🍞The Toaster Phone, Moving Castles, and Draw to Search
Can you search with pen?
Hello from Arkansas! I’m down here with my family celebrating my daughter’s second birthday. We’re having a wonderful time down here on a little vacation - I dragged myself away from my desk for a few days. 😄
Yeah! I actually took some PTO.
As I get closer to old age - I mean 30 - I’m trying to take off a few days several times a year instead of grinding myself into the dirt as a workaholic.
Do you ever watch a movie years later . . . and realize it wasn’t as scary as you thought it was?
I watched The Green Inferno again last week and realized . . . it’s not as horrifying as I thought it was. Just a bit of unsettling cannibalism.
Now - Midsommar - that is an absolutely horrifying movie.
I’m never watching that one again.
I think it was more so the crazy events of the film - rather than the actual gore or violence.
It was whacked. Bonkers.
Speaking of Bonkers - I started playing Darkwood with my wife. It’s a top-down horror game that is deeply unsettling.
A strange forest, evil creatures, and a wolf man . . .
It’s been long enough since I watched 6 hours of the Markiplier playthrough that I’ve mostly forgotten what/where to go in the game.
It’s also difficult to play the game without narrating in his voice.
It’s a fun watch. Here - take a peek.
Well - let’s hop in - shall we?
🍞The Toaster Phone
No - this phone can’t toast your bread but it is made by a toaster company.
Yeah - it’s a weird shift. Who says “Ok fam I know we’ve been making toasters for years now, but let’s switch it up with some android phones.”
It's not every day you see a smartphone launch that truly looks like something new and different, but say hello to the "Balmuda Phone." This is a unique, compact little Android phone, totally out of left field, from a luxury Japanese toaster maker. You can't make this stuff up. Usually, these "random company made a smartphone" stories are all the same and involve calling up a turnkey smartphone manufacturer and getting a generic phone made. (source)
Phones like the Frankphobe and the Freedom phone come to mind - generic android models with some nifty branding, software, and logos.
They’re usually the electronic equivalent of dropshipping - the digital equivalent of making a streetwear brand from generic clothing labels.
There’s nothing more infuriating than buying a new hoodie from a small brand and finding out it’s actually Hanes.
However . . . this is actually a new phone - with a different value proposition.
The company made a phone because it has a new idea for a phone, with a focus on a compact, rounded-over design rather than the huge slab rectangles that dominate smartphone design. It's a phone designed around human hands and not the rectangle-shaped components that make up a phone. To quote the website (through Google Translate) the company says: "The Balmuda Phone was designed for a shape that fits naturally in your hand. To achieve this, not only is the back curved, but the shape when viewed from the front is actually wrapped in a gentle curve—even the display. In other words, the Balmuda Phone is the only smartphone whose proportions do not include any straight lines." (source)
Out of all the dozens of “different” phones out there - I’ve never seen one that has tried to be more natural for the human hand.
Balmuda says that it’s committed to delivering beauty and experience - rather than being solely invested in the idea for the money.
The idea is that the value that cannot be expressed is more important than the value that can be expressed numerically. In other words, the idea was that deliciousness, beauty, and comfort should be more important than performance and size. Such attempts may or may not work commercially. But at all times, we continue to believe that experience value is paramount, and we have never distorted that belief. Also, we have never made so-called "ordinary things". I can tell you with confidence. (source)
In this sense - the Balmuda feels more like a commercially available functional art project. Made for the aestheticc.
Honestly - that sounds pretty good to me. As much as I like my One Plus 7 Pro, it doesn’t feel very comfortable in my hand.
Holding it for long periods of time is actually quite uncomfortable.
The closest to a “good” phone in terms of size and comfort was probably the ancient LG G Flex 2.
From a pure UX perspective - the Balmuda actually looks tempting. It’s smaller and I could see myself comfortably using the phone for long periods of time.
However - its 2500 mAh phone capacity doesn’t really instill confidence in me though . . .
Here’s a fantastic review in English that really dives into all the juicy phone features. It’s hands-on too.
Check it out!
Unfortunately, if you want to get your hands on one, you may want to act fast - the phone hasn’t done well with sales and has already been discontinued.
Alas - another fun unique phone has been relegated to the dustbin of history.
Maybe they’ll give it another go with a more improved model. We can only hope!
The deeper we get into the 2020’s - the more I realize that Telegram was a herald of the future.
A future where communication was more private - and focused on communities.
NFT’S - love em or hate em - are a further development of this idea. Find a community that you like - buy the “membership card” NFT - and get exclusive access.
I discovered an interesting article from Trust.support that outlines this idea through the medium of “moving castles”
like Howl’s moving castles.
