Tablet Shootout: Surface Vs. iPad Vs. Nexus 10 [Video]

first_imgeliot weisberg Tags:#Android#iPad#Surface#tablet For more on the Surface, check out:Microsoft Surface vs. Apple iPad: Head To Head Comparison [Video]Microsoft Surface Review: The Best… Something Related Posts ReadWrite took three of the most powerful new tablets and pitted them against each other via in-depth tests of three crticial areas:User interface.Web browsing (especially how it deals with Flash).Document sharing and printing in an enteprise environment.Watch the video for insight on which tablet might be right for you – and your company: A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostinglast_img

In The Security World, Android Is The New Windows

first_imgRelated Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now fredric paul For decades, Microsoft Windows was the computer platform of choice — not just for the overhwelming majority of computer users, but also for a growing legion of malware creators. As the dominant computing platform, it offered the fattest, most lucrative target, and some of its fundamental architecture decisions made it vulnerable to many kinds of malware.With the transition to the mobile era, Windows is no longer at the center of the computing universe — for users or for hackers. That role is now occupied by Android. According to Stephen Cobb, a distinguished security researcher for the IT security company ESET, “Android is like early Windows.” It’s now the locus for security attacks and prevention — even if it’s not getting as much attention in this regard as Windows used to.Flying Under The Radar?“There’s so much malware on Android, you’d think it would be a huge deal,” Cobb said. And the growth of is “huge,” he added, “both in the number of malware exploits and their increasing sophistication. The rate of growth in Android malware is impressive, and scary.”(See also Sloppy App Development Leaves Android Owners At Risk)At this week’s RSA conference in San Francisco, ESET did a live demo on Android, downloading an infected app that roots the phone and opens it up to whatever the attacker wants to do with it — including dumping out its entire contents in a few seconds over the Internet.Why aren’t we hearing more about Android’s security problems? “It’s death by 1000 cuts,” Cobb said. Instead of emptying the bank accounts of infected users, the malware is more often used to for premium-rate SMS fraud against mobile carriers, “which isn’t bankrupting anyone immediately. They’re flying under the radar.”“I don’t think the criminal underground is sophisticated enough that it is holding back,” Cobb said. It’s just that when a mobile platform is the target, “the model is many times a smaller attack — or you can look at it as part of a larger attack.”(See also Where Has All The Mobile Malware Gone?)For example, if a criminal wants to insert himself into a small or medium-sized business doing $40,000 bank transfers, he’d run into the fact that many online banking systems use two-factor authentication — i.e., they require a code sent to a client’s mobile device in addition to a password. But a mobile hack can help defeat that.Your Mobile Platform Does MatterJust as on computers, which mobile platform you use really does make a difference on security. “The Apple model of a closed shop, from a security standpoint, is a very good thing,” Cobb said. Apple’s OS X and iOS are both pretty secure to start with, and with iOS and the App Store, “Apple is moving that from a physical environment to a software environment.”Even as Android takes the lead in global sales, it’s been much less successful from a security standpoint. “We sell an anti-virus product for Android,” Cobbnoted. “No one sells anti-virus for iOS.”What will it take for Android to clean up its act? “Quite frankly, I expect to see it improve when sales start getting impacted,” Cobb said. That obviously hasn’t happened yet on a mass scale, as Android sales continue to outstrip its smartphone competitors.But Cobb said that “In some circles it is already having an effect… I wouldn’t use an Android phone for my personal stuff.”Meanwhile, Windows Is Getting BetterIronically, as Android’s secuirty issues grow, Windows is actually getting better. “Microsoft deserves kudos for making Windows more and more secure,” Cobb said. And with the move to Windows 8, Microsoft is shifting toward a more closed, more secure model, specifically by by not allowing apps unless they are from a legitimate developer.Plus, Windows’ issues over the years have had the effect of training people to be more careful. “Someone who’s been using Windows for the last 10 years is probably better protected than a Mac person,” Cobb joked. “They’ve had to learn the hard way.”The problem is in that in an ostensibly protected environment, people can get a false sense of security. They are still vulnerable to “some big hack” that overrides all the existing protections, or to “social engineering” attacks, Cobb noted. That’s why many of the bad guys are changing tactics. “Instead of trying to break into the computer, they’re now trying to break into the person.”Ultimately, that’s only one reason Cobb thinks that concentrating on mobile malware may be the wrong angle. “What the bad guys really want,” he said, “is the device out of your pocket.” If they can physically get ahold of your device, they can do all sorts of bad things.Image of Stephen Cobb by Fredric Paul. Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…center_img IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Tags:#Android#antivirus#cybercrime#cybersecurity#iOS#OS X#security#Windows#Windows 8 last_img read more

