It happened at night when no one was looking. A gas station was turned into a “grass station”, an urban oasis of sorts. It was part of CODA Automotive’s campaign to bring about awareness of their all electric car that is on sale now. So far CODA has set up an “Experience Center” in the Century City Mall, as well as an indy dealer, Martin Coda of Los Angeles on West Olympic in L.A. I have to give these guys credit for bringing something fun to a L.A. neighborhood and getting me to notice.
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It launched this morning. PayDragon is a free app for your iphone or android. It hooks you up with a participating food truck or restaurant, lets you order and prepay cutting down the hassle of lines and worry if you have cash on hand. Actually it does quite a bit of nifty stuff for you…
- QR reader: scan codes with participating PayDragon merchants to instantly begin a transaction
- A discover tab: locate nearby participating merchants
- A game layer: earn points toward incentives from merchants
- Exclusive deals: take merchants up on sales and food deals
- Facebook integration: tell your friends about the great meal you just enjoyed
- Receipts for transactions: keep track of purchase activity
- Notifications: receive alerts when an order or item is ready to pick up
Participating vendors include the sweets chain Beard Papa and a number of LA-based food trucks such as The Bun Truck, CambalaCHE’s,Auntie’s Fry Bread, Chunk n Chip, The Grill Sergeant, The Wien, and Rounds Premium Burgers.
This promises to be an interesting event this coming Saturday on the steps of City Hall in Pasadena. The folks at Clean Vehicle Rebate Project and the city of Pasadena are sponsoring the fair and it is free and open to everyone.
The EV Fair will feature a number of vehicles for test drives and on static display. As of now I have confirmed that a Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Toyota Prius Plug-In and CODA will be available for attendees to experience at the event. (
Unfortunately Ford dealerships have not quite received the all-electric Focus so the dealers will not be participating. They are, however, working with Ford to provide a Focus EV for the event). UPDATE 3/29 Ford will have a new Focus EV at the event. They will also have a number of electric vehicle charging equipment providers at the event displaying products and providing information on home installation). Read the rest of this entry →
Santa Monica is a Ground Zero for hybrid, electric, and other alternative fuel vehicles in the U.S. It’s nearly impossible to open your eyes while there and not notice at least a Prius or two. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the flagship event for this Sunday‘s National Plug-In Day will be a gathering and parade of electric and plug-in vehicles in Santa Monica.
Not long after I first moved out to LA, a friend who came to visit observed that smartphones are ubiquitous in LA. “As soon as the plane touched down, 90% of the people pulled out blackberries…”
That was, of course, before the first iPhone dropped, and LA’s phone culture has become even more entrenched since, and it’s also become far less rare for folks to have smartphones in small Midwest cities such as the one I hail from. The proliferation of the iPhone and Android, smartphones for the non-business user, eventually brought with it the popularity of new types of games (for non-gamers).
Some of those games – as is evident in the picture above – have been quite popular.
Experience a live visual music sensation on Friday, April 22nd courtesy of The USC School of Cinematic Arts and Visions and Voices: The USC Arts & Humanities Initiative for FREE! Rhythms+Visions-Expanded+Live! is an exciting outdoor event with performances spanning animation, experimental documentary, social commentary and abstract visual music. UK audiovisual collective D-Fuse and Los Angeles artist Scott Pagano will perform live. Additionally, giant 3-D stereoscopic animations will be projected onto the building facade, interacting with the audience and the architecture. 3-D glasses will be provided.
Rhythms+Visions-Expanded+Live! is this Friday, April 22nd from 7:30-11pm at the USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex. Admission is Free. A lively panel discussion will follow the performances. Facebook event page here.
Radiation Alert! Want to get a heads up on the radiation fall-out hitting LA right this minute? Check this out! It’s a live streaming radiation monitor set up in West LA so you can see what’s going on at any time of the day or night.
There’s even a chat set up, so you can get answers to all your burning questions.
These guys also get bonus points cuz the device glows in the dark!
