The E-Reader Price War Heats Up: Kindle Now $189

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Amazon just dropped the price of its Kindle e-reader to $189. This move comes just a few hours after B&N announced the launch of its WiFi-only Nook for $149 and reduced the price of its 3G-enabled version of the Nook to $189. No doubt, Amazon’s price drop is a direct reaction to B&N’s attack on Amazon’s Kindle business and it will be interesting to see how B&N will react to Amazon’s new challenge. In its press release, Amazon doesn’t address B&N’s Nook directly. Instead, Amazon takes a thinly veiled swipe at Apple’s iPad and stresses that the Kindle can be used in “bright sunlight” and that it is light enough for “one-handed reading.” In addition, Amazon stresses that even though the Kindle is a 3G device, users won’t have to pay monthly fees or sign annual contracts. For Half a Day, the Nook was the Cheapest 3G-Enabled E-Reader Now that the Kindle is $10 cheaper than the Nook 3G, Amazon’s e-reader is now the cheapest 3G-enabled standalone e-reader on the market – a claim that B&N was still able to make in its announcement this morning. The WiFi-only Nook is still $40 cheaper than the Kindle, but with its 3G connection, the Kindle offers a very significant extra feature for what is only a slightly higher price. How Will B&N React? Another Price Drop or Focus on Unique Features?It will be interesting to see how this race to the bottom will play out. Amazon has already shown that it is willing to take a loss on the Kindle business in order to gain market share. If B&N decides to undercut Amazon’s price again, chances are that Amazon will pull even within hours.If B&N decides to keep its current pricing scheme, chances are that the company will focus its marketing on the unique features of the Nook ecosystem, including the ability to lend e-book to friends for up to two weeks and B&N’s in-store reading program. In addition, the Nook’s small touchscreen at the bottom of the device gives B&N’s e-reader an additional hardware feature that the Kindle doesn’t offer yet. Tags:#Amazon#E-Books#web center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting frederic lardinois A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

Read More →

As Online Video Continues to Boom, Fox Goes Mobile with Bitbop

first_imgRole of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement chris cameron Numbers released from comScore today show that U.S. Internet users watched nearly 34 billion videos online in the month of May, up from just over 30 billion in April. Hulu served up nearly 1.2 billion videos last month, nearly 3.5% of the overall market, while Google remained supreme, accounting for 43% of the market – a whopping 14.6 billion videos – with its powerhouse property, YouTube. Still, Hulu, a place where many watch full episodes of network television, is slowly inching from the pack, and Fox Interactive Media, sitting near the bottom of comScore’s rankings, wants a piece of the action. They’re target? Mobile.Back in January, Hulu managed just over 900 million videos, 2.8% of the overall market and nearly twice as much as the next highest ranked provider, Microsoft. Since then, they’ve grown slightly to 3.5%, fending off the other providers and cementing their position as a leading online video provider. Hulu’s 43.5 million unique visitors in May watched an average of 27 videos each, which is more than a quarter of the number watched by YouTube visitors.Fox Launches Mobile Hulu-esque Subscription Service Fox Interactive Media, which ranks 9th on comScore’s top 10 based on total videos served, announced today that it is taking a stab at mobile video subscription service with what it calls Bitbop. Is it an iPhone app? No. An Android app? No. A mobile website? No. It’s an application for the BlackBerry.BitBop, available on the BlackBerry Bold, Curve and Tour models, is a free application that allows users to watch many of the same TV shows and movies they know from Hulu directly on their phones. While the app is free to download, it comes with a subscription fee – $9.99 a month – to access content. Family Guy, The Office, 30 Rock, Glee, CSI, Friday Night Lights – all the major players are present and accounted for.If you’re asking yourself why the service is only available on the Blackberry – and why wouldn’t you – it’s because Fox has inked an exclusive deal with BlackBerry makers RIM (Research In Motion). It’s a curious partnership, since the majority of BlackBerry owners use their devices mainly for work and enterprise functionality – not exactly the kind of people who are more like to watch online video on their mobile device, if you asked me. Still, it will be interesting to see how it plays out and if Fox can boost their low video market share numbers. There is certainly a market for on-demand mobile video – the success of Netflix’s iPad app and the anticipation of its iPhone app can speak to that thread. Whether that market is on BlackBerry devices is yet to be seen, but this partnership could bode well for both parties. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img Related Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Tags:#mobile#web last_img read more

Read More →

Crisis-Mapping Platform Ushahidi Announces Crowdmap:CI, “Check-ins With a Purpose”

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting “Location” was one of the buzzwords of 2010, but arguably some of the most interesting developments weren’t how people checked in via Foursquare and the like. Rather, they were the ways in which people used mobile phones and mapping to report other things. The most notable example of this is crisis-mapping platform Ushahidi, which enables people to contribute reports during crisis situations either via SMS or the Internet. This real-time data is used for mapping and visualizations in the service of humanitarian response efforts. And to that end, Ushahidi has been described as “check-ins with a purpose.” According to Ushahidi, “check-in” – the sort of action more readily associated with location-based networking apps – via its platform has really been “only a metaphor.” But that’s changing now that Ushahidi is launching a new tool, Crowdmap:CI, that will make noting your location (and making location notes) easier. Ushahidi launched Crowdmap in the middle of last year. Crowdmap is a easy-to-install, hosted version of Ushahidi – the equivalent of WordPress.com blogs for WordPress, perhaps.The new tool Crowdmap:CI (or Crowdmap Checkins) will function on both Ushahidi and Crowdmap and will allow users to create ad-hoc check-in communities, complete with mobile apps and web portals. Crowdmap:CI is designed to further simplify the creation of annotated location points. As Jon Gosier writes in the blog post announcing the new product, “Sometimes users just want to drop quick notes that represent data points allowing them to enter details later. For instance: the locations of wells while touring a rural village, or potholes around a metropolitan city, or simply dropping pins while on a vacation for the memories of where to return to. Crowdmap:CI is an attempt to make this data entry process quicker, allowing users to focus on location first, and everything else later.”Why use Ushahidi and not Foursquare or Gowalla to check in?Crowdmap:CI will allow you to keep your check-ins and notes private and give you control over who can see your data. You can deploy the service within a crisis and/or particular group, so data you share doesn’t necessarily have to go to others. The points that the different users within a group make can be viewed individually or within one map. This will be useful, for example, if individuals have different mapping assignments. The beta version of the Crowdmap:CI app is available for Android, and an iPhone version is on the way. The service is free, but there are premium options for those organizations wanting their own rewards and badges or needing to have a large number of users checking in at once, options for creating your own rewards and badges.An open-source platform, Ushahidi was developed in the aftermath of Kenya’s disputed presidential election in 2007. Ushahidi means “testimony” in Swahili, pointing to the projects roots in citizen journalism. Ushahidi was used as part of the response efforts to the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile last year, as well as to numerous other crises and disasters. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Location#web center_img Related Posts audrey watters 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Read More →

