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Tag: Shopping

Hiku on Kickstarter

Posted by Andrew at 4:03 PM on October 16, 2012

Let’s say you’re a crack team at Palm who suddenly has nothing to do because HP decides to get out of the mobile device market. What do you do to follow up on the Treo, the Centro, WebOS and the TouchPad? You create Hiku, a pebble-sized gadget that “turns everyday grocery shopping into something modern, magical and fun” and fund it via Kickstarter.

What is Hiku? Basically, it’s a barcode scanner with built-in wifi that’s intended to send your shopping list to your mobile phone so that when you are in store, you can get everything that you need. And if you don’t have a box or tin handy to scan, you can talk to Hiku and tell it what you want.

Hiku Scanning

Hiku

Out of the box, it’s going to support iOS with Android coming along soon after launch. There’s also integration with Evernote and Remember the Milk. Check out some of the videos on Kickstarter or YouTube – they show what the Hiku can do and it is really cool. More advanced features include checking prices on the Net and showing where a product can be bought cheaply.

One of the cleverest things is how you program your wifi settings onto the Hiku. It uses Electric Imp‘s BlinkUp technology which uses light pulses to transmit information and the light pulses are generated by your smartphone. Amazing – there’s a video of the prototype working on YouTube.

I’m backing this project partly to support the ex-Palm guys, but mainly because it’s such a clever kitchen gadget. The Kickstarter funding round closes in about 2 days and they need another $24k-odd to hit the $80,000 target. $99 gets you on the list for a Hiku so if you are thinking of ordering one, get your pledge in now.

 

Enhance the Movie Experience

Posted by Andrew at 4:35 PM on July 19, 2012

Movie & Meal DealEver since the motion picture first burst onto the silver screen, people have wanted to enhance the cinematic experience. From 3D and IMAX to Smell-O-vision, just about every trick in the book has been used to make you feel part of the film, rather than an outside observer. To this fine canon of techniques, UK retailer Tesco and on-line movie service blinkbox are adding….food.

For their “Movie & Meal Deal“, Tesco and blinkbox commissioned top neuroscientist, Dr. Jack Lewis, to study the effects of active ingredients on people’s brains and then suggest food types that complement the movie-watching experience. His findings gave Tesco and blinkbox the perfect, if somewhat unusual, combinations for the ultimate movie night in.

Dr. Lewis reckons these foods match the movie genres.

  • Action – Sun-dried tomatoes coated in cocoa powder will raise noradrenaline which is instrumental to sensations of excitement
  • Comedy –  Fresh fish stuffed with beetroot and coleslaw to supplement the nitric oxide system and improve dopamine availability in the pleasure pathways of your brain
  • Drama – Chopped lemon, lime and mint sandwich drizzled with chilli sauce on wholewheat bread to trigger the RAS (reticular activating system) to remain alert and focused.
  • Horror – Chicken marinated in freshly brewed coffee will take you out of your comfort zone and raise levels of anxiety
  • Romance – Curl up with a spicy curry (not chocolate!) to top up your libido-stoking testosterone levels

Everyone knows that certain drugs can change the way you feel, but the chemicals we take into our bodies through our diet can also have an effect on our mood,” says Dr. Jack Lewis “Choosing to eat certain foods, whilst leaving others out, regulates the availability of ‘raw materials’ that the brain’s chemical messengers are created from. This means that you can tailor your meals to create the perfect mood for a movie night in, no matter what the genre.

The “Move & Meal Deal” is a partnership between Tesco and blinkbox: buy a variety of food and drinks from Tesco and then rent a blinkbox new release movie for just £2 instead of the usual price of £3.49.

Me, I think I’ll stick to popcorn.

PaySaber Point-of-Sale Terminal for iPhone

Posted by Andrew at 9:01 AM on February 1, 2012

POS PaySaberAndy chats to Matt from PaySaber at CES‘s Showstoppers about their iPhone-based point-of-sale (POS) solutions.

The PaySaber is a portable handheld POS terminal sled that incorporates a barcode reader, card swipe and thermal printer into the unit. An iPhone or iPod Touch slots into the PaySaber to provide the screen and the wireless communication for the transaction.

The flexibility provided by the iPhone allows credit processing in the normal way, but gives additional benefits such as emailed receipts. From the moment the card is swiped, the whole transaction is encrypted and secure, so the credit card information is never transmitted in cleartext. As you’d expect from any POS system, PaySaber can be configured to interface with inventory systems to automatically deduct items from stock as a sale is completed.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Savvy Price Protection – Save Even More!

Posted by Andrew at 12:25 PM on January 29, 2012

Savvy logoCourtney looks at a cure for the shopping hangover with Samantha from Savvy at CES‘ Digital Experience.

I think we’ve all been there where we buy something and then a few weeks later, see the same item in a sale or otherwise discounted. If you can be bothered to return to the store with your receipt, most stores will refund the difference, but the reality is that only 1% of consumers can be bothered.

Savvy makes it really easy to make sure that you get the best possible value from your purchases. You simply snap a photo of your shopping receipt and if the price falls from what you paid, you get a notification of the price drop. A handy Savvy app for both iPhone and Android helps with the uploading of the receipt and you can use the website too. It’s all free for consumers and over 200 retailers have signed up to the program including Best Buy, Fry’s, Abercrombie & Fitch and the Disney Store.

Sounds like a great way to save money with minimum effort. Let’s just hope it Savvy doesn’t tell you how much you spent in a year!

