ReadWriteWeb Events Guide, 22 May 2010

first_imgYou’re invited to join ReadWriteWeb for our third event and our first on the East Coast: the ReadWriteWeb Real-Time Web Summit, on June 11 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. This is our second Summit on the Real-Time Web, following on from our successful debut event in Mountain View last October. It will follow the same unconference format, which we have gotten a lot of great feedback on.The Real-Time Web is a set of technologies that impacts almost every service, activity and application on the Web. We were one of the first news outlets to analyze the Real-Time Web and we’ve since written extensively about it. Come to the summit to understand how it impacts you, your business and your next development.The ReadWriteWeb team is excited about our first New York event and we look forward to seeing you there!15 – 16 June 2010: New York CityCorporate Social Media Summit The Corporate Social Media Summit is a two day conference focused exclusively on how big businesses can take advantage of social media to enhance their marketing/comms strategy. Featuring: ReadWrite Sponsors Co-located with CloudCamp LondonCo-located with Green IT conferenceFree-to-attend exhibition with seminar and scenario theatreFree-to-attend evening awards presentationHear from leading case studies on how they have integrated cloud computing and SaaS into their working practicesLearn from the key players offering cloud and SaaS servicesEvening networking party for all attendees7 July 2010: Melbourne, AustraliaDigital Sport SummitDigital Sport Summit is Australia’s premier sport and digital media event. Hear from social media pioneers who are changing the face of Australian sport. Learn how social media and mobile technology is taking fan engagement to a whole new level.Speakers on the day will cover a variety of topics including:iPhone application development for sportConvincing management of the case for social mediaHow to monetize social mediaFantasy sportsSocial media from an athlete’s perspectiveWith speakers representing Essendon Football Club, Cricket Victoria, Herald Sun, Football Federation Australia and more. Digital Sport Summit will take place at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.22 – 23 September 2010: SingaporeSocial Media World Forum AsiaSocial Media World Forum Asia is back for 2010. The event will be taking place at the larger venue – The Suntec Conference Centre – before the F1 Singapore night race. Two days of interactive and engaging conference featuring leading key figure keynotes, brand case studies, topical Q&A and debates, exhibition hall, workshops and networking. Speakers include: 5 October 2010: New York CityFinovateFallFinovateFall will return to Manhattan on Tuesday, October 5 to showcase dozens of the biggest and most innovative new ideas in financial and banking technology from established leaders and hot young companies. The Fall event is the original and largest Finovate and features a single day packed with our special blend of short, fast-paced onstage demos (no slides are allowed) and intimate networking time with top executives from the innovative demoing companies.FinovateFall is a unique chance to see the future of finance and banking before your competition and find the edge you need in today’s market. Early bird registration rates are available.29 – 30 March 2011: LondonSocial Media World Forum EuropeSocial Media World Forum Europe: Two days of interactive & engaging conference featuring leading key figure keynotes, brand case studies, topical Q&A and debates, exhibition hall, workshops and networking.Social Media World Forum Europe is continuing to evolve and deliver an event which is second to none, ensuring our audience receive the maximum potential from attending our shows. New for 2011 we have introduced interactive panel discussions, live streamed debate sessions, collaborative learning, break-out group discussions, open Q&A portions in every session, open workshops, with group discussions and interactive zones within the exhibition hall. We have introduced the Online Marketing Toolbox Workshops, educating in all elements of the online marketing mix, such as SEO, Paid Search, Affiliate, Mobile & Apps. The perfect toolbox to complete your online marketing strategy.Download this entire events calendar in iCal format. Blake Chandlee, VP & Commercial Director, EMEA, FacebookNicki Kenyon, Vice President, Digital Marketing APMEA, MasterCardReynold D’Silva, Global Brand Marketing Manager, UnileverPooja Arora, Brand Manager, P&GThomas Crampton, Asia-Pacific Director, 360 Digital Influence, Ogilvy Public Relations WorldwideLito S. German, Marketing Director, BMW Group AsiaRanjeet-Shandu Singh, Digital Project Manager, Ogilvy One SingaporeDerek Yeo, Head of Marketing, Tiger Airways 25 – 27 May 2010: Denver, ColoradoGlueGlue is the only conference devoted solely to exploring the problem-sets facing architects, developers and IT professionals in a “post-cloud” world. Glue focuses on the APIs and protocols (Twitter, Facebook, Websockets, PubSubHubBub, XMPP), formats and standards (RDF/Linked Data, JSON, Microformats, HTML5), platforms and providers (Amazon, Rackspace, Google App Engine,, Eucalyptus), Identity Protocols (OAuth/WRAP, SAML, OpenID, SPML) emerging NoSQL data models (Cassandra, CouchDB, MongoDB, Riak, HBase), and other mechanisms that are building the post-cloud world.ReadWriteCloud will be blogging live from Gluecon and CloudCamp, and ReadWriteWeb’s Alex Williams will be moderating the “Managing Complexity in the Cloud” session. Please join us May 25-27 in Denver, Colorado. ReadWriteWeb readers can receive 10% off of registration by using the code “RWW12”.27 – 28 May 2010: Beijing, ChinaGlobal Mobile Internet Conference The Global Mobile Internet Conference is designed specifically for entrepreneurs, executives and influencers to understand and capitalize on the growing opportunities in mobile internet. Though focused on opportunities in Asia, much of the conference dialogue is intended to compare and trade best practices across borders, especially between the East and West. Around 1000 industry leaders from Asia, Europe and North America are expected to attend. The conference will be in English, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 4 – 6 June 2010: Chicago, ILBlogs with Balls 3 The bright future of sports media gathers for Blogs with Balls 3 in Chicago at the legendary Wrigley Field. This third installment of the conference focuses on sports and local media, the ever-changing face of traditional media, as well as all the ways that mobile and emerging technologies are changing the world of the sports fan (and the companies trying to reach him or her) today. Feature speakers from established players like ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! Sports & The Sporting News and emerging blogging/podcasting personalities and sports new media entrepreneurs, not to mention former professional athletes who are bolstering their brand through digital.Register before May 15 and save more than $50 off the full ticket price at Use discount code RWWxBWB11 June 2010: New York City Practical and relevant insights from peers who have already used social media successfully20-plus corporate speakers (including PepsiCo, Whole Foods, Dell, McDonald’s, General Motors, Citi, Johnson & Johnson),Best practice, benchmarks and practical next steps you can use to take advantage of social media in your businessA tightly-focused agenda with 14 in-depth, practical workshops giving you knowledge on only the most critical business issues surrounding corporate use of social mediaSave $400 if you quote RWW400 when booking. Book here.21 – 25 June 2010: San Francisco, CaliforniaSemTech 2010SemTech 2010 is the world’s largest, most authoritative conference on semantic technology. The programs covers semantics in enterprise computing, consumer applications, search, Linked Data and social networking. SemTech is the place where the entire community gathers to do business – entrepreneurs and investors, researchers and product developers, marketers and customers.This year we have in-depth focus on industry applications in Healthcare, Life Sciences, Open Government, Publishing, Finance and Advertising. Case studies will be provided by early adopters including Best Buy, Biogen, Blue Cross, Boeing, Cleveland Clinic, DoD, Group M, Merck, Nokia, Pearson, Pfizer,, US Air Force, University of Texas and the World Bank. The conference hashtag is #SemTech.22 – 24 June 2010: Santa Clara, CaliforniaVelocity Now in its third year, Velocity – the Web Performance and Operations Conference from O’Reilly Media – is dedicated to helping people build a better Internet that is Fast by Default. Join hundreds of web developers and experts under one roof from June 22-24, 2010 in Santa Clara, CA Velocity packs a wealth of big ideas, know-how, and connections into three concentrated days. You’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned immediately for high impact results and you’ll come away prepared for what’s ahead. O’Reilly Velocity 2010 is the premier conference dedicated to building industrial strength sites, at internet speed. Velocity”>Register Now and save 25% with discount code “vel10rww”. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Events Guide#web 28 May 2010: Beijing, ChinaGlobal Mobile Internet Conference – Innovation Show & Startup Competition The Global Mobile Internet Conference Innovation Show intends to be a launch pad for innovative mobile internet startups from around the world. Innovation Show finalists will have the opportunity to present their company to an expected 1,000 investors, industry leaders, and press. Finalists will be judged by and receive feedback from a team of respected venture capitalists and angel investors. The judges will choose one company as the GMIC Innovation Show Winner. Startups must apply by April 4. There are lots of interesting events on the horizon (including the ReadWriteWeb Real-Time Web Summit), but one taking place this week that’s worth noting is Glue, “the only conference devoted solely to exploring the problem-sets facing architects, developers and IT professionals in a “post-cloud” world.” Can’t make it to Denver for the event? Don’t worry, we’ll be live blogging it.How do you like your events guide? You can import individual events into Google Calendar using the link beside each entry, or download the entire thing as an iCal (and Google Calendar-importable) file, or even view it as a world map. Know of something cool taking place that should appear here? Let us know in the comments below or contact us. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts 29 – 30 June 2010: LondonCloud Computing World Forum The 2nd annual Cloud Computing World Forum is the perfect event to learn and discuss the development, integration, adoption and future of cloud computing and SaaS. Building on the success of the 2009 show, this two day conference and free-to-attend exhibition will provide a focused platform for the global cloud and SaaS industry. Show highlights include: 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

