Announcements, Reviews

After Holiday Clothing Sales from all my favs

Get some New Threads for the New Year

Ok, so I didn’t purposely wait for the holiday season so all you fools wouldn’t buy the same stuff that I did- I’ve just been wicked busy. Yes, wickahd busy. Anyway, I thought I would share with you some of favorite places online to get sweet new clothes. Didn’t get what you wanted for the holidays? Then go buy something sweet to wear. And guess what, they’re ALL having sales RIGHT NOW! So screw the economy get on it you consumer whores!

DesignByHumans – Going off the home designer T-shirt fad, DBH launched about a year and a half ago in ’07. There aesthetic is distinct and overall feel of the style they go for is darker and more “designy” than their predecessor Threadless. Additionally their large gamut of available printing techniques allows for some really interesting and high quality products. So far they have been able to consistently put out good shirts and have not followed the path of other user submitted content shirt sites which start to go stale after about a year or two. Oh, and they’re Fabric Edition Ts are bomb. I grabbed one of the limited edition blanks when they were available at their introduction and it is easily one of my favorite shirts. It’s really soft but without being too thin or stretchy.

    They’re having a T sale at $10+ (usually Ts are $19+) until Jan 4.

FULLBLEED – This a unique one on the list, because this is all one guy. Rob Dobi. A man I truly admire and respect, I’ve been following him since he started with his Ts in 2004 as a side-project. The designs have a unique style utilizing silhouettes and simple yet meaningful illustrations. I’ve seen many try to copy his work on Threadless and elsewhere, but it just isn’t the same. His Ts are printed on American Apparel and affordable ($10, capping at $17 for Ts and $35 hoodies) making his stuff the best value of price to design on this list. He also has a fantastic site (that came out of another sideproject) YourSceneSucks.com and the original from 2002 that helped start it allHow-to dress Emo. He also has two super exclusive T designs available from his site for only $10 because they’re

Karmaloop – A collection of street/urban style threads from various brands complete with blossoming socialnetwork/media-ish sub-site. A good place to get some cool stuff you won’t find in most stores, especially if you’re in the ‘burbs. (You hear that hipster kids!? Buy from here and no one else will have the same shit as you!) However, keep in mind, these urban styles are at Urban Outfitters like prices, so if you plan on shopping here, make sure to take that double your boss offered you next Friday.

    But if you can’t work the shift, get over there now and use the code “MERRY” for 50% off your ENTIRE ORDER.

DrJays – Original Street Style – Founded in 1975 in the South Bronx, DrJays hosts brick and mortar locations in NYC and NJ. They’re selection is similar to that of Karmaloop but with typically better prices. Their media site also has interviews famous people on it, oooo, ahhhh. Also, with there long history in the game, I imagine it gets them an advantage with exclusives and deals.

    Also having a sale, check it out!

Threadless – One of the first design/submit/vote/shop community oriented T-shirt sites. They’ve gone a little down hill since their inception in 2000. I may have just grown out their designs but in my opinion have become a bit stale and are usually much more fluffy, cute, cliche, pun-ish and kitschy than other sites. However, they frequently reprint some of their older, more popular designs which I think are a bit better. The Ts tend to be slightly less expensive than others (now starting at $18 and a section of $9 Ts) and their sales are usually better, like right now,

    Ts from $5+.

The Select Series – Formally a special part of Threadless where popular designers were allowed to design a T-shirt and skip the voting process after their regular designs had won a few times. Select is now a full-fledged sub-brand of Threadless complete with its own site and features Ts printed on nicer fabric with various printing methods. These Ts typically have more well designed graphics and are closer to work seen on DBH.

    No sale here.

Chealsestormey – Wellfare hipsters have no fear! Discount American Apparel is here!

    That’s it, plain and simple, this site offers AA stuff for 50%-75% off retail.

