Science&Sons Phonofone III Or Ceramic Coffee Cup?

Ok, the Phonofone III is a great idea. It’s a self-powered ceramic iPhone 4 speaker that kicks out sound in much the same way as the old gramophone wind-up phonographs worked. Your iPhone 4 sits in a base with its speakers pointed down and the audio is channeled, amplified and sent out of the cone shaped speaker. According to Science&Sons’ website, the Phonofone will amplify your iPhone’s audio 4x’s elevating it to 60 dB without the need for electricity. The Phonofone is currently being sold directly by Science&Sons for $195 + shipping.

Done deal – let’s buy one, right? Not really. Gizmodo, one of my favorite sites, always encourages visitors to post comments about the article they just read and the Phonofone III had its share. One of the recurring themes in the comments pushed the idea that the Phonofone III is cool but can be easily duplicated by putting your iPhone 4 in a ceramic coffee cup. I had to try it myself and not surprisingly, it worked great. I didn’t measure how much the audio amplified in the coffee cup but it was a obvious improvement. Changing the angle of my iPhone 4 in the coffee cup also tweaked the bass and treble levels.

Don’t get me wrong, I still like the Jubbling built into the electricity-free Phonofone III but I’m just not in a rush to go out and buy one. Maybe a smaller and less expensive version that also worked as a coffee cup might be enough to justify my purchase. Or maybe Science&Sons could create a version that was clear and let your iPhone 4 sit behind magnified glass – then you could amplify your audio and magnify your video. Or maybe I should just stick with the coffee cup for now.


Hollywood Love$ Green Message$. How Does It Feel About Jubbling?

Thank you CSRwire for reminding me of one of the reasons I got into Jubbling. They just posted an article about the entertainment industry’s internal efforts to produce television programs and movies more sustainably by using some combination of improved efficiency, use of renewable power sources and carbon offsets. Jubbling is all good with this, with the exception of carbon offsets, and we hope they are only met with success.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

But wait, what about consumption? If a studio was approached with a can’t miss idea that would consume $400 million in resources but would make $2 billion – would they bite on it? Of course they would. Now imagine that movie was going to have a pro-environmental message – could they still swing it? Of course they could. That is the irony of it all and why it’s so difficult to buy into the entertainment industry’s statements that sound good but are not rooted in Jubbling. Consumption is justified as long as a movie is successful – it’s ultimately about the bottomline.

This is where the actors/actresses come in. It sure would be nice to see all of the Prius driving, electric car loving, eco-Hollywoodians take a stand against producing or starring in movies built on consumption in order to support a consistent message. Not just about asking for a smaller trailer with solar panels or hiring a green caterer, but really showing the same commitment to Jubbling that they want to show in their personal lives.

Scene from Batman The Dark Knight
Batman: The Dark Knight

Now I’m not suggesting that actors share a tent on a movie set but maybe they could use their clout to convince the studio that blowing up 2 cars can be just as effective as destroying 10. Or convincing the director that bringing down a CGI building will have just as much impact as demolishing a actual structure. Even further, maybe studios could share sets and technology so they don’t have to duplicate their efforts in order to produce films. An extension of the “open source” idea found in software development.

I’m probably way off base to suggest this and extremely naive to the inner workings of the entertainment industry. And it’s difficult to not kick my own ass and feel a little hypocritical when I am in line waiting to see one of these huge Hollywood blockbusters. But these changes could be seamless and the movie or show’s message can still be delivered. And then productions could be appreciated for what they didn’t consume in order to entertain us.

The root idea behind Jubbling is to encourage people to try and consume less. It’s not a competition and that is why we have to applaud any effort to reduce. Even so, it would be great to see the entertainment industry take a stand and immerse themselves into Jubbling rather than just dabble in it so they can finally put into practice what their stars like to preach.


U2 Tour = 360, Carbon Footprint = Zero?

Ireland’s fab four, U2, is redefining the rock concert in more ways than one with their newest world tour called the 360° Tour, produced by Live Nation. U2’s website touts that they’re committed to a net zero emissions goal for the global tour with suggestions that fans carpool to their concert dates and refill aluminum water bottles instead of buying plastic bottles at the venue. A marketing firm called Music Matters is acting as U2’s official “Environmental Advisor.” “The crew has embraced a lot of our initiatives and has even been developing ideas of their own they would like to implement,” said Lucy August-Perna, Music Matters touring Greening Manager. Their initiatives include backstage and bus recycling, battery and electronics recycling, refillable water stations, composting in catering, analyzing truck and bus operations to reduce their environmental footprint.

U2 inspires us at Jubbling, as they do so many others. They are, by far, my favorite band dating back to the early 80s when I first heard their entire Boy album on a Philly radio station. They’re still socially and politically conscious, musically innovative and they continue to strive for excellence and relevance as younger hearts and minds replace their original fan base. So why do I have the long face? Does Adam Clayton even care?

Maybe George Costanza’s remarks from a 1990 Seinfeld episode can best sum it up – “Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it.” Music Matters’ emissions target for this tour can be far reaching but consider the amount of manpower and machinery it takes to power a world tour of this magnitude. In fact, check out this video clip of U2’s main stage being erected and then tell me that battery recycling is really the answer to reducing impact:


Don’t get me wrong; I love the band and I have paid my money to see their shows over the years but there is some hypocrisy to hyping a tour with net zero emissions and then flying away on private jets. See my carbon offset story for more details.

We have to admit to ourselves that entertainment in the form of arena concerts uses lots of natural and man-made resources to keep shows exciting, especially in a culture where bigger is better. This beginning attempt by U2 and Music Matters may be enough to make other big acts wake up and take notice, especially if it saves money in the long run. Simply paying off a show’s impact with carbon credits is not the answer! The tricky thing is keeping a live show interesting enough for audience members while at the same time cutting the environmental impact. That’s a Jubbling puzzle we all face when we look to lessen impact in our own lives. Personally, I already have tickets to their Seattle show in June 2010 and I plan on taking public transportation and wearing an extra pair of adult undergarments so I don’t have to miss a beat.


The Anti-Jubbling: “Catch It Keep It”

Catch It, Keep It - Zach and Mike

Catch It, Keep It - Zach and Mike

I’m a huge fan of the Science Channel but it’s hard to be excited about their new geek program called “Catch It, Keep It”. The object is for the contestants to prevent something of value like a Les Paul guitar or vintage Harley from being destroyed. If they can Macgyver a solution in 2 days, they keep the item and if they don’t, it’s destroyed. The underlying message is that if you can afford it, you can destroy it. Not very Jubbling.

How about a different kind of test of problem solving where contestants compete and the object is the same but it’s WITH an item of little or no value. If they are successful, they get the guitar or motorcycle and if they are not successful, they get caned by the hosts’ or maybe branded with the show’s logo. That would be entertainment.