Friday, May 31, 2013

Proper Lighting Optimizes Group Fitness Training

Lighting sets the mood almost everywhere, from a dimly-lit home theatre to a daylight-bright and clean bathroom.  New studies show that variable lighting custom-matched to various fitness training activities can optimize focus and performance.  Bright daylight or bluish light brings the mind into focus, soft dim light relieves stress during yoga training, and spinning classes can eliminate boredom through the look of a starlit sky or pulsing dance club environment.  But the days of one-size-fits-all fluorescent light in an exercise studio are definitely passe.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article:
Putting Group Fitness Classes in the Proper Light

Excerpt: "'Because of the theatrical nature of group fitness classes, lighting is key to differentiate programming,' said Donna Cyrus, senior vice president of programming at Crunch fitness centers.

Yellow or orange light boosts high-energy workouts, such as rebounding mini trampoline routines, circuit classes or sculpt programs, Cyrus said, while for yoga the light should be soft and soothing.

Lighting also enhances the musical experience, Cyrus said.

In a cycling class, accents of 'club type' lighting pulse to the beat of the music, creating what she calls "a choreographed show."

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines, adjustable light sources should be provided in group exercise areas.

Generally, the more hand-eye coordination an activity demands, the more illumination is required, according to Grace DeSimone, national director of group fitness at Plus One Health Management, which designs and manages fitness centers for corporations, hotels and community centers.

'If you're going to be moving around a lot you'll need a lot of light,' DeSimone said. 'You're not going to do a boot camp workout in a dark room.'

But indoor cycling classes often combine high energy and low lighting.

'Spinning goes against the grain,' DeSimone explained. 'You can do some pretty cool things - make the room look like a night-time sky or light a disco ball - because once you're on that bike you're not going anywhere.'

In a multi-purpose fitness room, she said, the lighting has to be able to change based on what's going on.

'With Pilates you want the lights on, but with yoga you can do a lot with colored lights,' she said."

Thursday, May 30, 2013

7th and Figueroa Has Important History as Great LA Intersection

Site of the Statler Hilton (Wilshire Grand), and soon LA's tallest bldg
Even in recent years, the intersection of Seventh Street and Figueroa, one of the great gateways to downtown LA when driving in  from the West, has undergone some important changes.  The Metro Center station is a major crossroads for LA Metro train traffic, as the intersection of the Red, Blue and new Expo lines.  Above ground, the tired old shopping center that houses Golds Gym Downtown has become the darling of local residents with LA's first City Target location.  And on the Northwest corner of the intersection, the historic but obsolete Wilshire Grand Hotel was just razed to make way for a new 1100 foot skyscraper (the West Coast's tallest) being built by Korean Airlines.

But as this article from KCET points out, the iconic crossroads has been a pivot point in Southern California history since its inception, as the site of the Victorian Foy mansion, the very first Von's "groceteria", and the nexus of LA's first automobile retail center in the 1920s.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article:

Excerpt: "Once the site of the two-story Foy House and later the original Vons grocery store, the intersection of Figueroa and Seventh streets will soon host the tallest building on the West Coast. When the new Wilshire Grand Tower rises its planned 1,100 feet above the corner, it will continue a long tradition of eye-catching structures and lauded real estate developments at the downtown Los Angeles intersection -- a crossroads whose historical evolution tracks important changes within the city.
The intersection was born in the 1850s as lines on a surveyor's map.
It was absent from one of the city's earliest maps, drawn by surveyor E. O. Ord in 1849. Ord had dragged his chains through the open countryside to the south and west of the city's historic center, sketching out a street grid that included Seventh Street and the street that would eventually become Figueroa -- Calle de las Chapules, or Grasshopper Street...
In the early 1900s, another pioneering Angeleno took up residence on the corner opposite the Foy house. In 1906, Charles Von der Ahe opened his first Vons Groceteria at the southeast corner of Figueroa and Seventh, later growing the enterprise into a chain of 87 stores.
In those days, Figueroa and Seventh was still a rustic crossroads. Later, new construction and the city's growth transformed Figueroa and Seventh into a decidedly urban intersection. Angelenos had adopted the motorcar--originally a fanciful toy for the rich -- and Figueroa Street became Los Angeles' automobile row."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Slideshow: Coolest Starbucks Anywhere!

This article in USA TODAY (link to original slideshow from The Daily Meal)starts out with the claim that you are never further than 170 miles from a Starbucks in America.  We're not so certain about flyover country, but here in LA I think that figure is closer to 170 FEET. Though familiarity breeds contempt, or at least boredom, we can console ourselves with the thought that there are at least this dozen Starbucks Coffee locations around the globe that are interesting, artistic and architecturally significant.  (Personally, I can't wait to visit that Fukuoka location with the walls and ceiling made of thousands of sculpturally arranged wood sticks.)

