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aM laboratory – ToneMatrix

My friend, Mike, sent me the link to this awesome music application by aM laboratory called ToneMatrix. It is a simple sinewave synthesizer triggered by an ordinary 16step sequencer. Don’t ask me what that means, but it is a lot of fun to play with, and pretty to look at, too.

The Patent Act of 1790

The scribble up there is the first patent awarded by the United States under the Patent Act of 1790. Even old GW himself actually signed it. In 1790, when the act started, only 3 patents were filed. In 2009, the granted utility patent count was 167,349 (out of 456,106 applications).

Fiveself E-Commerce Platform

Quick little newsy post – Sean’s brother has been developing an e-commerce platform called Fiveself. He is currently looking for beta testers to help him add the finishing touches to the platform before officially launching. We used Fiveself for The Working Proof, and it works well for our needs.

If you are interested in testing this out, Chris is offering 6 months free to all beta testers. You can check out the platform (pricing, demo the back end, etc) here. If you are interested in signing up, shoot me an email, and I will send you the link to get the 6 months free. He’s only looking for about 10 beta testers, so let me know if you are interested!

Bizarre Coin Designs

A reader sent us a link to an article cataloging 25 bizarre coin designs from around the world…some of the coins are just plain tacky, but some of them have interesting designs. My favorites were a Togolese coin featuring a prismatic sunbird, and an Egyptian Pyramid coin from the Isle of Man. Ridiculous coins? Somalia’s expensive motorbikes coin and their animal kingdom coin series, and a scratch and sniff ocean-scented coin from Palau. All of the coins featured are special editions that aren’t meant for circulation, although they are considered legal tender.

The Gulf Restoration Network Fundraiser

Meighan of my love for you is a stampede of horses organized a fundraiser dedicated to helping with the clean up the Gulf after BP’s drilling catastrophe. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to The Gulf Restoration Network. We were super happy to be a part of the fundraiser, along with 100 other artists who donated work. Everything is available in ML4U’s Big Cartel Shop which is open through July 5th at 12pm, PST. A lot of the work has sold already (yay!) but there are still some great pieces available.

Some of my favorites (not all of which are still available): Castle Trouble by Alex McLeod (above), Red Shell by Shannon Rankin, The Guide by Stacey Rozich, Blue House by Amy Casey, and Mean Bird Print (Pigeon) by Amy Ruppel.


Mr. Doob – Harmony

My friend Mike sent me the link to Mr. Doob’s Harmony application, which he described as “kind of like etch-a-sketch for adults”. It took me a little while to figure out how to use it, but once I got started it was really kind of mesmerizing…I would call it a hybrid between an etch-a-sketch and a Spirograph. It has a bunch of different ‘pens’ that create some nice effects – webbed, fur, shaded (my favorite). My only complaint is that there’s no ‘undo’ button that would allow you some flexibility in playing with the different functions. Play around with it and enjoy!

Camp Firebelly and the Pikaland Artist Bootkamp

Please excuse the lateness of this post. I’ve wasted most of my morning reading a bunch of commentaries about the LOST finale. I didn’t want to post anything about the finale in this post since all of you might not yet have seen the finale, but I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Getting back to work now: here are two interesting opportunities for artists that landed in my inbox recently.

The first is Camp Firebelly (please note that the application for this year’s camp has already past, but keep this in mind for next year, because it sounds awesome!):

For 10 days, 10 campers live and work with us (Firebelly) to craft a strategic design solution for a non-profit client, from initial research to final implementation. Our Chicago loft office serves as the campground where campers work, play, sleep (rarely) and dine on a healthy menu of organic/vegetarian-friendly grub.

It costs $1,000 to participate, but that fee includes everything – meals, lodging, etc. In addition, there are two scholarships available for designers who couldn’t otherwise attend. Camp Firebelly offers the next crop of socially-minded designers the chance to use their talent and creativity to make a difference, experiencing what professional life is like Firebelly-style.

The other interesting opportunity is an online Artist Bootcamp by Pikaland – a course designed that provides one-on-one critiques of artist’s work to help them develop and refine their personal style.

Divided into two modules, the Pikaland Artist Bootcamp will enable artists to cement their personal style and also help them thrive and have fun as an artist online – with weekly exercises and personalized, constructive, one-on-one critiques to help emerging artists find their footing and ways to set themselves apart from others in the vast online world. No matter if they’re just starting out, or have been doing this for a long time, all are welcome!

I’m a big believer in the value of collaboration and critique, which is why I love the idea behind the Artist Bootcamp. The Pikaland Artist Bootcamp is $80 for each month-long course.

Tweet Links

Happy weekend, everyone…A few of our favorite twittered (tweeted?) links from this week, for your clicking pleasure – see more here.

- Gorgeous letterpress invitations printed by Studio on Fire, in collaboration with Ashley Geoffroy and Russell Austin.
- Casa de los Pinos (ie. House Among the Pines), by XPIRAL (great architects, but they really need a new website), via Inhabitat.
- The Janus Chair by Jang Yoon – a beautiful folding chair that somewhat creepily reminds me of a spider, via Designboom.
- A humorous response to the redesigned Pepsi logo.
- Wink has designed the nicest packaging for vitamins that I’ve ever seen, for Target pharmacies. Via Lovely Package.
- Hella Jongerius designed a new line of wall-hangings for IKEA, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be available yet in the US. Via Bloesem.
- Bell Lloc, an underground winery by RCR Arquitectes. Via Judit Bellostes.
- Our Valentine’s Day chocolate lab

National Postal Museum

Arago: People, Postage & the Post is the online collection of the National Postal Museum. The site showcases a ton of stamps and postal operations artifacts and antiques like the 1930′s Airway route of the US (above) and the Westcoaster Mailster (below).

SayHear.org

Josh Spear linked to a really interesting website – SayHear.org, a non-profit, non-partisan site that asked voters to leave an audio recording explaining why they were voting for (or now, why they voted) for a particular candidate. So, regardless of how you feel about the outcome today, you can speak up (anonymously) about why you cast your ballot the way you did in the election, and you can listen to what other people had to say. The recordings are fascinating…

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