Enter your email address to subscribe the Zaarly Blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 38 other followers

Weekend Technology Roundup

Hey Zaarly community. For those of you who didn’t have a chance to catch recent headlines, here’s a roundup of some of the more exciting technology stories of the week:

According to the Los Angeles Times, Barnes and Noble will be announcing their new eReader on May 24, although the makers didn’t include what the new device would be called, cost, or look like. This will be an update to the two eReaders Barnes & Noble have already released, the Nook and the Nook color, which are competing with Amazon’s Kindle and the Sony Reader.

Next, for all you car aficionados, Jaguar announced it is working with F1 Williams to develop C-X75, a $1.1 million dollar hybrid SUPERCAR. Imagine blowing passed a Prius in one of those babies.

According to Wired, Adrian Hallmark, Jaguar’s brand director said:

“The C-X75 received an incredible reception as a concept car. We’ve been building on that momentum and there is a clear business case for this exclusive halo model. No other vehicle will better signify Jaguar’s renewed confidence and excellence in technological innovation than this.”

Worried about the side effects of old age and the those endless days you spent tanning by the pool? Well, a new technology developed by the Fraunhofer Institute may help take some of the edge off. According to CNET, researchers in Germany have developed a sleek, flat microscope capable of imaging suspicious areas of skin for skin cancer.

The design uses multiple tiny optical sensors to scan and stitch together a bigger, clearer image of affected areas. According to Fraunhofer’s website:

Each slice is roughly 300 x 300 µm² in size and fits seamlessly alongside the neighboring slice; a computer program then assembles these to generate the overall picture. The difference between this technology and a scanner microscope: all of the image slices are recorded simultaneously.

The imaging system consists of three glass plates with the tiny lenses applied to them, both on top and beneath. These three glass plates are then stacked on top of one another. Each channel also contains two achromatic lenses, so the light passes through a total of eight lenses.

The company says it will take another couple of years before it reaches the market, and eventually, will be mass produced and available to everyone for relatively cheap.

Ever played Angry Birds? Think you’re pretty good? Well guess what, you actually suck at it compared to the robot OptoFidelity developed that can nail 3 stars on every level, no problem. Check out the video above to have your mind blown.

Lastly, Groupon and Live Nation announced that they will be partnering together to launch a new online ticketing deals channel, called GrouponLive.

GrouponLive, which will launch “in time for the summer concert season,” the companies said in a statement, will utilize Groupon’s local reach to market event tickets sold through Live Nation. This sounds like a match made in heaven for these two companies. To get details, those interested can sign up for the service at grouponlive.com.

With the Zaarly launch just around the corner, it looks like 2011 is already shaping up to be a very exciting year in tech.


Go “Green” With Your Smartphone

photo: Waseem Sayegh

Gas premiums are at a high, the price and use of energy is consistently rising, food costs have been on an upward climb, all with no end in sight. The result of all these rising costs have pushed many out of their comfort zones, increased their stress levels, and have them asking, “how can I live a sustainable life and save money?” There is no one-way of doing it and a lot of it consists of disconnecting from many things you take for granted. But something that many people do not realize is that they have a major advantage on how to save money and energy, their smartphones.

With the ever growing use of technology and advancement, people who have a smartphone can easily access applications and information on the go to help them efficiently control their expenses and monitor energy usage to save money. Tracking bank statements and making to-do lists have never been more effortless, but another way many people have been cutting costs is by “going green”. Going green generally means consuming less, buying and using sustainable products while being actively conscious about the environment. For example, the use of smart cars or more compact cars that get better gas milage have saved drivers tons of money and release less emissions into the atmosphere. If you are like myself, a broke college student, and can’t afford one of those bad boys here are several apps that you can download on your phone that will actively help save you money, the environment, and energy.

How to Make Your Car An Eco-Friendly Vehicle:

Saving money on gas is on top of many commuters and travelers priority lists. With the nation’s average reaching nearly $4 per gallon, the cost of a weeks trip to work and back has become very troublesome. That is why it is very important to keep your car in the best running shape. Efficient cars equal great gas mileage, but who has time to cover every detail that goes into keeping a car in good shape? I would like to introduce the Gas Cubby app. It is the ultimate tool for tracking gas mileage and vehicle maintenance. Very easy to use interface that tracks multiple cars, syncs online, displays graphs, and gives you service reminders. Gas Cubby can easily become your favorite passenger seat partner.

Buying the Right Products:

photo: Royce Bair

Finding the right product that is not costly, but also eco-friendly is a struggle in itself. It can take up to hours for someone to find out what products are “green” and which aren’t. So why not go out and get the FREE app called GoodGuide. This app helps you find safe, healthy, and sustainable products while out shopping. GoodGuide allows you to browse, search or simply scan a barcode to see detailed ratings of environment, and social responsibilities for more that 70,000 products and companies. A smart pick up for those who are shoppers and need “green” info on the go.