A Moving Castle—as popularised by Studio Ghibli’s cult movie “Howl’s Moving Castle”, based on Diana Wynne Jones’ 1986 book of the same title—is a nomadic patchwork of different spaces of mutating and incoherent scale. Such spaces are “bespelled to hold together’’ by the will of their inhabitants . . . .In our vision of this new media format, Moving Castles are modular and portable multiplayer miniverses; inhabited by communities that use them to manage their lore, ecosystems and economies. (source)
It’s almost as if we’re taking the old worlds of WOW and other MMORPG’s and applying them to the rest of our life.
Seriously - think for just a minute or two about Cool Cats, BAYC, MAYC, Fang Gang - or other Web3 projects.
Legend has it - Cool Cats has a pretty alpha discord, where you can get some sick insights on growing projects. 👀
As cool as that sounds - I’d much rather be liquid enough to have a downpayment for a house than buy a Cool Cat.
The idea that I’d have to boot up my laptop and hop in a server to get “alpha” insights about stocks, crypto, or other intel would’ve sounded odd to me three years ago - but now - it’s the norm.
Look no further than the DAO model - where token holders vote on different proposals on where the company should go.
DAO’s like The Blockbuster DAO, Links DAO, Fries DAO - might be really serious companies in 5 years.
Remember - five years ago ETH wasn’t even $100.
I really only scratched the surface of the surface of (redundancy on purpose) this article - I advise reading it and taking notes. It’s deep.
✒️Draw to Search
I recently messed around with an AI demo called “Draw_to_search” and was deeply intrigued at its attempts to guess my rudimentary drawings.
“Draw to Search” harnesses the Open AI CLIP learning model - which I’ve always wanted to mess around with.
Basically - you draw something - and wait for the AI model to determine what you are drawing.
It figured out my smiley face.
However - it had noooo idea what to do with my little ghost. I guess the jagged edges made it think it was a tooth.
Not a bad guess.
It did capture the horror of a ghost with whatever that amoeba looking thing is.
And - it had mixed success with my umbrella
I’m not sure why it guessed the keyword correctly - but pulled a fanart of what appears to be Raya from Raya and the last dragon.
The other images it pulled did have umbrellas though - I bet the AI thought the hat was an umbrella.
The hat is big, oval shape, and at about the height an umbrella should be at - bingo.
Keep in mind - CLIP is from January 2021 - and is meant for AI research. It can be accurate - but is more so meant as a tool for study.
I can only imagine how powerful the commercially available version will be . . .
The underlying website that hosts this tool - huggingface.co - is an AI community where you can train AI models and deploy them on a “pay as you go” basis.
There’s a TON of AI modeling apps to mess around with and test - which you can find here.
How accurate can you make your drawings?
Try out “Draw to Search” at the link!
🐙The Land of Random
modnar - MODNAR everywhere
Heyday.xyz - Your Personal Research Assistant
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Behold - The Internet
Doesn’t it look beautiful? like a sea anenome?
User Friendly is now offline
This ancient webcomic which ran from 1997 to 2010 has now gone completely offline. Rip. It is now only available at the one and only Wayback Time Machine. Check out the ancient site.
This gave me serious Death Stranding vibes.
Create RSS Feeds
This interesting web app will let you create RSS feeds from ANY source. This is really cool - but it does not come cheaply. There is a free plan that allows for two feeds. The REALLY cool feature is the dynamic feed widgets that you can add to your sites.
Ad Blockers VS The Uninitiated
The first thing I do with new laptops is install Chrome. The second - is to install Adblock plus. I forget that people don’t use any adblockers! This fun little article discusses the annoyances of auto playing videos. Seriously - who watches those?
The Deep Sea
Can you make it to the bottom of the Marianna Trench? Take a voyyagggee to the botttommmm of the seaaaaaaaaaa 🎵🎵
The Abandoned Ship
From the description. “Five years since the last impact, hulking relics of once active naval ships serve as floating labyrinths, overtaken by barnacles and marine life. The Calapyso-Mechanica H27 served as a class of naval carriers to transport research modules and supplies, though tales from coastal natives describe of other secrets within its hull.“ - Artist Khanh Vu
Such a cool work of art! Someday I hope to hang up stuff like this in my home office.
Off The Record Messaging
Ever wonder how to recreate the secrecy of a IRL meeting at a park bench? Off the Record Messaging is a cryptographic Messaging Protocol alternative to the more common PGP. Though quite technical at times - it’s a fascinating read!
🎵TikToks You Can’t Miss
It really is amazing that Nickelback made that sea shanty
Surely he knew what he was getting.
I’m inclined to believe the comments that say he didn’t eat it
This is simultaneously hilarious and terrifying
Nope. Not the heavy metal robots
That’s all for this week! See you next time. :)