Is Android More Open? Google Kicks Kongregate Out of the Marketplace

first_imgRole of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement marshall kirkpatrick Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#mobile#web Kongregate is a site where independent publishers post casual Flash games. It’s a cool site. Jeff Bezos invested in it and it was acquired by a much larger gaming service called GameStop this Summer.The Kongregate Android app acts like a browser, CEO Jim Greer said. Google said that it removed the app because it was acting like an app store itself. Fortunately for Kongregate, Android apps can be distributed through independent marketplaces and websites – so the company is still promoting its Android app heavily. Getting booted from the official app marketplace can’t be good, though.“It does seem like a pretty extreme distortion to call something that plays content in a browser to be the same thing as an application store,” Greer told VentureBeat. “By this definition, we don’t see why apps like the Kindle or other music apps aren’t across the line.”Is this evidence of Google’s open marketplace perhaps being more fickle and less different than Apple’s than is believed?Greer made different statements to two different news outlets tonight that capture well the ambivalence that he’s likely far from alone in feeling.He said to Joystiq: “I’m not ready to say it’s a philosophical shift from Google; you could misinterpret our app and think those are all native experiences, but right now I’m just confused.”But he told Venturebeat: “It’s weird to me that at the same time Apple is becoming more transparent and more open about their app store policies that Google would be kind of shutting down on games.”Google hasn’t yet responded to our request for comment.Austin renaissance woman and game producer Silona Bonewald offered an appropriate response (imagine her exhaling slowly) “oof well that was awkward of Google…”What do you think? Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Google’s Android is widely considered the more open and democratic of the two leading smartphone operating systems, whereas Apple is criticized for its allegedly tight control over what apps get accepted into its app store. Perhaps contrary to that reputation for openness, tonight we learn that casual game service Kongregate has had its gaming app kicked out of the Android Marketplace.The move was reported on in-depth by VentureBeat’s Matthew Lynley, who focuses on the idea that this might be a signal that Google is finally going to make its much-anticipated big move into mobile gaming soon. That’s of less interest to me than what might be an important example of Android being less open that many people think. It might be, but that’s subject for debate. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Read More →

ilearnedtoprogram.com – Share the Story of Why and How You Learned to Program

first_imgGrowing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid Here are a few: 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Every time you refresh ilearnedtoprogram.com you’ll see a different one sentence story from a programmer about how or why they started programming. At the moment, there are 351 stories. “by finding artistic problems which made absorbing the knowledge easy.” – Lilli Thompson“because my first computer would only sit with a blinking cursor if I didn’t program it.” Ashley Feniello“because my TRS-80 didn’t come with any video games, so I had to write my own.”– Mykle Hansen“by writing a BASIC game on a manual typewriter, and being driven by my mom to the local Radio Shack where I typed it in to the TRS-80 I coveted.”- Matt Hillman“in college, when I realized I could have a big impact on the world by building software with a focus on humanity.” – Vanessa Hurst“because I believed (and still do) that it’s one of the best skills to have in order to change people’s lives for the better.” Alyssa Daw“when I wanted a piano and got an Atari — programmed the keys to make sounds.” Katie A. Siek“because I wanted to make interactive electronic literature.” – Zuzana Husarova“because I wanted to build cool things. Now that’s my job.” – Alex Gaynor“because I like learning languages — computer ones included!” – Angelica Lim“after graduating with a Philosophy degree.” – Thomas Saunders“by being a designer who needed a programmer and couldn’t find one!” – Catherine Hicks Related Posts center_img Tags:#hack#Profiles Why You Love Online Quizzes How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? klint finleylast_img read more

Read More →

Mobile Dev News Round-Up: AR on Android, API for Instant App Making & More

first_imgXtify Launches Retention Tool for AppsDevelopers can use Xtify’s new user retention tool called RETAIN to keep app customers engaged with the application by sending customized messages at pre-configured times. For example, a message could be sent out to a user who hasn’t launched the app in 2 weeks, or who installed the app 30 days ago. Developers can also use it to send other messages, like welcome greetings or requests to “rate the app.”  RETAIN supports iOS, Android and BlackBerry applications and is currently available for free. Opera Launches Appcelerate Program for Mobile DevelopersOpera Software launched Appcelerate at AppNation, a new program to help mobile developers promote their apps through the Opera Mobile Store. Developers can now target their content to various channels, geographies, handsets or operating systems. Opera is also offering, for a limited time, matching co-marketing funds for qualified developers. Pay-per-download campaign pricing means you only have to pay when an end user downloads your app. Developers can learn more about the program here. Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#apps#mobile#news sarah perez Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement GetJar Goes Social to Aid in App DiscoveryIndependent app store GetJaradded a social element to its mobile Web store, allowing users to connect with their Facebook friends within the store. Users can then see what each other are downloading, and can also share their download activity back to Facebook. With GetJar’s My Apps feature, users can also see their history of downloads in the mobile version of the store.Appsgeyser Launches APIAppsgeyser launched an API at AppNation, which allows power users to create hundreds (or thousands) of mobile applications at once. Currently in private beta, the API lets developers create apps using existing Web content. To demonstrate the technology, YoWindow, a company that had previously developed Web-based weather widgets, transformed that content into over 100 apps in less than 2 hours. Appsgeyser launched in February 2011 and already has over 17,000 apps created through its service, with more than one million installs and 100,000 active daily users.Sencha Releases JS 4Sencha says it’s working to close the gap between what you can deliver within a Web browser and what you can deliver in a native application. With its release of JS 4, that gap is smaller. The biggest software release from the company in the past 2 years, JS 4 makes it easier to develop cross-platform apps using the Sencha JavaScript framework. Highlights of the release include major enhancements to the drawing and charting capabilities of Ext JS (including plug-in free charting, sans Flash), comprehensive cross-browser support, theming, and an improved data package.Appsbar App Building Tool LaunchedAppsbar is new free tool for building mobile applications using a “wizard” format that walks you through each step of the app building process. The tool is meant to fill the gap between the expensive, professionally-produced apps and the overly-simplified apps that exist today. App creators can customize their apps with background colors, fonts, or their own images, plus as many or as few functions and pages as they choose. Currently, Appsbar supports iPhone, Android and Windows phones. You can see some of the end results of using Appsbar over on Appsbar’s Facebook page. It’s been a big week for mobile app developers, thanks, for the most part, to the AppNation conference held in San Francisco. From Qualcomm’s AR platform to Opera’s new developer program, many of these mobile announcements made headlines across the Web. Others, however, flew a little under the radar.  Below we’ve rounded up some of our favorite stories from the past week, including those from the event and elsewhere.Qualcomm Releases AR for AndroidQualcomm commercially released its augmented reality platform for Android this week, and revealed the first app to be built with the technology. This showcase app, “Mavs AR,” is a game built in collaboration with the Dallas Mavericks. To use the app, you simply point your phone at your Dallas Mavericks ticket to see a virtual game appear. The platform offers high-performance, interactive 3D experiences, says Qualcomm, and integrates with the Android SDK and NDK. It also supports development using the Unity 3 game development tool. The platform is available for download now at: http://developer.qualcomm.com/dev/augmented-reality. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Read More →

