It’s Verizon iPhone Time! (Or So We Hope)

first_imgWhy IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#Apple#mobile#news#web Related Posts Verizon has just announced it will be holding a press conference following this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2011). The invite to the event, which will be held at New York City’s Lincoln Center (Frederick P. Rose Hall) on January 11, is arriving in select journalists’ inboxes as we speak. As for the host? It’s Lowell McAdam, Verizon President and COO.Oh yes, this must be the Verizon iPhone.Given the timing, and the lack of any Apple mention (or even a hint!) during the Verizon keynote at CES, the conclusion is that this is indeed the announcement everyone has been waiting for: the Verizon iPhone, at long last.There’s really no other news beyond that, only this mysterious invite: Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Image credit: AllThingsD – it’s no surprise that they’re on the list. Please, please let it come in white!For more proof of the Verizon iPhone’s existence, see this post: “What’s the status of the Verizon iPhone?“And let’s not forget this recently leaked video from smartphone parts firm Global Direct Parts. The video, which was subsequently pulled from YouTube by either Apple.com (as it claimed) or some jokester claiming to be Apple (DMCA takedown notices are often automated), appeared to show a comparison of parts between the current iPhone 4 and some future fifth-generation phone.This is a backup copy: sarah perez What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …last_img read more

Why Twitter Must Expand Beyond 140 Characters

first_imgTwitter Needs to Expand Beyond 140 Characters to Continue GrowingI’m not minimizing the UX issues that Twitter will face when it expands beyond its core 140 character limit. But I do believe it’s just a matter of time before it widens the character limit. There’s no reason for Twitter to be constrained anymore, especially when the largest Internet using country on earth (China) already accommodates much longer tweets than are possible in English. Of course Twitter is banned in China and can only be used with software that routes around The Great Firewall, but still my point is valid.Twitter is a public real-time messaging service which has gone mainstream. While it needs to keep the essential spirit of short-form messaging going, there are ways to do that in the design without using a character limitation. If Twitter wants to continue its expansion into the mainstream, it needs to lose the 140-character limitation and just market itself as the world’s leading ‘real-time messaging service’. What do you think, will Twitter soon expand beyond 140 characters like TweetDeck did? The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification But that UX paradigm had already been challenged by the gradual increase in multimedia links. Many Twitter users now post links to photos, video, blog posts, Foursquare check-ins, Facebook updates, and much more. Users need to click to see that extra content. When Twitter launched its re-design in March last year, it adjusted to this increase of multimedia by enabling users of Twitter.com (still how the vast majority of people consume Twitter content) to view photos and video within Twitter’s website. It was a relatively small, but significant, step to lessen the burden of viewing multimedia content within Twitter. Third party clients like TweetDeck also allow users to view photos and video in a pop-up box inside the app. TweetDeck offers a similar functionality for Deck.ly messages that are longer than can be contained in a double cell. It pops up a box within the app, meaning that users don’t need to go outside of TweetDeck to view the content. It seems only a matter of time before Twitter enables users to view ‘long tweets’ within Twitter.com, in the same way that users can view videos and photos within the site.Will Twitter Producers Pollute Twitter With Long Tweets?While Twitter is positioning itself these days as more of a media consumption service, with the expectation that many more people read Twitter than write to it, the tone of the service will continue to be set by users who actively tweet. If Twitter drops the 140 character limitation, I think Twitter producers will adjust and only post longer tweets occasionally. Twitter will need to monitor that somehow, but – barring a drastic change in user behavior – Twitter users won’t stop producing short tweets just because long ones become available to them. They’ll use the long tweets sparingly, because they’ve been habituated into doing short tweets.As for new users, Twitter will need to effectively convey in their marketing that Twitter is ideal for short-form real-time messaging. Indeed without a character limitation, Twitter will actually be easier to promote to mainstream users. It will remove an extra barrier for people to start using Twitter.Other Languages Already Send Long Messages on TwitterAnother thing to consider that in some languages other than English, 140 characters allows for much longer updates than English users are used to. In Chinese for example, a 140 character tweet can produce a long message. Noted Chinese artist, human rights activist and Twitter user Ai Weiwei explained in March last year that even though Twitter has a 140-character limit, Twitter users in China can easily express in-depth thoughts because the Chinese language allows Twitter users to express 140 words on Twitter and not just 140 characters.Consider this tweet that Ai Weiwei wrote today. It easily fits in the 140 character limitation in Chinese, but the English translation is about 275 characters over that 140 character limit. Is it the constraint of 140 characters per message that makes Twitter what it is? Or is Twitter now a broader, real-time messaging service that needn’t be constrained by a character limitation?The most prominent third party Twitter client, TweetDeck, recently introduced a “long post” feature called Deck.ly, which brings those questions to the fore. Deck.ly allows Twitter users to post messages longer than the traditional 140 character limit. In this post I’ll argue that Twitter itself will probably soon follow and expand beyond 140 characters. Indeed, it will need to if it’s to continue expanding into the mainstream.TweetDeck’s Deck.ly works as follows: if you post something in TweetDeck that is longer than 140 characters, other TweetDeck users will see the entire message in the app if it is not longer than “can be displayed in a double-height cell.” If it goes over that, TweetDeck users will see a ‘Read More’ link which when clicked, opens a pop-up box within TweetDeck. Meanwhile, in other third party Twitter clients and in the browser on Twitter.com, all Deck.ly messages will display in excerpted form with a link to the full message on a webpage.Twitter No Longer About Constraints This is clearly an experimental feature introduced by TweetDeck – indeed they’re still tweaking it. However I believe it’s a pointer to the future: Twitter will expand its self-imposed character limitation in order to make its service easier to understand for consumers.Real-time public messaging has become a huge trend over the past couple of years. Two services have come to dominate this trend: Facebook and Twitter. Facebook’s status updates are the backbone of its social networking service. But it’s been Twitter that has captured the imagination of media and public figures for real-time messaging. Partly that’s because Facebook is essentially a closed system and so you won’t see CNN or Kanye West’s status updates (for example) unless you’re inside Facebook’s website. However it’s also because Twitter had a limitation of 140 characters right from the start, a figure that made it necessary to compose short, to-the-point status updates. Twitter started out with ‘What are you doing?’ as its incentivizing message for users. In November 2009, it became ‘What’s happening?’. That helped broaden Twitter’s usage from “I’m eating breakfast” type messages to people tweeting about current news events, media they’re consuming, topics they’re interested in, and much more.That Extra Click: The User Experience IssueAs noted, TweetDeck’s new “long post” feature enables users to send messages longer than 140 characters. However there is a significant user experience issue with that, in that it often introduces an extra click for the user. A lot of Twitter’s beauty as a consumer of tweets is that you can scan a bunch of tweets in one go. richard macmanuscenter_img Tags:#twitter#web Related Posts Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

Hailing the Cash for Appliances Program

first_imgA reminder: October not only is National Kitchen and Bath Month, it is when the Department of Energy’s stimulus-funded Cash for Appliances program is scheduled to kick off. The $300 million initiative, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, allows each state that doesn’t already have a similar rebate program to write its own cash-for-appliances rebate rules, submit them for approval to the Department of Energy, and begin issuing rebate checks as early as November.The Cash for Appliances program is similar to the $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program in that it is intended to give consumers an incentive replace an old product with a more energy efficient one. Cash for Clunkers, hugely popular among consumers before its stimulus allotment was depleted, targeted the seriously ailing auto industry. Cash for Appliances, of course, addresses consumer interest in a broader range of products and, like other stimulus programs, is aimed at boosting the overall economy by encouraging homeowners to upgrade their refrigerators, dishwashers, furnaces, air conditioners, and other appliances. Consumers are not required to trade in their old appliances to take advantage of the program.The National Kitchen & Bath Association issued a press release earlier this month to emphasize that the new rebate program is in addition to a number of U.S. tax credits, up to $1,500 total per home, on the purchase price of energy efficient HVAC equipment, windows, insulation, and other products.Incentives north of the borderIn Canada, meanwhile, the Canada Revenue Agency has introduced a new Home Renovation Tax Credit, which applies to eligible renovations made to a homeowner’s primary residence. The program, which expires February 1, 2010, offers a 15% tax credit on home remodeling expenses exceeding $1,000, with a maximum credit of $1,350.The HRTC supplements Canada’s existing ecoENERGY Retrofit Homes grant offered through Natural Resources Canada, the agency charged with ensuring that the country’s natural resources are developed responsibly. The grant provides up to $5,000 to homeowners who make renovations to their homes that reduce energy consumption.The size of Cash for Appliances rebates will depend on state guidelines and the cost of the Energy Star-rated product. Based on payouts being made by existing state-run rebate programs (about 25 states already have them), the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers estimates that rebates will range from $50 to $200.last_img read more

