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Chattanooga-made App Merges Technology to Handwritten Letters
By Chloé Morrison, Nooga.com
Chattanooga company Pale Dot Voyage recently teamed up with Colorado entrepreneur Tomer Alpert to blend technology with old-school letter writing.
The result is a new iPad application—called Feltâthat allows the user to send a personalized, handwritten note without the hassle of envelopes, stamps and the post office.
"There's so much via Twitter and Facebook," David Littlejohn, creative director and founder of Pale Dot Voyage, said Tuesday. "You miss the day when you get a simple note [in the mail]."
Users can write a personal message in their own handwriting and address the card using the tablet's touchscreen. Felt then prints, seals, stamps and sends the card.
The app has several tools, such as different pens, inks and an eraser. And users can choose different card designs and then use their finger or a stylus to write a message.
Littlejohn said using a stylus will likely allow the writing to look more like the user's handwriting, and eventually, his team wants to make it more convenient to purchase one, possibly by selling them through the product's Web page, he said.
For a flat rate of $3.99, Felt prints the card on Mohawk cardstock and combines it with a kraft paper envelope. Then, the note is stamped and mailed within 24 hours via the United States Postal Service.
The team sort of guessed at what would be a reasonable fee for the product, and the $3.99 charge is enough for the creators to make a profit, Littlejohn also said.
Pale Dot Voyage launched in 2012, and employees have been working on building up the company's portfolio. The company's website explains that the company isn't a traditional business. It's a hybrid, a "digital bakery."
Through the company, Littlejohn works with clients on digital marketing and creating applications, among other things.
Alpert brought the idea to Pale Dot Voyage, and Littlejohn developed the product and worked with partners to create everything from the name and branding to the video.
"We wanted to make it really intuitive and enjoyable," he said. "We wanted to make an experience that was as seamless and enjoyable as writing a card to a friend."
Currently, the app is only available on the iPad, but the team is working toward making it work with Android tablets. They have considered the iPhone option, but that device is almost too small for it to be easy to write on, Littlejohn said.
The app can be downloaded for free.
And even though the cards are created with an iPad, the personal touch is still thereâthat's the goal, Alpert said.
âWhen someone receives one in the mail, it looks just like you wrote it with a pen and paper,â Alpert said in a prepared statement. âAnd they can tell you really took the time to do something thoughtful.â
Photo: A new iPad app developed in Chattanooga allows users to send a personalized, handwritten note without the inconvenience of going to the post office. (Photo: Contributed)
More Business News
Last Update on November 25, 2014 18:10 GMT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy grew at a solid 3.9 percent annual rate in the July-September period, even faster than first reported, giving the country its strongest back-to-back quarters of growth in more than a decade.
The Commerce Department says the third quarter growth rate climbed from an initial estimate of 3.5 percent because of greater spending by consumers and businesses. The figure followed a 4.6 percent surge in the spring, which resulted in the biggest consecutive quarters of growth since 2003.
Analysts believe growth could slow to around 2.5 percent in the current quarter but then accelerate again in 2015. They expect growth of around 3 percent, representing a sustained acceleration in activity six years after the Great Recession.
PARIS (AP) -- A major international organization is calling on Europe to relax its fiscal rules and for governments to spend more money, saying Europe's sluggishness is dragging down the global economy.
Tuesday's report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a gathering of the world's richest countries, says Europe has consistently underperformed economically and risks remaining economically stagnant unless demand picks up. The report also calls for major reforms in Japan, saying its debt is unsustainable.
EU requirements that members keep budget deficits below 3 percent of GDP are coming under increasing pressure as the bloc's economy fails to pick up.
Germany, a fierce defender of the budget rules, was taken to task in the report, which called on the government to invest more in childcare and infrastructure.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A fresh survey finds U.S. consumer confidence down in November following a big gain in the previous month.
The Conference Board says its consumer confidence index fell to 88.7 in November, down from a seven-year high of 94.5 in October.
Conference Board economist Lynn Franco says that the decline primarily reflects reduced optimism in the short-term outlook, as consumers expressed less confidence in current business conditions and the present state of the job market.
But she adds that expectations about future income remain virtually unchanged. With gas prices falling, this should help boost holiday sales.
NEW YORK FED-HOUSEHOLD DEBT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans are slowly but steadily borrowing more money, bringing to an end a five-year effort to cut household debt that has slowed consumer spending and the economy.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says total household debt increased $78 billion in the July-September quarter to $11.7 trillion, led by rising mortgage and auto loans. That is the fourth increase in household debt in the past five quarters.
Total debt is still below the peak of nearly $12.7 trillion reached in the third quarter of 2008. But it has risen 5 percent since bottoming out in the second quarter of last year.
The sustained increase is a sign that Americans are more confident and willing to spend more, trends that could fuel faster economic growth.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. home prices rose in September at the slowest pace in more than two years, reflecting modest sales gains and a rising number of available homes.
The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 4.9 percent in September from 12 months earlier. But that's down from 5.6 percent in August and the smallest gain since October 2012.
Home price gains have slowed this year after rapid, double-digit increases in the previous two years. Investors helped drive the strong gains by bidding up prices but have started to cut back on their purchases.
The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The September figures are the latest available.
NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. bank earnings rose 7.3 percent in the July-September quarter from a year earlier, as banks reduced their expenses and continued to lend out more money, which help drive up revenue.
The data issued Thursday by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. showed a robust picture as the banking industry continues to recover from the financial crisis that struck six years ago.
Banks and other financial institutions insured by the FDIC earned $38.7 billion in the third quarter, up from $36.1 billion a year ago. The percentage of unprofitable banks fell to 6.4 percent of institutions, versus 8.7 percent a year ago.
The agency said the number of "problem banks" fell to 329 during the quarter, the lowest since the first quarter of 2009. Only two insured banks failed last quarter.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Thanksgiving could be the best day to shop all year.
An analysis of sales data and store circulars contradicts conventional wisdom that Black Friday is when shoppers can get the most and biggest sales of the year.
Turns out, shoppers will find more discounted items in stores that are open on Thanksgiving. An analysis of promotions for The Associated Press by researcher MarketTrack, for example, shows a total of 86 laptops and tablets deeply discounted as door buster deals at Best Buy, Wal-Mart and others on the holiday compared with just nine on Black Friday.
And on the Web, discounts will be deeper on the holiday. Adobe, which tracks data on 4,500 retail web sites, finds online prices on Thanksgiving are expected to be about 24 percent cheaper compared with 23 percent on Black Friday and 20 percent on Cyber Monday.
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