Sep 17

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Ever since stepping into Topshop’s Las Vegas store several years ago, I have been in love with the UK brand. When I was in London this past year, I got the chance to go into several Topshop stores, including their flagship in Oxford Circus, and was amazed at how the brand has become basically a household name in the UK. They not only have innovative clothing at affordable prices, but they always have seemed on point with weaving technology seamlessly into their label and fashion shows.

This year at London Fashion Week (#LFW), they stood out above the others with their democratization of fashion by targeting the younger customer base with a social media takeover.

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Sep 16

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Back in the day (and by back in the day I mean like, three years ago) when I was a DJ at UCSB’s on campus radio station, KCSB 91.9FM I was on TOP of my new music releases. I was required to come up with a fresh weekly playlist that included alternative artists who you wouldn’t hear that often (if at all) on commercial radio stations.

So yes, I had my new music radar goggles on at any given moment. Anything that hit my ear that sounded remotely new (even if it was a new twist on a cover) would make my ears perk up. I would immediately turn to the person closest to me and ask, “Who is this playing?” Eventually, I realized Shazam was probably a good thing to invest in, as many random individuals I encountered were as clueless as me, and probably a bit afraid of my loud, abrupt questions. Now, in an office environment at Oniracom I hear some new tunes occasionally, but my radar has become quite dull. Sometimes I become too engrossed in my work that my ears are never really listening to the music playing on the speakers. It’s a shame because my coworkers have GREAT taste in music.

Luckily though, this past week the music was just too good not to listen to. New Tennis, Jhene Aiko and Generationals graced my ears.

“Tennis”

Tennis’ Ritual in Repeat is just as strong as their two previous albums, if not stronger. The album flows gracefully from one track to the next. “Night Vision” creeps up with a soft drumbeat and soft vocals then, one of their previous singles “Never Work for Free” follows with the upbeat beachy sounds we know and love Tennis for. Other stand out tracks in this album include “Bad Girls” and “Solar on the Rise.” Take a listen here!

Next up, we have the much anticipated debut album from Jhene Aiko. Although I’m not a fan of the cliche album name, Souled Out, Aiko did not disappoint with her tracks. It’s a beauteous R&B record with pretty vocals to the max. I won’t say too much more, listen to the deluxe album here.

“Jhene

OK, lastly we have Generationals with their album, Alix. “Black Lemon” is such a fun, hoppy boppy, lovely opening track. Yes, I said “hoppy boppy.” Like you can’t stop bopping your head back and forth because it’s just that catchy. The rest of the tracks are equally as “boppy” and I am a bit sad that this album came at the conclusion of summer because it would have been a great summer road trip soundtrack. Guess I’ll just have to listen to it in Fall and pretend like it’s summer (not like that’s an issue in Santa Barbara). Grab Alix here.

“Generationals”

More “New Album Release” posts coming soon!

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Sep 09

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“Apple

This morning at 10am PST, the whole world gathered for the unveiling of the highly anticipated iPhone 6 at the Apple Live event in Cupertino. However, Apple not only revealed the details of the next iPhone but also debuted their very first product in the world of wearable technology. The Apple Watch, described as “a smartwatch with inductive charging, a square face, sapphire glass, swappable bands, a heartbeat sensor and a rotating digital crown” by TechCrunch, is Apple’s sleekest new product proving their innovation in the advancement of technological development.

While Apple made it very clear that the watch is not simply an iPhone on your wrist (the watch is only compatible with iPhone 5 and 5s), the list of applications and functions available on the watch holds its own against its mobile counterpart. The design of the watch is classic Apple, with remarkably clean features and lines. All the watches use the innovative “digital crown”, aka the spinning thing on the side of the watch, to access the different interfaces and utilities.

A quick description of the aesthetic differences between the collections:
WATCH: The standard 38mm and 42mm watch faces with leather and stainless steel bands in a variety of loop designs and colors.
WATCH SPORT: Made to withstand sport-style use, these watch faces are made with a 60 percent stronger alloy case. This collection also includes a “sport band’ made of durable Fluoroelastomer in a variety of bright colors.
WATCH EDITION: This collection seems to be the high-end collection, with Rose and Yellow 18-karat Gold 38mm and 42mm watch faces and leather straps.

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Aug 29

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Amazon Acquires Twitch

Author: hannah
POSTED AT 12:08 PM
“Twitch

Twitch, a video gaming community started up in 2011, has recently made a deal to be bought by Amazon for a whopping 970 million dollars. Twitch is a live streaming video platform focused mainly on combining interactive experience, live video streaming, and video games. The site offers live viewings as well as on demand requests for video game content.  Rumors earlier this summer suggested
that Google was positioning to acquire Twitch for a one billion dollar deal. Recently Twitch announced Amazon would be buying the company. 

