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The cell phone industry has always been one of the more rigid sectors of the electronics world. Subsidized phones tied to contracts somehow make repairs pricey or nearly impossible. The Phonebloks concept is an idea for a more user-oriented device that can be repaired or customized with a system of removable and replaceable components. The logic is that when a single component of a cell phone breaks, users will simply replace that part instead of scrapping the entire phone. Replacing individual parts would mean much less e-waste, and the ability to prioritize features like battery life or storage space. 

Apparently a lot of people are interested in the concept. In only 48 hours, the company's introduction video has over 4.6 million views. 

Cold drip coffee brewing, a smaller subset of the cold brew method, has an equipment problem. The cold drip machines currently available are complex, large, and pricey towers that look like they belong in a Victorian chemical lab rather than a kitchen, and can easily cost a few hundred dollars. The Cold Bruer is a much more compact version of the cold drip tower, designed to use filters from the cult classic Aeropress

The Cold Bruer is made almost entirely of glass, save for the silicone plug that regulates the drip speed. Depending on which drip speed the user chooses, a full pot can take anywhere from three to 12 hours. While it may not be much quicker than cold brewing in a french press, the drip system works as kind of a low-tech timer that can have a pot of cold brew ready in the morning.

The Cold Bruer system starts at $50 for Kickstarter backers.


Anyone who’s traveled an itinerary with multi-country stops knows that a travel adapter is one of those small but necessary accessories. We pass on any doodads where plugs pop out with a push of a button; moving parts break easy on the road.

Instead, we’re about these colorful 4-in-1 adapters from Flight 001. They’re solid, compact, and, perhaps most importantly, thoughtfully designed. Perhaps more obvious than required, a color-coded system matches the right plug to the corresponding country. You'll have power on whatever side of the world you're on, jetsetter.

Visit Flight 001 for more details and grab 4-in-1 Travel Adapter for $25.

Tile is a new tracking system for personal items like keys, wallets, bikes, or any material possession that can hold a tiny chip. The two part system includes a tiny white "tile" that one attaches to the item, and a smartphone app to find it. When it comes time to activate the system, the app shows the distance to a selected tile using a warmer/colder style meter (pictured below). Users can have a bunch of tiles linked to one app.

While a simple tracking system doesn't sound too outrageous in a marketplace that includes GPS-based systems like Apple's Find My iPhone and Find My Friends, the Tile system has a few distinct advantages. First, it's made for short ranges. In other words, GPS-based systems are able to show a user that their phone is indeed somewhere in their house, but Tile can show which couch cushion it's under. Second, Tile has an interesting "lost item" feature that uses their entire network of users to find and report the location of a tile that's gone missing. More on that in the video below. 

One unexpected quirk of the system is that the tiles have no user-replaceable battery and only last about a year. Because the chip can't be charged, users have to purchase a new Tile once a year. Don't fret, the old ones are recycled.

Each Tile costs $24.95, with the first shipments expected Fall/Winter 2013.

Under the right circumstances, donating power from one's iPhone to another is borderline heroic. The Juice Up is a new case concept with a built-in cable for power sharing. After connecting two phones, a simple app designates which way to send the power, and how much charge to give. Unfortunately, it's only in the concept stage as designer Francois Rybarczyk is still working on the electrical engineering. 

Consollection is the result of a lifetime of gaming and an impulse to collect. The collection of about 200 consoles belongs to a gamer named Phil (no last name provided) who created an online archive for every console he's ever owned, complete with a profile page of each system, with his close friend Patrick Molnar. Although the collection is meticulously organized, it's far from sterile. The profiles place each system in the context of a bigger video game history, and there are some subtle physical remnants of a life of gaming, like the well-worn original Game Boy. The massive collection ranges from the obscure, (#121, "Loopy" is a Japan-only console from 1995 with a built-in thermal printer to print screenshots), to the common (#120 is Nintendo's critically mocked formal experiment Virtual Boy). Just as any true obsessive collector would have, each original box is included.

#42 Philips G7000 (1978)

#55 Vectrex (1982)

You might think that everything that could go on a bike has been created already, but designers consistently come up with new wonders that can ride on two-wheels.

At its Savoir-Faire showcase at Milan's Salone del Mobile, ECAL (Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne) showed some such wonders. Its Savoir-Faire bike accessories included rain deflectors, a brake handle bell, a valve cap you can't lose, snow chains for tires, and cable-tie add-ons like a water bottle holder, bag hook, light, bell, and more. Unfortunately, they're not in production yet, but we'll take 'em as inspiration that the bike platform still holds opportunity for outfitting.

See more exciting design projects at ECAL.


Spring Selections. The Nothing Major staff shares its picks for Spring 2013.

Shoot from the hip and enjoy the moment. The Black Slim Devil camera is as unassuming as your camera phone, makes no noise, and eliminates the urge to spend 10 minutes obsessing over which filter to apply to your photo for Instagram. With the Black Silm Devil, you get what you get, but you might just love that.

Years ago, the cult-classic Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim camera was beloved for its uniquely vivid shots, light weight and kind pricepoint. The good people at SuperHeadz have reissued the rugged 35mm film camera under a new name. It's even made at the same factory as the original.

Also, at $30 and under, it won't break the bank. So get snapping.

Find out more at SuperHeadz.com

I'm kind of a retro-look-loving, modern-sound-liking guy on some level. Aren't we all? Oh, how I would love to give a good home to one of these soundpauli. upcycled speakers—from the sleazy neighborhood where the Beatles cut their gigging teeth. The duo of Markus Rilling & Jan Kuntoff take old boxes, speaker cases, and radios and refurbish them by hand into portable, battery-powered active speakers, all in their studio in the St. Pauli district of Hamburg, Germany. They also give them handles, so you can bring your Paul or Pauline anywhere you want, hook it up to your smartphone, computer, er, mini-disc player, and crank it up. Even better, if you have a box in mind (say one from Grandpa's attic), they'll give it the soundpauli. treatment—price negotiable.

Soundpauli on etsy