iNdians: Cherokees First to Use iPhones for Native Language

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Apple#NYT#Real World#web “The new access to the language will allow Cherokee speakers to communicate via e-mail, text messages and across all platforms of the iPhone and iPod Touch. It allows developers to easily create new Cherokee applications as the language is now part of the operating system, opening a new market for application developers.”The syllabary requires iOS 4.1. The software can be downloaded from iTunes and the instructions from the Cherokee Nation website. In 2003, Apple added the Plantagenet Cherokee font to MacOS operating system. The tribe and the company are currently working on extending Cherokee to the popular iPad tablet in the near future. The idea for the mobile app came, in part, as an outgrowth of experience at the Tsalagi Tsunadeloquasdi Cherokee language immersion school in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, which uses computers equipped with the Cherokee syllabary to teach first through fifth graders (and win language fairs). Joseph Erb, of the Cherokee Nation’s language technology division, told the Associated Press:“(T)he cool technology is in English. So we had to figure out a way to make the cool technology in Cherokee.”The only problem, of course, is the primary motivation for using the language, keeping teachers out of your business, is moot at a school devoted to teaching in Cherokee. But then, I guess there’s always sixth grade, isn’t there? Illustrations from the Cherokee Nation Office of Communication | other sources: Los Angeles Times A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… The culturally rich Cherokee Nation has announced the first AmerIndian language to be featured on Apple‘s iPhone and iPod Touch. The hope is the ubiquity of mobile computing will shore up daily native language use, which has fallen to only 8,000 speakers out of a population of 290,000. Cherokee, the only southern Iroquoian language to survive into the present, does not use the standard Latin alphabet (the one you’re reading) but instead uses a syllabary developed by a polymath tribal Chief named Sequoyah, two centuries ago. The tribe worked with Apple to allow Cherokee users to utilize that unique representation while using their products. According to the official release by the Cherokee Nation: 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market curt hopkins Related Posts last_img read more

Position Yourself as an Expert Eco-Builder: Get Organized With a Homeowner’s Manual

first_imgRapid changes in the residential construction industry are providing new profit and diversification opportunities for builders. Those who see and understand these opportunities can position themselves as experts in the field and provide exemplary service to gain an important edge in the marketplace. Knowing where you stand in relation to your competition is paramount. Educating and communicating that position to prospective customers is equally important.Part 4 of a 7-part series4. Get organized with a homeowner’s manualA well-prepared homeowner’s manual should be a foundation of your customer service approach. The manual should educate the customer about what activities and services to expect from pre-construction to post-construction—yes, pre-construction to post-construction. This is a communication tool for the whole process, not just after occupancy. Everyone else treats a homeowner’s manual like a “How to Use This House” document, when in fact its benefits can extend much farther. Seize the opportunity to stand out from the pack by educating your customers throughout the construction process by integrating the homeowner’s manual into the home-buying experience. Introduce it up front during the sales process, and refer to it frequently during the course of planning and construction.Take sufficient time to walk customers through the manual in the first place, explain each section, answer their questions, and address their concerns from the start. Do you know how many thousands of headaches, misunderstandings, and unnecessary phone calls (during your kid’s birthday party) this could save you and your customers?Ask customers to bring the manual to all meetings during construction so that they can integrate any additional information provided during the meetings. This makes it a living document for them and acquaints them firsthand with the contents. Offering more information during these meetings will further emphasize the importance of the manual. Note: Have your legal adviser review your manual; this small investment could mean extra protection for you.Next week: Update your websiteAlso in this series: 3. Listen to your customers 2: Deliver great value 1. Identify your ideal customerlast_img read more

Alternatives to Clothes Dryers

first_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. This article is only available to GBA Prime Members In an American home with a relatively new refrigerator, the clothes dryer usually uses more energy than any other home appliance. An electric clothes dryer draws between 4,000 and 6,000 watts, and costs about 60 cents an hour — about $158 per year, on average — to operate. While a gas dryer may only draw 400 watts of electricity, it also consumes a significant amount of natural gas or propane to dry each load of laundry.Besides using lots of energy, clothes dryers can also contribute to depressurization and backdrafting problems. The typical American clothes dryer is vented to the exterior; when operating, a dryer depressurizes a house at a rate of 100 to 225 cfm. This depressurization, especially when combined with other exhaust appliances operating simultaneously, can cause gas water heaters or wood stoves to backdraft. Even when the dryer isn’t operating, a dryer vent represents a penetration in the thermal envelope that contributes to air leakage.Finally, clothes dryer vents are a major cause of house fires, so a house without a dryer vent is a safer house. For all of these reasons, you may be thinking of living without a clothes dryer.Newer washing machines do a better job of spinning clothes to remove moisture than older models. Still, some people claim that a better spin cycle would reduce drying time. One possible solution is a new appliance called a spin dryer.Of course, moving clothes from the washer to the spin dryer, and then moving the clothes again from the spin dryer to a clothesline or conventional dryer, is a hassle. Moreover, these spin dryers have mixed reviews; according to some users, they don’t really reduce drying time significantly.The most obvious alternative to a clothes dryer is a traditional outdoor clothesline, supplemented by an indoor wooden drying rack.Outdoor clotheslines are… center_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log inlast_img read more

