off boxes/ spaces in their stores for old equipment. Either way, it's a good idea to properly recycle your old electronics. - Database of places to recycle your old electronics equipment.
eCycling - US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) web page listing Electronics recycling info, for computers, old TVs, cell phones, etc.
There are plenty of other places that can direct you to recycling programs, but at least you've got a few places to start.

Be GREEN, recycle those old gadgets.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Building Performance Art

I want my COLOUR HDTV!
Ok, so my 18 year old Sony TV is slowly dying... and I figured I'd start looking for a new HDTV to replace it. If you want a good starting point from which to assess tech equipment, you have to seek out geeks who spend their time doing the analysis.

Looking for more info on the subject, I turned to the podcasts of Leo LaPorte
at . LaPorte, along with Scott Wilkinson ( have done the most due diligence & have the best recommendations , imo, on how to select a good HDTV. With their "help", I have my selection narrowed down to either a Sony Bravia or Sharp Aquos-- only because for the size I'm looking for (26" max.), those were the best two units with the features, ports etc. that I need. (I also want to hook the HDTV up to my computer and I want more than 1 HDMI port..)

As I'm madly Googleing prices on the Sony unit, I stumble upon this HD ad for Sony HDTV units via one of the bit Torrents, Azureus. Through the Azureus client, you can (legally?) view a High Definition (HD) version of the Sony PAINT Commercial. (The commercial supposedly aired back in 2006, but I never saw it...) The "Paint" commercial is but one in a series of clever Sony commercials done in Europe highlighting the Bravia HD technology.

With the backdrop of a soon-to-be-abandoned (?) Urban High-Rise residential complex, the filmmakers shot a Fireworks-style Performance Art piece utilizing exploding paint bombs/cans, resulting in quite the colorific visual. It's part Performance Graffitti and Reality Voyeurism in one. My favorite shots are the ones from inside the building, as the color is exploding. The architectural landscape is an interesting backdrop to the performance.

You have to see it for yourself.

I'll resist the temptation to describe it in detail. Try to find the HD version though-- it's much better than watching the tiny YouTube clip.

It's a great blend of good Art Direction, High Concept and fantastic film editing. No CGI (computer graphic imaging) was used to create these images. That's what makes it all the better as a snippet of film art.

The YouTube version (below) is OK, but you've REALLY got to see this in higher resolution and at a larger size.. preferably with surround sound. YouTube also has a "making of" film clip summarizing the set-up for the shoot, the materials used, etc.

Quick "Sony Bravia Paint Commercial" facts:
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Filmed: June 2006
Prep: 4 months to plan, 250 people over 10 days to set-up film shoot
Material: 70,000 litres of paint
622 Bottle Bombs used
455 Mortars
Clean up: Dozens of people over 5 days to clean up paint
Paint: was supposedly environmentally friendly
Sony Bravia site:

No NIMBYs were hurt during the filming of this commercial (so I understand..)