Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fears About Mall Shopping Hit Retail Stocks

Some of the nation's biggest retail companies have fallen in stock prices due to new worries about the softening of shopping mall sales and future forecasts.  Among the chains that have taken this hit are Sears, Aeropostale, JC Penney, Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic.  The Standard & Poor's Index in the retail segment has fallen in April, reflecting this uncertainty about future sales.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
New York Post

Link to article:
Retail Shares Take Hit on Fears that Shopping Mall Business is Falling

Excerpt: "Shares of struggling chains, including JCPenney, Sears and Aeropostale, got whacked Friday on jitters that business at shopping malls is sputtering.

JCPenney shares dropped 9.6 percent to $7.70, while Sears and Aeropostale fell 5.2 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively.

The S&P Retail Index, reflecting widespread uneasiness, fell 4 percent this week.

A disappointing monthly sales report from Gap late Thursday, revealing that the owner of Old Navy and Banana Republic had comparable sales that fell 6 percent in March, helped fuel the sector-wide sell-off.

'The mall is awash with apparel inventory,' Cowen & Co. analyst John Kernan wrote in a Friday research note."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Amazingly Useful Websites--App of the Week

Buzzfeed has just published its list of "33 Amazingly Useful Websites You Never Knew Existed" and it's a treasure trove of weird fun and surprising utility.  We're going to spotlight a few of the best in coming weeks as App of the Week. This week's winner?  WhattheFont!

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Buzzfeed

Link to article:
33 Amazingly Useful Websites You Never Knew Existed

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Myfonts.com

Link to article:
What the Font

About the app: Here at Hunter Communications we are very interested in typography and fonts, and Myfonts has come up with a corker of an app and web resource:  WhattheFont allows you to paste an image of a line or a few words of text, with the letter height in the range of about 100 pixels, and click to get an instant readout of what the name of the font used is, and where it can be downloaded or purchased.

In the rare case when your text matches none of the fonts in the MyFonts database, you can submit the image to the WhattheFont Forum and let the crowdsource pooled knowledge of hundreds of typography experts find your answer.  The online version is linked here, and the mobile app WhattheFont Mobile, described here, encourages you to snap a picture of any text with your cellphone camera from within the app, crop, then click to get your answer of what font was used.  The app is available for Iphone and Android phones.






Monday, April 28, 2014

Eurovision 2014 -- Will Voting Reflect Geopolitics?

The Eurovision Song Contest was created by the war-weary countries of 1950s Europe to unite the world through song... in theory.  Through 58 years, that idealistic dream has held on in the campy, hugely popular tv reality-show competition, even though reality often succumbs to political situations that keep on intruding. In recent years, the addition of many nations of the formerly Communist East, and subsequent bubbling up of old territorial tensions has affected the relations and voting patterns of the 40-odd countries that participate.

In the past, ancient rivalries between Greece and Turkey, Turkey and Armenia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and Georgia and Russia has pulled focus from the musical competition, to the point that Georgia had to withdraw in 2009 when it's disco ditty "We Don't Wanna Put In" was seen as a thinly-veiled statement against Russia's Putin. In 2011 Azerbaijan got headlines when it came to light that the government was investigating locals who voted for Armenia's entry, and the next year when the Azeris hosted, Armenia withdrew (as officially at war with Azerbaijan over their common border region, normally Armenians are not even allowed to enter that country).

Last year, when Sweden hosted a successful, scaled-down Contest in Malmö, the conflicts were more of an economic variety.  Greece was barely able to participate, and Portugal, Poland, Slovakia and Bosnia were MIA due to lack of funds. The same worries were offered (more as an excuse) this year when Serbia and Turkey withdrew for 2014.

But now, two of the major powerhouse countries of Eurovision are on the world stage for their territorial battles, and the rest of Europe is cautiously lining up to take sides. Ukraine is one of the most successful recent entries to the Eurovision family, having won the contest in 2004, and consistently placing near the top in jury and public televoting since then.  Meanwhile their former protector or oppressor Russia has won the contest in 2007 and placed in the top three five more times since their debut in 1996.  The other former Soviet states have generally supported both nations and contributed greatly to their success.

This year's tension and annexation of the Crimea and areas of Eastern Ukraine by Russia has many countries worried for their own fragile stability.  The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have their own problems with Russian ethnic minorities, and could suffer similar aggression from their giant neighbor.  Georgia is smarting from Russia's incursions in 2008 and 2009.  And many human rights-aware nations of the West are still appalled with Russia's frightening moves to isolate and criminalize its gay population.  This could be reflected in many countries' votes for Russia's entry, the happy, optimistic (some say totally hypocritical) "Shine" by sweet teen sister act, the Tomalchevy Twins.  Many in the Eurovision community are genuinely afraid the Russian entry will face boos from the audience this year.