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article:
Excerpt: "It's been said that you're never farther than 170 miles from a Starbucks in America -- and we can assume that will become only more true as Starbucks continues its global domination. As of July 2012, there were 17,651 Starbucks locations worldwide, with an additional 1,500 slated to open in 2013. In fact, the company just recently announced that it would be opening its 1,000th location in Japan this summer.

And while a Starbucks location has a certain aesthetic -- dark wood paneling, Pantone-green accents, chic and comfortable seating for a true coffeehouse vibe -- we can all admit that our Starbucks locations have a big-box store, cookie-cutter feel to them. So when we find uniquely designed Starbucks stores from Singapore to Amsterdam, we get excited for the unusual. With innovative design, unique architecture that fits within the city's landscape and unusual concepts, these are the Starbucks worth visiting."

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tech Toy of the Month: Monkey Light for Bike Wheels

This new product on Kickstarter builds on two earlier Monkey Light devices that display a color LED pattern across your bike wheel when you are pedaling.  The new version combines an array of 256 LEDs on both sides of 4 bars, creating a full-color display that turns your entire bike wheel into an amazing lighted color picture in motion.  The builtin options feature many flashy psychedelic "light show" effects as well as several cartoony animations. The full price for those of us who didn't get in on the Kickstarter ground floor is about $800 for one wheel or $1600 for two, or $2200 for a bike with the wheels pre-installed.  Assuming that the price will rocket downward as the manufacturing scale ramps up, I think we'll see these everywhere in a few years.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:

Link to article:
Monkey Light Pro - Bicycle Wheel Display System


Use our web-based software to create a playlist with your own images and animations - or choose from our collection of custom artwork. Then send your playlist to the Monkey Light Pro with Bluetooth wireless.

Mount the Monkey Light Pro to your bike wheel and take your message to the streets. Once you're rolling the display fills the bike wheel and is visible from both sides. The Monkey Light Pro is waterproof, durable and designed for use on city streets. Crank your bike to eleven.

In the past we've hand built our prototypes for exhibits and developers only. You may have seen one at Maker Faire, Siggraph, Dragon's Den, EuroBike, SXSW or at a Museum.

Finally, we're ready to launch the Monkey Light Pro in product form. We've field tested 100 units of the most recent hand-made prototype. We've refined the design a lot from our developer feedback. Now we need your help to manufacture the Monkey Light Pro with a user-friendly package and price."

Monday, May 27, 2013

XBox One Console Brings Game and Smart TV Functions Together

Microsoft hopes they have a game changer with their new home entertainment console, known as Xbox One.  The new set top box replaces a game console and also brings all the capabilities of a smart TV to your home entertainment system.  Biggest draw may be remote control via voice recognition and gestures, for changing channels, tv volume, input sources and DVR functions.

Hunter Communications Original News Source:
Los Angeles Times

Link to article:
Microsoft unveils new Xbox One console
Excerpt: " The new Xbox One is positioned to compete with other game devices, as well as with a growing number of Internet-connected TVs and gadgets in the living room that draw entertainment from a variety of sources.

'We very much think of Xbox as an all-in-one entertainment system that has the best of games and the best of entertainment,' said Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of marketing and strategy for the interactive entertainment division at Microsoft.

The Xbox One is designed to sit in between a cable or satellite set-top box and the TV so that it can bring together online and linear entertainment offerings into one easy-to-use interface.

As with a growing number of Internet-connected TVs and devices, the Xbox One will deliver a more personalized entertainment experience. Using an updated version of the Kinect controller, with its built-in camera and sensors, the next generation console can recognize the person sitting on the couch -- and serve up favorite games, TV shows and other content through a home 'dashboard.' "

Friday, May 24, 2013

Eurovision Wrap Up: History Repeats for Denmark!

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
American Fan of Eurovision

Link to article:
Photos from Jury Final

This year's 58th annual Eurovision Song Contest just finished Saturday, May 18th in Malmø, Sweden, and a historic "passing of the crown" moment repeated history from the year 2000.  Each year, the previous contest's winning nation plays host to the massive music extravaganza, and the 1999 winner, Sweden, played host in Stockholm for the 2000 edition.  When the votes were counted, Sweden was able to pass on their victory to their close neighbor and "frenemy" Denmark.

This year, the bettors across Europe immediately spotted and latched onto the beautiful Emmelie de Forest and her romantic folky ballad "Only Teardrops" as a great candidate for victory.  Could history repeat and Emmelie's Danish entry again win the trophy from their neighbor? 