Net-Zero Families, Not Net-Zero Homes

first_imgSimulations: climate change to accelerateWigley’s computer simulations indicate that a worldwide, partial shift from coal to natural gas would slightly accelerate climate change through at least 2050, even if no methane leaked from natural gas operations, and through as late as 2140 if there were substantial leaks. After that, the greater reliance on natural gas would begin to slow down the increase in global average temperature, but only by a few tenths of a degree.“Relying more on natural gas would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, but it would do little to help solve the climate problem,” says Wigley, who is also an adjunct professor at the University of Adelaide in Australia. “It would be many decades before it would slow down global warming at all, and even then it would just be making a difference around the edges.” Switching to natural gas won’t slow climate changeNext month, new peer-reviewed research is being published that will conclude that although the burning of natural gas emits far less carbon dioxide than coal, a greater reliance on natural gas would fail to significantly slow down climate change. The study by Tom Wigley, who is a senior research associate at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, examines how coal use causes warming through emission of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, but also releases comparatively large amounts of sulfates and other particles. Those particles, while causing acid rain and other environmental problems, help to cool the planet by blocking incoming sunlight.The situation is further complicated by uncertainty over the amount of methane that leaks from natural gas operations. Methane is an especially potent greenhouse gas. Submetering of major energy systemsSouth Mountain installed equipment to allow submetering of all the major energy systems in the homes, providing an unprecedented window into exactly how the families use energy. A report by South Mountain engineer Marc Rosenbaum highlights key insights from this experiment — among them the importance of collecting data monthly.Though variations from the estimated energy use will be greater on a monthly basis than on an annual basis, it allows users to catch meaningful anomalies more quickly. In the case of one family, the data helped reveal that a child had turned off an exterior AC disconnect from the PV system during the first month, allowing that family to generate only 279 kWh instead of the 630 kWh that the other seven homes averaged. Saturday found me helping a friend install new batteries for another friend’s off-the-grid solar power system. We had fun getting the system back up and running and watching the solar-powered watts come in on a beautiful September day.At one point my friend asked me to use his multimeter to read the voltage of the batteries. No problem: I put the two testing probes in place on the batteries and got the desired reading. He then asked me to reverse the probes to see if the reading also reversed, as expected.However, I switched the probes back and forth several times — or at least, I thought I did — while the reading unexpectedly remained the same. After a minute he said, “Wait, you’re just moving your hands back and forth between the probes — you’re not actually moving the probes.” He was right, and we had a good laugh about that. Some changes make a real difference, and some changes amount to nothing more than hand-waving.center_img Eight net-zero-ready homes, eight familiesIn the category of changes that actually make a difference, eight families on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts recently were able to demonstrate how important energy conservation is in reducing our need for carbon.As reported in the Environmental Building News article Want a Net-Zero Home? Be a Net-Zero Family, the families moved into nearly identical, superinsulated homes last June. South Mountain Company designed and built the LEED Platinum homes for the Island Housing Trust with the goal of allowing the residents to operate them at net-zero energy, using the 5 kW photovoltaic arrays on the roofs for power. In case the energy cost savings didn’t provide enough incentive, South Mountain offered a reward to any household that came in at net-zero energy for the first year. Two families achieved this goal, and won their choice of a $400 dollar gift certificate at a local fish market or a one-year membership at the local CSA. Two families operate at net-zero or belowIn a testament to the efficient construction, water-heating energy use exceeded space-heating energy use in all but one of the homes. Rosenbaum suggests that a good further investment would be for solar hot water or heat-pump water heaters. The submetering also showed that the biggest loads were the two uses of electric resistance heat: the radiant ceiling panels and the water heaters.In the end, two families were able to operate below net-zero energy, while two others were close. On the other end of the spectrum, one family used a measured 11,635 kWh in one year, nearly twice the 6,873 kWh provided by the solar panels. In all cases, lights and plug loads accounted for about half of total energy use. With that in mind, the report quotes energy consultant Andy Shapiro: “There are no zero-energy houses, only zero-energy families.”Tristan Roberts is Editorial Director at BuildingGreen, Inc., in Brattleboro, Vermont, which publishes information on green building solutions.last_img read more

When Will Rooftop Solar Be Cheaper Than the Grid?

first_imgThe National Renewable Energy Laboratory said recently that rooftop solar panels have the potential to generate nearly 40% of electricity in the U.S. But what about the cost of going solar?Many people ask when the cost of producing power from photovoltaic (PV) panels will be equal to or less than buying from the grid — a point called “grid parity.” Reaching grid parity could accelerate solar adoption.But in asking the question, they often compare apples to oranges and forget that the answer varies from place to place and from one type of installation to another.For example, electricity from utility-scale solar systems (typically large arrays, some of which have tracking mechanisms that slowly change tilt and orientation so that panels face the sun all day) usually costs less than electricity produced from solar panels fixed on someone’s home. Also, residential electric rates, on average about 12 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in the U.S., are much higher than wholesale electric rates — the price utilities pay to power generators — which are usually less than 4 cents per kWh. RELATED ARTICLES Joshua Rhodes is a postdoctoral researcher of energy at the University of Texas at Austin. This post originally appeared at The Conversation. Putting a number on solar costThe levelized, or average, cost of electricity from a PV array is derived from all the money spent to buy, install, finance, and maintain the system divided by the total amount of electricity that system is expected to produce over its lifetime. We call this value the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) and it’s expressed in terms of dollars per kilowatt-hour ($/kWh). The same metric can be used to determine the cost for a coal or natural gas plant. Planners like it because it reduces the cost of a power plant over a span of many decades into a single number.Despite the strengths of LCOE as a metric — it is easy to understand and widely used — it has some shortcomings, too. Namely, it leaves out geographic variability and changes with seasons. It usually ignores the cost of environmental impacts such as the cost of carbon emissions. This metric is a bit too simple when comparing variable wind and solar generators to power plants that you can turn on and off at will, such as those fueled by uranium, coal, and natural gas.Today the average cost of energy from PV in U.S. is reported to be 12.2 cents per kWh, which is about the same as the average retail rate.Those who keep close tabs on electricity prices might think that it is about on par with what they are paying for their own electricity at home. This number can be misleading, however, because it represents the average price of utility-scale solar across the U.S., not necessarily the cost to produce electricity from solar panels on our homes.So how do you know how close residential solar is to grid parity where you live? Ultimately, that depends on two things: how much you pay for the electricity you buy from the local grid, and how much can you get paid for the electricity you can produce from PV. Let’s take a look at both of them. Moving targetTo illustrate this point, we take the same information that underlies the solar cost map and reduce the total installed cost of installed solar in $0.25/Watt increments — from $3.50/Watt to $1.50/Watt (the SunShot goal). We can then subtract the electricity rate from the solar LCOE in every county. Where this difference is zero or negative (electricity rates > LCOE), we can estimate when that county will be at grid parity for residential PV.Below is a graphic that shows the estimate of the point of parity as the price of installed solar falls. Note that the total installed costs include the federal investment tax credit and any local rebates and tax incentives.These calculations and estimates come with several caveats. First, the above calculation assumes that PV owners are paid for their generation at standard electric rates in their area. This arrangement is typically known as net metering.But there is a wide range of ways that utilities interact with customers who have installed PV systems. Some utilities may pay homeowners wholesale market rates for the excess electricity they feed into the grid from their panels; these wholesale rates tend to be considerably lower than retail rates. If utilities pay homeowners based on the wholesale rate, rather than the retail rate, solar is less economic.But that’s not all. One could add in the cost benefits of reducing CO2 emissions and other pollutants. On the other hand, there are costs associated with “firming up” the solar power when it’s nighttime or cloudy.Keeping these factors in mind, the answer to the question, “Does it make economic sense for me to install solar?” is: it depends. As the map demonstrates, the crucial thing to watch, apart from any changes in electricity costs, is how quickly the overall costs of solar go down. How much sun do you get?The Energy Information Agency (EIA) has created a map of average electricity rates by zip code, averaged to the county level and remade by the author in the map below. The deep red (or darker) colors indicate higher average residential electricity rates.Map of average electricity rates across the U.S (EIA)Electric rates vary a great deal across the country, and these differences are caused by a number of economic, historical, and regulatory reasons. Likewise, the costs of solar and the availability of the solar resource (i.e., how often and how strong the sun shines) also are not homogeneous throughout the U.S. The figure below shows the LCOE of residential solar across all counties nationwide.LCOE of residential solar across the U.S.The data on the residential solar costs were pulled together from an ongoing large-scale campus-wide research project at the Energy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin. The main assumptions behind the data are a total cost of $3.50/watt for the solar PV installation for a fixed array pointing south with a tilt of 25 degrees. Solar production data are based on a 2013 National Renewable Energy Laboratory study.That southern orientation and tilt represent a rule of thumb and might not be the optimal solar placement in every locale.The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative has a stated goal of lowering residential solar PV system installations to $1.50/watt. Cheap PV panels from China have driven down the hardware costs to the point where the price of a total PV system is now dominated by “soft costs” — namely, customer acquisition, installation, supply chain, permit, etc. Still, total installed system costs continue to fall.While those cost cuts are impressive, the major driver in the cost of energy produced is the amount of solar radiation that strikes the solar panels. Obviously, some locations are sunnier than others, so a solar array in Arizona will produce more energy than one in Washington state, making the system more economic for the homeowner.And the prevailing cost of electricity varies nationwide. Some of the areas with the lowest cost of grid power (e.g., Washington) have some of the highest solar costs because of low levels of sunshine. It will be difficult to make solar reach parity in those locations.On the other hand, there are other locations where the price of grid electricity is high and the solar LCOE is relatively low, including New Mexico, California, and Hawaii; these places are prime locations for solar to be at grid parity sooner. Cost of Solar Electricity Hits a New LowWhere the Solar Bargains Are Green Building in the Cheap Energy EraU.S. Wind Energy Prices Hit an All-Time LowPV Systems Have Gotten Dirt CheapThe Big Allure of Cheap PV At the same time, different states have more or less sun — solar power in Florida is typically more economic than in Alaska, for instance. All of these factors make the question more complicated than people might anticipate.How, then, can we compare the cost of rooftop solar to the cost of buying power from the local electricity grid and thereby find when which states will hit the point of grid parity?last_img read more

