Archive for ‘Technology’

July 6, 2013

Apple Hires YSL CEO To Get Into Wearable Fashion Industry

appleApple has confirmed Yves Saint Laurent former CEO Paul Deneve to work as a VP on “special projects”. Announcement came just weeks after Apple filed a trademark on word iWatch, which caused their stock to rise the same day. The company is only rumored to be getting into wearable fashion, but media is already buzzing about all kind of potential Apple endeavors.

People tend to forget that we don’t hear much of YSL any more. In fact the company is no longer called Yves Saint Laurent. As of last year it has been re-branded to simply Saint Laurent. Just like a river that runs across Montreal 🙂 Yes, the name of iconic designer is no longer figuring in the company name.  This was the last thing Paul Deneve has done for the company before leaving for Apple. Luckily YSL sunglasses are made and distributed by Safilo are still one of the few YSL products that carry an iconic YSL style. Safilo so far has chosen not to divert the brand name away from late designer legacy.

Apple has not revealed what “special projects” Paul Deneve will be working on. He could either get involved in creating new products or managing the retail store operations, or even marketing campaigns. Many people want to see more cool products from Apple, iWatch, iShoes, iCar, iVaccumCleaner, iBed, iLamp, iBaby and iWife.

Apple is facing a serious competition against iPhone that is coming from Samsung, BlackBerry and Huawei. Microsoft is also opening retail stores across USA and Canada to promote their software and smartphone technologies. So for Apple to take a full advantage of space in their huge store the only way would be to offer more products. Products not as sophisticated as iPhone, but cool enough to triple charge the consumer.

June 14, 2011

Google Sites – Our Review

Google Sites is an online open source platform for building static websites. It is fully configurable platform that is targeted to users with no programming knowledge or experience. Platform was launched in 2008. Today close to half a million sites are built on this platform. While most such sites are limited to community websites or just random small websites, the platform offers capabilities to create a very fancy, content rich and professional looking website. Here is our review of the technology:

 

Appearance and configurations capabilities

 
Google Sites platform offers over thousands of configuration options to bring any wildest design or layout idea to reality. You can either tweak the template or a theme or simply built a new page using Google Sites menu of Insert/Edit/Format. Amount of configurations are overwhelming. But among many here are few that I liked the most:

–       Ability to chose template/theme and then modify it

–       Ability to create your own page templates. Page template will be act as a page sample that you create once and then reuse. This is useful if you want to have different page types, say one for text, one for photo/media preview and one for displaying dynamic content. Instead of recreating each page every time from scratch you can use your own template

–       Ability to attach files. Say you have a word document, like your resume. You can attach it for your site visitors’ download. All with one click of one button.

–       Easy way to insert tables. I am a big fan of tables and as you noticed from this blog. Sometimes wish WordPress.com would have that. Today I hand type each table in HTML. I love to use tables to organize content. Google Sites has easy way to add tables and then fill them with your content hassle free.
 

Ease of use

 

I give it 5 stars. There is absolutely no need for HTML or CSS knowledge. Of course if you are happen to be geeky designer guy/girl – there is an HTML button to modify the source. But if you are not – you will be very excited to modify every pixel of the page via Google Sites configuration menu. Your web experience can probably be limited to using e-mail and visiting enough of other websites – that little.

Via very intuitive menu you will be building a site just like writing a Word document. Register a site, chose theme, configure navigation menu, add pages and modify them… step by step. You can change colors, fonts, add various media elements, documents, links on your website without even feeling that you are actually building a real website.
 

Integration with other technologies

 
Google Sites offer thousands of built in integrations with third party platforms and technologies. There is easy one click integration with Google Ad Sense, Google Ads, Picassa Albums, Google Webmaster Tools, Google Documents, Google Checkout now, Google Calendar and others. With one click of a button you can add a block go your webpage displaying content that derives from one of these technologies. Similar to Blogger, Google Sites calls these blocks Gadgets.

There is also integration with PayPal, Amazon Products and hundreds of third party widgets like news sites, financial applications and various thematical services.
 

Access control

 
It is quite fascinating but you can control who has access to your site. Either make it public or share with selected people only.
 