April 11, 2011 in Technology
After a 2 year hiatus BarCamp, the premier ad-hoc technology conference returns to LA Sunday April 30th through Sunday May 1st. The event will be held this year at Mt Washington Elementary at 3981 San Rafael Avenue. Tickets are $35 right now for the whole weekend and there are student and group discounts available.
If you’ve never been to one I have to say that BarCamps are more like a weekend at tech camp than a conference. Anyone can give a presentation (but make sure you’re there early to get the prime spot) and the topics can vary wildly but they’re almost always fun and insightful. I’ll definitely be there!
Get tickets early because it’s definitely going to get sold out fast. Not to mention you can skip the Procrastinator edition tickets which are an extra $20 if you just get them now.
It happens out here (most recently, at a Culver City sex shop near the home of a woman I was dating), it happened back East, it happens everywhere. You walk into a sex shop, begin browsing, and, within two minutes, a young Goth staffer comes over and says, “I use this at home, and I really love it.” Then she proceeds to give you a sexual symposium on the merits of German vs. Japanese (and I don’t mean cars), furry vs. metallic, water vs. oil, etc. The problem is, we didn’t ask.
I call this The Nordstrom Effect. It reminds me of those Nordstrom salespeople who, though typically not young nor Goth, are just as overly helpful as the sex shop girls. In both cases, what starts out as accommodating quickly becomes annoying.
At Nordstrom, I think the salespeople do this because (1) commission is likely a big part of their compensation; and (2) they want to uphold Nordstrom’s well-deserved reputation for excellent customer service. However, at the sex shops, I think it’s nerves. Specifically, the salespeople and their managers figure that many customers in their stores are uncomfortable and in need of hand-holding.
And sometimes they are right. I’m sure there are many people — perhaps women more than men, if this series is an indication — who feel shy about striding into sex shops and picking out personal items. (Guys often have their own problems in other stores, such as when picking out lingerie for their women).
The cure for The Nordstrom Effect, and the shyness which may cause it, can be found online. There are tons of Internet retailers out there, such as Adam and Eve , 123 Adult Store, and Sex Toy Sex.org (links NSFW, obviously), where you can shop in the privacy of your own home. Moreover, some of the Los Angeles area shops profiled in this series provide online shopping as well. Many of the well-known sites will send your items in discrete packaging designed not to raise the red flags (or any other parts) of nosy neighbors and pervy postmen. Coincidentally, I met one such retailer the other night, the woman who runs the Los Angeles-based Sex-Butter.com (not to be confused with Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax for your surfboard, unless you are using “surfboard” as a euphemism), who sells her products primarily online.
Of course, it is a fun experience to grab your sweetheart or friends and check out a sex shop or three in the flesh, whether as a bona fide shopper or simply a tourist. Our writers in this series have done just that, profiling some of the sex shops they like in the Los Angeles area. However, if avoiding The Nordstrom Effect is a priority, then shopping online might be just what the Naughty Nurse ordered, on Valentine’s Day or any other day.
[Part of blogging.la’s “We’ve Got Valentine’s Day Licked” series]
I came home this evening to find a lot of police activity in my neighborhood and had to do a little detour. I realized that the happenings were pretty close to my street. In fact, one end of my street, about half a block from my house, was yellow taped off. I really wanted to find out what was going on, but wasn’t too keen on wandering over to the scene. I learned some basic information from a neighbor (suspicious package, homes evacuated), but I wanted to follow the progress.
Someone suggested I go to an online police scanner, which hadn’t occurred to me. I found what looks to be a pretty good resource. Radio Reference.com’s Los Angeles County page has live communication feeds from a variety of police, fire, and EMS departments. I tuned in to the Los Angeles Police and Fire-San Fernando Valley Divisions broadcast and learned fairly quickly that the situation was resolved and that the “resources” were being released. In a relatively short period of time, I heard all kinds of things from animal bites to suspects being apprehended. I know I’m not the only one who get frustrated when up-to-the-minute info is not readily available, even on Twitter. You might want to bookmark this one.