Saving Green While Being Green:

Now how can you save money while simultaneously living a sustainable and environmentally friendly life? The best possible app for that would be Green Genie! The Green Genie is “your complete guide to a sustainable lifestyle”. The application, which is only $.99, features “over 100 projects and tips, each on telling you the environmental benefits and how much money it will save you”. There is lots of informative news in this app, as well as activities that are curbed to your lifestyle. I recently purchased this app.

Using Zaarly to Conserve:

photo: Sreenisreedharan (Flickr)

The anticipation is killing me. The Zaarly application can have an amazing impact on living a “green” life. With Zaarly you can browse through tons of listings and find ways to earn money, but also save a person from driving themselves somewhere to purchase a bagel, or a cup of coffee. You can call it “Social Network Carpooling;” it puts money in your pocket and you’re compressing the energy consumption of two individuals into one. Check out a previous Zaarly blog post on how Zaarly can end the use of taxis.

Clean Technology & Research News:

Greentech Media’s application “allows you to take news and research from the fast-paced green and clean technology world with you”. Get the latest in sustainable news and breakthroughs. There are tons of informative articles in this news application for you to eat up.

You do not have to make huge changes to your lifestyle in order to conserve; all it takes are small adjustments and that is the most important thing I learned while researching these superb green applications.

Joseph Aslam

Can Twitter Be Bad For Your Relationship?

photo by: Mike Baird

A survey released in April 2011 from the online dating site OkCupid shows that the use of the social networking site, Twitter, can be harmful to couples in romantic relationships. In 2010, TechCrunch announced that Twitter had over 100 million active users and it’s safe to say that number has easily doubled since then. That is over 200 million users that could be in risk of an affected relationship. Could Twitter users be in danger of having their relationships cut short due to 140 characters?

The OkCupid poll, which included over 830,000 of their users, compared how long relationships last for people who use Twitter every day versus those in a relationship who do not use Twitter often. The poll indicated that those who “tweet” daily and actively have slightly shorter relationships. Is it because users are diverting their attention toward quippy comments and away from their significant other? The poll was not conclusive enough to reveal the root cause and there may be more than just one. My guess is that Twitter has shortened the attention span of users and have altered habits outside of social networking. Maybe people have become so consumed by what they read online and on their phones that their human interactions and encounters have suffered.

photo by: LGEPR

These results have no bias between age groups or different genders according to OkCupid. They state that, “Frequent tweeters have shorter real-life relationships than everyone else, probably via some bit.ly hack. Unfortunately, we have no way to tell who’s dumping who here; whether the twitterati are more annoying or just more flighty than everyone else.”

But don’t be too worried about your tweeting, posting, skyping and friending.  There are definite ways to avoid an early version of “the talk” with your partner. Below are three different ways you can easily use services on your phone to strengthen your relationship.

Ways Technology Can Positively Progress Relationships:

Although it may seem that some technologies may affect the relationships around you in a negative way due to attention diversion, there are different applications that can boost your relationships as well. These applications handle every detail that goes into a perfect day, night, or weekend with your loved one:

photo: Krystal International Vacation Club

Jetsetter has recently released a smartphone application which allows you to find “travel sales right on your iPhone” or any other major smartphone platform. The application gives you daily deals of up to 50% off on popular hotels, spa vacations, weekend trips, and plenty of other romantic getaways from the daily stresses of life. I used Jetsetter last year to plan a spring break trip down south to Cabo. The hotel was beautiful, saved a ton of money, everything was perfectly planned, and my girlfriend and I could not of been happier.

Are you looking for something local to do with your partner? Download Siri Assistant for your iPhone. Siri will help you book restaurants, movies, taxis and more. The application gathers answers and actions from your favorite brands and companies. All you basically have to do is download the application, and simply speak into the phone what you are looking for. Such commands can range from “Get me a taxi” or “Book a table for two at a good steak house” to “Who’s playing at Staples Center?”. This is really convenient when you are on the go . Siri Assistant’s interaction with your voice is really superb and saves you ample amounts of time.

Too lazy to do it yourself? Why don’t you have someone else get what you need, like a personal assistant. Try Zaarly. Zaarly is the ultimate tool for finding services, goods and experiences right from your mobile phone.  From a late night bottle of wine for a romantic evening, to a weekend vehicle from someone around you, or maybe even a Starbucks cup of coffee to give you some additional energy for your workday.  Request what you want, what price you are willing to pay, when you need it by and in no time you will have people ready to fulfill your offer.

How else can you make sure your relationship isn’t cut short by a tweet — use technology to enhance your relationship, not to replace it.  Once you’ve got that under control, turn the phone off, put it on vibrate (or whatever it takes) and cherish those around you.