During the week's festivities and semifinals, the betting odds continued to favor Denmark more and more, till by the morning of the finals the highest odds one could get were even money that "Only Teardrops" would take home the prize.  Bloggers and reporters were eager to drum up speculation and controversy by suggesting that the blond Dane was not NECESSARILY a runaway winner. 

Yet after all the performances finished and the 39 competing nations awarded their points, it was Denmark that won, after all, by a comfortable margin over top rivals Azerbaijan and Ukraine!  The nerve center and organization of the Eurovision Song Contest now moves the scant 10 miles across the Øresund to Denmark, where the contest will be held next spring on May 17th. 

(Note: Hunter Communications blogger  Len Whitney also publishes the Eurovision blog American Fan of Eurovision and was in attendance at this year's Song Contest competition week.)
You can watch the entire final night show here:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Flashmob in Stockholm takes shopping mall into Euphoria

Hunter Communications recommended viewing from:

Link to Videoclip: 
Flashmob in Stockholm. 150 people singing Euphoria in the middle of a shopping mall 

After an amazing week of Eurovision 2013, it seems to contest watchers that last year's winning song, "Euphoria", is on its way to becoming an all-time classic among the winners.  Recently a group of 150 Swedes honored their award-winning song with a beautifully-performed flashmob in a Stockholm mall.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Best Street Art for 2012

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
The Best Examples of Street Art in 2012

This is not an article per se, but a page of 48 flawless examples of modern street art around the world, and a link to a second page of 38 examples.  Click through to see amazing street humor, trompe l'oueil, and site-specific installations.  Some of the goodies are reproduced here:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Google Glass Faces Tsunami of Privacy Concerns

Everything you see can be recorded and posted online immediately
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The New York Times

Link to article:
Google Glass Picks Up Early Signal - Keep Out

Early adopters, and soon everyone else, will be coveting the ultracool micro computer on an eyeglass frame known as Google Glass.  But now the device that will turn us all into instant paparazzi is raising fears that all privacy in public spaces is about to go the way of the buggy whip.  And locales from bars and clubs, to all the casinos and showrooms of Vegas, are preemptively banning the new gadget.

Excerpt: "The glasseslike device, which allows users to access the Internet, take photos and film short snippets, has been pre-emptively banned by a Seattle bar. Large parts of Las Vegas will not welcome wearers. West Virginia legislators tried to make it illegal to use the gadget, known as Google Glass, while driving.

'This is just the beginning,' said Timothy Toohey, a Los Angeles lawyer specializing in privacy issues. 'Google Glass is going to cause quite a brawl.'

As personal technology becomes increasingly nimble and invisible, Glass is prompting questions of whether it will distract drivers, upend relationships and strip people of what little privacy they still have in public.

A pair of lens-less frames with a tiny computer attached to the right earpiece, Glass is promoted by Google as 'seamless and empowering.' It will have the ability to capture any chance encounter, from a celebrity sighting to a grumpy salesclerk, and broadcast it to millions in seconds.

'We are all now going to be both the paparazzi and the paparazzi’s target,' said Karen L. Stevenson, a lawyer with Buchalter Nemer in Los Angeles.

Google stresses that Glass is a work in progress, with test versions now being released to 2,000 developers. Another 8,000 “explorers,' people handpicked by Google, will soon get a pair.

Among the safeguards to make it less intrusive: you have to speak or touch it to activate it, and you have to look directly at someone to take a photograph or video of them.

'We are thinking very carefully about how we design Glass because new technology always raises new issues,' said Courtney Hohne, a Google spokeswoman.

Developers, however, are already cracking the limits of Glass. One created a small sensation in tech circles last week with a program that eliminated the need for gestures or voice commands. To snap a picture, all the user needs to do is wink."

Monday, May 20, 2013

Los Angeles Plans to Return Concrete LA River to a Sort of Nature

Rendering of a revitalized LA River with landscaping and public promenades.
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The Atlantic: Cities

Link to article: 
LA Wants to Turn its Concrete 'River' to a Real River

The Los Angeles River became more like a concrete-lined flood channel as early as 1930, but changing ideas of ecology and demographics of residents near the river has the city pondering plans to return the river to a semblance of nature.  The concrete will be torn out, new plantings will allow the river to meander among bushes and reeds, and terraced walkways will allow strollers to see a greener, more natural view along the waterway.

Excerpt: "In recent years the Los Angeles River has enjoyed a renaissance. Though the waterway hasn’t really been a natural habitat since the 1930s (when the city lined the riverbed with concrete to control flooding), new bike paths, public art, and kayak tours now draw Angelenos to the water’s edge. So far these upgrades have been largely peripheral, due in large part to urban enthusiasts’ determination to start using the giant ditch they inherited as a river. Meanwhile, the city’s more substantial plan to transform the channel into a living habitat is mired in delays at the federal level.

