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Dan’s got designs on his mind

Sometimes the internet seems to have the weirdest, most unusual, or most unbelievable stories. Beside the many educational resources on the internet, there’s plenty of entertainment as well. For this Off the Beaten Path, we’ll jump all over the place on the net for some interesting, different, or unusual pages.

What Could Possible Go Wrong?

How many times have you seen a sign or design and thought “WHAT were they thinking?” Here’s a collection of some “fails.”

The Evolution of the Laptop

We are now in the time of miniature processors. From our smart phones to light-weight laptops and PCs built into a cable (like a dongle). But at one time, taking processing “on the road” was less than portable or “sexy.” From monochrome displays to “bricks” for batteries. Here’s a loop at the evolution of laptops.

Car Speakers

As kids, many of us put some of our cash into a cool sound system for “our rides.” A power amp and some speakers, maybe a sub, and our friends could hear us coming from a block away. Today, sound is no less important, but just more “hidden” and clever. Here’s story about how car speakers are being integrated into vehicles from “radiating panels” to audio ports. It’s an interesting story of design and innovation.


When it comes to design of cars, we see some very cool stuff to some really strange things. I think of cars like the Pontiac Aztek or the Edsel. Even some cool looking cars like the DeLorean DMC-12 were sad when it came to the “guts” of the car (though at 88 mph, it was pretty amazing!). Here’s a look at some strange cars from the past.

Places to Live

I’m always a fan of interesting architectural designs. Here’s a fun link full of cool places to live from “the space ship look” to a place to live that “you can fold up and put in your pocket” (or so they say).

The CD

Here’s a great old video from 1982 telling us about the newfangled compact disc. The transition over the years took us from cylinders to 78s to 45s, then one day out came the CD. Of course now CDs are fading as we move files around on thumb drives and simply streaming off of home server to your smartphone. The impact of digital audio on radio was as “game changing” since we went from reel-to-reels to computers which became “radio stations in a box.” It’s only been about 35 years, but you might enjoy this video on the CD.

The “Perfect” Product

There are so many things we use that we never think twice about. Ever think just how clever the design of the paperclip was? Here’s a link to common items which really are probably at the top of their design evolution.

And finally … 

Many people recognize Nikola Tesla’s innovative work in everything from AC to radio and wireless technology. Tesla’s Wardenclyffe site is being considered for inclusion into the National Register of Historic Places. If you want to voice your support for this recognition, here’s a link.

If you stumble across a good or unusual website that might be of interest, please don’t hesitate to send me the link and any info you might have about it. My email address is [email protected].

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