TOPMAN – For the bourgeois hipsters and stylish yuppies, this place has some high class, high price clothing to make a dapper appearance from here to across the pond. Originally a UK store, they launched a US online storefront for us yanks to get in style. Look for Eurothreads and just plain classy shit here. Don’t want to pay shipping? Then wait ’til Spring 09 for their first US Flagship store on 478 Broadway in SOHO. Hit them up now and you could land a job there- who knows, maybe they have sweet discounts. Either way, just like everyone else- they have a sale going on now

    Half off featured items.

REVOLVEclothing – Launched in 2003, it’s really just another online clothing store featuring collection of high design, hipster/urban-esq brands for your self-indulging pleasure. They stand out by having one of the largest brand selections I’ve seen (I didn’t bother counting, but it’s a lot, as far as actual selection they claim 4400+ styles for Women and 7500+ styles for Men). They also tend to have some brands that are harder to find and more exclusive (again, especially in the suburbs and less culture heavy, less-populated cities). They’re prices reflect they’re selections and are in the premium/designer range, but right now stuff is

    30%-80% off during their End of ’08 Blowout.

Digital Gravel – A storefront-blog/tlog combo- features an assortment of designers and brands big and small. Mostly urban/street/hipster styles. Apparently has lots of exclusives. I can’t say for sure as I haven’t paid much attention to it because it’s definitely on the pricey side. Although I will now because they just started tweeting deals, hopefully this will turn into more than just a holiday thing.

    Currently free shipping, but you missed the Sample Sale at there CA warehouse, also add them to your Twitter as they tweet random sales that last anywhere from 1 hour to a few days.

DistrictLines – A company that allows designers to operate small storefronts underneath their ecommerce infrastructure. The majority of its clients seem to be metal/hardcore bands and some Youtube related shirts. But there are some hidden gems and interesting designs hidden withing the shop list if you’re willing to dig (this may make it easier). They also apparently have no policies about copyright infringement.

    Oh, and as far as I could tell, there are no sales here, however, I didn’t check every storefront.

Merchline – Just like District Lines except the majority of storefronts are actual designers instead of hardcore bands. This is the company that hosts Dobi’s stuff. Lots of good stuff here. Just gotta dig.

Neighborhoodies – Don’t feel like waiting for your design to win on Threadless and don’t want to make at least 6 of em on CustomInk? Neighborhoodies offers one-off custom shirts and of course, hoodies. But if you aren’t feeling creative, they also have readymades too! And if you’re in the hood, stop by theirs @ 26 Jay Street Brooklyn NY 11201.

    No sale that I can see

Spreadshirt – Like DistrictLines and Neighborhoodies, Spreadshirt is an on-demand Tshirt printing site. It’s pretty cool and a review of it can be found on the The Tshirt Blog, but there is also a storefront of other peoples work. Definitely worth checking out.

    Seems like the sales are over, but stuff is pretty affordable anyway.

Mysoti – Brought to my attention by TSB Another on-demand Tshirt site with a marketplace. The generally reflects a mix of DBH and Threadless, although the Most Wanted seem to all be leaning towards a DBH look.

    No Sale

A Better Tomorrow – A clothing store with primarily Ts but also with some apparel like special edition, artist painted Nikes. This site combines the aesthetics of Threadless, DBH and Karmaloop with a very eclectic mix of styles. I’m pretty sure there used to be an English storefront version of the site, but right now it’s all German. A good place to snag super exclusive threads and kicks as the German aspect has probably confused and scared off your friends who can’t waste their time with other languages. I don’t know about shipping, but I’ve had good experience getting stuff to the US through Deutsch Post from other companies.

    No sale as far as I can tell, but, I can’t read German either.

Oddica – A Tshirt site with decent designs. The name is pretty fitting as the designs can be a bit weird at times. General style reflects a mix of Threadless and DBH. Oh, and

    THERE IS A Sale- $10 Ts, $18 Polos and $25 Hoodies.

