AureliaDiesel

Fashion / Beauty / Music / Art / Culture and Lifestyle blog by Aurelia. Located in and between D.C. & NYC.

Archive for the tag “technology”

#MacysCampusTour How to Shop for Prom with Macy’s Mobile App

Macys Mobile App Tutorial

Shopping becomes a breeze with Macy’s innovative Mobile App.

Check out MacysCampusTour.com for more updates from the spring fashion campaign.

Available for both iOS and Android phones, Macy’s mobile app is not only innovative, but easy to use. With registry support, exclusive offers, a store locator, and more, the Macy’s app is as capable as ever to bring you a fantastic virtual shopping experience. One of the most convenient features is the ability to shop by trend, which I will be showing you in this quick, easy tutorial for those looking to keep their prom shopping as simple and flexible as possible.

Prom shopping can be incredibly stressful, especially for girls. We don’t just need to find the perfect dress – shoes, accessories, and even makeup must all be coordinated as well. Luckily, Macy’s has put together a selection of versatile, trend-focused prom categories available to shop on the Macy’s app.

First, download your Macy’s app either from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Then, open it up and you should see the simple menu layout seen above. Make sure you don’t miss out on any exclusive discounts and deals found in the ‘offers’ options and be sure to try Macy’s spring season Spin & Win virtual promo found at the bottom of the menu. Read more…

[Book Review] An Unstill Life by Kate Larkindale is About a Lot More than Just LGBT Rights

An Unstill Life by Kate LarkindaleLivvie Quinn has problems just like any other teenager; she doesn’t always get along with her mother, friends become fake and sexuality is taboo. However, the way she handles these problems is as unique as the paintings she creates in her sacred safe house of art class. After dealing with her sister’s 10 year cancer-free streak coming to an end, an emotionally abusive mother at home, and her best friends not being as supportive as they should, Livvie unexpectedly turns to Bianca, a fellow art student and the school’s most controversial misfit. Bianca is strong-willed, confident and open about everything; Livvie is suppressed, unsure and breaking emotionally at the seams. Despite their differences, both girls find themselves having feelings for each other that is beyond their previous experience, and Livvie finds a comfort in Bianca that is absent at home. Though once the relationship between the two is discovered, things at school change dramatically as the girls face bullying, hazing and possible expulsion for attending a formal dance as a couple. As her sister’s cancer continues to worsen, Livvie is faced with choices that deliberately put her in the middle of life and death, and soon the fate of her sister rests in her hands, unbeknownst to Bianca and her distraught mother. With little strength to carry on with her own life, “Livvie must decide how far she’s willing to go for the people she loves” (Quoted from official book synopsis). Read more…

Aurelia’s Perfect Picks for Valentine’s Day Gifts (For Her)

Aurelia's Valentine's Day Gift Guide
Valentine’s day is right around the corner, and just in case you’re pressed on time or stumped on the perfect gift for your sweetheart here are 11 great gift ideas sure to make her (or yourself! Single ladies get the pleasure of treating themselves) swoon over your taste in romantic keepsakes. Read more…

AureliaDiesel’s Official Facebook Page!

AureliaDiesel now has an official Facebook page! Go to facebook.com/AureliaDiesel for lots of updates & more!

Google+’s ‘Personal Results’: What it means for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

There’s only one reason I wanted a Google account – so I could have a YouTube Channel. Other than that, I wasn’t really interested in having a Gmail or a Google+ account. However, thanks to Google’s ‘account integration’, signing up for YouTube means getting a Google account. My Google account has actually come in handy, and I’ve been able to utilize it’s many features such as Google Talk, Google Docs and more. I was even more impressed with Google+ than I thought I’d be – even if it’s nowhere near as popular as Facebook. However, there is one thing that irks me about my Google account, and that is Google’s ‘personal results’ feature.

