Season 1. Episode 2 – Clothes Folding Robots

0.0 Coordinates.

Back from another run on the East River Trail, drinking coconut milk and eating fried tortilla neons* of two varieties. A main entree (or plato fuerte) of Justin’s almond butter and jam spread elegantly over a lightly crisped tortilla followed by nutella and cayenne pepper roasted marshmallows atop a lightly carmelized/sugar-fried tortilla for dessert. If there ever was a non-Mexican meal that represented me, this might be it.

* Neons are crackers (or cracker-like things) with two or more toppings on them. For example, Breton crackers with fig jam and feta cheese or Wheat Thins with apple slices and smoked gouda. My mom invented this definition of Neons and so even the mention of them makes me feel special. You know, like the President’s coming to dinner.

1.0 Rattling Around in my Head

1.1 Cleanly
I tried Cleanly this week and I’m still deciding whether it should be a part of my regular routine. In case you haven’t heard, Cleanly is pick up and drop off laundry services that you can order from a streamlined and beautifully designed app experience. Another one of those services that lets people pay other people to do the things people’s parents once did for them.

For starters, delivery times were catered to the 9 – 5 working crowd (when I’m usually asleep or out of the house). And my clothes were pretty tossled when they came back to me. In other words, I couldn’t just pull them out of the bag and slide them like a stack of books into my drawer the way you can with most wash and fold laundry services.

On the up side, the whole experience is inexusibly convenient. If it weren’t for the price ($1.50 per pound vs $0.80 per pound if I walk my laundry three blocks) I would probably do laundry as often as I did when I actually had a machine in my apartment. Cleanly brought back a branded laundry bag so big I could fit inside and pull it up to my knees like a one-legged fly fishing river wader. Think there’s some design persuasion going on there? Big bags equate to more laundry maybe?

1.2 What? That’s Crazy.
If we have robots that can make pulled noodles, why don’t we have robots that can fold our clothes for us? And when will it become standard to say “robots who” instead of “robots that?” (I’m already so polite to Siri it’s ridiculous. Literally, it’s as if I was asking my yet-to-exist mother-in-law to answer a question for me polite.)

1.2 Thington
Dan Hon got me to thinking about the emerging Internet of Things. We’re on the verge of trading out dumb objects like doorknobs for connected devices that allow us to open our doors with our iPhones, see who is outside and more. Objects like doors last decades, but what happens when we connect everything to the Internet? Will the hardware support the software for many updates and years to come (similar to a Tesla cars) or will planned obsolescence take over and force us to replace our doorknobs as often as we do our cell phones? And who will step in and regulate all of this stuff?

There’s a company called Thington that calls itself a concierge to help you “get the most from your smart devices.” The service is an app but when I first heard about the company I thought it was a geek squad for the connected home. Probably not a bad idea for a company, though I wonder if it would be shortlived because digital natives don’t seem to have as much trouble as older generations when it comes to getting their technology to work the way they want it to.

2.0 Listen (to pop!)

Jennifer Lopez dropped a can’t-keep-this-woman-in-the-kitchen hip swayer today called “Ain’t Your Mama.” Critics are calling it 2016’s summer anthem and I’ll dance along if it’s bumping in the club, but as amazing as Jennifer Lopez looks at 46 this track is too repetitive and monotone for any of my playlists.

I much prefer J.Lo’s “I Luh Ya Papi” (below). This track flew under the radar but boy is it fun and danceable. Of course it doesn’t have Meghan Trainor’s obviously feminist? lyrics like the ones in “Ain’t Your Mama” (hilarious that I’m writing that) but I love the fun reverse-objectifying going on in this video. And now an inevitable plug for Manservants, just in case you haven’t heard of the service.

 

3.0 Night Moves

1:25am. Going downstairs to pump up my bike tires. Planning a 20 mile ride on Monday. It’s time to get my fixed gear out on the road again.

Until soon,

LP

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