Mac Daddy Windows

first_imgI took the opportunity to go on an all-expenses-paid trip to tour the Marvin Windows factory recently. After spending the weekend with my buddy Michael Anschel in Minneapolis (don’t miss our upcoming presentation at ACI in Austin—North vs. South, A Building Science Smackdown), I met up with my Atlanta contingent at the Marvin company plane for the short flight to the booming metropolis of Warroad, Minn.—population 1722, six miles from Canada.Reasonably green without the hard sellInstead of an explicitly green message, we got a soft-sell overview of Marvin’s product and corporate culture. They build quality products that are energy efficient, durable, resource efficient, and time tested. The factory looks, as I expected, like a huge wood shop—a combination of traditional tools and lots of new high-tech computerized equipment and systems. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to use our cameras in the factory, so you will have to suffer through my explanations.One of my two favorite things was an automatic trolley system, kind of like San Francisco’s cable cars. An under-floor track runs continuously around the entire floor at slow speed. Carts are hooked in with magnetic sensors that tell the track system which way to flip railroad-like switches to send the carts full of products to their next location. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Marvin makes their own finger-jointed stock from #2 pine using a sophisticated scanner that, in a matter of seconds, looks at each board; finds knots, warps, and other defects; decides where to make each cut to maximize the value of the material; labels each piece for its best use; and determines a dollar value for the entire piece.The central dust collection system, sealed with regular old cloth duct tape, provides a constant supply of turkey bedding that Marvin sells to local farmers. Their own scrap wood augments purchased wood chips to fuel their wood boiler for plant heating. They recycle plastic, bottles, cans, aluminum, and cut-down defective parts into smaller pieces to minimize waste. I am told that all their wood is SFI certified, and FSC is available as an option. A recent development includes etching the order number into the window glass, making it easy to order replacement parts if damage occurs after installation.The tour itself was pretty amazing. We walked around workers doing their regular jobs, machines running, wood stacked to the ceiling all around us. Workers basically ignored us, but were friendly and answered questions when asked. I suppose that they quickly get used to having tourists walking through every day. No one seemed overly enthusiastic nor unhappy. Not only was it not sanitized, it seemed on the verge of being dangerous. We were pretty close to some big machines that could cause some serious damage if someone got tangled in them. I could imagine other companies requiring visitors to sign long liability waivers beforehand, but we were pretty much allowed to wander around within view of our tour guide.I was very impressed with the overall company culture and Marvin’s devotion to the small community where the family has lived for over 100 years. Being family owned, Marvin does not have the same pressures of a publicly held company to manipulate earnings to boost their stock price. Consequently, they have not had any layoffs in the current downturn. In fact, we saw employees on scaffolding vacuuming the bar joists, something that hasn’t been done in over five years. The family is also very committed to Warroad. They have built a library, a pool, a hockey rink, and an impressive elderly living community that would be the envy of any city. Their corporate fleet of four turboprops runs daily flights to and from Minneapolis at a modest cost to anyone, with all the fees donated to community groups such as the fire department or library. College scholarships are available to local students based on their community involvement. After a 1961 fire that destroyed the Marvin factory, the company had appealing offers to relocate from Warroad, but they chose to rebuild in their hometown.It occurred to me that this must be one seriously profitable company, considering all the money they spend on the community, the money they spend on bringing thousands of people up to tour their factory each year, and their reputation for a very high-quality product. I was expecting an elitist attitude, but found quite the opposite. Looking through the local phone book, I found the president’s home number and address listedToo good to be true?Being a natural-born cynic, I always look for the dark underbelly of an organization, but I wasn’t able to find one here. What’s a curmudgeon to do? Have no fear, I have at least a few minor complaints to make. The last part of our tour was to the round-top window area, where they have sophisticated computer-controlled routers that cut and shape various arches and ellipses, all out of large chunks of lumber. Talk about some serious waste! If I ever considered round-tops before, I would now recommend against them from a resource point of view. Another pet peeve of mine is the number of choices available. I have never been a big fan of unlimited selections, and that is just what Marvin has. If you want it, they will make it. A recent article in the New York Times discussed a study that determined that people buy less when they have too many options. Apparently, it hasn’t hurt Marvin, but it sure gives me a headache.I would like to see Marvin move up to even higher-performance windows, similar to companies like Serious Energy. Because Marvin is a conservative organization, I can see where they might hesitate to jump into brand-new technologies until they are comfortable with their durability.Finally, if we consider social justice as a part of green building (a favorite subject of Mr. Anschel’s), Marvin scores pretty high. The company’s investments in their town and in fair worker treatment are good for society as well as their business, aligning their bottom line with the community as a whole.last_img read more

Musings on Lawsuits, Spiritual Energy, and Metal Roofs

first_imgAs most people in the green building world have recently learned, Henry Gifford has filed a class action suit against the USGBC and several executives of the organization. His claims include fraud and monopolistic practices. He claims that the USGBC is attempting to monopolize the building industry at the expense of anyone who doesn’t have a LEED AP credential. He does have a point that being a LEED AP has no direct correlation to whether or not you know anything about how buildings work or perform. It mainly means that you passed a test, although the newer iteration of the accreditation does require some experience with green building.Regardless of the merits of his suit, I feel humbled by the curmudgeonliness of his lawsuit. I do plenty of complaining, both verbally and in writing, about the USGBC and LEED, as well as the NAHB and any other group I happen to have in my sights. But filing a class action suit—now that is being a world-class curmudgeon. Although I don’t know Henry very well, I have met him and heard him speak. I’m very impressed with his wealth of knowledge, particularly about how boilers and heating systems work in mid- and high-rise buildings, two subjects I know very little about.The real costs of lawsuitsAccording to a crisp analysis of the suit by BuildingGreen, his chances of success are not clear, but that is pretty much the case with most lawsuits. I have always been of the opinion that in business you may have to sue someone for one reason or another, but if you actually go to court, the chances of winning anything are pretty slim. And beyond the lawyers’ fees, your time, and having to absorb all those costs—and maybe more if you lose—there is the spiritual energy loss. When you run a business or a practice, you need to focus on your core work and your clients. The time you spend with lawyers takes away from that work on your business. Even if you win the lawsuit, your business probably suffers in the interim. Through most of my 25-year career as a contractor, I worked hard to avoid prolonged legal fights, and many times either walked away from unpaid bills or even paid people to go away, just to get back to the business of my business: making very objective, financially based decisions that ultimately worked out better than fighting extended legal battles.Enough of this, now back to my problemsThis all leads me to my pending new home project. As I mentioned in my last post on it, the powers-that-be have decided that a standing seam metal roof is not appropriate in my historic district. While this happens to be a complete pile of irrational crap, I am stuck with this decision, unless I either continue to appeal at another hearing or choose to sue them. I probably have a good case for a lawsuit, as they have already set a precedent by recently allowing a corrugated metal roof. But I have to decide if it is worth my spiritual energy to go through a fight with my neighbors. I haven’t made a final decision yet, but I will keep you posted. RELATED ARTICLES Green From the Start – Home EditionGreen From the Start: Home Edition Volume 2What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate Green From the Start Redux, or Trying to Build Green in a Historic DistrictGreen From the Start: Small Victory DepartmentFinally! Starting Construction At My Houselast_img read more

