How TSA has toothpaste companies making a killing

October 21, 2006

American TSA (Transportation Security Agency- the guys that check your luggage) have been getting really strict the last couple of months. Passengers on airplanes can only take a limited amount of liquids on board. Basically, this is what you can bring. One person can bring a maximum of 3 ounces of liquid on board in one tube. Guess what? A tube of toothpaste is 3 ounces.

Next I’m adding this all up…


A quick calculation;

  • On any given day there are about 1.5 milion people in the air
  • At least 5% of them must be carrying fluids that are too large to carry
  • Knowing that the average price for a tube of paste is 3$.1.500.000 x 0.05
    = 75000 tubes a day
    x 3$
    = 225.000$

also think of this:

  • All these people are buying new toothpaste the day after they landed. Or they get a free mini tube at their hotel. In that case the hotel bought it for them. Right?
  • 90% of all people that took a flight have to get back eventually, so there must be at least a small amount of people that get their toothpaste taken-away again by TSA.
  • Don’t forget about the ones in the hotel, which get renewed on a daily basis.
  • And the ones that lose their luggage or forget their toothpaste back at the hotel

Let’s round it off at 250.000$ each day

On a yearly basis that means 250.000 x 365 = over 90 million $ per year!

Yes, Toothpaste makes the world go round!


What’s missing in Nabaztag to make it a great product?

October 20, 2006


…maybe the title is a bit too harsh. It might be a great product, but why am I not buying it? No doubt that this Nabaztag talking bunny is one of it’s first generation of ambient devices that really hits the market and is affordable at the same time.

┬áHere’s what’s missing:

  • Open hardware model. It would be great if this baby would allow me to attach periphiral devices via USB. Maybe it could allow me to plug in my camera and automatically upload pictures to my Flickr account. Or what about webcam support? I can imagine the hardware and WIFI connection are ideal to stream video to the web. Nabaztag could be my remote watchdogbunny.
  • Different models. I’m really waiting for some new and better designs of the product to really be tempted to buy it. It is a bit too Japanese toy-like for my interior. I prefer something along the lines of the products of Ambient Devices.
  • LCD screen. There’s a whole other world besides Text-to-speech technology to let Nabaz’ interact with me. Integrating a full-color screen with some sort of open API would give the masses possibilties to make widgets like these. Other output devices could be added through USB as well.
  • A better name. Yes, the name sounds catchy and unique. But can you use it in a sentence when talking to complete strangers?? No.

Let’s see what a second generation of these kinds of products bring, then maybe I will get one.

Is Ms. Dewey the next Subservient Chicken?

October 20, 2006

You must have seen it by now. It has gone around the Internet like a steam-train on steroids. Ms. Dewey is a new kind of search engine that uses a talking video avatar to serve you the results.

Think AskJeeves, but… HOTTTT!


Fun, but it’s not more than a gimmick to me. The search results are simply not usable at all. My guess is that our cute Ms. Dewey will only be the next Subservient Chicken. Good for a couple of chuckles, but even that wore out quite quick, didn’t it?

4 things a hairdryer can learn from a shaving machine

October 20, 2006

I guess you’ll be seeing more of these articles like this one here, since I run into everyday annoyances…well… almost every day.

Take the hairdryer for example…I’m still wondering why large companies like Braun or Babyliss are practically stuck with some of their products. I see at least 4 things a hairdryer can learn from a contemporary shaving machine.


  1. Make it wireless. Removing the wire would make these devices a lot easier to use. No more tangled cables or wires that seem to be 2 feet too short everytime you use them.
  2. Add some style. Modern shaving machines have added stylish cradles so they can be shown off in the bathroom instead of hidden in the bathroom drawer. Basically, be a sexier product.
  3. Give me feedback. Just like the shaving machine, there must me something useful the hairdryer can tell me. How about temperature, humidity levels and power consumption? Not only LCD screens would be a help, but also for example an audio signal when the device is overheating.
  4. Integrate with beaty products. Some modern shaving machines dispense lotions during their use. Why doesn’t the hair blower dispense similar things? I’m thinking conditioners, gel or some other type of beauty product.

How the Noguchi Filing System seriously cleaned up my clutter

October 19, 2006

This is a brief explanation of how the Noguchi Filing System helps me keep a clean and tidy desk (at times) without losing track of important and even trivial documents. It works for me, it will work for you. Trust me, it will even save your marriage.

Note: this deals with physical folders, not the ones you have on your computer

If you’re like me you probably end up with a small to medium sized stack of documents on your desk each week that cannot quite be classified in your existing folders. Either the documents are too few in numbers to create a seperate folder or the topic does not really fit your existing folder structure.

This is where the Noguchi Filing System comes in… It does not attempt to classify your documents but gives you and easy way to find them back (if needed). You’ll see that in time you will have set of documents you will need often, and are quick to retrieve and a set of older documents that can be discarded of each year.

It’s simple but effective.

Noguchi Filing System- STEP 1
Step 1
Take at least 20 white and unused letter size envelopes (A4 in Europe)


Noguchi Filing System- STEP 2
Step 2
Cut off the top part – at least 2 inches or 6cm.

Noguchi Filing System- STEP 3
Step 3
Draw one line on each envelope
to act as a guide for writing the topics

Noguchi Filing System- STEP 4
Step 4
As soon as a new category arrives, take an envelope
and write down its topic in max. 3 words.

Stack the envelopes on a shelf at shoulder-height.

When you need stored documents, find the envelope, use it.

Try to place it on the shelf again ASAP,
placing it on the left hand side of all other envelopes.