A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Tags:#ReadWrite Want to learn more about the new ReadWrite? Watch our new Editor in Chief, Dan Lyons and Managing Editor Fredric Paul talk about the smart, passionate and occasionally irreverent stories readers will find on the new ReadWrite. Lyons and Paul also discuss how advertisers and marketers will find ReadWrite a great place to connect with millions of the world’s most savvy tech enthusiasts and IT and business executives. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market dan lyons Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting
3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Who is the most successful server manufacturer today? Viewed one way, the answer is “no one”. And that face is a dismal warning to traditional PC makers who are counting on servers to keep their businesses afloat as the PC market slowly disintegrates.Hewlett-Packard, Dell, IBM, Fujitsu and Cisco sold the most servers during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data released by IDC. But it’s the “other” category that’s scaring the pants off the others. That’s a throng of second-tier and “white box” server vendors who collectively sold 879,711 servers during the quarter. Number one HP, by contrast, sold 663,598.Look no further than IBM’s reported plans to sell off its low-end serve business to Lenovo — likely Big Blue’s attempt to escape an increasingly commoditized market while it still can.True, IBM, HP, and Dell still each pull in more revenue than the the $1.86 billion amassed by the “others” horde. But that’s cold comfort, given that low-cost unbranded servers are quickly eating into their markets. The commoditization trend is getting a hard push from companies like Google, Facebook and Rackspace, who are busily designing and building their own servers to power their huge data centers.Server manufacturers are trying to shield themselves with software, services and support, three defenses against the Mongol horde of white boxes. Arguably, though, that hasn’t worked for Big Blue, at least at the low end of PC-based servers. And there’s no particular reason to think it will save HP or Dell over the long term, either.On the surface, none of this will really disadvantage consumers or developers. It really doesn’t matter to end users whose name is on the boxes that power Netflix, Evernote, Apple’s iCloud, or Amazon. And there will always be a need for some sort of server, from somebody. In fact, commodization is an indirect but very real plus for users, since it lowers costs for Web providers, making possible an increasing lineup of innovative, and often free, Web services.But it’s definitely bad news for the server makers themselves. This Has Been A Long Time ComingTraditional PC manufacturers like IBM, HP and Dell have taken one hit to their businesses after another over the past decade or so. Desktop PCs started declining in price with the rise of the Internet, reducing the need to upgrade PCs. Then laptops ate further into that market as they began to rival desktop power while offering mobility.Finally, tablets and smartphones tapped the cloud for computing and location, and far more cheaply, limiting the need for people to buy expensive laptops.That left PC-based servers — and that market is now under siege as well. The days of the mainframes came and went, and most server infrastructure now runs on the Xeon processor, Intel’s PC processor optimized for the enterprise. Traditional mainframe processors — IBM’s Power, Oracle’s Sparc — retreated to the ivory towers of research computing. Meanwhile, companies like former Taiwan motherboard makers Supermicro or Asus realized that they can assemble a notebook or server just as well as a Dell or HP, and for less.As prices of traditional PCs fell, hardware makers turned to new tactics, loading up new machines with “crapware” ranging from trial versions of AOL to antivirus programs to games. Consumers hated it, but the revenue crapware provided, directly or indirectly, helped keep hardware makers afloat.Unfortunately, there’s no way to duplicate that strategy in the server space. IT managers don’t want servers cluttered up with Adobe Flash, Cyberlink PowerDVD, Roxio Creator, or any of the other bloatware that Dell places on its PCs. They do, however, want some help just making sense of it all.Geek Squad On SteroidsEnter “solutions,” the jargon that dominates enterprise discussions. Suddenly, the PC turned server makers weren’t selling a PC, monitor and printer; they were packaging together a server, associated storage, a network switch, security, migration, and engineering services and support to tie it all together. Put extremely simplistically, an enterprise solution is everything that the Geek Squad offers, just scaled up by orders of magnitude.In 2012, for instance, Dell bought Clerity in order to help Dell Services “reduce the cost of transitioning business-critical applications and data from legacy computing systems and onto more modern architectures, including the cloud.” In the PC space, that’s called dumping the contents of Mom and Dad’s old PC onto a USB key and loading it into Google Drive.Then again, Dell’s enterprise “solutions” business climbed 4 percent last quarter, and pulled in $19.4 billion for its last fiscal year — about a third of its revenue. Cha-ching.The central idea of the enterprise solution isn’t the packaging. It’s the customization, and the investment. Hewlett-Packard, for example, offers a fairly substantive list of industry-specific solutions for aerospace, automotive, and media, among others, with each pitching an additional value-added service. This was a tactic the same companies never really deployed in the PC market, perhaps because they never saw the need — or couldn’t justify the investment — in designing PCs optimized for, say, tax professionals. Adding Value to a Commodity BusinessStill, the “other” category is compelling evidence that a sizeable portion of the market seems to be unwilling to pay hardware makers for their services. Instead, they’re pooling their resources. Massing and deploying large arrays of commodity hardware is the underlying principle behind everything from Hadoop — an open-source project for managing huge stores of data across distributed commodity servers — to the Open Compute Project. In that sense, the commodity server business is thriving.And the PC makers themselves are helping it along, believing they can surf the trend by offering software and services on top of commodity hardware.Dell’s Data Center Solutions business, for instance, is a small but growing custom solutions business within Dell’s larger server sales business. In January, Tracy Davis, the general manager of Dell DCS, attended the Open Compute Summit, whose principles include stripping the “vanity” logos from servers and replacing them with as much cost-optimized hardware as possible. Why would Dell participate in a forum seemingly designed to kill it off?Davis told me that Dell is able to engage — and sell — everything from engineering services to Dell’s ability to buy components all over the world. That’s a competitive offering, not necessarily reflected in the bottom line, that still adds value to Dell’s business versus a no-name, commodity server maker.The Writing Is On The WallIn some sense, things came to a head this week after CRN and other outlets reported that IBM was in talks with Lenovo to sell its low-end X86 server business for between $5 billion and $6 billion — an eerie parallel to the way Big Blue sold off its ThinkPad notebook business to Lenovo years ago. IBM hasn’t confirmed or denied the talks.