Posts filed under: Technology


Techy Stuff we like

There are some unique challenges to online fashion retail. People are all kinds of funny shapes and sizes – and it is tough to know how a garment will look on you without trying it on.

Some of the problems of selling things online cover all areas however, and are not limited to a particular product or market. Take a look at this (very funny video). If that seems like any sites you use you need to ask yourself why you are using them.

It is important that the user experience online is improved. As the consumer the only thing you can do is vote with your feet and refuse to give business to those who make it hard to use there sites. It is also important to remember that even online you have consumer rights, and to be aware of them.

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It is a fact that if you want people to take you seriously in business then you need to dress to impress. The first thing that those that you are interacting with will judge you on is your shoes. It does not matter who you are or what you have to say or sell, the shoes on your feet will be making a large contribution to the judgements they are making about you.

The clothing you choose to wear is also a part of the brand that you are building for your business. This is not a tricky thing to get right – tried and tested is the way forward here.

One aspect that is often overlooked by people starting out in business however is the contribution to their image that is made by the cars that they drive.

If you show up to that all important meeting driving an old banger, what does that say? Anything other than the latest, smartest ride says you are a loser, and nobody wants to back a loser.

There is a saying: ‘fake it until you make it’. Smart new cars are expensive to buy, and will be low down the list of priorities of a business start up.

Fortunately leasing a business car is easy. Without a large up front outlay you can get the transportation that you need in a style that does not embarrass.

A German car is always a good look. A BMW 7 series certainly sends all the right signals to investors:

Another classic German marque is Mercedes-Benz. The current E-class in particular is a beautiful piece of design:

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The K Dress

100% silk, Hand pleated and containing hundreds of LEDs. Allows you to sparkle and glow in the color of your choice!

The K-dress, bearing a genetic similarity with the dress CuteCircuit created for Katy Perry for the MET Gala (above), was unveiled during a special catwalk event in Paris. The K-Dress is made entirely in the UK of 100% luscious hand-pleated silk chiffon and silk taffeta. And it features hundreds of LED lights embedded in the fabric that glow and sparkle in whatever colour or pattern you choose!

The K-dress has a small snap-in controller that recharges via USB, just plug it into your computer USB port and charge it up! The battery is fully charged in about 2 hours and you can sparkle for the whole night!

Available in ivory and pink or solid pink for £1,350.00 from

CuteCircuit products have been exhibited in museums and exhibitions the world over. The groundbreaking Galaxy Dress by CuteCircuit is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

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Its become more and more apparent that as the rise of technology continues people are starting to not use/wear watches. Due I guess to the pointlessness of wearing a device which at the most can be a very poor TV remote. I still occasionally wear a watch and generally enjoy the experience. I do also happen to enjoy looking at watches with a friend who could be deemed an ‘enthusiast’ .

I do on the flip-side appreciate that a good watch is the kind of investment every person needs. It does seem that the current generation are very keen on OTT designs which are generally fluorescent and fairly devoid of any real personality. Sure if you can afford a Rolex or something like that you can always go for something with more panache then a ‘retro Casio’.

This Timepiece from Steven Goetz is personally a favourite and I’m hoping one day to be able to just go and pick one up and wear it with pride.

Steven Goetz Timepiece

Steven Goetz Timepiece

I love the way it only ‘illuminates’ the hour hand when it moves over. What a great nifty little time saving device!

Steven Goetz Timepiece

Steven Goetz Timepiece

Search Google : Steven Goetz

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With the huge rise of mobile communications, many have believed that the problems with connectivity and speed have been driven by the rise of mobile broadband and the seemingly ‘huge amounts of data’ used by such connections. This is about as far from the truth as the moon is from earth : A long way.

The truth is that any bad connection that you are receiving courtesy of your Mobile Broadband dongle is thanks to all these clever smart-phone types swallowing up all of the mobile data allowances on networks, leaving you the dongle user to a substandard connection.

How? I hear you cry! This question has been summed up excellently below.

Broadband Genie editor Chris Marling said, “It seems mobile broadband service providers can’t keep up with the demand for data, which is being fuelled by advances in smartphones alongside the desire for mobile broadband via dongles and embedded in laptops.” Marling said that the devil’s gadgets (our words) including the Iphone are hogging all the bandwidth with their fancy applications, gaming, and email attachments, thereby ruining the “Oh. I’m in a coffee shop writing my novel” experience for dongle users everywhere. “It will be interesting to see how Vodafone and Orange hold up under the extra data strain Apple’s iconic device clearly brings.”

The Original Smart-Phone

The Original Smart-Phone

Take for example how an Iphone makes a connection:

When the iPhone wants to access the network, it turns on the 3G radio, establishes the connections, download the email or web page it wants, and then drops the connection and turns off the 3G radio. Total time – around 1 or 2 seconds. A few seconds later it will repeat the process for the next data access. This rapid turning on and off of the radio saves the phones batteries but causes the control channels to be clogged and the radius and DHCP servers to be overloaded.

