Champagne Chairs

Champagne Chairs: “Every year the store invites people to submit chair designs made out of champagne corks.”

Damn sensoryimpact, being too interesting again. Eventually, people are going to realise they could just go there and get all the same news I’d be reposting here, just a bit sooner. Oh, wait… Let’s just check on Bloglines – they have 208 subscribers, PigPog has 19. It’s ok – no danger – everyone already knows ;)

Review of the Orange SPV C500

New in Tools – review of the Orange SPV C500. Also known as the Audiovox SMT5600, or to some people, the ScoblePhone. Full review pasted below…


Review – Orange SPV C500 SmartPhone

I have no time for this review. Executive summary?

It’s not a bad phone, with lots of software available, and lots of nice features, all wrapped up in a small package.

I have cleared a minute or two for you. Continue. What is it?

It’s a mobile phone. Cell phone for any Americans reading. It’s the smallest phone on the market at the moment to run Windows Mobile Smartphone Edition. In the US, it’s known as the Audiovox SMT5600. It doesn’t feel quite as well put together as a Nokia (the only other phones I have experience of), but it’s not bad at all, and it gives you a lot of features for such a small cheap phone.

What will it do for me?

It’ll let you phone people. It does that pretty well, which is still the most important thing for most people. It takes moderately poor photos (VGA, 640×480 – not much good for printing, but good enough for showing people on screen or sticking on the web). I’ll stick some examples at the bottom, and there’s plenty more scattered around the site – especially in our photo blog.

Why is it cool?

It’s small, it’s cheap, it looks reasonably good. It can take pics and videos, and send them by MMS to your friends. What’s not to like?

Why is it uncool?

If you like flip phones, it’s not one. It does email very nicely, but the cool kids have all stopped using email now anyway. I still use email. I’m not cool. This phone is probably more geek-chic than bling-bling.

Should I buy it?

If you’re on contract with Orange or similar, and you can get it as a free upgrade as we did, go for it. Have a good look at the Treo 650 when that appears, too, though – it should be pretty nice. If you only want a phone, and wouldn’t use the extra Smartphone features or run extra software, it probably isn’t the best choice.


Any more random thoughts?

Why yes, how sweet of you to ask. Every other review has also mentioned this, but the card is a pain. It’s mini-SD, not SD, so you have to buy a new card even if you already have SD cards. Orange supply a card, but only 16Mb. Enough for loads of pictures, but you’ll need more to use it as an MP3 player. Because these cards are more unusual, you’ll have a harder time getting them (If you’re in the UK, Dabs sell them), and they’ll cost you more. Sam got a 256Mb card, and it came with an adaptor to fit it into a standard SD slot, so at least the mini-SD card can then be used with standard SD devices and card readers. Also, the card fits behind the battery. Of all the damn stupid places to put it. So you have to turn the phone off before you can get to the card – this wouldn’t be so much of a problem, but it takes ages to start up again. Don’t count on swapping cards around – you’ll want to stick one card in there and leave it.

If you’re in the US, they’re available for less than free from Amazon – at the time of writing, they’re paying you $25 to take it with a contract, after all the rebates. We even get a little cut if you use our links.

In the UK, they’re only available from Orange at the moment.

Think Secret – EXCLUSIVE: Apple to drop sub-$500 Mac bomb at Expo

Think Secret – EXCLUSIVE: Apple to drop sub-$500 Mac bomb at Expo: “With iPod-savvy Windows users clearly in its sights, Apple is expected to announce a bare bones, G4-based iMac without a display at Macworld Expo on January 11 that will retail for $499, highly reliable sources have confirmed to Think Secret.”

Hey, this blog is supposed to be all about creative stuff! What do creative people love more than coffee? Their Macs! So, a cheap Mac should spread that creative stuff around a bit more.

I’ve never really used a recent Mac – my last experience was at university, where there were a couple of labs full of Macs. There were some Mac Classic type machines, and a load of the dull PC-like boxes that appeared after they got rid of that lunatic Steve Jobs, and started trying to go all corporate. I have the feeling that I’d like MacOS X, though. From what I’ve read, it’s everything we’d all love Linux to be, but not quite as free, and with less cuddly penguins. If I was buying a whole new machine, though, and there was a Mac for under $500 (around £300), I might be tempted.

The rumour certainly sounds feasable to me – it’s just what Apple need. A lot of people are in the situation now that they’d really like a Mac, but just can’t justify the extra money when they could get a PC for so much less, and spend the remaining money on espresso.

(Ooh, nearly forgot – via Robert Scoble.)

