id America’s Brushed Aluminum Gasket iPhone Case Reviewed

I have reviewed a bunch of iPhone cases on this blog, but today, I have one that stands out from the crowd in many ways.

id America - Gasket

id America provided me with their Gasket Brushed Aluminum iPhone Case that you see above and it didn’t take long for me to love it. When I opened up the box, I got a peek at the design and got a little excited. The real joy, though, was seeing it hugging my phone. From the back, it looks like… Well, just look at the picture above. It exudes more of that “Ooh! Shiny!” feeling in the flesh, but the picture should give you some idea. Sadly, because this is brushed aluminum, it would be a bit cold and uncomfortable if id America had wrapped the design around to the front of the phone, so they opted not to. It’s a good choice, but I honestly find myself setting my phone on my desk face-down to show off the Gasket case design. This is just one of the reasons I applied the included clear screen protectors that came with this case.

I don’t much believe in having a case unless it will serve some non-aesthetic function, and the Gasket case meets that requirement with its hard exterior. Although I didn’t drop it on purpose to test it out, it only took a couple days before I handed my phone to someone at a party to take a photo and it dropped to the bricks below while I gasped. This case really does nothing at all to protect the fragile iPhone screen, but as is usually the case, the phone bounced on one of its corners and lived to complete it’s photography side job. The Gasket design wraps completely around the side edges and corners while leaving much of the top and bottom edges open in order to not obscure the charging port, speaker, mic, headphone jack and power button. As well, id America left the vibrate switch and volume buttons unobscured and was sure to not even get too close to covering the camera lens and flash.

Unlike silicone cases, this one is extremely rigid, making it a little more difficult to wrap around my iPhone and a little harder to remove. An interesting side effect of the Gasket’s design is that any dust that collects on the parts of the phone that the case does not cover seems to be more visible and leaves that same cool gasket pattern on the phone when I remove the case. Another unexpected side effect of the material used is that the edges feel a little sharp. They’re not law suit sharp, or even enough to worry about much, but it’s something to get used to. A side effect of this case that is a definite plus as far as I’m concerned is that it slides in and out of my pocket very easily. My biggest complaint about silicone cases is that they bring my jeans pocket out with them. Conversely, this case does not sit still on my lap. Put it in your pocket or on a flat surface, but don’t try to balance it on your leg.

At the end of the day, this is my favorite among all the cases I’ve used personally. It’s cool, functional, durable, and at $29.95, it’s priced well for the materials and design. I have the Titanium on my iPhone now, but I’m torn between that and the Silver. Which is your favorite?

Build A Custom Car Online With Local Motors

Have you ever wanted a car that none of your friends have? How about one that you helped design and build and is super rare? A car company by the name of Local Motors has combined web technology and real-world micro factories to provide us with the most interactive and unique car buying experience I’ve seen and they invited me to tour the Arizona micro factory and talk about how it all works.

Rally Fighter
(Rally Fighter – view the full photo gallery)

The car shown above is LM’s Rally Fighter, the first in what Local Motors hopes will be a growing line of kick-ass cars that turn heads.

Design Your Dream Car Online

When asked, most people can tell you, without much hesitation, what their dream car is. Mine’s a Ferrari F430, but I have always loved the concept cars I see at the auto shows every year. Unfortunately, most of the concept cars remain just that… concepts. This is where Local Motors has found a niche.

Local Motors

Rather than creating concepts and never building anything, Local Motors decided to open the game up to the public to come up with the next winning car design. You start by joining the Local Motors website and if you’re creative enough, you can submit your own original car design. From the submitted designs, the community votes on what should be built. The most popular ideas then move on to co-creation, where the community helps decide the body, interior details, etc. Together, the community of site members design an awesome car from the ground up.

Even if you don’t plan to buy one, there’s plenty of incentive to join in and contribute. Local Motors hosts design contests in which the winners can win prizes or cash amounts up to $20,000, which is a great start towards buying the car you design or can just pay some bills.

Own One

When Local Motors decides to build one of the community designed cars, they begin accepting reservations. A reservation requires a $1,000 deposit, and gets your name on a list of future owners. When it’s your turn, you give them another deposit, this one for $5,000, to lock down your build date, and the remaining balance is due when you arrive to start building. After the two weekends of building, you get to take your car home with you.

Local Motors

At the time of this writing, the Rally Fighter, the first car available from Local Motors, is priced around $60,000, but I’m told this may go up with a move to higher-end parts being included next year. The cost, well above your standard sedan, buys you a car that looks like no other and is limited to only 2,000 built. To make your car even more unique, you’re encouraged to design a custom skin for your car. This can be accomplished solo or with the help of a Local Motors designer. This car is for the collector or enthusiast who wants something truly unique.

Get Your Hands Dirty

For some, the experience is pretty much complete at the time of purchase. For others, a big part of the experience is building the car yourself. While you don’t have to spend weeks painstakingly sweating over every little nut and bolt or even weld, part of your purchase is the experience of the build, itself. Over two three-day weekends and with the assistance of a builder, you put it all together in a Local Motors micro factory.

Local Motors

Local Motors provides a cafeteria, RV parking, the space, parts, and tools, and all you bring is some elbow grease and a desire to be immersed in the process. They encourage you to bring a friend, too, to help build and join in the experience.

Local Motors

From the outside, it looks like just a big warehouse with a car painted on the side, but inside is a well-lit, air-conditioned shop with all the tools and tech needed to get the job done. In addition to the human help, there’s also a couple large screens connected to computers with a specialized wiki detailing every step for your particular car.

Conclusions

As huge as the Rally Fighter is, it’s not very practical, but would make a great toy. The next car, I’m told, will be an electric vehicle, and I’m hoping it will be based on the Miami Roadster. For the auto enthusiast, this is a great package and unique experience, but the cost will leave the rest of us designing.

Custom Twitter Backgrounds Help You Stand Out

Twitter has grown leaps and bounds, becoming one of the fastest growing networks ever. Because of this, it can be hard to stand out from the millions of other users on the site. If you’re like me and use twitter for marketing, you need to catch someone’s attention quickly. Websites have about ten seconds to impress the visitor. Twitter profiles have far less and if it looks bland, the browser window or tab might get closed and never found again.

Custom Twitter Backgrounds

Posting valuable updates and getting retweeted is a great way to get people to your twitter profile page. Beyond the content, one of the best ways to get them to click “Follow” is to be original and for many, this is accomplished with Custom Twitter Backgrounds by companies like the one sponsoring this post. Not only does a custom background stand out from the stock ones, but it also adds credibility to you because it doesn’t look like one of 100 accounts set up by a script somewhere. The benefits of having a custom background are clearly there. The only question is if the benefits are worth the cost. As a designer and developer, I’m well aware of the time involved and I think the $99 price tag is certainly justified. As a Twitter user and internet marketer, I am also aware of the tight budgets we often struggle with. If you don’t do a lot of marketing on Twitter, you might benefit from a stock background or a free background (see the same link above as they have free ones on the site, too). If you are serious about marketing online and plan to follow through with Twitter and really work hard at getting followers, $99 is worth the value it will add to all the hard work you’re putting in to build your brand.