How to Sell Green Upgrades: Tankless Water Heaters

first_imgIf you do not already include tankless water heaters as part of the signature features in your homes and remodels, you should at least understand why so many folks are in love with the benefits. The reasons just may surprise you — and hopefully motivate you to learn how to sell more of them and how to better satisfy your clients.When I sell tankless water heaters, I do not sell them based on their perceived water efficiency or that they provide instant hot water. In fact those are myths that I usually have to dispel first before talking about their benefits.I explain that hot water users will still have to wait for the hot water to travel from the water heater (tanked or tankless) to the location you want the hot water. No, they are not wireless, and the only way to get hot water immediately from the tap is either by moving the water heater (tank or tankless) closer to the tap or by installing a hot water circulation loop. Tankless water heaters instantly heat the water, but they do not instantly transport it.Next I explain that users may actually end up using more water, not less, because tankless water heaters mean they will never run out of hot water. Thus their teenagers can take endless showers knowing they will never run out of hot water. That’s why the Rinnai website is www.foreverhotwater.com and not something else! HOW TO SELL GREEN UPGRADESPart One: Radiant Barrier PaintsPart Three: Energy AuditsPart Four: Exhaust FansPart Five: Electrical ImprovementsPart Six: Better InsulationPart Seven: A Few Small Things So if they are not so green, what about tankless water heaters makes them so attractive? First and foremost, if you live in a warm climate, you can install them unobtrusively outdoors. That means you can (a) more easily service the unit because the plumber does not have to come in the house to flush it, (b) you have no need for a vent stack, which saves money on the stack and labor to install it, (c) No stack means one less ugly roof penetration and thus one less place a roof can leak, (d) Exterior installation gives you the option of a hot water hose bib right outside the house, and (e) Exterior installation also frees up the closet it was located in for more storage, or it gets a ticking time bomb out of the attic which is where most tanked water heaters are stored in our region of the country.But regardless of location, a tankless water heater makes sense when dedicated to the master bathroom. A tankless enables the user of an oversized 6-foot tub to actually fill and keep it filled with hot water. And when you install dueling shower heads in a new oversized shower, a tankless ensures the same.The bottom line in bathrooms is that we have yet to remodel one in order to make it smaller — nobody ever asks for a smaller tub or shower! When you locate that tankless near the master bath, you can get very close to achieving instant hot water right when you turn on the tap. And the client can still keep the existing tanked water heater in the home if it is operating OK — adding a tankless and dedicating it to the master bath will actually extend the life of the existing tanked unit because it will get less use!And finally, whether installed inside or out, stand-alone or in conjunction with a tanked water heater, tankless models simply resonate with homeowners because they understand the easiest concept to grasp of them all — when you are not using hot water, you aren’t using energy to heat it!last_img read more

From Designed to Built, Part 2: Three Questions

first_imgSo now it’s time to get the builder involved in your green project. In Part One of this episode, we shared the views of the design team; but what do the builders think? How would they like to get involved? To find out, Phil and I asked three prominent builders to join us in a a round of “Three Questions.” Let’s meet our contestants. Michael Chandler is a contributor here on GBA and is the president of Chandler Design-Build. He has been designing and building high-performance homes since 1978.Paul Eldrenkamp is the owner of Byggmeister Design Build in Boston. Established in 1983, his company places a high value on the customer relationship and sustainable design / build methods.Dan Kolbert is the owner of Kolbert Building in Portland, Maine, where, for over twenty years, he has been moving his company and the market toward sustainable construction.Phil and I both really appreciate their participation and want to convey our thanks. Are you ready to play? Come on down!The transcript below includes the answers provided by Chandler, Eldrenkamp, and Kolbert. To hear our reactions to their answers, be sure to listen to the Podcast. PODCAST:From Designed to Built: Delivering Your Green HomeIntegrated DesignThinning the Herd: How to Pick the Best Eco-Builder RELATED CONTENT Kolbert: I think either the architect gets to the concept, or the contractor gets to some rough parameters (size, budget, basic design), and then it’s time to bring in the other party. This is especially important in green projects because:If “green” means energy efficient, critical details have to be thought out carefully, and there can be design or construction details that the builder or architect needs to think through from the start.Also, the builder needs to be on board for these details, and the best way to do that is to have the builder be part of the team that develops them.If “green” means products, they have to be products (everything from doors and windows to paints and caulks) that the contractor is comfortable using and the architect is comfortable with the look of.In general, this is a much better way to make sure the design and construction align and come in on budget.Eldrenkamp: I think the relationship should start as early in the project planning process as can be arranged; if it’s a green project, I think it’s all the more important to do so.I think it’s very difficult to achieve the key green characteristics of long-term durability and resource efficiency by trying to specify them in the construction documents. Regardless of what’s in the specs, the construction team needs to understand and buy into those goals from the very beginning, and it’s going to be easier to get that understanding and buy-in if the builder is involved in the process from very early on. I also think it’s a mistake not to take advantage of the builder’s experience and expertise from the very beginning.In my 30 years in construction, I have learned from a lot of mistakes — many of which the architect at the table has yet to make (I am proud to say). I can help the team avoid those mistakes if I have opportunity to provide input from the beginning, before too many design ideas have become entrenched in the plans. Three Questions1) In a perfect world, how and when, should the builder/owner/architect relationship start, and is it any different for a “green” project than a “typical” project?Chandler: Preferably the builder and architect would have a preexisting relationship from having built several homes together in a collaborative relationship.The builder should be brought in to run a preliminary estimate as soon as the preliminary space planning and concept drawings are done and before the working drawings have been started. With a green project, the main difference is the documentation of the collaboration and input from all team partners as part of the green certification process.It’s also helpful to identify green best practices that are already standard for the builder so that unfamiliar green practices can be elaborated on the plans, specs, and tear sheets. Bonus question: On a scale of 9-10, how much more awesome is it to work on a project that has an architect than on one that doesn’t?Chandler: I’m married to my architect, so clearly that’s a ten plus. (Love the scale, though).Kolbert: If you guys don’t know why architects suck by now, I can’t help you out. 🙂Eldrenkamp: I would say a 10. Because if there’s no official architect, then either I’m the de facto architect, which would be a real laugh riot, or the client is the de facto architect, which would not be a real laugh riot.center_img 2) As the project continues, how should this relationship evolve or be maintained? And is it any different for a “green” project than a “typical” project?Chandler: As the project continues there will inevitably be minor changes in the plans and specs. It is critical to have updated plans on site and online that reflect these changes.It is also helpful for the designer and builder to share information on what elements of the project went smoothly — or not (reliability of internet suppliers, new product assessment) — and where more information on the plans might be helpful (reverse lapping stucco lath, mid-set window details, etc.).Kolbert: This needs to be thought about carefully. The continued involvement of the designer should be largely devoted to making sure that green goals are being met or improved.Just as a contractor is mostly serving a support role during the design, the architect needs to be in a support role during construction: helping to think through construction details, helping to resolve contradictions or conflicts that may be discovered, etc.Design changes after construction starts often can come at the expense of efficiency goals (and that, by the way, is bad). I don’t think this is dramatically different in green or non-green projects; it’s a challenge on all projects.Eldrenkamp: Regardless of whether the project is green (and just why are we making that optional? haven’t we all learned that “typical” doesn’t work?), I think there should be consensus on what the project goals, budget, and schedule are.I think that if someone on the team sees a problem with achieving any of those objectives at any point, they should say something right away. The client should not be in charge of the project; if the client is in charge of the project, the project is almost certainly doomed.If the architect wants to be in charge, then the architect should be organized, responsible, and realistic — should really be in charge, in other words. Sometimes the contractor should be in charge, though, and the architect should be able to let this happen if it serves the client better.Whoever is in charge, there should be clear milestones tied to a calendar, and clear deliverables for each milestone. And someone on the team needs to have a self-deprecating sense of humor that can ease the tension at some meetings — for there will be tension. If no one has a sense of humor, the project is even more doomed than if the client is in charge. 3) In your opinion, what is the best way for the owner to be assured that he/she is getting the best price from you, the builder, particularly in a non-competitive pricing situation?Chandler: Take the time to set a clear scope of work and establish a willingness to communicate and seek collaborative solutions.Kolbert: Again, my JLC article goes into boring detail on my opinions on this matter. The short answer is they can’t, but the notion that competitive bidding provides more assurance is hooey in my opinion. I think the most important thing for a client to feel confident about is: Can the design/build team bring a project in on budget? And that’s a question that can presumably be answered by talking to prior clients.Eldrenkamp: The best way for the owner to be assured that he/she is getting the best price is for him/her to hire six contractors to do the same identical project. After 20 years, he/she should be able to evaluate the up-front costs, the repair and maintenance costs over the 20 years, the warranty follow-up, the resource efficiency, and the overall durability delivered by each of the 6 contractors, and then he/she will know with great certainty which one provided him/her the best price. Subscribe to Green Architects’ Lounge on iTunes—you’ll never miss a show, and it’s free! Usually Phil and I share a “Six Digit Idea” or a “Hot Zigg,” but for this episode we want to give special congratulations to our fellow Mainers at G.O. Logic for their Greenbuild Award.And of course, no episode of the Green Architects’ Lounge would be complete with out a song selection from Phil. this time it’s “Utopia” from Yacht on their album Shangri-La.Thanks for tuning in. Cheers.last_img read more