The Los Angeles River Revitalization Plan, completed in 2007 by the landscape design firm Mia Lehrer + Associates, calls for the removal of most of the concrete and natural habitat restoration around the river. But, as the Architect’s Newspaper‘s Sam Lubell reports, a delay in a feasibility study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has stalled this ambitious project, putting everyone’s dreams of a green urban idyll on hold.

Before work can proceed, the Corps must assess the flood risks and, counterintuitively, the habitat risks of altering the river’s makeup. (Are we worried that all those algae colonies will die off for want of concrete?) The feasibility study was scheduled to wind up at the end of this year, but six years of bureaucratic snares and funding mishaps have jeopardized that deadline."

Friday, May 17, 2013

"Spandex", A New Off-Broadway Musical Sponsored by Crunch Fitness

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Broadway World

Link to article:
SPANDEX Opens Off-Broadway 5/10

"Spandex" is a new musical opening Off-Broadway, about a harrried housewife and a former gymnast caught up in the 1980s world of aerobics, Jane Fonda fitness, and the eponymous fabric. Its philosophy of "No Judgments" appealed to Crunch fitness staffers who attended an early reading of the show's script, and now the fitness chain is listed as the show's "sponsor". Show t-shirts will also feature the gym's logo on the back, and this becomes the first Off-Broadway show sponsored by a fitness chain.

Excerpt: "Spandex tells the story of a picked-on housewife and a vulnerable former gymnast who, through Jane Fonda and the new aerobics movement, discover the power of the burn. When a diet-pill pushing and terribly mulletted fitness guru threatens to undermine their rise, they challenge him in the only place he might be vulnerable: the 1987 Crystal Light National Aerobics Championship, hosted by Alan Thicke. The musical was inspired by the YouTube classic of this prestigious sports event.

Crunch first became interested in the musical after two staffers attended a staged reading in spring 2012 and identified with the show's recurring "No Judgments" theme- the fitness brand's core philosophy. Their recommendations were passed slowly up the ladder and a partnership blossomed. This marks the first time the gym chain will serve as an above-the-title sponsor of an off-Broadway show."

Note: Hunter Communications handles marketing at the Burbank Town Center, home to Crunch Fitness Burbank.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Next Step in LEED Certification Designates Whole Neighborhoods

Uptown Circle, LEED-ND neighborhood in Normal, Illinois
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Midwest Energy News

Link to article:
Next big thing for LEED planning?  Sustainable neighborhoods

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED for short, has been certifying "green buildings" for sustainable design and technological innovation in energy production and use for years.  Now, new projects in the Midwest are among those to receive the new LEED-ND certification for development of entire neighborhoods with energy-saving technologies.

Excerpt: "One of the first sustainably certified neighborhoods in the country turns out to have been at one time one of the poorest. Once home to a notorious housing project, Renaissance Place in St. Louis today boasts a mix of subsidized and market-rate housing units.

William Carson, director of sustainability for McCormack Baron Salazar, said Renaissance Place was funded largely by Hope VI money from Housing and Urban Development and a complex mix of state, local and philanthropic funding. Even though the company largely works in distressed neighborhoods it always designs and builds with sustainability in mind, he said.

'The addition of green amenities of energy and water savings really makes sense in low income communities where people simply don’t have additional resources to waste,' Carson said. 'On top of that our public partners like them because when you have an operating subsidy from a public authority and federal government they want to keep their expenses flat. So building green makes sense for the long-term operation.'

After receiving LEED-ND certification Carson’s organization added solar panels and storm water retention to Renaissance Place because, again, they end up saving money for residents. Those features are now common in all the firm’s LEED-ND projects.

If Renaissance Place has been good for residents it also has been good for business, helping McCormack Baron Salazar win work in LEED-ND projects in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Tulsa, Sacramento and Pittsburgh.

Normal, Illinois, the home of State Farm Insurance and Illinois State University, generally lives up to its name. “Normal is not some flaming liberal town,” said Mercy Davison, Normal’s town planner.

'We always made the argument this makes sense not because it’s the right thing with a capital R but because it makes sense in dollars. It helps us retain people, it’s good for our quality of life.'

Normal’s love of LEED began in 2002 when the city council required public and private buildings in Uptown to be LEED certified. The first to pass muster was a children’s museum, the second a transportation hub combined with a new city hall, the third a hotel. A residential building sited for a third parcel that eventually will be constructed by a private developer will have to meet LEED standards.

