product eval

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Everything in its place.

Posted by on 24 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: Design, product eval

I have not tried out this set, but I appreciate that it has a holder for both of the tools when they’re not doing their respective…businesses.

Overfilled paper towel dispenser.

Posted by on 23 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: Design, product eval


This is a prime example of what happens when paper towel dispensers are overfilled.  It’s impossible to get the towels out and you end up with a torn mess.

It’s gotta be fast and easy to use to exist in business.

Posted by on 23 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: Design, product eval, Warehouse

This is an Orderpicker, which is not quite a forklift.  It’s like a forklift, but instead of the rider staying on the ground, the rider goes up with the load.  It offers the benefits of a forklift, with the added flexibility of being able to grab less than pallet sized loads.

The title of the post is from the lift operator who was a traditionalist and favored his forklift until he got a chance to use an orderpicker and acknowledged that he liked it better, but if it had been complicated to use, he probably would have stuck with his forklift.

Clover coffee maker

Posted by on 16 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: Design, Kitchen, product eval

This thing is magnificent.  If I had any inkling of what it was going to do, I’d have video taped the process.  Ah well, next time I’m in Burlingame.

My favorite corkscrew

Posted by on 06 Feb 2011 | Tagged as: Design, Kitchen Utensils, product eval

My favorite corkscrew, hereafter known as Corkscrew A.
Every once in a while, you come across a device that is sublime in form and function.  While I can’t say definitively that this is the best corkscrew in the world, I can say that it is indeed my favorite corkscrew.  
I like gadgety stuff, but I need to weigh gadgety vs kludgey. 
What makes this corkscrew so good?  It’s subtle.
A lesser corkscrew, Corkscrew B.
Teflon coated screw for easy entry into the cork. Finger grips on the left just feel good in the hand.  The part where you rest against the bottle’s mouth to open?  There’s actually TWO ridges.  The style of sommelier’s style corkscrew (Corkscrew B) that I usually come across usually only has ONE ridge, making it difficult to leverage the cork out of the bottle once the corkscrew is in place.  Additionally, those two ridges have a small pin, so that when the closer ridge is being used, the farther ridge can be moved out of the way as necessary.
Corkscrew A has a form factor that when it’s completely closed, it’s still very easy to open bottles, without the added bulk of a large mouth.  Call it a personal preference, but I find that Corkscrew A sits in the pocket much better than Corkscrew B.
Caw caw! I have wings!
“But Russ? What about those neat wing style corkscrews?  What about them indeed?  What I find is that they’re intuitive to use, but very difficult to store and keep handy.  Honestly though, sometimes I find them a little awkward in the actual operation since it feels like you need three hands to secure it on the bottle and turn the corkscrew into the cork.  Sure they’re neat for what they do and people like to paint the arms in neat ways or make them into robot arms, but for my tastes, it takes up a lot of space for something that Corkscrew A does in a smaller space.

Finally, there’s the cost.  It’s a simple device, it’s elegant in operation, and it’s cheap.  Under 10 bucks.  More complicated style wine openers can cost upwards of 40 bucks or more and not work nearly as well.

The only thing I can think of at the moment to improve on the design would be to put a guide ridge where I could rest the top of the bottle so that the knife cut at a uniform height on the foil.

But that really is a minor gripe considering how well this tool functions.

Well designed paper towels.

Posted by on 30 Dec 2010 | Tagged as: Design, product eval

Why are these good?
Because they’re designed with respect to their surroundings.  The packaging takes into account their usage location, namely, the bathroom.  The box is designed to fit upside down on a towel bar and dispense from there.
Now, say what you will about disposable culture and the usage of paper products as compared to cloth towels, but the box design of this product is pretty damn neat.

Paper towel holder

Posted by on 18 Dec 2010 | Tagged as: Bathroom, Design, product eval

I have mixed feelings about paper towels laid out like this.  They don’t suffer from the over packed dispenser problem.  Nor do they require special equipment for restocking (e.g. specially rolled paper, prepackaged packs of paper towels).  On the other hand, they do tend to get messed up rather easily, and water can get on multiple paper towels, making more of a mess.
But, on the whole, they’re less of a headache for the customer, which is a good thing.

What’s good about this spatula?

Posted by on 11 Dec 2010 | Tagged as: Design, Kitchen Utensils, product eval

The benefit of this spatula that stood out to me was the nub on the back.  It’s not a hand guard, but rather a resting spot for the spatula when it’s not being used.
Example below, as stolen from YuppieChef.  (Yes, that is a spoon.  But the same design was applied to the spatula as well.)
Spatulas in and of themselves have evolved quite a bit, and I like this little bit of outside the pot thinking.  I’m usually wondering where to put my utensils when I’m not using them.  This answer is elegant without a lot of extra doohickeys to make it work.  Doohickey is a technical term.