How Much Will Shading Your Air Conditioner Improve Its Efficiency?

first_imgRELATED ARTICLES Does an AC compressor located in full sun work harder than one located in the shade?Stupid Energy-Saving TipsThe Magic of ColdAir Conditioner Basics The Difference Between Air Conditioners and DehumidifiersWindow-Mounted Air Conditioners Save Energy I got a question this weekend that’s often asked — and, I’m sure, wondered about — by homeowners: “Will my household AC system run more efficiently (perhaps cycle on/off fewer times, or the compressor won’t have to run as long when it cycles on) by shading the compressor?”I’ve written about the outdoor unit of air conditioners and heat pumps a few times, but I’ve never tackled this question directly. Let’s change that now.Why this is a natural question to askFirst, a little explanation about air conditioners. If you have a split-system air conditioner, that metal noisemaker that sits out in back or on the side of your house is called the condensing unit. The compressor is one component in that box, but the condensing coil and a few other parts are there, too. (To understand how an air conditioner works, see my article, “The Magic of Cold.”)The condensing coil’s job is to dump the heat picked up inside the home to the outdoor air. (If you have a ground-source heat pump, that heat gets dumped into the ground rather than the air, and you won’t have an outdoor unit like the one shown above.) The hotter it is outdoors, the harder it is to dump that heat and the more you’ll spend keeping your house cool. Hence the question: Can shading your air conditioner’s outdoor unit provide significant savings? The answer is yes and no. It depends on what type of shading we’re talking about, but for the type of shading most people are thinking about when they ask that question, the answer is no.Why the answer is mostly noShading the outdoor unit with a structure as shown in Image #2 (below) will reduce the direct solar gain from insolation but won’t do a whole lot for the air temperature around the unit. That photo is from a study done the Forida Solar Energy Center on the effectiveness of shading air conditioner condensing units.Caution: The unit in the photo exhausts from the side, so the shading structure doesn’t interrupt the air flow. Most AC outdoor units exhaust from the top and that structure would reduce the air flow and perhaps cause serious damage to the unit. Don’t try something like this unless you have a good understanding of air conditioners.In the “Discussion” section at the end of their report, the FSEC authors explain why small-scale shading like this doesn’t work. The temperature of the surrounding air has a much bigger effect on cooling efficiency than direct solar gain, and the volume of air pulled in by an air conditioner is huge.A typical 3-ton air conditioner condensing unit might pull in 2,800 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of outdoor air. If it ran continuously for an hour, 168,000 cubic feet of outdoor air would move through the outdoor unit. Since your air conditioner is probably oversized, it won’t run the full 60 minutes. My oversized AC, for example, runs about 30 minutes an hour at design conditions. Even at 30 minutes per hour, though, the outdoor unit pulls in 84,000 cubic feet of outdoor air.To put those numbers in perspective, 84,000 cubic feet is about three times the volume of a typical house being cooled by that 3-ton air conditioner. It would take a lot of shading to cool that much air.The FSEC study sums it up this way:We conclude that any savings produced by localized AC condenser shading are quite modest (<3%) and that the risk of interrupting air flow to the condenser may outweigh shading considerations. The preferred strategy may be a long-term one: locating AC condensers in an unobstructed location on the shaded north side of buildings and depending on extensive site and neighborhood-level landscaping to lower localized air temperatures.If you’re building a new home or siting a new air conditioner, it’s worth considering the location of the outdoor unit. If you could save even a little bit just by putting it on the north side of the house, that might be worth doing. I say “might” because you also have to consider the effect on the length of the refrigerant lineset and whether or not it’s in a high-use area of the yard. If you’ve got an existing home, however, trying to figure out a way to shade your outdoor unit isn’t the best strategy. You might even make things worse if you obstruct the air flow.A question related to the question about shading the condensing unit is about saving money by spraying a mist of water on the unit, especially with the recent launch of the Mistbox. I wrote about that topic a couple of weeks ago, and again, the answer is that you’re better off looking elsewhere.If you really want to improve the efficiency of your air conditioner, your opportunities are much greater if you look to your duct system. By fixing disconnected ducts, flacid flex, uninsulated boots, and more, you may be able to cut your air conditioning bill in half, depending on how bad your particular ducts are. And they most likely are bad. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, energy consultant, RESNET-certified trainer, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. Check out his in-depth course, Mastering Building Science at Heatspring Learning Institute, and follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.last_img read more