Next-Generation Search: Software Bots Will Anticipate Your Needs

first_imgMassive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… brian proffitt Contextual search and the Internet of Things are two key factors in how search is evolving from users actively searching for information to users receiving information as they need it.But there is another key component that must be added to the search equation: the rise of intelligent software agents that will not only anticipate the information you need, but also act on that information to help manage your life.(See also Forget Searching For Content – Content Is About To Start Searching For You and How The Internet Of Things Will Revolutionize Search.)The Dawn Of The Bot AgeCall it artificial intelligence, software agents or even bots, the technology for search-related automated prediction and action has been in development for a long time. (In fact, I used to cover this topic when I was the managing editor for at the turn of the century.)(See also Futurist’s Cheat Sheet: Artificial Intelligence.)In those days, bot development was focused on creating automated software to handle the routine tasks that were proliferating on the then-fledgling commercial Internet. Web crawlers, software that actively seeks out and indexes websites for search engines, were one very popular use of software bots. But there was always a goal beyond the mundane world of Web crawlers and software trying to reasonably fake a Turing test to appear human: developers wanted the software to take specific tasks completely off the hands of humans.Over a decade later, we may finally be getting to the point where bots can actually do that.It is not that the development of intelligent agents stalled during the first decade of the 21st Century. Instead, we may not have been quite ready to implement them. Automating routine tasks just didn’t seem like the top priority during the beginnings of the mobile revolution.Now things have changed. First, and most obviously, mobile devices are everywhere. Second, there are now legions of interesting Web services to automate. The final ingredient is the most important: With the rise of Big Data, there is now enough information available for a software agent to actually use to perform anticipatory actions. In that context, the challenges of applying software agents and artificial intelligence to business solutions is nothing compared to the potential payoff to users.(See also How The Internet Will Tell You What To Eat, Where To Go And Even Who To Date.)Dr. Moshe BenBassat, CEO of ClickSoftware, it is fair to say, lives and breathes this stuff every day. BenBassat envisions a world where personal agents, which he calls “butlers,” manage the day-to-day planning and implementing of workflows.The “Butler” Did ItBenBassat offers an example to illustrate: Imagine a service technician who logs into his smartphone’s service app and pulls up today’s schedule. His first appointment: the Acme Bank downtown. A few more swipes pulls the address from the calendar app and then brings up a map in the navigation app, and off the technician goes. When he arrives at Acme, he finds and calls the customer contact, who has to come down to the lobby and admit him into the building. Once arriving at the customer site on the 17th floor, the technician discovers he has left the replacement part in his vehicle, so he goes back down to get it.In a scenario like this, BenBassat estimates the technician would spend 7-12 minutes just swiping and typing on the phone to find and use the data he needs. Over the course of the day, that adds up to a lot of lost productivity.In a world staffed by BenBassat’s butlers, the scenario might unfold like this: The service technician logs into his phone’s service and is immediately informed about the first appointment: the Acme Bank downtown. The butler asks if the technician if he would like a map to the appointment, and after agreeing, off the technician goes, using the map to reach his destination. Just before he arrives at Acme, the butler autodials the customer contact and informs her the technician is about to arrive, so she can come down to the lobby and let him into the building. When the technician leaves his vehicle, the butler senses that the replacement part is not in toolkit the technician is carrying, and prompts the technician to grab it from the truck, saving the trip back down to the vehicle.“Butlers” like the ones BenBassat describes promise to play a huge role in changing search – and by extension the way we work. Proactive software agents will reduce the need to waste time looking for information. Instead, information will be delivered right when we need it. As software agents get better at figuring out what we want, that information will become more useful and actionable.We are almost there now: Contextual search tools like Google Now, which takes into account where you are and what you are doing to provide useful information, are the first big step towards anticipatory and responsive software agents.(See also Google Now Knows More About You Than Your Family Does – Are You OK With That?)The Interaction IssueThere is still a ways to go. Social interaction is seen as the biggest obstacle to effective software agents. Agents are only as good as what they are programmed to do, while humans have internalized a lot of common-sense tricks for interpreting reality. We know what we mean when we say, “find me some pizza,” but the software agent might give you a map of nearby pizza places – or just call up pictures of pizza.In the consumer world right now, Apple’s Siri is the most well-known example thus far of how a software agent will interact with humans, though it has its limitations, both in speech recognition and plain common sense. As that interaction is smoothed out, though, it is not hard to imaging giving agents like Siri or Google Now’s voice search more permissions to act on the information at hand, instead of just reporting it. Once that hurdle is overcome, all of that predictive and contextual information that the Internet is starting to finding for us will have a smooth, human-like interface and better able to help us manage our days.(See also Who Has The Advantage: Siri Or Google Now?)Why Search Anymore?Searching for anything – be it on the Internet, your inbox or on your personal devices and services – will be far less necessary, both in business and personal contexts. Search is not just firing up Google, after all – it also includes combing through your own data for relevant information. When your spouse has a last-minute meeting and can’t pick up the kids from after-school sports, for example, you won’t have to go though a complicated dance of multiple phone calls, texts and emails as you re-arrange both your schedules and stress out over making sure someone gets there on time. Instead, your search agents could analyze and coordinate both your schedules and create a single suggestion to line everything up. All you’d have to do is agree to the changes.  The combination of automated agents, contextual search and a sea of data from our devices, services and the Internet of Things, search is poised to become vastly more useful and efficient than it already is. The pieces are getting there with agents like Siri and contextual search like Google Now. If it all works as promised, information we need will be delivered to us just when we need it, without our having to invest time and effort looking for it.Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Nowcenter_img IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Related Posts Tags:#artificial intelligence#search last_img read more

