Sounds of the Internet’s Most Annoying Acronyms

The internet is great at coming up with new words. Some of them are easy to sound out (selfie, wearable, even “emoji”), but acronyms are a much tougher phonetical nut. They’re no less words than the clusters of letters around them, yet don’t have agreed upon pronunciations. When you read them, what do you hear? Here’s my take.

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iPhone 5s vs Galaxy S5: Why I Lasted 5 Days on Android (and You Should Too)


After six years with various iPhones, I lasted all of five days trying out my first Android smartphone. But I’m not mad about the $50 restocking fee I had to give the AT&T store to give the Galaxy S5 back. It was a worthy experiment that made me realize what I do like about iOS and what I want out of a phone in general, plus helped me break some less than stellar habits. Here’s what I learned.

1) I want my text messages pushed to me.

I’m not a big fan of push notifications — I have pretty much all of them turned off — but I rely on push for accessing texts quickly and easily. It’s something that defines the medium (for me, but obviously not for everyone). I used to get miffed/mystified when my Android-using husband didn’t get my texts right away, but now I know why. Continue reading iPhone 5s vs Galaxy S5: Why I Lasted 5 Days on Android (and You Should Too)

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee with an AeroPress

“Something no more miraculous than a cup of coffee is enough transcendence for one day.”
My Dinner with André

I’ve written before about the AeroPress as the pinnacle coffee-making method. One of its best features is how amazingly easy it is to use, but it can seem daunting at first. All the specifics—how much water to use, how to grind, how and when to pour and press—are left to personal choice.

As a starting point, I present below a step-by-step guide to my brewing process (which I act out every single morning). Tweak the measurements to your taste to create the best cups of coffee you’ve ever had.

Continue reading How to Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee with an AeroPress

Romantic Plastic: The AeroPress – Best Coffee Ever

Not only does the AeroPress manage to look both futuristic and friendly at the same time, it makes the best (and easiest) cup of coffee I have ever had. And that’s saying a lot.

I started drinking coffee early on. Growing up in New York City, it was unavoidable. Starting around 9th grade, I would cop Anthora paper cups at the deli around the corner from my Upper West Side apartment. In 10th grade I officially became a regular at the diner down the street from my high school, where I’m sure the waitress loved when we piled in to a booth, six at a time, and ordered only cups of steaming, burnt swill, accompanied perhaps by a side of grilled corn muffin.

It wasn’t until sophomore year in college, when I met my future husband, that I actually tasted really great coffee. My caffeine addiction – by this point I couldn’t make it coffee-less past noon without a splitting headache – led me to spend an large amount of time in the many cafes of  Providence, RI. While Starbucks had already begun its march to nationwide dominance, the green mermaid had yet to reach this New England town. Continue reading Romantic Plastic: The AeroPress – Best Coffee Ever


Sometimes, form suggests function, even when that form is broken.

In 2003, Adam Podlaski took his pile of damaged skateboards and brought them to his brother with a demand: make something of them!

With his degree in industrial design from Philadelphia University, Jason Podlaski saw quickly that all of the decks had snapped in one of two ways: either directly in half, or at the one-third mark.

These shapes suggested to him a seat and legs of a chair. And so deckstools were born.

Using an old skateboard truck — the part that holds the wheels — as a connector, Podlaski fashions a half-deck into the stool seat, and four of the longer pieces into legs.

Combined with the zealous effort skaters put into customizing their boards, this makes each piece of furniture completely unique.

You can select your one-of-a-kind stool from the website gallery and snag it for $199.

Recently, Jason and Adam teamed up with Victor Perez of sk8lamps, and show and offer their products at his Fishtown workshop and gallery.

Some new product offerings are on display there, such as the deckbench, and lid cushions that sit atop the wooden stool seats.

Additional collaborations with Perez, who specializes in lamps created from old boards, are forthcoming in 2011.

Wooden Wasp

Holy gorgeous!

In 2001 Portuguese carpenter Carlos Alberto was inspired to create his second all-wooden motorbike. After seven years of work, trials & tribulations, the Vespa Daniela was born.

Crafted using rosewood, ebony, beech, satin-wood, Brazilian cherry, tacula, panga-panga, sucupira, and sycamore, this reworking of the Italian design icon is one-of-a-kind.

No word on whether Piaggio has reached out to Alberto for a limited edition series, but consider it suggested.

