Did a cheeseburger really inspire the Millennium Falcon?

Millennium FalconWhen I was a teenager the story was going round that the design of Star Wars’ Millennium Falcon was inspired by a cheeseburger George Lucas was eating while thinking about how the space ships in his new movie should look.

He took the cheeseburger, stuck an olive on the side, and the Millennium Falcon was born… or at least the idea was.

I don’t know how these stories spread in a pre-Internet age but somehow that seemed to be the widely accepted understanding of how the Falcon came to be. But is it true? Michael Heilemann at Kitbashed has done some extensive research into the early stages of Star Wars’ design, and come up with an interesting alternative. He mentions the same story I heard, and then rapidly moves on to more believable versions of the Falcon’s origin story. Rather than replicate his material here, why not head on over and have a read of it on the Kitbashed site?

There’s no better source on the subject of design than one of the actual designers, and it’s great to see that Joe Johnston, visual effects pioneer and director, has given some of his own reflections into working on the design of Star Wars. You can find that on his Facebook page, and it both lends weight to some of Heilemann’s article and corrects a few things.

But back to the original question: did a cheeseburger really inspire the Millennium Falcon? Well, perhaps on a subconscious level, but not directly. It certainly doesn’t look like there was a lunch-time moment when the design crystallised. As with most things, the story is a little more complex than that.

British Beauties … Cars that is

Mini Cooper racing in the wetThis is a guest post by Dilpreet Bhagrath on behalf of Fulton Leasing – a professional car leasing and contract hire company with the best leasing deals on all manufacturers and models, including Audi, BMW and Land Rover leasing.

There are many impressive British cars that do our country proud. Not only do these cars look effortlessly stylish and sleek, but they are also high-performing vehicles guaranteed to put the fun back into driving.

Land Rover is an iconic British brand as it not only represents power and style, but also has a strong presence on and off-road. It is a brand with such a unique build and design, and inevitably turns heads. Land Rover leasing is a popular option as it allows drivers to get behind the wheel of this innovative vehicle, without having to worry about depreciation of its value as you would with buying. Leasers can also work their way through the Land Rover family, as they can change their car every time their contract finishes. Range Rover leasing and Range Rover Sport lease deals are also a hit as these trendy cars exude a strong feeling of luxury.

Another car manufacturer which is engrained in the British automotive industry is the opposite of the large, domineering Land Rover – the humble Mini Cooper. Made by the British Motor Corporation, the Mini is a front-wheel drive with great road handling. Initially, it was put into production due to a fuel shortage which deterred people away from bigger cars. However, its popularity and success has grown immensely since then. The Mini Sports models have also experienced great success in rallying.

When discussing iconic and memorable British cars, there is one car manufacturer which cannot go unmentioned. This car has appeared in one of the most famous action movies in the world. I’m talking about Aston Martin, of course. Aston Martin’s collection of supercars have appeared in mega-hit movie James Bond. It is therefore instantly recognisable and associated with power and luxury. The Aston Martin DB9 is a particularly desirable supercar due to the exceptional adrenaline-satisfying drive it provides. Unfortunately, the hefty price tag which it comes with means the closest many of us will get to this British beauty is in the next James Bond flick.

Although many believe that other countries are further ahead in the automotive industry, it is important not to write-off our country too hastily as we have many British beauties that everyone would love to get their hands on.

What cars do you think do Britain proud? Jaguar? McLaren? The classic Mini? Let us know your favourite in the comments section.

More one-day t-shirts with Qwertee.com

Blimey, was it really March when I wrote about Tee Fury? If you’ve checked out Tee Fury but have been a bit frustrated at buying in dollars and waiting for your new t-shirt to arrive from across the pond, help is at hand. Qwertee is a similar one-day t-shirt site based in the UK/Republic of Ireland… which means you don’t have to try and work out the exchange rate for dollars, and you’ll get your tee more quickly.