Smart Vapor Retarders for Walls and Roofs

first_img This article is only available to GBA Prime Members 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. Start Free Trial Already a member? Log incenter_img During the winter, when indoor air is usually warm and humid, most wall sheathing is cold. Under these conditions, we really don’t want water vapor to move from the interior of our homes toward the exterior. That’s why builders in the 1980s installed polyethylene on the interior side of walls.During the summer, on the other hand, outdoor air can be warm and humid, while our drywall is often cooled by the air conditioning system. Under these conditions, we want to limit the movement of water vapor from the exterior toward the interior. We also want to allow any moisture in our walls to be able to move toward the interior of our homes, unimpeded by a vapor barrier, so that a damp wall assembly can dry out. That’s why an interior-side vapor barrier works against us during the summer.There are two possible solutions to this dilemma. The first solution is to install an adequate thickness of rigid foam on the exterior side of the wall sheathing. This foam layer prevents inward vapor drive during the summer, while also keeping the wall sheathing warm enough during to winter to avoid condensation or moisture accumulation.In some types of wall and roof assemblies, it may be appropriate to consider a second solution: installing a “smart” vapor retarder — that is, a membrane with variable vapor permeance — on the interior side of the wall assembly. The membrane’s vapor permeance rises and falls When conditions are dry, a smart vapor retarder is relatively vapor-tight (in other words, it has a relatively low vapor permeance). When the air or the building materials adjacent to a smart vapor retarder get more humid, however, the membrane becomes more vapor-open — in other words, its… last_img read more

World’s Tightest House Is On the Market

first_imgThe house in Dillingham, Alaska, that was crowned the tightest residential building in the world is for sale.Tom Marsik and his wife Kristin Donaldson, who completed the two-bedroom house in 2012, are moving so Marsik can take a new job as director of research at the Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks, 500 miles to the north. They’re offering the house for $299,000.The new owners won’t have to worry about the cost of heating the house, even if it’s located in a climate with about 11,000 heating degree days a year. With a roof insulated to R-140 and 28-inch-thick walls, the all-electric house was designed to be heated mostly with internal gains — appliances, body heat, and lighting — plus a little passive solar heat. But its real claim to fame is a blower-door test that measured its air leakage at an astonishing 0.05 air changes per hour at a pressure difference of 50 pascals. By way of comparison, the Passivhaus standard allows 0.6 ach50.Marsik is an associate professor of sustainable energy at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks’ Bristol Bay Campus who wanted to prove that a combination of a very small footprint and “super-efficient construction technology” could result in extremely low energy use. Still looking for the right buyerThe house has been on the market, off and on, since Labor Day of last year. Although the couple has hosted an open house and quite a number of individual visits from potential buyers, they have yet to get a single offer. They’d prefer selling the house to someone who is as interested in sustainable design as they are.“We want the house to continue being an example of sustainable housing, and so in light of that we are willing to go significantly down on the price,” Marsik said. “But nobody has given us an offer yet.”When they do sell the house and move to Fairbanks, the couple will have to decide whether to build again. “We are going to explore options,” he said. “Building a new home is certainly one of the options on the table, but I don’t want to make a decision yet because we want to get familiar with the local situation first.”Should they build, Marsik says the design would vary little from what they already have. Fairbanks is colder than Dillingham — about 14,000 heating degree days a year — and the basic components of the current house would probably work well there. Whatever adjustments they make in design would most likely be to take advantage of technology that has become available since they originally built six years ago.For example, they have a vented clothes dryer now because unvented heat pump clothes dryers were not available at the time. Now they are.Other than that, Marsik sees little to change. RELATED ARTICLES Meet the Tightest House in the WorldAirtight Wall and Roof SheathingBlower Door BasicsGetting the Biggest Bang for Your Air-Sealing BuckHow Much Air Leakage in Your Home Is Too Much?center_img He’s done that in spades. Although there’s nothing exotic about the building materials the couple used — wood framing, cellulose insulation, Energy Star appliances — the extremely tight building envelope and copious amounts of insulation mean that the house can be heated with about $15 worth of electricity per month.The house, overlooking Scandinavian Creek and an expanse of tundra, has two bedrooms and one bathroom on a 24-foot by 24-foot footprint. It’s built something like a house with double-stud walls except that the distance between the inner and outer walls is much greater, allowing for R-90 worth of cellulose insulation. The depth of the insulation in the roof assembly is about 3 feet.The house has three fiberglass-framed windows with triple glazing, an exterior door that’s mostly glass, and a heat-recovery ventilator.Living in a cozy boxIn an article for Alaska Building Science News, Marsik wrote that from January 1, 2012 through the end of April that year, the house used 1,620 kWh of electricity, or only about 400 kWh a month for heat, lights, hot water, and appliances. Modeling had predicted the house would use 1,520 kWh over the same four-month period. Marsik said the small discrepancy could be explained by an unusually cold winter that year.“It is interesting to point out that our house uses less electricity than an average house in Dillingham,” Marsik’s article said. “This, coupled with the fact that our house uses no heating fuel, results in a significantly lower energy bill.” Marsik calculated savings at $4,000 a year when compared to an average house in town, but it could be even more as energy costs go up in the future.At the time, heat came from a simple electric-resistance heater. That’s since been replaced with a Fujitsu RLS 3H series minisplit with an output of 12,000 Btu per hour.Marsik wrote that his approach to building had pros and cons. Benefits include low energy use, a healthy indoor environment, and the safety of burning no fossil fuels or wood. On the downside, the cost of insulation itself was about $20,000.“A thorough economic analysis hasn’t been done yet,” he wrote, “but the payback period on the extra costs isn’t going to be super short. However, a well built-home is likely going to last for a very long time, and given all extra benefits to society through a reduced consumption of fossil fuels, I think the extra initial investment is well worth it.” (Many details about the house, including photos taken during construction, are available at this page at Alaska Energy Wiki.)Reached by phone, Marsik said this week that he and his wife, who now have a 4-year-old daughter, are sorry to give up the house.“It’s amazing,” he said. “We love it. My wife asked whether he can just get a helicopter and move it.”The owners with their world record certificate for air tightness: 0.05 air changes per hour.Although the house has only three windows, Marsik said they were custom-built and have glass with high visible transmittance of light. That plus the use of brightly painted walls and ceilings give the house excellent day-lighting.The house has a total of about 1,150 square feet when you include the second-story loft bedroom (the total is what an appraiser would call the “gross living area”), Marsik said, and that’s been plenty for the three of them and their dog. “It’s more than we need,” he said.Marsik is a proponent of space efficiency and does not think that people living in much bigger houses are any happier than people living in small ones. In fact, he said, a United Nations happiness report found that in many European countries where apartments and houses are much smaller than in the U.S. people are, on the whole, happier. Smaller houses mean less maintenance and less cleaning, leaving time for intrinsically more rewarding activities. Note: The caption of the first photograph has been edited to clarify the size of the house.last_img read more

Urban Heat: Can White Roofs Help Cool World’s Warming Cities?