BustedTees – I mention this one last because although funny/entertaining, these type of shirts aren’t really for me anymore, they also have enough advertising between Facebook, MySpace and College humor that they don’t need my link. However, I’ve included them in the list here because I referenced them a few times in this article. So in case you didn’t know about them, now you do. Most of their products are T-shirts with graphic puns, funny references to pop-culture and other related designs. There a step up from the shirts you bought at Hot Topic and thought were cool to wear when you were in middle/high school; but they aren’t anything too graphically complex or sophisticated. Most of these are shirts are ones that I could appreciate on someone else and think are pretty funny but wouldn’t wear myself. I say most because there are a few, that if given to me as a gift (i.e. free, e.g. I didn’t have to pay for) I would probably wear. Also, hilariously sarcastic, caustic and now iconic Someecards has licensed their designs to BustedTees. Providing an entire new array of fairly amusing shirts.

    There is also a special sale this week only AND FREE RETURN SHIPPING!

The others- Below are a few more somewhat generic online T shops. For the most part, they’re nothing special and/or new, but still might be worth checking out.

Chop Shop – Another one like Loiter Ink or BustedTs. Some decent designs worth looking at.

    Currently featuring a sale of Ts from $1 to $10

Luckythreadz Loiter Ink – Previously LuckyThreadz, Loiter Ink is kind of like BustedTs and trying to be like Threadless. Haven’t seen many new shirts on here in ages- but depending on your style, you might like some of the shirts found here.

    Although they’re site is Christmas themed, it doesn’t seem to be related to any Christmas sale…dumb.

TeeTonic – Like a Scottish based version of Threadless, you’ll find enough unique stuff to merit a visit, but after a while, you’ll notice some redundancy, ideas that have been covered by Threadless, Rob Dobi and others months/years earlier.

    They are also having a 50% sale and some stuff for 5pounds, I don’t know about shipping costs to the US though.

Turtlehead – With a T design style VERY similar to that found on Threadless but a selection that doesn’t even fill one page, it’s not much to look at, but I didn’t want to leave it out.

    No Sale

MOJITEE – Unique Character Tees, unfortunately I haven’t seen the selection change from those six same Ts in at least 2 years. Also, the T I got was super soft but was very light, weirdly stretchy and fit awkwardly.

    No Sale

Insanely Great Tees – A decent name wasted on a lackluster site. Good for the Apple Geek in your life, this site features a static selection of Mac and OS related Ts.

    No Sale

Also, stay on-top of T-Shirt news and styles with http://tcritic.com/, http://www.iloveyourtshirt.com/ and http://www.thetshirtblog.com/

Did I miss any worth mentioning? Let me know in the comments!

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Probably Only Important to Me, thoughts

Whr has my Flickr gone? [10/30/08]

I’ve had it- this is it, I’ve got to do something- because this is ridiculous. The thing is- I’m actually really sad about this whole fiasco because I really did love Flickr, but every day of this BS makes me more and more adverse to wanting to ever go back.

If you want to read about all that’s gone down- check after the jump.

[Please comment and Digg this story to show your support!]
Continue reading

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Amusement, discovery, Musings

What does Patagonia think they’re doing with their SEO!??

What does Patagonia think they’re doing!??

This was just brought to my attention by one of my clients looking for SEO. They were curious whether they should implement a technique they saw on a competitors site. When I followed the link they sent me, I tried not to laugh.

It appears that Patagonia has gotten some bad advice. If you visit their homepage and scroll to the bottom, you’ll see what they are calling a “Search Index Page Description”. However, this looks remarkably like one of those cheap attempts at SEO manipulation you saw back in the early web days when sites would list tons of key words and links at the bottom of the index page in a font color the same as their background color. This would make the jumbled mess of words invisible. Now search engines can look for that- so it seems that Patagonia has tried failed to go about it in a more clever way.
Look here:

It’s interesting to see a reputable company and essentially a company with enough money to hire good, knowledgeable web/SEO people stoop to such a low level and implement such a low brow, brute force SEO tactic.

It’s possible that this could help them get a quick ranking spike. However, in the long run, this will only hurt them. Especially if their site is flagged for manual review. This would no doubt be seen as an active attempt at SEO manipulation. Their lame excuse of providing the customer with an index page description or whatever wouldn’t hold any water.

