Archives for February 11, 2011

Fotobabble launches Talking Photo Valentine’s Day Cards

Fotobabble talking Valentine's greetings

Fotobabble talking Valentine's greetings

Fotobabble, Berkeley, Calif., launched Talking Photo Valentine’s Day Cards via iPhone app or web greeting. The digital greetings are personalized with a photo, a voice message and a festive Valentine’s background.
“Valentine’s Day is about sharing your feelings with the people in your life,” says Kamal Shah, founder and CEO ofFotobabble. “Forget the old paper cards, and the box of chocolates. Using Fotobabble you can now send your Valentine something new, creative and fun. ”

From the Fotobabble iPhone App or the Fotobabble website, users can create and send free Talking Photo Valentines Day cards with a few clicks. They choose or take a photo, select a Valentine-themed background, record a voice message, and share it immediately via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail.

Amazon closing Texas center over sales tax dispute

The Associated Press is reporting online retailer would rather close an established suburban Dallas distribution center and cancel future Texas expansion plans than pay the state millions in sales taxes, an executive informed employees Thursday in an e-mail obtained by the AP.

According to the report, Dave Clark, Amazon’s vice president of operations, writes in the e-mail that the center will close April 12 due to Texas’ “unfavorable regulatory climate.” The Texas comptroller’s office last year demanded $269 million in uncollected sales taxes from Amazon, the report states, adding the company subsequently filed a lawsuit against the state, demanding it produce the audit that generated the figure. Clark said in his e-mail Amazon is also scrapping plans “to build additional facilities and expand in Texas, bringing more than 1,000 new jobs and tens of millions of investment dollars to the state.”

The state contends is responsible for sales taxes not collected on online sales in Texas.

“We regret losing any business in Texas, but our position hasn’t changed: If you have a presence in the state of Texas you are required to pay sales tax, just like any other business that has a presence in Texas,” says Allen Spelce, a spokesman for Texas Comptroller Susan Combs. He estimates Texas loses an estimated $600 million in Internet sales taxes every year.

Amazon has been the target of numerous lawsuits filed by states seeking sales taxes on online purchases made from within their borders, according to the AP.

Google getting into wedding planning

Google Inc., Mountain View, Calif., announced via blog post today a wedding planning site, which includes integrating printed invitations with it’s Picnik photo-editing service. The site provides wedding-specific: “templates in Google Sites, Google Docs and Picnik, and gathered tips and tricks for using these and other Google products at From wedding websites to save-the-date cards, these tools simplify wedding planning, letting you focus your time on the fun things—like tasting cakes!”

Google teamed up with wedding planner Michelle Rago to guide the designs you’ll find on this new site.

Google is including photo products in its wedding planning site

Zacuto releases Zonitor handheld kit for 15mm or 19mm rods

The new handheld kit from Zacuto

High-end DSLR filmmaking accessories manufacturer Zacuto USA, Chicago, Ill., introduces the Zonitor Kit for 15mm rods or 19mm rods, allowing you to easily mount a monitor onto a rail system. The Zonitor kit simplifies the art of attaching and un-attaching a monitor, or other accessories to a Zamerican articulating arm by using the Z-Release technology. The Zicromount allows you to mount anything with a 1/4 20-inch (or 3/8 16-inch with 1/4 20-inch to 3/8 16-inch adapter) thread to the Zamerican Arm. Zacuto’s 15mm Z-mount or 19mm Zandy is used to mount the Zamerican Arm with your accessory to your existing camera rig.

The Zonitor handheld Kit includes:

* Zmount II

* Zamerican V3 Large Arm

* Zicromount III

E-commerce stays strong in the New Year

MyBuys, Redwood City, Calif., released the January 2011 edition of the MyBuys E-commerce Wellness Index. The index measures the overall health of U.S. e-commerce and tracks key trends among retailers. Total revenue for U.S. e-commerce increased 8 percent versus same period last year and the very important metric of revenue from full-priced item sales was up 22 percent during the month of January. These increases drove the index up 18 percent compared to the same month one year ago. Industry health improvements are also attributed to a 15 percent decrease in the number of orders with promoted items present. The average depth of discount dropped 2.5 percent points to 26 percent.