Dongles do not cause problems with signals as they tend to setup a connection and hold that connection for a long time. With more and more people using smart-phones to create a connection to their PC commonly known as ‘tethering’, which cause’s a almost bottleneck type problem with the network. This problem seems to be exacerbated by the plethora of free SIM ads which seem to be omnipresent around the internet, what needs to happen is contract SIM smart phones need to be allocated set data amounts. Doing this will allow everyone to achieve the best connection.

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It’s great to think that a person is able to communicate with companies and other persons on the move without having to pick up the phone or send an e-mail. Real time communication is even being transferred into the search results of Google in the form of ‘Tweets’.

With the rise of Social Networking sites like Facebook, Myspace and indeed current big hit Twitter (lol), its probably fair to say that its better to be involved then it is to not be. As the access which these sites give you to either direct members of staff or third party (in the know) agencies is incredible. Brands are finally starting to remember the customer and of course well thought out any strategy should incorporate elements of social media and interaction with the customer: not just treating them as your end of year bonus package.

Of course “Being Connected” comes in many different ways. Some prefer being able to maintain their communication with a company through the medium of the telephone. Others enjoy being able to Tweet the company about the concerns they might have and if you are slightly jaded like myself you probably still like sending long e-mails with long thought out sentences like:

“I’m going to boycott you unless you meet my probably unreasonable demands…”

Alternatively you could use a Netbook using a mobile broadband connection or even WIFI (I’m tempted towards actually being in charge of the connection as opposed to relying on a signal created by say a coffee shop or library). Recently I took part in a consumer panel for a mobile broadband ISP. It was very interesting and my opinions where found thanks in part to a social media/interaction with users strategy.

Others may use contract SIM phones or even pay as you go phones to contact companies to make their complaints or sing praises. As I said earlier I was picked to go to London to communicate directly with the head of product development (this did however involve drinking a little bit too much wine and a stay in a very expensive hotel). All this was possible thanks to the rise of online communication and the willingness of brands to stay in touch with the customers who at the end of the day – pay the wages.

As a consumer its always worth remembering that being in contact will enable to you to maintain an element of ‘closeness’ with a product/brand. Believing a brand wants to hear what you think makes you want to invest your pennies into a company, remember someone somewhere wants to hear what you think…

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A very interesting article cropped up on ReadWriteWeb on the new product from Apple the fairly (in my opinion pointless) IPad. It is below.

When consumers rush out to purchase Apple’s new handheld device, the slate-like computer called the iPad, they’ll have several options to choose from. In addition to multiple storage capacities, iPad buyers will have to make an even more critical decision: Wi-Fi or 3G? Although Wi-Fi hotspots are in many places these days, from airports to coffee shops and sometimes even blanketing a city’s downtown, anyone with an iPod Touch will tell you that they’re far from being everywhere. That problem certainly limits some of the functionality of the iPad apps, especially those relying on real-time updates for breaking news, data downloads or other Internet-only content.

Considering that the contract-free iPad 3G plan starts at $15 per month, one would think that, given these potential issues, the 3G version would be the top choice among consumers. However, AT&T’s CEO thinks otherwise. He predicts the iPad will primarily be a Wi-Fi only device. Is he right?

Too Many Subscriptions

According to a Reuters report, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson says he doesn’t expect the iPad’s launch to lead to very many new AT&T service subscriptions. “My expectation is that there’s not going to be a lot of people out there looking for another subscription,” he was quoted as saying.

He may be right. As consumers, we’re starting to hit a saturation point with how many times we have to pay – again and again – for access to the same Internet. We have our broadband bill for at home, a mobile broadband bill for our laptop’s “air card” and a third bill for our phone’s data plan. Layer on top of that the numerous subscription services for Internet-accessible content, like Xbox LIVE, Netflix (via their “Watch Instantly” service) and premium music streaming sites like Pandora, Spotify or, and it’s clear that we’ve become overloaded. Will anyone out there be able to afford yet another wireless data plan? Apparently, AT&T isn’t counting on it.

Will You be Missing Out?

If you plan to use the iPad mainly as an eBook reader and portable media device for streaming iTunes-purchased content, then you won’t miss out too much when you go offline, which – let’s face it – when you leave the house, that will be most of the time. The majority of iPhone games, all of which will work on the iPad out-of-the-box, won’t be affected either. But what about when you want to read the newspaper or a magazine via the iPad? Without an Internet connection to download the latest, you’ll be stuck with yesterday’s news or last month’s edition of Wired. And if you wanted to quickly share something you read on Facebook or Twitter, you would be out of luck, here, too.

However, many people may be willing to live with these limitations. Just as we’ve learned to sync our iPods and iPhones before we leave the house, we may soon need to remember to update our online newspaper and magazine apps, too. For this minor inconvenience, there’s a major payoff: the monthly savings, of course, but also hundreds of dollars off the retail price of the iPad.

When the IPad hits the stores in the UK it will be interesting to see whether there is essentially a pay as you go option. Personally I cant really see the point of the device

  • It looks cumbersome and uncomfortable to use.
  • Its basically just an IPhone without some of the functionality
  • Poncy Apple at it again.