first_imgThis post originally appeared at Yale Environment 360. Summers in the city can be extremely hot — several degrees hotter than in the surrounding countryside. But recent research indicates that it may not have to be that way. The systematic replacement of dark surfaces with white could lower heat wave maximum temperatures by 2° Celsius or more. And with climate change and continued urbanization set to intensify “urban heat islands,” the case for such aggressive local geoengineering to maintain our cool grows.The meteorological phenomenon of the urban heat island has been well known since giant cities began to emerge in the 19th century. The materials that comprise most city buildings and roads reflect much less solar radiation — and absorb more — than the vegetation they have replaced. They radiate some of that energy in the form of heat into the surrounding air.The darker the surface, the more the heating. Fresh asphalt reflects only 4% of sunlight compared to as much as 25% for natural grassland and up to 90% for a white surface such as fresh snow.Most of the roughly 2% of the earth’s land surface covered in urban development suffers from some level of urban heating. New York City averages 1-3° C warmer than the surrounding countryside, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — and as much as 12° warmer during some evenings. The effect is so pervasive that some climate skeptics have seriously claimed that global warming is merely an illusion created by thousands of once-rural meteorological stations becoming surrounded by urban development. Climate change researchers adjust for such measurement bias, so that claim does not stand up. Nonetheless, the effect is real and pervasive. So, argues a recent study published in the journal Nature Geoscience, if dark heat-absorbing surfaces are warming our cities, why not negate the effect by installing white roofs and other light-colored surfaces to reflect back the sun’s rays? Cool Roofs Cut Urban Water ConsumptionJunk Science and the Heat-Island EffectDo Green Roofs Temper Urban Heat?Los Angeles Lightens Streets in Bid to Stay CoolDenver’s Green Roof Ordinance Kicks In Rural areas also could benefitBut it may not just be urban areas that could benefit from a whitewashing. Seneviratne and her team proposed that farmers could cool rural areas, too, by altering farming methods. Different methods might work in different regions with different farming systems. And while the percentage changes in reflectivity that are possible might be less than in urban settings, if applied over large areas, she argues that they could have significant effects.Los Angeles has coated several streets in a light gray paint to reduce road-top temperatures by as much as 10 Fahrenheit. (Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services)In Europe, grain fields are almost always plowed soon after harvesting, leaving a dark surface of soil to absorb the sun’s rays throughout the winter. But if the land remained unplowed, the lightly colored stubble left on the fields after harvesting would reflect about 30% percent of sunlight, compared to only 20% from a cleared field. It sounds like a relatively trivial difference, but over large areas of cropland this could reduce temperatures in some rural areas on sunny days by as much as 2° C, Seneviratne’s colleague Edouard Davin has calculated.In North America, early plowing is much less common. But Peter Irvine, a climate and geoengineering researcher at Harvard University, has suggested that crops themselves could be chosen for their ability to reflect sunlight. For instance, in Europe, a grain like barley, which reflects 23% of sunlight, could be replaced by sugar beet, an economically comparable crop, which reflects 26%. Sometimes, farmers could simply choose more reflective varieties of their preferred crops.Again, the difference sounds marginal. But since croplands cover more than 10% of the earth’s land surface, roughly five times more than urban areas, the potential may be considerable. RELATED ARTICLES Cooler temperatures could save livesDuring summer heat waves, when the sun beats down from unclouded skies, the creation of lighter land surfaces “could help to lower extreme temperatures… by up to 2° or 3° Celsius” in much of Europe, North America, and Asia, says Sonia Seneviratne, who studies land-climate dynamics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, and is co-author of the new study. It could save lives, she argues, and the hotter it becomes, the stronger the effect.Seneviratne is not alone in making the case for boosting reflectivity. There are many small-scale initiatives in cities to make roof surfaces more reflective. New York, for instance, introduced rules on white roofs into its building codes as long ago as 2012. Volunteers have taken white paint to nearly 7 million square feet of tar roofs in the city, though that is still only about 1% of the potential roof area.Chicago is trying something similar, and last year Los Angeles began a program to paint asphalt road surfaces with light gray paint. Outside the United States, cool-roof initiatives in cities such as Melbourne, Australia, are largely limited to encouraging owners to cool individual buildings for the benefit of their occupants, rather than trying to cool cities or neighborhoods.The evidence of such small-scale programs remains anecdotal. But now studies around the world are accumulating evidence that the benefits of turning those 1 percents into 100 percents could be transformative and could save many lives every year.Keith Oleson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado looked at what might happen if every roof in large cities around the world were painted white, raising their reflectivity — known to climate scientists as albedo — from a typical 32% today to 90%. He found that it would decrease the urban heat island effect by a third — enough to reduce the maximum daytime temperatures by an average of 0.6° C, and more in hot sunny regions such as the Arabian Peninsula and Brazil.Other studies suggest even greater benefits in the U.S. In a 2014 paper, Matei Georgescu of Arizona State University found that “cool roofs” could cut temperatures by up to 1.5° C in California and 1.8° in cities such as Washington, D.C. Urban heat can be a killerThe urban heat island can be a killer. Counter-intuitively, the biggest effects are often at night. Vulnerable people such as the old who are stressed by heat during the day badly need the chance to cool down at night. Without that chance, they can succumb to heat stroke and dehydration.New research underlines that temperature peaks can cause a spike in heart attacks. This appears to be what happened during the great European heat wave of 2003, during which some 70,000 people died, mostly in homes without air conditioning. Doctors said the killer was not so much the 40° C daytime temperatures (104° F), but the fact that nights stayed at or above 30° (86° F).Such urban nightmares are likely to happen ever more frequently in the future, both because of the expansion of urban areas and because of climate change.Predicted urban expansion in the U.S. this century “can be expected to raise near-surface temperatures 1-2° C… over large regional swathes of the country,” according to Georgescu’s 2014 paper. Similar threats face other fast-urbanizing parts of the world, including China, India, and Africa, which is expected to increase its urban land area six-fold from 1970 to 2030, “potentially exposing highly vulnerable populations to land use-driven climate change.”Several studies suggest that climate change could itself crank up the urban heat island effect. Richard Betts at Britain’s Met Office Hadley Centre forecasts that it will increase the difference between urban and rural temperatures by up to 30% in some places, notably in the Middle East and South Asia, where deaths during heat waves are already widespread.A combination of rising temperatures and high humidity is already predicted to make parts of the Persian Gulf region the first in the world to become uninhabitable due to climate change. And a study published in February predicted temperatures as much as 10° C hotter in most European cities by century’s end.No wonder the calls to cool cities are growing. Unintended consequencesOn the face of it, such initiatives make good sense as countries struggle to cope with the impacts of climate change. But there are concerns that if large parts of the world adopted such policies to relieve local heat waves, there could be noticeable and perhaps disagreeable impacts on temperature and rainfall in adjacent regions. Sometimes the engineers would only be returning reflectivity to the conditions before urbanization, but even so, it could end up looking like back-door geoengineering.Proponents of local projects such as suppressing urban heat islands say they are only trying to reverse past impacts of inadvertent geoengineering through urbanization and the spread of croplands. Moreover, they argue that local engineering will have only local effects. “If all French farmers were to stop plowing up their fields in summer, the impact on temperatures in Germany would be negligible,” Seneviratne says.“Local radiative management differs from global geoengineering in that it does not aim at effecting global temperatures [and] global effects would be negligible,” she says. “It is “a measure of adaptation.”But things might not always be quite so simple. Reducing local temperatures would, for instance, limit evaporation, and so potentially could reduce rainfall downwind. A modeling study by Irvine found that messing with the reflectivity of larger areas such as deserts could cause a “large reduction in the intensity of the Indian and African monsoons in particular.” But the same study concluded that changing albedo in cities or on farmland would be unlikely to have significant wider effects.What is clear is that tackling urban heat islands by increasing reflectivity would not be enough to ward off climate change. Oleson found that even if every city building roof and stretch of urban pavement in the world were painted white, it would only delay global warming by 11 years. But its potential value in ameliorating the most severe consequences of excess heat in cities could be life-saving. The green and PV optionsAnother option is not to whitewash roofs, but to green them with foliage. This is already being adopted in many cities. In 2016, San Francisco became the first American city to make green roofs compulsory on some new buildings. New York last year announced a $100-million program for cooling neighborhoods with trees. So which is better, a white roof or a “green” roof?Evidence here is fragmentary. But Georgescu found a bigger direct cooling effect from white roofs. Vincenzo Costanzo, now of the University of Reading in England, has reached a similar conclusion for Italian cities. But green roofs may have other benefits. A study in Adelaide, Australia, found that besides delivering cooling in summer, they also act as an insulating layer to keep buildings warmer in winter.There is a third option competing for roof space to take the heat out of cities — covering them in photovoltaic cells. PV cells are dark, and so do not reflect much solar radiation into space. But that is because their business is to capture that energy and convert it into low-carbon electricity.Solar panels “cool daytime temperatures in a way similar to increasing albedo via white roofs,” according to a study by scientists at the University of New South Wales. The research, published in the journal Scientific Reports last year, found that in a city like Sydney, Australia, a city-wide array of solar panels could reduce summer maximum temperatures by up to 1° C.That is the theory, but there are concerns about whether it will always work in practice. Studies into the impact on local temperatures of large solar farms in deserts have produced some contradictory findings. For while they prevent solar rays from reaching the desert surface, they also act as an insulating blanket at night, preventing the desert sands from losing heat. The net warming effect has been dubbed a “solar heat island.”The lesson then is that light, reflective surfaces can have a dramatic impact in cooling the surrounding air — in cities, but in the countryside too. Whitewashed walls, arrays of photovoltaic cells, and stubble-filled fields can all provide local relief during the sweltering decades ahead. But policymakers beware. It doesn’t always work like that. There can be unintended consequences, both on temperature and other aspects of climate, like rainfall. Even local geoengineering needs to be handled with care. Fred Pearce is a freelance author and journalist based in the U.K. He is a contributing writer for Yale Environment 360.last_img read more