If you’ve got this far and you’re still wondering, “what’s a one-day t-shirt”, let me explain. Stick around too, because I’ll be giving you a discount code to use on Qwertee at the end of this post.

One-day t-shirts?

Qwertee is very simple: they sell one t-shirt design, for one day only. Every day at 11pm they put a new tee on sale for twenty four hours, or less if it sells out quickly. After 24 hours the tees are gone, so if you see one you like you need to act fast to get hold of it before it’s too late.

Qwertee works with local and international artists and designers, but rather than deciding what to print themselves it’s the Qwertee community that decides what gets printed. Artists submit designs, community members vote for what they like, and the most popular designs are printed out and put on sale for 24 hours. The artists themselves receive €1 of the £8/€9 t-shirt sale.

The tees are ringspun cotton and hand-printed in the UK and Ireland. They also come in fully degradable bags, so you don’t need to worry that the packaging is going to hang around for centuries in a landfill site. Add in the Qwertee GuaranTee, that says you can return anything you’re not happy with at Qwertee’s cost and receive a refund, and I think this just looks better and better.

Qwertee is only a few weeks old, but there have already been some great designs to rival Tee Fury. If you’re into printed t-shirts, this is definitely one to keep an eye on.

And a special offer for Geek-Speak readers

Qwertee have set up a discount for Geek-Speak readers. Simply enter “GeekSpeak” in the discount code field of the checkout and you’ll get £1 or €1 off your order. Can’t say fairer than that, can you? Just move quickly… once those tees are gone, they’re gone.

One-day t-shirt designs at Tee Fury

My friend bought me a t-shirt the other day… a really cool design that was perfect for a geek like me. I had never seen one like it and, it turns out, am unlikely to see another one. Why? Because that particular t-shirt was available for one day only, and never will be again.

If you like your clothing exclusive yet fun then you need to check out Tee Fury. The idea is simple – there’s a new t-shirt design every day, and each design is available for 24 hours. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. There is a wide range of styles and subjects, which means some days you’ll log on and think, “I don’t like that” but other days you’ll think, “that’s brilliant!”.

The 24 hour sale window is a clever idea – it means there’s always fresh inventory but it also means you have to think fast if you do want a particular design. There’s no denying that there’s an element of getting people to buy on impulse because, if they don’t, they might regret it tomorrow.

It would be easy to be cynical, then, but with a bit of sense you’ll end up getting some great designs pretty cheaply. Just make a deal with yourself that you’ll only buy something if it jumps off the screen at you… and not if you just think it’s pretty cool. The t-shirts themselves feel like they’re of good quality and cost $9, with shipping to the UK also starting at $9. At today’s exchange rate that means you can have a quality tee for around £12.

Rather than keep visiting Tee Fury, I’ve added it to my feed reader and, since there’s something new every day, I’d recommend you do the same. Who knows, maybe you’ll come across that killer design tomorrow!

Geek-Speak Recycled: Mactab by Yann Le Coroller

Mactab by Yann le Coroller

Creativity is a gift, and discovering someone with a creative flair is a joy. I guess that’s part of why I like Macs so much; they look so good. Well, Yann le Coroller is a person with a knack for coming up with improvements to make the Mac (among other things) even better.

The pic is of one of his designs called the Mactab, an ultra-portable tablet Mac. The wireless keyboard protects the screen while in transit by clipping on using magnets. The tablet/screen has a stand built-in to allow you to orient it more like a traditional monitor (i.e. upright).

This is an absolutely gorgeous design – I really wish it was actually in production. With the advent of the Macbook Air, super-thin Macs aren’t fantasy any more, and the Modbook already provides for the tablet Mac market, so you never know… perhaps one day.

Check out Yann’s site, and his designs – especially the myBook, a small, semi-ruggedised Macbook that I also wish were actually available.

A very big thanks to Yann, not only for letting me use one of his images here, but for uploading a new version of his renderings for me! This article was originally posted in April 2008.