    Of course we all know that this device will sell like hot cakes, but perhaps at first to the Apple Fan boys then onto the normal people…

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    There was a fairly good post put on Broadband Expert this week on whether ‘The free laptops included in Contract Mobile Broadband are free or not’. The Post is below for convenience’s sake:

    Whilst many mobile broadband providers and resellers offer free laptops with a range of mobile broadband deals consumers are being urged to consider whether these laptops really are free in the true sense of the word.

    With mobile broadband services having become increasingly popular the market has grown more and more competitive, and rival mobile broadband providers have had to find new and inventive ways to try and attract customers. One of the incentives that many mobile broadband providers offer when it comes to deals is free laptops with certain mobile broadband packages. Often consumers can look forward to a pretty high specification laptop with certain mobile broadband deals and contracts and this is what often sways the customers to go for a particular mobile broadband deal.

    However, whilst the offer of a free laptop can certainly be tempting for consumers officials are urging those that are considering opting for a particular deal simply because of the free laptop offer to consider just how free the laptop is in the true sense of the word. Often consumers will simply choose a particular deal because of the thought of getting a free laptop, when in fact they could have enjoyed greater value for money with a different package option.

    It is important to remember that often these free laptops are only available with longer contracts, so you need to consider whether being tied into a contract for eighteen or twenty four months is worth the free laptop. Also, often the laptop is only available with the more expensive packages, which means that in effect you are still paying for the laptop over time.

    Its worth bearing in mind however just how prevalent mobile broadband has become in the last 2 years.

    At the end of the article comes this interesting point.

    If you want to save money or enjoy greater flexibility with your mobile broadband then you may find that you are better off with another deal rather than a free laptop package. If you are determined to opt for a free laptop deal then you should make sure that you check on the specification of the laptop that comes with the deal to ensure that you get the best possible laptop as part of the deal.

    There you have it?

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    Interesting news courtesy of Broadband Expert regarding the prevalence of mobile broadband in this country. There are definately some points made in this article which suprised me quite a lot.

    For many years now there has been a steady increase in losses for landline voice services in the UK as many customers substitute them for mobile handsets.

    The broadband access market is now being carefully watched by many broadband service providers for indications of any similar behaviour in this area. According to recent findings from the telecommunications regulator Ofcom, mobile broadband connections are relied upon completely by six percent of consumers in the UK, whilst a combination of fixed and mobile broadband services is used by 8 percent of homes in the UK.

    Austria currently has more mobile broadband users than fixed line users, which is currently far higher than the number of consumers in the UK that rely purely on mobile broadband access services instead of fixed-line broadband.

    Mobile broadband access is seen to be the main form of connection to the internet in the home for 41 percent of UK consumers and as was expected 43 percent of mobile broadband users said that their only form of internet access was through a mobile broadband connection.

    The use of mobile broadband is currently driven by the wealthier UK demographic and is most popular with adults between the age of 15 and 34, which is similar to that of general broadband users. Just 10 percent of users rely solely on mobile broadband for internet access in the 15 to 34 age range at the moment.

    Since 2008 many homes are more likely to use a mobile phone service than a fixed line for their voice services, with an increase in the penetration of all communication services except for fixed-lines. This shows that in terms of voice services the mobility trend is far more pronounced.

    This is perhaps the most interesting statement from the entire article: Mobile broadband access is seen to be the main form of connection to the internet in the home for 41 percent of UK consumers and as was expected 43 percent of mobile broadband users said that their only form of internet access was through a mobile broadband connection.. As simply I did not realise that mobile broadband had taken off to the extent that it appears. It did occur to me that people might take out the netbook deals (bundled with Mobile Broadband) to get the free laptop, but it did not make sense that they might use MB as there main internet connection. Perhaps a sign of the times and how people are not wanting to be tied down to a TV/Phone/Internet package.

    Like with all things developments like this could been seen to herald the end of the landline and its internet connection, which most people have (thanks in part to the aforementioned deals), but perhaps only use once in a blue moon. With younger people moving out of home, its probably best to have a mobile device rather then a contract which effectively stays in place in the home they are living in.

    My predictions are that MB will continue to grow thanks in part to the ‘mobile’ generation in which we now live. Currently I am live testing a MI-FI device for a company, which is going really well! But it means everyday I lose apart of my soul as I can use things like Facebook,Twitter, and if I’m feeling really sad – Blog on the move. It simply is the time to be connected…

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    Some good news for the avid readers of Fashion Contrast. We have been asked to take part in a product review! Which for one is good news and makes me slightly happy as I get a new toy to play with for 6 weeks.

    The blogosphere is an interesting place, ideas can be communicated quickly and readership can be found very quickly. Come the end of month 1 I had been in touch with the firm who are to run the survey around a new mobile broadband like device called MIFI, which is essentially a wireless hotspot which you can carry around for use whenever/wherever and transmit a signal to either friends or whoever you want, a device which could be very useful for small cafes or even places like train stations who can then just allow whoever to connect to the network for a price worked out accordingly.

    So yeah, basically just a heads up to look forward to some product reviews which will be appearing on the site in the not to distant future, we are excited and so should you be…

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