On top of that, even without manual review, with that amount of link and keyword density, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Googlebot/algorithms haven’t already discounted that section of their page. You can definitely tell they are trying the way they’ve placed and phrased the anchor text of all these links. Then they attempted to make it look less like mumbled garbage by tying the links together with regular words in order to form a loose paragraph. The result however, is only somewhat intelligible.

My favorite part is their lame (but the most creative of the whole deal) way of including misspellings in this hunk of garbage. At the very end of the “description” appears:

If the whiskey bottle gets passed around the campfire too many times, folks might try and spell Patagonia like patigonia, pategonia, padagonia and pantagonia.

I mean, its possible that the one liner about whiskey would be more than acceptable and even outright clever ON ITS OWN, as a way to get misspellings on the page- however, any merit it had is completely canceled out by the rest of this catastrophe.

I think the Patagonia web team were ones passing around the whiskey bottle on this time.

And of course, on top of all the technical stuff- not only is ineffective and possibly detrimental, but it looks ugly.

You have a very messy, unprofessional, garbled mess sitting at the bottom of your home page that causes unnecessary scrolling for the user. Total Fail.

However, in order for this to be an Epic Fail, they need to get caught or penalized by google. If only I could get a hold of their analytics reports…

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discovery, Music, Musings, Reviews

How well does iTunes Genius automated playlist work?

The quick answer: Pretty decent actually.

An Overview

Get past the shameless excuse to push the iTunes music store on you, asking you to download related music you’ll probably like and tracks you may be missing from a particular album or artists discography- the actual playlist creator is pretty decent. I imagine it uses the category/genre, artist, featured artists, producer, label information combined with related purchase history of customers and ratings of that song. UPDATE: I found an entry by Ryan Faas who seems to have more detailed information about how the Genius feature works- basically inline with what I previously thought. One interesting thing I found is that it seems to evaluate each track individually. I found this with the Steel Pulse playlist (viewable at that bottom of page), all the tracks looked legit except you got Mims in there… But, if you listen to the track, that specific track actually is a remix that features Reggae style artists Cham and Junior Reid.

Here’s an example of the first one I tried. Built off the Postal Service – Nothing Better

And here’s one for Portugal. The Man – Gold Fronts – not too bad either…

And One for Saves the Day – Jesse And My Whetstone

So How Smart is a “Genius”?

Now, it’s not perfect, as repeating artists in a playlist is typically a no-no. Especially repeating artists twice in a row. Unfortunately I could not find an option to keep it from repeating artists, however you can use the “refresh” button to regenerate a playlist until one you are happy with is created. All the ones I’ve posted here are the initial playlist generated for each track, I did not press refresh.

Also, in terms of goal, it is definitely a success, although you may do things slightly differently when manually trying to create that “perfect playlist”, part of the stated purpose of Genius Playlists is to

help you discover songs in your library you never knew you had β€” and rediscover forgotten favorites.

Source: Apple.com

Being a music horder/packrat/scavenger I have a relatively massive library with many tracks I’ve never even listened too yet, it definitely has assisted me in that aspect so far. It also helps me discover specific tracks from artist they did in a style not typical to their own (just a raw example, Mims). It’s great for artists like Broken Social Scene who have a huge variety of styles.

You can also regenerate a playlist anytime along the line- so for example say you started with everything based off of RATM – Bulls On Parade and it gets to Incubus – Wish You Were Here, and you think, hey, that’s a decent mood change, just make sure Incubus is highlighted and click the little atom/genius button again and it will recreate a playlist based on Incubus – WYWH. Pretty cool. You can also do that with any track within the playlist without it actually playing, just select it- but note, pressing the genius button will switch to the selected track (and create a new playlist).

So What’s the catch?

Now remember, for the actual playlists (not the suggestions) you actually have to have the music in YOUR library (I was unable to get it to pull in music from any shared libraries I was connected to). So the accuracy, variety and general decency of your generated playlist will probably be related someone directly to your music library size.