Read More →

Choosing the Cheapest Path to Net Zero

first_img RELATED ARTICLES Start with this documentDana Dorsett suggests that Steve start by reviewing the recommendations in a Building America report authored by John Straube in 2010 and updated the following year. (For more information on this report, see R-Value Advice from Building Science Corporation.) Because the report is a few years old, Dorsett points out, the efficiencies of photovoltaic systems and heat pumps have changed somewhat, meaning that Steve can probably hit net-zero performance with the recommendations for Climate Zone 4 rather than Climate Zone 5 where Steve is actually going to build. What about the windows?Triple-pane windows can be a lot more expensive than double-pane windows. Are they worth it?Relying on the “Pretty Good House” threads he’s read, Andrew C believes that triple-pane windows would be “overkill” for most houses.“Get good double-pane windows, and used fixed versus operable where you can,” he says. “Spend more time and attention to your air-sealing details to get more bang for your buck.”Nate G agrees with Dorsett’s initial suggestion: double-pane U-0.25 windows will indeed be the sweet spot. “Just fine and not too expensive,” he says.Jon R put it this way: “I’d say that not having triple-pane windows is a matter of turning up the heat on the coldest days and does not require tolerating lower comfort. This one can be treated as a solely economic issue (cost of window upgrade vs. cost of increased energy use).”But to Stephen Sheehy, there’s more to it: the comfort factor. “Windows with a better U rating will not just save energy,” he says. “There is a definite comfort factor for anyone sitting near a window on a cold day. The warmer the interior glass layer, the more comfortable. Whether better windows are worth the extra money is of course pretty subjective.” The real cost of solarAlthough Anon3 writes that the cost of a PV module is already below $1 per installed watt (actually more like 60 cents a watt), others point to the difference between the cost of a PV module and the cost of an installed PV system.“You appear to be confusing the retail price of the panels with the installed price of the complete system,” Nate G says, adding that a website Anon3 has referenced sells a complete 20 kW system for $31,000, not the $20,000 that Anon3 referred to. “And regardless,” he adds, “retail or wholesale prices (panels or full system) are completely irrelevant to this discussion unless [Steve] is planning to install the PV array himself.”What if Steve installed the solar system himself to save money?“Tread very carefully here,” Dorsett says. “There are a lot of regulatory hoops to jump through, and they vary by local codes, and by the local utility. An experienced local installer will have already starred in that movie, and is more likely to get the immediate approval from the local regulatory and utility officials. Even if you do it perfectly (and assuming it’s even legal for DIY grid-attached solar without the necessary licenses and credentials), you will receive more scrutiny than the contractor, and are likely to be waiting in longer queues to be allowed to hook up.”Further, solar contractors can get better quality materials than someone building a single system. “It’s doable,” he says, “but study hard and think about it before diving in.” R-Value Advice from Building Science CorporationAre HRVs Cost-Effective?Exhaust-Only Ventilation Systems and RadonDrainwater Heat Recovery Can Lower Your HERS ScoreThe Pretty Good HouseRevisiting Net Zero EnergyZero-Energy Construction is ‘Set to Explode’HRV or ERV? Is “standard construction plus solar” an option?A reader with the screen name “Anon3” suggests that if Steve’s goal is the cheapest route to net-zero energy, the answer is probably “standard construction + solar panels.”“The trades (even illegals) just cannot compete with the efficiency of automated Chinese solar factories,” Anon3 says.But “What’s ‘standard’?,” asks Andy Chappell-Dick.“Anon3, you may not be aware what ‘standard construction’ is in Ohio,” he writes. “Our dated state building code is not enforced in many places, and contractors haven’t adopted any energy improvements on their own. It would take a lot of solar panels to zero out a build like that. [Steve], find a contractor soon that understands what you want and is willing to work with you toward your goals. Many of these early design decisions will have a major impact on final cost (and the number of solar panels you’ll need.)”Anon3 replies that if Steve could save $20,000 by using standard construction techniques, he could use that money for a 20-kilowatt PV system. “That’s a lot of electricity,” he says.“Where in Ohio can you get solar PV installed for a buck a watt?” asks Nate G.“But PV [is] not a buck a watt (yet), and won’t be any time soon,” Dorsett adds. “The national average cost of small roofop PV in the U.S. is about $3/watt [according to the Open PV Project run by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory]. In Australia it’s closer to $2/watt. If you can wait another 15-20 years it may hit $1/watt, though.”center_img Writing from northeast Ohio, a reader with the screen name “User-6877304” — let’s call him Steve — is seeking comments on his plans to build an affordable net-zero energy home. The house, to be built on a 30-foot by 50-foot slab-on-grade foundation, seems to have many characteristics of a “Pretty Good House” — that is, it’s well insulated and ventilated but not attempting to hit the Passive House metric.Steve plans to install R-10 rigid insulation beneath the slab. The house will have double-stud walls insulated with cellulose to R-40 and a raised-heel truss roof insulated to R-60.“A simple gable metal roof,” he writes in a Q&A post at Green Building Advisor. “Solar panels. Basic interior finishes: nothing custom.”His questions boil down to a consideration of specific features: the best heating and cooling option, windows, drain-water heat recovery, and whether a heat-recovery or energy-recovery ventilator is a good investment.That’s today’s Q&A Spotlight. But, he adds, it’s important to remember the effect of thermal bridging.“Note, those are ‘whole-assembly R-values,’ not center-of-cavity R-values, factoring in all the thermal bridging,” Dorsett say. “An R-25 wall could be a 2×6 / R-20 wall with 2 inches of exterior polyiso foam. An R-30 wall would take 3 inches of exterior foam. A double-stud wall with a foot of cellulose also comes in the mid 30s, despite a center-cavity R-40+.”As to the specifics, Dorsett makes these recommendations:(1) Heating with minisplit heat pumps will be “far cheaper” than beefing up the size of the PV system enough to handle the load of electric baseboard heat, and the same system will be able to provide high-efficiency cooling as well.(2) Triple-pane windows would make the house more comfortable than double-pane windows, but in Steve’s climate a double-pane window with a U-factor of 0.25 is “probably going to be the sweet spot for net zero.”(3) Drain-water heat recovery requires at least 4 feet of vertical drain below the shower in order to work, making it an option for a two-story house built on a slab but not a one-floor design.(4) An ordinary tank-style electric water heater is probably the best bet. On-demand electric water heaters draw a lot of current, potentially costing “tens of dollars” for a 15-minute shower. A heat-pump water heater would potentially work, providing Steve had a place to put it. Investing in heat-recovery ventilationA key question for Steve’s house, as it would be for any tightly built home, is what type of ventilation system should be installed. Heat-recovery and energy-recovery ventilators are a common choice because they salvage some of the heating or cooling energy even as they introduce fresh air into the house.Steve wonders whether he could skip the extra expense of buying an HRV or ERV and compensating for the loss of energy by buying more PV capacity. Maybe, he says, he could get by with one or two Panasonic WhisperComfort fans, which are advertised as “spot energy recovery” units.“ERV cores are prone to freeze damage in your climate,” says Dorsett. “For a 1500 [square foot] house with a relatively open floor plan you can probably get by with a single pair of ductless Lunos HRV and a Panasonic WhisperGreen bath fan with the optional humidity/condensation sensor for ventilation.”No, replies GBA senior editor Martin Holladay, an ERV should not be a problem. “Dana Dorsett is rarely wrong, but on this point, he is wrong,” Holladay says. A few inexpensive ERVs (including the Panasonic FV-04 mini-ERV) are inappropriate for cold climates, but most ERVs are designed with controls to address frost build-up. Holladay says that when “installed and operated according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions,” an ERV will not be damaged by frost.Holladay thinks that in Steve’s climate zone, a larger PV system plus a simple ventilation system is a better investment than an HRV or ERV, although Steve may have reasons other than cost to prefer an HRV or ERV.Holladay refers Steve to a GBA article called “Are HRVs Cost-Effective?” “Note that since John Semmelhack performed the calculations discussed in that article, the cost of PV has dropped, making it harder to justify an HRV or ERV on cost savings alone.”And while Dorsett raises concerns that an exhaust-only ventilation system could increase radon levels in some areas, Holladay says that is not necessarily the case. (For more information on this issue, see “Exhaust-Only Ventilation Systems and Radon.”) Our expert’s opinionGBA technical director Peter Yost added these comments:Steve has gotten great advice on a number of fronts for his high-performance home. I have a few additional thoughts:(1) Double-stud walls in Climate Zone 5: Dana Dorsett references a great Building America resource, but let’s remember some key hygrothermal issues for double-stud wall assemblies. Given how cold the sheathing can get in the winter, airtightness is much more important for a double-stud wall than for a conventional wall. Many builders using the double-stud wall system select the most moisture-tolerant sheathing they can afford — in my neck of the woods, southern Vermont, some builders use board sheathing. Also, maintaining reasonable interior wintertime relative humidity (around 35% or less) is important. Finally, use a smart vapor retarder on the interior to control winter interstitial moisture content and maintain good drying capacity to the interior.(2) Exhaust-only ventilation: Joe Lstiburek very reluctantly changes his building science assessments — not necessarily a criticism — but he has unequivocally eliminated exhaust-only systems for whole-house ventilation for “tight” new homes. In his assessment, he considers how this ventilation approach can aggravate radon. In my own home, adding exhaust ventilation to the basement moved radon levels from 6 picocuries per liter (pCl) to 13.The next most affordable approach is a central-fan-integrated supply system. This of course would require Steve to have a central forced-air HVAC system, which is not an option he is currently considering. In terms of “affordable” balanced mechanical whole-house ventilation systems, you’ll find a good discussion here.(3) Minisplit vs. electric-resistance heat: If you get the loads low enough in this home, electric resistance heating is a real option. This comparison needs to include layout and the configuration/use of spaces, because minisplits are better-suited to open layouts and fewer or single-zone configuration, while electric-resistance heat is well-suited to individual room control. And this comparison must consider what type of whole-house ventilation will be included. And, oh yeah, this decision also depends on how you will be making domestic hot water.(4) Windows: I know there is no way to “cost-effectively” rationalize Passive House tilt-and-turn triple-paned windows. But their engineering — beefier frames, more and better gaskets, sturdier hardware — makes them so much more durable and easier to operate that their total benefit makes them worth considering. It could be that if or when you go to sell this house with these superior windows, you can find the buyer who is willing to pay a premium for the house because of them. Then you don’t have to completely burden the window selection with just a payback analysis; you get your return based on the extra value conveyed from you to the next owner.For more information, check this article at BuildingGreen.last_img read more