Meanwhile Ukraine's entry was originally seen as one of its weakest ever, before Mariya Yeremchuk's "Tick Tock" got a makeover into a Rihanna-style current radio pop song.  It now has rocketed up into 4th place with Eurovision bettors, due greatly to the world's sympathy with Ukraine and its Russia trouble.  Can the political situation help them win?

Soon we will have an answer.  In less than two weeks in Copenhagen, the 59th Contest will reach its Grand Final--we will see how much music can overcome politics, and how much the world's political concerns might make that ideal impossible.

Friday, April 25, 2014

'Ryman Eco' Designed to be World's Most Sustainable Font

"The World's Most Sustainable Font".  It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, but you have to admire the intention behind it. A group of typographers worked with Monotype to come up with a new font that is both beautiful and environmentally friendly.  Taking advantage of the fact that printing on paper causes ink to soak into the paper and spread very slightly, the designers came up with a classic-looking serif font that is actually made up of several thin lines that don't quite meet.  When the font is printed, the ink expands to fill the gaps, and in the process, 33% less ink is used.

In the spirit of the project, Ryman Eco is offered completely free. Watch their promotional video below.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Huffington Post

Link to article:
'World's Most Sustainable Font' Wants to Save the World Through Typography

Excerpt: "Typography is a powerful invention. It is, after all, the design mechanism that brings us the words of novelists and writers in an aesthetically pleasing fashion. But can fonts be more 'sustainable' than others, wagging their greener fingers at the opulent Times New Romans of the world? Can typography hop on the eco-friendly bandwagon?

'Yes,' says Grey London, one of the collective minds behind Ryman Eco, pitched as the 'world's most beautiful sustainable font.' When printed, its ink usage is 33 percent less than 'standard' fonts, the website claims, like Arial, Times New Roman, Georgia, and Verdana. That's because Ryman Eco's fine, outlined letters stand in contrast to the solid letters of TNR et al.

In the normal course of printing, ink bleeds on paper. But in Ryman's case, that's an advantage, as the outlined letters then look more like a solid, filled-in font.

'We love printing. But we don't love what printing does to the environment,' the site states. "So we've worked with world-class font experts, Monotype, in an attempt to create the world's most beautiful sustainable font. We didn't want to compromise legibility for sustainability; after all the font will only help the environment if people actually use it. And of course, it must be completely free to download.'

Forget Garamond, the font paraded around the internet last month as the design that could save the U.S. government hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Ryman Eco is a solution for civilians -- and its also free."


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Churches Steal Clip Art, Use Death Metal Band Logo

It seemed like an innocent enough mistake.  If you do a search for "lamb of God logo" on Google, this is the first thing that comes up.  How was a group of churches in Virginia planning their Easter drama to know that the art they emblazoned on their tickets was not a logo from someone else's "Lamb of God" play or pageant, but the logo for a death metal band of that name?

The band's name, by the way, was not always Lamb of God.  They used to be known as Burn the Priest! The churches in question did issue a statement to assure parishioners that the pilfered logo only appeared on the tickets, and was not the logo for the Easter drama itself.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Loudwire

Link to article:

Excerpt: "When something this hilarious happens, it just feels great to be a metalhead. In what is likely to be the funniest metal story you’ll read today, a group of churches in Salem, Va., accidentally used Lamb of God‘s logo for an Easter play of the same name.

The obvious question here is whether this was a subtle piece of humor or a monumentally embarrassing mistake. It’s difficult to believe that a Google Image search wouldn’t come up with obvious clues that Lamb of God is a band, but when you type in 'Lamb of God logo,' the exact graphic used for the Easter play is the very first result. Plus, if the person who used the design didn’t scroll down, they may have not even seen an actual picture of the band, which we must point out, used to be called Burn the Priest.

Anyway, various people happened to inform the Salem Community Easter Drama shortly before their first ‘Lamb of God’ performance, which led to the following Facebook post:
    We understand there have been some unfriendly comments online because of a graphic we used on one of our invitation tickets that had not been properly vetted. That graphic is on those tickets only and is not the “official” logo for the drama. We apologize for our mistake and for any confusion we may have caused. Now, back to our true purpose, and that is lifting the name of Jesus Christ!
‘Lamb of God’ was apparently a hit, but we can’t help but wonder how many people showed up thinking the ‘Pure American Metal’ band was dropping by to crush skulls for a lovely Easter concert."





Wednesday, April 23, 2014

3D Printers Create Instant Housing for Poor in China

3D printing is becoming one of the 21st century's most game-changing technologies, with applications for everything from technology to medicine.  Now builders in China have used a giant version of a 3D printer to build concrete components that are easily put together to make weatherproof instant housing units for the poor, creating a mini village of 10 dwellings in the space of a day. 