‘Personal results’ works like this – if you are logged into a Google account, and you search for something (in Google), Google will then bring up your ‘personal results’. These results take up much of the first page, and are based on your Google+ account. Now, you can turn them off by pressing the little globe picture that shows up in the top right-hand corner of the search window…

But this still begs the question, “How does Google really determine its searches?” Even if you do turn off the ‘personal results’ if you close the browser window and open a new one, the ‘personal results’ will be turned back on and you have to turn them off again. It may be possible that even just having a Google account may give you better ‘search engine optimization,’ and make you more likely to appear early on in the Google search engine. This is really just more proof that social media is greatly influencing SEO (and the internet in general), so if you ever wondered if all the social media is truly necessary – this just goes to show you how important it really is. This is why people shouldn’t be so quick to throw Google+ under the bus. Having a Google+ account means you’re more likely to appear when people search for you (if you’re connected to them in some way, of course). Even if people can turn off their ‘personal results’, they’ll view that information at some point, because it is not possible to permanently turn off the ‘personal results’. People may get so annoyed with always having to remember to turn this setting off that they will either: Discontinue their Google account usage, or (the more likely scenario) just stop messing with the settings in general. This means that having a Google+ account could very well improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). That’s why Google+ is different than Facebook. Yes, Facebook results show up early on in Google search results, but are they highlighted like the Google+ results? No. Google+ is different because of Google’s power over what people see on the internet – even more so than Facebook. Facebook controls the results you seeinFacebook, but Google+ controls the information you see every time you use the Google search engine.

Still wondering if you should get a Google+ account? Unfortunately, Google+ is losing relevance quickly – which is unfortunate because of the many opportunities Google has presented with its new social network. The way I see it, Google+ is one more way to connect with people and it gives you another opportunity for successful SEO. Either way, it’s a win-win, and no harm should come of opening up an account and exploring ways to utilize the social network. When it comes to social media, there’s nothing wrong with exploring different networks and using them all. All social networks have their strengths and weaknesses – that’s why there are so many.

GeniusMods: A Company Specializing in Modded Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3 Controllers

This morning, I was sent an article from BusinessWeek about the custom gaming technology company, GeniusMods. I suggest checking out their website here, because from what I can tell, the modded controllers are gorgeous. Featuring ‘rapid fire’, LED, and graphic controllers, I can tell you that I definitely plan on ordering from GeniusMods. I’ve already fallen in love with the ‘Clear Pink XCM LED Xbox 360 Modded Controller’ featured on the front page, and since I am a Gears of War (and shooter) fan, the ‘rapid fire’ controllers look excellent as well. One of the best parts about GeniusMods is the ability to custom design your own controller!

So, if you’re a gamer looking to express yourself with some custom, modded controllers (or you just want to impress your friends), be sure to check out GeniusMods and have a look at their selection!

The Weekly GMS: THEY USE A DYSON AIRBLADE ON THE ENTERPRISE?!

GMS stands for “Geek Menstrual Syndrome”. It is the feeling that one is having PMS, onset by experiencing the stupidities of society. While the symptoms of “PMS” can include feelings of tiredness, pain, and weight gain, GMS symptoms are typically less physical than the symptoms of PMS. Possible GMS symptoms include: feelings of confusion, frustration, anger, anxiety and a need to rant/voice your opinions strongly.

This week’s GMS is onset by – the lazy, copyright infringing author of a Star Trek comic.

This particular (GMS) ‘cramp’ was brought to my attention by my father. He had bought the (J.J. Abrams) Star Trek #1 comic, written by Mike Johnson and illustrated by Stephen Molnar. I haven’t actually read the comic, but I will when I get the chance, so you can expect a review on it hopefully soon. In fact, this GMS has nothing even to do with the plot of the comic (though my dad also let me know that the story is less than stellar)! This GMS is onset by a single image in the comic…

…can you spot what’s wrong with this picture?

Hm…maybe we should take a closer look…

...and no, the problem is not Angelina Jolie's right leg.

…now, do you see what’s wrong?