“Assuming IBM divests [its] low end (low margin) x86 biz to Lenovo, HP and Dell should be concerned because Lenovo can make [money] and disrupt [the] space,” Matt Eastwood, an IDC server analyst, wrote on Twitter. The idea, Eastwood and others suggested, was that IBM couldn’t squeeze money from a commodity business. Lenovo can.But what’s the commodity? Generic servers? Not necessarily. Solutions Can Be Commodities, TooIBM’s highest-profile service is Watson, the natural-language technology that beat several past “Jeopardy” champions and is being used in financial services and to help treat cancer patients. Watson and other related services run on servers based on its Power chips, not x86. Yes, IBM deploys a whole slew of services on its line of x86 servers — but they’re awfully similar to what everyone else does, too.Eventually, companies like ARM say, we’ll all be running servers on the sort of low-power processors that power our cell phones, with the Web’s basic functions — serving up static Web pages, for example — running on cheap, purpose-built machines. These aren’t just commodity servers; these are commodity solutions. Meanwhile, companies like Google and Facebook are quietly building their own custom servers to fit their own, specialized needs.Here’s what IBM may be thinking. Since its highest-value, unique service offerings run on Power, they justify further investment. And if IBM can offer uniquely high-value services on top of the cheaper x86 boxes, then it should hold onto those, too. But if the company can’t see customers turning to IBM for those solutions — either now or in the future — then IBM’s justified for ditching them while the getting is good.IBM led the way in pulling away from the PC in 2004, a controversial move at the time that now seems more than justified. If IBM takes the same approach with its x86 server business, it may be a similar harbinger of doom for other makers of x86 servers.Image courtesy of Hewlett-Packard Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Tags:#servers Related Posts markhachman Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…
The FBI has allegedly taken down the underground drug site Silk Road, where it was allegedly possible to buy drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin anonymously through a supposedly secure Tor server via Bitcoin. According to a criminal complaint filed by the FBI, Silk Road raked in about $1.2 billion between February 2011 and July 2013. The alleged mastermind behind it all, Ross Ulbricht, who went by the pseudonym Dread Pirate Roberts, took home almost $80 million alone. Ulbricht is now facing multiplecharges. Law enforcement agents were able to make 100 purchases of illicit materials on Silk Road since November 2011. Image courtesy of Shutterstock. Tags:#bitcoin#crime#FBI#now readwrite 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…
Changing customers, changing business modelsInherent with these technologies is significant changes in the relationship between service providers, vendors, and customers as a consequence of changing customer habits and business models.Perhaps one of the most evident will be the extended duration of the relationship, such as with those who purchase connected home products such as refrigerators and washing machines that may have a lifespan of 10-15 years. Ovum believes that it will be integral to this relationship to create a customer experience that feels effortless despite the complex mesh of artificial intelligence, IoT, media processing, edge computing, payments and security technologies in action behind the scenes.In particular, Ovum positions the home as the crucible of digital innovation. For example, although interactive audio speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home will account for only 192 million of the 4 billion smart home devices in use in 2021, their role for the augmented customer will be pivotal, heavily influencing how people use voice control, virtual assistants, and ambient computing, both in the home and beyond.The responsibility to protect customer well-beingThe protection of consumers with growth in technological innovation also cannot be understated. With growing power will come growing responsibility. The challenge of meeting the demands of the augmented customer will lead to a growing concentration of power into a handful of global consumer technology firms.According to Ovum, as consumers entrust more aspects of their lives to these technology firms, companies must not only defend against hacking, cyber-bullying, and other negative outcomes, but seek competitive advantage by protecting their users’ personal data, privacy, and overall digital well-being.Sage advice, since it was only last week that we saw a lawsuit filed in Chicago accusing the makers of Bose headphones of using an app to collect the listening habits of its customers and provide that information to third parties—all without the knowledge and permission of the users.Some of the challenges of future tech in a changing consumer landscape will extend to the ethics and laws underpinning the technological innovations. Already we’ve seen ethicists deliberating on the impact of robotic design, artificial intelligence, and self-driving cars. It’s foreseeable that the augmented customer will face considerable challenges, and it’s only good planning and practice that will resolve them. Tags:#Amazon#Apple#AR#Future Tech#Google#home innovation#Ovum#VR#wearables Related Posts Follow the Puck A report released this week by global research and consulting firm Ovum has explored the changing identity of the customer in the digital age with the emergence of what they term the “Augmented Customer” — an interconnectedness between customers, retailers, and technology.“With the number of connected smart devices expected to double thanks to advancements in smart home, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and wearable technology, customer behavior is going to change and organizations need to be prepared,” says Rob Gallagher, research director of the consumer services group for Ovum. “It starts with evaluating their business models and meeting changing customer expectations. Service providers, in particular, should be investing in content, convenience, and comfort – in the form of data and privacy protection – for their customers.”See also: Smart home technology adoption sees “big uptick” says new studyUnderpinning this growth is a number of key trends.Ovum predicts that by 2021, annual growth in the number of smartphones sold will have slowed from 30 percent in 2014 to a mere 3 percent in 2020, compelling companies like Apple, Samsung and others to drive innovation in the smart home, VR, and other emerging technologies that can provide new, more immersive, more personal, and more human-like experiences.As customers move away from mobile tech to more immersive, personalized experiences, Ovum believes that key technologies will integrate and interconnect, in particular, digital audio and visual tech; VR; AR; creativity tools; social messaging; virtual assistants; smart hubs and personal devices that are led by smartphones by amplified by wearables. Cate Lawrence Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…