Another catch, to generate a playlist off a song- that song needs to be available in the iTunes store- so tough luck for all you fans of The Beatles and AC/DC. I also imagine that for a song to be indexed by Genius and thus included in a generated playlist it needs to be available in the iTunes music store as well.

When saving the playlists it creates, they remain dynamic- this is good and bad. Good, meaning you can still refresh it and use the dynamic genius options- Bad because, unfortunately, once you refresh it, you cannot revert back to the one you originally saved/generated.

Do you have a good playlist Genius generated? Post it in the comments! Or, have a track you want to see a playlist generated for, let me know, I’ll do my best to get it up.

The IQ Tests

Here are some more playlists I generated for additional examples/reference. I tried to show a variety of music genres.
NOTE: I believe the queries I ran to be pretty fair representations as it was pulling the songs from a library of 21,011 tracks, over 105 Gigs of music.

PS- on the topic of new iTunes 8 features, I’d just like to say, that although an improvement, the “New” iTunes visualizer, is not that visually impressive. I’ll still take Leopard’s Jelly any day.
UPDATE: I partially take that back. Although Jelly, appears “smoother”- it seems I was using the wrong music to truly see the new improved responsives and upgrades. I put on the new visualize to some chiptune (Stu – chiprape) and it was actually pretty sweet. Really cool.

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Amusement, discovery, Reviews

Awesome FREE beta software for Getting Things Done

Alright so I’ve been playing around with a lot of cool stuff lately and I just wanted to fill you in on some cool programs you should all definitely check out. Some apps you may know, some, not. Some items in this post have to do with GTD (Getting Things Done). I’ve been doing a lot of reading about it from the hipster PDA to the best note taking tools, and my copy of GTD by David Allen FINALLY came from Amazon after I had to reorder it, so I’m reading that too. Needless to say, I’ve been a little gung-ho about this whole GTD thing. Anyways, all of these programs here could be called utilities and thus be said help you get things done in some sense- so check it out:

New to me Today

Jott

Evernote

jott logoOk, first off, Jott is pretty sweet to start. It’s basically a free call in memo service, but it goes a step further. Not only can you call a free 800 number (technically 866) and leave a voicemail for you to listen to later, it transcribes the message and sends it to your inbox, or your friends inbox, or a group of inboxes. And with the help of an OmniFocus mail actions script edited by Dr. Drang, you can go straight from Jott to OF. (See the bottom of this post for the file). It’s got enough to it, that, if you so choose, you can use it as a action management too all by itself.

Now just image all those late night drunk dials to your buddies voicemail. What if instead you Jott’d them. Not only would you have a sweet message to listen to later (the audio from all memos is also archived for you to listen to, incase the transcription is wrong or jumbled) but you could also be slightly amused by what a computer thinks you are trying to say when your too sloshed to talk straight. As an added bonus, if it’s brilliant enough, you can choose to share the memo (audio/transcription) as a public link from Jott! Marvelous!

UPDATE: Unfortunately/Fortunately, Jott is out of beta now- so although the basic phone jotting is still supported for free, to get the notes transcribed and sent to your email now only comes as part of a paid membership.

evernote logoSo, I haven’t extensively tested evernote yet, but just by watching the video, I’m hooked. I’m most curious however about the OCR technology present in the software, that evidently can index text from images for search purposes, even handwriting. Like I said, I haven’t given it a full hands on go yet, but I’m sure to soon and I’ll let you know- for now though, take a look at the Youtube vid of it in action.

I’m also really digging the OS integration with comp to web synchronization. Especially the phone camera to evernote capture. I’m a big fan of none phone app phone functions, like updating twitter from your phone, Twitpic, Jott and Text to Omnifocus by texting to [email]+omnifocus@[isp.com].