The surprising merger is Amazon’s largest purchase since Zappos in 2009 (Forbes).  Initially, the fit might seem unnatural, but the CEO of Twitch is hopeful of this new merger, and is excited to work with Amazon to expand their company while keeping the buildings, employees, and general work community the same. 

They also share similar goals and Amazon will be able to supply the company with the resources to further expand and better Twitch’s online community (Mashable).


It seems that Amazon acquiring Twitch will be for the best interest of Amazon and Twitch users alike, in that Twitch will remain fairly independent.  The rumored Google deal fell through due to potential antitrust issues attached to purchasing Twitch (because of Google’s ownership of YouTube, one of twitches main competitors). One major advantage Twitch has over YouTube is its massive live video streaming community. Another fear faced by Google was the fact that Twitch video streamers often play unlicensed music in the background which could serve for some legal issues if Google were to acquire the company. The Amazon-Twitch acquisition is set to finalize later in 2014, according to Twitch. 

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Aug 29

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Apple Preview

Author: jennamarks
POSTED AT 10:08 AM

This September, a new app is going to make you feel like it’s your payday! The new iPhone 6 is supposedly debuting a new payment platform based on near field communication.  Near field communication “is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity” (Mashable).

This near field communication will not only provide iPhone users the ability to store coupons and credit card information on the phone, but also “present and anticipated applications include contact-less transactions, data exchange, and simplified setup of more complex communications such as Wi-Fi” (Mashable). The main goal of this new payment platform is to be able to replace a person’s wallet with just a simple device on the iPhone.  Instead of carrying around multiple credit cards in a wallet in your purse or back pocket, all you need to do when making a payment is to swipe your phone, how crazy!

The rumors have consisted of many people with mixed emotions about this new payment method.  The new iPhone is said to premiere on September 9th and that is exactly when the rumors will be put to rest! Excited to see how this new iPhone will turn out!

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Aug 28

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The Ice Bucket Challenge, known as the challenge that supports the ALS foundation, has grabbed the attention of people worldwide. When checking Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, there is constantly a post about the ice bucket challenge, a picture, or a video of someone participating in the challenge. This challenge is “inevitable” and “unavoidable” (Mashable).  There is not one person who hasn’t heard about this challenge or doesn’t know someone who was nominated to participate. When a cause becomes this powerful via social media, we need to ask: why are people so interested and continuing to stay engaged?

The challenge allows the public to engage with one another and unite to do something for a great cause!.There’s a personal satisfaction that results from participating in the challenge, and the participant feels gratification after the challenge (Mashable). Having an ice bucket dumped on your head not only helps raise awareness for the ALS foundation, but also the participant feels as though this challenge does something for them personally. The participant is publicly called out on the Internet to support the cause, therefore they literally sees themselves in the public eye as a supporter of a great cause. Another reason why this challenge has been successful is that it’s simple and fun. Both donating money and getting a bucket of ice poured on your head take minutes, and hey, it’s also pretty fun.

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Aug 28

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“Hyperlapse
“Hyperlapse“Hyperlapse

Instagram unveiled their newest venture in the app world this morning: Hyperlapse.

Hyperlapse is exactly what it sounds like: “a new app to capture high-quality time lapse videos even while in motion.” according to Instagram’s official press release.

Mike Krieger, Instagram’s co-founder and CTO told Wired that “this is an app that lets you be in the moment in a different way…we did that by taking a pretty complicated image processing idea, and reducing it to a single slider. That’s super Instagram-y.”

Hyperlapse is very much like taking an entire $15,000 setup and creating a cinematic-grade time-lapse video, with different speed options to create different “looks”, and image-stabilization, which is the key to it all. The product team behind the app are product designer Chris Connolly and software engineers Thomas Dimson and Alex Karpenko. Karpenko actually created the first image-stabilization technology for smartphone videos with Luma. This was added on to by Dimson, who after realizing that smartphones had the built-in technologies that could stabilize video footage. This developed into a prototype app, which was the start of Hyperlapse.

All you have to do is shoot a video, pick how fast you want it to speed up (the options range from 1x to 12x) and then save it to share with others. The interface is remarkably clean and very similar to Instagram, but the decision to develop it as a separate app stems from Hyperlapse being such a distinct idea that would be shrouded if it was simply added into the existing Instagram app.

Excited to try this out, and see how users get creative with this app!

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Aug 26

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There are many updates to be expected in the social media realm—Ads on Snapchat, ad opportunities on Instagram, and Vine video imports/edits are on their way!

Recently, Instagram launched a suite of deeper analytics for advertisers that is made to offer greater visibility into viewing campaigns on the network. The program will be rolled out to Instagram’s ad partners such as Levi’s, Hollister, Taco Bell, and more. It will leverage Facebook’s demographic information and let advertisers see an age- and sex-based breakdown of users interacting with branded messages. The metrics will allow advertisers to get a detailed view of all ads and posts which can be sorted by impressions, likes and chronology. According to a post by Mashable, “The idea is to see which types of creative are working best.” This will be a great tool and insight for brands to be more effective with advertisements on Instagram.