IT’S THE DYSON AIRBLADE STICKING OUT OF THE WALL! WHERE THE HECK DID THAT COME FROM?

Now, here was my first reaction to seeing the image (before I did some research!): I won’t be surprised if Dyson ends up suing the artist, Stephen Molnar, for this OBVIOUS infringement upon copyright. He’d might as well have colored the inside lining of the ‘hand dryer’ yellow and stuck a Dyson logo onto it. I’d rather endure some random product placement than know that I’m supporting a plagiarizing artist. This has got to be one of the MOST unoriginal things I have ever seen. Why? Because it’s just so damn obscure. It’s obvious that the author didn’t draw the ‘Airblade’ because he needed to stick a hand dryer on the wall, but because he didn’t know the story well enough to draw a more relevant piece of technology in the scene. And it’s not like the hand dryer is a microscopic dot in the background. NO – it’s the biggest hunk of junk in the picture other than the ‘bed’. And of all types of technology to you could choose to put on a spaceship, WHY ON EARTH, would you choose a hand dryer?!

Well, after I had experienced this awful bout of GMS I then actually did some research as to why the Dyson Airblade would be on the Enterprise. Here is my reaction after doing research: YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT J.J. ABRAMS PLACED THE DYSON AIRBLADE ON THE ENTERPRISE?! THE COMIC ARTIST WAS ACTUALLY REFERENCING THE MOVIE?! THIS IS WORSE THAN I THOUGHT!!!

Now, unfortunately I couldn’t find a ‘CC-licensed’ image of the Dyson Airblade found in the 2009 Star Trek film. However, all you have to do is search for ‘Star Trek Dyson Airblade’ and a single, tiny picture should come up in Google Images of the scene where it is shown.

Well, my first instinct is to apologize to the artist that he was left with drawing what seems to be a reference to the product placement of a hand dryer, inserted into a movie, in a comic. But then I realize that he actually drew the comic-version of the Dyson Airblade differently than the one in the film. So, I have come to a few conclusions: (1) J. J. Abrams is partly at fault for this lack of originality and creativity; (2) Either the illustrator of the comic was told to draw the hand dryer, or he decided to do it himself (which since the Airblade in the comic is not an exact match to the one found in the film, I still consider it an offense!); and (3) The artist was on a creativity retreat, and this could all be some kind of crazy coincidence.

Well there you have it. Now you know how the Enterprise crew dries their hands – with the Dyson Airblade. (Look out for comic #2, where the Enterprise crew wipes the ship’s poop deck with a Swiffer mop!)

Tech on the Toilet: What your digital bathroom habits say about you

CC Image courtesy of cogdogblog on Flickr

In the digital age, everything is changing – from the way we keep in touch with friends to how we get work done. But as technology increasingly becomes apart of our daily life, it seems even the simplest activities can become “high-tech.” One of these daily activities is going to the bathroom. This isn’t a post about technologically advanced toilets (though I’m sure I’ll write about it at some point), but rather a post about how people use technology ON the toilet, and what that can mean about their personality and approach to life.

Below, I have identified the 6 “tech on the toilet” types of people:

1. The Social Pooper – You are the person that checks Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin all while taking a dump. To put it lightly, your social life has no limits. You are open about who you are and you love letting people know exactly what you are doing all the time. You post about anything and everything, as long as it gets you more friends and more likes. You keep your profile(s) as public as a Porta-Potty, allowing friends, friends with friends, and friends of friends of friends to freely contribute to your dumpster…err, wall. The downside to your “no limits” approach to life – you may become too obsessessed with your social media profiles, to the point where you can be caught tweeting while driving. Your ideal tech toilet accessory? A LifeProof case for your iphone, so you can update your status anywhere, whether in the shower or a snow storm.