Read More →

A Better Name for Friction Rate

first_imgLast year I wrote some articles on duct design and one of the topics I covered was this thing called friction rate.  At the end of that article, I discussed “How to think about friction rate.” It confuses a lot of people because it’s the wrong name.  First I’ll tell you why and then I’ll tell you what I think we should be calling it. Three important terms for duct system designers At the beginning of my duct design series, I discussed the three big quantities that go into determining the sizing of ducts:RELATED ARTICLESThe Science of Air Flow in Flex DuctThe Fundamentals of Rigid Duct DesignThe Two Main Reasons Your Ducts Don’t Move Enough AirUsing Total Effective Length in Duct DesignAll About Furnaces and Duct Systems Available static pressure (ASP) Total effective length (TEL) Friction rate (FR) The available static pressure is how much push is left to move the air through the ducts after subtracting off the pressure drops for all the non-duct components in the system (i.e., filter, registers, grilles, etc.). The total effective length is a way of characterizing how much pressure drop you’re going to have in the duct system.  And the word “total” there means the total effective length of the longest duct run.  In the duct plan shown at the top of this article, the longest run is shown in bold. Calculating friction rate The friction rate is calculated from the previous two quantities: The factor of 100 included in the equation is there to reduce the number of zeroes in the result. The higher the friction rate, the better Now, friction rate is based on available static pressure.  It’s a number that tells you how much pressure drop you’re allowed to use per 100 feet of effective length in the duct system. It’s a number that you want to be higher, not lower.  And that’s why friction rate is the wrong name.  Friction is generally something you want to minimize. If I see a friction rate of 0.11 inches of water column (i.w.c) of pressure drop per 100 feet when I’m designing a duct system, I know the installers have some wiggle room.  If they add a fitting or use a bad fitting or don’t pull the flex duct tight, the duct system will almost certainly still move enough air. But If I see that the ducts are at 0.06 i.w.c. per 100 feet, there’s no wiggle room.  One bad fitting could result in comfort problems. Higher is better when it comes to friction rate.  And that leads to cognitive dissonance because we don’t want a lot of friction in our ducts. How about “available static pressure rate”? If we called it “Available Static Pressure Rate,” it would be clear that higher numbers are better.  So that’s my proposal.  Let’s use that term instead of “friction rate.” (I’d actually prefer the term “Available Pressure Drop Rate,” but since we’re already using “Available Static Pressure,” it’s probably best to stick with that to make the connection clear.) Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.last_img read more

Read More →

Are Gray Charges Bleeding Red Ink From Your Credit Cards? [Infographic]

first_img“Mr. Proffitt, we wanted to inquire about possible fraudulent charges on your account made yesterday…”And with that, my day went to heck in a hand basket.It turns out that somehow somebody got a hold of my credit card and managed to rack up some interesting charges at a big-box electronics store a few towns over. The good news is, the fraud division at my bank flagged them and the charges were quickly removed and after filing a police report (a requirement here in Indiana), the matter was closed and I had a new credit card in hand by the end of the week.That’s when things got interesting.It turns out that on this card, which I used mostly for personal purchases, there were a number of recurring charges that I’d neglected to check up on over the years, and discovered only after the original card number had been shut down and the vendors came calling for their next monthly payment.Legal, But Not GoodThese are known as “gray charges,” legal but sometimes unexpected or forgotten charges to a credit card that just keep hitting an account indefinitely.In my case, some of the charges were perfectly fine: Netflix pinged me when because I hadn’t changed my account payment information before the first of the month (I’d forgotten that I’d started Netflix on this card and not my debit card). The New York Times, the same thing.But I also got requests for payment from things that should have been dropped a long time ago. An annual fee for an aviation website that I’d used when I was actually using my private pilot’s license; a credit reporting service fee that I was reasonably sure I’d cancelled.One In Four Are VictimsAccording to transaction monitors BillGuard, I’m not alone. One in four consumers have been tagged with these gray charges, which typically accumulate like barnacles on your account as the years go by. Even diligent-ish bill payers like me may miss them, especially when charges aren’t made on a regular basis.Getting a new credit card was a pain, but it also prompted me to scrape off those barnacles on my account. Fortunately, there were only these two, which were costing me about $146 annually. I was lucky; BillGuard estimates that the average gray charge victim racks up an average of $356/year in grey charges.Because the Holidays are an especially good time for these kinds of charges to glom onto your cards, BillGuard has published a useful infographic detailing the problem and ways to look out for charges like this, which often ride the bleeding edge of legality. Tags:#e-commerce Related Posts Title image courtesy of Shutterstock. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… brian proffittlast_img read more

Read More →

Boston Marathon Explosions — A ‘Live-Tweeted Disaster’

first_imgA Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Tags:#live news#social media#twitter Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon have killed 2 and injured more than 100, with reports constantly changing as new updates flood in.As is now par for the course, news of the disaster broke first on Twitter, and the microblogging service remains an unparalleled source of breaking news and first-hand accounts — not to mention media criticism of news outlets that jumped ahead of the facts in their reporting.The presumed attack has since been documented in thousands upon thousands of user generated images and videos  spread across the Web through social media channels. (Among other things, this Vine video appears to show one of the first explosions.) Spencer Ackerman over at Wired.com called it a “live-tweeted disaster.”Boston-area and federal authorities have also embraced Twitter to get out public-safety messages — for instance, asking people to stay away from the affected area and not to congregate in large groups. Police have also requested video from spectators: (Atlantic Wire’s Alexis Madrigal looks into how investigators might analyze contributed video.)The Boston Globe received a video of the finish line during the initial explosion, embedded below. This video doesn’t contain any graphic images of injured individuals, but it does feature the explosions, the onset of immediate panic in the crowd and police and marathon volunteers rushing to assist victims. Related Posts The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Google has also just launched a person-finder web tool to help those trying to reach friends and family members.Of course, any disaster aftermath has to feature its share of incomplete, misleading or just plain wrong reports. (It may take days to figure out which category some news reports fall into.) For instance, at 4:55pm, the Associated Press reported that officials had shut down cell service in Boston to prevent any further explosions:Only, that is, to walk back the story about 45 minutes later:Similarly, early reports that a third bombing took place at the JFK Memorial Library are apparently false. The library’s official Twitter feed reports that the incident was a fire that started in the mechanical room, and that all staff and visitors are accounted for and safe. nick statt Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…last_img read more