Doug Farr, of Farr Associates, worked on Uptown Normal and subsequently has helped plan more than a half dozen other LEED-ND projects.

'Uptown Circle was a bigger deal in that community than any other project we worked on — it was their downtown, their first go at urban redevelopment, sustainability and it involved multiple mayoral terms and public financing,' he said. 'It was pretty high-stakes, played out in public and the press.'

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Next Generation 4K TVs May be Powered By Intel Set-top Box

Spectacular Samsung 4k tv, with little content to drive sales
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
The Upcoming Intel Media Box Could Be the Gateway to 4K

The upcoming revoution in home televisions is 4K, with an ultra-high resolution equal to 4 times a 1080p set.  Already available at a hefty price, the one thing preventing the new sets from mass acceptance is the utter lack of programming at the higher resolution.  But recent announcements from Intel about a new generation of processors capable of processing 4K signals, and a new set-top box that will deliver smarter bundled content than current cable or satellite offerings, have led to speculation about a new super-box that will be a source for a new world of entertainment at the superhigh res.

Excerpt: "Intel has been tight-lipped about its upcoming media box and over-the-internet subscription TV service. It has promised to deliver smarter bundles than you’re currently getting from cable and satellite providers. Intel’s VP of Media Erik Huggers told the crowd at Dive Into Media the box also will have a superior UI and it will support streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon.

Add in 4K capability and you’ve got all the TV you want in to a device ready for the future of video. It’ll do all of this using one HDMI port and the broadband connection you already pay for.

Intel declined to comment, but its plan to shove TV through your ISP’s tubes will give a whole lot of people a viable alternative to the cable TV provider monopolizing their local market. Plus, thanks to the newly ratified HEVC (h.265) codec, those tubes can handle 60fps 4K transmissions. The new codec brings the size of a 4K transmission down from 45-50Mbps to 10Mbps. According to the networking gurus at Western Digital, you should be able to sustain that speed with a 20Mbps account. Although it might be awhile before networks start broadcasting and streaming 4K content, sources familiar with the situation say they are testing 4K broadcasts."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Neologism of the week: Churnalism

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Boing Boing

Link to article:
Churnalism: Discover when the "news" you are reading is a press release

The word of the week was coined by the BBC in 2008.  "Churnalism" refers to the all-too common practice in modern media to buckle to the constraints of time and budget and simply copy press releases and prepared spn, then present it as authentic reporting.  Boing Boing has found a browser plugin that will search for online instances that match the text you highlighted, so it can tell you if a story is journalism or "Churnalism".  Kind of a modern day take on the "bulls*!^ detector".

Excerpt: "Nicko from the Sunlight Foundation sez, 'I thought you'd be interested in a new browser extension and webtool from the Sunlight Foundation called Churnalism. It extracts article text from any site you'd like it to run on and compares it against a corpus of press releases, articles from Wikipedia and much more. If a significant amount of text from what you're reading matches something in our database, an alert banner appears on your browser and you can click through to see a side-by-side comparison. I imagine every editor would want to run this on their stories before they publish!'"

Monday, May 13, 2013

!9th Century Shopping Mall to House Micro-Apartment Living

Floorplan of the tiny micro-units
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
The New Mini-Mall: Tiny Apartments To Open In Nation’s Oldest Shopping Center
Out of date and vacant malls have been used for many things in the US, from government agencies to medical office plazas.  But a historically significant 1828 enclosed shopping center in Providence is trying a whole new approach, by converting upper levels into tiny, affordable micro-living apartments.  The ground floor concourse level will house small restaurants, bars, and stores to sustain the residents.

Excerpt: "Aside from the economic whupping of 2008–2009, a major casualty of the recession was space itself. Homeowners and businesses bled square footage, leaving behind a landscape of empty McMansions, vacated big-box stores, and now-famously abandoned shopping malls. Since then, many municipalities have been grappling with how to repopulate these spaces with more nimble, post-boom uses. Existing mall mashups pretty much stick to the public realm—like Cleveland’s indoor gardens and Vanderbilt’s health clinics—but this spring a shuttered shopping center in downtown Providence will be reborn in micro form, with two stories of micro-apartments above ground-floor micro-retail. Micro-micro more!