A couple weeks ago, Rusnano Sistema Sicar, a Russian private equity fund, announced that it will invest $6 million in Apis Cor, a startup originated from Siberia which has designed a 3D printing technology for the construction industry.The Apis Cor 3D printer is a mobile robot capable of constructing buildings using fine-grained fibre concrete with special additives. It can build walls in any design for buildings of up to three storeys in a very short time.According to the fund, this technology has no equivalent in the world. It “outperforms conventional [construction] technologies in terms of speed and ease of construction” at a “competitive cost.”“We expect the Apis Cor technology to make cottage construction 19% cheaper than foam concrete houses as soon as next year, with a further potential cost reduction of up to 30%,” Rusnano Sistema Sicar stated.Apis Cor made the news last year when it printed a printed a 38 sq. m. house in the Moscow suburb of Stupino in just 24 hours at a cost of less than $10,000.See Also: Can wearables transform the construction industry?Preparing for international expansionBeyond the Russian market, the company targets Asia and the Middle East, where important state-sponsored construction programs have been launched, as well as the USA and Europe, where demand is high for original and highly complex architectural house and cottage designs.Apis Cor expects to generate several dozens of million US dollars in revenues next year with a fleet of dozens of 3D printers.“3D printing has enormous potential for the construction industry, with a projected share of up to 30% of the global low-rise cottages market, which is valued at $68 billion. (…) Apis Cor has the potential to become a leader in the 3D construction industry and claim first-mover premium in this fast-growing market,” said Sergey Dergach, CEO of Sistema Consult, a company acting as an investment adviser to Rusnano Sistema Sicar.Originated from Irkutsk, Apis Cor has offices in Moscow and San Francisco. Earlier this year, the startup received praise at several Russian startup contests and received a grant of 3 million rubles (approximately $50,000) from Skolkovo, the international tech hub under completion on the outskirts of Moscow.The First InvestmentApis Cor comes as the first portfolio company of Rusnano Sistema Sicar. This fund was established last year by Sistema, a diversified Russian corporation, and Rusnano, the state-backed nanotechnology investment corporation. The partners expect the fund to manage $100 million in assets, allocating cash funds progressively to finance the transactions. The fund is open to new investors.Rusnano Sistema Sicar seeks to invest in high tech companies at various stages of growth. It is seeking these investments in Russia and neighboring countries as well as in Europe and Israel.Rusnano Sistema Sicar targets a variety of sectors including:Information technologiesRobotics and on-board equipmentSoftware and cloud technologiesCommunication equipment and end-to-end solutionsRenewable sources of energy and energy saving technologiesMicroelectronicsAutomated control systemSpecial communications systemsSoftware for comprehensive security systems.This story first appeared in East-West Digital News, a partner of ReadWrite covering the Eastern-European statup scene. The Ultimate Checklist on Ways to Prevent IoT D… How IoT Will Transform Cold Chain Logistics For… 5 Industries Destined for Technological Disruption Related Posts Tags:#3D#3d printing#apis cor#construction#construction tech#featured#funding raising#Rusnano Sistema Sicar#russian Adrien Henni Electronic Design is Utilizing AI-Enabled Solu…
AR And VR: Which is More Important to Emerging … Related Posts Michael Quoc is the founder & CEO of Dealspotr, an open shopping platform bringing together up-and-coming brands, influencers, and savvy shoppers around today’s best deals. He was previously the Director of Product Management for Yahoo’s media lab, spearheading the launch of several innovative live video and mobile social networking services. Michael has been awarded nine patents relating to mobile and social network applications and technology. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelquoc. With the release of iOS 11 this fall, Apple unleashed AR on anyone running an iPhone 6 and above. And e-commerce brands are racing to offer those iPhone owners new ways to interact, discover, and buy their products with AR technology. Here are five examples of how ARKit is already transforming the e-commerce retail experience.1. Furniture ShoppingWith concerns about fit, color, and more, furniture shopping is a perfect fit for AR. Ikea Place is one of the big name brands using Apple ARKit. Their app lets users virtually place IKEA products in their home, with buttons for saving an item or adding it to the shopping cart. In a stunning display of AR’s capabilities, the app automatically scales products to the room with 98 percent accuracy.AR apps that virtually measure objects or a room can further help shoppers make the right choice. Unbranded furniture dropping apps, like this one by developer Asher Vollmer, help users completely design and stage a room with multiple pieces of furniture.2. Delivery and Shipping LogisticsLarge retailers can use AR to transform how they organize their warehouse for optimized workflow. Shipping, packing, and restocking can become more accurate and efficient. Through arrows and information overlays, AR can help employees quickly identify which objects to ship according to delivery times instead of having to read tiny labels.On the delivery end, shippers can use AR instead of scanning devices, minimizing the need to click a button. They can quickly hold up an iPad to determine which box needs to be delivered from their truck, or use an iPad to navigate through an apartment building.3. Video Games and ToysWith AR, some retailers can forget shipping altogether. For example, video games can now be sold without a console, as demonstrated in this demo from Directive Game. Their “The Machines” game only requires a flat tabletop and an iPad running ARKit to play.Companies selling more traditional, physical games or toys can use AR to further entice customers. Imagine a virtual catalog that shows you building a LEGO set on your kitchen table, Barbie dolls interacting in your bedroom, or playing Minecraft in your kitchen sink. The possibilities are endless.4. ApparelClothing