Read More →

How An Open Source Operating System Jumpstarted Robotics Research

first_imgEver wonder why it has taken so long for your robot butler to arrive? It’s 2013, so why aren’t those long-promised robotic domestic servants helping out around the house yet?One reason for the delay: Robot engineers lacked a common platform on which to communicate and collaborate with one another. Robotic hardware and software systems had to be built from the ground up every time. Open Source RoboticsBut just as open-source operating systems for computers have amped up digital innovation, the robotics industry has undergone a similar transformation over the last five years. Ever since the advent of ROS (Robot Operating System), an open-source platform on which engineers could build robotic programs and apps, robotic innovation has picked up speed.On Friday, robot engineers from around the world gather for the second annual ROScon in Stuttgart, Germany. Meanwhile, ROS has become a requirement for several high-profile DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) robotics projects – in this year’s DARPA Robotics Challenge, every contestant will use ROS.“ROS has also started to appear in job listings and on resumes,” said Tully Foote, ROS Platform Manager at the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF). “At robotics conferences and presentations, most people are using ROS on their robots,” Foote said, “and those who are not often justify why the are not using ROS if they are not.”“ROS is distinguished by its focus on building a community of collaborators,” Foote added. “From its inception, ROS has been designed to facilitate sharing of the software between members of the worldwide robotics community.” Leveling The Robotics Playing FieldSteve Rainwater, a robotics expert and blogger at Robots.net, agrees that ROS is today’s “leading software framework for robotics,” because it integrates exceptionally well with prior robotics research frameworks. “There have been other projects that tried to write complete robot operating systems from the ground up, but where [ROS creators] Willow Garage got it right is they understand how open source works,” Rainwater said. “They invent the parts they need and integrate them with the parts that already exist.”ROS “keeps the playing field level to an extent between students and hobbyists at one end of the spectrum and governments and universities at the other,” Rainwater added. “Improvements to robot software can come from either end of that spectrum and because of the way free software licenses work, everyone’s contributions are accessible to benefit the entire community.”How ROS WorksRobotics research center Willow Garage invented ROS to solve the common platform problem. Today, the platform is overseen by the nonprofit OSRF to ensure that is remains easy to share and distribute. As an example of how ROS works, imagine you’re building an app. That app is useless without hardware and software – that is, your computer and operating system. Before ROS, engineers in different labs had to build that hardware and software specifically for every robotic project. As a result, the robotic app-making process was incredibly slow – and done in a vacuum. Now ROS, along with complementary robot prototypes, provide that supporting hardware and software. Robot researchers can shortcut straight to the app building. And since other researchers around the world are using the same tools, they can easily share their developments from one project to another. What Hath ROS Wrought?The PR2, Willow Garage’s most sophisticated robot (built on ROS), has been prototyped to a variety of apps already. It can walk the dog, fold the laundry, bring you a beer and even plug itself in when it senses its battery is running low. At $400,000, it’s designed for researchers, not customers, and only 60 exist so far. “One of the ones I consider most impressive is the PR2 and Rosie making pancakes in Munich,” said Foote. “This is a demonstration of situational awareness, multiple robots coordinating, perception of deformable objects and they are doing it repeatedly with many visitors watching.” We’re still a long way from affordable, personal robot assistants doing real work in homes and institutions. But the common ROS platform is helping roboticists create workable robot butlers – and many other useful robotics applications – far sooner than would have otherwise been possible.Images courtesy of Willow Garage. lauren orsini A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 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 Tags:#innovation#Open Source#R&D#research#robotics last_img read more

Read More →

Xbox One To Launch Exactly Eight Years After the Xbox 360—But After The PS4

first_img4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Related Posts 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnoutcenter_img Tags:#gaming#Microsoft#Microsoft Xbox#xbox one taylor hatmaker The release date for Microsoft’s new Xbox One is here at long last: November 22. The date primes Microsoft for the holiday season—you don’t say!—but also puts it a week behind rival Sony, which will launch its PlayStation 4 on November 15.Microsoft’s new console is now timed to launch on exactly the same day that its predecessor, the Xbox 360, went on sale in 2005. Symbolism is nice and all, but you have to wonder if losing a week to the competition is worth it. The Xbox One will launch in the United States and 12 other major markets, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Given the prohibitive pricing and hardware longevity of a new gaming console, launch date strategy for game consoles isn’t quite the same intricate chess game that smartphone makers play. After Microsoft backtracked on several controversial Xbox One “features” to placate its core gamer consumer base, most hardcore gamers know which console they’ll be buying—ahem, the PS4— and they might have already pre-ordered it.For gaming manufacturers, console strategy is about building future-proof hardware and playing the long game. After all, the last console generation spanned eight entire years—an unthinkable longevity for almost any other kind of hardware.Pre-orders for both consoles have been open since Microsoft and Sony made their respective announcements. In August, Sony reported over one million cumulative pre-orders for the PS4 and Microsoft claims that pre-orders supply is selling out quick. In the U.S. Xbox One will be priced at $499, and it will sell for £429 in the U.K. and €499 in Europe. Sony’s PlayStation 4 is priced at a considerably cheaper $399,  £349 and €399, respectively. Last time around, Sony’s PlayStation 3 was the more expensive option, so the pricing flip-flop should set up an epic war befitting of the two most powerful gaming consoles ever crafted.Photo by Taylor Hatmakerlast_img read more

