The Style of Technology

The Toastalator

Brooks Stevens may have had a hit if he had called it the Toastasooner.

[Image Credit: Milwaukee Art Museum via Retronaut]

The Style of Technology

Sometimes People are Very Sensitive

Traffic lights have all sorts of names; traffic signals, traffic lamps, signal lights, stop lights, robots, even traffic dummies, according to the illustrious Wikipedia. They also follow a ‘universal’ color code, not only with the meaning of the colors, but with the pattern that the lights themselves are arranged. Back in drivers ed, it was explained that this was so that color blind folks would also know when to stop, and no doubt keeping things standardized helps everyone else follow the rules too. But in one neighborhood, cultural sensitivities turned out to be a little stronger than the standard, resulting in a change that persists* today.

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AtomicToasters Merchandise, The Style of Technology

In Lieu Of User Input: The Shirts Are Here!

Shirt 1

It’s been a long and frustrating battle, involving multiple different companies, and some very misleading promises, but looking back on it all, it’s been a valuable learning experience. Kind of.

Okay, not really, but at the least it does appear that we now know what we’re doing well enough that we can make this happen much easier in the future. Our T-shirts have finally arrived. There are a number of you who have already placed pre-orders, and I’ll be picking up shipping envelopes tomorrow after work. With luck, I’ll even be able to ship your shirts tomorrow, and then it’s just however long it takes for your present to arrive on your doorstep. Because remember, you’re not buying a shirt, you’re donating to the AtomicToasters Community-Building Happy Fund, and I’m sending you a free shirt as a thank-you gift.

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Admin, AtomicToasters Merchandise

Merch Update: Slow Progress Is Still Progress

These shirts are being ordered this weekend. If my previous experiences are any indication, that means I should receive a parcel in a few weeks containing more T-shirts than I could ever imagine.

What’s been the big delay? Price. Entirely price. I had an extremely hard time keeping the price down below $40/shirt […]

The Style of Technology

Fire Extinguisher With Class

The ugly standardized red fire extinguishers of today hang their nozzles in shame when they see the beautiful brass examples of yesteryear.

[Image Credit:]

The Style of Technology

Steampunk Diving with the US Navy

This is a US Navy diving suit from the early 1900s. The diver was supplied with this canvas suit, brass “hard hat”, weighted belts and boots, and a knife. That’s it. Air came via a hand-operated bellows pump on the deck of the boat and a hose connected to the helmet. Divers with […]

The Style of Technology

Grindingly Good

All this talk of coffee has me salivating and wishing it weren’t after 1pm. You see, if I were to enjoy the full bodied goodness of a good coffee right now, I would not sleep tonight. Instead, I just spent the last half hour perusing various grinders and brewing methods and wishing I […]

Shutdown, The Style of Technology

Shutdown: Kölner Dom Revisited

Click for Überdüberlargerizerification

A few months back, I posted an article about the Cologne Cathedral (or Kölner Dom in Joiman) that looked at a little bit of the history of the magnificent edifice and the repairs that it underwent after WWII. I recently came across this hi-res photo of the cathedral’s façade that […]

The Style of Technology

A Place to Watch Talkies


Located approximately 26 miles off the coast of California lies Catalina Island. Since the early 1900s, Catalina Island has been a sort of resort destination for citizens of LA and the surrounding Southern California cities. In 1919, William Wrigley, Jr. of Wrigley Chewing Gum fame bought controlling interest in the island and set about trying to really make it a destination for the “in-crowd” of LA. One of his largest projects was a new Casino (gathering place, not gambling place) that would include the first theater built for talking movies.

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The Style of Technology

NASA Identities


So as it turns out, I am out of town on a work trip again, which seems to be happening with increasing frequency here lately. On the plus side, yesterday a couple of the fellows I work with wanted to visit a local science museum, and as you might imagine, I did not take a whole lot of convincing. We opted for the package ticket, which included an Omnimax film ticket. The museum had several movies to choose from, and we went for one called Hubble, about the final mission to re-work the telescope before the Shuttle program ended. Watching the various scenes of Shuttle launches on the large domed screen was very impressive, but I actually felt an inappropriate sadness seeing something so awesome as launching crews and cargo into space, yet knowing that we have lost the ability to do that.

One of the things the film was showcasing was what the Hubble has shown us, that the universe is filled with billions of galaxies, each one filled with billions off stars, just the vastness of the world, and the tiny speck that Earth is in relation to all that. One of my buddies had somewhat of an existential crises after seeing that, and all I was thinking was that we need to get back to space. The Shuttle wasn’t a perfect vehicle, but it’s loss is depressing.

So in the spirit of thinking upon happier times, let’s take a look at NASA’s style guide from back in 1976. This graphic standards manual outlined text format for all of NASA’s activities, from uniforms to support vehicles.

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