Cross-Laminated Timber Condos Planned in Portland

first_imgA Portland, Oregon, architectural firm is planning an eight-story condo building that would become the tallest structure in the country to be built with cross-laminated timber (CLT), an alternative to conventional steel-and-concrete construction.The building, called Carbon 12, was designed by PATH Architecture and recently won a $45,000 grant from Oregon BEST and the newly formed National Center for Advanced Wood Products Manufacturing and Design. The grant will help with acoustic and moisture testing.CLT is an emerging technology in which panels up to 10 feet tall, 60 feet long and 18 inches thick are made by gluing dimensional lumber together in perpendicular layers. Panels can be used for walls, floors and roofs. Proponents say the panels are an untapped resource of green building because they make use of short pieces of lumber and, unlike steel and concrete, sequester carbon.The material has proved popular in Europe, Oregon BEST said, but U.S. architects and builders have been stymied by requirements for added documentation, unusual modeling requirements and building code hurdles. And the panels are hard to get — an Oregon company, D.R. Johnson, is apparently the country’s only producer of panels certified for structural applications, at least so far. RELATED ARTICLES Can Wood Replace Concrete and Steel in Skyscrapers?CrossLam Cross Laminated TimberX-LAM Cross-Laminated Timber Carbon 12 will top U.S. height records, but an 18-story CTL building is underway in Vancouver, Canada and should be completed next year.last_img read more

R-Value Scammers Sued By the FTC

first_img Start Free Trial Already a member? Log in Here at GBA, we received our first inquiry concerning Insultex housewrap on July 31, 2015, when Marcus Sheffer questioned the validity of Insultex’s R-value claims.Insultex is a plastic housewrap distributed by Innovative Designs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company offers two versions of its housewrap, at a price that is from two to nine times higher than the price of ordinary housewrap. One version is 1 mm (0.0384 inch) thick; according to Innovative Designs, this product has an R-rating of R-3. That’s R-78 per inch.The second version is 1.5 mm (0.0576 inch) thick; according to Innovative Designs, this product has an R-rating of R-6. That’s R-104 per inch.The Insultex document that includes these outrageous claims, titled “Insultex House Wrap R-3 and R-6,” is available for viewing online. (It’s also reproduced as Image #2, below.)For years, Insultex has been sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s; both of these distributors repeated the outlandish R-value claims.Responding to Marcus Sheffer’s inquiry on GBA last year, I wrote, “Unless you are talking about aerogels or vacuum insulated panels, the laws of physics limit the maximum R-value of a material to about R-5.6 per inch without encapsulated gas, or about R-7.5 per inch with encapsulated gas. … The R-value claims that Insultex is making for its product are preposterous. It’s a total fraud.”On that same Q&A thread, a GBA reader named Jeff Cooper commented, “You’re the first anywhere online to give potential buyers of Insultex the understanding they need to avoid wasting their money by assuming that Insultex would have to be be legitimate because they would otherwise be exposed to too many legal perils, especially as their product becomes widely known by being sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s,… Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.center_img This article is only available to GBA Prime Memberslast_img read more