retailers were one of the first to jump on the AR bandwagon. Early adopter Uniqlo has used AR in their stores since 2012. Fitting room mirrors include a LCD screen so shoppers can quickly try out a top in different colors.E-commerce marketplace Redbubble sells custom print-on-demand products. Their AR app shows shoppers how the products will look in their homes. Instead of relying on the website’s product image gallery, shoppers can see how the colors of their new sham pillow match the rest of their furniture collection, or decide whether they like the way a t-shirt looks on them.5. Cosmetics and Beauty ProductsOne of the toughest things about buying cosmetics online is the discrepancy between how the product looks on the website with perfect lighting on a model and how it looks on your face in the real world. That’s why Modiface created a virtual AR makeup counter. Customers can experiment with different looks and products so they buy the right shade with confidence.ConclusionIf you work in e-commerce and you’re not already developing an ARKit app, you’re behind. ARKit gives you an unique opportunity to help consumers fall in love with your brand, and increase their confidence during the buying process. Michael Quoc is the founder & CEO of Dealspotr, an open shopping platform bringing together up-and-coming brands, influencers, and savvy shoppers around today’s best deals. He was previously the Director of Product Management for Yahoo’s media lab, spearheading the launch of several innovative live video and mobile social networking services. Michael has been awarded nine patents relating to mobile and social network applications and technology. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelquoc. Michael Quoc Few Industries will not be Transformed by AR an… How AR and VR Will Enhance Customer Experience How a Modern Gaming Engine Can Supercharge Your…
By Michael GutterBudget. There, I said it; I am sure everyone is cringing now. This is a tough topic for families to discuss. Couples struggle at times to have formal conversations about money management. And we seldom want to discuss these issues with our children. Are we afraid of being judged? Are we concerned we will feel bad about our choices? Are we worried that we will stress out the children? Talking about money can be difficult, however, try to talk about money regularly and avoid being defensive.Get StartedEmail firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a copy of the Money Management CalendarOftentimes a question about money spent or the price of something desired is merely a request for information, although it may seem like an interrogation..One way to get started tracking expenses in a house is to take the initiative in your family. Be patient, start simply. For example, you can use a sheet from the Money Management Calendar and place it on the fridge with a list of some of your expected expenses. Inevitably your spouse or partner will ask what it is all about.The calendar can be an easy visual tool to help you begin to get organized with your finances. It easy to use; you can find out more about calendar based budgeting here.Don’t AttackIf you want to be really proactive in prompting communication, you can estimate all of your households expenses but then put “?” by the items which are really your spouse or partner’s expenses. Ask if the amounts are correct and ask them to check. If this is a first time, it’s probably not helpful to look over their shoulder while they do this. Having discussions about finances with your loved one is a skill that develops with Do’s and Don’ts. It is important to try to avoid some hot button topics when talking about personal finance. To learn more tips about successful ways to tackle talking about finances, see our 9 Important Skills for Talking About Money webinar.Involve the KidsDepending on the age of your children, you may want to involve them in some decisions.. Younger kids should learn more about money concepts such as saving, borrowing, wants, and needs. Older kids can learn some basic responsibilities for their own expenses before they finish high school and are managing their money for real! For more insights into Talking With Military Kids About Money webinar.For a copy of the IFAS Money Management Calendar, email email@example.com. This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network Blog on August 7, 2013.
Welcome to the July edition of MFLN “Network News”! This month we are pleased to introduce you to several blog and video series developed by the MFLN concentration areas that feature practitioner perspectives. Field Talk is a monthly blog post by the Family Development – Early Intervention team sharing the voices of early childhood providers who serve or have served military families of young children with disabilities (birth to 5 years old).Friday Field Notes is a blog series by the MFLN Community Capacity Building concentration area. Launched in April 2016, Friday Field Notes presents first-person accounts of how cooperative extension and the land grant universities are helping to build the capacity of communities to enhance the resilience and well-being of military service men and women and their families. Visit the MFLN blog each Friday to catch the latest developments from the field!Professionals Helping Professionals is a video series produced by the Military Caregiving concentration area. This 16-video YouTube series features interviews with military service providers and highlights tips, strategies, and advice on working with wounded service members and their family caregivers. Coming soon! Later this year, the Military Caregiving concentration area will release a second video series highlighting practitioner perspectives on caregiving for those with special needs. Stay tuned for the official launch!Additionally, there are many wonderful webinars and events happening across the network this month. Be sure not to miss out! To stay in the loop with all the latest from the MFLN, you can:Sign up for our monthly email update – www.extension.org/62831 Check out the webinar listing (upcoming & archived)
In this second installment of the ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences: Recognizing and Minimizing their Impact on Children and Adults’ series, learn tips for how you can recognize behaviors that are linked to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and the importance of trauma-informed care.Throughout this video, Laurie Naumann B.A. tells the heartbreaking story of a teenager who, through horrific circumstances, found herself in court at the age of 15 for drug trafficking. The true story of this young woman demonstrates the importance of trauma-informed care.Watch and listen below to learn more.This is part two of a four-part series, so be sure to check out the next!If you missed part-one, where Ms. Naumann and Dr. Mahadevan focused on defining and identifying ACEs and examining their impact on children and adults, you can find it at: Adverse Childhood Experiences | Part 1.This MFLN-Military Caregiving blog post was published on July 14, 2017.
