Kitchen Design Plugin for Sketchup, Sketchup training.

She caught the Katy

Elwood: It's got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it's got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. It's a model made before catalytic converters so it'll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?[a brief thinking pause while Jake attempts to light a cigarette] Jake: Fix the cigarette lighter.

That is just one of the many epic quotes from "The Blues Brothers" A movie that everyone who has any kind of a sense of humor should see in their lifetime.

It was recently brought to my attention that there is a Sketchup model of the bridge that they jumped in that scene. It's Geo Located in Google Earth so you can see exactly where this legendary car jump took place. If you're interested, download the model here and check it out right in your browser, Google Sketchup or Earth!

What the bleep? (Kitchen Tech Part 3)

Would you store your food in green goo?  How about something that charges your cell phone with no wires?  Is it the future?  Some of it is, some of it you can buy right now...  This post could be originally seen on Design Kula.

Electrolux Biorobot food storage device: Ok, at first glance this thing looks gross. Would you be OK with putting your food in green goo to keep it fresh? That concept might take some getting used to, but a few years ago we never thought we’d be using our phones as computers either. The idea behind this concept refrigerator is that you stick your food in the green goo, it forms pods around it, and by using the light in the room the goo stays cool and germ free. Also, since your food is separate from other items, there is no odor transfer. Interestingly, Sub Zero utilizes this same concept in their refrigerators with multiple cooling zones driven by multiple compressors. This keeps odors from moving from one area to another so your food stays fresher longer. If this goo concept were ever to come to market, there would be so many uses for it. Imagine instead of one giant food cooling area, you could have multiple “goo units” that store food at the point of use. Your wet bar could have a small area for fruit, and a main area for beverages. This could also be great in restaurant use as well.

Inductive Charging Mats: How many kitchens have you walked into that have cell phone, ipod, and game system chargers all over the countertops? We’ve got so many things that we need to recharge these days, and a lot of that goes on in the kitchen. If you’re clever, you can create a nice charging station to manage all those wires. But why manage the present when you could bring your kitchen into the future? How about wireless charging? Powermat, and Energizer make these great mats that can charge your devices by just dropping them on the mat. No wires needed. Older devices will need to have an adapter slipped onto the battery, but a lot of new cell phones are coming with inductive charging built in. Check out this video to see it in action, it’s F***ing awesome!

There is a lot of great kitchen technology out there, and this list doesn’t even scratch the surface. Consumers see more of this technology, they want it integrated into their designs. It makes sense, if they can have all this powerful technology at their desks, why should one’s kitchen be in the stone age?

Kitchen Technology Part 2

This is a follow up post to my last post on kitchen technology.  This post as originally featured on Design Kula.

The Brizo SmartTouch faucet: Did Brizo re-invent the faucet from the ground up? Nope. But they did add a “touch” of technology that really improves the way you use a faucet. You can touch this one to turn it on and off. Doesn’t sound that exciting huh? I’ll admit, it doesn’t shoot lasers, but it is hugely useful in the kitchen. Imagine this: You are cooking and your hands are all dirty. You need to wash off, but you don’t want to get your BBQ sauce covered fingers, or worse, your raw chicken coated fingers all over the faucet. With Brizo SmartTouch, you just tap your forearm, elbow, nose, or other fleshy bit on the faucet and you’ve got clean flowing water to rinse off in. I recently “forced” a client (my mother) to get one of these. She thought it was the most unnecessary thing when I explained it to her. After a day of using it she can’t stop raving about it! Allegedly a facerub from you cat can also activate the faucet, so curious water hating cats: you have been warned. Brizo seamlessly blends style and technology into all of it’s products, unlike Aquabrass who have attached a Playstation controller to the end of a faucet.

ZigBee Appliances: You may never have heard of ZigBee, but it’s a pretty interesting thing. ZigBee makes wireless transmitters, and the associated computer magic to get appliances to talk to one another. Why does it matter if your appliances can talk together? Not so they can plan world domination, but so they can work together to save you money. It all starts with your electric meter. If you have a ZigBee wireless electric meter it can send out lots of useful information, most importantly when electricity is the cheapest. Your appliances talk to the meter, and know when it’s the best time to do energy intensive tasks. For example, your dishwasher can automatically run at 3am, when electricity is cheapest. Your refrigerator can defrost then too. Of course, you can override these settings if you need your favorite jeans washed right away. Check out this video by Consumer Reports to see some of these appliances in action. This video features GE appliances, but SubZero also is in the ZigBee appliance game.

Stay tuned early in the week for the summary of all this kitchen technology!

Kitchen Technology, Part 1

This post originally appeared on Design Kula.  This is a fabulous blog and I suggest you check it out.

Technology: It’s everywhere these days. It’s evolving at a blistering pace. We all know how it goes, that shiny new aluminium tablet you bought two months ago is already out of date, replaced by something that is twice as fast, and half the price! That’s not just all marketing hype, there is a law, Moores Law. Moore’s law talks about the amount of transistors on a chip doubling.... Ok, I’ll forgo the technical jargon before you jump to your Facebook page. Basically the law says that computers will get twice as fast and half the price each year. This has been true for the last 50 or so years!

