Author Archives: Nora

Will We See You in September?

Hi there,

Cathi and I are taking a much needed break over the summer, but we’ll be back for our TENTH(!) season right after Labour Day. Have a wonderful summer!

UPDATE! We are currently having temporary difficulties with our commenting system. We hope to have it back up and running soon. Thanks!

Print Your Own Makeup and Self-Promotion or Selling Out?

Hi there!

On today’s podcast, Cathi Bond wonders whether you’d print out your own makeup? Grace Choi wants to convince you to. She’s the founder of Mink, which aims to market a 3D printer for makeup. Part of the reason, according to this interview, is that she wants to offer a broader range of shades to reflect the diversity of women’s skin tones. You can watch the video of her speaking at TechCrunch’s Disrupt NY below.

Meanwhile, Nora Young talks about the trend towards authors getting fans and friends not just to buy their books, but to promote them as well. It seems like a trend for selling and marketing all kinds of things, but when does it just become too much? Are Cathi and Nora missing the boat by not doing this with their books?

Quantified Toilets and Boutique Health Clinics

Hi! This time, Nora talks about QuantifiedToilets.com, a project she encountered while at the recent CHI conference in Toronto. Art project? Provocation? What do you think of it?

Meanwhile, Cathi discusses the Dean Street Express, a London UK clinic for testing for STI’s that free and stylish (via Gizmag). Can it encourage more people to get tested for sexual health?

Art For Everyone and Fuel for Creativity

Hey, trendwatchers! This time on the podcast, Cathi Bond talks about “Stockholm is Your Canvas” a project of Stockholm Art Week, to make billboard space in downtown Stockholm available to anyone who wants to submit their digital art, in a revolving series of 30 second intervals (via PSFK). What would your ideas be for making public art more…public?

Nora Young mentions an interview with Rick Barrack, Chief Creative Officer at CBX, a branding firm. He talks about bringing the physical and the tactile into the creative process (via Fast Company). Nora and Cathi love sticky notes (NY particularly likes ones from Muji). What are your physical cues for creativity?

Control With Gestures and Selfie Money

Apologies for the absence, but we’re back! This time, Nora talks about Ring, a very cool project on Kickstarter (via Core77). You tap the side of the ring, then use finger gestures to control your various devices. Check out the video and let us know if you’d use this. Are Minority Report style gestural interfaces the future, or will we stick with our phones and purpose-built devices?

Cathi brings you the story of “selfie money” (via PSFK). Artist Jonathan Keats has an ironic proposal for saving cash money: appeal to our narcissism by printing bills with ‘selfie’ images of individuals on it!

Nora also mentions Duolingo, the fun, free online language learning website she’s been using. Check it out!

Sustainable High Rise Living and Deceitful Data

Hey! In this trendwatching podcast, Cathi Bond talks about Clear Point Residencies, which takes the ‘green roof’ a step further by imagining a high rise with vegetation cladding. Check out the pics in the gallery

Nora Young talks about lying with data, thanks to Mushon Zer-Aviv’s post about how infographics can deceive.

Car Tech, Traffic Tech, and Then Some Beer

Hi, we’re back after a liiiitttle bit of a hiatus, but amped up and ready to go.

This time around, Nora Young and Cathi Bond talk about some new tech solutions to the problem of distracted driving (via The Economist). As we move into a world of smart cars, and more devices in our vehicles, how will we maximize the power of them without becoming a distracted menace on the road? Nora mentions Social Physics, a new book by Alex (Sandy) Pentland, which includes an intriguing idea about how realtime information from smarter cars can make driving safer.

In other news, remember Gort, the giant alien robot from The Day the Earth Stood Still? (We call him Klaatu in the podcast, but as fans will point out, Klaatu is the humanoid, and Gort is the robot). In any case, we were reminded of Gort when Cathi read the news of the use of a robotic looking automated traffic control system, in Kinshasa intersections (via PSFK). It’s a smart invention, and it’s even solar-powered!

Cathi is a fan of fine beer. And here in Canada, beer is practically a bonding national characteristic. So Nora brings her Lean Machine Ale: a health beer, meant to be a healthier alternative to the post-exercise beer (via Springwise) Would you try it, or is there something special about a frosty pint after sports?

Christmas Special 2013!

Hi there,

Happy Holidays! Time for our annual Christmas Special full of lots of whimsical toys.

This time, Nora Young likes Urbio, a cool looking modular set of plates that you mount on the wall, then attach sleek white pots of various sizes to using magnets. Nora likes the mix-n-match quality of it, and the space saving aspect for those of us without a lot of counter space or window sills. You can use it for planting kitchen herbs or for general storage of small items in a home office.

Also, cool: Beer! Nora talks about Collective Arts Brewing, a new craft beer company that features artists of all stripes on the beer labels. They select a curated crop of artists to put on the labels, and you can use the augmented reality app to learn more. Neat-o.

Cathi Bond is thinking about experiences and travel this time, and has found two wild places. First is Kulturinsel Einsiedel (Culture Island) a whimsical, huge park near the Germany-Poland border. It features a series of treehouses (you can even spend the night) windmills, and all sorts of fantasy architecture (via Gizmag).

She also showcases a wonderful art installation in Russia by Estonian architects Salto: a 170 metre trampoline road. See pics of the road in action over at The Guardian. Fun!

And, because it wouldn’t be a Sniffer Family Christmas without it, the Christmas Eve scene from The Thin Man:

The Future of Shopping: Online AND In Person

As holiday season approaches, we’ve got a shopping special!

Nora Young points to this article in Technology Review by Avi Goldfarb about the death of the “death of distance” – why local still matters in the ecommerce era. Nora explores this story in an interview with Avi over at Spark.

Cathi Bond looks at shopping habits of Generation Z, in an era of social shopping (via Marketing Week). She mentions Wanelo as a cool example of the trend in action. Nora wonders if more of us aren’t going to the online/offline social shopping model, and if Gen Z are just early adopters.

What do you think? How are your shopping habits changing?

Robots on the Farm and Implantable Tech

This time, Cathi Bond talks about the Agrirover, a robot designed to run 24/7 on livestock paddocks, combing the field looking for spots where grazing grass is damaged by, erm, pee (via Scoop). A chat about robots down on the farm ensues.

Meanwhile, Nora Young mentions that Motorola has a patent on an “electronic skin tattoo” (temporary!) to transmit voice and also to serve as a power supply (via PCPro, and others). The premise is that it would be a microphone and a power source. For me (Nora) it’s interesting mostly as yet another example of how normal implantables and wearables are going to be in the next 5 years or so. In the near term, though, would you use something like this?