Custom URL

 
Custom URL is free provided that you already registered one with a third party registrar. Google sites offer free site mapping to your custom URL. There is video tutorial explaining how to map. However unlike with Blogger, Google Sites does not offer registrar service, so you will need to use Yahoo, GoDaddy or anyone else to get the domain name and use their service to change name servers.
 

Revision history

 
This feature puts the Google Sites to the professional level of web site development. Most of the websites written today don’t have recorded history of changes. But what if you want to revert to how it was before? Instead of redoing it back, use Revision History that contains all information of prior versions of your site.
 

Storage

 
According to Google Sites “There is no limit to how many pages you can create in Sites. You can store up to 100 MB in your Site” You can see how much you have left by going to More Actions > Manage Site > General under Site Settings. With static content you probably would be good with 50-60 pages or even more.
 

Odd limitations

 

A site name can’t conflict with other Gmail usernames

 
Google assumes that one day everyone who has Gmail will have their own Google site. So, say you want a site google.sites/site/japansesword.com but as long as some one registered an e-mail creativegardener@gmail.com you won’t be able to use this name for Google sites. Even if there is no google.sites/site/creativegardener.com Google Site yet. This limits site name choices terribly. Not everyone would want to purchase custom URL. I would be surprised that even 1 out of 10000 Gmail users will ever have Google site.

No integration with Blogger

 
It has been evident with recent Blogger issues that Google put the development of this technology on hold. Fact that Blogger is second to WordPress on blogger platform usage was not enough to put it on Gadget list.

Low integration with Social Media Sharing technologies

 
While there is integration with Twitter and YouTube, I didn’t see Facebook and other social icons on gadgets list. One would think this is what everyone is after today, but Google Sites took a defensive approach and purposefully excluded competing technologies from the gadgets list. I mean a simple Share button would be enough. Of course, with some extra digging you can always use native widgets offered by these companies, but today companies like WordPress and other commercial web development platform adopted support for social media as a must have.

No help or support

 
No one is arguing that technology is open source, but Google has failed in the area of help and support once again. I didn’t see any Help or Tutorial button on the main menu and had to search the web to find it: http://www.google.com/support/sites/ Some dashboard areas have links leading to tutorial articles and technology is very intuitive to use. But once you have a serious issue or simply have a question, you are in trouble.
 

Conclusion:

 
Google Sites is excellent technology to get a site of various complexity up and running with no programming or design knowledge. In a matter of few hours you can have a simple few page static site on the web. In a few hours more you can have eCommerce site configured or some very cool promotional website with video and document sharing capabilities.

I think Google Sites is a huge step forward and rival to WordPress due to extended hosting offering, configuration capabilities and ease of use. Compared to WordPress.com there are much more capabilities to build a simple static site.

Please read our article on WordPress and Blogger comparison to learn more about these technologies.

June 2, 2011

Designer Mobile Phones and Smart Phones – Future of Tech Luxury Accessories

Designer phones and smart phones is an untapped market that presents opportunity of $10 billion. Such phones are created in collaboration between phone manufacturers and fashion or jewellery designers and launched with a collective effort through either distribution chain. In the past Nokia and Samsung were most active and have brought the idea to the mass market through collaborations with Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Armani, Versace and others.

First phones started to appear in 2006, but by 2011 offering has surprisingly dropped. Today only handful of such collaborations is active and selling. Gucci, Hugo Boss had rumours that failed through. We did our research to see what is out there or what was out there. Our list includes Fashion and Jewellery companies only. Some of the auto manufacturers filled the niche quite strongly currently offering phones from Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren Mercedes in collaboration with Alcatel, LG and Sharp.

We would really like to see such companies as Bvlgari, Tiffany, Valentino, Gucci, Luis Vuitton join the game – this is really a serious untapped multi billion market. In fact we yet to see BlackBerry or iPhone join the game. Yes, there are many accessories such as cases, pockets in purses or chain links offered by almost every major designer label, but entire phones is something completely different.

Dior Nokia Phone

Are selling now on Dior website. First released in 2008. There are mother of pearl, gold sapphire, sapphire crystal and diamond designs offered. Diamond sells for $29,000 in case you wonder. Made in collaboration with ModeLabs, phone has a touch screen display and camera. Blogger reviews give the overall functionality low reviews, but design is definitely fronts the market right now.

