Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Round-Up

In high school I was signed up for this surveying company that tested consumer response to a number of different products. Whenever they were testing my demographic I would get called in to try something and they would pay us cash for filling out a five minute survey. It was always pretty awesome for a teenager to get paid $30 for his thoughts on eating a chicken sandwich. That would be pretty awesome for me now, actually.

Anyway, this morning I was kind of realizing that I'm currently signed up for a bunch of things that give me pretty good access to free or heavily discounted things, and I know that I have some readers who might appreciate some of this stuff (if you know of anything, hit me up in the comments):
  • In the Utah area there is this text/email service that sends out a daily notification about an eatery that offers some great discount on a dining experience. It used to be called the Daily Skweez and was only offered around here, but it appears to have expanded (Boise and Lubbock, TX) and dropped the "Daily" and now is just called Skweez. They have one that fits my likes at least once or twice a week. Go here to try it.
  • This one is getting pretty big everywhere, but it's worth touting anyway - Groupon. How it works is they feature some daily deal as well and offer some coupon worth 50% off or more the regular price, provided that a set number of people buy into the day's Groupon. This week I bought a set of 4 movie tickets that have to be used within 90 days for $20, so that includes IMAX and evening showings of just about everything. Last week I got concert tickets for $7 to see Neon Trees which would have gone for $16 or more. They have awesome deals though, sometimes as much as 80-90% off stuff. They have this for all major cities. Go here to try it.
  • These two are similar - Gilt and Jack Threads. Gilt is a site that features daily sales on different high end clothing brands for both men and women. Jack Threads is for guys and features streetwear kinds of stuff. Gilt has really awesome deals, but it's for expensive items to begin with, so it'll have 50% or more off of items that are hundreds and even thousands of dollars. If you're vigilant though, you can find some pretty awesome stuff. A few weeks ago I was able to get a Maui and Sons anniversary t-shirt for $15 that normally goes for $40. If I would have seen the sale earlier, I could have gotten this Hugo Boss suit that I have been looking at for awhile now, MSRP $800, going for $388. The good stuff goes quickly, so you have to keep your eye out for it, but for guys at least, they have stuff from Hugo Boss, CK, Diesel, John Varvatos, and the like for awesome prices. I decided that when I grow out of my t-shirt phase and have a real salary, I'll do some wardrobe upgrading there. Jack Threads doesn't often have stuff I like, but this week they did feature RVCA and E's and Matix, so there is potential there.
  • And then there are all the Backcountry affiliates that most people know about that always have good deals on something - Whiskey Militia, Steep and Cheap, and all the others that you'll find linked on either of those websites. Each of them caters to a specific crowd, so you can find stuff for cyclists, MXers, skiers/snowboarders/surfers, basically anything kind of extreme/edgy.
  • This one I just signed up for - Mystery Guest. I imagine in big metro areas you'll have more offerings, but this one is what it sounds like: sign up to be a mystery shopper/diner, fill out a survey of your experience, and get some kind of reimbursement for it. You can sign up and accept or decline whatever assignments you want, follow the list of guidelines, and then they pretty much comp you for it. The one they have right now is for Cheesecake Factory, which I'm really excited about. They're just asking for 2 or more people to sign up, eat, observe a few things, fill out a survey by the next morning, and then they give a $40 gift card. Cool, right?
So that's all kind of fun stuff. Wanna another link? So I have a site meter for this blog, and it gives me the low down on who is coming here, how they get here, how much time is spent here, and then where they go. (Yes, I have a pretty good idea of who my individual visitors are. I'm looking in your direction, Waltons.) Anyway, someone earlier this week was referred to my blog through what I thought was a really interesting idea - We Feel Fine. This is their mission statement:
We Feel Fine is an exploration of human emotion on a global scale.
Since August 2005, We Feel Fine has been harvesting human feelings from a large number of weblogs. Every few minutes, the system searches the world's newly posted blog entries for occurrences of the phrases "I feel" and "I am feeling". When it finds such a phrase, it records the full sentence, up to the period, and identifies the "feeling" expressed in that sentence (e.g. sad, happy, depressed, etc.). Because blogs are structured in largely standard ways, the age, gender, and geographical location of the author can often be extracted and saved along with the sentence, as can the local weather conditions at the time the sentence was written. All of this information is saved.

The result is a database of several million human feelings, increasing by 15,000 - 20,000 new feelings per day. Using a series of playful interfaces, the feelings can be searched and sorted across a number of demographic slices, offering responses to specific questions like: do Europeans feel sad more often than Americans? Do women feel fat more often than men? Does rainy weather affect how we feel? What are the most representative feelings of female New Yorkers in their 20s? What do people feel right now in Baghdad? What were people feeling on Valentine's Day? Which are the happiest cities in the world? The saddest? And so on.

The interface to this data is a self-organizing particle system, where each particle represents a single feeling posted by a single individual. The particles' properties – color, size, shape, opacity – indicate the nature of the feeling inside, and any particle can be clicked to reveal the full sentence or photograph it contains. The particles careen wildly around the screen until asked to self-organize along any number of axes, expressing various pictures of human emotion. We Feel Fine paints these pictures in six formal movements titled: Madness, Murmurs, Montage, Mobs, Metrics, and Mounds.

At its core, We Feel Fine is an artwork authored by everyone. It will grow and change as we grow and change, reflecting what's on our blogs, what's in our hearts, what's in our minds. We hope it makes the world seem a little smaller, and we hope it helps people see beauty in the everyday ups and downs of life.
Check it out. It's kinda neat.

As is customary for this blog, I'll leave you with some music. When I was in my pit of despair a couple weeks ago not sleeping, I realized that I was way down on some of my 80s favorites. Back in the day, freshman year, my friends Laura and Brenna went and saw Depeche Mode which I thought was really funny, that is, until I was downloading a bunch of music and realized that I kind of love Depeche Mode. I was wrong for making fun of you, Laura.

So, Enjoy the Silence:

Incidentally, just one more offering...I used to use GoMusic for downloading music (9 or 15 cents a pop), but I've since switched to Legal Sounds. They have more music, it's cheaper, you get more free music, and it's better quality than GoMusic.

And with that, have a wonderful weekend, dear ones!


Sarah Walton said...

Ahhh! ok, you caught me:) haha . . . no really, I love your blog and the things you write about. It's all very interesting. I love those consumer surveys. Once I got paid $100 for going to the GAP headquarters in SF and telling them my opinion on their upcoming clothes lines. I probably would have done it for free! suckers . . . . And Groupon is pretty awesome. I need to get into it more. I missed a 50% off coupon to the Gap the other day. bummer. And I had a friend who was big into the Mystery Guest. She loved it and they were always getting free meals. That was in SF, so you're probably right about the big metro areas, but it sounds fun to try! Also, I've heard a little about that We Feel Fine. Very interesting stuff . . . . And do you still keep in contact with Laura and Brenna? How are those girls doing? Ok, that's all I have to say for right now:)

Laura said...

thanks for finally admitting how very wrong you were about DM. i get my daily gilt emails, but i did not know about thanks for that. and i still get calls for consumer testing. but it is always in beverly hills and in the middle of the day and i kind of can't bring my kids to something like that. oh well.

Silvs said...

Well there you go. Yes, I still keep in contact with Laura. I wonder if she commented on here without realizing who you were, Sarah (Cole) Walton. I don't hear as much from Brenna, but I know that Laura has some contact with her.

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing the love about Legal Sounds earlier. Weiner.

Silvs said...

I'm pretty sure I just told you. Geez.

Karen said...

I'm pretty sure you didn't.

Silvs said...

Maybe you should get more snarky about it.