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Posts Tagged ‘gas mask

“You cannot NOT have a user experience”*…

 

Q: I’ve heard people use UI and UX interchangeably. I thought I knew the difference, but now I’m confused. Can you please clarify this once and for all? 

Of course I can. And I can do it using the Presto Hot Dogger. Obviously.

When I was a kid, my brothers and I talked my mom into buying us a hot dog cooking machine. Don’t laugh. This was the 70s, when instant coffee was considered a miracle. The way the Hot Dogger worked was simple. There was a tray with two rows of spikes on either side that slid into a heating element. You impaled the hot dog into the corresponding spike on each side, completing the electrical circuit, and this “cooked” the hot dog. Cooking is a strong word here, as the hot dogs were actually being electrocuted. (Hot dogs contain an insane amount of metal, by the way.) We were thrilled to make our hot dogs this way.

So, what I just described — the spikes, the heating element, the electrocuting — that’s the user interface. Or UI, for short. And I’m sure that the good folks at Presto tested that user interface many times over until they had it just right. I’m sure they tested the proper width of the tray to fit the majority of hot dogs and wieners being made in the USA at the time. I’m sure they tested the force needed to close the tray, maybe even with a robot arm! They probably even tested the visibility of the smoky transparent plastic that allowed you to see your hot dogs being electrocuted, and how much of it you’d want to see.

Now here’s the thing. When you give three boys an appliance that electrocutes meat in an era before their boredom could be diffused with video games and cable, it immediately becomes the most interesting thing in the house. And they start wanting to have experiences. The hunger to electrocute things far outlasted the hunger for hot dogs. And it wasn’t long before we started looking for other things that fit in the Hot Dogger™.

Here’s an incomplete list of items we tried:

  • bananas (not enough metal)
  • chicken drumsticks (worked, albeit slowly)
  • Steak-umm (turned to liquid)
  • forks (sparks, small fire)
  • a condom we found on the street (the smell lasted for weeks)
  • aluminum foil (yep. Aluminum bridges solved our Steak-umm problem. )

We were having user experiences…

Learn more (including why trash bins are exactly 25 feet from hot dog stands at Disneyland) from Mike Monteiro, Design Director at Mule Design, in “How 70s appliances can explain the difference between UX and UI.”

* Lou Carbone

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As we put our appliances through their paces, we might spare a thought for an inventor and designer of an earlier period, Garrett Morgan; he died on this date in 1963.  He patented a traffic signal (which he sold to GE for commercial exploitation).  He also developed (among many other inventions) the gas mask, which he used to rescue miners who were trapped underground in a noxious mine in 1914– though soon after, he was asked to produce gas masks for the US Army.  It was based in part on his 1912 creation, a safety hood and smoke protector for firefighters.

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Written by LW

August 27, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Looky now. Water. Gun?”*…

 

(R)D has taken a look at the best water pistols of all time; now, a more considered look at their history…

The water gun followed the chronological arc of the sports card and the comic book: it existed for decades upon decades, largely unchanged, and then the 1990s — the decade that paved over everything, and has since itself been paved over like the cut-rate, busted-up Quikrete it was — got its hands on it. These things mutated into garish, sardonic commentaries of themselves…

It was the Super Soaker (which went on sale in the summer of 1989) that changed everything:

It was a borderline miracle: a water gun that actually worked. After 50 or so years of nonsense, someone finally bothered to invent an actual decent gun. That someone is Lonnie Johnson, who helped invent the stealth bomber and later joined NASA to help send a probe to Jupiter, but all that junk comes after the table of contents in his Wikipedia entry. The lede is all about the Super Soaker… Its success inspired an arsenal of increasingly weird and even-less-necessary water guns…

More at “The stupid history of water guns.”

* “Stripe,” Gremlins 6

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As we fill ’em up, we might recall that it was on this date in 1849 that Lewis Phectic Haslett was granted the first patent for a gas mask.  In fact, Haslett was building on a long tradition: the ancient Greeks used sponges as make-shift gas masks, and the Banu Musa brothers in Baghdad described a rudimentary gas mask (for protecting workers in polluted wells) in their wonder-full 9th century Book of Ingenious Devices.  Still, Haslett’s creation was the forerunner of the modern gas mask.

 source

Written by LW

June 12, 2015 at 1:01 am

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones”*…

 

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In January of 1942, as the U.S was entering World War II, a Pennsylvania dentist (and friend of Eleanor Roosevelt) named Lytle Adams submitted the design of a new weapon to the White House, suggesting that it could be effective against the Japanese.   Adams’ creation was a bomb that would drop over 800 hibernating bats– to each of which was attached a small incendiary device…  as the bomb descended from a high-altitude drop, the bats would awaken, disperse, and nest in structures– which in Japan at the time were largely made of bamboo, paper, and other highly-flammable material.  Later in the day the incendiaries would go off, starting fires across a wide area.  Adams estimated that 100 bombs might start as many a 1,000,000 fires.

The U.S. military developed the “Bat Bomb”; and while the yields were never quite what Adams predicted, they were impressive enough to drive investment of an estimated $2 million.  The project was abandoned only when it became clear that the Manhattan Project would finish before the Bat Bomb was ready.

Read more about the Bat Bomb here.

[TotH to Quora answerer Tal Reichert]

* Albert Einstein

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As we try to find the ploughshare, we might recall that it was on this date in 1849 that Lewis Phectic Haslett was granted the first patent for a gas mask.  In fact, Haslett was building on a long tradition: the ancient Greeks used sponges as make-shift gas masks, and the Banu Musa brothers in Baghdad described a rudimentary gas mask (for protecting workers in polluted wells) in their wonder-full 9th century Book of Ingenious Devices.  Still, Haslett’s creation was the forerunner of the modern gas mask.

 source

 

Written by LW

June 12, 2014 at 1:01 am

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