Tech Bytes: Be My Valentine

By: Mandy J Watson
Posted: 14 February 2013
Category: Features Comments View Comments


From geeky gifts to anonymous messages, the Internet offers a 21st Century way to celebrate Valentine's Day, with a little old-school handiwork thrown in for good measure.

Last year we looked at love (and other things) separated by distance but if your relationship doesn't have that challenge we hope your plans for this year's Valentine's Day were well prepared. If not, there's always services such as Netflorist to help you with the anonymous gift-giving process. Don't forget to use one of them next year (or even tomorrow). Meanwhile, here are some interesting projects and objects from around the Web, as well as a few suggestions to help you rescue the day if you've found yourself in a last-minute pickle.

Kickstarting Cards
Tech Bytes: Be My Valentine - 3D laser cut cardsA few weeks ago a number of enterprising designers launched Valentine's Day card projects on Kickstarter, most of which included anonymous mailing, ensuring that, in true Valentine's fashion, the recipient might have a very difficult time determining who the sender was while receiving a lovely, memorable card - probably for the first time since primary school.

Simpler times.

Tech Bytes: Be My Valentine - heart-felt cardsWhile some projects failed and a few, such as the quirky handmade cards by "Jane" in Oklahoma City (who used the project as an enterprising method to raise funds to compete in this year's Mrs. Oklahoma pageant) just managed to make it, a few ranged from being modestly successful to wildly over funded.

Some notable successful projects included quirky handmade Valentine's notes wrapped in a felt heart by Mitchell Joe from San Francisco and a laser-cut 3D card featuring a butterfly by Artistic Engineering in New York but the one that started it all, and ended up being the most successful, was the Secret Admirer project by Joanne Arnett in Kent, Ohio, which gained 602 backers (that's a lot of cards to make).

Tech Bytes: Be My Valentine - Secret Admirer

The success of these projects was due to the quality of the work on offer, the speed with which the funding round was launched and completed, and the low pledge goal required to ensure funding was a success - all key points worth noting for anyone interested in launching a crowd-funded project.

Of course, none of this is relevant to you right now if you forgot to send a card but for that we have email to the rescue.

The Emergency Anonymous Heart-Felt Email
Tech Bytes: Be My Valentine - anonymous emailIf you didn't send an anonymous gift and you didn't organise a fancy anonymous card (for bonus points, preferably sent from the other side of the world) there's still the anonymous email. While lacking aesthetic appeal it'll get the job done. It'll be up to you to make up for it with some clever text to win your beloved's heart.

(Side note: that poem about roses being red isn't going to cut it.)

There are hundreds of online services that you can use though, to be honest, I wouldn't trust any of them (you'd be better off making a throwaway account in Gmail) but the ridiculously phallic logo of Silent Sender gets our vote for naughty trumping nice.

If you're in to that.

We Fit Together Like Tetris Blocks
Tech Bytes: Be My Valentine - TetrominoAlthough it's too late to get the perfect gift in time for this year (unless you have a creative excuse for why it's late) it's never too early to start planning for next year.

Dor&kie Jewellery Objects, aka Diana James, who is based in Woodstock, Cape Town, makes wooden Tetris-inspired pendants and brooches, collectively named the Tetromino range, that are sure to delight any gamer. Of particular suitability to Valentine's Day (thankfully without the pink schmaltz) is the Tetromino Double Pendant #104 but the brooches are equally fascinating and, because they're magnetic, it's likely they could also be used as decorative clips on a photo string.

Dor&kie Jewellery Objects: Shop online, Facebook, Pinterest, more pictures here

The Shape Of Pleasurable Addiction
Tech Bytes: Be My Valentine - dopamine necklaceBiochemical jewellery and fashion is not new but this year Raven Hanna of Pahoa, Hawaii, has caught the attention of geeks worldwide due to her collection of dopamine-inspired items in her molecularmuse Etsy shop, such as this necklace shaped as dopamine's chemical structure.

Dopamine is, of course, the neurotransmitter in the brain that is popularly associated with pleasure and desire, hence it popping up regularly as a choice to depict love and Valentines, but it's far more complicated than that in that it's actually involved in addiction and reward seeking.

You might want to ponder that for a moment before you go shopping, though we make no judgements about your relationship.

molecularmuse: Etsy

Last-Minute Panic
If you really have made a mess of today there's still time, courtesy of the Internet and the free Valentine's printable. Grab a bar of chocolate and a bottle of wine, print some labels for them and put together a pack of coupons just to spice it up.

Tech Bytes: Be My Valentine - printable tickets

To help you get started, try tickets and coupons, a chocolate wrapper, and some items suitable for kids (or the young at heart).

You'll have to close your eyes and dive into some mommy blogs but consider it penance - and motivation to plan more carefully next year.

Tags: #arts_and_culture, #technology

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