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Greg

Greggles, Gregorybeans, Frijoles, Beans

Prefab Homes Hit the Big Time

Prefab and Modern Design

I've been reading Design Magazine "Dwell" for about 3 years now. It's generally full great and relatively practical information. It's a little more academic than, for example, the very practical and often cheap Ready Made Magazine, but I still like Dwell very much.

They've been preaching about the coming of "prefab" housing for a while. Not so much the "piece of crap trailers" kind of "prefab" more of the "this is really awesome design and it was at least partially built in a factory which makes it cheaper for the quality and makes assembly time shorter" kind of prefab.

Prefab books

There are two really good books on the subject that I recently read Prefab, by Alison Arieff and Prefab Modern by Jill Herbers. I had heard of the Arief book from Dwell Magazine and found the Herbers book when doing a library search for the Arief book. They are both good, but oddly enough much of the content is the same. Also, they seem to mostly follow in the "Dwell Magazine" format - that is looking at the houses from the Academic point of view with less focus on the every day practical concerns like cost and usability. The houses are almost all gorgeous, but some of them are just wicked expensive or funky useless layouts - or both.

The "big" time

Then, you can imagine my surprise the other day when Businessweek ran an article covering several of these same resources, people and homes Businessweek isn't the best of the business magazines I read, but it's a decent one and they are occasionally ahead of the curve in predicting trends. So hopefully this gets more popular.

Prefab benefits and drawbacks

All the same, I'm very glad personally to see growth in this area. It's something where almost everyone wins: housing can be higher quality, lower cost, more efficiently produced, better designed, etc. etc. The main drawback in my mind is that it could lead to more "cookie cutter" homes - but looking around suburbia and exurbia these days, I don't think we could have a housing trend that takes us any further in the wrong direction on that one. The other perceived drawback is that prefab makes a shift in the labor market. I say "shift" rather than "would force people out of jobs" because I view it as a movement from one area to another.

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Best iPod Car Adapter

The short answer: for most, the Griffin iTrip is the best.

Questions about Technology

I get asked questions about stuff. Sometimes, the answer might be useful to other people - so why not share it here... Like this question about car adapters for ipods:

> I want to buy a car adapter that lets me play my iPod. I know how the iTrip
> works, but also assume there are lots of other options. What's the best in
> your opinion for large city use? Do you know of sources I can review
> (consumer reports is one, but any other reliable tech source)?

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Executive Summary of Open Source

An entry by Neil Drumm caught my eye today.

His basic summary of how to be a good member/developer in an open source project. Sure you can sit around and read the Cathedral and the Bazaar if you have a few hours to get a good basis and understanding. However, the points Neil makes are short and if you grasp the ideas and their implications, you grasp how great Open Source can be.

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CD To MP3 Transfer Service

You: One of the 20 million people who got an iPod or other digital music player for Christmas. You have tons of CDs, limited time, limited computer knowledge, and a little jingle in your pocket.

Me: A guy with so many computers in the house that his wife screams at him.

Together: We can make sweet, sweet music.

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