These units are very simple and primitive, but offer the advantages of being incredibly inexpensive, and using recycled waste materials for a significant portion of the concrete mix. And projects like this help move the technology forward to the point where more involved construction projects can soon be expedited with similar techniques.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
3ders.com

Link to article:
10 Completely Printed 3d Houses

Excerpt: "Back in 2011, University of Southern California Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis said new technology will soon allow massive 3D printers to build entire multi-level houses in under a day. A group of 3D printed houses, 200 m2 each, recently appears in Shanghai, China. These building were created entirely out of concrete using a gigantic 3D printer, and each costs only 30,000 RMB ($4,800). The company behind these 3D printed building, Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co, said it has for years been working on developing the system and its materials. The company owns 77 national patents of construction materials, such as glass fiber reinforced gypsum and special glass fiber reinforced cement.

While Hobbyist models of 3D printers are currently available for only a few hundred dollars and lets users feed plastics and polymers into a machine, the company takes this technology to a bigger level. Using concrete, instead of plastic, WinSun wants to revolutionize the way homes and other structures are built.

WinSun's 150(L) x 10(W) x 6.6(H) m gigantic 3D printer is capable of printing entire building within hours. The 'ink' it used is based on high-grade cement and glass fiber. Like traditional 3D printers, the system carefully spills out those materials layer by layer, consistently building upward.

Using computer and 3D modeling software, the designs of the building can also take into account additions like insulation materials, plumbing, electrical lining and windows, which can then be easily outfitted once the rest of the structure is solid and standing.

In addition, it is very impressive that the printing material is recycled construction waste, industrial waste and tailings. WinSun plans to build 100 recycling factories in the country, one in every 300km, to collect and transform the waste into materials for 3D printing through special handling, processing and separation technology. 'There will not be any waste from the construction of new buildings.' said WinSun CEO Ma YiHe. WinSun expects 3D printing will save construction companies up to 50% on the cost."
Rome wasn't built in a day, but a village of 10 houses created out of 3D printed concrete parts has been constructed in just one day in Shanghai, China. And the even better news? Each one only cost around $5000. Oh, and they’re partly made out of recycled waste, too
Read more at http://www.iflscience.com/technology/using-3d-printers-generate-villages-houses#BjDOE3MCIIs8K0l9.99
Rome wasn't built in a day, but a village of 10 houses created out of 3D printed concrete parts has been constructed in just one day in Shanghai, China. And the even better news? Each one only cost around $5000. Oh, and they’re partly made out of recycled waste, too.

The company that built the structures, WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co, spent years perfecting the system which allowed them to achieve this impressive feat. They used a pretty hefty 150 meter long, 10 meter wide and 6 meter deep printer to generate the concrete constituents, which were then assembled together into small but sturdy buildings.

The material used to construct the parts is a mixture of high grade cement, recycled construction waste and industrial waste, which is then reinforced with glass fibers. Obviously the concept here is different to traditional 3D printing- there isn’t a giant printer which is churning out entire buildings on the spot. Rather the printer here is used to create the parts layer by layer, which can then be transported and assembled into buildings by humans.

The software used to design the parts also allows for the addition of things like plumbing and windows which can be added on after the building is erected.

Read more at http://www.iflscience.com/technology/using-3d-printers-generate-villages-houses#BjDOE3MCIIs8K0l9.99

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Palcohol could be the latest advance in cocktails

Imagine a dehydrated cocktail.  It seems pretty unbelievable, but a new powdered-alcohol product has been approved for sale and is about to hit the market. It will first arrive in six flavors, including V (vodka), R (Puerto Rican Rum), mojito, cosmopolitan, lemondrop, and powderita (powdered margarita).  The manufacturer touts its lightness and space-saving portability (for alcoholic mountain climbers, no doubt), and stresses that consumers should stick to applicable laws and not try to smuggle powdered alcohol into countries and cultures where alcohol is forbidden.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Los Angeles Times

Link to article:
Palcohol Powdered Alcohol Could Be Headed to a Store Near You

Excerpt: "'Imagine a regular margarita on a counter,' said Palcohol founder Mark Phillips, who is the author of the book 'Swallow This: The Aggressive Approach to Wine.' Now imagine if you could snap your fingers and the margarita turns into powder. That’s what Palcohol is ... without the magic.'

The powdered cocktails are meant to be mixed with water to create a cocktail and the V and R can be combined with a mixer such as cola or orange juice for a traditional mixed drink.

Both Lipsmark, the company that owns Palcohol, and Phillips are remaining mum on the details behind producing the product until they secure a patent, but the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), part of the U.S. Department of Treasury, approved Palcohol this month, reported Bevlaw.com.

'It is a great convenience for the person involved in activities where weight and bulk are a factor, like hiking, backpacking, etc.,"' said Phillips. 'One package weighs about an ounce and is small enough to fit into any pocket.'

The powder can also be added to food. The company has experimented with adding the Powderita powder to guacamole and the Cosmopolitan to salad, but Phillips admits he's never tasted the powder on its own. "

Monday, April 21, 2014

What Are the Latest Tech Buzzwords You Should Know?

The tech world is one of the most prolific generators of new language these days.  Unfortunately, as soon as these neologisms attain critical mass, everyone starts using them, often without any idea what they really mean. So courtesy of Lifehacker, here is a list of 2014's buzziest buzzwords with an explanation of what each means or was coined to represent.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Lifehacker

Link to article:
The Biggest Tech Industry Buzzwords

Excerpt: "We've already covered the most useful tech terms worth knowing, but it seems like every day we see articles mentioning a ton of nonsense marketing words and phrases. Some of these terms are useful, but most are just confusing. Let's demystify a few of the more common.

Acqui-Hire

At its most obvious, acqui-hire is a portmanteau of acquisition and hire, and means just that. In the world of technology it's often used when one company buys another just to hire on talent. The New York Times described it like so:
Companies like Facebook, Google and Zynga are so hungry for the best talent that they are buying start-ups to get their founders and engineers — and then jettisoning their products.
So, 'acqui-hire'
is when a big company buys another smaller company just to get the people who work there.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is when you use a computer or phone to add computer generated information to the real world. Typically, this is an overlay on a camera screen. Think of it like having a video game-style HUD up at all times—when you point a camera at something, artificial information displays in real time in front of you. For example, someday you might have a car window that makes it possible to see through other cars. You'll find plenty of examples of current apps and services with augmented reality right now, but few are useful.

The Cloud

The cloud is one of those obnoxious overused terms that's hard to tell what exactly people are referring to. But at its core, the cloud is just the internet. It's when a bunch of computers get networked together and you can access that network from anywhere. For example, 'cloud storage' refers to online storage like Dropbox, SkyDrive, or Google Drive. Storing other data in "the cloud" just means it's available online so you can get it on multiple devices.

Crowdfunding

As the name implies, crowdfunding is when an inventor asks the public to fund a project. These projects range from comic books to apps. The idea is that you give someone money so they can finish a project. When it's done, you get a reward. This funding comes through services like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. The problem is that it's often difficult to gauge whether something is worth funding, but we've put together a guide if you need some help.

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency, in overly simple terms, is basically internet money—the most popular form of which is Bitcoin. In more complicated terms, it's a decentralized digital currency. That means a network of users keep a public transaction ledger so everyone knows where people spend them, trade them, or move them. It still works like real money, but the transaction is publicly recorded for everyone to verify, and impossible to counterfeit. If you're interested, we have a more in-depth explanation of Bitcoin here.

Disruptive

Disruptive might be the most overused term in tech these days. In tech, the word marks when a piece of technology changes the landscape of an industry. This means it either creates a new market by displacing an old one, or improves a product so exponentially that the old versions are barely recognizable. Historically, the terms is for innovations like the Model T or the MP3. Nowadays people use it to describe pretty much every app that does something even slightly different, even though a calendar app that imports your Facebook events isn't disruptive like the iPhone was disruptive. "

Friday, April 18, 2014

Meet Burlingame, A New Font for Auto Digital Displays

In auto design and technology, there has been a very bad clash between form and function.  The boxy, masculine, futuristic Eurostile font and its variants has emerged as the cutting-edge, stylish font for an auto's digital displays on the dashboard and accessories like climate controls and stereos. Unfortunately, the squared-off, stylized letters and numbers of Eurostile end up being too alike and interchangeable to make them fast and easy to read correctly on the road("3", "B" and "8" are practically indistinguishable).

After a study of readability in auto digital displays, Monotype has designed a new font from the ground up to lessen the time needed to correctly read dashboard data. After the attributes needed to optimize readability were built in, designers worked to make the font attractive as well, and came up with the new Burlingame typeface.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Fast Company

Link to article:
Introducing Burlingame, A Safer Font for Your Dashboard

Excerpt: "Font designers had ideas and hypotheses for what makes a font legible, but never before had their theories been tested. 'Truthfully there haven't been any good scientific studies to prove what we consider our trade craft, our intuition as designers that makes things legible,' Steve Matteson, creative type director at Monotype, who took part in the MIT AgeLab study, told Fast Company. 'We worked with MIT to basically test typefaces side by side to figure out which ones were legible and try to figure out why they are legible.'

The study compared 'humanist' typefaces with 'grotesque' style typefaces. The former fonts, in general, have looser spacing, unambiguous forms, and open apertures, which are the partially enclosed, rounded negative space letters like 'n' and 'c.' The Mac menu's Lucida Sans typeface and Microsoft Outlook's default Calibri font both fall into that camp. Grotesque fonts tend to be more modular and blockier. Along with Eurostile, the beloved Helvetica is a classic example. Matteson figured that looser, more open, and what happen to be the less fashionable fonts would prove easier to read.

For male study participants, the humanist fonts resulted in a 10.6% lower visual demand as measured by total glance time, compared to the 'square grotesque' typeface. The humanist font also resulted in a 13% improvement in overall response time. The impact wasn't statistically significant for women. But, still, researchers said anything about a 5% change in behaviors would prove meaningful. "It was great to have a scientific study that was very well controlled to back up what we as type designers knew," Matteson said.

With the stats to back up Matteson's theories for legibility, he and Crossgrove set out to make the most readable font possible. "We realized that with this study it was really crucial that the most important thing wasn't aesthetics. It was just getting that glance time down.' explained Crossgrove. 'So we pushed the design of Burlingame in the direction of all of those traits that we know are useful for speeding up letter recognition and word recognition.'

Burlingame has open apertures, loose letter spacing, and unambiguous shapes. For example, the lowercase 'L' is differentiated from the uppercase 'i' by adding an 'out stroke,' or little tail at the end. The font also uses the less ambiguous two-story 'a,' even in italics, because it helps distinguish the letter from 'q' and 'g.' Similar theories of spacing and legibility have been used to design highway signs."

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Apple Reportedly Negotiating to Raise Iphone Prices by $100

This year, Apple apparently has the new smartphone introduction world to itself, after Samsung's incremental update on the Galaxy S5. So though the market believes that smartphones are aiming to be bigger and cheaper, Apple seems to be "thinking different" in negotiating with its carriers to raise prices of its new models by $100. 

No agreement has been reached, but when the Iphone line splits this year with the introduction of a 5.5" model and another with a traditional "4.7 screen, the price will probably rise.

Hunter Communications Original News Source: 
Slate

Link to article:
Apple Reportedly Wants to Raise the Price of Iphone by $100

Excerpt:" Even in the post–Steve Jobs era, Apple is thinking different. But this time it might not be for the best.

Jefferies analyst Peter Misek says, 'Our checks indicate Apple has started negotiating with carriers on a $100 iPhone 6 price increase. The initial response has been no, but there seems to be an admission that there is no other game-changing device this year.'
Because the iPhone is the only phone that matters this year, carriers may cave and give Apple the price bump it wants.

Why does Apple need to negotiate with carriers on an iPhone price raise? Misek doesn’t really explain it, but we’re guessing it has to do with long-term contracts Apple has with carriers around subsidies.

This seems like a strange move for Apple. At a time when its rivals are going down in price, Apple wants to go up.

The market for high-end phones such as the iPhone is saturated. The growth for smartphones is in the low end of the market. That’s why the iPhone business is up in only single digits.

But Apple is reportedly going to release two new phones, one with a 4.7-inch screen and one with a 5.5-inch screen. The 5.5-inch phone would be Apple’s first entry into the market of 'phablets,' which sell at a high price. Samsung’s phablet, the 6-inch Galaxy Note 3 sells for $100 more than its 5-inch Galaxy S5.

There are two ways to look at this if you’re Apple.

On the one hand, an internal presentation from Apple last year showed that people around the world want cheaper phones with bigger screens. This suggests it needs to cut the price and bump screen size.

However, Apple believes it’s not really susceptible to the pricing pressure of Android phone-makers. The iPad, for example, was originally going to sell for $400, but Apple figured people would pay $100 more, and it was right."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dropbox Infuriates Tech World by Appointing Condoleezza Rice to Board

One of the interesting developments in the world of technology is how closely the hive mind of the tech world tracks modern progressive political thought.  Although tech tycoons pick and choose among progressive Democrats and finance-oriented Republicans to support, they are more often falling afoul these days with tech users when they choose executives and board members seen as conservative.  

After last month's Mozilla scuffle ended with a new executive's resignation after his financial support against equal marriage rights became public, now it is Dropbox in the hot seat.  The massive and growing file-storage application has ignited an uproar and Twitter campaign to #dropDropbox when it announced that former Bush official Condoleezza Rice would be joining the company's board.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Los Angeles Times

Link to article:

Excerpt: "The week seemed to start off on a triumphant note for hot Silicon Valley start-up Dropbox. The company held a media event Wednesday to unveil a slew of new applications designed to demonstrate its expanding vision as it marches closer to an anticipated initial public offering.

But the week is ending in controversy over this announcement: Dropbox added Condeelezza Rice to its board.

'When looking to grow our board, we sought out a leader who could help us expand our global footprint,' co-founder Drew Houston wrote on the company's blog. 'Dr. Rice has had an illustrious career as provost of Stanford University, board member of companies like Hewlett-Packard and Charles Schwab, and former United States secretary of State. We’re honored to be adding someone as brilliant and accomplished as Dr. Rice to our team.'

The decision to add Rice, who was secretary of State and national security advisor under President George W. Bush, prompted hundreds of often heated comments on the blog. And it triggered a campaign called Drop Dropbox.

'Choosing Condoleezza Rice for Dropbox's board is problematic on a number of deeper levels, and invites serious concerns about Drew Houston and the senior leadership at Dropbox's commitment to freedom, openness, and ethics,' organizers wrote on the protest website. 'When a company quite literally has access to all of your data, ethics become more than a fun thought experiment.'

The site points to Rice's role in launching the Iraq war, overseeing a CIA program accused of using torture and supporting warrant-less wiretaps. The site included a button to tweet the message: 'Drew Houston: Drop Condoleezza Rice or I will #DropDropbox! http://www.drop-dropbox.com'

That indeed sparked a flurry of tweets and counter-tweets debating Rice's appointment.

On Friday, Houston responded with a blog post saying that Dropbox remained committed to its users. "

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Phantom Freeway through Beverly Hills

As you sit through the twice-daily traffic jams that characterize driving on the West Side of Los Angeles, you probably wonder how urban planners forgot to put any freeway through the giant expanse between the 10 Santa Monica Freeway across the center of the LA basin and the 101 Ventura Freeway which bisects the Valley.  The short answer is, it was never planned this way.

In the 1940s when the freeways and "parkways" of limited-access roads were laid out for the Los Angeles region, there was a planned California Route 2 Freeway that connected Glendale to the West Side via Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Westwood. Christened the Beverly Hills Freeway, the project remained on the books until it was blocked by the wealthy communities it would bisect, and eventually killed completely in the 1970s.  There are still traces of what would have been major intersections with the city's other freeways, such as the wide median of the 101 near Vermont Avenue where the Beverly Hills Freeway would have one of its major connections.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
KCET

Link to article:
Why Isn't There a Freeway to Beverly Hills?

Excerpt: "It's the missing link of L.A.'s freeway network: the 2, a direct connection between the Westside's 405 and Hollywood's 101. Known to planners as the Beverly Hills Freeway, this 9.3-mile cross-town superhighway would have relieved pressure on the 10 and provided local freeway access to West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Century City. It also would have torn through some of L.A.'s wealthiest residential districts -- a fact that ultimately relegated plans for the freeway to the trash bin.

When traffic planners first envisioned the freeway in the early 1940s, they sketched it with a broad stroke on the city's map, labeling it the 'Santa Monica Parkway' because it roughly followed the path of Santa Monica Boulevard. (Today's Santa Monica Freeway, completed in 1965, was born on the same map as the 'Olympic Parkway.') By the time planners plotted the planned highway's precise course in 1965, it had earned a new name -- the Beverly Hills Freeway -- as well as the wrath of local communities.

On planners' maps, the Beverly Hills Freeway began as an extension of the Glendale (CA-2) Freeway at a massive interchange with the Hollywood (US-101) Freeway near Vermont Avenue. (The 101's wide median still anticipates that canceled interchange.) From there, the planned freeway sliced between Melrose Avenue and Clinton Street, before jogging slightly to the north and cutting between Waring and Willoughby avenues.

In West Hollywood, it turned to the southwest and followed the path of Santa Monica Boulevard, plunging below grade into a submerged trench. In Beverly Hills, the city considered capping the freeway with parking and surface street lanes. West of Beverly Hills, it emerged from its trench and passed by Century City before finally dead-ending south of Westwood at the San Diego (I-405) freeway.

Documents preserved and digitized by the Metro Transportation Library and Archive, including these two reports from 1964, recall the planned route in detail.

It was a bold plan that drew a correspondingly strong backlash. Though some constituencies -- notably the businesses of Westwood Village, the developers of Century City, and much of Beverly Hills -- supported the freeway, many neighborhoods opposed it. West Hollywood homeowners were particularly vocal in their dissent. The grassroots opposition might have seemed futile -- Eastside neighborhoods like Boyle Heights, East L.A., and Lincoln Heights failed to stop seven freeways from bulldozing through their communities -- but wealthy residents here did not want for political influence."

Monday, April 14, 2014

30 Years After Heyday, Logos are Back in Fashion

In the 80s, "greed was good", and the spoils of it were emblazoned with big expensive fashion logos.  Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Versace were just a few of the popular brands everyone loved to brandish. They became so chic that soon the counterfeiters were in on the action, and discount clothing bazaars and street vendors from Canal Street in New York to Silom Road in Bangkok had knockoffs of all the big brands. Soon logo t-shirts, bags, and baseball caps were the height of vulgarity, instead of exclusivity, and the pendulum swung far, far away.

Now it's come full circle, and designers are bringing back big bold logos on their clothes, but this time with a wink and a nod to irony. Will consumers of the twenty-teens embrace the trend as their parents did in the eighties?

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Financial Times

Link to article:

Excerpt: "After years in the fashion wilderness, the look-at-me logo is back. Whether it’s on sweatshirts, T-shirts or bags, designers have rediscovered the guilt-free way for consumers to indulge in their fetish for brands: irony, and lots of it.

'The return of logos, especially those used in an ironic manner, makes sense right now,' says Dana Thomas, author of the book Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Lustre. 'Young creators, in music as well as in fashion, are turning to the 1980s for inspiration and that was the period when logo mania first hit hard . . . The new take on logos is more romantic, softer, and even humorous – it has all been filtered through the haze of time. We’re all a bit more jaded, a bit more wise. We bought into marketing then; we mock it today.'

American designer Alexander Wang has been at the forefront of this new logo wave, lasercutting his name into leather dresses, T-shirts and skirts for his spring collection. The DKNY collection featured its name in bold repeat on tracksuits, skirts, sweaters and anoraks. Then there was Marc Jacobs’ swansong collection for Louis Vuitton, which opened with model Edie Campbell painted with Stephen Sprouse-designed Vuitton lettering. London Fashion Week designer Nasir Mazhar’s first collection, for autumn/winter 2014, used clothes inspired by the 1990s group TLC and covered in his name. And for the past four seasons Kenzo has applied its name and tiger motif to sweaters, caps, bags and wallets – and the fashion crowd love it.

The concept of authorised 'brand-jacking' is another thread to the knowing tone. Following the success of Brian Lichtenberg’s line of sweatshirts and T-shirts bearing the legend 'Homies' (in Hermès iconography) or 'Féline' (in Céline lettering), other brands have been seizing on the taboo of counterfeit culture. In November last year, musician MIA collaborated with Versus Versace to create a capsule collection inspired by bootleg versions of Versace products.

More appropriation of brand imagery appeared in Ashish’s spring/summer 2014 collection, which included sequinned garments emblazoned with the words Coca-Cola. Jeremy Scott’s Moschino collection for autumn/winter played with images from mass-market brands such as McDonald’s and Hershey’s and cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants, while Anya Hindmarch used graphics from household products.

So far, so tongue in cheek, subverting the idea of what constitutes a “luxury label”; but this ironic stance enables consumers to have their cake and wear it when it comes to bold branding.

'We’re seeing our core customer in her thirties or forties mixing and matching logos with high-end looks and understated separates,' says Ben Matthews, buying manager at Net-a-Porter. 'Logo-emblazoned pieces are also a fun way for a younger customer to buy into a brand. And, for those of us that remember logo mania the first time, these pieces bring about a sense of nostalgia. It’s linked to the move towards sportswear and street­wear we have seen on runways in recent seasons.'"

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spanish Artist Recreates Pop Culture Icons With Pantone Color Swatches

We're not sure to file this under "clever ideas" or "artists with too much time on their hands", but it's an interesting project.  Spanish artist Txaber has created posters depicting such pop culture icons as Andy Warhol's "banana" and "Marilyn", the Apple logo, and Super Mario.  But the more interesting part is the artist's method -- each poster has a pixelated look from its source, Pantone color swatches put together into a perfect representation of the original art.

Hunter Communications OriginalNews Source:
PASTE Magazine

Link to article:
Pixelated Pop Culture Posters Created Using Pantone Swatches

Excerpt: "These pixelated posters of pop culture icons are like a graphic designer’s take on pointillism. Created using hundreds to thousands of individual Pantone color swatches, Spanish artist Txaber has created a series of images whose parts are as impressive as their whole. He treats each Pantone swatch as a single pixel, each one contributing to a colorful mosaic.

'The process is to convert the images into color mosaics, then each color is replaced one by one by the corresponding Pantone module,' says Txaber.

His Pantone on Pixel series features a variety of pop culture subjects, including several pixelated versions of some of Andy Warhol’s most famous work. Txaber’s Marilyn was made using 21 Pantone colors and includes 1,444 swatches. His version of Warhol’s Banana features 11 Pantone colors made from 766 swatches.

'It is a laborious process, but I think the result is interesting,' he says."

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cheesecake Factory Only LA-based Company on Top 100 List

FORTUNE MAGAZINE just came out with their annual list of "100 top companies in the US to work for" and The Cheesecake Factory earned a few distinctions.  Of the top 100, only two companies are in the field of food service, Darden Restaurants (parent company of Red Lobster and the Olive Garden, among others) and The Cheesecake Factory.  Also, it reigns as the only company on FORTUNE's list that is based in Los Angeles. You can check out the full list below.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
CNN

Link to article:
Best Companies to Work For in 2014: the Full List

Excerpt:
List Rank Company Name No. of US Employees Job Growth
1 Google 42,162 20.1%
2 SAS 6,588 3.6%
3 The Boston Consulting Group 2,552 10.7%
4 Edward Jones 38,015 7.2%
5 Quicken Loans 8,386 46.2%
6 Genentech 11,998 7.6%
7 salesforce.com 6,739 23.1%
8 Intuit 7,728 4.4%
9 Robert W. Baird & Co. 2,704 3.3%
10 DPR Construction 1,356 -1%
11 Camden Property Trust 1,784 -6.2%
12 Wegmans Food Markets 43,564 3.3%
13 David Weekley Homes 1,052 32.5%
14 Burns & McDonnell 3,817 6.8%
15 Hilcorp 1,106 9.3%
16 CHG Healthcare Services 1,599 16.3%
17 USAA 25,143 8.4%
18 Southern Ohio Medical Center 2,401 4.8%
19 Baptist Health South Florida 13,818 -1.7%
20 Ultimate Software 1,717 18.7%
21 Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants 8,135 9.9%
22 W. L. Gore & Associates 6,314 1.2%
23 Plante Moran 1,870 18.3%
24 Scripps Health 12,779 4.7%
25 Atlantic Health System 8,510 0.8%
26 NuStar Energy 1,257 -16.1%
27 ARI, Automotive Resources International 1,411 10.4%
28 The Container Store 4,089 7.9%
29 Rackspace Hosting 4,107 16.1%
30 St. Jude Children's Research Hospital 3,759 2.6%
31 Baker Donelson 1,247 1.8%
32 Qualcomm 17,731 16.3%
33 NetApp 8,012 6.6%
34 World Wide Technology 2,060 14.3%
35 OhioHealth 15,266 4.2%
36 Nugget Market 1,151 6.8%
37 JM Family Enterprises 3,678 -1.5%
38 Zappos.com 1,421 13.4%
39 WellStar Health System 11,347 3.6%
40 Alston & Bird 1,628 -1.2%
41 Perkins Coie 1,999 4.2%
42 Stryker 11,068 3.5%
43 Children's Healthcare of Atlanta 6,758 -1%
44 Whole Foods Market 71,930 15.4%
45 Goldman Sachs Group 13,629 2.3%
46 Houston Methodist 13,711 6%
47 Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America 1,647 -7%
48 QuikTrip 14,002 6.9%
49 TEKsystems 3,476 10%
50 FactSet Research Systems 1,862 0.3%
51 Chesapeake Energy 11,779 12%
52 Credit Acceptance 1,304 11.5%
53 Mayo Clinic 44,297 1.1%
54 CarMax 18,106 12%
55 Cisco 36,437 0.6%
56 Devon Energy 3,582 1.7%
57 Marriott International 107,184 7%
58 Aflac 4,758 5.2%
59 PCL Construction Enterprises 1,434 10.6%
60 Bingham McCutchen LLP 1,286 -5.8%
61 Deloitte 45,928 6.3%
62 Meridian Health 9,977 4.7%
63 Build-A-Bear Workshop 3,330 -2.1%
64 General Mills 16,101 -3.7%
65 PricewaterhouseCoopers 36,164 5.7%
66 National Instruments 3,227 6.5%
67 American Express 26,812 -0.5%
68 Roche Diagnostics 4,125 -2.5%
69 Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) 10,389 -3.2%
70 Autodesk 3,116 -0.1%
71 Umpqua Bank 2,397 1.6%
72 Novo Nordisk 5,143 26.8%
73 Kimley-Horn and Associates 1,745 10.6%
74 Darden Restaurants 192,023 -1.9%
75 Publix Super Markets 157,592 1.9%
76 Mars 11,468 4.3%
77 Bright Horizons Family Solutions 15,362 1.8%
78 Ernst & Young 29,391 9.1%
79 Discovery Communications 2,895 -2.2%
80 KPMG 21,609 -0.5%
81 Arnold & Porter 1,385 -0.2%
82 TDIndustries 1,785 7.5%
83 Adobe Systems 5,802 6.3%
84 Intel 49,833 3%
85 Capital One 40,252 11.9%
86 Microsoft 57,642 3.7%
87 Sheetz 13,992 7.7%
88 Teach For America 2,027 21.7%
89 Nordstrom 60,003 -3.5%
90 Accenture 36,590 11.1%
91 Four Seasons Hotels 12,648 -0.6%
92 The Cheesecake Factory 33,618 0.6%
93 Hyland Software 1,660 25.2%
94 Mercedes-Benz USA 1,853 3.9%
95 Hyatt Hotels 36,638 -2.9%
96 Navy Federal Credit Union 9,735 15%
97 EOG Resources 2,376 4.9%
98 Hitachi Data Systems 2,395 8%
99 Kiewit Corporation 20,989 -1.1%
100 Cooley 1,513 5.5%"