Return to article. Long DescriptionOn May 22, 2019, Dr. Shelly Martin provided her expertise on working with children and families in recognizing normal childhood sexualized behaviors, as well as what to do when that behavior might become concerning or problematic. Dr. Martin is a child abuse pediatrician and a Colonel in the US Air Force, and in that capacity, she provides consultation for all forms of child abuse and neglect to all branches of the Armed Forces. Throughout this webinar, she shared her insights on important information for families and professionals to know when it comes to strategies to keep kids safe and thriving during childhood and youth.Here are some of the highlights of this webinar that we found to be very beneficial in addressing the impact of problematic sexualized behaviors for children and youth:The webinar began with looking at normal sexualized behaviors that children may express which are typically driven by curiosity and exploration. These behaviors are intermittent and occur between children of the same age groups and developmental stages.Concerning sexualized behaviors are expressed as more adult-like than childlike; often consistent and intrusive/abusive for other children. These behaviors often result in emotional distress or physical pain and can take place between children of various ages. There are distinct developmental differences in age gaps of 4 years or more and this age gap is often a major area of concern if these behaviors are occurring between children of differing ages.Sexual verbal expression from younger school age children is often an imitation of adults. The use of problematic language and behaviors are often picked up from hearing adults say phrases, sounds, or seeing behaviors that are more adult-like.Various factors can influence the rise of problematic sexualized behaviors including child abuse, maltreatment, family violence, lack of parental supervision, or learned behaviors from other children in the family or neighborhood.Children who express problematic sexualized behaviors oftentimes have co-morbid diagnoses such as ADHD, Conduct Disorder, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder.Knowing how to properly assess for sexual behavior problems is crucial and can open the door for implementing resources and help for parents and family members.The impact of sexual abuse can lead to many issues for children including depression and PTSD. That’s why it’s important for parents or other adults to have open and trusting communication with children, especially when they disclose instances of sexual abuse.Did you happen to miss the live webinar? No worries! We have the recording of the Sexualized Behaviors in Children & Youth webinar on the event page here. Free CEUs for this event are still available for licensed social workers, professional counselors, case managers, and family therapists until May 22, 2021.And be sure to stay up to date on all of our programming in the Sexual Behavior in Children and Youth Series! You can sign up for our mailing list to be sure you don’t miss anything on the series homepage. This series will consist of several webinars and podcast episodes so be sure to stay tuned!*Revised on 9/10/19 to reflect series title change Sexualized Behaviors in Children and youth Go Beyond the Webinar blog post
They seem like obvious nodes, but there is a lot of hidden power in the Glow and Gradient Nodes inside Autodesk Smoke. Find out how to use them in your next project.It’s great to get back into some of the more creative nodes in Smoke’s ConnectFX. Utility nodes and tools are great, but being creative is where all the fun is when you are editing and compositing. The Glow and Gradient Nodes are much more complex than their simple names imply. These nodes can be pushed beyond the obvious…let’s find out how.Smoke’s Gradient Node:As we saw with the Color Frame Node, you can make very simple 2 color Horizontal, Vertical, and fixed Radial Gradients. This worked fine, but it was very limited. Smoke’s Gradient Node can make very complex, multi-color gradients in a variety of blend shapes and directions.You can feed the Gradient Node with a clip, and use Smoke’s blend nodes to mix the clip with the gradient. The node also accepts a matte input to isolate the gradient colors to. The resolution of the node will conform to the clips input resolution.The node can generate a gradient without an input, and then you have the choice to make the gradient any resolution you want.There are 4 gradient types to choose from: Directional, Radial, Spline, and Point. With each type you will get on-screen widgets to gesturally create your gradient with splines and vertices. You can also numerically adjust the widgets with the Gradient Controls Menu. Different gradient styles have some specialized settings, like Roundness for a Radial pattern. A new Shape Tab will appear to numerically adjust these settings. The settings in the Gradient Controls Menu can be keyframed to animate your gradient.There is an Extrapolation pop-up button to “loop” the colors of your gradient. Constant will create no loop and retain the start and end colors. Repeat will cycle the colors from beginning to end again. Mirror will reverse the gradient going from beginning to end and then end to beginning. Buy animating the Offset Cycle Value, you can create a rolling gradient pattern.Directional and Radial Gradients create basic line and circle patterns. The Spline Gradient will give you a flexible spline shape, that you can add points to and create complex shape patterns. The Space+A shortcut hotkey will add points to the spline. Space+M to move the points. You can also use the menu setting options as well.The Ramps Menu Setting is where you set the colors for your gradient. The default gradient will start out with 3 points: A Beginning, Middle and End color. The triangles below the ramp colors control the color selections and placement in the gradient. You can Add and Delete as many points as you want. When a point is added, a new color triangle is added to the right of the currently selected triangle. Press Ctrl while clicking add will copy the selected triangle color. A new mid-point triangle is also created which shows you the blending edge between the 2 colors.Once you have your gradient colors, you can copy that color ramp to the other gradient shapes, or each shape can have it’s own unique color ramp. The color ramp can also be copied to the Gradient Ramp of the Matte channel, the result will be a grayscale alpha ramp.You can set the gradient ramp to Smooth or Linear interpolation between colors and there is a quick Reverse button to flip the gradient. You can set all of the points to be even spacing to each other…or you can keep it more organic and free. The Color and Alpha Locators menu will numerically set the postion of the selected color pot and it’s midpoint.When you choose a Point Gradient, the color ramp menu is replaced by the Points Settings Menu Tab. You can add multiple color points and numerically position the points in X/Y or use the on screen widgets. Each color point also has a corresponding matte color adjustment. The Weight of the color refers to the amount that that color will blend into a nearby color as the 2 points get closer to each other. The size of the point is controlled by the Radius value. The Sharpness value controls the level of edge sharpness between the gradient point colors. The Softness field controls the level of blur added to the gradient.So, you have a lot of options and controls to create color blend gradients, that can animate if you keyframe the settings. Most of the time you think of soft gradient color blends. But if you move the color points (triangles) very close to one another, you can create very hard edges to your colors. By adding multiple points and creating hard edges, you can use the Gradient Node to create some interesting shapes and line patterns that can be used in motion graphic design.The UV Swap Button will alter the mapping of the gradient on the image plane. This can be best seen with the Radial pattern, as the circle gets unwrapped and can be used to create a radar sweep type of effect.As stated earlier, you can blend the gradient with an input clip or you can output just the gradient itself. You can combine the matte input with the gradient alpha as well. You can sometimes use the Gradient Node to perform some interesting color grades to clips. The Point Gradient allows you to specifically place and animate color spots to give a unique style to your video.Smoke’s Glow Node:The Glow Node is built on a the same foundation as the Blur Node. There are 5 Glow types: Box, Gaussian, Directional, Radial (Twist/Spin), and Radial Stamp. Very similar to Blur, no?Each Glow type will display custom menu settings that pertain to the individual glow type. For example, You can track the center point for the Radial Glow.The Input settings can adjust the color settings (Hue, Saturation, Gamma, Gain, Contrast, Offset) of the input clip which will be the fill for the glow. The Input adjustments directly affect the intensity and look of the glow. The default Gain Value is 150. A value of 100 will create no glow on the image. The offset value will also affect the glow result.The Glow Menu Adjustments will change slightly based on the glow type, but ultimately it controls the size and intensity of the glow.There are 2 color wheels that control the color style of the glow. You can activate either one or both. The 2 colors, if used, are additively blended together to create the result glow color.You can create a more unique and stylized glow by adjusting the weight and X/Y offsets for the RGB color channels. A slight adjustment in this menu setting will help separate the additive mix of the 2 color wheels giving you some subtle color shades in the glow result.The Matte Blend settings are yet another way to influence the look of the resulting Glow. The Matte Blend is only applied to the result when the Blend Matte is enabled in the Blend Menu. By choosing to use the blend matte, the matte wil constrain the glow effect.If you hit F4 once you will see the glow result with the video. If you hit F4 twice, you will see the outmatte from the node. You can choose to lock the blur of the matte, which affects the width of the glow to the glow width…or you can control it separately. The outmatte can also be expanded which will fatten (or contract with negative values) the matte, creating more (or less) spread for the glow. You can invert the matte or premultiply the matte with the front clip. The AutoMatte button will generate a grayscale matte from the luminance values of the front input. Automatte is the same thing as piping the front image into the matte input.The standard Blend Modes are available to mix the glow over the front image. Again, activating the Blend Matte will use that matte in the result. You can also output the Blend Matte to use further in your ConnectFX schematic or you can output a LumaMatte of the Glow result. The option is there to also just output the glow without the front image to composite it later in your comp.There are several Presets available for the Glow Node so you can see how different effects are generated. The Glow node is very powerful and has lots of options. In a way, it almost too complicated when you just want to do a quick glow on an object. So take some time to explore how the different settings for the front glow and the matte blend react to create the final result.
Audio Plugin Manager – Lets you manage third party audio plugins. Previously talked about here.Control Surface is a separate preference, but lets you work with audio via a virtual or hardware Control Surface. Previously discussed here:Premiere Pro Timeline & Audio UpdatesRight-click in the audio header of the Premiere Pro timeline to get audio options.Note: I’m focusing on audio in this post, but right-clicking on the video header also gives you options. Premiere Pro CC adds additional functionality for audio editing! In this post, we’ll cover the new audio changes and how they can improve your video editing projects!Lets look at some essential tips for working with audio in Adobe Premiere Pro, as all of them aren’t obvious.Premiere Pro Audio PreferencesA few features have been added to the audio portion panel in the Premiere Pro Preferences. Let’s dig in…Play Audio While Scrubbing – Leave this unchecked in Premiere Pro preferences if you don’t want to hear audio while scrubbing.You scrub by dragging the playhead, using the left/right arrows, and using shortcuts JK and L. For more flexibility you can toggle scrubbing on/off with Shift + S.Mute Input During Timeline Recording – This will prevent feedback when recording audio.Default Audio Tracks – You can change the default track settings by clicking “Use File”. This reveals a flyout where you choose the behavior of tracks.Minimum Interval Time Thinning – This is the number of keyframes that are recorded when using audio automation modes. Check this and play with times of more milliseconds if you want to later manually adjust your keyframes (otherwise you will have a bunch of keyframes). This is similar to using peak keyframes in FCP 7.Default Thinning:400 Milliseconds Thinning:Increase Volume Many – Premiere Pro CC adds shortcuts to increase the volume of a selected clip(s).This preference lets you set the dB increase when using “Increase Clip Volume Many” Customize – This allows you to change what options appear in the Track Header. This brings up the Button Editor, where you can drag options to the header. ( You also have a Button Editor for the transport controls in the Source & Program Monitors)I like to add Record, Track Level, and Track Meters:You will need to switch from clip to “track keyframes” to see changes you make to the volume (the default is for the yellow line to show clip volume). You do this by clicking on the “show keyframes icon” and selecting “track keyframes”:Clip vs Track AudioI previously wrote about clip and track audio in Premiere Pro CS6 here.Premiere Pro CC adds an Audio Clip Mixer. If you want to work with Audio on a per clip level, you should be using the Audio Clip Mixer. If you want to work with Audio on a track level, use the Audio Track Mixer (both of these are under the “Window” menu). Remember that the default in a Premiere Pro timeline is to see “Clip Keyframes”. Click “Show Keyframes” to change to “Track Keyframes”.For more info on working with Audio in Premiere CC, check out the Adobe help file. Rename – Allows you to rename to your track, and a handy way to keep up with what is on each track (you can also rename tracks in the Audio Track Mixer).Add/Delete Tracks – Delete will delete the current track. The track will be deleted even if the track is locked, so be careful with delete track. Add track will add an audio track to the bottom of the stack . If you are on track 1 and you had 3 audio tracks, clicking new track would create audio 4Add Audio Submix – You can now add an audio submix from the Timeline. If I had multiple tracks that I wanted to apply the same filter(s) to, I would create a submix. (like compressing all the interview tracks)You will still need to route the tracks to the submix in the Track Audio MixerAdd/Delete Tracks – Lets you delete all empty video or audio tracks or specify a track to delete. Add tracks also has the option of adding a track before the first track, which I find very handy.