Interview by Courtney Wallin of SDR News.

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Malls Maybe Tracking Your Cellphone

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 4:22 PM on November 26, 2011

http://www.pathintelligence.com/templates/joomla_template_inner/images/path_logo.pngRetailers are constantly trying to track shoppers activities, to try to attract more consumers to their stores and improve their sales. They use various methods to do this including shopper cards and newspaper inserts just to name a few. A couple of malls are testing a new technology called Footpath by Path Intelligence. Footpath tracks the movement of consumers by their cellphone. It has the ability to track the consumer to within a few meters of where they are. The information is then feed to a central processing center, where it is audited and studied to create a continual updated report on the flow of shoppers throughout a store or mall. It can be used to better place stores in a mall and merchandise within a store.

According to the Path website, it works by tracking random signals from mobile phones. The system does not collect or view phone numbers, SMS messages, or listen to calls. The information it collects can not identify an individual caller. The detector units can only be accessed by trained personal, mall employees do not have access to the tracking device. So the tracking devices can not be combined with other information by mall employees to get more detailed and individual information. It is aggregated information and not real-time that is provided to client. Path also has agreed not to access any third-party information that could in combination with Footpath identify individuals. Despite these promises some privacy experts are concerned about the misuse of the technology by both Path and their clients. Mark Rasch, the director of cyber security at CSC stated.

“Although this mall technology might not identify specific individuals, it raises a bunch of privacy red flags,” he wrote. “First, the instant the consumer identifies himself or herself anywhere in the mall (say, by using a credit or debit card to buy something), it is a trivial task to cross reference the cell phone data with the payment data and realize that the person hanging around outside the Victoria’s Secret dressing room was your 70-year-old neighbor.”(via We’re watching: malls track shopper’s cell phone signals to gather marketing data)

At this point only two malls in the United States are testing the technology, the Promenade Temecula in Southern California and the Short Pump Town Center in Richmond, Va. They will be testing it thru New Year’s Day. Both malls have signs throughout their location telling shoppers that their cellphones are being tracked and they can opt out of the system by turning their phones off. In today’s world where most people are never without their phones, this seems an unlikely choice. The system is also being tested in some malls in Europe and Australia. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this technology and it’s uses being tested in court by privacy advocates. However since malls are private properties courts tend to give them a lot of leeway.

Groupon Adds Some Personalization

Posted by Alan at 4:51 PM on April 28, 2011

Groupon has been the hottest tech company of the past year, even reportedly turning down an offer of $6 billion from Google.  They have approximately 35 million users, and I count myself among them.  If you are also among them and receive a daily deals email then you may have received a message about the new personalization options.  And, if you didn’t then you will soon.

When you click on the email’s link you will be taken to a quick 3 question “personalized deals” forum.  The forum prompts users to fill in their gender, zip code, and birth date.

 

The zip code seems a strange option since Groupon already has this information and uses it for the daily deals email.  As for using gender and age to target my deals I am not sold on how it will work.  After all, I am also looking for deals on things for my wife and kids.  Will Groupon recognize that my demographic may be married with children?  I guess that in the coming days I will find out since I filled out the “personalized deals” forum.  Wish me luck…

The Art Of The Sale

Posted by tomwiles at 6:32 AM on April 1, 2011

Since the advent of the VCR, the adage has been to look to the pornography industry to see what would happen – which formats would take off, what business models might work, etc., etc., etc. While the pornography industry did seem to be the first on the block to figure out how to make e-commerce work, do they still lead the way today when it comes to the future of video?

While there is a certain profession that perhaps lays claim to be the oldest, right up there with it is the art of the sale, and the pastime of shopping. The shopping experience itself if done well can be a pleasure.

QVC, HSN and other home shopping channels excel at making the shopping experience itself the content. They make no pretense – they are right up front with the fact that their channels are all about advertising.

Many people claim to hate ads, but I’d contend I that it’s really bad ads that most people despise. Advertising that is well done is informative and entertaining and can even be enjoyable. Watching QVC, HSN, ShopNBC, etc. product presentations (particularly electronics, gadgets and sometimes cooking) can for me easily fall into the guilty pleasure category. These people are masters at the art of the sale. Who doesn’t enjoy (or cannot learn from) watching a master ply his craft?

So how are the home shopping channels handling their all-important online presence? QVC and HSN both have iOS and Android apps that make it possible to watch their current live video streams, as well as easily search their catalogs, as well as place and track orders. The ShopNBC app is a fail in that it doesn’t allow you to watch the live video stream. I’d give the nod to QVC’s app as being the most advanced and usable overall.

Outlier Introduces Swagg.com & Android And iPhone Apps

Posted by Alan at 8:34 PM on January 21, 2011

Outlier Inc. announced a new website, Swagg.com.  It’s also available as an Android and iPhone app.  It’s based on market research done by Outlier with a goal of making the shopping experience more convenient.  It allows shoppers to give a gift card in a unique manner – with a bow that unwraps (virtually speaking) and soon can include a personalized picture or video.  If you aren’t sure which gift card to get for that certain someone then you can even send a Swagg gift card which the recipient can exchange for one to their merchant of choice.

The apps and website also allow shopper to receive offers, but only for the types of categories or location they are interested in – the location offer is similar to Groupon.  In addition the mobile apps will enable consumers to carry virtual versions of gift cards, reward cards, and the like so that you always have them with you when you’re on the go.  It will even tell your your remaining balance on a gift card – no more writing it on the back with a Sharpie as I have been doing.

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