Category: Design

Apple TV Media Images Mismatch

So this was a big week for the Apple ecosystem with their new macOS Catalina being released to the masses. Along with the desktop update, it appears that the Apple TV and its tvOS was also updated. With the macOS Desktop update came the long awaited death of iTunes in favor of three separate apps to manage all of your digital media – Music, TV and Podcasts – while moving the “iDevice” sync and device management to the Finder sidebar. All great moves and long overdue.

I would like to hone in on one irritating item that I have observed with the new changes to the TV app – the desktop app where you manage all your digital movies, TV shows and other video related assets – and Apple TV device and interface.

With the new TV desktop app, Apple has made a change to the media ‘poster art’/image art (for this post, I’m going to describe them in the context of “Movies”) used to show what movie you have in your collection. Like many other folks that are out there, I have a decent amount of movies that I have “ripped” or converted to digital from my DVD collection. As such, they are actual movie files on my computer. In the old iTunes Movies interface, these images were vertically oriented and, generally speaking, displayed the traditional movie poster image as you can see below.

In new macOS Catalina TV desktop app, the orientation of these images have been changed to a 16:9 horizontal orientation as you can see below. So now, the vertically oriented images from the previous iteration of iTunes are still there representing each movie, but they look woefully out of place and Apple is using this blurring feature that is drawing from the colors in the actual image. Nice touch…it kinda works, but lets be honest. It looks pretty shitty. In the example below, I went ahead and changed the “Before Sunrise” image to the 16:9 ratio just to illustrate how it should look with the new image layout (Please…no judgements on the movies).

So, you would think that this new 16:9 treatment in the macOS TV app would then carry over to the actual Apple TV “Home sharing” interface where you can access and watch the movies on your computer via Apple TV. So let’s take a look at the exact same “Romance” category, but this time on my TV using my Apple TV. In the Apple TV interface, the movie images are still using the old vertically oriented ‘movie poster’ art, while the one movie I changed the image on – Before Sunrise – now has the complete opposite – actually worse – effect in Apple TV compared to the macOS TV app – it shoves the horizontally oriented image used in the macOS TV app into the vertically oriented slot on the Apple TV interface.

So then I thought, maybe it has to do with the fact that the remaining movies in that category had not been switched out to the 16:9 orientation and that was ‘forcing’ the movies WITH the 16:9 image to be in the vertical image slot. So I went into the “Documentaries” section and switched out the vertical images for the 16:9 horizontals to test this theory out. And lo and behold, that made no difference.

macOS Catalina TV app interface

So, after all of that, my ask to the teams over at Apple TV, macOS TV App and anyone else would be to fix this so that each interface is designed for the same sized and oriented image, or that there is some interface or selection button that gives me the option to choose which interface uses which type of image. Yeah, stuff like this irritates me.

When Vintage Became Cool

Photo: Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images
Photo: Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images

Throughout all the big fashion forward cities around the world such as London, Paris, San Francisco, and New York, vintage clothing stores are a staple of inspiration and innovation. Back in the 1960s, an epicenter of vintage clothing stores was on St. Mark’s place in NYC, and the store that led the way was Limbo, which opened in 1967 and hung around until 1975.

Part of the 1960s cultural rebellion, then, involved calculated grubbiness. Teenagers allowed tangles in their hair and old, frayed clothing on their bodies. They picked up old chairs on the street and bought worn-in jeans. This lifestyle was environmentally friendly, it was cheap, and it scandalized adults win, win, win. The trend peaked in New York in the late 1960s, and the flagship store was a place called Limbo.

Through the years, St. Marks Place has continued to hold on to its gritty and bohemian roots yet as Manhattan continues is march towards becoming the Mall of America, the ability for vintage clothing stores to survive sky high rents becomes a challenge. However, what is far more interesting is how with the passing of time, the mantra “they don’t make ’em like they used to” is becoming a stark reality in the vintage trade.

As Laver’s Law says, the clothes from about 30 years prior amuse us the most. What’s not the same is that in the 1960s, 1930s clothes were unique and made from high-quality materials; in the 2010s, 1990s clothes are, like, Express baby doll dresses. The higher-quality old stuff is in shorter supply, and so it’s become more precious and much more expensive. To a dance once in junior high school, I wore a perfect-condition 1950s pink tulle party dress, purchased on or near St. Marks for, as I recall, $5. I just looked on eBay for something similar; the price point was around $125.

So keep a hold of those old, vintage threads from the 1950s and 60s. They are becoming rare and highly sought after!

Photo Credit – Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images via The Cut

Batman’s Garage In Real Life

Molecule-Case-Study-House-For-a-Superhero-Ramp-01

The Australian architecture/design firm Molecule took great inspiration from Batman’s garage in “The Dark Knight” trilogy of movies to create a similar underground car park for one of their clients. Their portfolio post about the project lists it as the Wayne Residence, which is just an irony of epic proportions.

Last year, the architectural design group finished up work on the Wayne Residence, an insane home fit for a superhero, and among its lavish features is a garage seemingly ripped from the screen. You can even drive your Tumbler in through a secretive entryway hidden beneath the tennis court.

That’s right, these folks open the garage door by pushing a button and having some hydraulics lift up their tennis court, at which time they drive down below grade to their Batcave Garage.

Fine, you win.

Source: Cable TV subscribers plunging – Business Insider

Inventing Scotch Tape

As we conclude another holiday season, one of the unsung heroes of the gift giving process is the lowly roll of tape. This magical invention that we probably all take for granted actually came to be via a skunk works project from a rookie engineer at 3M named Richard Drew.