So how has this affected the kitchen in today’s market? Well, there is TONS of tech out there for the kitchen. Some of it good, some bad, and some just plain odd. I’ll guide you through just some of the things I have discovered in my travels. Before we start, I think I need to get some geek credentials out of the way:

My name is Eric Schimelpfenig, AKBD. I am a kitchen and bath designer, Sketchup modeler, trainer, public speaker, blogger, and a firm believer that the Internet is here to stay. At an early age I assembled my own computer in a cardboard box, and today I have no less then three screens on my desk at any given time. I could keep going, but I think you get the picture...

First up: The AlessiTAB. This tablet is a touch screen tablet that was developed for use exclusively in the kitchen. It runs on that all familiar Android operating system, and even features a TV tuner! I think it’s a great idea, but it’s going to be a dismal failure. Since it’s got all the tablet specs, it’s got the tablet price, without the tablet portability. The idea of having a computer or tablet in the kitchen is something a lot consumers want. With so many great apps out there for the kitchen why not get an iPad Chef Sleeve or just in put it a Zip Lock bag? (Yes, that actually works really well!)

Outdoor grilling, it’s one of the great outdoor pastimes. Imagine this: You are outside on your deck, you’re surrounded by friends, great smelling food, and wonderful weather. What could possibly make this day any better? Being able to leave all that and go hide inside. But how can you go inside to play another round of Angry Birds or check your inbox without the risk of burning your delicious meats? You can’t trust your friends, but you can trust iGrill. iGrill is a remote meat thermometer that communicates over Bluetooth to your favorite iOS device. Yup, you can look right at your iPhone or iPad and see the status of your meats without ever having to leave that computer chair. Frag on oh “master of the meats”.

Stay tuned to this spot towards the end of the week and I will unveil even more exciting (and actually useful) kitchen tech!

My geeky heroes

Over the past few years I have been afforded many opportunities to speak publicly.  Some of my career options early on included "Rock Star" in the list.  Alas, I don't have any tattoos, a regenerative liver, or most importantly the ability to play a "cool" musical instrument.  So because of these limitations, I have been relegated to the less "cool" task of being a kitchen design, blogger, and geek.

Whenever I get the chance to be on stage I get a bit of an adrenaline rush.  Like the rush you get when you hear the bark of a powerful car engine after a perfect heel-toe shift.  There is something about being in front of people and having something interesting to say that really gives me a charge.  My goal whenever I speak is to not drone on and be boring, I always want to be memorable and fun.  My thought is that you could be saying the most useful facts in the world, but if you aren't memorable, those facts will be forgotten when people walk out of the auditorium, or head to the next booth.

Since I don't have a talent coach I sometimes scour the internet in search of good speakers, I watch them and try to learn from them.  There are some great speakers in our time, Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy, and some say even our current president.  Rather then review the most famous speakers of all time, I have picked a few more recent, more tech related folks that I have discovered and would like share with you.

First up:

Steve Balmer:

I know what you are thinking:  You didn't pick Steve Jobs as the first one!!  I know Steve's great, and we are getting there.  Steve Ballmer has got to be one of my favorites.  At his core he is 100% passionate about what he does.  Every time you see him speak you can see that.  That being said, he certainly has a penchant for sticking his foot in his mouth and being a bit of a loose cannon.  His faults make me love watching him even more.  The guy sometimes borders on being a maniac!  See the videos below:

This is a clip of him handling a really tough question with his typical loud and boisterous behavior...
This is a developers conference where he flips out on stage. Can you see the passion here?

Bill Gates:

Ok, I will be honest, I think Bill Gates is not a good public speaker. He's not the worst, but there is just not a lot of energy from the guy when he is on stage. Brilliant guy no doubt, but I find the "Steve's" much more engaging. However, Mr. Gates did have one moment which really stuck out in my memory. Since his departure from Microsoft he's been spending his time fighting malaria. He did a speech for TED on malaria and was describing how it's transmitted through mosquitos. The speech itself was decent, but the part where he unleashed live mosquitos on the audience really sent his point home.  He didn't tell the audience until several minutes later that the mosquitoes were uninfected.

I can't embed this video for you, so you'll have to watch it on YouTube

Larry Ellison:

So this guy is NOT someone I look up to. Below is a highlight reel from him at a product launch. This is a HIGHLIGHT reel, so it's probably got the best stuff in it. I am sure Larry is a smart guy, and I am nerdy, but he just lost me right away.... You'll see, you only need to watch it for about 15 seconds.

Steve Jobs:

This guy is a master of presentation. He's such an engaging speaker. He inspires his employees, developers and makes his customers swoon for his products. How does he do this? I'll let someone else explain that at the end of the post. For now though, take a look at the original iPhone launch. Steve really knows how to launch a product.  I am not a live sports fan, and I always refer to Apple product launches as "my Super Bowl"

Now, lets step back and look at these four guys. They are all heads of HUGE tech companies. They by many measures are fabulously successful. Microsoft probably has way more resources then Apple. Why does everyone carry around and talk about their iPods and not a Zune? How about the new Windows Phone 7? The answer is below. If there is any video on this post that you watch in it's entirety, you must watch this one.  This video will literally change the way you think about marketing your product.

Simon Sinek: