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2012: The Year in Graphics

Great work by NYT. Graphics and interactives from a year that included an election, the Olympics and a devastating hurricane. A selection of the graphics presented include information about how they were created. HERE 2012: The Year in Graphics

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Google handwrite search

Pretty awesome and recognizes handwriting amazingly accurate. Handwrite lets you write your search right on the Google homepage. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyeJXKfAcpc]

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Chic Engine Helps You Find That Dress You Saw on Pinterest

It is not new but the story behind impresses me in terms of idea creation and also it represents new ways how information can be found closer to the real-life search approach: "I saw this white dress the other night, and want to get results for a this type of white dress and not just a dress which has the same shape." Jonathan Allen wrote about Chic Engine on searchenginwatch.com:

What does breast cancer screening have to do with fashion? More than rubber bracelets or ribbon broaches.

Adrian Rosebrock, from Catonsville, Maryland, has put into action insights from his day job as a developer at the National Cancer Institute unit to make a visual search engine.

Working in the breast cancer screening unit, Rosebrock has been developing metrics to detect cancer in images and taking those learnings about computer 'vision', namely histology, and applied it to the problem of shape and color in visual search in the fashion vertical.

His project, Chic Engine, matches the shape and color of any image led query you input, either via a image file upload or a hosted image URL – provided you are looking for clothing matches. Currently the index of returned products comes mainly from ShopStyle but what is available so far is an impressive demonstration of how visual search could be something to look out for.

Full article

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Most liveable city: Zurich

Nice movie by monocle about Zurich.

For a small city, Zürich’s 50 museums, theatres and concert halls are a subtle hint that there’s more than beautiful architecture, clean living and stunning scenery in Monocle’s favourite city of 2012. A strict corporate culture with a village-style feel that means Zürich is a microcosm of a well-balanced city that larger neighbours could learn from.

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Bump Launches Payments App Powered by PayPal to Share Money

Bump, the app that lets users "bump" smartphones together to share contacts and photos, is launching another service to let users pay the same way. It's called Bump Pay.

It's a simple solution, powered by PayPal, and designed to solve the headache of splitting drink or dinner tabs. Similar solutions exist, including one from Venmo and even PayPal's own Bump-enabled app which came out in 2010. (ING Direct's tech is also made possible by Bump.) But now Bump, an app that's been downloaded by more than 80 million users, has decided to introduce a new app, rather than update its original.

Read the full article on FastCompany

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Google added 750 people to its Manhattan office in 2011

The internet giant has expanded heavily with 4 new NY offices and adding 38% more staff in the recent years, especially in New York City. After acquiring four New York companies and going on a hiring spree for its media and advertising arms, Google now has about 2,750 employees in New York City, a 38% increase from 2010, the company told The Wall Street Journal. Check out the new offices designed after the city below. Not sure if I could concentrate with all the playground around but certainly a great environment to foster ideas and creativity. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpm_LIyMtMY]

(via wsj)

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Anthm: make your own jukebox with friends

Just recently I was in a situation where I was discussing with a friend that it would be cool to have the Jukebox option at a party. Well, here is one solution to it! Anthm is a nice little app that lets you start a song queue where friends can throw in their records chosen from Rdio's library of millions of songs. Perfect would be if the app at least also inter-operates with the Android OS.

Check the video to see how it works.

 

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America's incredible mobile year 2011 or the clamor for more spectrum

The US isn't the largest developing and consuming country when it comes to wireless technologies you would have said in the last few years compared to Europe or Asia, especially Japan or India. This has changed looking at the figures of 2011 (from mobilefuture.org): 8.8 trillion texts were sent which presents 15% more than the year before, the data traffic soar by 1800% in the past four years (!), 166% increase of Facebook Mobile users in the first half of 2011 only, 103m wireless tweets posted each day, more smartphones were bought than PC. Short video with more facts about the year: [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKAIzU90zA8]

In fact, the market with its smartphones and user behavior is pretty hungry but the mobile network is currently running out of airwaves (know as spectrum crunch). On 14 February 2012 America's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rejected the possibility to increase the capacity consistent of the proposal by LightSquared to use airwaves formerly used by satellite operators. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) stated that LightSquared technology would interfere with navigation equipement used by planes and operators (see recommendation).