A Glimmer of Hope for Connecticut Homeowners With Crumbling Foundations

first_imgThousands of Connecticut residents whose homes are threatened by failing concrete foundations got some encouragement this week with the visit of U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who expressed hope that federal assistance might be possible.As many as 34,000 homes in eastern and north central Connecticut could be at risk because aggregate used in the concrete contained a pyrrhotite, a mineral that in time causes the concrete to crack and degrade. Homeowners face bills of as much as $200,000 to repair the damage, and until now help has been slow in coming.But on Monday, Carson toured the home of a couple in Willington, Connecticut, whose basement began developing cracks three years ago. Damage has since spread upstairs, and now Maggie and Vincent Perracchio fear the house could collapse, The Associated Press reported.The Perracchios and other Connecticut families facing the same problem have been largely turned away by insurance companies. Although the state has started a fund to help homeowners that will generate $10 million a year, the federal government until now hasn’t offered to help; the Federal Emergency Management Agency has turned down the governor’s request for a disaster declaration more than once, according to The Hartford Courant. A long-simmering problemThe rock aggregate bearing pyrrhotite, an iron sulfide, was mined in a Willington, Connecticut, quarry and used in ready-mix concrete supplied by the J.J. Mottes Company for homes built in the 1980s and 1990s, according to the Connecticut Coalition Against Crumbling Basements (CCACB). The state estimates that as many as 30,000 houses could be affected, although the number of homeowners who have filed formal complaints is far lower.It can take years for the problem to surface. The cost of replacing a foundation can exceed the value of the house, leaving homeowners with crippling financial problems. Insurance claims by many homeowners have been rejected.The J.J. Mottes company, which supplied the concrete, has said the problem is “an installation issue.”In addition to the cluster of pyrrhotite-induced problems in Connecticut, more than a thousand buildings in Quebec near Trois-Rivières showed similar structural issues. The provincial government has established a website explaining the problem to homeowners and set aside more than $50 million to help pay for repairs.The American Geosciences Institute says that structural damage to buildings due to pyrrhotite or pyrite, another iron sulfide, have been observed globally since the mid-1950s. In the U.S., “pyrite-induced swelling” has been observed in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Kansas, according to the institute.Ben Mandler, a researcher and program supervisor at AGI, said in an email that many of the problems associated with pyrrhotite occur because the mineral is present in backfill used around new foundations, not because it’s found in the construction materials themselves. This is the case with most of the examples mentioned on the AGI website.“But there are some cases similar to the Connecticut case, where concrete damage has been linked to the presence of pyrrhotite in the aggregate mix used to make concrete,” he added. “This has been observed in some dams in Spain, for example, and likely elsewhere to some extent. I’m not aware of this being a major problem in concrete used for foundations elsewhere in the United States.” RELATED ARTICLES Connecticut Lawmakers Consider Aid for Homeowners With Failing FoundationsFailing Concrete Foundations Linked to Aggregate There’s No Relief in Sight for Beleaguered Connecticut Homeowners New interest from the concrete industryThere are currently no known national standards limiting the amount of pyrrhotite that can safely be included in concrete, but the American Concrete Institute, an industry trade group, says that it is focusing new attention on the problem.In an email, Matthew Senecal, the institute’s director of engineering, said that an ACI committee has received approval to write a technical note about pyrrhotite, a process that could take a year to complete. Separately, he said, there have been attempts to write an article about the issue for the institute’s magazine, Concrete International, but there hasn’t been enough technical data on file to support it.“I think the failure mechanism is fairly well understood,” Senecal said. “What seems to be less understood is the accuracy in detecting pyrrhotite; what environmental conditions lead to activation of the mechanism; and what material properties or environmental conditions control the rate of the mechanism. I have not seen any research in the U.S., but Canada has had similar problems in the regions around Quebec.”center_img Carson had a different message Monday.“As compassionate individuals, we all should care about our neighbors,” Carson said, according to the AP. “That was one of the reasons that this country succeeded early on, because people cared about each other. As long as we adopt that feeling of truly caring, we will solve this problem.“I can’t imagine what it’s like for the homeowners,” he said. “By working together with the other federal agencies, with Congress, with the state and with the local officials as well as the private sector — I can’t emphasize enough the fact that this is something that impacts a lot of people — and the solution really needs to be relatively comprehensive and involve all those different entities.”Members of the state’s congressional delegation and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, a Democrat, accompanied Carson on the tour of the couple’s home. U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, both Democrats, are sponsoring legislation that would provide $200 million in aid over five years, half of which would come from Housing and Urban Development. Reports from MassachusettsThe ready-mix plant where the Connecticut concrete was made is close to the Massachusetts state line. Eighteen months ago, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office had not received any consumer complaints about faulty concrete in the area. But this week, the office said it has received two complaints about concrete provided by the J.J. Mottes company. The office didn’t provide any further details.In addition, the Massachusetts state senator whose district includes a number of communities in the south central part of the state sponsored an amendment to the Senate budget calling for the establishment of “a commission on crumbling concrete foundations.”Lesser said in a tweet last month that the budget amendment had passed. A similar amendment was offered in the House, but apparently was not approved, so the fate of the study commission rests with the conference committee working on a compromise budget bill.last_img read more

Study Tells Why We Can’t Resist Facebook Games

first_img9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… Revenue from social networking games is expected to top $4.5 billion this year, up from $3.2 billion in 2011, and it looks like online-game sales could surpass retail sales as soon as next year. A Chinese study tries to figure out why these games are the fastest growing segment of the $66 billion video-game industry.The researchers suggest that, unlike other online games, those built directly into Facebook and other social networks are more attractive to casual players.The study was conducted by Kuo-Hsiang Chen, Kai-Shuan Shen and Min-Yuan Ma of National Cheng Kung University in China and accepted for publication by the peer-reviewed academic journal Internet Research this spring.The authors interviewed 11 gaming and social media experts and surveyed 321 video gamers and found three main reasons why games on social networks are appealing:The games are easy and convenient to play.They are friendly and lively.They offer social interaction, unlike most traditional computer games. In many cases, a player on a social network is trying to kill a few minutes, and social-network-based games don’t require a significant time commitment to play or have complex rules like other online and video games.In fact, social-network gamers use Farmville, Mafia Wars and Zynga Poker in the way that an earlier generation of people turned to solitaire in Windows.Chethan Ramachandran, co-founder and CEO of gaming-analytics company Playnomics, said he generally agreed with the study, but thought it underemphasized the fact that social-network games are just plain attracting new players.“Ease of access has translated into several new demographic groups playing games consistently,” said Ramachandran. Most notably woman in the Midwest playing resource-management-style games like Farmville.”Bonnie Ho, an analyst at Inside Network, which provides news, data and analysis on gaming, social networks and mobile apps, also points to how social games spread.The best games spread virally, but social-game makers build heavy-handed marketing tactics directly into their products.Facebook members may complain about all the Farmville status updates and other enticements in their feed, Ho says, but that strategy is vital to game success.“Attitudes from social gamers towards this type of game design is fairly negative. But these mechanics are effective at driving virality as well as monetization,” Ho said. “As long as social gamers respond and convert in the way social-game designers want them to, social-gaming companies will continue to use them.” Related Posts 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnoutcenter_img Tags:#gaming#web dave copeland 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

1991 News Report on Video Games Shows Not Much Has Changed

first_imgfruzsina eordogh 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Related Posts 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App A 1991 news report about parents angry over Super Nintendo shows little has changed in 20 years.  For one thing, the video, recently unearthed by Reddit, shows that many parents have always been confused and upset by the popular electronic medium. They’re still worried about their kids playing too much today.  Parents also still complain about the high costs of consoles and games. Back in 1991, a Super Nintendo cost $200, which according to various inflation measuring websites, amounts to $400 today. Pretty pricey.  While it’s true the relative price of video game consoles has gone down – a Nintendo Wii is now less than $100, Microsoft’s Xbox costs $200 and Sony’s PS3 for $300 – journalists are still debating whether or not they cost too much.Sales pitches claiming “Better pictures, sound and adventures” are still being used today; Activision is touting its latest blockbuster Call of Duty: Black Ops II, released Monday, as having the “best graphics [of] any other game.” Seems like we hear that for every game, every year, right? Last but not least,  journalists still don’t know jack about video games. The 1991 news report said, “Video games are hotter than ever this season!” And the media seems to report the same thing every year – starting well before 1991. Tags:#games#history 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

Why The World Didn’t End Yesterday [Video]

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… dan rowinski Tags:#Apocalypse#nasa It is now Saturday morning, December 22, 2012. We are still here. We at ReadWrite would like to congratulate the world for surviving its rumored apocalypse and offer a reminder that, really, the world was never going to end on December 21, 2012. NASA, which has been a reasonable, stabilizing voice through all of the hysteria around the so-called End, has posted a video explaining why we are all still here.  Related Posts It is a good thing we survived the apocalypse, because, as one commenter said, “I’m pretty stoked its not happening because that would’ve ruined my week.”Indeed. As is the nature of calendars, the Mayan cycle starts anew today. As the video above notes, the Mayans had an extraordinary concept of time, with calendars and cycles that dwarf the scales that modern folks usually think about. As we in the media well know, it is never too early to start hyping the next big thing. So, if we think of the Long Count Mayan cycle measured in what is known as a baktun (20 katuns, or 144,000 days) and apply the same cycle of 13 baktuns, then the next Mayan-calendar-induced end of the world hysteria will peak sometime in the year 7,137 A.D. (taking three years worth of leap years into account). If our math is correct. Top image courtesy of Shutterstock. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Horses Cure Internet Porn Addiction In South Korea

