Nothings, news and links 1

Cleaning out my inbox; these should keep you busy for awhile.

Jenny sends a tip on a heated bra from a Japanese company.

Tokyo, Japan – An environmentally conscious Japanese firm has decided to do its part to conserve energy. Triumph, a leading lingerie company, unveiled a heated bra for winter. The fluffy creation contains special pads filled with an eco-friendly gel that can be easily heated in a microwave or with a hot water bottle…The company says the heated bra is not being offered for general sale. Instead the set is being viewed as a prototype product, the first step towards mass-producing eco-friendly clothing.

There’s also a video on site and a better photo can be found on BBC.
Urban activist Jane Jacobs has died. Author of Death and Life of Great American Cities, she has inexorably changed our views regarding the sustainability and habituation of urban centers. While you may not know her name, I have little doubt she’s touched you. Via BoingBoing
Emerging Textiles Newsletter announces a 7-day free trial offer.
Regarding the twelve acres, Jill makes us look like amateurs. With a footprint of 8-10 acres (she admits she took it twice) she’s only hogging two planets. I think the calculator for apartment living/population density on that quiz is a little wonky. I find it hard to believe that someone living in a Bay area small apartment has shelter footprint of almost 9 acres.

Did you notice that Bowtie Bill is blogging? He linked to me too. I think it’s cool that he’s blogging. According to this source, this makes Bill either the fourth or fifth oldest blogger on the internet. Yeah Bill!

I also note that the oldest continuing blogger is 80. Even she blogs about fashion (sometimes). On her site is a photo of a women’s shoes Menorah.
There’s a new (free) ebook on overcoming procrastination but I haven’t gotten around to reading it.
Via LifeHack
If you’re looking for a new organizational and planning tool, there is new mind mapping software from Mindjet (free trial). I’ve been using FreeMind (free) but MindManager seems to have additional useful features. If you recall, I used FreeMind to render the charts you saw in the PN numbers and cutter’s must series.
There’s a new sustainable website called SustainLane but I can’t get a fix on them; they’re not Co-op America members and they don’t have any offsite links to Treehugger, Grist or World Changing. Other than that site feels “commercial”, I can’t figure out what bugs me about it. Still, there’s topics of interest there.
Speaking of software, there’s free project managment applications from OpenDEN. Has anybody tried to use a project management application to plan for production? If there were sufficient interest, it might be worthwhile were someone to configure it for our purpose.
Via Lifehack.
I got an email from somebody at Mannequin Madness (sorry, I forgot your name and I already deleted the mail) who says

MannequinMadness is our mannequin recycling company. A place where people can buy or rent a “gently used” mannequin or where they can sell a mannequin they no longer need. Currently we are located just in the San Francisco area (but we ship all over the world) and we will open offices later this year in Las Vegas, Chicago and New York. Our inventory is primarily display mannequins but from time to time to have professional quality forms for tailoring. Just today we received 16 Wolf Dress forms that we will be adding to our website shortly.

Julie Fredrickson announces that Coutorture is up and running. Coutorture is a network of fashion blogs with feeds piped in. In any given number of categories, you can find fashion related news covering the full spectrum of fashion blogs. Good browsing.
This is a cool stim-toy, a microsimulation of traffic jams. If you’ve ever wondered -and who hasn’t- how traffic flows, slows and ebbs during rush hour, this is the simulation for you. Change variations of traffic patterns by clicking ring road, on-ramp, lane closing etc. You can even change the number of trucks and cars on the road as well as conditons such as “politeness factor”.
Via Geekpress
I’d meant to post this before but Bill (and you guys think I rant) over at Evolving Excellence blog explains his frustration with the recent 2005 Skills Gap Report. You know, the report that paints a dismal portrait regarding the job readiness skills of the average American worker and what we should do about it? Bill says they’re looking at the wrong skills gap; the report is flawed based on the viewpoints of executives at the expense of workers. He asks how can you weigh the opinions of people who readily admit that customer service is only 20% of a priority. Then they go on to admit they don’t provide any training for over 30% of their employees in a year. They think their biggest problem is labor yet they refuse to learn lean manufacturing principles. Toyota definitely invests in worker training and guaranteed employment and high profitability are the results. Most manufacturers don’t want to change. They don’t want to learn either. So how can they ask the government to pay for something that they don’t choose to do for themselves? I mean, I could see asking the government for a hand-out to train your workers if you bothered to retrain yourself first. A learning organization starts at the top. Anything else is absurd.
From Henry Hibbard:

If you sell on the craft show circuit or just like to attend them there is a web site with a lot of information you might like to check out. and they are run by the same guy. I’ve been watching the site grow for the last couple years. I don’t do shows myself but I get the news letter and know a few people who have been making a living at shows for years. What is interesting is that he is trying to weed out the loser shows. He tells it better than I do…

Lauren from Infomat says that the April edition of their newsletter is up (not a bad read). She also mentions that you can receive their 2006 Children’s Review for free.