The reality of hacking….or a new hacking reality?

first_imgInternet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Tags:#hacker#hacking#Internet of Things#IoT Follow the Puck Related Posts Asaf Atzmon Director, Business Development & Marketing, Automotive Cybersecurity at HARMAN We live in a cyber-vulnerable world – a world governed by data. Data encapsulates almost every aspect of our personal and public life. It is heavily shared, distributed, stored and accessed, and it is constantly at risk. Recent mega-hacks, such as the ones on Target, Yahoo, and Ashley Madison, among others, demonstrate that leaking of personal information and misuse of our data are inevitable in a world that is becoming increasingly more connected and data-centric.As concerning as these hacks are, we should be aware that at the end of the day, the risk is merely the misuse of data. Without question, attacks such as these can have devastating effects on people’s lives, but their outcome is limited to the virtual world and cannot touch the physical world, at least not directly.See also: The U.S. VA protects your hacking cough from hackingThis is all changing now as our world is gradually developing into a cyber-physical one. Wikipedia defines a cyber-physical system as one where physical and software components are deeply intertwined. That is, physical systems control, and are controlled, by electronic components.A good example of a cyber-physical system is a modern car, with approximately 60% of its costs associated with electronic engineering. There are often more than 100 electronic units in a modern vehicle that affect critical mechanical and physical components, such as brakes, the steering system and the door lock mechanism.Another example is a manufacturing plant that is not only monitored by software, but to a large degree, is also controlled by it, often via remote wireless interfaces.These are only two examples, but many others exist in countless industry verticals, such as intelligent transportation systems, medical devices and home automation — aka the smart home.Not the same as IoTA cyber-physical system is closely coupled with, but is not synonymous with, the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT devices are typically the controllers of the cyber-physical domain. They use one or multiple connective technologies (e.g. cellular or Bluetooth) and are governed by service providers or user applications on a mobile device. For instance, the iPhone application provided by your vehicle manufacturer enables you to unlock your car or start the engine remotely. The Amazon Echo smart speaker app that controls your home lighting is another good example.What is common to these examples is that they allow us, as end users, to wirelessly manipulate physical functions.Our control over these systems is terminated at the IoT controller (the vehicle telematics system or the smart speaker, respectively). The IoT controllers communicate with physical objects using two key elements – sensors and actuators. Sensors measure properties of the physical world (e.g. the temperature of a centrifuge) and report them to the controller. Actuators manipulate the physical world (e.g. keep the car in its lane) at the command of the controller.The glue that connects all of this is software in the form of code and data, and it is software, not love, that makes our 21st Century world go ’round. Therein lies the problem – software code inevitably has bugs and design smells, which can potentially lead to serious security issues – what we would call exploitable.The number of actual exploitable bugs per 1,000 lines of code depends on numerous factors, including what research you care to read. But even by the most optimistic research, the average vehicle, with some 100,000,000 lines of code, is likely to have a few thousand exploitable bugs – that’s what we call a hacker’s paradise.Before we panic, get rid of our cars and revert to horse-drawn carriages, it is worth noting that cars are safe and that this number does not necessarily represent a few thousand ways in which your car could be manipulated to kill you as you are driving. To truly assess how vulnerable a system is to attack it needs to be thoroughly analyzed. There are many factors to take into account, such as attacker motivation and access to the target. Still, the overall concern is valid, and no less of a valid question is “how did we get here?”My answer might catch you by surprise. I think that it was almost inevitable that we arrive at this point. History has shown, time and again, that markets are driven by features, with security lagging behind. When the first computers were connected to the Internet, only a handful of experts thought of the issues of its inherent insecure architecture. Of course, they were largely ignored because they didn’t contribute to the bottom line.The result was that we gradually became acquainted with a world of mystical cyber-creatures, such as viruses, worms and malware. It took time for the industry to react, because it’s always harder to add security to a production environment. Gradually, antivirus programs and firewalls were invented and we managed to move on. PCs are not without their security issues, but the economy didn’t collapse and the sky didn’t fall.The next wave of connectivityA similar path could be traced as we moved on to the next wave of connectivity – smart mobile devices and the evolution of IT systems. The security guys are always blowing their whistles at the gate, shouting that we must build in security at the initial design stages, but market drivers are pushing for features, more of them and faster.Is the same happening in the IoT world? Recent data suggests that this is indeed the case. So, you might be comforted by the premise that we let the dynamic of technology run its course, adding in security as an afterthought, the same way we did in the past. However, there is one very important observation, one which I would like to be the takeaway of this article – the tolerance for error falls dramatically every time we become more dependent on software.We have managed to overcome loss of data on our personal computers and hacked phones. We struggle with colossal data breaches to credit cards databases and our most personal information. Will we be able to cope with a real mega-hack that compromises, or worse yet, irrevocably harms, our physical world?A better idea might be to invest in security by design. Those experts might be right this time around.VB Profiles Connected Cars LandscapeThis article is part of our connected cars series. You can download a high-resolution version of the landscape featuring 250 companies here. Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