May 26, 2010 in Online
If you’ve been anywhere near the internet this week, you’ve probably seen the new, innovative video from local band OK Go. The group is well-known for its viral one-take creations, most notably “The Treadmill Video,” in which the guys did a fairly complicated routine on four treadmills for their song “Here It Goes Again.”
To promote their third studio album Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky, which is a fantastic, Prince-inspired record, OK Go has pushed the DIY music video to a new level. Teaming up with L.A.-based creative powerhouse, Synn Labs, the band’s ambitious concept involving a massive Rube Goldberg machine was brought to life.
The engineers were tasked with creating the device with the requirements “that it had to be interesting, not “overbuilt” or too technology-heavy, and easy to follow. The machine also had to be built on a shoestring budget, synchronize with beats and lyrics in the music and end on time over a 3.5 minute song, play a part of the song, and be filmed in one shot. To make things more challenging still, the space chosen was divided into two floors and the machine would use both.” The geniuses of Synn Labs spent a few months in a warehouse in Echo Park creating a physical manifestation of the band’s vision.
I suppose it was inevitable. This past year, social networking shot through the roof, with everyone and her grandmother (literally) on Facebook. That is in addition to the explosive popularity of Twitter, as well as websites pumping out up-to-the-minute news 24/7. At the same time, the old media NBC television network decided to tape delay its Winter Olympics broadcast on the West Coast, apparently three hours behind the East Coast, even though the events are taking place in our time zone. And finally, as do many others I’m sure, I multitask when watching television, laptop in front of me, news headlines and social networks (and Vancouver Metblogs) never more than a click away. All of these phenomena have come crashing together this month like a perfect storm, threatening to spoil my Olympics.
The problem is, I keep learning the results from these Internet sources hours before seeing them for myself. I learned of Hannah Kearney’s mogul skiing gold medal, Apolo Ohno’s record-tying silver medal in speed skating, and the generous figure skating judges doling out high scores to skaters who fell during their short program, all before seeing it on tv. I tried appealing to my Twitter peeps who aren’t located on the West Coast not to post Olympics results, but they seem to need to do so, as if their reactions won’t count unless shared electronically and immediately.
I’m sure some of you are more computer-advanced than I, and can tell us how to get a great webcast of the Games on our computer in real time, even on our big-screen hdtv. If so, I would love to hear the solutions. I investigated this briefly, and did not find a satisfactory solution — for example, the online ads I saw were even more annoying than those on NBC.
I’m afraid the only solution I have found to watch the Winter Games unspoiled by spoilers is the most radical solution of staying off the Internet altogether.
Alongside the headlines of the horrific devastation of the Haitian earthquake are the headlines about how “digital fundraising” is providing a rapid flow of dollars, showing the importance of technology in providing new avenues for relief efforts.
For anyone who is technologically-minded, and even those who are not, if you want to lend your hand to a good cause, you should check out CrisisCamp Haiti in LA tomorrow at USC. CrisisCamps are hosted in a barcamp style where great minds come together to share their knowledge and expertise for social good.
This Saturday, the USC Annenberg School will be hosting CrisisCampHaiti Los Angeles to bring together volunteers to collaborate on technology projects which aim to assist in Haiti’s relief efforts by providing data, information, maps and technical assistance to NGOs, relief agencies and the public. Chad Catacchio will be leading up a team.
Project Proposals for CrisisCamp Haiti
1. Base layer map for Port Au Prince: This project would create a new collection of imagery and a new base map for NGOs and relief agencies. Post available imagery to share with the public for open source applications.
2. Family locator systems: Uniting efforts of interested technologists, developers and communications experts to provide technical assistance.
3. Tech Volunteer Skill Matrix/Volunteers: Create a role of volunteer as well as
4. Managing News Aggregator: Provide content channel management to coordinate data feeds
5. Defining the Collective: Create what we are and why we are doing this. Coordinate and post historical timeline/archive for the CrisisCamp efforts.
This will also been happening in London, Washington D.C., Denver, and Northern California.