2. The Rear Reader – You are the person the likes to stay informed, both on and off the crapper. The innovation of smartphones has allowed you to get instant information, anywhere and everywhere. You love to read, and though bringing a book or newspaper into the bathroom seems easy enough, you know that reading your tech toy on the ol’ John is more socially acceptable. The downside to your love of digital literature? You easily get lost in what you are reading, resulting in long periods of time spent on the toilet. You may suffer from hemorrhoids and chronic butt pain. Your ideal tech toilet accessory? Since you already own 3 e-readers (one for each bathroom in the house), a simple e-book gift card will make you happy.

3. The Bowel Mover – You are the person that grabs for your iPod every time you feel the tingling of a BM ready to rock. Your headphones are in before you even sit down, and you turn the tunes up loud. You have a special playlist just for the bathroom, including all your favorite “toilet themes.” Whether dumping to dubstep, or peeing to pop, music is a part of your life no matter where you may be. You believe that music can make any day-to-day situation better, so why not enhance your bathroom experience too? The downside to your “bowel moving and grooving” – your frequent trips to the John may result in hearing loss later in life. Your ideal tech toilet accessory? Beats by Dr. Dre Wireless Bluetooth headphones (So you don’t have to worry about your headphone cord falling in the toilet…or worse).

4. The Gluteus Gamer – You are the person that likes to play games on the toilet. You believe that “taking a crap” means dropping all other responsibilities for your own enjoyment. Since you are too afraid to get caught playing “Words with Friends” in the workplace, you use your bathroom break as a way to “play it safe”. You like to have fun in every aspect of life, and technology allows you to do just that. For longer “log” sessions your go-to game is always an RPG like Infinity Blade. But if you are just taking a short tinkle, a level (or two) of Angry Birds satisfies you. The downside to your “fun on the rump” lifestyle? You may start to enjoy the bathroom more than your real-life responsibilities, rendering you a possibly less-efficient individual. However, you may just invent the next great mobile game inspired by your toilet-tastic lifestyle – Angry Turds, maybe? Your ideal tech toilet accessory? The iPhone Pinball Magic (Pinball Machine) accessory or the iPhone Jackpot Slots accessory, so you can mix things up.

5. The Thinking Turd – You are the person that takes notes while taking a crap. You are always generating new ideas, and you couldn’t live without your Evernote app. You love the portability of your smartphone, and enjoy having a place to always type ideas or thoughts. Some of your best work has come from inspiration thought out on the toilet, and you even liked the page “Thinking on the Toilet” on Facebook. Never before have you been able to ponder “the key to solving world peace” so eloquently on the pot, and you plan to thank Apple Inc. during your acceptance speech for your Nobel Prize. The downside to your “ponder and poop” lifestyle? Your brilliance extends far beyond your bowels, and sometimes you become so satisfied with just thinking that you forget to act on your great ideas. Your ideal tech toilet accessory? A stylus for your iPad (and iPhone), so you can allow for your thoughts to flow more freely by writing them out instead of typing.

6. The Ana-Log – You are a wise, well-balanced person with an immense amount of self-control. You don’t even think about using a digital device on the toilet, and you don’t understand the people that do. When it comes to the porcelain throne, you sit on it like a boss. You know how to do your business, and get it done well – the old-fashioned way. You are a hard worker that values simplicity and getting the job done right. The downside to your efficient lifestyle? Your lack of addiction to digital things will exclude you from certain social circles. Your ideal tech toilet accessory? None, you are satisfied with just a bowl, a hole, and two cheeks.

Of these 6 types of people, which are you? Are their any other “types” that you think should be mentioned in this post?

The PlayStation Vita: My First Impression

CC Image Courtesy of PopCultureGeek.com on Flickr

A few days ago, I was able to get a sneak peek of the (yet to be released in the U.S.) PlayStation Vita in Best Buy. After all I’ve read about the Vita online, I was not nearly as impressed with it as I thought I would be. I did not get a chance to try out the actual game play on the Vita myself, but the sales person that was showing it to me did do a little bit of a demo and showed me its features.

