TED talk: iPhone Fashion Apps

Do you love fashion? Want to be in the fashion loop on the go?  Then come see Ashley Butler as she discusses the pros and cons of different iPhone fashion apps, and learn which ones are the best fit for you!

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Ted Talk: iPhone Fashion Apps

Here are the rough draft slides for my Ted Talk.  For some reason I wasn’t able to upload it via slideshare so this was the best I could do!

Description:

Do you love fashion? Want to be in the fashion loop on the go?  Then come see Ashley Butler as she discusses the pros and cons of different iPhone fashion apps, and learn which ones are the best fit for you!

TED Talk: iPhone Fashion Apps

Engaging TED Talks

Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi spins through a dizzying array of inspirations — from ’50s pinups to a fleeting glimpse of a woman on the street who makes him shout “Stop the cab!” Inside this rambling talk are real clues to living a happy, creative life.

Why are babies cute? Why is cake sweet? Philosopher Dan Dennett has answers you wouldn’t expect, as he shares evolution’s counterintuitive reasoning on cute, sweet and sexy things (plus a new theory from Matthew Hurley on why jokes are funny).

Editors: the real movie stars

In our communications class we’ve been reading The Conversations a book containing dialogues between novelist Michael Ondaatje and infamous film editor Walter Murch.  Walter Murch has edited many iconic movies such as The Godfather and Apocalypse Now.  In their conversations Murch and Ondaatje discuss different editing processes, and how editing can change the entire effect of a film.  For this project our teacher encouraged us to watch a Walter Murch film, and to critique it based on its sound and editing.  Please don’t hate me Dr. Knight, but I didn’t critique a Murch film.  I was planning on watching a Murch film for this assignment, but last weekend my roommates and I decided to watch the movie Taken.

Liam Neeson plays Bryan Mills, a former government agent who must travel to Paris to find his daughter who was kidnapped.  We had been talking about the importance of editing in class and the entire time I watched the film, I was focused on the music and how it added to the scene, the subtle background noises, and all the little details.  This is an action packed movie, and Mills must rely on his senses and pay attention to details to find his daughter.  Because Mills has the ability to detect the tiniest details and use them to his advantage, it was interesting to note how particular the editors had to have been.  In a film, every cut, noise, sound, and clip of music contribute to the final result, and in Taken it is easy to see why.

DVD Cover

 

The following clip is a pivotal scene in the movie, because it is the one where Kimmy (Mills’ daughter) is kidnapped.  Immediately Bryan tells his daughter to be as descriptive and precise as she can and to pay attention to details about the men who are going to take her.  The same advice proves true for my critique of the film.  The background music isn’t really music, but rather it is a collection of ominous tones.  At some points you can here where the tones stop and there is only talking, or when there is no talking the tones start up.  While Kimmy is hiding under the bed, you can hear her breathing and crying, but you can also hear the men approaching.  The creaking of the floorboards and doors opening as they walk down the hall heighten the suspense.  Once she is pulled from underneath the bed, there is shuffling and her screams almost sound muffled.  It almost sounds like someone is grabbing her mic and it is being muffled and picking up handling noises.  But I also thought it could be the phone hitting the floor and the noises becoming muffled as they get further away from the phone.  You can hear Kimmy struggling against her attackers, and if you listen closely you can hear someone hit the mirror and it shatter, which is what Bryan finds later on in the movie when he arrives in Paris.

http://player.vimeo.com/video/4675061?color=c9ff23

Taken Movie Good Luck Scene from Kaspar on Vimeo.

After Kimmy is dragged out of the room, the phone is still connected and you can hear a man’s footsteps as he walks around the room.  His breathing gets louder as he gets close to the phone, and you can hear the sound change as he picks it up and just listens.  The attacker is breathing heavily into the phone waiting for Bryan to speak.  The ominous sounds are gone, and all that can be heard is breathing and the noises of someone handling a cell phone.  Bryan then speaks and the tone starts up again so softly that it is barely noticeable at first.  As he speaks and his tone and words become more threatening, the music picks up as well heightening Bryan’s threats:

Threat to Kidnapper

I think it is important that there are no other noises besides this low even tone and that Bryan’s words are the focus of this part because his words are so powerful and his tone is so confident; he’s threatening and we know to be scared.  The music comes to a climax and goes silent right as Bryan utters his last words:”I will kill you.”, which really helps emphasize his threat.  The tones the editor chose seem to be slow and calculated and coming from a single instrument.  This adds to the scene because Bryan’s words are slow and calculated, and every move he makes for the rest of the film is calculated and executed perfectly.  Kimmy’s kidnapper then tells Bryan, “Good Luck” and you can hear him smash the phone to break it right before the line goes dead.

The end of this clip jumps forward to a part later in the movie where Bryan hunts down the kidnappers’ headquarters and has them say “Good Luck” so he can find the one who took Kimmy.  Bryan memorized the sound of the voice so that he could identify it later on.  When he hands the piece of paper to Marko (the man sitting at the table), the only noise heard is the paper crinkling as it is unfolded.  After the men read it and chuckle to one another, Marko turns to Bryan to translate the phrase, and the ominous tones start up again.

