The Day Is Here…

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I don’t know about you, but I really can’t think of a better way to celebrate the end of the week than with… YouTube Friday! Now a monthly tradition here on Cutline Speaks, it is guaranteed to lighten up your Friday afternoon and get you ready for the weekend. Make sure to check back at the end of each month for awesome videos like these:

Nothing makes me happier than cute animals (specifically fat cats), which is why I was overwhelmed with joy when I discovered that Garfield the cat is in fact real.

Rachael has a thing for flash mobs, Glee, and Seattle, so it makes sense that she’d also love this video.  She also discovered the trailer for an upcoming movie called “Easy A Olive Penderghast” that she absolutely must see. Don’t let the name fool you; this movie looks like it will be awesome.

Erin presents you the greatest, and I mean greatest, freak-out of all time.

Seeing her sister today — who’s a fanatic about art — reminded Morgan that she must watch “Herb & Dorothy.”

Michael shares this awesomely clever video on “The Future of Publishing.”

And I’ll end YouTube Friday with one of Shannon’s favorite videos of all time, and my personal favorite of today’s selection: Where the Hell is Matt?

What’s your favorite YouTube video?

 

 


Shop Social Online

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I was never really into shopping for clothes online until recently. I preferred the social experience of physically going to a store with my friends, trying things on for fit, and most importantly getting my friend’s opinion on what I was planning on purchasing. Today, however, retail websites are more developed to make online shopping a social experience. With things like product reviews where you can get people’s reactions on fit and quality, shopping online seems a bit more appealing. One thing that would make online shopping a lot more appealing, though, is the ability to get a trusted opinion from my best friends.

This is why I was excited to read the news from Facebook’s f8 conference that it launched Social Plugins. The Levi’s brand — a favorite San Francisco-based company — is one of the only retail companies selected to try this new integration. So, what does this mean for a Facebook and potential new online shopping lovers like myself? It will allow me to “Like” any clothing apparel I view on Levis.com, and I’ll also be able to see the clothes my Facebook friends “Like.” Additionally, Levi’s will recommend products to me based on what both my friends and I “Like.” As this article states, “essentially, it’s a way of combining shopping online and shopping with friends.” Sounds good to me! Take a look for yourself by visiting Levis.com here and then drop me a line to tell me what you think.

Does Michael Need a GeekDesk?

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I often see Michael, whose office is just across the aisle from my cube, sitting/standing at his desk without a chair. It looks like this:

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I immediately thought of him when I read this story about the GeekDesk. It’s an “adjustable height-desk” which with a “flick of a switch” will automatically adjust between chair-level (sitting) and eye-level (standing). Like the author of the article mentions, deciding when to sit or stand seems like just another decision I’d have to add to my to-do list. Then, I began reading a bit more about theories behind sit/stand desks, and I discovered that there is medical research claiming health risks associated with sitting all day. This research, in combination with the feedback I constantly hear from my fitness instructors and yoga teachers about the importance of exercise and stretching after sitting all day, makes me a lot more fascinated by the idea of bringing sit/stand desks into the workplace.

I’d be interested to see if companies start integrating these types of desk into offices as part of health wellness programs. My guess would be that we have at least one Cutliner who would be up for getting one of these desks in his office.

What do you think about sit/stand desks? Yay or nay? Drop us a comment on Facebook.

There’s a Page For That

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A current Facebook trend that seems to have taken over the college community is an unspoken contest to see who can become a fan of the most witty/funny Facebook groups. Now this didn’t seem like such a bad trend at first — it seems a lot better than seeing hundreds of Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox doppelganger profile pictures — but it’s really starting to take over. Every day my news feed is filled with hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of notifications of so-and-so becoming a fan of groups like people who think it’s really awkward showing up to a party wearing the same outfit as Lady Gaga. It seems that’s all my Facebook friends are concerned with these days. In the spirit of this popular trend, it seems as though the people behind these groups are becoming more and more creative, and I find myself giggling at what some of these people have come up with. I would love to share some of the best with you, but they are most likely NSFW… after all, these *are* college students we’re talking about.

Of those that are safe for work, you can really relate to some of these groups; for example, don’t you hate it when you’re trying to give a speech and Kanye interrupts you, or you get in one little fight and have to move to Bel-Air? What about when you realize you over slept and you jump off your bed like a ninja? Also, don’t you ever wonder what those chips were doing inside your packaged air? And I am one of the millions of people who feel very strongly in their heart that there was totally enough room on Rose’s piece of wood for Jack or are there others out there, too?

