March 1, 2011

March MBF Favorite Picks

Working in a fast-paced, in-and-out culture, we often forget how influential technology is in our day-to-day life. Even just within the last few years, technology has seamlessly integrated into the way we eat, shop, work, learn, and interact with one another. As most of us probably spend much of our time on the web, phone, or some other gadget, we dedicate this month's picks to a few powerful, technology-driven products and ideas that have and continue to shape our culture.

photo via: NYTimes
With a mission to catalog every song in the world, Shazam is the app of choice in discovering new music today. The popular music-spotting cellphone application has been around since 2002, and now attracts 100 million users, acquiring 3 million hits per day, and available in more than 200 countries. Shazam is one of many that has reshaped the way the music industry functions today.

photo via: Grubwithus
Grubwithus is a site that organizes group restaurant meals. The site works with select restaurants to arrange family-style meals for a fixed price during an approximately two hour slot. Participants sign up for a particular meal, with the intention of building friendship over food. Even if things may not work out, it's an adventurous (and delicious) way of meeting people! Currently, the site operates exclusively to Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City.

photo via: Springwise
In today's world, a university no longer needs a physical place, only a URL. University of the People is a non-profit enterprise, supported by the United Nations, bringing higher education to people who would not otherwise have access to it. Launched in September of 2009, the school received 3,000 applications and currently has on board 380 students in over 70 countries. Embracing the worldwide presence of the Internet and utilizing the advancements of technology, University of the People offers tuition-free university-level studies to people all across the world, representing a new wave in global education.

photo via: NY Times
3-D entertainment comes to Met Opera
After Avatar, most of us had our share of 3-D movies, and perhaps even 3-D TV. So it comes to no surprise that live theater is next in line to get "3-D'ed". The Metropolitan Opera plans to introduce 3-D projections for its production of "Siegfried" next season, the third installment in its new "Ring" cycle, directed by Robert Lepage. However, unlike the 3-D films and TV, glasses are not required. Digital artists, computer programmers, and lighting experts have come together to produce life-like imagery on stage. The images will appear to move and interact with the singers and actors on set. Whatever preconceived notions we might have about technology may be reconsidered as it is now today's new art form.

photo via: Hu2 Design
Who knew house decoration could function beyond, well, decor? The designers behind Hu2 Design go above and beyond the traditional boundaries of wall sticker design by creating beautiful, quirky home stickers that also function as eco-friendly reminders. Each product has a story to tell, and of course, the stickers are made from a PVC-free self-adhesive, free of chlorine and plasticizers. We are total believers of their motto: "Education through Decoration."

photo via: DKNY Times
Two weeks ago, Style Coalition partnered with TheFind to host the second annual Fashion 2.0 Awards at Soho's Trump Hotel. Over 300 brands were present and thousands watched the event as it was streamed live across the world via ICED Media. The event awarded the best innovators and users of technology and social media within the fashion and retail industry. Winners were nominated by a community of peers and fans. Amongst the all of the attendees, DKNY reigned victorious, winning Best Mobile App, Best Blog, and overall Top Innovator. 

photo via: Windowfarms
Technology may sound like the complete antithesis to nature, but Britta Riley's Windowfarms prove that the two can go side by side. The modular, vertical, drip-hydroponic systems repurpose landfill-bound 1.5 liter bottles to provide a low-cost solution to year-round indoor food production. For those living in cities like New York, this is a simple and convenient way to grow a garden right in your very own window. Windowfarms was included in My Life Scoop's top 5 green gadget gardening tools. Click here to read the rest who made the list!

photo via:
Trying to budget, save money, and keep a record of all our expenses is one of the last things we want to do after a long day of work. However, Mint lets you bring all your financial accounts together online, automatically categorizing your transactions and letting you set budgets to help you achieve your savings goals. Based on all of your information, the program will suggest ways on how you can save money or invest smarter. With over 5 million users, it's probably worth checking out!

photo via: Belkin
In today's culture, a mobile phone is a must-have. And for those of us living with roommates or with family, there are probably multiple mobile devices in your home, each requiring it's own unique charger. Since our phones need to be charged daily, and sometimes more than once per day, Belkin's Valet USB charging station saves you from the clutter of multiple chargers and lets you hold and charge up to four devices at once. Once fully charged, the device will automatically shut off to eliminate power drain. 

We know this is just a small hand full with what is out there today. So if you have any recommendations on things you can't live with out, we would love to hear from you! 

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