The Last Word: CoolTechStuff

Larry Mortimer, AIA

I’ve been doing CoolTech articles for over seven years now.  As some of you know, I’m in the process of building a house in Sonoma County.  With the start of construction my available time will be sharply reduced, so this will be my last CoolTech article.  What I thought I would leave you with is a list of some of the internet resources I’ve relied on over the years to inspire my articles.  This is by no means a comprehensive list, and is in no particular order, but there are some gems in there.  If you don’t know them, I hope you will check them out.  This site is just like the name implies a site to see new gadgets.  Some will be of interest, most will not.  This site has two sections “Shop” and “Journal.”  The “Shop” section is full of high-priced stuff that I don’t need, but the “Journal” section does have some interesting articles under the headings of: Architecture, Art and Design.  I can’t remember ever using anything from this site in a CoolTech article.  It’s more of a literary blog, but with cool illustrations.  It’s a good site to visit to relax and get your mind off of work.  This site can be a big time-sink.  You never know what you will find there, but I guarantee you will be entertained.  Lost at E Minor is a site that I occasionally find something I might use in my column.  Of the ten sections, I usually look in the “Tech” section.  Here I usually look in the “Products” section for something to write about.  Some of the products listed have PDF, DWG and BIM files available for download.  Paul Saffo is a technology forecaster and teaches forecasting at Stanford University and chairs the Future Studies and Forecasting track at Singularity University.  Check out his essays for interesting topics on the future.  I never know what I’m going to find here, but you can be sure it will be cutting edge.  I subscribe (free) so I get a short email very day with 4 or 5 articles I can click on if they look interesting.  DeZeen is an online magazine (it’s a free subscription).    There is a daily issue and a weekly issue.  It’s heavy on futuristic architecture but also has many tech articles.  You’ve probably heard of Ray Kurzweil and his theory of the singularity (when machines with artificial intelligence become smarter than humans).  There are interesting articles and essays here.  Very interesting articles on:  Energy, Space, Science, Technology, Military, Medicine, Robotics, Quantum Computers and Artificial Intelligence.  This one is a little hit or miss.  I sometimes find something interesting under the “Field Guide” or “Design” headings. This is another hit or miss site. The “Tech” or “Design” headings sometimes have interesting articles.  Just as the name implies, this is a site devoted to mobile devices, apps, and accessories.  It does a good job of covering both the Android and iOS platforms.  Good for architecture news, related apps and more.  If you’ve never listened to a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk, I encourage you to do so.  Most talks are 5 to 15 minutes long and are on a wide variety of topics.  I read Wired magazine every month.  Each issue will have a common thought provoking topic that runs through most of the articles in that issue.

I also get ideas from the radio (mostly NPR), television (mostly PBS) and newspapers (mostly the SF Chronicle, and NY Times).  I’ve enjoyed writing these articles, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them.


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