Can IoT prevent gun violence across America’s cities?

first_imgTags:#Data analytics#featured#gun safety#IoT#sensor technology#shotspotter#Smart Cities#top#violence How IoT Will Play an Important Role in Traffic … Related Posts Local municipalities are increasingly turning to smart city technology to reduce public crime through efforts such as connected lighting, targeted surveillance and data assets.One of the more innovative smart solutions is ShotSpotter, a gunshot detection, acoustic surveillance technology that uses sensors to detect, locate and alert law enforcement agencies of illegal gunfire incidents in real time. I spoke to CEO, Ralph A. Clark to learn more.How does it work?ShotSpotter uses acoustic sensors that are strategically placed in an array of 15-20 sensors per square mile in order to reliably detect and accurately triangulate gunshot activity. Each sensor captures the precise time, location, and audio snippet associated with boom and bang sounds (impulsive noise) that may represent a gunshot. This data is first filtered by sophisticated machine algorithms that are then further qualified by experts at the 24×7 Incident Review Center at ShotSpotter to ensure the events are in fact gunfire. As Clark explained:“We have machine classification techniques that we use that can automatically filter out local noises that aren’t gunshots.  And then we process the data through our incident review center. Typically gunfire can be heard as far away as a mile, (unlike fireworks and car backfire) It’s a very distinct noise that has certain sharpness and features that we can extract. Then there’s also the idea of how our sensors participate in the solution. With gunfire you frequently find that the sensor participation is directional. So, it typically happens in a northeast fashion versus a firework which tends to be much more omnidirectional and where the sensor participation will be 360 degrees.”Additionally, Shotspotter can append the alert with any other critical intelligence such as whether a fully automatic weapon was fired. This process takes less than 45 seconds between the actual shooting and the digital alert (with a precise location dot on a map) popping onto the screen of a computer in the 9-1-1 Call Center.Clark noted that Shotspotter had two different use cases:“One is kind of a policing, public safety solution. Which you think of in terms of square miles of coverage. to deal with ongoing, urban violence. The other use case is security use case where you are covering much smaller area and more concerned with the unthinkable happening like an active shooter situation (such on a school campus). It’s more of an alarm type of solution for the rare, if ever, event of an active shooter, And I would say our technology worked very well in both those situations, I mean we’re in the business of detecting, locating and alerting on gun violence in real time and there’s no other company in the world that has our amount of experience dealing in this area in the urban environment.”What is the impact on crime statistics and gun violence?I was curious to learn about how the detection of gun activity could reduce the incidence of gun violence. As Clark discussed:“When you understand how pervasive the problem of gun violence is in many of our cities, there’s certainly a deterrent aspect when you can  can expect a very quick and precise response anytime someone fires a gun. This means that communities suffering from gun violence now begun to see a much more precise, more coordinated respectful response by police to the event. It changes the relationship because now you have communities that aren’t afraid to provide that little bit of insight or intelligence of who they think might be involved in these situations and help police identify and intercept them before they hurt and kill somebody.The other thing about gun violence that is not very well understood by most people is that actually very few people that are driving most of the gunfire. This is not a problem of an entire community where everybody has a gun and everybody shooting. It’s more likely the case that 60 to 70 percent of the Gun violence being perpetrated by a handful of individuals. Like 10 or 20 people, and to deter and prevent and intercept even a small number of those even smaller number of folks that are involved means we see a reduction in shooting.”In New York alone, since deploying ShotSpotter in March 2015, ShotSpotter provided 1,672 alerts on where guns went off, 74% of which, weren’t reported by 911. Cops said ShotSpotter helped recover 32 firearms, including 13 on cases with no 911 call, and has led to 21 arrests. Eight of those arrests had no 911 call.See also: Can a blockchain- IoT hybrid finally give us smart guns?Currently, federal homicide prosecutors are using ShotSpotter analysis and evidence to determine if a gunshot has, or has not occurred, the location of the gunshot, and the precise location of the shooting. SST has been admissible in court cases in 17 states as well as in federal court.  Financially,  Shotspotter is funded through city and police budgets and “often there’s  funding that comes from different federal agencies like the ATF, Department of Homeland Security, or even HIVE they have funds for security that they use to make safer neighborhoods.” Currently, it’s deployed in over 90 cities around the world including San Francisco, Kansas City, and Boston.Interestingly, the company has also been doing some work on conservation in Africa to deter rhino poaching and blast fishing — where explosives are uses in place of nets or fishing line, in effect killing the coral reef as well as the sea life. Shotspotter is a great example of how sensor technology and data analytics can respond to a complex social problem. How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi…center_img Surveillance at the Heart of Smart Cities Cate Lawrence For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In…last_img read more