(via cnnmoney)

Heads of AT&T and the FCC are currently discussiung new and different approaches to the spectrum crunch at this years Mobile World Congress currently running in Barcelona, reports pcmag.com: 

Not surprisingly, Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility, pushed for a more market-based approach to spectrum allocation here at Mobile World Congress, while FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski expressed concern that a recent spectrum auction deal in Congress might decrease the agency's power on the issue.

One spectrum crunch option that recently made its way through Congress is voluntary spectrum auctions, with broadcasters selling unused, excess spectrum to carriers. The FCC would oversee the auctions, providing some of the proceeds to the participating broadcasters and the rest to the U.S. Treasury.

Earlier this month, AT&T argued that the FCC should not be allowed to impose restrictions on the auctions - namely, the commission should not be able to limit how much spectrum the larger, more wealthier carriers could snap up.

One of the concerns about not having FCC oversight of auctions is that the biggest carriers like AT&T and Verizon will buy everything, leaving nothing for the smaller providers. To that end, T-Mobile and several consumer groups recently asked the FCC to stop Verizon from purchasing $3.6 billion worth of spectrum from the nation's top cable providers.

Verizon defended the purchase in a recent blog post.

"Rather than waste time arguing about spectrum efficiency, let's focus on the issue on which we all agree: America's wireless consumers face a spectrum crunch that won't be relieved by Verizon's spectrum purchase," wrote Charla Wrath, vice president of Verizon policy development. "It's up to the industry, as well as policymakers, to help ensure that more spectrum reaches the marketplace soon, so America's wireless industry remains the global leader in innovation that it is today. I'm sure T-Mobile would agree with that."

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Brands get physical to build trust

This piece goes along with what we learn in marketing classes that a person is more likely to buy a product/convinced of a product when he can touch it rather then just smell or even only see it on a picture. However, the sensory experience can yet be a bigger differentiator as we become substantially more digital. Further, customer's touch points with a brand are opportunities to make a trustworthy relationship. Fast Company has an interesting article on this:

From handshakes to hardware, intimate signals constantly affect us in life. As the world becomes increasingly digital, we are losing many sensory signals that once moved us. Here's what can companies do to reclaim these touching moments. [...] We’ve come to depend on a whole new set of tones as we key in numbers on an ATM or a cell phone. [...] we need to find a way to compensate for the absence of touch.

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Marlboro car projection mapping (Audi)

  [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=837NcHMtlvU]

10.12.11, Moscow Client: Marlboro Agency: ATOMIC Advertising Agency Presentation of a new car branding Car projection by Radugadesign: motion: Anton Novosad, Yuriy Izmailov, Weaponer sound: Ibenji art-direction: Ivan Nefedkin stage design: Mikhail Egoshin technical direction: Alexander Polonskiy

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Binaural sound made by Sony

This is a pretty impressive piece from Sony if you watch it/listen to it with your headphones on. The sounds are done by award winning sound designer Nick Ryan and shall demonstrate a three-dimensional sound experience done with binaural sound technology by Sony. Watch the video with your headphones and the making-of to it. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nk9Evqi4rqo]

Making of [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xR3CYRAaJ8]

(via ibelieveinadv.com)

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the social enterprise: google to join salesforce.com on stage

The new details of the dreamforce 11 conference in San Francisco sound exciting!Dreamforce 2011 will be held Aug. 30 - Sept. 2 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

As we enter the post-PC revolution, companies are improving the way they collaborate, communicate and share information with customers and employees in the cloud - transforming themselves into social enterprises. Social enterprises build social profiles of customers, create internal social networks and listen to and engage with customers over the Internet. Dreamforce offers the content and educational opportunities that will enable attendees to transform their companies into social enterprises.

(via marketwatch)

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Facebook to add users' locations to updates

It has updated its privacy policy to use the term ‘Place’ when describing its location-based service ahead of the launch of the feature. The update will provide a link to any Facebook page possessed by the owner of the location, such as a coffee shop.

It has just been a question of time until this new parameter will be included in the status update/on Facebook. Now, what happens with FourSquare and Gowalla? I think this will be a serious threat to their existence.

(via nma.co.uk)

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Rethink cities

Currently, more than half the world’s population lives in cities. And the complex collection of systems that make up a city’s infrastructure have evolved, creating new and efficient ways to sustain and support a significant concentration of people. But inside all cities are problem areas that can be optimized and made smarter—improving the function of the metropolis and the lives of its citizens.

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