As nightmarish as a total mall existence sounds, this project offers Providence residents the best shot at living in a landmarked piece of architectural history they’ll probably ever have. Built in 1828 by architects James Bucklin and Russell Warren, the Greek Revival structure was the nation’s first enclosed shopping mall. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1976, but by 2010 had made the Providence Preservation Society’s 10 Most Endangered Buildings list. Working with J. Michael Abbott of Northeast Collaborative Architects, developer Evan Granoff sliced up the Arcade’s two upper floors into 48 apartments. Thirty-eight are micro—between 225 and 450 square feet—a scale that brings the new spaces closer in line with the mall’s 1828 design, according to Granoff. 'It’s allowing us basically to put the building back to what it was when it was built,' he told Providence Business News. 'They were individual rooms that were tiny. We’re actually creating more of the streetscape [feel] that was inside.' "

Friday, May 10, 2013

Urban Growing Pains: DC's Metro Map Struggles with Growing Complexity

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The Atlantic: Cities

Link to article:
D.C.'s Elegant Metro Map Suffers from Growing Pains

One of the nation's iconic transit maps, from Washington, DC's Metro system, is struggling with how to adapt elegant simplicity to a growing number of lines and termini.  How do you depict stations with three lines on the same track?  With "whiskers", or maybe "capsules" joining the lines on the map?

Excerpt: "D.C.'s Metrorail system is growing. And so is its map.

The Silver Line, whose first stops will open later this year, will eventually — finally — provide a rail connection between the city and Dulles International Airport, a welcome alternative to one of the metro area's more expensive taxi rides.

But the expansion means the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Agency's iconic rail map, the latest iterations of which were released this week, is starting to look more crowded than a downtown platform at rush hour. The system has been expanding regularly and with grace since Lance Wyman designed the first map in 1976, but the Silver Line poses a new challenge: three lines running on the same track.

Wyman's design prizes clarity over geographic specificity. With thick, vivid cables for routes, the scheme became a favorite for its simplicity and legibility. But now we're confronted with a hefty, tripartite band winding through downtown. After taking suggestions from riders and readers, WMATA put forth two new concepts (split by the slider across the center), neither of which addresses the issue:

It seems the choice, at this point, is between 'whiskers,' shown on the three-line stations on the left side the map, or 'capsules,' shown on the three-line stations on the right. The coiled, tri-colored snake -- and this represents a reduction in thickness from previous iterations -- looks here to stay.

D.C.'s isn't the first subway map to run three lines in one place. The Berlin U-Bahn map has four lines running together, and London easily manages three. The difference is that those maps have much thinner lines, which makes a multi-line-combo more graphically palatable."

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Website of the Week: IKEAhackers

A few minutes, a drill and screwdriver to hack your IKEA lamp
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
Ipoise: Turn an IKEA Lamp Into  a Multi-Position Ipad Holder

An interesting website, IKEAhackers, uses readers' input to suggest useful new gadgets created by "hacking" existing IKEA products. A current suggestion is to use an IKEA drafting-table style lamp and an Ipad holder bracket to create an easily positionable holder that keeps your Ipad at the right height and angle to use hands-free in a kitchen, shop or bedroom. Other projects on the page use the same Tertial lamp to make a chandelier, a mic stand, or a ceiling light.  The left-column menu leads to hundreds of "hack projects" for all rooms and purposes.

Excerpt: "Materials: TERTIAL lamp, 4world iPad bracket

Description: Taking the TERTIAL lamp (£8.50) from Ikea, remove the lamp fitting and flatten bracket. Then take 4world iPad holder, position the bracket in the centre of the rotating disc, drill a couple of holes, get a couple of small bolts nuts and washers.

Fit the bracket and there you have it a multi-positional iPad bedside holder for less than 20 quid!"

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Technology Remakes Typography

Lower development costs mean lower prices for new fonts like Fairview
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
Typecast: How New Technology is Reinventing Typography

Printing, graphics, commercial art, font design--these were all painstaking, labor-intensive tasks.  But now that typography is based on digital data instead of wood type, metal blocks, or even sheets of rubdown lettering, the field has been revolutionized. From fast digital tools to new sources of revenue, the world of letters is not at all what it was.

Excerpt: "Designing typefaces is a rare craft that involves drawing letterforms and painstakingly setting the spacing between them. For hundreds of years, designers had to master wood carving and metal casting to practice their art. With the rise of computers they learned to conquer bitmaps and vectors using tools like Glyphs, FontLab, or RoboFont. As programming becomes a common part of the designer’s skill set, innovation is continuing along these lines.

'We’ve been designing typefaces for specific printing process since as long as type’s been made,' says Cyrus Highsmith. 'To draw a new typeface for the screen or for a specific device is just an extension of what I’ve already been doing.'

Highsmith creates typefaces for the type foundry The Font Bureau and teaches typography at RISD. His fonts are are sold directly to designers, commissioned by clients like Sports Illustrated and Martha Stewart Living, and he recently wrote a textbook called Inside Paragraphs: Typographic Fundamentals. He’s part of a rich tradition that stretches back to Gutenberg, and feels equally excited about the future of his profession.