Is Crypto the Missing Ingredient for Universal Basic Income?

first_imgOver the past few decades, a growing suite of technologies and advances in artificial intelligence (AI) has given rise to a significant trend toward automation in almost every industry imaginable. Depending on who you ask, though, that trend is either going to lead to a future filled with leisure and comfort, or one where 40% of today’s workforce finds themselves displaced and unable to find work. Like most complex subjects, though, the truth is probably somewhere in between the two extremes.While it is undoubtedly true that automation will introduce efficiencies that lower the prices of consumer goods and the daily necessities of life, there are also no guarantees that displaced workers will be able to navigate the shift from their current careers into a new one within the revamped high-tech economy. In truth, it’s a virtual certainty that many people won’t be able to make that shift – after all, not everybody has what it takes to be a programmer or to understand the deep complexities of artificial intelligence.It’s also possible that the expected displacement of workers will be just a preview of what’s to come later, as AI makes further advances and becomes capable of eliminating even more jobs. That possibility has caused endless debate in political and social circles around the world, as decision-makers grapple with finding a solution to the coming jobs apocalypse.Preparing For Economic UpheavalFor some, the answer is a simple one: provide each and every person with a guaranteed income that they’re free to spend in any way they wish. It’s a concept known as universal basic income (UBI), and it’s already being tested in various places around the world.Proponents of the scheme claim that by guaranteeing every person an income that’s sufficient to cover their basic needs, they’ll be free to pursue whatever activities they choose, be it the new world of leisure that automation cheerleaders foresee, a retraining program to reenter the workforce, or something else altogether – like becoming an artist or starting a business of their own.On the other hand, opponents of UBI insist that it will become little more than a giveaway that encourages people to be wasteful; to live off of the fruits of others’ labor. They claim that the disincentives to work created by UBI mean that it will create a more severe shortage of the kinds of labor that machines still can’t replace, like sanitation workers, police officers, electricians and the like – basically the blue-collar workers not yet under threat of automation.On top of that, they argue that any UBI scheme will cause a cascade of escalating tax rates on whoever is still participating in the workforce, and as more people flee the higher taxes, the pressure to raise them more to maintain benefit levels will grow exponentially.A Solution Hiding in Plain SightIt’s easy to understand, and agree with, both sides of the UBI debate. It makes sense that providing an income stream for displaced workers would alleviate some of the problems created by automation. It also makes sense that it’s going to be challenging to create a revenue stream large and stable enough to pay for it without damaging the broader underlying economy. What if, however, there was a way to create a UBI scheme that didn’t require taxation or a government-provided revenue stream?As it turns out, the broader technological revolution that’s been underway for the past few decades may have created a solution: data. If you look at today’s most successful businesses, like Google, Amazon, and Facebook, you’ll find that their public-facing product lines and technological innovations aren’t what is fueling their bottom lines. Instead, they’re all making billions of dollars collecting, exploiting, or selling data – vast quantities of it – all harvested from their billions of users worldwide.If the individuals generating all of that data had some way to maintain control of it and monetize it instead of ceding control of their data to corporate ownership, that would create instant, individual revenue streams that could underwrite a wide-scale implementation of UBI. The only problem is coming up with a system capable of managing such an enormous global flow of information and maintaining secure data rights management without spending more than the scheme itself would yield.Now it seems there may already be a solution for that, too.Enter the BlockchainPhoto: Olivier Le Moal / Adobe StockWhile the cryptocurrency craze that spread throughout the world in recent years has abated, the technology that made it all possible is still developing and being adapted for countless other uses. That technology, known as the blockchain, is an encrypted, decentralized digital ledger system capable of storing data of all kinds and authenticating access and changes to that data at an enormous scale. It’s exactly the kind of thing you’d need to manage a secure global data marketplace to create the type of UBI system mentioned above.There is one