Read More →

Trailers & Shorts That Get Feature Film Deals

first_imgCheck out these three trailers & short films to learn how to leverage your way to a funded film deal.Pitch trailers can be a great way to sell your film to financiers, distributors and creative studios. Check out these three film trailers to learn how to create a trailer or short that will help your project get noticed. If you want to know even more about editing trailers check out these other great posts: How To Edit a Film Trailer and Editing Trailers that Work.How to edit a trailer to get financedThis pitch trailer from British Indie thriller The Last Passenger only cost £500 to make, but it managed to net the filmmakers £1.5 million in financing – enough to get their film off the ground and into the cinema. What I take away from watching this trailer is that simple things can be effective and the ideas on display are really what matters. It’s all about evoking an emotion, an atmosphere and a desire to want to see the film.A short film that becomes a featureThis epic eight minute short, with a really great score, is now set up at 20th Century Fox for a feature film development. The trailer came out last year and has so far had 1.7 million plays on vimeo, plus a further 17,400 likes. Written and directed by Wes Ball of Oddball Animation you can also check out lots of interesting behind the scenes videos and animation tests to see how the film evolved over time.If you’re really interested to know more of the details behind pulling off something on this scale you can also listen in (crank up your speakers) to a 45 minute Q+A with the director at the LA Modo User Group. If animation is your thing, then be sure to  allocate plenty of time into your story development as well as working out your technical challenges.How a distributer re-edits your trailerIn this first trailer you can see how the filmmakers chose to promote their film and then the re-edit of the trailer once a distributer (Lionsgate) got their hands on it. Filmmaker and teacher Chris Jones shares his eight insights into what you can learn from the two versions of the trailer so you can make your own trailers stand out.Of the eight points that Chris makes the two that I think really stand out are: 1. This is sales. The second trailer features almost no dialogue (covering up the hammy acting) and has a much more aggressive pace. The red band trailer approval screen also helps to frame the trailer in a way that would appeal even more to the target audience. The second point that really stood out for me was that you always need to have a decent storytelling structure to your trailer; 3 acts just like a film.last_img read more

Read More →

The Secrets of Successful Video Essays

first_imgIf you’re looking for some more examples, check out our post on Today’s Top Video Essay Creators.What are your favorite video essay channels? Share them in the comments below! Video essays are all the rage these days. If you’re interested as a creator or connoisseur, here are some of the secrets to creating successful video essays.Cover image via Every Frame a PaintingSome are beautiful and thought-provoking, while others seem like quickly assembled supercuts with little intentionality behind them. The popularity of “video essays” has been growing in the last few years. Film critics and bloggers like Matt Zoller Seitz, Tony Zhou, Jacob T. Swinney and Kevin B. Lee have built careers around their well-crafted video essays. By examining some of the industry’s best, let’s explore what makes a video essay stand out above the rest.Work With the Highest Quality FootageNoted video essayists Fernando Andrés and Jacob T. Swinney recently did a Reddit AMA where they answered some questions about their processes. As you would expect, a huge part of their workflow is spent on finding and uploading the highest quality footage. Unless you’re working with film reels, the highest quality available to an average consumer would be from DVDs (preferably Blu-ray). Keep an eye for director’s cuts or remastered versions that include restored 4k when possible.As Jacob T. Swinney points out, pulling footage from YouTube is also an option in a pinch, but is not as likely to be the highest quality. Vimeo is another resource to consider because of its quality. You can find lots of YouTube download plugins or websites. Here are a few:HexoticVideoGrabbyClipConverter.cc Make Music Choices That Play Into a ThemeKevin B. Lee, chief video essayist at Fandor, recently did an interesting experiment on how sound and music play into how video essays are perceived. When creating a video essay on Chantal Akerman’s documentary No Home Movie, Lee chose to highlight the film’s fragile banality by putting together a composition of the shots which show the quiet emptiness of the rooms featured in the film. To add a further dynamic to the piece, Lee originally opted to put in music behind the footage (Schubert’s Impromptu D. 899 Op. 90 No. 3) which played into the film’s theme.However, the video essay wasn’t quite as well received by all. Jonathan Miller, the president of Icarus Films (No Home Movie‘s distributor) took exception to Lee using music in an video essay on a film which purposefully draws power from its quietness and lack of soundtrack.I watched the essay and I was surprised because there was no commentary on it. It was five minutes of Chantal’s film put in a different order with this very sentimental music laid over it. I wasn’t sure what made it an essay. It was as if he (Lee) cut Chantal’s footage to make another film entirely. (via Filmmaker Magazine)Ultimately, Lee went back and created a new version with the music removed. However, he left both versions online as a way for the two videos to juxtapose how video essays can create emotions with their music choices (or lack thereof). You can watch the silent version below and read about Lee’s decision in his post here.(If you need music for your next epic video essay, don’t forget that PremiumBeat’s got some pretty fantastic royalty free options!)Structure Your Video Like a FilmTony Zhou’s Every Frame a Painting channel has become one of the most recognized names in the video essay genre for its educational and well-structured content. In his video essay below (aptly titled “How to Structure a Video Essay“), Zhou breaks down how he learned to structure his video essays by observing how filmmakers structure their films. (By the way, if you haven’t seen Orson Welles’ F For Fake , it may be the best film about faking a film about filmmaking.)Remember, video essays aren’t essays. They’re films. So you want to structure and pace them like a filmmaker would. Therefore and but. Meanwhile, back at the ranch. — Tony ZhouThe concepts Zhou presents are clearly more than little tricks for YouTube videos. They’re some of the basic tenants of storytelling and structure that apply to videos big and small. If you’re serious about creating content that has a flow and narrative arc to go along with interesting images, understanding concepts like “Therefore and but” and “Meanwhile, back at the ranch” is key.Consume, Consume, ConsumePerhaps one of the best ways to create successful video essays would be to watch as many as possible. The genre is pretty wide open in terms of different styles and definitions into what qualifies as a “video essay.”  There are several choices which you’ll have to make before you find the right one for you. However, if you can critically analyze what the different video essays are doing, you can find the distinctions that you find more worthwhile.Here’s a great look into the history of video essays and the many different elements therein.last_img read more

Read More →

“Five Came Back” — Lessons from Famous Directors During WWII

first_imgThe documentarians based the show on the 2014 book by Mark Harris by the same title. Laurent Bouzereau served as director, and Meryl Streep is the narrator. Even Steven Spielberg was involved as executive producer. The show spans 100 hours of archival footage and includes interviews with the five directors themselves. Five modern directors each narrate a specific director: Steven Spielberg for Wyler, Francis Ford Coppola for Huston, Guillermo del Toro for Capra, Paul Greengrass for Ford, and Lawrence Kasdan for Stevens.There is a lot to learn as a filmmaker by watching this series. Not only does it give you a glimpse into the minds and methods of these historic “greats,” but it also highlights the influence of powerful storytelling on a society and the moral responsibilities that implies. Though it is specifically exploring WWII, it touches on contemporary subjects like race, PTSD, and propaganda. The series is surprisingly intimate, with deeply emotional archival footage and valuable insight for any filmmaker in any genre.For those looking for more, Netflix is also streaming thirteen of the documentaries discussed in the film. Explore the list yourself:The Battle of Midway (1942, John Ford)Prelude to War (1942, Frank Capra)Why We Fight: The Battle of Russia (1943, Frank Capra)Undercover: How to Operate Behind Enemy Lines (1943, John Ford)Report from the Aleutians (1943, John Huston)The Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress (1944, William Wyler)The Negro Soldier (1944, Stuart Heisler; produced by Frank Capra)Tunisian Victory (1944, John Huston)Know Your Enemy: Japan (1945, Frank Capra)The Battle of San Pietro (1945, John Huston)Nazi Concentration Camps (1945, George Stevens)Let There Be Light (1946, John Huston)Thunderbolt (1947, William Wyler) Explore the power and influence of filmmaking in world history through the lenses of some of the greatest American directors.All images via Netflix.Often, I think we forget how significantly storytelling affects a society. In a previous article, I explored the possibilities that open up when you get a more diverse group of filmmakers in the director’s chair. I truly believe that stories told by a population of filmmakers that better represents society as a whole will also better serve it. And the Netflix documentary series Five Came Back aptly proves the power of storytelling’s influence.Five Came Back is a three-part Netflix series about five famous directors in Hollywood who served in World War II. Each episode explores their careers before the war, the crucial role their talents played in the war, and how it affected their work when the war was done. It also shed a fascinating light on the power of propaganda, as well as the unique relationship between the U.S. Government and Hollywood at this time. The series takes you through the careers (and personalities) of Hollywood greats John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens. It’s an intoxicating dose of film history during one of the more significant periods of world history. The visual landscape alone is spectacular. It jumps between clips from some of my favorite classics to iconic, emotional, and cinematic shots of the war, violence, bombings, and society at the time.last_img read more