Along with updates and ads, Snapchat is planning to jump on the bandwagon and broaden its offerings with ads, TV and movie clips and news articles. The content would display on its ad service called Snapchat Discovery. Brands like Taco Bell and McDonald’s have already launched accounts on Snapchat and others have made deals with stars on the platform to distribute branded messages. Snapchat plans to woo advertisers by reaching out to companies with its “Snaps” concept and having ad messages sent over the service. It is to be expected this November to start seeing more promotions through Snapchat “stories” or content from TV shows. Find out more on the Snapchat report here.

Lastly, an update for Vine allows users to import existing videos from a phone. This is competing with Instagram’s 15-second video option as opposed to Vine’s six seconds videos. In addition, the app will also let you edit the imported video such as duplicating portions of the video or muting the audio. Along with the updated feature, Vine added a grid to help properly compose your shot. Whether you import an old video or shot a new one within the Vine app, you are now able to edit videos faster and with more precision. Read more about the Vine update here.

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Aug 26

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Next week is the moment we’ve all been waiting for… Jack Johnson at the Santa Barbara Bowl. What could get better than that, right?

We’d argue a show that actually reduces plastic consumption and promotes a plastic-free lifestyle to aid the environment, of course! LoaTree, Jack Johnson, and Klean Kanteen are launching a wonderful campaign at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Sunday, 8/31 and Monday, 9/1 in conjunction with Jack’s two shows called #MyCupAndMe. Patrons will be encouraged to purchase reusable cups to help the Bowl meet its sustainability goals. By purchasing a reusable cup, you will receive $1 off any beverage every time you use the cup. You can help green the bowl by rocking the cup!

“My

“We consider ourselves not only hosts of our musical guests, but stewards of the Bowl’s land,” says Rick Boller, Executive Director at the Santa Barbara Bowl. “We are part of this amazing community who supports the Bowl.” LoaTree also states, “The #MyCupAndMe campaign is the Bowl’s first effort to begin addressing the serious problems associated with single-use plastics which is part of their broader venue-wide waste reduction campaign.”

This campaign will begin at the two Jack Johnson shows, but will continue throughout the rest of the 2014 season at the Bowl. AND you can qualify for some prizes by participating in the campaign. Get the details below from LoaTree!

1) Starting August 18th, register online at http://www.MyCupAndMe.com to capture your commitment to reducing single-use plastic by telling us stories of the steps you’re taking to eliminate plastics from your personal lives. All entries will be registered to win. Winners will be selected and notified by email on Saturday, August 30th. Register TODAY!

2) At Jack Johnson’s two Santa Barbara shows, Bowl attendees will have opportunities to capture their commitment in action by taking pictures of themselves and their Bowl-branded Klean Kanteen reusable cups. Pictures can be taken at any one of three different All At Once Capture Your Commitment stations set up throughout the Bowl where attendees can make plastic-free commitments in front of Jack Johnson From Here to Now to You backdrops. Alternatively, concertgoers can simply take fun pictures of themselves with their friends and their reusable cups in hand. Pictures must be uploaded to Instagram and/or Twitter with the hashtags #MyCupAndMe and #AAOPlasticFree at the shows to qualify. Winners will be notified via Instagram at 10pm on the night of each show and can claim their prizes onsite.

Prizes include Jack Johnson CD’s and ukuleles, autographed by Jack, Jack Johnson branded Klean Kanteen stainless steel pints and more! Additional prizes will be given away throughout the Bowl’s season for ongoing #MyCupAndMe supporters.

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Aug 21

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Sneak peek of YouTube Music Key?

Author: kateni
POSTED AT 02:08 PM

“YouTube

Images leaked Tuesday by Android Police supposedly show the long-awaited joint effort of Google and Youtube. The new service, titled Youtube Music Key in the screenshots, will also mean changes for Google’s existing service: Google Play will reportedly become Google Play Music Key.

“YouTube

While i’m still not entirely seeing the appeal of yet another music subscription service, many of the features do seem interesting:
- A free trial month will be offered, and thereafter $9.99/month
- At least 20 million music tracks in the music library available to users
- Additional content such as concert footage, covers and remixes
- Offline playback of music videos and songs with audio-only option for background and screen-off listening

The most interesting claim in my opinion is the statement that all of this can be done “without an Internet connection” and the options for screen-off listening. However, i’m still unsure if this is enough to set it apart from the already existing services such as Spotify, Beats Music, and Google Play and draw users to pay for the service.

There is still not word on when any of this will be released or a predicted launch date, so we will have to wait and see how the final product develops and if it’s anything like the leaked images.

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