Redesign: Sam’s Grill

In class we’ve been reading Presentation Zen Design which talks about how important images, fonts, colors, and placement are when conveying ideas and meanings.  Tonight my roommate and I were looking at menus online, trying to decide where to have dinner.  We stumbled upon Sam’s Grill in Wynnewood, PA.  The menu sounded absolutely delicious, but the website was less than appealing.Dull WebsiteMy first step would be to change the background color of the website.  The yellow coloring with black font reminds me of a caution sign, which I’m sure is not the vibe Sam’s is going for.  Next I would redesign the logo.  It isn’t memorable, nor does it have anything to do with food.  They could use a picture of their building, or use the picture of grilling at the bottom of the website for their logo.  One possible redesign could be:

New Logo

Next I would focus on making the website look more professional and organized. Also the font is overlapping the links on the homepage making the website look even more sloppy and unprofessional, and in turn making the restaurant itself appear less credible.

What is Boland Hall?

Art Building

Boland Hall is one place I have never been on campus.  Maybe it’s because it’s all the way on Lapsley Lane, or possibly because I severely lack artistic ability.  Either way I am now inspired to be an artist.

View from OutsideYou can’t miss Boland Hall, with the wooden art structures on the lawn, and its bright red front door.  Walking inside, I realized it is actually much larger than I thought.  The building itself is perfect for the Art program, with its ornate woodwork, stained-glass windows, beautiful staircase and dark hardwood floors.  Boland has classrooms, art studios, storage closets, and offices.  It also has some unique amenities such as a kitchen, complete with refrigerator and microwave.

The front room students walk into is set up like a gallery, complete with accent lighting and students’ pieces on display. Directly center is the staircase leading to the second and thirdfloors.  To the left is the only ordinary classrooms, with desks and a whiteboard.  The stairs to thePaint Studiosecond floor as well as the second floor balcony were draped with braided ribbon chains in pink and orange hues.  The second floor was all kinds of studios: painting, sculpting, and there werealso pottery studios on the first floor.  Moving on to the third floor, there were a few offices but the most intriguing thing I found was the photography center.  Not only can students develop and edit pictures here, but they can also borrow cameras and other equipment.  The photo lab also has what appeared to be a photo booth and a high-tech developing machine.  Boland Hall is a very unique building, which dabbles in many different artistic venues.  It is a great resource not just for Art majors, but also for students who would like to know more about pottery, or learn to Photograph Developing Machinemake ceramics, or who want to learn more about how to take a good picture.

Visiting Boland Hall has inspired me to take an art class, because it seems that anyone at any artistic level is welcome and can learn there.

Usability Test

Use of Media:

  • Images: provides images and other media? There are both videos and images on the blog, except fashion week post, the video should be embedded rather than a link.
  • Site: If mentioning a site: provides link/screenshot/logo of site? There are links and screenshots of sites mentioned.
  • Video: If mentioning a video, embeds video?  All videos are embedded, except for fashion week video, which should be.
  • Links/urls: If mentioning a link, provides url? Urls are provided for links.
  • Citations: If mentioning a blog/blogger, provide trackback? N/A
  • Other Media: If mentioning a book, film, etc., provides link. (Author’s site, Amazon, IMDB, etc.) There are links to people/ terms that are not self-explanatory or well known.

Scan-ability:

  • Is the text in large intimidating chunks or is it scannable/skimmable?  Are long entries divided with subtitles or images? (22-23) There are a few long posts, such as the “Benny” post, the “Derrion Albert” post, and the “Doctor’s as Reporter’s” post.  The picture of Derrion Albert could be used to break up text.  The Doctor post is extremely long and has no media except for links, very un-skimmable.
  • Are long entries portioned out into clearly defined areas? (36-37)  Both the Doctor post and the Derrion Albert post need to be portioned out.  Other than that posts are pretty well organized.

Design:

  • Design: Does the overall design work for the site? (123-129) What strikes you about the site? (150)
  • Text/font: Is the text font, size, color clear and readable? The text color, font, size is very readable, and links appear in a contrasting color making them easier to spot.
  • Color: Is the use of color distracting? Complimentary? (165) The colors are muted but interesting. Coordinate well with the header.
  • Noise: Busyness? (38, 183-184) Is there too much going on? Can it be minimized? Background noise? (38-39) Can it be minimized? There isn’t really background noise, or too much going on.
  • Do entries contain needless words? (45-49) Some entries are wordy, and could definitely be streamlined without losing content.
  • Is site navigation obvious? (54-63) Does it rely on conventions? (51, 54-63) Site navigation is easy and user-friendly, mostly because there isn’t much to navigate.
  • Blog Title and Tagline: is tagline descriptive or engaging?  (14, 101- 106) Tagline is descriptive, but title doesn’t seem relevant to over-all purpose of the blog.
  • About Section: Is the blog concept clear? (101, 144 & 156) Do you understand the purpose of the site, do you “Get it?” Please see “happy talk” section, too. (46) The blog concept is made clear in the About section, but there isn’t much info about the author.
  • Structure/Organization: Amateurish vs. Professional: (Is the site sloppy or neat and clear? Disorganized or organized? Professional or unprofessional?
  • (165 166) The site is neat, clear, and organized, but does appear unprofessional. I am still learning how to use the site/ tools, so it’s a work in progress.
  • Accessibility: Is appropriate “alt text” added to every image? (179)  Alt text is added to images in newer posts, but posts from last semester need to be updated.

Student Blogging

Blogging is becoming more and more popular especially with students and young writers just looking for an outlet for their work.  Blogging is a way of connecting, sharing, and discovering.  One really amazing student blog I found is Her Campus.

Not only does Her Campus have a main page full of useful college tidbits, articles, and fun ideas, but they also have individual college blogs.

These college blogs are student run, and students can apply to be representatives of their college on Her Campus.  This is such a great idea, because it makes Her Campus more personal and specific for each student.  It is also really cool to have a blog specifically for females and specifically for her individual school.