Techdirt:Shocker: Cameraphone Photos Not Printed

Techdirt:Shocker: Cameraphone Photos Not Printed: “Printing out photos seems sort of archaic. Trying to convince people to print them out, as the printer makers are apparently doing, seems sort of pointless. It’s like convincing new automobile owners that they should hook up a horse to pull the vehicle.”

Seems to pretty much nail the issue to me. We have a really nice photo printer sitting here, right next to me. The only thing I remember printing recently was some directions – paper is a bit easier to fumble with in the car than a PDF file on a PDA. I hardly know anyone without a computer and Internet access, and if I wanted to show my parents photos that weren’t on the web, I’d take them along on a CF card or CD. It’s going to hurt printer sales (or more importantly – ink sales), but once everyone has a computer and they’re all connected to each other, what’s the point of wasting paper? Yay for trees!

Getting Started

Latest Update: Just correcting the formatting – the article never got properly formatted after it was imported from previous incarnations of PigPog.

A few thoughts on making those first steps, deciding what to try, and getting on with it.

I’m no Hugh McLeod…

But I’ve put together some thoughts on how to make those first few steps into whatever new creative project you might be attempting. You may have received a Christmas gift that you really want to get stuck into and learn, but feel a little uncertain about how to get yourself going. You may have decided to try something different as a New Year’s resolution, and don’t know where to start, or, like me, you need that little bit of a push to get yourself going each time you sit at the computer, notebook or music stand.

These are things that occur to me as I experience them. I am by no means an expert. But I’ve encountered quite a few useful experts on my way, and I’ll tell you more about them later.

Play!

That’s the trick. Just pick it up, switch it on, open it, wind it up and play. Regardless what it is, write anything, pluck random strings to see what they sound like, take a picture of what’s right in front of you, paint from each of your colours to see how they look on the page. Spend some quality time getting to know the stuff you want to work with. Read any instruction manuals you have (unless they’re the size of a phone book, in which case, familiarise yourself with the index and refer to it when you need to).

If there are bits you don’t get, skip them. For now.

Yeah, yeah, I know you want to master it. And you will. But if stumbling on one bit over and over again is giving you trouble to the point you’d rather throw the damn lot out of the window, look at the rest and see if you can continue without doing that difficult bit. I’ll give you an example. As I’m writing this article, I know I’ve got to link stuff, put the relevant tags on everything, and make sure it fits in to the site OK. I don’t find that bit easy, I don’t enjoy it. It is a major pain in the arse, but it’s something that has to be done. And I know that if I try to do that as I’m writing, I’m going to get frustrated, lose my temper, leave the room and throw my shoes at someone. So, I’m writing this in another window, with a message at the top that says WRITE THE ARTICLE FIRST, F**K ABOUT WITH IT LATER. So far so good. I’m still in my seat and my shoes haven’t become airborne yet.

Don’t worry about being laughed at.

Oh boy, that’s rich coming from me. But unless you have a space in your home where you can lock yourself away for hours on end practicing and practicing until you’ve (delete as applicable) painted a masterpiece/written the next great novel/perfected all the solos from ‘Freebird’/recreated the Venus de Milo in Play-Doh, someone else is likely to see your efforts, and because people you live with are occasionally mean and downright nasty, you will get laughed at. Or worse, someone in your house will know more than you on your chosen subject and will tell you in exact detail what they would have done to make it better. Find some way of dealing with them, or move.

Find some good role models.

I promised you experts, and here they are:

First is Hugh McLeod, whose business card cartoons are badly parodied in the illustrations here. His work, ‘How to be Creative’, is the best forthright, reality check, slap-in-the-face guide to those of us blessed/cursed with creative urges. He pulls no punches, just dispenses sound, sensible advice.

If you want something a bit more touchy-feely, a bit more colourful and a bit more in touch with your inner child, check out Sark. Where Hugh’s advice is a sharp, tangy, slice of lemon, hers is a big, bright bag of pure sweetness. There’s room on every creative bookshelf for both kinds.

For the writers, Natalie Goldberg is essential. Her best-known work, ‘Writing Down The Bones’, shows you how to let go and just write, combining writing exercises with her experiences studing zen and meditation.

And for general, confidence-boosting, ‘go-get-em-tiger’ advice, check out Susan Jeffers. Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway, will have you running out of your comfort zone and selling framed watercolours of kitchen utensils at craft fairs before you know it.

So that’s it for now. I’ll maybe add more ideas and thoughts as they arise. So what are you waiting for? Pick it up! Turn it on, tune it, open it, paint it, scribble it, go nuts, and have fun.