Why Samsung Is Cloning Google Play On Its Smartphones

first_imgRole of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#Android#entertainment#Google#Samsung dan rowinski Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … But what content does do is sell devices. The best thing that Apple ever did with the iPhone was create the App Store and open up iTunes so music and movies could be downloaded to people’s smartphones. You could argue that the App Store/iTunes has been responsible for selling more Apple devices than any other force combined. This fact is not lost on Samsung.Yet, Samsung is a little bit different from Apple. Its product portfolio is broader, especially when you factor in that it makes televisions (which are some of the best available). Samsung is not just looking to sell smartphones, it wants users to go down the full profile and own a Samsung tablet, computer and TV.That, Samsung’s director of product marketing Ryan Biden tells me, is the biggest push for Samsung Hub.“Hub is really intended for people that own multiple Samsung devices,” Biden said. “It now allows us to deliver content to other devices from Samsung.”That is why Samsung has baked in “screen-mirroring” into its recent Galaxy devices. Through Wi-Fi Direct, you can broadcast what is on your phone to your Samsung TV or vice versa. Apple can do this in a limited fashion with its Apple TV box and AirPlay but that then creates three devices – TV, smartphone, box – Samsung can do it with two. The kicker? It has to be two Samsung devices. Biden downplays the fact that, just by its very existence, Samsung Hub battles Google Play. In Samsung’s mind, they are for two very different use cases for a media store. That may not exactly be the case though. Google’s Android runs on smartphones and tablets and it has Google TV, where Android has been fitted for the big screen. Samsung has even made some of its Smart TVs with Google TV integration. So, the differences that Biden cites may not be as far apart as Samsung likes to think. By putting its own media content store next to Google Play on its new Galaxy S4 smartphones, Samsung is essentially turning all of its users into beta testers that could determine the future of the Android operating system.Think about it. Apple has iTunes. Android has Google Play. Amazon has its own Video On Demand with music and books. BlackBerry as its App World and Microsoft has its Windows Phone Marketplace. What do all of these companies have in common? To a certain extent, they all make their own operating systems, have application stores and sell content such as books, movies, music and television shows through their own proprietary channels. Where, exactly, does Samsung fit into this equation? With the release of the new Galaxy S4 flagship, Samsung has taken all of its media “hubs” and consolidated it all into one Samsung Hub that sells books, movies, television shows, games, apps and music. Samsung Hub comes preloaded on all new Galaxy devices and is pushed front and center with a widget on a home screen panel on its devices. Samsung is a little bit of a misnomer in this equation. It is not like Apple, which makes its own operating system. It uses Google’s Android. By juxtaposing its Media Hub next to Google Play, Samsung is basically asking users to make a choice. Where will you get your content? From us or from Google?What is Samsung’s goal here? Is it preparing to fork Google’s Android operating system and go it alone? With Media Hub, Samsung may be turning users into millions of “beta testers.” If people end up using Media Hub for their content and apps instead of Google Play, Samsung may see reason to fork Android and go it alone. If not, Samsung can try to create its own hub of content that runs across all of its devices, just as Sony tried (and failed at) a couple years ago.This… is a little awkward.Samsung Hub Tense Relations Between Samsung & Google?Much was made earlier this year about how Samsung has grown so dominant in the Android ecosystem that it has become a threat to Google. In certain ways this is true, in many ways it is not. The hinge of the argument is that Samsung could fairly easily strip out all of Google’s services from Galaxy devices and serve similar services up itself. So, no more Gmail, Chrome, Google Play and so forth. Google executives have reportedly acknowledged that Samsung, while being its biggest Android ally, is also a cause of anxiety. It would not take much for Samsung to fork the open source kernel of Android and go it alone. Google would then lose out of the all-important user data and profiles that are the core of its advertising business strategy through mobile.Samsung already makes many of its own alternatives to Google’s offerings through its TouchWiz interface. Samsung has its own email app and browser. Galaxy smartphones come loaded with dual apps for almost every core function – one from Samsung and one from Google. Usually, the Samsung ones are inferior.And now there is Hub.Hub Next To Google PlayWhy do these mobile operating system makers put content in their app stores? Really, the profit margins are not great as companies like Apple, Google and Amazon have to license the content from the creators (movie studios, record labels etc.) and barely eke any money out of it for themselves.  The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Your Cloud Provider Is Toast. Now What?

first_imgServerless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo… Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Matt Asay Your cloud provider is great. Your cloud provider is cheap. Your cloud provider is out of business.Now what do you do?If your favorite consumer cloud service goes out of business or simply feels it’s time to end-of-life a particular application, it’s frustrating but life goes on. More often than not, you weren’t paying for the service, anyway. But for an enterprise, losing access to a preferred SaaS application can be devastating.Just ask Xeround’s customers.Learning From Xeround’s FailureRecently the Database-as-a-Service (DaaS) provider terminated its cloud database service, giving free users a week to pack up and move on, and paid customers just two weeks:“Xeround’s leadership forum has recently decided to re-focus the company’s effort. This means we will no longer be able to support our service over public clouds, across all of our currently active data centers… We ask you to please export your database instance and migrate your database to another service of your choosing before the termination date… We regret the inconvenience this causes you.”It’s a nice thought, if not particularly helpful. Moving to an alternative solution is easier said than done. Migration between products, cloud or otherwise, is never particularly easy, often by design.In the case of Xeround, which promises 100% MySQL compatibility, migrating to MySQL might not be difficult. But what if you wanted to move to an alternative database? Or what if instead of a database or other somewhat swappable infrastructure you were hoping to migrate off a SaaS application?Good luck with that.Open Source As A Safety NetCould open source help with this? While not a panacea, giving users both a cloud service and an on-premises deployment, with the latter offered as open source, would ensure a robust back-up plan. It might also give them comfort to use the cloud service in the first place.As Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos argues, infrastructure software is almost entirely open source now as developers “require access to the details [of their cloud infrastructure] — not just to have the ability to do the same, but for the ability to verify the quality and modify to fit their needs.” Businesses are embracing the cloud because it yields cost and convenience benefits, as Forrester’s Ted Schadler posits. Add to this developer peace-of-mind and it’s a near-perfect combination.This isn’t really about source code. While some will want to tinker with code, doing so will generally void your contract with a vendor. Instead it’s about security once the vendor fails or cancels a service: moving a cloud service to your data center, even if only temporarily, buys you time and makes the initiatl investment in the cloud much less precarious.What’s Your Back-Up Plan?As organizations move to the cloud, increasingly with a ‘cloud first’ policy, having a back-up in mind is important. Open source is one option that seems to be working for SugarCRM, Eucalyptus and others. But what’s your cloud back-up plan? Frequent data dumps? If you had the chance to migrate your end-of-life SaaS application to an on-premises, open-source deployment, would you do it?Image courtesy of Shutterstock. Tags:#back-up#cloud#Disaster Recovery#saas#Xeround last_img read more

