Thoughtful design in everyday things


Design is intelligence made visible.  ~ Alina Wheeler

I have the opportunity to look at this lock a few times a day, and I noticed a few intriguing things about it.

First, it employs one-way screws – you can screw them in, but you can’t take them out!  Well, not without special methods, like using a Dremel tool to cut a slot in them so that a normal flathead screwdriver can remove them.  Ingenious!

I love smart designs that solve problems, like the new “spill proof” lips on detergent and side-cut can openers.  If you do too, you might like to read Cool Tools on a regular basis. 

Progress A second thing I noticed about this lock is the unique diamond shape of the slide-lock.  They could have made it square, but I betcha they save tons in metal costs by using this design.  And it’s probably just as strong, maybe stronger.

It makes me ask myself – where can I work smarter rather than harder?  My mom always said I was lazy, which may be partly true, but also, I am always looking for more efficient ways of doing things -as this poster from a woot contest says nicely.

My thoughts exactly.

I hate dirty jobs – actually, most manual labor


“I’m going to cross this off the list and never come back here again.” ~ Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs

I hate manual labor.  I am not really built for it mentally.  Don’t get me wrong, I can do it, but I don’t get the same kind of satisfaction others seem to.  And when I was young, I wasn’t’ built for it physically either.  My first job at age 13 was as a farmhand, shoveling manure and stacking hay bales.  Except I couldn’t really lift a 60lb. bale over my head, and I was allergic to both they hay and the cows.  Like asthmatic.

Anyway, I showered last night, and I knew that the drain was getting slow – this morning I found out how slow – the water from that last shower was still sitting there.  So, I drove to the hardware store and got some Drano gel, a then came home, grabbed a wrench and a kitchen knife and got to work.

The good news is, I didn’t nick, bruise, burn, or crush any body parts, and I was able to un-ick the drain without having to break the seal on the snake I bought as backup in case the Drano failed. 

Afterward, I took this pic of my instruments of unobstruction, then used some digital filters to make them glow and show up in reverse color.  A plunger never looked so good – maybe this is what they look like on Pandora (the planet in Avatar).