According to Highsmith, the last decade has been challenging for type designers. The print world is shrinking, but technical limitations prevented web designers from fully exercising their typographic skills. Now, however, the growing popularity of the '@font-face' tag that became formalized in the CSS3 specifications is reinvigorating typography on the web by allowing a diverse range of unique but high-quality fonts to be called onto a page from an external foundry. With it, web designers can think more like print specialists and purposefully choose typefaces rather than defaulting to system fonts. 'Suddenly the number of people who are thinking about typography has exploded,' he says.

Using these new web standards in the service of 'responsive design' is an area of interest to Highsmith and his colleagues at The Font Bureau. 'How do you design responsive typefaces that can change based on the device being used, whether they’re being used as a headline or caption, or the size of the page they’re on?' he asks. He points out that the nature of fonts is changing rapidly, and cites Chartwell, an interactive 'font' developed by Travis Kochel, which designers can use to make quick charts, graphs, and spark lines by typing."

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Shopping Centers, Commercial Real Estate and Construction Driving US Economic Growth

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
Positive April Jobs Report Relieves CRE Industry

A sunnier-than-usual jobs report for April had investors breathing a sigh or relief that things have not slowed down.  But beyond the marquee numbers, the share of new jobs created in shopping center retail, bars, restaurants, and construction show that retail is still the driver of growth in the US.

Excerpt: "The Labor Department reported Friday morning that the US economy added 165,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 7.5%. It was a better report than many had forecast, with projections of 145,000 jobs added widely circulated.

The various industries scrambled to make sense of the numbers, at least in terms of their particular sector. The International Council of Shopping Centers, for example, noted that U.S. shopping-center retail jobs rose by 33,000 — accounting for one-fifth of all the 165,000 jobs added in April. It also reported that another 38,000 people were hired by restaurants and bars, for a total that was slightly higher in this category than the Labor Department's. No matter—it is clear retail is helping to drive the US economic bus. 'The shopping center industry is a crucial driver of the economic recovery,' said ICSC President and CEO Michael P. Kercheval, in a prepared statement. 'These numbers illustrate that retail and retail development is a major economic pillar.'

The Associated General Contractors of America Association noted that unemployment rate for construction workers fell to the lowest April level in five years, even though worker gains from March to April were limited to the residential side. It also predicted that the industry is likely to continue adding jobs for much of 2013. 'Other indicators, such as the continuing growth in architectural and engineering employment, suggest that demand for construction will expand further,' said Ken Simonson, the association's chief economist, in a prepared statement.

In short, it appears that the economy is continuing its slow recovery and isn’t showing signs of a spring slowdown, Scott Homa, research director with Jones Lang LaSalle tells 'Although the workforce participation rate remains at historical lows, and the number of underemployed and discouraged workers remains highly inflated, it’s encouraging to see the national unemployment rate dip as far as it has and for the labor market to continue its favorable trajectory,' he says.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Most Drastic Logo Changes in Word Business

VW's first logo was based on a rounded Nazi swastika
Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
Business Insider

Link to article:
Shocking, Drastic Logo Changes

Sometimes, it's easy to "capsulize" an article into a blog post (especially knowing that clicking a link requires effort, so most readers won't bother).  But this article from BUSINESS INSIDER about the most drastic logo evolutions from a company's originial design to the present is more fascinating for the visuals than for the commentary.  So click the link and enjoy!

Excerpt: "Most logo changes by big brands are subtle.

Some, however, are so drastic that the new marques look like they have been created for completely different companies.

Think Coca-Cola — since the 1880s, its logo design has barely evolved. The Coca-Cola logo is ubiquitous and consistent, and it pays off: Coca-Cola is widely regarded as the most recognized brand worldwide.

But logo recognition is clearly not everyone's top priority. It's a leap of faith to conduct a major logo design overhaul, but many big brands are still willing to take the risk, evolving to the point that their new logos look nothing like the originals. Apple, for instance, has evolved through a huge range of different looks.

We've compiled some of the most drastic logo redesigns in brand history. Double-takes guaranteed."

Friday, May 3, 2013

Freud's Handwriting Becomes Digital Font

The good doctor's handwriting will soon be digitized
Hunter Comunications recommended reading from:
Huffington Post

Link to article:
Kickstarter Project Turns Sigmund Freud's Handwriting Into a Computer Font

Some Kickstarter projects get funding because people think they will be financially successful.  And then there are those that are just interesting ideas, whether or not they will ever make a penny.  A recent fascinating Kickstarter proposal to use the handwriting from eight documents penned by Sigmund Freud to create a script font that users can download to their computers struck a sweet spot with investors, and soon raised $16,000, far above its $1500 budget.