Cleveland Browns get ready to WHOOP it up

first_imgHow Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Amanda Razani Follow the Puck Tags:#Cleveland Browns#featured#Internet of Things#IoT#NFL#top#wearables center_img Some lucky NFL Players were given the opportunity to check out WHOOP straps recently, at the NFL Players Association reps meeting. Ibraheim Campbell, the Cleveland Browns defensive back was so impressed by the gadget that he hasn’t stopped using it since then.“I’ve seen my awareness of myself and how I’m doing increase. It’s been big on my sleep awareness and sleeping habits,” Campbell explains.  See Also: Does sweat hold the key to the future of health wearables?Campbell believes that taking care of his body is extremely important. At 24 years of age, this third-year pro’s role may continue to grow with the Browns.  The 5-foot-11, 208-pound strong safety puts a lot of focus on working out and staying in shape, which is why his interest in technology revolves around devices that help him to better recover.As far as the WHOOP Strap goes, “I don’t take it off,” Campbell declares. “It’s pretty cool.”The WHOOP Strap 2.0 has been named the Official Licensed Recovery Wearable Of The NFLPA. Each NFL player, along with incoming players will receive one, and Campbell has been able to enjoy his early.  The straps measure recovery based on a player’s resting heart rate, sleep and heart rate variability in order for players like Campbell to stay better informed and more prepared for the strain to come.Campbell says he has used other wearable devices too.  He has utilized the MYZONE heart rate monitoring chest strap during offseason to ensure that he’s delivering maximum effort while participating in the City Fitness’ #MyCityMoves challenge in Philadelphia.Browns bullish on techThe Browns also incorporate the Catapult Sports GPS trackers into their routine, to keep track of the players’ workloads.“That’s been helpful, the ability to track your mileage,” Campbell states.Staying in the know about the latest sports gadgetry is a smart play by the Northwestern graduate.  It can pay off well for Campbell during the NFL season, Related Posts Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You…last_img read more

Savings Strategies for Non-Savers

first_imgIMPORTANT DETAILS FOR THE WEB CONFERENCEResources for the upcoming Savings Strategies for Non-Savers web conference, including the presentation slides, worksheets, and articles, are available here.This web conference will be hosted with the Department of Defense. If you are not located on a military installation, you will need to install security certificates to access this presentation. Instructions are available here.  For those who cannot connect to the DOD host site, the presentation will be streaming on Ustream and can be viewed here. Additionally, Adobe apps for iPhone, IPad and Driods devices are available; search for “DCO Connect” in respective stores.This web conference is free and requires no registration. Simply click here and join the web conference as a guest at 11 a.m. EST on Feb. 4. We hope to see you all online!This post was originally published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on January 31 , 2014. By Molly C. HerndonDr. Barbara O’Neill will present a 90-minute web conference on Savings Strategies for Non-Savers on Tuesday, February 4 at 11 a.m. EST.Savings Strategies for Non-Savers will begin with a discussion of the importance of saving money, types of savings, reasons to save and reasons why people don’t save. Dr. O’Neill will describe the process of using SMART goals to determine how much periodic saving is needed to reach a financial goal. Other topics that will be discussed include:A Savings Coat of Arms activity and webinar chat discussion15 specific ways to save money10 ways to reduce expenses and find money to start savingA discussion of online resources about saving moneylast_img read more

Upcoming Webinar – Medicare 2017 & What it Means for You

first_imgWe would like to invite you to attend our upcoming webinar discussing the changes made to Medicare for 2017.Medicare is the federal health insurance program for adults over the age of 65 and other qualified individuals. The program has remained virtually unchanged year-to-year, however the start of a new year brings a few tweaks to the program.Take advantage of the free online learning opportunity to learn the basics of the Medicare program and the changes for 2017. Throughout this session you will be provided with a broad overview of the Medicare program’s coordination of benefits with other programs such as Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance, TRICARE® for Life and VA Benefits, among others.Medicare 2017 & What it Means for YouFebruary 22, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EasternContinuing Education Credit Available!The MFLN Military Caregiving concentration has applied for 1.0 continuing education credit from The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work for credentialed participants. Certificates of Completion will also be available for training hours as well.Interested in Joining the Webinar?To join this event, simply click on Medicare 2017 & What it Means for You. The webinar is hosted by the Department of Defense APAN system, but is open to the public.If you cannot connect to the APAN site, an alternative viewing of this presentation will be running on YouTube Live. Mobile options for YouTube Live are available on all Apple and Android devices. This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on February 3, 2017.last_img read more

Create a Glitch Effect For Logos and Titles in After Effects

first_img1. RGB SplittingCreating an RGB split is the most common element among all glitch effects. This technique splits colors, so viewers can see the red, green, and blue channels individually. To create the RGB split, duplicate your main composition three times and set each layer to one color. Then apply a wiggle expression to the position to offset compositions and split the colors.2. Displacement DistortionThe next common element in a well-rounded glitch effect is visual displacement. By creating custom objects with the shape tools, you can easily split the contents of your composition using a displacement map. A displacement map takes the glitch effect to the next level by juxtaposing any layer below.3. NoiseUsing noise is obvious when it comes to creating a glitch. However, it’s best to vary the amount of noise to appear in segments rather than using digital grain the entire time.4. Vertical LinesLastly, adding vertical lines is a nice way to create extra detail. By using a shape layer, you can quickly add a repeater and space out as many lines as you need.120 Distortion Glitch ElementsLooking to create amazing distortion effects in only a matter of minutes? Check out Corruption from Rocketstock.com — a 4K distortion pack that contains 120 pre-made effects and 20 sound effects. In this video tutorial, learn how you can create a digital distortion scene with a glitch effect using these four easy techniques.One of the most popular effects to use in a video project in After Effects is the glitch effect. To design and animate glitch-based effects, it’s important to understand which techniques are at your disposal. Here are four that every filmmaker needs to know. Looking for more After Effects tutorials? Check these out.Create a Responsive Infographic in After EffectsAfter Effects: Create a Modern Slideshow AnimationHow to Create a Motion Graphics Template in Adobe After Effects3 Typography Motion Graphics Tips | After Effects TutorialCreate An Animated Website Presentation Using After Effectslast_img read more

7 Useful Ctrl and Cmd Key Shortcuts in Adobe After Effects

first_imgPaired with the next shortcut, this is a great tip for cycling through a project. Instead of clicking and dragging layers everywhere, use this shortcut to move any layer through your composition.5. Switch Between LayersWindows: Ctrl + ↑ or ↓Mac: Cmd + ↑ or ↓ Constantly using the mouse in After Effects can become annoying. Use these handy shortcuts instead to speed through your next project.After Effects is a powerful creative tool that many people find intimidating. But, as you work more with the software, you’ll realize the value of keyboard shortcutsHere are 7 handy ctrl/cmd key shortcuts that will save you time and ease your workflow.1. Paste Layer at Current TimeWindows: Ctrl + Alt + VMac: Cmd + Option + V Looking for more After Effects tips and tricks? Check these out.Tutorial: Getting Started with Content-Aware Fill in After EffectsAdobe Releases New Content Aware Fill Tool for After Effects5 Ways to Animate with Trim Paths in Adobe After EffectsHow to Create a Mid-’90s DV Camcorder Look in After EffectsHow to Export with Transparency from Adobe After Effects When you normally copy and paste a layer, it’s positioned at the beginning of the composition. With this shortcut, the position of the time indicator will determine the paste location.2. Fit Layer to CompWindows Ctrl + Alt + FMac: Cmd + Option + F Finally, this is a quick way to lock or unlock any clip. If you have a large project with a number of layers you want left alone, highlight them all and use this shortcut to make sure they stay untouched.Learning all of these will take some getting used to, but not only will they improve your workflow, they’ll also free you up to think creatively.Need an easy way to reference these shortcuts? Here’s a roundup of all the shortcuts and their keys. When I’m working in After Effects, I always run into the problem of clicking a layer and accidentally moving it. This shortcut allows you to cycle through every layer and find what you’re looking for. Once you find it, use the previous shortcut to move it up or down among the other layers.6. Scrubbing Through the TimelineWindows: Ctrl + ← or →Mac: Cmd + ← or → This one is huge for me — I use it all the time. When I’m doing any frame-by-frame animation, I use this shortcut to make it more efficient (instead of scrubbing through with the mouse). Constantly going through the timeline and reaching for the mouse every other second gets old fast. This shortcut is, by far, my personal favorite.7. Lock and Unlock LayersTo LockWindows: Ctrl + L Mac: Cmd + LTo UnlockWindows: Ctrl + Shift + LMac: Cmd + Shift + L Staying organized is important when working in After Effects. Within some shape layers, you’ll have multiple groups that you can pair together. This shortcut is a great way to make sure you keep your project clean and efficient.4. Move a Specific Layer Backward/ForwardWindows: Ctrl + [ or ]Mac: Cmd + Option + ↑ or ↓ The old way to fit a layer to comp was to open up the layer, go to scale, and edit the parameters so it would fill the screen. However, with this shortcut, you can instantly fit any layer to the composition (within a few seconds) without any transform properties.3. Group and Ungroup ShapesGroupWindows: Ctrl + G Mac: Cmd + G |UngroupWindows: Ctrl + Shift + GMac: Cmd + Shift + Glast_img read more