We don’t just tell you who the hottest children’s brands are, we show you. Our Children’s Review includes research, market trends, retail news, editor’s picks, and more…

I’m continually interested in cognitive processing which is how I found Professor Olney. He’s a professor at Western Washington University and is teaching a master’s level honors course in consumer culture (marketing). I was pleased to see two of my favorite books listed as course material. Thought Contagion is one. I lent my copy and never got it back, seeing it there reminded me to stick it on my wishlist. Also, his course has a theme song from a wonderful singer songwriter named Jana Stanfield. I put that on my wishlist as a reminder to get that for my friend Sally. She rarely reads my blog so the secret is safe. Anyway, I meant to tell you about Professor Olney. If you’re into self education, cognitive processing and marketing on the deepest level (what makes people really tick), his sites are worth a visit.
Today’s Links (there’s a very cool juggling video)
Is Wal-Mart Good for America?, links to the PBS series
Syllabus (great, with a mind map -texts and resources)
Seminar in Consumer Culture
Proof that NTs are weird:
RE: Celebrity worship as pathology -as in Project Runway?
There’s a Sunny Young grading machine up for auction on ebay. There’s also a set of Rohr’s books from 1952. If you buy the latter, could you please scan the sizing charts for me for comparison?
Regarding cognitive dissonance comes I’m O.K., You’re Biased from the New York Times, April 16th, 2006: (free to Times Select subscribers)

When our bathroom scale delivers bad news, we hop off and then on again, just to make sure we didn’t misread the display or put too much pressure on one foot. When our scale delivers good news, we smile and head for the shower. By uncritically accepting evidence when it pleases us, and insisting on more when it doesn’t, we subtly tip the scales in our favor.

Research suggests that the way we weigh ourselves in the bathroom is the way we weigh evidence outside it. Two psychologists, Peter Ditto and David Lopez, told subjects that they were being tested for a dangerous enzyme deficiency. Subjects placed a drop of saliva on a test strip and waited to see if it turned green. Some subjects were told that the strip would turn green if they had the deficiency, and others were told that the strip would turn green if they did not. In fact, the strip was just an ordinary piece of paper that never changed color.

So how long did subjects stare at the strip before accepting its conclusion? Those who were hoping to see the strip turn green waited a lot longer than those who were hoping not to. Good news may travel slowly, but people are willing to wait for it to arrive.

The same researchers asked subjects to evaluate a student’s intelligence by examining information about him one piece at a time. The information was quite damning, and subjects were told they could stop examining it as soon as they’d reached a firm conclusion. Results showed that when subjects liked the student they were evaluating, they turned over one card after another, searching for the one piece of information that might allow them to say something nice about him. But when they disliked the student, they turned over a few cards, shrugged and called it a day.

Regarding the trade show Material World, here’s a trip report from Apparel. One of our visitors (Marilyn) went but my request for her to share some trip details went unanswered [I don’t think she likes me -I answer her emails, you’d think she’d be gracious enough to return the favor]. Apparently, the industry has ceased low cost outsourcing and has begun to focus on speed to market. Wowee. What’s next, insourcing?

No more chasing the lowest-cost needle

Speakers at the Executive Sourcing Summit agreed that while labor cost is still very important in sourcing decisions, it has become less of a determining factor and is perceived now as just one of many considerations in a successful sourcing strategy.

“We’ve hit bottom on pricing,” said Helfenbein, who added that companies are moving toward a sourcing model that takes cost into account from a more holistic perspective that includes factors such as quality, design and speed. Chasing the “lowest-cost needle around the world is not going to continue,” he said.

Speaking of Apparel, they’re having the 2006 Tech Conference Nov. 8-9 in New York, NY. I think it’s hosted at FIT.

On the agenda: Apparel’s 2006 Tech Conference will feature two Keynote Presentations from industry thought-leaders, plus 32 educational sessions over a two-day period. Content focus includes: Design and Product Development; Manufacturing; Information Technology; Sourcing, Logistics, Transportation; and Retailing. Leading vendors will exhibit at Tabletops both days of the Conference, previewing new solutions, products and services designed to drive apparel and retail companies’ competitiveness.

Pre-registration for the Apparel Tech Conference is free for apparel, soft goods and retail executives only.
Again speaking of Apparel, I notice they’ve started to archive their webinars. If you recall, I attended the 10 Trends That Will Change Your Business but didn’t find anything to write home about. Still, it’s there if you want to review it. Click here and scroll down to “Recorded Events” section.
Speaking of meetings, SEAMS is having their networking conference May 5-6 in Myrtle Beach, SC.

On the agenda: Held at the Marriott Grande Dunes, the spring conference of the National Association of the Sewn Products Industry (SEAMS) offers several sessions designed to continue to aid domestic manufacturers as they compete in an era of globalization. Key Sessions are titled, “Fabric Solutions for Small Businesses,” “Retail Opportunities for Small Manufacturers with Big Retailers,” and “How to Build Ebay into Your Business.” The conference will also feature a golf outing and traditional southern “Low Country boil.”

Their website is pretty hokey but don’t get the wrong impression. If you need some fabric or contractors, you can search their database for products and services.
Speaking of organizations, I’ve never told you about AAPN -American Apparel Producers Network. Their memberships are -ouch- $1,450 a year plus a $500 set up fee. Wow, who knew data entry was so expensive. Back when I was a member, I wasn’t charged the set up fee. Gee, maybe that would explain why I was never entered into the database or my email address linked to from the content I gave them to upload on their site (for free). Considering I didn’t get a thing out of it, no wonder I never renewed. In other words, I don’t not tell you about other groups or resources to keep secrets, only if I can’t recommend them (whole heartedly).
I’ll be visiting my friend Sally (another pattern maker) the first weekend in May. Good thing she’s more sociable than I am. A famous hat designer is also invited to the slumber party.

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  1. Josh says:

    Did you notice that Bowtie Bill is blogging? He linked to me too. I think it’s cool that he’s blogging. According to this source, this makes Bill either the fourth or fifth oldest blogger on the internet. Yeah Bill!

    I’m ordering a bowtie next month from them. I just can’t decide which one! And can you believe that Tucker Carlson has stopped wearing his bowtie? I’m outraged! lol

  2. ooh, if that “12 acres” reference to a small Bay Area apartment costing 9 acres was about me, I need to go on the record defending the score a little. My place is not SMALL, it’s 2,000 square feet, (split by my husband and I) but I don’t have a separate workplace, so I felt it was unfair to not ask questions about the workspace. I have no doubt that I’m a drain on the planet.

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