Archive for the ‘Products: Bad’ Category

TruBamboo cutting board – broken

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

TruBamboo - brokenTreehugger says that bamboo is the new cotton, and sings paeans to it regularly. It certainly seems like a great idea – quick growing, renewable, beautiful, and supposedly durable. We needed a small cutting board, and purchased a TruBamboo Small Bermuda. It looks cool, and is a perfect size. Chopping on it was fine, but slicing really seemed to cut deeply into the board. For better or worse, we’re no longer concerned about it getting all marked up – after a month or so, we noticed that gaps were appearing in the light-colored areas on the sides. It turns out that the board is just a bunch of strips of bamboo glued together. It fell from the drying rack, and half of the light strip on one side snapped off. Blech.

We didn’t abuse the board – hand washing, drying it on edge on a towel so it didn’t stay damp, etc. I think the implementation is flawed – the bamboo apparently warps even under normal use (causing the gaps, faintly visible in the picture), and a single fall can easily snap one of the many seams. Perhaps layering it up in alternating directions or using notched strips would help. Or stronger glue. In any event, these are too fragile for our kitchen. Plus, there is no way to easily contact the company to complain (email? nope… web form? nope…), so I think we’re just going to trash it when it breaks again or becomes unsanitary from the gaps, and skip the TruBamboo next time. Anyone have luck with another kind?

Learning to tie my shoes

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

Ian's Shoelace SiteMy shoelaces frequently come untied while jogging, and although I always think I can just tie them tighter, it never works. A double-knot holds longer, but is kludgy and hard to untie. It was to the point that I was briefly tempted by these Speed Laces mentioned on Cool Tools, which quickly and securely fasten your shoes with a sliding catch rather than a knot.

Fortunately, we’ve been learning some basic knots, and in looking for one to lash a box closed, I came across Ian’s Shoelace Site. I love exhaustive niche sites, and this is a doozy. In five minutes, I learned to tie Ian’s Secure Shoelace Knot, and my life is better. It looks difficult, but basically you start like the classic shoe-tying knot, and then make a knot of two rabbit ears instead of doing the make-one-loop-and-tuck-the-other-one-through-the-middle thing. Or something like that. Really, the instructions are good, and this thing doesn’t come apart, even if mine isn’t quite as pretty as the photo on his page.

Once again, a bit of easily-learned skill beats out a $10 gizmo. Plus, I can use the knot with my black dress shoes as well. I’m no fashion maven, but wearing Speed Laces with a suit steps over even my line in the sand. Maybe if I’m really doing triathalons and need to shave seconds from changing shoes after the biking I’ll reconsider Speed Laces for my running shoes. But then again, there’s always “The World’s Fastest Shoelace Knot,” also courtesy of Ian.

The anti-minimalist zippo lighter case

Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

The very un-minimalist Uncrate (“Uncrate is a web magazine for guys who love stuff. Our team finds the best gadgets, clothes, cars and more so you can blow your rent money easier.”) has a pointer to the Zippo Cargo Case, which allows you to stow your indispensible Zippo lighter in your checked luggage. Hmmm. Now that’s a pretty darn specific need to fill.

That said, Otterbox has pretty cool cases for protecting your gear.

Via Gizmodo.

Morning roundup: saying “no,” gold staples, faster fast food

Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

There’s no better way to minimize the amount of stuff on your plate than saying “no” to the stuff that doesn’t make sense. LifeHacker points us to To-Done’s tips for saying no. Cool Hunting shows us gold-plated staples as a fashion statement. I suppose it looks very minimalist from a design perspective when used as an accent on a shirt collar, but the concept of golden staples leaves a funny buzz of ostentation in my head. I’m holding out for the gold-plated binder clip myself. Can’t get your greasy burgers fast enough? Contactless payments with your credit card will save you a few seconds. They are trying to replace cash – one less thing to carry, but I hope it is secure.

Spray On Mud

Friday, June 10th, 2005

Wired writes about Spray On Mud:

For 8 pounds (about $14.50), buyers get 0.75 liters (.85 quarts) of genuine filthy water, bottled from hills near the company’s premises on the rural England-Wales border. The aim, says the website, is “to give your neighbors the impression you’ve just come back from a day’s shooting or fishing — anything but driving around town all day or visiting the retail park.”

As if the SUV isn’t non-minimalist enough, we now have to fake that we’re actually going off road? Well, I guess faking it is at least better than actually tearing up the countryside.

Using bats (the black flappy kind) to kill mosquitoes

Thursday, June 9th, 2005

We were really disturbed by the non-minimalism inherent in this battery-powered insect smashing tennis racket. Then in boingboing’s followup we learned that electric bug zappers can atomize all the crap (literally) stuck to the outside of whatever you smackzap, and we were really grossed out. Luckily, treehugger comes to the rescue with a much simpler solution. A bat house. Bats eat insects. Give them a friendly place to live, and they’ll eat “thousands of insects” every night. People & bats: 1 Nasty biting insects: 0.

For pros only – OpenX package opener

Friday, June 3rd, 2005

All of a sudden, this OpenX thing started showing up in all the gadget blogs. It is a specialized razor blade doohickey designed to open those impenetrable plastic blister packages.

OK. If you review gadgets for a living, I’m sure this is a very good thing. But if you don’t have to open a dozen new gizmos every day, this thing is ridiculous. I don’t care that it is only five bucks. I don’t care that it probably does a very nice job of opening plastic packages. I don’t care if it has a professional, heavy-duty yellow industrial look to it. If this is a serious problem for you, you’re buying too much plastic enclosed crap. This thing will be rusting away in the back of one of your drawers, just taking up space and making it more difficult to wedge in more useless widgets. Use a scissors carefully like you learned in kindergarten, and don’t buy one of these.

Not to mention the irony that it comes in a plastic blister pack. At least the makers have a sense of humor, because I certainly don’t. Good heavens, people.