critical flaw in most blockchain implementations that prevent it from being used for an application as sprawling as managing all user-created data on the internet in real time – transaction speed and cost. Since the beginnings of Bitcoin, most blockchain solutions have struggled to scale up, experiencing huge transaction processing backlogs that drove up the fees associated with processing those transactions. That happened because the original versions of blockchain required every single transaction to go through a distributed validation process, which requires massive computing power and time.Scaling up the BlockchainTo deal with that problem, various refinements to the original blockchain have been proposed, such as the lightning network, which functions as a peer-to-peer side channel that helps keep transactions between parties off of the leading network until it’s time to reconcile the users’ accounts. That kind of setup does help, but not enough to operate a global data marketplace that would demand constant high-volume micro-transactions that may involve hundreds of thousands of parties at once.Another potential solution to blockchain’s scaling problem is the use of sharding, which, as the name suggests, involves splitting up the stored data into much smaller pieces so that no single node has to maintain a complete copy of the blockchain. The current implementations of this technique, however, still require that every node preserves a record of completed transactions, limiting the total possible transaction throughput.A Solution Made for UBINow, however, there appears to be a blockchain implementation that’s tailor-made for uses as a global UBI system. The system, known as Harmony, takes sharding one step further – allowing just the nodes with the appropriate shards of data to handle each transaction, rather than involving the whole network. The process, which they’ve named “Deep Sharding”, would allow their blockchain network to conduct multiple simultaneous transactions without any bottleneck. With such a system, the only limitation on throughput would be network speed and the number of participating nodes.In the case of a global data marketplace that would fund a true UBI program, every participant could theoretically operate a node to lower the overall transaction cost. Doing so would make it possible to operate a data marketplace that was efficient enough to process the transaction volume needed while leaving enough profit left over for the participants to draw a stable income – and all of it without raising taxes on anyone.The Way ForwardNow that the technology needed to create a global UBI system that allows every individual to reap the profits generated by their own data exists, the only remaining hurdle is to construct a legal framework that guarantees each individual ownership of their own data. It’s a change that won’t happen quickly since it’s that same data that feeds the bottom lines of today’s biggest companies, but it’s one that makes perfect sense.There’s already been a movement toward the rights of individuals to control their own data. The recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) passed by the European Union already contains provisions that have begun a shift towards personal ownership and control of data. Right now, that means that European citizens can exercise control over how and when their data is collected and used, but they still lack the means to monetize the process.As time goes on, there’s a good chance that the GDPR will have a ripple effect in the rest of the world, accelerating the pace of legislation meant to put individuals in control of what should, by all accounts, be their private property. Once that happens, and indeed if the political will exists to go a little further – granting complete and unassailable ownership of data to the individuals that generate it – it’s easy to foresee a day when the technology that kicked off the crypto craze will serve as the medium through which real, universal basic income may be achieved. When that day comes, the whole of humanity will be able to embrace the AI and automation revolution, free from economic insecurity and ready to go forward into a future where everyone has a share of the profits they so rightfully deserve. Blockchain – Impending Revolution in Glob… Andrej Kovacevic Andrej is a dedicated writer and digital evangelist. He is pursuing an ongoing mission to share the benefits of his years of hard-won expertise with business leaders and marketing professionals everywhere. He is a contributor to a wide range of technology-focused publications, where he may be found discussing everything from neural networks and natural language processing to the latest in smart home IoT devices. If there’s a new and exciting technology, there’s a good chance Andrej is writing about it somewhere out there. Related Posts How Blockchain Changes Nowadays Business Security Tags:#GDPR#UBI#universal basic income Why is Bitcoin Soaring? ToyBox and PlayTable Partner Together For Block…last_img read more

