Tuesday, May 1, 2012

GPS Pal App for Hiking

Columbia Sportswear has released its free GPS Pal, a terrific hiking app for Android and the iPhone that allows you to track your route via GPS, take photos, video and notes with geotagging information for each item. It will also keep track of your elevation, distance, speed and time. At the end of your hike you can view your entire route on a Google map, with photo and note markers at points on the trail. 

Image courtesy of Columbia Sportswear

Set up the free account on the website and sync your data in a journal format you can organize and share via social media.

We've tried it one our hike this weekend and were quite satisfied with the results, with the minor exception of the toll the GPS took on the iPhone's battery. We started the hike at 100% of battery life and watched it die around five hours later, so that it looks like our route ended abruptly somewhere in the wilderness. Nothing a solar-powered charger won't fix.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Harajuku Now in Portguese

The most popular item in our Etsy shop is the Harajuku printables package (birthday party invitations, place cards and other party ephemera that users can download and print themselves). A buyer wanted to know if we could modify the "Happy Birthday" banner to a "Feliz Aniversario" banner, and a new printables package was born: Harajuku in Portuguese.

In addition to the banner, the customizable invitation and the place cards have also been translated into Portuguese. The package can be purchased through Etsy for $12.00.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

... Lovelier Than a Tree

With Easter looming and so many things to do this weekend, we opted for a short hike partway up the Windy Gap Trail and back down the fire road to the still-closed Deer Flats campground around Crystal Lake.

One of the things that caught our attention was the many ways that trees die and rot in the forest. Part of the natural order of things, as they live, die and then carry on their part of nature by disintegrating. In the top photo, you can see how the outer portion of a tree can slowly disappear until its core is exposed and it too begins to break down. Certainly the breakdown is accelerated by termites and other insects, until the pulp covers the ground and feeds the soil below.

In the second photo, a massive tree lies in pieces, neatly cut in half to move it out of the way. The number of holes indicate how useful it was in life to so many woodpeckers, who hammer away to attract a mate, feed on insects, or defend their territory.

What killed these trees? Fire, lightening, insects, disease, drought, road-building? Hard to say. But there is something comforting in the knowledge that they are still an important part of the forest.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Easter Parade

One of the best things about spring is the happy return of cheerful colors in everything--flowers, clothes, and even store displays to push spring merchandise. We are very big on color.

Target has long been one of our favorite stores for any number of consumer-centric reasons. One of the things it does best is in-store displays, such as the winsome and emotionally compelling pet section complete with wordless lifestyle images of people and pets. (Yes, if we had a dog, our lives would be just as happy and carefree.) In fact, we may go back and do a whole series on Target signage.

Recently, the store has had its "Hop Shop" boutique with Easter goods and candy that was highlighted by a sensational use of color across the aisles. The images of large-scale Peeps, dyed eggs in grass, the prism-like bars or color that appear against the back wall and are echoed in the egg mobiles, blend in with the yellows, lavenders, greens and pinks of all that Easter merchandise to make a colorphile's day. Add to that the vaguely retro font for "hop," "basket" and "Happy Easter" that invokes the nostalgia that spurs buying. Well done.