What “The Righteous Gemstones” Teaches About Directing Styles

first_imgRotating roles — an intimate lesson in how multiple directors can use multiple filmmaking styles to create one vision.In the roughly two decades since Danny McBride, Jody Hill, and David Gordon Green all attended The University of North Carolina School of the Arts together, the three filmmaking writers, actors, and directors have cemented themselves as some of the brightest minds in high-minded dude-comedy.From some of their early indies like The Foot Fist Way to big budget features like Pineapple Express, the trio — who each have successful careers of their own — have stayed close, collaborating on several HBO series, including Eastbound & Down, Vice Principals (excluding Green), and their latest: The Righteous Gemstones.For those who haven’t caught the first season of The Righteous Gemstones, the HBO comedy series following a dysfunctional family behind a televangelical megachurch empire (which was just picked up for a second season) is perhaps the trio’s greatest work, yet. Originally conceived by McBride, he, Hill, and Green all co-executive produce the series, as well as share directing duties across episodes.Hill and Green have rotated directing roles in the past on Eastbound & Down; however, for Gemstones, Danny McBride was given credit for directing the pilot of the project he created. It’s interesting to watch Gemstones from a filmmaking/directing perspective for many reasons, but this story-behind-the-story of rotating directors, and their individual styles, is pretty fascinating — very informative for aspiring comedy filmmakers.Trust and FamiliarityIn an interview with McBride, Hill, Green, and frequent collaborator, writer, and star Edi Patterson (who plays Judy Gemstone), Green talks about how much trust must go into a collaborative project — and how they’ve been able to keep a core group together to keep things familiar and focused. Green states the following:Beyond just the core group, in talking about the show, there are so many people that have been with us for these years, who are incredible — from the production sound mixer to so many people behind the scenes. There are probably twenty-five people that went to film school with us that are working on this show, either as a writer or in any number of capacities.This is especially true when taking on the directorial role in regards to an episodic series like Gemstones, where the director is ultimately just one cog in a much bigger machine, tasked with realizing the full vision of a nine-episode series.Decision-Making in DirectingThis still is a good example of the single-camera cinematic style.When you watch Gemstones, it’s possible to reverse engineer some of the directorial decisions that clearly had to be made episode to episode. First off, the show looks to be in the same single-camera cinematic style of their earlier works like Eastbound & Down and tracing back to The Foot Fist Way, which becomes almost quasi-documentary at times.This means decisions about which shots to shoot steady on a tripod, or more loose and free-roaming — whether on a Steadicam, a gimbal, or handheld. The camera and shot decisions also tend to change as the narrative calls for it, staying wider and stationary for some of the big sets and megachurch services to more close-up and intimate in the more raw moments between family members. (Here’s a good article on the best options for smooth — and not so smooth — “handheld” options.)McBride’s pilot episode feels much more like a movie with big camera moves, as it sets the world and reveals the spectacle contained in the Gemstones’s megachurch and lavish compound. Meanwhile, once Green takes over for the second and third episodes, we start to get more shaky and intimate, as the camera moves around like a character (at times) in scenes between family members to build the narrative tension of the series.Directing Comedy and ActionHill’s direction — he has the distinction of directing McBride the most in his career — comedy and action quickly come into play, requiring a deft touch. Similar to HBO’s other hit Barry, there are plenty of high-octane sequences thrown in that spur much of the comedy. From gunshots to car crashes, Gemstones finds a good balance as all three directors are left to film complicated stunt sequences, as well as choreograph elaborate stage productions and dance numbers.The Challenges of EpisodicThis Gemstone family portrait illustrates the complexity of each character involved in the show.It’d be fair to say that the majority of television shows, or other episodic content, rely on multiple directors. The directing role is a difficult, laborious task, so it makes sense to spread the work around. However, this creates challenges.As Hill, Green, and McBride would undoubtedly tell you, it really comes down to having a strong vision, a solid team, and great trust and communication. Directors may have license to bring in their own styles and decision-making processes, but overall, they’re there because they’ve subscribed to a bigger vision — one they’re trying to remain faithful to.Gemstones is a show that feels much more epic than the trio’s previous collaborations, with a big HBO budget, and exploring important themes such as family, friendship, and religion. However, while the episodes may vary stylistically, they each do a great job of building a show that has already proven itself a success among critics and audiences alike.Looking for more on the film industry? Check these out.Costume Designer Ginger Martini on Sync on Set, Production Prep and Post ProcessHow Hollywood Gets the “Film Look” Using Digital CamerasIndustry Insights: Bernie Su on his Emmy Winning Interactive Series, ArtificialRecreating Roger Deakins’ ‘Cove Light’Industry Insights: Makeup Artist Kaela Dobson on Wu-Tang, Marvel and Morelast_img read more

Translating Price Objections

first_imgSometimes what you hear isn’t what is said. Fortunately, I am fluent in “client,” and I can translate. You thought you heard a price objection.Your price is higher than your competitors.Translation: I don’t perceive the value and you haven’t differentiated that value.If you are creating more value than your competitors, you need to be able to help your dream client perceive that value. If they don’t perceive the value, it’s likely you have not differentiated your offering from your competitor’s.I need you to sharpen your pencil.Translation: I can’t justify your higher price.Your dream client doesn’t know how to justify your higher price to his bosses. He doesn’t know how to explain why he is paying more for something instead of taking the lower bid. You have to provide them a defensible justification.I need your best and final offer on a three year deal.Translation: I am looking for a final concession on price so I can be very sure I squeezed you hard enough.Purchasing tactics. No matter how well you negotiate in good faith, professional buyers are going to try to take a final bite of the apple. . . just to make certain. If you are here, you are very likely already chosen, and the person you are sitting across from is simply doing their job by checking you.I can’t take this price to my boss.Translation: I really had no idea that the outcome I need is going to cost this much. I’m really embarrassed. .Sometimes your dream client has been lied to for so long that they have come to believe that that they can have better, faster, and cheaper all in one package–if only they choose the right vendor. It takes a serious investment of time to educate them and help them educate their team.Sometimes the person you are dealing with believes they are going for a win-win negotiation. They win, and their company wins. The right answer? “I can help with that. I’ll be happy to take it to your boss for you.” Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Nowlast_img read more

Relationships Over Transactions

first_imgThe relationships you have with your customers is worth more than a single transaction. You dramatically change the relationship by over-vauling the transaction.You might be able to push your dream client to buy before they are ready. You might know how to use tactics like tie-downs to lock them into a decision. By locking your dream client into a decision they weren’t yet ready to make, you put the transaction before the relationship. Your dream client now carries a negative feeling about you because you demonstrated that the sales was more important to you than the person you sold.You might be able to take advantage of a client’s lack of knowledge about what you sell to give them a price that is higher than any price you might charge someone who knows the value of what you are selling. Over time, as your client learns that you took advantage them, they will come to discover that you put the single sale above the relationship. You won’t make another sale to this client, and they will share the bad experience they had with others.Sometimes your prospective customer will want to buy what you sell before they are capable of benefiting from what you provide them. By selling them what they want, you allowed them to fail, and likely cost them time and money. By taking their money, you have demonstrated that the transaction was worth more than the potential relationship.The value of the relationship is worth more than a single transaction. When you get this wrong, you make a single sale. When you get this right, you develop the kind of trusted relationship that gives you access to all the future transactions–and maybe even exclusive rights to all of those future transactions. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more