D&G phone

Dolce&Gabbana Phone

What can make Motorola Motorazr still interesting? Initially released in 2006 in collaboration with Dolce Gabbana MOTORAZR V3i DG by Motorola phone is equipped with 1.2 Megapixel camera, MP3/Video Player, Bluetooth technology, and a solid battery life lasting 6.5 hours of talk time.

Armani phone

Armani Smart Phone

Armani collaborated with Samsung and in 2007 released design for SGH-P520 model. Minimalistic style seems to only include Armani logo with everything else coming from standard Samsung smart phone. Phone has been since discontinued. It included 2.6 in display, 3.15 Megapixel camera and battery allowing 6 hr talk time.

prada phone

Prada Phone

Released in 2007 LG’s Prada Phone KE850 has 2-Megapixel camera, also capable of recording videos, 8 MB of storage space, built-in MP3 and video player. Just like Prada sunglasses this phone comes with a Prada cell phone carrying case and cleaning cloth.

Levis Phone

LEVIS Phone

Jeans manufacturer LEVIS was not going to just watch premium brands play the game. Released in 2008 phone has a radio, an MP3/Video Player, 2 GBs of storage space and 2 Megapixel camera. Phone is offered in two colors “Silver Shiny” and “Gold Shiny” and a flip-open cosmetic mirror.

Giambattista Valli Phone

Giambattista Valli Phone

Giambattista Valli is a niche designer for Vatican, formerly with Fendi and Ungaro. His collaboration with Nokia produced 7373 model equipped with 2 Megapixel camera, an MP3/Video Player, a Radio, and Bluetooth Technology, built-in “Rhodium” ring tone.

Versace Versus phone

Versace Phone

Versace Samsung E500 was released under the youth label Versus in 2006. This flip phone is available in three colors and contained all specifications of typical Samsung’s basic SGH-E500: 1.3 megapixel camera, a music player, and support for Bluetooth wireless connections.

tag heuer phone

Upcoming Tag Heuer Phone

Tag Heuer is taking orders for over 12 designs of their signature phone. Design is inspired by their watch collection integrating several functions, such as reversible clock, 1/100 of a second chronograph and incoming call identification. Dual display is especially convenient as one shows time while the other addresses phone functions. 2 megapixel camera, long battery life and integrated Blootooth technology are the highlights of long list of specifications. Many design variations are offered with most luxurious being Full Diamond overall weight 7.42 carat with rubies on place of red and green button. Prices start at Euro 4250 for steel models.

May 13, 2011

Blogger is Back – Not For Us

As swings in technology happen, downtime is almost a given for a major services like Twitter, Skype and Gmail. We are so used to this that learnt to ignore related news or buzz from our friends. But now with Blogger joining the down time club we just can’t ignore it. Now it hurts right in the heart.

I was absolutely shocked to login to my blog hosted by Blogger and find out that blog is completely gone. GONE! All posts, design and even sub-domain are no longer available. Most peculiar thing is that when I typed my blog name in the search it said “Name is available – go ahead register a blog under this name”. Wow! So, all my followers, posts, links were created for nothing.

Is this a Friday 13 joke?

When I went to Help Forum trying to log a bug with little hope anyone will reply I stumbled on their post “Blogger is Back”. Post was published today at 10:45 AM, probably PST time. So, the statement “Blogger is Back” was made long 3 hours ago and my blog does not seem to have been included as a part of it.

We have had a similar story with Skype unavailability in March and experienced some down time on WordPress few months ago. So, no one is perfect and you can’t expect much of a free blog. This cumulative experience seriously makes us consider using WordPress.org on our own servers. This also prompts us to invest some time and back up all the posts we did on our blogs to avoid hair loss next time.

In the meanwhile, we pray that Blogger will figure things out and be back for sure with our blog inclusive.

April 14, 2011

Top 10 Most Interesting iPhone Fashion Applications

There are over 1000 fashion related applications for the iPhone. These range from basic shopping applications to complex graphic games. We tried over 100 popular apps and narrowed them down to top 10. Winners ranked the highest on usefulness, quality and idea. All of the apps are FREE. Some of them are extremely simple and some took teams of programmers to create. Which ones are your favourite?