Read More →

Create Seamless Transitions Using the Whip Pan

first_imgThe whip pan is a great way to transition between scenes and draw attention to your subject matter. Here are four ways you can pull it off.The whip pan is by far my number one transition when it comes to editing video. There are plenty of ways to pull off this transition, from capturing it on set to building it in post. So, let’s take a look at how it’s done. Capture PracticallyThe whip pan is a good way to momentarily disorient your audience.The first method is the most obvious way: capturing it practically. Take your camera, zoom it in, and pan quickly in one direction. This will create a blurry whoosh on screen. From here, you splice a 24-frame selection from the clip and put it in-between two other shots on your edit timeline.Endings and BeginningsYou can whip pan in, target a specific frame, then whip pan out to really emphasize a subject.You can get really creative with whip pans by capturing them at the end of shots and blending them with shots that are just beginning. This can create a seamless edit that blends two shots with one woosh. It’s incredibly effective, and it’s super simple.Time RampingSpeed up your clip to create a whip pan in post-production.Let’s say you don’t have any whip pans that you captured practically. Fortunately, there’s an effective solution using time ramping. First, find the shot you want to use. After that, speed up the end of the clip by 500-4,000 percent. This will make any subtle camera movement blurry and noticeable. You can even apply frame blending to create motion blur.KeyframingAnimate a keyframe in order to create a whip pan using location on screen.Finally, if your shots don’t speed up well, you can manually recreate the whip pan using keyframing. Simply scale in your footage to 500, then position it to either the far left or far right side of the screen. Now, keyframe it to move from one side of the screen to the other. Now go into your effects panel and apply a directional blur that moves horizontally.There you have it! Four very effective whip pan transitions you can use in your next edit.Looking for more video tutorials? Check these out.Video Tutorial: How to Use a Vehicle as a Dolly SystemTutorial: How You Can Travel the World Making VideosUnderstanding Keyframe Interpolation in Adobe After EffectsVideo Tutorial: How to Build a $25 Overhead Camera RigVideo Tutorial: The Secrets Behind Lighting a Shot with Firelast_img read more

Read More →

Blackmagic RAW Added to BMPCC4K with Blackmagic Camera Update 6.2

first_imgIf you’ve been eagerly waiting to shoot Blackmagic RAW on your Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, the time has finally come.Today, Blackmagic made a couple of really great announcements. We got a new Ursa Pro update (300fps?!) and some really great advancements in some of their other peripherals.However, one of the most exciting and accessible new developments was the new Blackmagic Camera Update 6.2 —which adds Blackmagic RAW functionality to the Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.This news sent me rushing for my BMPCC4K. The camera update is available now, meaning anyone who owns the camera can update now for free. As a result, I read the press release, and a mere 15 minutes later, I was shooting Blackmagic RAW (It always bothers me capitalizing that, as RAW isn’t actually an initialism, but alas it is the official name).Recording OptionsAs is the case with all the more recent Blackmagic releases, one of the true strengths is the number of available options.Blackmagic RAW functionality boasts options for constant bitrate and constant quality recording. I prefer to shoot in constant bitrate, which shoots the same bitrate regardless of the situation. This recording format is truly impressive. Even 12:1 BRAW is truly stunning in terms of both quality and versatility in post. To start, I had a 128GB SDHC card in the camera, and at this setting, I can shoot 77 minutes of RAW. Which is absolutely mind-boggling — especially when you get that footage into Resolve and take a look at what it can do.When set to constant quality, the camera shoots higher file sizes, and the file sizes themselves are constantly altering themselves due to the needs of that particular shot. This yields slightly richer and higher-quality images, but it tends to create unpredictably large file sizes.The camera, of course, still has all of the ProRes recording formats as well.The only downside to Blackmagic RAW is that there is currently no compatibility with NLEs other than Resolve. So if you want to edit your RAW files in Premiere, you’re going to have a bad time.I’m hoping that Adobe will support the codec in the near future, but I’m also worried that potential competition with ProRes Raw won’t hinder that development. We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, get out there and shoot some beautiful RAW footage, folks.last_img read more

Read More →

The Real Proof Provider

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Case studies. ROI analysis. Client testimonials. A slick full of logos. Third party validation. References. Awards. Years in business. Number of locations. Global footprint. Press releases.Any and all of these can be useful proof providers. But it depends on what you are trying to prove.Some people build presentations around proving that they are a good, solid, stable company, the kind you’d want to do business with. More believe they need proof to even be able to command a conversation with their dream client. They mistakenly believe that this “proof” is what will give their prospective client the confidence to move forward with them. But the kind of proof listed above is most effective at the end of the sales process (or buying process) to resolve concerns.The real proof you need to provide early is that you have the ability to create value for your client. You. Personally. Not your company.You need to pass the first test of being known and differentiating yourself from all of the salespeople who call each quarter only to disappear and be replaced by the next quarterly check in call. You need to prove you want the business and that you aren’t going anywhere.You need to pass the test of relevance. Do you have something worth talking about? Do you know something that will help move your dream client’s business forward? Do you have good ideas? You need to prove you have the chops, the business acumen and situational knowledge to stand toe-to-toe as a peer.You have to prove you know how to get from the current state to the better future you are going to help your dream client achieve. This is the test of control. If you don’t know what commitments you need, explain why you need them, and ask for those commitments, you will fail this test. You should spend less time worrying about proof that your company can produce results and more time working on building the capacity to produce them yourself. The real reason it’s difficult to buy from some companies is that it is difficult to buy from their salespeople.QuestionsHow much proof do you need to provide in the early stages of your process?What is the best form of proof you can offer and why?What proof works better in later stages to resolve concerns?Why does trying to prove your value early subtract from your credibility?last_img read more

Read More →