first_imgTags:#gaming#international. pause#Internet#Pause What do you do if your teenage daughter is addicted to videogames and Internet porn? For one South Korea family, the answer is to enroll your daughter in a horse riding therapy program. And by all accounts, it did the trick.Horse TherapyI guess that’s one way to sublimate your daughter’s budding sexual desires. Reports Reuters:Four months ago, the parents of a teenage South Korean girl were at their wits’ end over her addiction to surfing the Internet for pornography. When none of these worked, her school suggested the Riding Healing Center, a therapy organisation that uses horse-riding to cure emotional and behavioral disorders, which it believes are an underlying cause of internet addiction.And the equine therapy worked! Kim used to send seven hours or more on her computer, but now her mother says she “barely goes on the Internet,” and when she does, “she makes a promise to me first about how long she will play on the computer.”Fun With A Living ThingYoosook Joung, a Doctor of child psychiatry at Samsung Medical Centre, explained to Sky News the horse riding worked not just because it is “a very fun” physical activity, but also incorporates “a living thing” which ends up forging an “emotional connection” that can “help overcome Internet addiction.”  It is unclear if giving dogs and cats to those suffering from Internet addiction, which Korean government data estimates affects 680,000 children (or 10% of the total population under 19), would work as well as horses.Besides this horse therapy program, which plans on building 30 additional facilities by 2022 to meet “rising demand,” South Koreans have used anti-depressants as treatment for Starcraft 2 videogame addicts, and specifically for minors, instated a “Shutdown Law” that prevents anyone under the age of 16 from playing on the Internet past midnight. This Shutdown Law, however, is easily circumvented by teens like Kim who admitted to playing on the Internet all night long whenever her parents were away by using their accounts instead of hers.Internet Addiction Is A Worldwide ProblemSouth Korea isn’t the only Asian nation restricting minors’ use of the Internet; Thailand banned the use of cyber cafes for minors from 10pm to 2pm in 2006, and the Philippines did something similar way back in 1999. The popularity of cyber cafes has waned given the accessibility of personal computers and smartphones, but the appeal of the Internet has not.      Internet addiction is a buzzword in the United States as well, but a simpler solution – compared to giving everyone horses, anti-depressants or banning Internet usage at certain times for minors – would be education about the effects of being on the Internet for, say, seven or more hours a day.Basically, the idea is that there is more to life than the Internet (gasp).  Dancing therapy, for instance, is successfully combating Internet addiction in teen males in China. Image courtesy of Lana K/Shutterstock. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting fruzsina eordoghcenter_img Related Posts Kim’s parents tried art, music therapy and persistent nagging to try and stem their daughter’s addiction. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Is art the next frontier in the IoT revolution?

first_imgFollow the Puck Tags:#art#featured#Google#Internet of Things#IoT#Lightswarm#Meural#public spaces#spacemaking#Tilt Brush#top Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces The Internet is a tool of connection. We share photos, videos, ideas—all at the click of a button, or the tap of a screen. The Internet of Things (IoT) revolution has further transformed our lives, allowing our devices to fully integrate with our world in ways unimaginable even five years ago. The very concept of IoT has even forced us to rethink traditionally staid cultural mores. In the last few years, the art world has seen an immense impact as a result of this trend. However, its prevalence remains under the radar.We all know about the conveniences of IoT devices—Nest’s popular Wi-Fi thermostat comes to mind, a tool that can learn about its users habits and program your home’s temperature accordingly. The world is now awash in items that perform various functions using a similar concept. Leveraging smart homes for art’s sakeThese interconnected and interactive gadgets have helped make “smart homes” a reality. But in the process, they’ve become little more than the sum of their parts. They certainly have great utilitarian use, but the vast majority of them have done little to add value beyond that. This reality has created a bit of a tech overload, with multiple products competing for attention, seemingly tripping over themselves in the process. The clutter effect is palpably felt, and has led some users to doubt whether a bit of added convenience is really worth the costs.See also: How 5 artists use PinterestThankfully, this is not the case with all aspects of connected tech. While most devices, as previously mentioned, seek to create a hive mind among the various wearables and gadgets that incessantly pervade our daily lives, there has been a thriving subculture of technologists, designers, architects, and more that have uncovered a wealth of opportunity to subvert the traditional artistic approach by integrating IoT very carefully into their work. These groups have set out to make IoT more than a robotic afterthought, and instead infuse it with same warmth and emotion that permeates the great artistic masterpieces from the past and present.There are tons of examples of innovative takes by way of intricately developed installations that use technology to create all sorts of wonders—everything from weather simulations, proximity-based interactive lighting structures, and pieces that react through sensors to the changing conditions of the sea via connected buoys. In each of these cases, the masterminds behind each installation used sensors as the proverbial ‘paint brush’ for their creations.Art adds a deep, personal touch to otherwise cold techArt has effectively added a deep and intimate personal touch to the tech world—one that has largely been lacking. With the advent of IoT, people have the ability to customize and express themselves in brand new ways, all the while being enabled by intuitive new products that allow us experience the world with unique perspectives. Like the IoT revolution, art is an examination and reassessment of the space we inhabit triggered by an intense emotional reaction to the creations in front of us. This makes the marriage of the two concepts inherently natural and organic.Already, products like Lightswarm have become integrated into homes. Lightswarm tracks the movements of people in a room and adjusts the lighting to match where they are and what time of day it is; it is both useful while also adding to the ambience of the environment. The concept has been adapted to various other fixtures, both for private homes, as well as public spaces. These pieces of technology, while utilitarian on the surface, actually hide a creative subtext beneath their layers, which makes them aesthetically pleasing, as well as fundamentally functional.Of course, the intersection of art and technology goes much further than just simple lighting. It has also radically democratized the nature of the art world itself. Years ago, you needed to live near a big city to be able to explore visual culture through museums or galleries. That paradigm has greatly shifted as people now have the ability to view and appreciate art from anywhere, sometimes with just a few taps on their phone, or by exploring art in 360 degrees through Google cardboard. It doesn’t stop there. Google is also adapting the IoT revolution to give people the chance to create artistic works in a whole new plane of “reality” through the Google Tilt Brush, which will effectively make it possible to render the entire concept of a dedicated studio space as obsolete. Virtual reality will be the prospective artist’s new canvas. These are perfect examples of innovations that can break down the barriers to accessibility and understanding of art while making the world at large your studio.Ultimately, art has brought a much-needed breath of fresh air to the IoT revolution—one that’s all too often hidden from the spotlight. Connected technology shouldn’t just be about convenience or fulfilling a certain task, not when it’s possible to rise above utility and make it an integral part of the human experience. Art has always occupied that space, but as it continues to exist hand-in-hand with technology, the door is always open for pushing the envelope and tapping into a part of the human condition that, as a result of the digital age, might have become buried within us over time.The author is the co-founder and CEO of Meural, a digital art company. How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua…center_img Vlad Vukicevic What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts last_img read more