Digital Twin: from Automation to Autonomy

first_imgTags:#automation#digital transformation#digital twin#Fourth Industrial Revolution#industry 4.0 AI Will Empower Leaders, Not Replace Them AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storage Guido Jouret is the Chief Digital Officer at ABB. He leads the next level of development and deployment of ABB’s digital solutions for customers globally and across all businesses. Related Posts NASA introduced the term “digital twin” in a 2010 technology roadmap describing the tools of space travel. Almost a decade later, “digital twin” has emerged as a key tool. It enables a terrestrial space shot. We are being shown the global Industry 4.0’s evolution of Digital Twin: from automation to autonomy.We talk about “digital transformation” in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but “digital” has been around since the Third Revolution. Digital includes the form of rule-based computing that reacted like a right-brain limbic system. What’s different now is digitalization that learns, adapts, and develops insights, allowing industries to sense, analyze, act, and optimize. Digital twin technology is an essential element of this evolution.What’s a digital twin? There’s no such thing as a digital twin or the digital twin. There are, potentially, billions, but let’s start with NASA’s original definition, which remains remarkably accurate today:“An ultra-realistic, digital simulation of an object or system that uses the best available physical models. Consider the continuous sensor updates and complete historical data to mirror the life of the real-world twin. The digital twin mitigates damage or degradation by recommending changes in use profiles and boosts success-probability of the mission.”“Digital Twin” sounds simple enough.The simple name, digital twin sounds innocuous until one considers the breadth and number of industries that benefit from various uses of digital twin technology:Aerospace and DefenseAgricultureBuildingsMiningAutomotive and TransportElectronicsMachine/Equipment ManufacturingEnergy and UtilitiesFinancial ServicesHealthcare and Life SciencesGovernmentRetailConsumer GoodsThe list is extensive and pretty much includes all industries. Within those industries, digital twin technology is used for — among other things:Lifecycle documentation3D representationModelingSimulationData modelingModel synchronizationVisualizationMonitoringConnected analyticsControlThe power of digital twin tech becomes clear when one considers the staggering number of ways the technology can be used, in a surprising number of places.There is a power that’s an essential element of Industry 4.0’s necessary evolution from automation to autonomy.What we talk about when we talk about autonomy in digital twinning.Digital twin, vital as it is — is just part of the evolution to autonomy. What’s equally important to that evolution: AI and domain expertise.In the case of autonomous vehicles – cars, trucks, ships, industrial robots, etc. — the real world is a dangerous place to train AI. For example, one may recall the autonomous Uber pedestrian fatality in Tempe, Arizona, in 2018.For safety as well as efficacy, the place to train AI is in a virtual world enabled by digital twins.Nvidia recently announced an open-source, cloud-based virtual testing ground for autonomous vehicles. Open source will allow companies to train AI in thousands of virtual vehicles across millions of scenarios. It won’t require “in real life” (IRL) presence and lead to zero body count.In this futuristic virtual world, domain expertise may sound like 19th-century heavy iron. Is the word “experience” too rusty?In my view domain expertise is the secret sauce of autonomy.Successful industrial companies and their smart hardware/software partners have learned what works in all sorts of environments and conditions. Combining the right digital twin technology, ever-smarter and more confidently accurate AI and deep domain expertise accelerates the evolution to autonomy.Industrial autonomy is not binary, black or white, yes or no. There’s a five-step evolutionary journey:Human-ledHuman-led/machine supportedMachine led/human supportedMachine led/human governedMachine controlledAs an industry or a machine ascends toward Step 5, the number of humans required decreases.People move from being “in the loop” – triggering automated industrial events, even if in a remote-control room – to being “on the loop.” Teleoperators that oversee increasingly autonomous activities remotely are empowered to countermand or correct them.I believe autonomy will soon develop a Moore’s Law-type “Autonomy Quotient” (AQ). It will determine how many human teleoperators are required to assure the safety and efficacy of autonomous machines and processes. For example, it could be one human overseeing 10 autonomous vehicles or one human to 100 autonomous processes. The higher the AQ, the greater the autonomy.The ultimate value of digital twins Earlier I cited NASA’s original definition of digital twin. My preferred definition sounds simpler; “the digital reflection of a physical asset.” That is until one realizes that every industrial object in every factory in the world has its own digital twin. Each of those digital twins has multiple states for planning, design, operation, maintenance and so on of each object. Additionally, as noted above, digital twins are involved in a multitude of tasks across a broad swath of each industry.With an