1. Go Try It On
This app tops our list. It’s a social media powered app that lets you upload photos of yourself and get an opinion from other people about your outfit. Most of the people seem to upload pictures right from the fitting room when deciding whether to buy the item or from their bedroom in the morning. You can comment on other people looks or simply vote Yea or Nea. Some people get hundreds of votes.After poking with the application for a while I realized that commenting on other people looks is actually as much fun as uploading your own. It took a while to set up the profile, but once it was done it was very easy going forward. Application is also useful to learn about different regions and what people wear in other parts of the world. You’ll find people from Europe, New Zealand and anchor cities such as NY, San Francisco etc.
2. StyleStudioStyleStudio is a free iPhone application that lets you design your own clothing. How often you came up with an outfit idea and you want to show it to someone but you don’t have enough drawing skills? StyleStudio does just that – lets you create your own designs for various clothing items such as pants, skirts, dresses and even some of the assecories. Beautifully made app with lots of options for silhouette, material patterns and colors, cuttings, add on details for each clothing type. You can create entire outfits and combine them on the model to see the fit. There is an upgraded version of this application with even more features. Excellent quality, graphics and idea implementation.
3. HairstyleEvery year we see movies with detectives trying to assemble photo robot of a criminal. They try face features and hair styles. Have you ever wanted to try different hairs on your own head? Hairstyle does just that – lets you match your head with different haircuts and styles. Free app has only 6 styles but you can get over 200 by upgrading for $2.99. If you are a hair dresser this would be a killer app for you. If not, it still could make a cool game to entertain your friends.
4. ModiFaceModiFace is a makeup iPhone application that lets you upload your own picture and apply makeup to it to see how it looks, presumably before applying it to the real face. Try different eyeshade colors, lipsticks, foundations, eyeliners, all with a few clicks of a button. This application is very well done as it lets to identify the face features and apply make up quite realistically. If you don’t want to use your own face you can use other models’ faces. Easy to understand description shows close up look of a face part and color swatches step by step. From there you can find a store and purchase eye shadow or beauty goods in case you are missing them from your make up tote.
5. Style.comStyle.com iPhone application is a collection of fashion show videos from latest fashion weeks around the world, critics’ opinion, designer and model interviews. This simple, but very well made application provides hours of video footage that will get you addicted. No commercials, no banner ads – just pure fashion channel on your iPhone. While there is no novelty in this application, it is much needed for true fashionistas as it taps to a professional world of fashion of its highest class.
6. Vogue Wish ListHow often you are browsing through a magazine wondering what brand name is an item that caught your eye and where to get it. One may say, well it is in the magazine, you can just check it online? Well, first, not all pictures are tagged for brand name, price etc. Second, what if you read about it in Chapters or in grocery store while waiting in line? You won’t remember the name. With Vogue application you can take a picture of the magazine and get an instant item description about the maker, price and where to get it. To completely rock the next step for this application would be to provide a list of all items from the magazine so we don’t need to scan each page.
7. Elle CanadaElle magazine utilized very simple, but very useful idea for its app – to share the latest gossips, tips and news via simplified menu. Get this application for free and your time will be filled with hours of quality reading, and photos that you can share via Facebook, Twitter or Email. We did check other similar magazines and found that Elle rates higher when it comes to ease of use and quality of information.
8. LuckyLucky magazine iPhone app provides ultimate shopping experience. Browse thousands of items and find them in local stores or online, check deals of the day or organize items in your wish list. App is quite simple and useful if you are out of ideas or looking for something specific.
9. Pop ArtThis is an Andy Warhol transformer iPhone app that turns a photo into colourful tiles. Very simple to use, takes seconds to get Andy Warhol tiles of any object that subsequently can be saved on your phone. Few configurations let you adjust the number and layout of the tiles.
10. What’s Your Fashion StyleYourStyle is a simple quiz to help you determine what style is yours. Some questions are a bit limiting, like what is your favourite store from a list of 5. None of them was for me, but I chose one most similar to my fav. I ended up being Trendy! Yey…

Other unique ideas:
1. iMade for Skate – a skateboarders’ portal and encyclopaedia of skateboard fashion, tips, ideas, stories and more.
2. Color Fashion $0.99 lets you change color of any part of the picture. It could be your hair, clothes, shoes or your dog!
3. iShoes and iBags – a collection of shoes and bags with built in search engine to search by brand and style. While these apps are free, they didn’t work for me. Good idea, but needs some bug fixing and/or richer database.
4. Justin Bieber Fashion $2.99 – dress Justin Beieber game. How about undress Justin Bieber?