ARM has prescription for medical devices for chronic conditions

first_imgDigital health firm US TrustedCare and ARM, a leader in the semiconductor market, have announced a partnership to build medical devices for people with chronic conditions.The new collaboration will give third-parties access to variety of secure, authenticated, and auditable medical information. US TrustedCare said it will focus on the transition period, as patients recover at home.See Also: SoftBank banks hard into IoT with $32b ARM buyoutARM and US TrustedCare will build firmware, software, and APIs for healthcare and wellness, using existing industry standards. Third-parties will be able to integrate medical management systems seamlessly, according to ARM.“ARM is the most widely deployed processor technology in smartphones and wearables, devices we expect to be the main platform for securely gathering medical data and acquiring a patient’s biometric identity and consent,” said Shiv Ramamurthi, healthcare technology director at ARM.“US TrustedCare is a pioneer in remote monitoring and together we can help improve healthcare efficiency by enabling providers to gather trusted data, helping them make timely clinical decisions and deliver better care at lower cost.”ARM and US TrustedCare submitted a joint proposal to the “Move Health Data Forward Challenge”, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which was chosen as a winner of Phase 1.“TrustedCare is focused on allowing health care providers to work in a coordinated way to enable the sustained recovery of patients. We are excited to work with ARM to create a new level of capability that allows providers to deliver more positive outcomes for patients as well as benefiting from the shared savings that will be generated,” said TrustedCare CEO, Ramkrishna Prakash.Healthcare device development is fraught with perils — regulatory approvals, data security, and more recently, concerns that reading were not accurate — but the technology is becoming ubiquitous, so this type of development will only likely continue. David Curry How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#ARM#Healthcare#Internet of Things#IoT#medical#US TrustedCare#wearable center_img Follow the Puck Related Posts Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You…last_img read more

Create Dynamic Slideshows with Video Scrapbook

first_imgDirectional Blur TransitionGlow Dissolve Transition If you’re looking to make a dynamic slideshow the Video Scrapbook Plugin from Natress Visual Effects provides an interesting alternative.Creating a video slideshow is pretty monotonous work…but it’s a common task for some video editors and photographers.  A few years back the process of animating a video slideshow was totally painful – having to keyframe the motion of individual images, add transitions, etc.  Luckily, new apps have sprung up to automate much of this process.  iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom, Powerpoint (gasp!) and other photo apps have slideshow functions built-in.There are times however when it still makes sense to create a video slideshow in an editing application.  Perhaps you’re looking to combine photos and live videos, or simply seeking a more robust, customizable alternative.  The Scrapbook plugin from Natress fills this niche.  Automate motion and create unique photo transitions inside of Final Cut Pro X, Apple Motion and After Effects.The package consists of a suite of filters and transitions created specifically for photo use: Squeeze Blur TransitionStar Dissolve Transition Another handy feature is the background builder, a generator that auto-creates backgrounds for photos that don’t fit the frame (portrait shots).  No more black bars on either side of these photos, nice!  Scrapbook is a nice alternative for someone who wants the flexibility a video editing app provides, but doesn’t want to spend hours and hours keyframing photos.Download a free trial of Video Scrapbook or purchase for $49.Looking to create a more simple slideshow?  Check out our previous post on How to Create a Video Slideshow in Final Cut Pro X.”center_img Lens Flare Wipe TransitionPicture Wipe Transition Keep It Moving FilterVignette Focus Filterlast_img read more

Must Have Cinematography Gear for Under $100

first_imgMost cinematographers are crazy about gear – it helps us do our job. But sometimes, gear can get quite expensive. In this post, I share a list of affordable products that I trust.As a camera operator, I’m constantly trying out new gear.  From my own experience, I’ve compiled this list of useful cinematography gear that you can find for under $100. I find each piece of equipment useful in my day-to-day work.Is there an inexpensive piece of cinematography equipment that YOU absolutely rely on? I want to know!  Share in the comments below.Do your job better…without emptying your wallet:Camera sling bag (~$75)Sling bags are great for carrying a light load of lenses and photo/video equipment when running-and-gunning. Fast access to your equipment.P&C Pico Flex Dolly with ball head ($100)This neat little dolly/slider alternative from P&C allows you to make some awesome angled sliding moves on a flat surface.  Perfect for DSLRs.Boom Boy boompole holder ($30)This is a boompole holder that mounts into a C-stand. Simple and effective.Velcro straps ($3)This one was mentioned in the comments below. Velcro straps are super useful in any situation to wrap cables.Gaffer tape ($15)Gaffer tape is an absolutely ESSENTIAL tool on set. Buy a couple rolls and keep them in your camera kit at all times.  Any seasoned video pro will tell you, this stuff is magic.Capture Camera Clip system ($80)This is a camera clip that holds your DSLR secure and close to you. Great for situtations when your shooting with multiple cams or need your hands free!Zoom H1 ($100)Pocket audio recorders are very handy. I use them all the time to record audio during weddings. An easy way to record audio in unique shooting situations.Good Stereo headphones ($70)You’ll need to check audio levels when setting up mics and listening to captured audio. These are headphones that aren’t going to break the bank.LCD viewfinder (~20)When shooting handheld with a DSLR, it is very helpful to use an LCD viewfinder (ask anyone that’s had to shoot in super bright light!)  Here is list of cheap ones that get the job done.Reflector ($40)When shooting outside, it is always handy to use a reflector to give your subject more natural bounce light – useful for both still photographers and videographers. This is a neat 5-in-1 reflector.Canon 50mm f/1.8 ($125)I know this is over $100, but if there is one lens I tell new photographers and cinematographers to purchase, it’s this one. Super cheap, while performing great in low light and still being sharp.Adobe Creative Cloud ($50 per month)This is for the all-around cinematographer/editor. If you use Adobe’s software suite, it is totally worth it to invest in Creative Cloud. You get download access to all of their applications for a monthly subscription fee.Gear will not make you a better cinematographer, but it will sure make it easier for you. What other cinematography gear for under $100 do you use?last_img read more

FREE Digital Typewriter Text Preset for Adobe After Effects

first_imgPerfect for sci-fi, Internet or futuristic related projects, this free After Effects text preset recreates the tech meets low fi look of MS-DOS or Terminal.You’ve seen this look before in iconic computer films of the 1990’s like The Net and Hackers – text gets typed across a black computer screen, with lines quickly added and the text position represented as a flashing box (see example video below). Now, easily create this look yourself in After Effects using the free Typominal digital typewriter preset.Add custom backgrounds to the text to create a high-tech computer interface or leave it bare bones for classic hacking or programming content (a la the new Jobs biopic).  Save the preset in your motion design toolbox…you never know when this classic computer effect might come in handy!Visit Darkpulse Motion Design to download this free AE text preset.Thanks to Sébastien Girard/Darkpulse Motion Design for sharing!last_img read more

