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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)
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Last Update on October 23, 2014 07:29 GMT
ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Labor Department will report today on the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits last week. Economists forecast that weekly applications increased 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 280,000.
Also today, Freddie Mac will report on average mortgage rates for this week. Last week, the average for the 30-year loan slid to 3.97 percent.
The Conference Board will release its index of leading indicators for September as well. In August, the index - a gauge designed to predict the economy's future health - rose but at a much slower pace than the previous month
On the business side: Southwest Airlines, United Continental, American Airlines, Union Pacific, 3M, Comcast, General Motors and Caterpillar will report quarterly financial results before the market opens.
Amazon and Microsoft will report earnings after the market closes.
APPLE PAY GLITCH
SAN JOSE, CALIF. (AP) -- Bank of America is apologizing for double-billing customers who made purchases using Apple's new mobile payments service.
A bank spokeswoman said Wednesday that the glitch involved about 1,000 transactions and that all duplicate charges will be refunded.
Some customers who used Apple Pay with debit cards issued by Bank of America have complained they were charged twice for a single transaction.
Apple says it was aware of the glitch, which it said affected "a very small number of Apple Pay users." The Cupertino, California-based company has not disclosed how many customers have used Apple Pay since it became available Monday.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- The American Postal Workers Union called upon Harvard University's president to oppose a deal between Staples Inc. and the U.S. Postal Service, or resign her seat on the office supply company's board.
Staples, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, began providing postal services at some of its stores last year, under a partnership with the financially-struggling Postal Service.
The union, which represents some 200,000 workers, took out a full-page ad Wednesday in the Harvard Crimson, the Ivy League school's student newspaper, saying President Drew Gilpin Faust should use her position on the board to push for an end to the deal or resign from the company board. The union says Staples is using poorly-trained workers to handle mail in a low-security environment.
Neither Faust nor Staples responded to requests for comments.
YAHOO-CEO AT CROSSROADS
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Signaling her reign has reached a pivotal juncture, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is trying to convince restless shareholders that the long-struggling Internet company is heading in the right direction.
Mayer staunchly defended her strategy during a Tuesday presentation that addressed recent criticism leveled by activist investor Starboard Value LP, a New York hedge fund with a history of leading shareholder mutinies.
Starboard contends that since Mayer became CEO in July 2012, Yahoo has been wasting money on ill-advised acquisitions and a bloated payroll while mismanaging its lucrative stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group.
In her rebuttal, Mayer described the $1.6 billion spent her more than 30 acquisitions as smart investments that have made Yahoo more competitive in the increasingly important mobile-device market. She also highlighted cost-cutting measures.
And she insisted that Yahoo wouldn't have been in a position to make as much money as it has on its Alibaba holdings if she hadn't taken steps to ease "years of tension and hard feelings.
Zuckerberg speaks Chinese; Beijing students cheer
BEIJING (AP) -- China may ban Facebook, but not its co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, and he entertained an audience of students with a 30-minute chat in his recently learned Mandarin Chinese at a prestigious Beijing university.
There was no explicit discussion of the ban or any Facebook effort to enter the China market during Wednesday's question-and-answer session at Tsinghua University.
But Facebook CEO Zuckerberg noted during his talk that the social media giant already helps some Chinese companies gain customers abroad. He cited computer maker Lenovo's ads on Facebook in India.
Zuckerberg married Chinese-American Priscilla Chan in 2012 and said he was learning Chinese.
His pronunciation was far from fluent, but he maintained the conversation for a half hour and the students responded with warm cheers for his effort and laughter at his humor.
BEIJING (AP) -- A gauge of the health of China's manufacturing industry inched higher in October but factory output was at a five-month low in a sign of slowing domestic and foreign demand.
HSBC said Thursday the preliminary version of an index based on a survey of factory purchasing managers rose to 50.4 from 50.2 in September. Figures above 50 on the 100-point scale indicate expansion.
HSBC's chief China economist says manufacturing likely stabilized in October but the "economy continues to show signs of insufficient effective demand."
Earlier this week, China reported economic growth in the third as growth based on trade and industrial investment runs out of steam.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A World Series opener involving the San Francisco Giants set a record low TV rating for the second time in three seasons.
San Francisco's 7-1 win over Kansas City drew a 7.3 rating and 12.2 million viewers Tuesday night on Fox, according to fast national ratings by Nielsen Media Research.
That broke the previous low of a 7.6 rating and 12.2 million for the Giants' 8-3 victory over Detroit in 2012. San Francisco's 11.7 win over Texas in the 2010 opener got an 8.9 rating.
The rating for this year's opener began with a 6.9 from 8:05-8:30 p.m. EDT and peaked at 8.5 in the half hour starting at 9 p.m. With the Giants scoring three runs in the first inning and leading 5-0 by the fourth, the rating ended at 5.7 from 11:30-11:41 p.m.
Still, Fox said Wednesday it expects to win the prime-time night and have its best Tuesday night since February 2012.
Fox Deportes averaged 273,000 viewers, a record for Spanish-language World Series coverage.
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