January 23, 2011

WordPress vs. Blogger – Our Experience

After WordPress blocked our blog for a few days, we frantically tried to contact the team to find out the reasons. WordPress unblocked the blog and we still don’t know what has happened. In the meanwhile we were forced to reconsider the blog platform since we love blogging and were really a bit perplexed by the incident. Blogger was the next logical platform to try. Hence our first hand comparison.

Please note, to compare apples to apples, we only describe WordPress.com – hosted solution to properly compare it to Blogger.com. WordPress also has WordPress.org package that can be installed onto your own server or hosting account. WordPress.org is free and has more widget, feature and design capabilities than WordPress.com.

Business profile Non-for profit organization.
35 employees
Originally developed by Pyra Labs, currently owned by Google
Technology PHP, HTML, JavaScript XML, HTML, JavaScript
Fees Free hosting on WordPress.com.
Free templates with minor customizations
$$ Fee for using own domain
$$ Fee for complete HTML customization access
Free hosting on blogger.com.
Free templates with customizations
Free for complete HTML customization access
$$ Fee for using own domain
Free storage 3 GM free. More on prices here 1 GB free. More on prices here
Ease of setup Easy but not straightforward and time consuming.
Requires time to learn WordPress.com platform and navigation.
Easy and very straightforward.
Navigation is intuitive and fool proof.
Appearance Main color scheme is limited to template you choose.
All templates let you customize header, but not all background and layout.
Fully customizable on both color, background, layout level.
Since you have access to HTML template, you can change appearance completely.
Features Called Widgets.
Are not all available for all templates.
Choose from about 30 widgets.
Satisfies need of 90% of users.
Widgets are put onto designated areas on sidebar and footer.
Called Gadgets.
Are available for all templates. Choose from hundreds, but only about 30 you’d ever need if you are average user.
Gadgets are put onto designated areas on top bar, sidebar and footer.
Layout Depends on template.
Not all templates have footer, limiting space for widgets.
Some templates have customization capability for two or three column layout.
Flexible allowing many options for customization of overall layout and addition of gadget blocks
Posting Articles easy to create, tag, edit and proofread. Articles easy to create, tag, edit and proofread.
Photo uploading Easy to upload, access and insert into post.
Multiple photo upload possible. Easy way to change size, insert caption, link etc.
Only one photo at a time.
Multiple upload limited requiring share from Picassa Album.
Needs HTML knowledge to change size, insert caption, link etc.
Commenting Akismet technology filters spam.
Configuration options to format commenting rules, how comments are published and displayed.
Google technology filters spam.
Configuration options to format commenting rules, how comments are published and displayed.
Stats Information about views, traffic sources broken down by article and time frame. Information about views, traffic sources and locations broken down by article and time frame.
Permissions Role based permissions. 4 roles. 2 permissions and 2 roles.

Other remarks and conclusion:

WordPress.com

–       WordPress.com sites look more like real websites because there is no WordPress header on the top of the pages, unlike in Blogger. You will only see the top bar when you logged in to WordPress.

–       To big surprise WordPress has support staff that would answer your e-mails within 24 hours. Given that it is non-profit organization, we were quite impressed with the level of support.

–       I think WordPress photo capabilities are much more suitable for bloggers that are looking to make their posts very picture and media rich. With it’s Gallery capabilities you will be saving a lot of time down the road with each post. Plus three times more storage can’t be understated.

Blogger

–       If you never tried any blogging software, you will no doubt have less hassle setting up Blogger. It’s more intuitive and user friendly making your blogging learning curve much shorter.

–       Ultra-flexible appearance customization is more suitable for bloggers that have particular style in mind. Let’s say you are a company and it’s important for you to keep the standard fonts, colors etc. , then blogger is for you. If you are all into WordPress, you still can buy custom CSS and HTML from WordPress for $15 a year, but you will need HTML knowledge to use that feature.