Ideas, Intelligence, Events and Promotions from WIRED

Run (or Jog, or Walk) an Empire

Image via Kickstarter

Outdoors? Listen, if I wanted to get outdoors, I wouldn’t have decided to buy an overpriced apartment in one the most densely populated places in the country. But combine an outdoor activity with the chance to dominate? Now, you’ve got my attention.

Run an Empire is an “alternate reality game” (think a big game for adults that happens in real life) in which players get to claim domain over areas in real life via running. The app tracks you as you move run or walk around. Encircle a city block, and you lay claim to it. Circle it again and you reinforce it. But be warned, other players are also vying for control of territory, and can take poorly defended areas from you.

It’s a sneaky way to get people out of doors. But a chance to own a city block in NYC? Let me get my trainers on.

Digital Gentleman

#Tech  
#App  
#Game  
|  April 15th, 2014

Make It Rain Selfies

Image via PSFK

It’s hard to imagine a time when people didn’t take selfies. They’ve reached such critical mass that the President might ban them. But where presidents used to be, you might soon find yourself. 

Artist Jonathan Keats wants to use our narcissism for good. He proposes the Selfie ATM, which would print money with your own face instead of some old dead white guy’s. The idea is that people would value money with their own image, encouraging more spending, which in turn would reduce inflation and stimulate the economy. Who knows, soon they might be teaching Selfies in Econ 101.

How would you value money with your face on it?

Digital Gentleman

#Tech  
#Culture  
|  April 8th, 2014

Logical Fallacies Get a Design Update

Image via Your Logical Fallacy Is

In an argument with an Internet troll? Throwing down in the comments section of your favorite blog? In a messy tangle with your teenage cousin? You’ll need to go into battle armed…with #logic.

This site lists out common logical fallacies, since it’s probably been awhile since the last time you were in forensics. The site explains the fallacy and gives a short example, and includes a handy little iOS-style icon, because why can’t logic be well designed? You can even purchase an analog version if you’re as old school as Socrates. 

Be warned, trolls, logic just got a makeover.

Digital Gentleman

#Tech  
#Trolls  
|  April 8th, 2014

Roll Deep With Inkas Armored Cars

Image via uncrate

Armored cars conjure up thoughts of either hulking bank trucks or hulking limos. Neither would seem appropriate for, say, a nice outing to Lincoln Center. 

Inkas creates armored vehicles for the high-profile VIP who still wants to use his SUV for driving to soccer practice. Models include the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes CLS, and even a Toyota Camry, for the account receivables guy who fears retribution from the mafia. Upgrades include fuel tank reinforcement, and glass and door armoring capable of stopping hand grenades. With a car from Inkas, you can show up to that production of “La Boheme” ready for literally anything. 

Costs TBD.

Digital Gentleman

#Tech  
#Cars  
#Inkas  
|  April 1st, 2014

Surveillance Cams Are So Cute

imageImage via KNSTRCT

Big Brother has a Look. Generally, he’s plastic-y, glass-y, and very austere. Just think of every surveillance cam you’ve ever seen in a spy movie (or real life).

To address this, design firm Parson has created a series of cute cameras in the guise of highly-stylized animals like toucans and squirrels. You know, stuff that is actually supposed to be peering at you from a high place. I could see these cams making homes in public parks and spaces, or even in private places where you want high security without the Riker’s Island treatment.

Who knew Big Bro could be so adorable?

Digital Gentleman

#Tech  
#Cameras  
|  April 1st, 2014

Apple Could Disrupt Health with Healthbook

Image via Gizmodo

Apple finally announced Healthbook, their answer to the quantified self trend. But this ain’t your grandpa’s fit tracker. In classic Apple fashion, design takes front and center, with a smooth, simple layout reminiscent of iOS’s Passbook app. Not in classic Apple fashion, however, are some of the proposed innovative functionality Healthbook will have. The app appears to be able to track the usual metrics like heart rate and sleep, but also unusual metrics like bloodwork and respiration. How will your phone track your bloodwork? Are we looking at an iNeedle in the works for Q4? I’d hate to see the after market accessories for that.

Look for Healthbook in iOS 8.

Digital Gentleman

#Tech  
#Apple  
#Health  
|  March 25th, 2014

The New School Old School of Harry’s

imageImage via Harry’s

One strange side affect of living in the future is that we’re constantly realizing the past has a lot of applications for the present.

Take Harry’s for example, which wants to marry the ease of the Internet with the simplicity of old school shaving. The start up (started up by some of the fellows who brought you Warby Parker) provides high-quality, well-designed shavers for cheaper than the big name groomers. Harry’s products are deceptively uncomplicated, echoing a mid-century aesthetic that’s seeing resurgence in the early 21st century. Add to that an easy auto-refill feature and a man will have to have a serious talk with his current grooming products.

Digital Gentleman

#Tech  
#Harry's  
|  March 25th, 2014

Up Coffee Tells You When To Go Down

Image via Jawbone

Further to the last post about coffee, I have another post about coffee. The good folks at Jawbone, makers of body trackers, have created an app that tracks your body in a new way — as it guzzles down coffee.

The app, called Up Coffee, tracks caffeine as it wondrously metabolizes in your body. It then compares caffeine consumption to your sleep patterns, ultimately providing you with insights as to how caffeine affects your activity, and even gives you recommended sleep windows based on how much java you’ve had. Wait, having three espressos at 10pm is bad for you? You don’t say.

Digital Gentleman

#Tech  
#Coffee  
#App  
|  March 18th, 2014

The Aether Cone, Your Personal DJ

Image via Aether

What makes a great DJ? One that turns the night into something incredible, versus the one that just plays background music? It’s a combination of knowing what the room wants to hear, with a healthy dose of unpredictability to keep things fresh.

Which is exactly what the Aether Cone ($399) does. The Cone streams music, playing music that it presumes you want to hear based on prior taste and time of day. No tracklist, no questions, just music. But it also will take chances. Twist a knob on the Cone and it’ll play something wholly different. Controls on the Cone are minimal, but natural, allowing you to get the music you want so you can get on with your life.

Digital Gentleman

#Tech  
#Music  
#DJ  
|  March 18th, 2014

An Ode to Dieter

Image via VITSOE

Dieter Rams. Even in the age of iGadget, few designers are as influential. The German-borne revolutionized the industrial design time and again with his forward-looking yet clear-eyed approach to spaces and products. He worked at Braun for decades, creating classic, timeless consumer electronics that look as good now as they did when they first rolled off his sketches. He literally tore down the walls of the conventional office space, creating offices and furniture free of clutter and flexible enough for modern work.

Although he “retired” in 1997, he continues to work with firms like Vitsœ and influences industrial design thinking to this day. His "ten commandments" of good design are a literal bible for any student of design and beauty.

Digital Gentleman

#Tech  
#Design  
#Beauty  
|  March 11th, 2014