Stuff I’ve been using

DropBox

Mint.com

DropBox LogoNow Dropbox is really cool. I found out about it from, I think Mashable, a long time ago when they promoted DB as the next big thing. All the link took me to was getdropbox.com with a simple movie and a beta sign up. I signed up for the beta, but forgot to bookmark the page, then for some reason could never remember what it was called and always ended up on box.net, which I knew was not it. Then I felt stupid every time I tried to tell people about it but couldn’t…(It would always go… “oh yea this online thing with windows and mac client thats like iDisk and media fire but better, some kids from MIT… yada yada…no, I forget what its called… :(“) Until about 2.5-3 weeks ago when I got a glorious letter to my inbox. It was an invite to the beta of DropBox. I recognized the name immediately and had a little Eureka moment. Needless to say, DropBox is pretty dope.

  • Two gigs of space
  • seemless integration with os x, including right click options and task bar icons- Dropbox shows up and behaves exactly like a regular folder system on my comp
  • Great web side application and menus
  • Version tracking and folder invites, plus a public folder with sharing links (no more need for mediafire, yousendit, zshare or the dreaded SendSpace, ew.) [However, Mediafire will still be my top choice for the quick and dirty stuff when I’m on a borrowed computer and don’t want to bother logging into DropBox for some reason….which probably won’t happen]
  • Image management/editing, which, I have not tested first hand but looks sweet in the video
  • Version management/backup which is like built in, automatic Apple “Time Machine”
  • Smart updating which only changes the delta of the file, not overwrite the entire file- very quick and saves bandwidth
  • Virtual shared folders for that act like network shared folders when two people have dropbox

Just watch the video for the full taste. But I do suggest you sign up for the beta and try it out. It’s sweet.

@DropBox, just watch your back with that “just works” stuff. You might earn yourself an email from Mr. Jobs legal staff.

Imagine replacing your iDisk, Mediafire, Flashdrive and Shared folder with one application/web solution. Get things done quicker with less mess. Word.

Mintlogo– After signing up for the beta then chickening out and not doing anything with it because I was really skeptical with entering every last digit of all my account numbers, financial passwords and etc into a brand new beta web app. So I waited it out a few months for some giant news break about an internet startup found committing identity theft and financial fraud on a mass scale. This never happened, in fact, some blogs started raving about Mint, so I finally sat down and got “Minty” by setting up my accounts. I gotta say, it’s pretty sweet. It’s helped me visualize and better track my spending. It also saves me a ton of time by allowing me to see all my info at once instead of opening 4 tabs, each with my different bank statement open and logged in on. Additionally, I’m in love because it allows you to send custom alerts and statements to your email. Now, this seems pretty standard, but since Bank Of America has always and STILL lacks the most elementary alert of sending me a daily balance of my credit card statement (it will do your checking account, but cannot do your credit card), the fact that I could now do this (and more) with a free web app makes me smile. I don’t hve to waste time in a browser logging into BoA.com with the multiple password, security checks, instead I just look in my inbox. The way it makes money, I’m assuming, is through the “Ways to Save” tab, where it analyzes your spending habits and financial situation and recommends things you can change to save money. Like switching to a CitiBank Credit Card with 10.49% APR and a better points reward system instead of my BoA card with the 30.9% APR (I never carry a balance, so I don’t care). It’s definitely a nifty and useful tool. Certainly worth checking out. As a bonus, it’s pretty and nicely designed. Check out the demo video.

Just out of Beta

Recently out of beta (at least there no more mention of beta on the site) is CurdBee. I’ve been playing around with Curdbee but haven’t really gotten a chance to use it because I’m already pretty good with my Excel/OmniFocus method, but it could use improvement, so when I get a chance to actually use it, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, if you’re in need of a cool FREE online invoicing system- take a peek!

Well that’s all for now. I’ll continue to keep updating as more becomes available, new features arrive and new sweet betas surface. Until next time

The file I promised…

Looking for the compiled version of Dr. Drang’s script- look no further, I removed all those pesky line number and compiled it for you here- get it from my DropBox public link: http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/68778/jottactions.scpt

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