Better Black and White in DaVinci Resolve

first_imgThe second way to work is to use Resolve’s Monochrome mode, which emulates the Black and White adjustment layer used in Photoshop. This preserves the color information underneath and allows us to perform fast moves that give us interesting creative effects.Monochrome mode can be accessed by clicking in the RGB Mixer tab while in the Color Page. There’s a little drop-down menu where Monochrome can be selected. This gives us single sliders for the red, green and blue channels.Make sure Preserve Luminance is selected, as you won’t get as favorable results otherwise. Without this checked, you’ll have to make sure the three sliders add up to a value of 1.00 to keep the image at the same luminance before you processed it in monochrome.Note that the remixing of the color channels doesn’t work in this mode, and any corrections you’ve made to the color image before using Monochrome mode won’t be applied. If you’re using a control panel, any color adjustments will still be applied to the saturated image. Deselecting Monochrome will show you these results.Play around with processing the separate color channels. You’ll see that increasing the value in the red slider, or decreasing blue, tends to enhance a subject’s skin tones. Let’s take a look at an originally color image, courtesy of Shutterstock.I always perform a base correction to get the image balanced, adjusting for color casts and, in this case, paying particular attention to the luminance of the image overall. It’s just a primary correction, so I won’t delve into secondaries until later.Here’s my quick balance of the image. I added some contrast from the original and lifted the mids.Once you’ve got an initial balance, create a new node and select Monochrome from the RGB mixer. Dial in some interesting looks by playing with the sliders and get it as close as you can to the final look you want.If you’ve taken the time to balance the image in the first node, you may not have to go back to the color wheels to adjust your luminance values, although it’s always a good idea to double-check since your eyes may have been swayed by the color information in the image.You can create additional nodes before the monochromatic node that separate specific details you want to affect, but remember that if you pull certain objects too far, you’ll get artifacts resembling a swarm of ants. You may opt to create power windows for the elements you want to feature or deemphasize.Here’s a look achieved by increasing the blues. In our image, incorporating the green slider produces the most subtle effect since most of the image is her red skin values and her blue dress, but some of the background vegetation is affected.Sometimes the effect using Monochrome can be quite striking. I’ll illustrate this with an image that uses vibrant saturation in all three primary colors. Check out some of the grades to see how much variety coloring in monochrome can provide just by playing with the primary sliders. I hope you’ll see that coloring a black and white job is much more complicated than just setting the saturation to zero.  And don’t forget to check out some of our other color grading articles.Color Grading Quick Tip: Non-Absolute White and Black PointsUsing the Channel Mixer for a Better Black-and-WhiteSunkissed and Sepia Looks in DaVinci ResolveGot any shortcuts or tricks for getting great black and white in DaVinci Resolve? Show us some of your looks and share your tips in the comments, There’s more to monochrome than dragging the saturation down to zero. Learn the nuances of rendering black and white in DaVinci Resolve. The Traditional WayWhile losing all the saturation in a color image is the intended effect, setting saturation to zero at the beginning of the workflow ties our hands since we’re unable to use the color information for later processing. We want to remove the color in a way that still gives us full control of the image.Better Ways to WorkUsing DaVinci Resolve, there are two better ways to work. The first is to create a node at the end of our tree with the saturation set to zero, and then create additional corrections that occur before this node. In this way, we can still pull keys on parts of the image (like the skin) that we would be paying attention to during a session using color images.In the node tree below, the process containing the move to desaturate is last, allowing me to pull keys on the girl’s skin and dress with ease.last_img read more

Documentary Film Editors Talk About Their Process

first_imgSome of Hollywood’s top documentary editors got together at Sight, Sound and Story 2015 to discuss their process. Here are some highlights from their chat.Documentary film editors Andy Grieve (Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, The Armstrong Lie), Zac Stuart-Pontier (The Jinx, Catfish), and Pax Wassermann (Cartel Land, Knuckleball!) sat with Garret Savage (My Perestroika, Ready, Set, Bag!) in conversation as part of Sight, Sound and Story’s annual New York City event, presented by Manhattan Edit Workshop on June 13th. Here’s some of what they talked about.Image from Sight, Sound & StoryGarrett: What kind of thoughts or advice can you give on how to start a film and how not to start a film?Andy: I think about it as compartmentalizing information. The worst situation is like when you’re on the subway listening to music and your headphones are tied in a knot. You don’t want to end up like that. Start small. Don’t think, “This is the first scene, this is the first clip, this is how I start or end the film,” just watch the footage and make small things and gradually connect things together. I never tie knots I don’t think I can untie. A lot of times I don’t even do much cutting, I just kind of watch and add locators, or cut selects before I really start to assemble scenes. For me a mistake would be cutting a bunch of stuff that becomes useless. It’s getting ahead of the process.Image from HBOGarrett: You don’t like creating a ton of select sequences, you like creating fewer rather than more?Andy: That’s evolved with technology because you can have longer sequences. I just don’t like to have tons of bins open which can be messy. You can find the process that works for you. I know editors that write out tons of note cards and put them all over the wall. Everyone has their own sort of process, but in a bigger sense it’s about not being overwhelmed and finding a way to keep things separate, and then once you’re ready, start putting it all together.Pax: I have a discussion with the director about why they wanted to make the film and what moments they really want to pop in the film. A lot of times those moments aren’t reflected in the footage. Sometimes you do have to cut a scene to get the director’s confidence in order to have the room to play. With the younger directors that’s even more necessary because they’re more nervous and anxious.But first do a very quick overview of watching everything, making a lot of notes, holding on the first impressions. I make all kinds of stickies with all sorts of musings and ideas. It gets kind of ridiculous, but I try to hold onto those thoughts because by the time you get the first rough cut those first impressions are gone and you can’t get those back.Then you make a basic overview reviewing stuff, some of it watching very intently, definitely not going crazy with selects. Selects become a burden at a certain point. You can become beholden to the selects when what you really need to do is just look at the footage. Keep it all open for as long as possible, especially selects for an interview.Image from Knuckleball!Zac: You don’t know what’s important yet.Pax: Right. I don’t really watch the interviews that much in the beginning. Some directors do a ton of interviews. It depends. You can get beholden to the bites then. If you really obsess over the sound bites, you don’t really have a great film, you have a great interview.Then, find a scene that epitomizes the spirit of the movie. Usually it’s a scene that’s in the middle of the movie. I would say the biggest mistake is to cut the beginning of the movie and obsessing over it. It’ll never be the beginning you end up with. If you do that, you’re not discovering the film enough.Zac: I always think it’s interesting that there’s such a different mindset for when you’re starting a film versus finishing one. I always think when I’m finishing a film that I’ll be so much faster on the next one, but starting a film is this constant relearning. It’s always sluggish. The more times I go through that, I get more confident of the different stages I have to go through. That first stage is so overwhelming and you have to get through that process. You have to learn the footage and it needs to get into your head. The goal is to be a sponge, absorbing it all. I like to put simple things together. They’re not even scenes yet, but I organize things into subjects and then turn those into scenes.Andy: After I cut selects for an interview, you don’t even use half of them. Then I go back to the transcript and use stuff you had no idea was going to be useful. I don’t know why that always happens. Maybe because the more sound-bitey stuff jumps out at first but then it doesn’t feel as real. Then you wind up finding stuff that’s much less transparent but fits the message of the story much better.Image from SundanceGarrett: What percentage of the job is the diplomatic, therapeutic part?Pax: When there’s a team of editors it’s much more about verbalizing the entire idea. Sometimes that’s the same as working with a director that’s sitting next to you the whole time. They want to know what you’re doing, and where you’re going, so part of the diplomatic thing is getting really good at pitching your ideas. Editing is probably more craft than art, and while there’s certainly a lot of art in it you have to be able to have inspiration, and it has to be free-flowing, and verbalizing it is very hard.Andy: People are much more impatient now. I find it hard to actually sit and actively edit with someone. To have someone watch while I’m cutting, I feel tension and frustration from that person that it’s not happening fast enough. I find it better to try not to do that as much as possible. People don’t know which part of the process you’re in. They see you put a shot up and they say, “oh no, not that shot,” but you don’t want them to comment because you’re not there yet. The actual act of editing is less collaborative now.Zac: I think with features it’s easier. You’re more picking takes, as opposed to a documentary, you’re trying to invent this thing out of nothing. So it’s hard when someone says they don’t like something, but you want them to consider the whole thing. It’s such a long process and you want to keep it focused. You can really get bogged down in little things. It’s hard to tell a director that you’re not changing a shot right at that moment when you’re dealing with the structure of the narrative, when all you’re trying to find out is if this scene can go before this scene. I can fix the individual shot.One of the amazing things about documentaries is they continue to grow as you work on them. It’s this organic thing even though the footage doesn’t change. It’s constantly staying new when it’s working.Here’s some more coverage and editing insight from Sight, Sound and Story 2015:Reality Television Editors Sound Off on the CraftInsights from Several Top Television EditorsFilm Editing Lessons from Oscar-Winner William GoldenbergDid this industry panel teach you anything new? Do you disagree with any of their thoughts on editing? Let us know in the comments below!last_img read more