Excerpt: "Entitled, 'Sigmund Freud Typeface - A Letter to your Shrink,' a Kickstarter project, aims to turn the esteemed twentieth-century psychoanalyst's handwriting into a computer typeface that would allow for digital letter writing.

Many articles have questioned whether handwritten letters are a thing of the past, given the prominence of the computer, iPhone, and the like. Indeed, most people probably can't even recall the last time they received a real letter, if ever. Their mail is mainly composed of bills, spam mail, magazine subscriptions, and the occasional birthday or thank you card. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks captured this lack-of-real-mail generation best in You've Got Mail, a movie where two strangers fell in love from 'mail' received -- the mail here coming in the form of instant messages over the Internet.

This project gives people the convenience afforded by the computer while maintaining the romantic nostalgia, beauty, and character of letter writing with real handwriting.

German typographer Harald Geisler writes in his Kickstarter page that he was inspired after discovering Freud's letters and pictured someone writing a letter to their shrink in his handwriting.

In addition to the beauty, Geisler shows you can tell a lot about someone from their handwriting.
'When one looks at handwriting one remembers the movement that is performed in the execution.... Look at the samples of Sigmund Freud's scientific papers and you feels the strength and decisiveness he expresses, whereas when you look at Einsteins papers you could see the speed in his writing that seems to be already hasting to the next page in his mind.'
He admits that nothing beats receiving a letter where you know your loved one's pen actually touched the paper. The electronic version, he says, is the next best alternative."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Johnson & Johnson Uses Rebranding to Shore Up Consumer Trust

Hunter Communications recommended reading from: 

Link to article:
Johnson & Johnson Unveils New Corporate Branding Campaign

After a rough few years marked by errors and lawsuits, Johnson & Johnson remains near the top of America's most trusted brands, falling only from #3 to #6 on the list.  But the corporation takes its reputation seriously, and so has started a new branding campaign centered around the slogan "For all you love, Johnson & Johnson".

Excerpt: " 'One of the things that we wanted to be sure to do is move to really get past some of the challenges we’ve had as a business,' said Michael Sneed, VP of global corporate affairs. 'We’ve made great strides in that and we want to make sure we have a full conversation about who J&J is. We’re not perfect but we want people to understand that when we do make mistakes, we own up to those mistakes and we want people to understand the values that are behind J&J.'

J&J ranked No. 6 of America’s 150 most reputable companies this year, dropping from No. 3 last year, according to The Reputation Institute.

'We certainly are not oblivious to the rankings,' Sneed said. 'The reputation of J&J is very important to us. We take it very seriously. We have a lot of data that we look at, both externally and internally,' he said. 'I wouldn’t say there was any one thing that precipitated [the campaign], and we certainly don’t do these things just for rankings. Reputation is something that’s born out of actions. The reputation is a reflection of people’s perspective on the actions that we do take.'

The corporate campaign is the first global one, will continue indefinitely and will cost an estimated $20 million to $30 million for the remainder of the year."

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hooters Competitor Sets up Battle of the "Breastaurants"

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:

Link to article:
"Breastaurant" Battle Ends with Pair of Press Releases

The formula is simple and successful: All-American "guy" food and drinks, served by good-looking, buxom waitresses in outifts designed to show off their assets.  So successful that now a competitor has sprung up (or "busted out", as the website proclaims) to challenge Hooters' dominance in the field. La Cima plans to open 35 Twin Peaks restaurants throughout the South, and presumably the rest of the US eventually.  Hooters won't go down without a catfight, and now the ensuing lawsuit has ended in press releases from both camps.

Excerpt: "Hooters, which franchises and operates more than 430 restaurants known for buxom "All-American Hooters Girls" waitresses, had sued La Cima after another former Hooters executive, Joseph W. Hummel, resigned last year and joined Brooks there.

La Cima, which formed in 2011, plans to open its first Twin Peaks franchise in Atlanta in July. The 7-year-old Twin Peaks chain, which has the slogan 'Eats, Drinks, Scenic Views,' also features scantily clad, big-bosomed waitresses. Currently much smaller than Hooters, Twin Peaks' website says it has 'busted out' to more than a dozen locations and that the business 'is about you, 'cause you're the man!'

In its federal lawsuit, Hooters claimed that Hummel downloaded 'confidential and proprietary' company information when he resigned last July and later became La Cima's chief operating officer.

Hooters says it was able to secure 'the return and/or destruction of all of its misappropriated information' through the now-resolved litigation.

For its part, La Cima issued a press release proclaiming that it was letting Hooters 'walk away' without any compensation. The company added that Hooters 'conceded' it had no evidence to support its claim."