One cool thing about these groups is that you can learn a lot about your friends based on what they like. Take my friend Sabrina as an example. She likes walking away from explosions without looking at them, running really fast through a dark room so nothing will kill her, and talking to her dog like it actually knows what the hell she’s saying. But seriously, do I *really* need to know all that? Well, it could be worse. There are some groups out there that are, shall we say, a little out there. Hundreds of people apparently hate walking outside, realizing they’re a fish and then dying. There is a large community of students who feel bad when someone punches their abs and the person’s knuckles break. And at least one group feels that becoming a fan is old, and instead want to become air conditioners.

In the last few days Facebook creators decided they would switch things up a bit, and instead of “becoming a fan” of a group, you now “like it”. It’ll be interesting to see what people come up with. My favorite one so far? You.

 

 

 

Earth Day and the Web, Sitting in a Tree. . .

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Happy Earth Day, everyone! No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, it’s hard to deny how great nature is. It’s fun. It’s better than a cubicle. It’s super pretty. And it makes great TV shows.

This Earth Day, I’m thinking about how great for the planet the Web is. The two go together so well. Thanks to the Web, it’s easier than ever to share resources and information about how to make sure we keep everything nice and pretty and healthy for future generations. An added benefit? The more digital our lives become, the less paper and resources we use. (Hi, bank statement and cell phone bills in my Gmail!)

So in honor of how nicely the Web and this day go together, I asked Cutliners to send around their favorite Earth-related sites:

  • Mine first! I love this site called Green is Sexy, created by a college buddy of mine and a famous friend of hers. Being green is really hot, in my opinion, and this site is full of tips and tricks for making your life a little greener.
  • Morgan is basically a TOMS groupie. She loves these guys and their shoes, and she saved resources by coloring in her TOMS shoes with a marker instead of buying new ones. It’s the hottest look for Earth Day.
  • Megan and Erin love sites that help you understand your personal environmental impact and that also offer tips on how to decrease it, like Good Guide and MyFootPrint.org.
  • Finally, Michael and Shannon got all niche and endorsed this SF non-profit that’s working to cleaning up the ocean and this organization that addresses climate change.

In conclusion, the Web is your friend this Earth Day! Don’t forget to get outside today!

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Flip for a Cause

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I always get excited hearing about all the ways non-techies in my life are using tech tools — whether it’s my mom checking her email on her iPhone; my sister using Google Earth to take her fifth graders on a virtual field trip to Washington DC; or my lawyer friend using Google News to do research that helped her land a new job. Similarly, I love hearing stories about how non-profits and educators are embracing new technologies to help run their organizations / classrooms and better share knowledge. So, I was ecstatic when I heard that a non-profit I’m involved with called KnowledgeBeat.org won a spot in the Flip Video Spotlight program. Through this program, non-profit organizations can secure free Flip Video cameras to use within their organizations.

Just as for-profit companies recognize the importance of recording history and the impact of that on the world — for example, companies like Twitter, who recently donated its archives to the Library of Congress — so do non-profit organizations like KnowledgeBeat. With the addition of a Flip Video camera, the organizations’ teams — one based in the U.S. and the other in Zambia — will now be able to record and share success stories of the educational youth camps; improve the instruction process for things like teaching the Zambian team how to use Excel to record financials; and, most importantly, show — not tell — the progress they’re making in education and impact they’re having on Zambian youth. All of this is done through the work of the entire KnowledgeBeat community including staff, founders, advisers and supporters.

The KnowledgeBeat team in Zambia can look forward to their own Flip videos very soon as two U.S.-based volunteers (including yours truly) will be delivering the goods and training the team on how to start recording and sharing stories!

Check out what KnowledgeBeat is all about and learn more about the Flip Video Spotlight program by watching the videos below.

 

Guess the Nerd, er, Cutliner… Take Two

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Continuing our fun little game of Guess the Cutliner, this week we present you with mystery details of another Crew member.

If dropped on a deserted island, this Cutliner would take:

Nexus One

iPad

iPod

And the same Cutliner wouldn’t be able to live without these three sites on said island:

EW’s Popwatch blog

Jezebel

HuffingtonPost

Think you know who it is? Leave a comment or, better yet, become a fan on Facebook and play along with the Cutline Crew as we try to figure out how well we *really* know our teammates!

No iPad Yet? No Problem! Experience the Magic Through Ner. .ahem! Unboxing Videos

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Despite the fact that I work in consumer technology and am a technology nut and carry in my bag at least four different gadgets at any given time, I am not, and never have been, first in line for anything. Why? Well, mostly I hate lines. Also: I get buyer’s remorse really easily. So I like to hear how the first wave of early adopters are enjoying their brand spanking new technology.

