The retro craze is still going strong, especially with gadgets like a flash drive disguised as a mix tape, and devices that will let you transfer tunes from old cassettes to MP3s. But here's something that kicks it up a notch--an MP3 player inside an actual cassette tape. You have all the benefits of an MP3 player--an SD card slot, music and volume controls, an on/off switch, and a USB charger--but in a decidedly retro cassette tape. And this is the crazy-cool part: This cassette MP3 player can be used like a normal cassette in a regular … Read more
While people without clothes on dominate a great deal of traffic online, the same can be said about those with clothes--otherwise known as the world of fashion. StyleMob, a new social network for street fashion, is opening up its doors on Thursday. Aimed mostly at female users, the service is a social network about clothes and people who like to show off their outfits. Users can pick who has the most style, and submit their own outfits or fashion inventions for others to rate and comment on. There's also the virtual equivalent of a fashion police with groups of … Read more
MySpace has quadrupled its estimated number of registered sex offenders posting profiles on the site, from its May estimate of 7,000 to a current tally of 29,000. The pages of identified offenders have been deleted. What does this news mean for parents? How do we assess risk and keep it in perspective, and what best practices should be implemented on family, corporate and societal levels to keep kids safe?… Read more
Social shopping Web sites let you track things you'd like to buy and display them on a social networking profile or blog. The style snapshot can serve as a portable gift registry or just a conversation-starter with people who share your style sensibilities. Most of these services provide a browser button so you can easily tag goods you find while Web surfing, in addition to integrating with MySpace, Facebook, or Friendster.
The makers of ThisNext coined the term "shopcasting" to describe its banners that let you display your favorite stuff on a blog or MySpace page. ThisNext is strong for tracking a niche interest; many of its users flag eco-friendly goods, for instance.
Kaboodle's cute site design kept me clicking longer than its competition. Its groups let me humor a passion for vintage sterling jewelry and search for custom tags to find Veronica Lake-era fashion. The community is diverse and creative at Kaboodle, similar to the Etsy crafts marketplace. Plus, tagging is faster than at rival sites. I recommend it.
Wists also let you track a wide range of dry goods, like flip-flops, a guillotine pendant necklace, or a pinball machine. But small usability details irked me, such as needing to type the underscore symbol when adding multiple tags to an item. Although offering less flexibility, as well as an awkward set-up process, MyPickLists will send you a small kickback if someone buys an item on your wish list.
The interface of Glimpse looks nice with earth tones, but I'd like to make fewer mouse clicks there; even a dropdown search bar would help. Glimpse's makers might be wise to capitalize more on its celebrity profiles, say, by letting you add a star's outfit to your personal StyleFile. (I'd have to travel to another decade to use this kind of feature, but others might like it.)
ShopStyle (also here) is free of advertising. It offers staple women's magazine suggestions, like dressing for your body "type," and it irritatingly takes you straight to a store's shopping cart once you click on something. It just launched in February, however, so maybe more interesting features will come later.
Stylehive lets users lead or follow each other's style selections, but merchants may be lurking in disguise, as the Wall Street Journal noted recently. StyleHive is less intuitive than Kaboodle, but it kept me entertained. Yahoo's Shoposphere lets you create pick lists, but I found it boring.
These startup shopping sites, particularly Kaboodle and ThisNext, make it fun to discover cool stuff, but I want them to do so much more, especially when it comes to clothes. The print Lucky Magazine does a better job of laying out outfits than these Web pages do. If you're built like a brick house, wouldn't you appreciate a service that takes your measurements to help account for each brand's variations in size? Mass customization is popular for T-shirts, but the trend still has a long way to go.
I find only a few benefits to shopping for apparel online. In stores, there's no defense from cruel dressing-room lighting, but you can try on anything bought on the Internet in your own boudoir. Plus, weeding out deals on the Web can be easier than scrounging through retail basement bargain bins. More social shopping sites should ping you when items go on sale, as Glimpse, What's Buzzing, and Deal Bundle do.
Other than those conveniences, however, no interface can match the tactile pleasures of shopping in a real world emporium. I'll take thumbing through piles of cashmere any day over clicking through uncozy clouds of text tags online. And who can guess accurately from a flat thumbnail image that some jeans will fit well? Too often you'll find the pair to be too snug, but only after you've already paid and had them shipped home.
I'd like to play with a digital paper doll approach to Web shopping that would let you mix, match, and assemble outfits on an avatar (See also FashMatch). It's odd that IM apps don't already let you shop that way (Second Life is limited, too.).
While cruising around SonyStyle looking for some clue as to whether the NW-A800 might be prepping for a stateside launch, I came across the ICD-U50. What struck me about this device is that it was listed under MP3 players with a 256MB capacity, and I thought "what the...Sony is still selling 256MB MP3 players...and for $99.95!" But then I realized that the ICD-U50 is actually a multifunctional digital voice recorder, and a stylish one at that. I mean, we don't get a lot of standalone voice recorders around here, but I can say with … Read more
No, it's not a bionic dolphin. But we did consider opening a contest to see if anyone could guess what it was.
The latest offering from Italian design factory Alessi is actually a handheld vacuum cleaner. As typical of the work by the uber-design house, the "SG 67" shuns the utilitarian or mechanical forms of its competitors and opts instead for the sleek lines Alessi is famous for.
Luxurylaunches says the vacuum cleaner, which is made of stainless steel and thermoplastic resin, even has an "integrated crevice tool" to show that it's not afraid … Read more
More and more glossy monthlies have been making the big leap to the Web. And now, finally, so is their bible of style.
No, not fashion style; you can find plenty of glam gospel online, especially if you're into offbeat journals like Manolo's Shoe Blog. I'm referring to copy style. Spelling, citation, punctuation, hyphenation, jargon, libel--all the things nerdy editors like myself try to keep a close eye on.
Journalists at traditional papers and sites such as CNET News.com have been able to search online for up-to-date missives from their primary style guide, the AP Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law… Read more