Google Jump and GoPro Spherical offer new options in the expanding world of VR content. Hear all about it and more in this collection of industry news.Following last week’s Code Conference and Google I/O gathering there’s been plenty of exciting news in the world of filmmaking and videography. Here are a few more recent announcements that you might have missed.Google JumpImage from Seattle TimesGoogle Photos wasn’t the only announcement at last week’s Google I/O gathering. The company also revealed that they’ve teamed up with GoPro to create Jump, a completely insane VR camera rig comprised of 16 GoPro HERO4 Blacks. Jump’s tagline is “Experiences like you’re actually there.” What does that mean? According to Google:The Jump rig consists of 16 camera modules in a circular array. The size of the rig and the arrangement of the cameras are optimized to work with the Jump Assembler software, which transform 16 pieces of video into stereoscopic VR video. Jump assembles 360 videos that allow you to experience a scene in every direction. Perfect stereo ensures that near things look near, far things look far. Our 3D alignment approach creates a beautiful, seamless panorama, so you you won’t see borders where cameras are spliced together. Assembled 3D videos are super high resolution – the equivalent of five 4k TVs playing at once.All of this 360 VR 3D action will work hand in hand with the Google Cardboard goggles as well as having a home on YouTube.GoPro Spherical SolutionsGoogle Jump isn’t GoPro’s only dip into the VR waters. Following the company’s April announcement of its acquisition of Kolor, CEO Nick Woodman revealed that his company was working on a rig that combines six GoPro Hero cameras to create spherical shots. According to Matthew Panzarino of Tech Crunch:CEO Nick Woodman says that when Facebook bought Oculus, the ‘gauntlet was dropped’ and GoPro started work on a spherical setup that could generate content for virtual reality and augmented reality systems. Woodman also said that the company has software in ‘alpha’ right now inside the company that allows users to auto-sync their GoPro cameras to the cloud so they can access their footage. This is still in the ‘early stages,’ Woodman said, but this would theoretically allow people to view and edit without ever “having to touch an SD card or touch a USB cord.”This news, plus Woodman’s announcement of the upcoming GoPro quadcopter and the recent news that the affordable Hero+ LCD will now come with a built-in touchscreen (delivering 1080p60 video and 8MP photos) means that the next year should be pretty exciting for GoPro fans. More information on GoPro’s spherical rig can be found on their website. For more about the Hero+ LCD, check out this great article from Gizmodo.Blackmagic FirmwareThe Blackmagic brand hasn’t always been synonymous with awesome firmware, but over the last year they have upped their game by releasing many updates to every one of their cameras. Just this week Blackmagic unveiled a new update for the Production Camera 4K that brings some welcome improvements in terms of usability. Notable additions include:Added support for more frame guidesUpdated camera utilitiesHolding down MENU will bypass the dashboardWhile these updates certainly aren’t earth-shattering, they are a friendly reminder that Blackmagic is taking usability very seriously now, which is great for the industry as a whole. To download the latest firmware update head on over to Blackmagic’s support page.Check back here on the PremiumBeat blog for all of the latest news about filmmaking, editing, and motion graphics. If you haven’t seen already there was also a few other big announcements from GoPro, AJA, and Google this last week.What’s your experience with 360 filmmaking? Have you run into any limitations? Share your insights in the comments below.
The team behind the recent viral video walk us through how they created the sounds for the action micro-masterpiece.Top image via CorridorDigital.The most recent viral hit from the consistently brilliant Corridor Digital is the instant classic Nerf John Wick. The video captured everything we love about the recent smash action franchise with a twist of childlike wonder. Here at PremiumBeat, we’re big fans of Corridor and have mentioned them in the past for their unique take on tutorials and general filmmaking insight.They’ve been working on the John Wick video for some time, and the finished product was definitely worth the wait.There are so many awesome parts to this video, we were hoping and praying we’d get a peek at how Corridor created it, and lo and behold, Corridor’s secondary channel, SamandNiko, has recently uploaded a stellar behind-the-scenes look at how they created the sound design for the video.Creating the SoundsFor the sound design and sound mixing, the team used Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition. The video breaks down one of the key action scenes, showing how each individual effect and recording contributes to the full scene. The key point is this tutorial’s simplicity. At one point, the foley artist is literally using his finger to flick the dart, creating a impact sound. Brilliant. Corridor are forthcoming about the lack of resources and how a budget is the first hurdle — but that it shouldn’t keep you from creating engaging and believable content.Gear UsedZoom H4N — $189.95Aputure Diety Full Mic Kit — $429.00If you don’t have the money or time to create your own sounds, check out PremiumBeat’s full sound effects and music library.In addition to the insanely creative sound design for the project, SamandNiko also released a behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating the stunts. Seeing the two leads work out how to maneuver and load nerf guns in a stylish and graceful manner is entertaining in itself.Their channel is a shining example of how passion and hard work can yield huge results for low-budget filmmakers. Corridor has put out consistently good content for years and continues to push the boundaries of what being a content creator in this day and age can mean.What are some of your favorite Corridor Digital videos? Let us know in the comments.
Shows That Use Vintage GlassImage via FX.Vintage lenses have made their way into everything from independent films to TV Shows to commercials to Hollywood blockbusters. Many of today’s best DPs are relying on the image qualities and characteristics that vintage glass creates for digital sensors. One of the most prominent and critically well-received shows using vintage glass is Atlanta, which combines an ARRI Amira with Kowa Cine Prominar lenses. Also, the FX show Baskets used vintage Cooke Speed Panchros to create a unique look, and Spike Jonze used vintage Canon K35s on HER.Manufacturer’s ApproachLens manufacturers have even been embracing this unique market shift toward vintage lenses. A notable example is the ARRI Alexa 65, which the company pairs with a set of vintage 765 lenses to complement the camera’s sensor.Image via ARRI.Further, due to a very sharp increase of demand, Cooke has recently started remanufacturing their well-known and well-respected Cooke Speed Panchro Lenses. These lenses first appeared in the 1920s, and at one point, were shooting 90 percent of all 16mm films.As images become increasingly sharper with ever-higher degrees of detail and resolution, vintage lenses will continue to lend more filmic and cinematic looks to digital images. So, if you need a unique look for your next project, vintage glass may be the perfect solution.Looking for more articles on lenses? Check these out.Hot Dog! You Can Now Make AR Lenses for Snapchat in Lens StudioGear Review: the Leica Summicron-C Series of LensesWorking with Vintage Lenses on Modern Cameras10 Things to Know About Shooting with Vintage LensesUsing Vintage Film Lenses on Micro 4/3 Cameras Considering a signature look for your next project? Let’s take a look at why the perfect set of vintage cinema lenses may be just the thing you need.Cover image via Shutterstock.Vintage Lenses are a hot ticket among cinematographers. The way these vintage lenses complement digital sensors has made them invaluable, and the characteristics behind these lenses — as well as how they resolve today’s digital images — means the resurgence in popularity won’t decline anytime soon.Digital camera sensors today are nearly flawless. They can capture immense detail at extremely high resolutions. However, this degree of detail and resolution can, in some cases, create less-than-flattering images. As a result, cinematographers have gone looking for ways to soften the edges of their digital images. Some, for example, rely on camera diffusion. (I’ve seen many cinematographers use ⅛ Blackmagic filtration to get the look they want out of digital equipment.)However, vintage lenses have risen to the surface as the best tool to complement digital sensors. The characteristics they bring to today’s digital sensors have been a perfect marriage of digital and analog technology. This lens test by The Vintage Cinema Camera Lens Library goes into detail about what you can expect from a vintage lens — and how they differ from each other.
Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now I talk a lot about being other-oriented on this blog. If you are aiming to be a level 4, trusted advisor sales professional you won’t get there by being focused on yourself. I also talk about not being subservient to your client.A client who does not see you as a trusted peer is not your dream client, and may very well be your nightmare. If you find the balance where you put your client’s needs at the forefront and you gain their trust by being a value creator, you can create a situation where you have an absolute right to their next order.How do you sell so that you have an absolute right to your client’s next order?How do sell so that you have an absolute right to the next initiative, and the right to recommend what that change should look like?Selling is conversations and commitments. The whole concept of selling is about creating a strong preference for you and your solution.You can’t create a preference with the lowest price. Some sales organizations win with lowest price because it’s their business strategy. But even then, a competitor with an even lower price can displace them. That’s not a preference.To create a preference you need relationships. Relationships start with trust, and trust starts with caring. If you’re self-oriented, you make it hard to believe that you care, and when a decision is complex, risky, and expensive, trust is the first test. The relationships you have throughout your dream client’s company deepen their preference for you, your company, and your solutions.But after trust, you create a preference by demonstrating your ability to develop and execute the solution. You need to be someone that your dream client prefers because they want you to be part of their team. You also need ideas that allow you to create value from quarter to quarter and year to year.Relationships matter. The economic value that you create matters.What would you do differently if your goal was to create so strong a preference for you that you had an absolute right to your client’s next order?What would you do now to create the right to develop and execute the next initiative your dream client pursues?”
Are you full of performative contradictions? Are you doing what you say one cannot—or should not—do?You say that your salespeople should block off time for their most important tasks, like nurturing their dream clients, prospecting, and following up. You want the members of your team to do the things that make a difference and produce results. Are you blocking time for coaching your sales team, the most important activity and the one that generates the highest return on effort?You tell your sales team to get out from behind their email and get in front of clients, to go where the action is and make a difference. You tell them not to waste time with the browser and their twelve open tabs. However, you dole out this direction from behind your CRM’s dashboard. Staring at the score never helped anyone win a game. How often do you see a coach with his back to the field of play?You want your salespeople to study so they’ll have the business acumen to create value for their prospects and clients, as well as distinguish themselves in a crowded field of “me too” competitors. You want them to read, to educate themselves, to do their homework. Are you better and more widely read than your sales team? Do you have the business acumen to be a peer when you are sitting in front of their clients? Or might you fail the test you ask your team to pass?Your people will follow your lead. They’re more likely to do what you do than what you say, especially when your words and your actions are in conflict. If you want your people to follow you, you have to lead them. That means you have to embody the values you want them to hold, and demonstrate the actions you want them to take.Your people will do as you do, not as you say.
Targeting your dream clients is a better and more important activity than calling on leads, warm, hot, or cold.
Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Now Let’s correct the record here about commissions.Let’s assume that the critics are correct, and that salespeople who are paid commissions will be motivated to win more business, whatever the cost. Even though many people are not really money motivated, let’s pretend for a moment that every salesperson is, and that they will really do whatever it takes to win business and collect their rewards.That settled, let’s look at what might happen.First, the salesperson who wants to make more money will have to create opportunities. Opportunities are generally generated by prospecting, and the primary method for setting the appointments and gaining the commitment for time is cold calling. And like that, we just found out that a lot of people have just bowed out of the “whatever it takes” proposition in the above paragraph.Second, they would have to do well enough in front of the client during their interactions to actually be preferred over their competitors, all of whom (in this scenario) are equally money motivated.So how does one create a preference? Is it by being self-oriented, pushy, smarmy, and aggressive? Is it by selling the client something that they really don’t need or from which they will receive no benefit? The answer is a resounding “No!” This is a recipe for losing deals, not winning them.You create a preference by being consultative, and for working to be a trusted advisor, a recipe with only two ingredients: 1: trust (the foundation of all relationships, including commercial relationships), and 2: advice (the business acumen and situational knowledge that allows one to provide advice, also now popularly described as “insights”). A self-orientation will end your chances at winning an opportunity as fast as almost anything else. A lack of business acumen will make you irrelevant, and will remove almost all possibility of winning.If one were to want money, their behaviors would have to serve that outcome, and successful salespeople have long known how to sell in a way that allows them to win, to serve their clients, and to make money.Why We Pay CommissionsThe reason we pay commissions is because the variation in results allows for a variation in compensation, with those who want more money and have the ability to generate more sales being paid for doing so, and with those who are only half as motivated or half as effective to be paid appropriately for the results they produce.Treating two groups with widely different results the same is to mistreat both groups, with one being paid too little, and the other being paid too much.Truth be told, we are really commission only salespeople, being paid only for the value we create, what we believe we are worth, and our ability to find the people who see that same value.