At first glance, the Vita looks much clunkier in person than in the pictures online. The PS Vita basically comes across as an iPhone (i.e. Sony’s attempt to compete with mobile gaming and smartphones), but with a lot more physical buttons on the sides and an extra touch screen on the back. I don’t quite understand the purpose of this second touch screen, as I haven’t seen it in use. However it is an interesting thought that “touch screen” devices could eventually become three-dimensional. So, although Sony’s “back side” touchscreen looks strange on the Vita, it could be a beginning step towards something else in the future, e.g. three-dimensional “touch” devices and gaming.

Maybe my sales person at Best Buy just lacked energy, but the sales pitch for the PS Vita lacks a lot of originality. The Vita itself does not come across as revolutionary (contradictory to Sony calling it “the best handheld gaming device ever created). The one “unique” thing about it is the touch screen on the back. Other than that, it sounds just like every other new mobile device appearing on the market – touchscreen, wi-fi, 3G capability, and a front and rear camera. And that’s pretty much it. This may be new for the gaming industry/market (though the Nintendo DSi already boasted a camera well before the Vita) but it certainly isn’t anything new in the world of mobile devices. The one thing the Vita seems to lack is the capability to use it as a phone.

I read some opinions online that the somewhat “enormous” size of the touch screen on the Vita is a good things. I disagree. According to reports online, an iPhone 4 can fit onto the front touch screen of the Vita. Not the entire console – just the screen. I own an iPhone 4, and I really cannot imagine anything bigger than it being considered portable and/or mobile. The point of mobile devices and/or gaming is to have a compact, streamlined experience that you can take with you anywhere, but it also should be easy to store when on-the-go. I already do so much on my iPhone, including playing games, why would I buy a Vita? A PlayStation Vita wouldn’t replace anything in my life, and it wouldn’t add to my life. It really comes across as useless.

The price of the PlayStation Vita varies, and from my conversation at Best Buy, it was concluded that shelling out about $400 or more would give you the full “Vita” experience. That estimate includes – Purchasing a single PS Vita with only wi-fi (3G capability significantly increases the price) buying some games, a case for your vita and other accessories, as well as the “required” memory card that does NOT come with most (pre-order) packages available. The Best Buy price for a Vita console alone with just Wi-Fi is $249.99. That includes nothing but the console. A PlayStation Vita First Edition Bundle from Best Buy comes out to a whopping $349.99. This comes with 1 game (Little Deviants), 1 4GB Memory Card, and 1 Case as well as the Vita. There’s also the $39.99 Starter Kit you can purchase, the $19.99 PS Vita in-ear headset, the $14.99 PS Vita USB Cable, and the $9.99 Protective Film cover you can purchase for your Vita. Now, of course the in-ear headset and the USB Cable aren’t really necessary for a buyer who may already own these things, but I haven’t even mentioned the actual $40-50 games for the Vita. When iPhone and smart phone games (that can be just as entertaining as the PS Vita) can range from being free to $5.99 (or in rare cases, higher) a $50 game seems like quite a lot to pay. Infinity Blade, a truly revolutionary game for the iPhone and iPad, costs me just $5.99 on the App Store and it’s extremely entertaining. I understand that these $40-50 games for the Vita are longer and possibly more developed than iPhone games (e.g. Uncharted: Golden Abyss) but I can buy an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 game for that price. From what I’ve seen of the Vita, I would only recommend this for die-hard Sony PlayStation fans.

As I mentioned before, the PS Vita looks very clunky in comparison to the sleek & sexy smartphones of today. Why even bother with getting a “hand-held” gaming device if you already own a smart phone that has games, apps, music, text messaging and a phone all in one! Also (if you’re a gamer) you may already own a video game console such as the 360 or PS3. The question I was really left asking myself after my preview of the Vita was, “Is this device really necessary?” and even more so “Is this worth the money?”.

In conclusion, my first impression of the PlayStation Vita = I think I’ll pass.

*Note: For anyone wondering how the PS Vita name is pronounced (my sales person at Best Buy did not know) according to the internet, it’s pronounced vee-tah.

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