This is why I am holding out on the iPad. I’ve really been enjoying this media cycle and Twitter frenzy that has actually given me a good idea of what the pros and cons of owning an iPad are. So far my impression of the device is that it’s awesome for consuming stuff (magazines, comic books, Web sites, books, movies) but not so great at creating stuff. So that makes me want one. Things that are concerning that I’d like to learn more about include: no multitasking and connectivity issues.

So since I’m sitting this initial hype cycle out to make my decision on whether or not to purchase one, I will not get to experience anytime soon the fun of opening up a brand-new Apple product box. Thankfully, the Web (and specifically, YouTube) is full of early adopter types who are meticulously documenting that magical moment when the iPad is unboxed. It’s totally mesmerizing. I can’t stop watching. What is wrong with me? Nothing, I just love watching new stuff come out of the box, OK?

Experience the magic yourself and checkout my playlist of iPad unboxing videos!:

This Season’s Hottest Shirt

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If you’re like me and like the idea of “making your own clothes,” but have no idea how to use a sewing machine let alone where to start, then Zazzle is the site for you!

Zazzle, a Redwood City based company, allows you to channel your creative side to design and create pretty much anything you want, however you want it! And by anything, I mean: binders, invitations, stationary, flyers, mugs, pet clothing, calendars, shirts, business cards, aprons; the list goes on and on.

The site is set up in a clear and simple way, and has literally billions (28,639,804,914 to be exact) of customizable products. The possibilities are virtually endless.

Zazzle makes it quick and easy to customize anything about the object of your choice, including: object size, color, what text will appear on your product, placement of text, and font size/color. It also allows you to upload any image of your own. The coolest part is that once you’ve finished, they have the product made and shipped within 24 hours of your purchase.

Once you’ve got a finished product and are feeling pretty good about how awesomely creative and clever you are, you can test out your skills on the public and click “post to sale.” If anyone else feels the same way and purchases your design, you get a portion of the sale.

Overall, I was pleased with how simple they make it, and if you know what you want you can whip something out and have it ordered within five minutes.

When you get a chance I would definitely recommend checking this site out, and in the mean time, go buy this shirt!

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Moving to The City

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After months spent dreaming of crown molding, vaulted ceilings and hardwood floors, it’s official: I’m moving to San Francisco! Since I first started here at Cutline a short while back, I’ve been living just outside the city in suburbia, planning for the day when I’ll make the big move into the city. If not already evident to you loyal Cutline Speaks readers, I have been looking forward to living in this city for as long as I can remember. When livng in a place as incredible as the Bay Area, I think it’s important to fully immerse yourself in the culture. When living in San Diego, I lived steps from the beach, and now that I’ll be living in San Francisco, I want to live in an area that truly represents the city and its personality. 

Sounds easy enough, right? I’ve been told that right now it’s a renter’s market, and that I shouldn’t have a problem finding the perfect San Francisco pad to suite my taste. After all, I have everything one would need to begin the search:

- Roommate? Check

- Squeaky clean renting history / credit check? Check

- Realistic expectations re: parking situations, rent prices? Check


After a few discouraging afternoons spent attending open houses and meeting with property mangers, it became apparent that we’d have to step up our game and become a bit more proactive in our screening process. Pictures can be misleading and neighborhood boundaries can be exaggerated. What appears to be a spacious 2 bedroom in Russian Hill can end up being a dingy converted one bedroom… not at all in Russian Hill. Yikes!

I’m happy to report that after discovering a few helpful online tools, my roommate and I found the perfect flat in the perfect neighborhood. I won’t disclose exact location, but let’s just say it’s near one of Erin’s favorite restaurants and has that intangible San Francisco charm. Here are some of the tools I recommend when searching for a place to live, in any city:

Google Maps: Listings can be misleading and neighborhood boundaries are not set in stone. Use Google Maps before visiting the house or apartment to get a virtual tour of the surrounding area. This will save you SO much time!

Yelp: For foodies (and foodies in training like me), it’s important to know what types of restaurants, cafes and wine bars are in the area. Use Yelp to scope out watering holes and restaurants is in the area. Whether it’s for Sunday Brunch, nights out with the girls or a fancy date night, you’ll know what’s within walking distance.

SFPD CrimeMAPS: Just about every city has statistics available that outline crime by offense and neighborhood. So be sure you check out the crime in your potential new ‘hood before moving in.

Craigslist: Good ‘ol Craigslist. No matter how many renting sites I looked at, Craigslist is the most comprehensive site for listings. The site’s newest feature allows you to search by price range and number of bedrooms within multiple selected neighborhoods. Super convenient.

Hope to see you all out and about in The City!

 

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