[via Design Bureau h/t Shao]

Jello, Good-Bye

Drinking and environmentally sound items are two of our favorite things.

Summer is a time for cocktails and lemonade on the lawn or deck, not doing dishes.

Happily, the designers at THE WAY WE SEE THE WORLD have come up with a solution to the paper vs. plastic debate.

Jelloware cups are made of agar, cast in an assortment of flavors and colors.

Yes, agar-agar is that substance you used in bio lab to grow bacteria on petri dishes. But that’s because it’s completely organic, made from algae.

It’s also been a common ingredient in Asian desserts for quite some time, and is a staple of modern cooking techniques.

Jelloware cups come in lemon-basil, ginger-mint, or rosemary-beet, and are completely edible and biodegradable.

When you’re done with your drink, chomp on your chalice, or just tear it to bits and sprinkle it on the lawn: agar actually nurtures the growth of plants.

High heat or high alcohol content may make for a relatively short lifespan, so be sure to drink up!

Concept photos from the 2nd annual Jell-O Mold Competition have recently made the blog rounds, but there’s no purchase link to be found. Anyone know how to get?

UPDATE (1/17/11): Looks like the Jelloware folks have turned to Kickstarter to fund their product! The $10k goal is almost reached; if you’re a fan, head over and kick in a few bucks.

[via @brainpicker and @treehugger]

Blade Switch

Kyocera Corporation makes solar cells, telecommunications equipment, semiconductor packages and dental implants, among other products.

The common thread? Ceramics.

For the retail consumer, advanced ceramics offers ultra-sharp, precise kitchen knives.

Unlike metal, ceramic blades (usually made from zirconia) will never rust, and their edge will stay sharp up to ten times longer than steel.

Chemical inertness makes them impervious to smells and stains.

Additionally, ceramic weighs much less than metal, resulting in a knife that is easy to wield with precision.

On the other hand, some feel they are more trouble than they are worth.

Sharpening can only be accomplished with diamond-based sharpeners, and the blade is extremely brittle.

The knife will shatter like glass if dropped on a hard surface. Attempting to cut through bone or frozen materials can cause splintering. Using the knife in a twisting or prying motion can cause it to snap.

Black blades that have gone through an extra hot firing process are somewhat tougher (and very elegant).

Though more expensive than traditional knives, the accuracy of ceramic knives makes them downright fun to use.

And at only $25, there’s no excuse to skip the mandoline for easy homemade potato chips.

Summer Swing

It’s summer in the USA!

Whether you’re relaxing on the beach or just on the lawn, the Yosemite Valley Gear foldable hammock is bound to make you smile.

The steel frame is light but strong, and the nylon hammock attaches with easy-swinging hooks (touted as “high-grade Japanese bearings”) at each end.

Best of all, assembly is easy. And not “Ikea easy,” but actually simple.

If you can uncork a bottle of wine, you’ll be able to set this baby up in under 5 minutes.

This $60 accessory is perfect for carrying to the shore instead of a beach chair.

Great if you’re trapped indoors working and want to spend your lunch hour truly relaxing on your roof or deck.

Or maybe even — on late summer evenings when stomachs are full and brains are buzzing — for unexpected house guests.

h/t @toofeets, bottom photo by @phillygrrl

Design in Play

Smooth wood. Primary colors. Fundamental shapes. Meet Naef play objects.

The beauty of these Swiss-made toys lies in their relative simplicity: interlocking shapes that can be rearranged and stacked into infinite patterns.

Seemingly basic pieces allow children to explore the physics and visual cues of our world, having fun as they discover new relationships of shape and color.

The elementary designs leave room for the imagination to roam, uninhibited by a connected brand or cartoon story.

Adults hands will be itching to play, too. The array of available configurations sparks thoughts of malleable table art.

Indeed, the price tag on many of the items suggests more artwork than plaything, with averages between $150 – $300 per set.

Famous Swiss workmanship does go into each piece: most are handcrafted and quality-inspected to within a millimeter.

Also worth noting is that each knickknack was created by a specific designer, including authorized replicas by original Bauhaus members.

There’s even an annual contest held to find creative new arrangements for certain sets, held in Japan, where Naef has had a strong presence for decades.

In 2005 Naef USA was launched in Winchester, Virginia and is going strong. Perhaps we’ll see greater spread of these decidedly un-quotidian blocks here in the near future.