Rewire the Postal Service: Innovate or Die

Today’s postal service has a reputation for being slow and hopelessly stuck in the old ways. The term “snail mail” doesn’t sound much like a product that Google would be rolling out anytime soon. But it hasn’t always been this way: The U.S. Postal Service has a long history of exploiting technology to offer alternate means of message transmission. At it’s inception, part of the Postal Department’s mandate was the construction of a network of post roads for mail to travel along, infrastructure with obvious secondary benefits for the young nation. From there, mail traveled by pony express, railroad and steamship, surmounting the technical problems to keep communication on pace with the country’s expansion. Soon after the development of powered flight, the USPS innovated again by delivering mail by plane. Time and time again, circumstances have driven innovation, Between 1942 and 1945, “V-Mail” (for “Victory Mail”) service was available for […]

Zazzle Steps Up: Fully Custom Keds

Good ol’ Make magazine’s blog tipped me off to a new development in design your own (DYO?).   Zazzle–they of the slap your design on nearly anything and sell it business model–have partnered with Keds to let you have free reign in designing a pair of sneakers.  Slip-ons, high-tops, low-tops… all ready to be splashed with your keen Photoshop skills.  Unlimited, images, unlimited text… sounds pretty great, right? Yeah, it’s exciting and neat to think about but I’m not going to do it.  Why? A: I don’t pay $65 for footwear I can’t hike in. (But that’s just my flinty Yankee cheapness) B: While it’s cool looking, this isn’t that impressive. The bar for ‘impressive’ is fairly low but the possibilities are very high.  3-D printers aren’t magic, people.  While it’s all well and good to let any old jerk upload Bill Nye’s face onto a pair of high tops […]