After being hired on at 3M, he was given the ultra exciting task of testing out different types of sandpaper and the various grains that could be used on the sandpaper. Yes, exciting work. Eventually he was sent out to local auto shops to see how the sandpaper products were being used and observed that the auto body workers were running into some very frustrating situations. You see, back then, two tone paint jobs on cars were very popular back then however the method of applying the paint on them was archaic and in turn, drove the auto body workers crazy!

For auto workers, [two tone paint jobs were] a total pain in the ass: To achieve this effect, they had to mask off parts of the car with butcher paper, newspapers, homemade glue, and heavy-duty surgical adhesive tape. When the tape was removed, it would often take with it chips of the freshly-coated paint. A vicious cycle would ensue of taping, painting, re-taping, and re-painting.

When Drew walked into the shop that day, he was greeted with the choicest profanity he’d ever heard: strong adhesive tape had, once again, botched the auto workers’ paint job. Instead of seizing the opportunity to sell the disgruntled workers sandpaper to remove paint, Drew had a completely unrelated revelation: what if he could design a superior, less aggressive tape — a tape that didn’t ruin paint jobs?

Drew took his knowledge of how 3M applied sand grains to paper to in turn figure out how to apply non-stick adhesive to paper so it did not leave any residue on the surface. Once he figured it out, he created the machinery to produce it by purchasing supplies in increments of $99 so not to get flagged by his leaders since he was only allotted $100 budget for supplies.

Not only did Drew create Scotch (aka Masking) tape, but he then went on to create clear Scotch tape. Today, those products still represent about 20% of 3M’s revenue.

The Future of Ping Pong

Futuristic Ping Pong Table

Who knew Ping Pong could be so technologically advanced? The above table has an advanced computer system baked into the table, along with a touch surface that responds to voice and real object interactions. So that means you can see where every shot landed incase there is an earth shaking dispute over that double break point serve that just nicked the corner of the table.

The table is part of a broader list of Unbelievable Futuristic Design Concepts That Inspire Creativity.

Syracuse U To Digitize Marcel Breuer Archives

Breuer’s Starkey House, Duluth, MN

In late March, my alma mater Syracuse University will be releasing the digitized archives of Marcel Breuer’s 30,000 drawings, photographs, and other materials from the early stages of his illustrious architecture and design career (at breuer.syr.edu…but the site is not up yet).

Breuer achieved remarkable success as a student in the furniture workshop of the Bauhaus, leading Walter Gropius to offer him a faculty position in 1925. That same year, he earned widespread critical acclaim for his tubular steel ‘Wassily’ chair, which incorporated the radical simplicity of form and interest in industrial materials often espoused by the Bauhaus. Breuer helped to redefine post-war American domestic architecture through projects like the ‘bi-nuclear’ house and the demonstration house in the garden of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (1949). He designed some 60 private residences by the mid-1950s, all of which are represented in the Marcel Breuer Digital Archive.

I am not a huge fan of Bauhaus style, but Breuer’s impact on the world of design and architecture can not be denied. Similar to how Frank Lloyd Wright extended his designs into the interior of the building, Breuer did the same with his furniture designs. Some of the most distinctive and lasting furniture and chair designs were developed by Breuer. When you go to a Doctor’s offic, more times than not you will sit in one of his Ceska chairs. When I was younger, a friend and neighbor of mine had one of his Wassily Chairs in their house.

Also, next to Rem Koolaas, Walter Gropius (Breuer’s mentor) is one of the coolest architect’s name out there. :P

via Inside SU

Times Square Photoshopped


I was listening to Leo Laporte’s iPad Today on his TWIT network and during the most recent episode (#82) of the show, he and Sarah Lane walked through MacWorld. One of the people they met up with was Bert Monroy, who is a prolific Photoshop artist. One of the pieces of art he did was the above featured Times Square, which is jaw dropping. The actual artwork is 5 feet high by 25 feet wide, its file size is 6.5 Gigabytes, it used over half a million Photoshop layers and it took over 4 years to complete!!

Minimal Desktop Backgrounds

As I spend more time online visiting different sites and evaluating new online services, I have come to greatly appreciate clean, crisp, minimal yet effective user experience/interaction design. I even recently purchased an Apple iMac which has only added to this recent obsession.

Over the holiday break, I began to build up my collection of desktop backgrounds since its so easy to rotate desktop backgrounds on my new iMac. In my online travels, I discovered the great site SimpleDesktops and went a bit overboard downloading desktops from the site. And in looking at the examples on their site, I got inspired to develop a bunch on my own. So, with little fanfare, I would like to share my collection of minimal dekstop wallpapers for your viewing and downloading pleasure. All the backgorunds are sized for a 27″ iMac desktop (2560 px x 1440 px) however you should be able to download them and your Mac/PC should resize them.

Below are a few examples to whet your appetite. I’ve developed several related to Superheros, English Premier League teams, MLB teams, London Underground Tube Stops, and a few Random Ones that strike my fancy. Visit my Sandbox page or go here to see the full collection.

Harry Potter
Queen’s Park Tube Stop
Batman’s Batsignal

Vertical Forest

An interesting project is underway in Milan, Italy where architect Sefano Boeri designed a pair of highrises that incorporate trees on the exterior of every floor.

The concept of reforestation within the city context intends to minimize the expansion of established urban fabric for additional green spaces while still increasing biodiversity which has been lost during development. the implementation of this project serves as a model for contemporary european cities for linking a building with nature within city limits.

The design of the buildings incorporated how the plants and trees would produce CO2 for the building and the area around it. Practically speaking, I’m wondering who is going to trim those trees on the higher floors.

via Designboom