Microsoft, hard as they try, just doesn’t convince me. This ad is clever as hell, and it plays into their branding nicely, creatively. But none of that matters to me because I don’t like their products. They feel cheap, are over-designed, and don’t make my life any easier (quite the opposite, if my memory of screaming at inanimate objects is correct).

So at the end of the day, what does marketing, advertising and branding matter if your products aren’t up to snuff?

Still, a nice ad.

-Ben

Dieter Rams looks back on his career in this short documentary from publisher Gestalten. Released a while back in conjunction with the publication of Less is More, it’s a nice compliment to the immense Rams collection. Always a nice treat to refresh one’s self on Ram’s Ten Principles for Good Design (which Patrick posted about earlier in the year after a trip to SFMOMA). 

Elsewhere, a quick related (though old-ish) read: Dieter Rams, Jonathan Ives and the evolution of Apple design.

- Maggie

I’m always on the hunt for fun, new apps for my phone. I enjoy finding well designed apps that can help make my life easier or just make something I already do more efficient. 

I just discovered Squarespace Note yesterday and really love its functionality, design and overall simplicity. The basic function of the app is to make it easier for you to capture the many thoughts that you have throughout the day in a very simple and easy way. Once you have made your note you can then pick any number of services to have that note sent to. The services that are currently available are Dropbox, Twitter, Facebook, Evernote, Email and Squarespace. 

Read more about the app here.

-Steve

Jake Harms breathes new (aquatic) life into old iMacs with his kickstarter project, iMac Aquariums. When asked to throw out an old workplace G3 iMac last year, Harms instead took the colorful computer home, hoping to somehow repurpose the broken machine. 

He pulled apart the old iMac, installing lighting, a filter, and a special curved glass tank to fit the monitor’s shape, and his first iMacquarium was born. After a year of positive response, Harms has created a Kickstarter page, offering DIY macquarium kits in an effort to turn his hobby into a business. It’s a clever and beautiful looking effort for re-use, and I can’t help but think of those fish as tenants in a very swanky new apartment building. 

- Maggie

On the market since November, iPad app Mixel asks that you please do touch the art. In fact, it’s this precise ideology that separates Mixel from the rest of the collage app crowd, as every finished Mixel creation is available publicly, free to be remixed, rematched, and shared all over again. 

Pinterest hosts several boards for Mixel user bragging rights and features a fun “Where I Live” Challenge - looks like there’s plenty of room for some Buffalo mashup Mixel art.

- Maggie

Do you sometimes like combining two special things and making one very special thing? Great. Then Screenstagram is the new Peanut M&M of iPhone photography and your computer screen - a cool combo of the new Instagram API and Mac screensaver options. 

Barbarian Group has recently released Screenstagram, an Instagram-fueled screensaver for Mac users. “In a nutshell, Screenstagram displays photos from Instagram - it can show you your friends’ photos or photos from the Instagram popular feed, which contains highly rated photos from across the Instagram community.”

Brandon’s got a pretty wonderful Instagram stream going, and I’ve included a few of my favorite photos of his, above. Check out Screenstagram’s demo video to see how the product would play out on your own screen.

Screenstagram animation demo from Barbarian Group.

- Maggie

I was just at JFK’s international Delta terminal and there are iPads galore! You can order food, check email, download apps, read, whatever. They’re free to use and don’t have any restrictions. The only problem is you’ll probably have to beat up an old lady to get a seat in front of one. A seat with an iPad is prime real estate at JFK. Yikes!

-Patrick