Either Amazon.com is mon­i­tor­ing my news read­ing habits, or it’s just suc­cumb­ing to para­noia. Here is what it rec­om­mends I buy today:

bunny suits

October 17, 2014 October 17, 2014 observations by Scott No Comments

Buses

At the Seashore Trol­ley Museum.

October 7, 2014 October 7, 2014 photos by Scott 3 Comments

On the way to work yes­ter­day, I was passed by a mas­sive (and very new-looking) Cam­bridge Police armored vehicle.

Aside from obvi­ous ques­tions about whether it needs to exist at all, or whether it makes sense to drive it around in pub­lic so soon after the Fer­gu­son sit­u­a­tion, I have one sug­ges­tion for the city of Cam­bridge: change the paint job! The vehi­cle is painted dark green (for­est cam­ou­flage?) and sports the same black-and-gray Amer­i­can flag insignias and under­stated let­ter­ing that spe­cial forces sol­diers wear.

The whole thing looks extremely military–not police.

Why not paint the vehi­cle in bright, friendly police col­ors? It wouldn’t be any less effec­tive at, say, dri­ving into an armed hostage cri­sis. And it would send a strong mes­sage to the police that it’s not OK for neigh­bor­hood offi­cers to play com­bat dress-up games.

September 27, 2014 September 27, 2014 observations by Scott No Comments

pedal-wood-03-pair File this one under “first-world prob­lems.” Since putting together my belt-drive city bike last fall, I have been look­ing for a bet­ter way to ride (occa­sion­ally) with nice leather-soled shoes. Every metal- and plastic-surfaced pedal I tried rubbed unevenly against the shoe, destruc­tively dug into the leather sole with sharp points, or both.

The solu­tion seemed to come in the form of the Moto Urban Pedal, which has an unusu­ally large flat fric­tion sur­face as well as a dis­tinc­tive ply­wood body. Unfor­tu­nately, the fric­tion is pro­vided by “strong grip tape.” While their adver­tised claim is true–that the skateboard-style grip tape pro­vides slip-free con­tact even with wet leather soles–the man­u­fac­turer doesn’t men­tion that grip tape also destroys leather by grind­ing it down. As I found out, grip tape is just coarse sand­pa­per with an adhe­sive back­ing. That solu­tion is per­fect for the skateboard-industrial com­plex because it ensures a steady cycle of demand for new skate­board­ing shoes, but it is unsuit­able for my needs.

So I began my Edison-style exper­i­ment with every kind of fric­tion mate­r­ial I could get my hands on. I tried sev­eral dif­fer­ent mod­els of 3M Grip­ping Mate­r­ial, the amaz­ing stuff that sim­u­lates gecko feet, but it quickly became clogged with debris. I tried a tex­tured self-adhesive neo­prene prod­uct designed for guns (?!), but it lacked the dura­bil­ity and adhe­sive strength I needed.

Finally, Feld­meier sug­gested that the best fric­tion mate­r­ial for shoes might be another shoe. From an online cob­bler sup­plier, I obtained two sheets of sol­ing mate­r­ial: a 2 mm SoleTech sol­ing sheet for dress shoes and a 4 mm sheet of Vibram 7175 boot rub­ber. The Vibram mate­r­ial is amaz­ing but way too thick and heavy for this appli­ca­tion, so I put it aside. The SoleTech (check-textured SBR rub­ber) is perfect.

I made a tem­plate of laser-cut acrylic so I could cut per­fect pedal-shaped pieces from the sheet with a knife.

2014-09-14 11.19.01

Rub­ber con­tact cement pro­vides a per­fect (although pos­si­bly too per­ma­nent) bond to the plas­tic pieces that form the plain bear­ings in the Moto ped­als. It also smells awesome.

2014-09-14 11.41.37

The new pedal sur­faces are work­ing great so far, wet and dry. And they don’t destroy leather. We’ll see how they hold up in the long term.

2014-09-15 09.13.14

September 18, 2014 September 18, 2014 cycling by Scott No Comments

positive All­ston Christ­mas comes again. We moved our year-old pile of “things we want to sell some­day” out to the curb. First item was gone in 5 min­utes. Last item in 15 min­utes. Now that’s efficient!
neutral CVS stops sell­ing tobacco to focus on health. I’m pretty sure they’re still sell­ing Oreos and gal­lon jugs of Ari­zona Iced Tea in the dia­betes meal sup­ply aisle. Inter­est­ing position.

September 3, 2014 September 3, 2014 ww by Scott No Comments

“Claire McCaskill, the Demo­c­ra­tic sen­a­tor from Mis­souri, says police depart­ments nation­wide should require their offi­cers to wear body cam­eras in order to qual­ify for the hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars in fed­eral fund­ing they receive each year.”David Kravets, Arstech­nica

Clearly some­one hasn’t read The Cir­cle by Dave Eggers.

August 27, 2014 August 27, 2014 in-the-news by Scott 1 Comment

Freddie and Scott

Photo credit: Fer Juar­isti

What a week­end: cel­e­brat­ing the wed­ding of our dear friends Adrian and Mar­garet. And the two-year anniver­sary of us–complete with this ridicu­lously awe­some Wes Anderson-style portrait!

August 24, 2014 August 24, 2014 photos by Scott 1 Comment

I spot­ted one of the most famous liv­ing type design­ers in the veg­etable sec­tion of the gro­cery store this after­noon.1 I would have left it at that, but my extro­verted wife loves talk­ing to strangers. “Excuse me, are you Matthew Carter?”


  1. In my defense, he is eas­ily rec­og­niz­able from being in two of my favorite design doc­u­men­taries, Hel­vetica and Lino­type

August 17, 2014 August 17, 2014 design by Scott No Comments