Posts in the ‘Tech & Web’ Category

A Year In Review

Yahoo 2011 My Year In Review

As we reflect on what happened in the past year in our lives and in the world, it’s hard to remember each moment and what happened when.

Just this past year, Osama bin Laden was finally found and killed, Will and Kate had their magnificent wedding, Steve Jobs and Elizabeth Taylor passed away, Japan was ravaged by a 9.0 earthquake and a tsunami, and the list goes on and on.

In my year, I spent time in Northern California, Vancouver, Minneapolis, and Montreal. I went snowboarding and wine tasting, I learned how to make cheese, I saw Bono, Lady Gaga and Usher perform live, and I found out I will become an aunt.

I’ve been thinking about the past year a lot since one of my biggest recent projects has been creating a social extension for Yahoo!’s popular Year In Review program. Year In Review brings together data and insights gleaned from search and news trends and packages it up into top 10 lists, blog posts and videos. Looking at it from a social perspective, we knew we could make the year’s stories even more personal.

We had a lot of ideas, and ultimately created My Year In Review, a Facebook app that brings together the top headlines and images of the year with a user’s own activities in a timeline set to music. The experience is dynamic, beautiful, and emotional, bringing together moments you may have not thought of for month.

Depending on how heavy a Facebook user you are, the more times you play the experience, the more different versions you’ll see, with new pictures, news events, and timeline images to share.

Don’t just let me tell you about it, though – see your 2011 My Year In Review.

Tips for the best experience using My Year In Review:

  • Allow all the required and optional Facebook app permissions for the most personalized experience. The app will not post any stories to Facebook without your initiation and it does not store any of your data.
  • Turn on your computer speakers so you can hear the music.
  • Play again to see different views of your year. Depending on how heavy a Facebook user you are, the more times you play the experience, the more different versions you’ll see, with new pictures, news events, and new timeline images to share.
  • Share with your friends and family, and add tags for the people that show up in your shared timeline photos.

Happy New Year!

France To Go Has a Brand-New Look

I’d been meaning to redesign my blog for quite a while, but kept putting it off. Finally, though, work has slowed down a bit, I’m not taking any classes this quarter, and I’ve had some time to focus on creating something new. After playing around with a lot of different ideas I finally went with one that plays off of a class assignment I did a while back for a Photoshop class — a Parke Harrison-style image that I used to illustrate an article called “Have Work, Will Travel.”

Unfortunately, the photo isn’t of me, it’s my friend Guiselle, but I took the photo, edited the images, and then translated all that into this blog design. I also decided to simplify pretty much everything — I made all the posts fully visible from the home page, I consolidated many categories, and I cleared the clutter from my sidebar to focus on the most important information. Since a lot of the pages are longer than they used to be, I’ve put in a handy little “up” button on the left so you can get back to the top of the page easily. I’ve also added a lightbox, so if you click to enlarge an image, it will open in an overlay on the page.

I’ve also updated my site’s mobile theme to include image thumbnails for the posts, an iPhone icon, and a look more in line with this new design.

So let me know what you think — I’d love your feedback.

Here’s a look at the past looks of France to go…

The Very First France to Go Design

The Very First France to Go Design

France to go previous design

The Second France to Go design

"Have Work, Will Travel" ParkeHarrison-Style Illustration

My inspiration for the new design

Next up: Redesigning

My Latest Big Project: The Mom Invented Website

The new Mom Invented website

The new Mom Invented website

Well, today marks the official launch of the new Mom Invented site. I’ve spent the past many weeks getting the look in place, the content ready and the custom templates set up. It was my first time working with the Mimbo Pro 2 theme, and though I still have a few things to work out, it’s been pretty easy to work with and the developer has been great with responding to my questions.

Though there’s plenty more we plan on adding, the site has launched with well over 100 posts from its past newsletters, and it’s ready to start bringing women with business and product ideas the information they need to really get going and realize their dreams.

This is by far the biggest site I’ve set up, and I’m really excited to see how it grows. So check it out and support Tamara by leaving a comment or sending a message.

Hello New France To Go!

I’ve been meaning to work on my blog’s design for a long time and just kept putting it off. But when Evan purchased a theme for his new knowledge base site from Woo Themes, they were (and still are) having a buy one get one free deal, so I found one I liked, called Thick, and started playing around.

It’s quite different from the barely modified WordPress default theme I had for nearly a year and a half, and I’m excited about the new possibilities for showcasing more content, more photos and more updates from my social sites.

