06/12/12

Catch an Expeditious App and Put It In Your Pocket!

Geolocation is integrated into Fodor's City Guide apps.

Six cities have updated wanderlusting apps from Fodor’s Travel, who has announced the re-launch of their City Guide apps for iPhone and iPad (Nook and Android versions are in the works). The free apps now integrate partner functionality from Expedia, OpenTable and Ticketmaster, and are available for New York City, Paris, London, Rome, Barcelona and San Francisco. They offer geolocation features and interactive offline maps, which are powered by developer Red Foundry’s new Fusion Platform, the world’s first network uniting app developers and publishers with service providers.

Travelers can book hotels through the Expedia Affiliate Network, make dinner plans with OpenTable, and buy show and concert tickets through TicketsNow, Ticketmaster’s resale marketplace. The geolocation features allow sojourners to see what is nearby by interest—categories include what to see, what to eat, shopping, nightlife/arts, and where to stay.

Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is a trendsetter's alternative to Little Italy in Manhattan. Photo by Paul Clemence.

I decided to take the New York City app for a test drive on my iPad, and it nailed my location quickly. I agreed with many of the “what to see” listings it put up, several of which I would recommend for tourists visiting NYC who want more than the usual suspects of places to see. One of which was Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, which my pal and architectural photographer Paul Clemence has photographed so eloquently, as the above photo proves.

Fodor's City Guide Apps Offer OpenTable Reservations.

The “what to eat” suggestions were a bit all over the place but I did ask for the best recommendations in New York City without determining a culinary style, and the fact that they could narrow it down as tightly as they did impressed me! Shopping brought up everything from Betsey Johnson in SoHo to Beads of Paradise in the Flatiron District and the Bedford Cheese Shop in Brooklyn, which I have frequented (and give the app a high five for referencing).

The oh-so-edgy tiki bar Painkiller wasn’t listed under “Nightlife & the Arts” (though I’ll admit, it would probably cause anyone who is less than an intrepid traveler to freak out when standing on the street in front of the bar’s address and see no discernable sign of a party until someone entering or exiting opened the graffiti panel serving as the venue’s door)-steamy! Pegu Club is there—excellent sourcing by featuring this mixology-driven venue, Fodor’s.

The Lower East Side has its own version of a hip, Parisian cafe for writers and filmmakers to hang.

Kudos to the travel experts for listing the Pink Pony on the Lower East Side. Any café with a mural of Arthur Rimbaud on the wall and a tagline like “Café Littéraire & Ciné Club” is high on my “kicky and quirky venues” list, which we locals pride ourselves in compiling for those times we want something out-of-the-ordinary. The Field Notes section is great—the perfect place for accumulating the lists you’d like to share with friends who will be visitng the same city or for resourcing your highlights the next time Hērmēs, the god of travel, wings you to the same town.

Sax in the City has only one request of the developers: I would like to have seen an easier search function for places by name. Those of us who travel frequently, especially travel journalists who are writing about cities, often go armed with recommendations for venues to experience. This app only allows search by previously determined categories unless it’s not obvious and if it’s not obvious to me someone using this level of technology for the first time wouldn’t likely find it. That said, these apps are definitely well worth the time it takes to download them. Off I go to Paris (if only)!

06/15/11
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Shower Power

There are a number of thrills that come with having built a reputation as a quality journalist/ blogger and social media zealot, one of which is the opportunity to see how products are designed and made. Last week, American Standard ferried a group of us—Andie Day, JB Bartkowiak, Paul Anater, Laurie Burke, Richard Holschuh and myself (design enthusiasts all)—to their facilities in Piscataway for a day of poking around behind the scenes to learn what subjects and ideas fascinate and enthrall their design team, which includes Gary Uhl and Carter Thomas.

There was inspiration aplenty, not just in the design activities going on in American Standard’s studios and laboratories but in the dedication the designers and engineers have to water conservation. I don’t often cover serious subjects that impact the environment here because the tone of Roaming by Design tends to be a bit more kicky and fun. Let me just promise I was having plenty of fun when the subject of water conservation came up, as Gary Uhl, who was taking us on the tour, was one of the most entertaining individuals I’ve ever met on a design tour. In fact, I think American Standard should hire him out to show other manufactures how it’s done!

See, I’ve gotten off track already: focus, Saxon, focus! Pointing out the sustainable attributes of the showroom at the facilities, Uhl noted the bamboo floor and movable display units that prevent them from having to reconstruct the area when new products are released. About the variety of freestanding tubs on display, Uhl remarks they use less water than whirlpool tubs, adding, “Performance and demand for water conservation is growing so quickly that the industry is changing like it never has.”

There was a running joke during the daylong trip that I am one of the few beleaguered souls who still prefers baths to showers because the industry is putting its muscle into what’s most in demand—the shower. It’s a fact: I’m a bathaholic and I crave big, roomy tubs in which to luxuriate. Now that I’ve gotten past the TMI, I will say something for the company’s advancement in showerhead technology: it rocks! The FloWise® Showerhead and Hand Shower Collection is now included in 21 of their design profiles. They use up to 40 percent less water than a standard showerhead. Now that’s a glass-half-full scenario!

The company is also blazing new trails where toilets are concerned. Uhl couldn’t contain his excitement at the new design ideas coming out of the engineering department, which will mean a further decrease in water usage even though their standards are already some of the top in the industry. See a fab little video by JB here. We even experienced the “down and dirty” testing facilities, coming away with a new appreciation for flush technology. Did someone say, “Pass the Miso?” Don’t ask!

A shout out to Nora DePalma and Wendy Silverstein for treating us so well and making sure we had everything we needed to bring our “takes” on the products and design advancements we saw to you.

Andie Day’s Lifestyle Blog

Building Moxie by JB Bartkowiak

Thanks to American Standard for the great hospitality, including room and board, during the two-day excursion. Comps were taken but that did not influence the tone or content of this article. We at RBD take integrity very seriously!