How New Moms Use Technology

Being a new mom can be scary. Having a baby in 2011 is totally different than it was in 1976. Should you create a Twitter handle for your unborn child? How many Facebook ‘likes’ will your new baby pics get? Is there an app to help you keep all of your immunization schedules and physician appointments organized? Should you create an online scrapbook? Can you use Google calendars to schedule baby play dates? Will Barbie dolls be replaced by holograms?

Okay maybe the Barbie hologram is a stretch for now, but technology has dramatically changed the way parents raise their children. Take new mom Marcie Inzer for example. Marcie blogs everyday. “It’s a great way to connect with others and hear what other moms are going through,” Inzer said.

Whether you’re taking six weeks off work, or staying home full time with your child, the Internet provides a whole new outlet for connecting with other moms. So you don’t have to feel like you’re on an island. They may not make an instruction manual for kids. But with blogs and forums online, you can post a question, connect with moms near you having similar issues and find immediate answers to your questions.


Scrap the scrap book  

Remember growing up when your parents had to take photos to get developed, and then put each picture in the pages of a scrapbook. Four years later the scrapbook would get lost, then you could never find the pic you wanted. If only there was a Google search bar for real life. Now with blogs and social media sites, you can keep your entire scrapbook online electronically. Easy, fast, and searchable. Keep pics and milestones organized and quickly share everything with friends and family with a few mouse clicks.

“My blog is the closest thing my baby will have to a traditional baby book,” new mom Marcie said. “I hope that my daughter will be able to go through the blog when she’s older and read about how much we love her and the fun things we do together.”

Amazing. Kids that grew up in the 70s and 80s don’t have that luxury. My baby book is lost in the abyss of my parents attic somewhere. And my siblings and I rely on our aging grandparents for stories about our childhood. Marcie’s daughter won’t have that problem. Everything will be online.


Save time and stay connected  

Having a new baby can monopolize your schedule. You won’t be sleeping a solid eight hours for the next several years. Scheduling happy hours with your girlfriends takes a lot more planning. Shopping trips at the mall are probably few and far between. But technology in 2011 makes all of that easier.

“I use the Internet for basic email, Facebook, online shopping, couponing, and finding fun activities to do in the area,” Marcie said.

New moms like Marcie use email and Facebook to stay connected to friends and family, even when getting out of the house can be hard sometimes. And she stays away from frumpy mom jeans by keeping up with the latest fashions online.

Just about every second of your day as a new mom will be accounted for. Technology can help you stay organized and make the most of your time. Manage your calendar online with Google calendars, so your husband and other family members can quickly check reminders from anywhere.

Groupon can help you quickly find the best deals in your area. RSS feeds and Twitter can aggregate your custom news feeds so you quickly and easily see what’s most important and relevant to you. High speed Internet has enabled services like Hulu and streaming Netflix to provide you with in-demandTV shows and movies on your schedule. And electronic to-do lists have enabled people to manage their lives online.


There’s an app for that 

Smart phones have empowered new moms to manage their lives on the go. Apps like Remember the Milk can keep your grocery lists prioritized and make shopping simpler. Instagram enables quick and easy photo sharing. Foursquare can help you keep up on your friends location and see all the fun they’re having without you. As your child grows up, game apps like Angry Birds can keep them occupied and sitting still long enough for a haircut. Dragon dictation app will let you translate spoken word to text, in case your hands are full but you want to make a note.

New app Zaarly can help you with a wide range of parenting needs. Zaarly enables you to outsource the actives you don’t want to do, or need help doing.

New to the area and looking for a sitter you can trust? Zaarly it. You would pay top dollar for a reliable sitter so you and your husband can have one night to yourselves without worrying. Want to find a gently used stroller rather than buying a new one? Zaarly it. A set of parents in your neighborhood with teenage kids would be happy to sell you their good-as-new stroller at a price much lower than what you’d pay at Toys R Us.

Too tired to clean your house? Zaarly it. Trying to find the impossible-to-get hot new toy this Christmas season? Zaarly it. Zaarly is the crutch your mom wishes she had when you were growing up.


Plan for the future

Being a mom in 2011 is exciting. Technological advances are providing new outlets to stay connected, save money, improve efficiency and be a better overall parent.

You can manage your child’s finances, enroll them in actives and programs to future their education, and stay in touch with them as they grow up and leave the house. And who knows, you might even help yourself in the process.

“Blogging just started out for me as an outlet or hobby because I enjoy creative writing, but recently I was hired by a local business that focuses on baby/mom products to blog for them as well. I am so excited to contribute to my family income by using technology and doing what I enjoy!” Marcie said.

Marcie used technology to improve her parenting skills, and turned the blog into a professional opportunity that she can do from home with her baby. Technologic.