The old France to Go

The old France to Go

I am sad to see my old header go — I did love that canoe photo Evan took of me in Big Bear. You can still find it on my About Me page.

Next up will be a redesign of my portfolio site, which is much needed since I’m doing so much more work than just magazine/website writing.

Let me know what you think of the changes and if there’s anything you feel is missing. I’m not qute sure about the background yet, but I did have a lot of fun going through all those photos from my travels over the past couple of years. Look closely — there are 64 different travel shots in there.

Here’s a non-faded, larger view of the background, including me sticking my head in an alligator’s mouth, tulips in Hyde Park, listening to sounds at Haus der Musik, Communist-era statues in Budapest, the London Eye, horseback riding in Spain, the Rose Bowl (in an Orange Bowl sweatshirt), Maui’s bamboo forest, the floating gate at Miyajima, the Osaka Sky Buildling, the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, the Temple of the Dawn in Bangkok, and me stalking an albino peacock.

Photo Collage

Let me know what you think of the new look — and what your favorite photo is in the collage.

Weekly Reading: Tech, Tech, Tech, Chocolate!

I’m back from Florida and have plenty to share. I’ll be putting up the pictures and posting about the trip soon, but for now I have lots of new stories out on these fair interwebs. Not presented in the order the headline would lead you to believe, let’s start with dessert…

First, there’s my SpoiledinLA Holiday Gift Guide Review of Madame Chocolat, which you already got a little preview of.

Then there are two AllBusiness articles: one on web browsing tricks to help you speed up your surfing, and another on whether a netbook is right for you.

And then there’s a piece I did for about the unwritten rules of social networking. I interviewed Joel Postman of Socialized PR about The Unwritten Rules of Social Networking, from how to interact with clients to the best strategies for growing a strong following. We also discussed whether to hire a community manager and how to balance your personal and professional identities. Thanks, Tomdog, for sharing one of your social networking blunders, and thanks to everyone else who shared their social media horror stories via Twitter and LinkedIn, too.

A Short Jaunt Back to London

Since Evan and I left London, I’ve wanted to go back. Luckily, we had tickets waiting for us (the last leg of the around-the-world trip plus our original return tickets). We thought we’d be using them over Thanksgiving, but since we’re still unemployed, we decided to move up the date and head out the first week of October.

We left what felt like summer in LA for what felt like winter in London — it was cold, rainy and windy. Thank goodness we remembered to bring our winter coats, though we should have brought hats, gloves and scarves, too. Still, despite the London chill, we were thrilled to be back in our temporary hometown and see all the friends we’d made.

We took the Heathrow Express into town, since we were staying right by Paddington Station, and started a new London adventure, where we mixed going to the sights we’d skipped over the first time around with catching up with our new friends and former co-workers. We even managed to sneak away to Barcelona for a few days to visit Bernat.

We’re back in LA now, but I’ll write more about our trip soon. Unfortunately, we didn’t take too many photos because it was so dreary out. But I may need to add on to my Top London Travel Tips guide with some of the cool things we did, like listen to an open orchestral rehearsal at St. Martin in the Fields and take a tour of the Chiselhurst Caves.

Oh, and check it out: Evan and I are front and center in the Tuttle Club photo on Tech Crunch UK since we went to the Social Media Cafe’s last meeting at the Coach and Horses. I wish I could be there now to check out their new meeting space at the ICA.

Check out our photos in Evan’s Facebook album.

The Pitney Bowes Ad That Caught My Eye

After all the QR and 2d code talk last week, I of course starting seeing the codes everywhere. And even in the US, where I said they weren’t used much commercially. I still stand by that they’re really used only for B2B purposes — there was one on my flight check-in print-out from Continental. There was a colorful, argyle-y code on the wall at MoMA, and then there was this Pitney Bowes ad I saw in the airport.

Pitney Bowes Ad

and closer up

Pitney Bowes Ad

Intriguing, no? Definitely an image that brings up a lot of questions.

The data matrix code isn’t meant to be read — the ad’s call to action is to text “Pitney” to a number, which sends you to their mailsream website. The answer to the question is that it can help organize patient communications. Once again, a B2B function. Now, wouldn’t it be cool if consumers could read the code in the ad?

Maybe they can — I can’t tell since my phone is behind the times. If you can read it, let me know.

I also sent this to 2d code, and they posted it today.