estimated, 7.5 billion potential digital twins are in global industries right now. We find the highest value is making data available from all digital twins to all other digital twins across all processes in an open, interoperable and vendor-independent manner.The point of the digital twin tech is to keep all functions fully digital.This operation is utterly collaborative in the lifecycle of all industrial processes across multiple companies without any loss of data, analytics or time. Digital twins provide different capabilities at different stages. However, the main requirement is to enable handoffs from one stage to another — from one company to another without these time-consuming and expensive losses. Islands of digitalization are insufficient to achieve autonomy. Digital twin tech is the necessary connective tissue.For example, my company, ABB, has shaved almost half the time required to build an electrical utility substation by using digital twin at each stage. This reduction in each process means deploying the operation at the planning, designing, and building (operations and maintenance digital twins come into play later).Pre-digital twin, it took 18 months to build a substation, but only four of those months were required for construction.The other 14 were consumed in back-and-forth communications among the utility, the engineering company and us. Each party would digitize their input, but then the other parties would print it out, edit, re-digitize, send it to everyone else, and so on. Digital twins for planning, designing, and building allowed us to reduce 14 months of planning to seven. We also realized a 60 percent savings and built the substation in 11 months instead of 18. The operational and maintenance jobs are easier once the substation comes online because collaborative digital twins are built right into all substation functions.Digital twins enable collaborative global technology platforms. The ultimate value of digital twins is to create a collaborative global technology platform – not just from one company. This tech will be in all companies – that digitally stores functionality.  Digital twin tech helps with any expression and shares every function of every industrial object throughout its entire lifecycle. Combine that with high-confidence (that is, safe, fair and ethical) AI and deep domain expertise, and you get the digitally transformed, autonomous world of Industry 4.0.Necessary for a new generation of robots that can go where people or other hardware can’t. For example:A “data center sheriff” roams the endless racks of cloud-service server farms finding and replacing malfunctioning servers.A “motor crawler” robot works inside a motor repairing and maintaining in a space too cramped and dangerous for a human.A robot “transformer diver” saves the cost of draining a transformer of oil, finding the area that needs repair and refilling the oil.And a drone-like “plant helicopter” can alight where’s there’s trouble – current or future – to make repairs.All of them will need digital twin representations of their work environments in their cybernetic brains.All of which sounds metallically mechanistic, but it has a lot to do with people. Digital-twin-enabled autonomy is going to make people more valuable — on the loop.When you look back, in 1910, a person in a control room had to keep an eye on a handful of dials. By the 1990s, people were watching and trying to control hundreds. Today, there are thousands of devices “reporting” to an industrial control room, and people are maxed out. People in this tech industry are extensively under pressures that are not alleviated. Early retirement seems the only options for those in frenetic control-room industries such as oil & gas, utilities, transportation and mining.The rising Autonomy Quotient ratings of vehicles, machines, and processes place people on the loop will be completely overloaded with real-time data. Hence, help from digital twin tech.Add to that nightmare — their strategic responsibilities are often compounded from autonomous objects. They are going to need help through every phase of this new industrial activity. As Industry 4.0 evolves from automation to autonomy, much of that help will come from digital twins – enhanced by AI and domain expertise.The digital twin will form an integral part of the workplace, serving and co-existing with people.Humans will remain invaluable (at least for the lifetime of anyone reading these words in 2019). Even so, they are going to need increasingly comprehensive and supportive digital representations of the autonomous industrial world alongside them to do their jobs effectively. The help they will receive will give a new, more humane meaning to the term “digital twin.” China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Guido Jouretlast_img read more

Body-based Therapeutic Approach to Healing Trauma

first_imgBy Christina Herron and Kacy Mixon, PhDCreative Commons [Flickr, Yoga, November 6, 2014]Trauma is an occurrence that threatens a person’s life and/or sense of safety.  The National Child Traumatic Stress Network identifies trauma as a result of many factors, including: domestic violence, neglect, physical/sexual abuse, traumatic grief, community & school violence, natural disasters, medical trauma, refugee/war zone trauma, terrorism, early childhood trauma and complex trauma [1]. Payne, Levine, & Crane-Godreau (2015), relay…“Trauma is in the nervous system and body, and not in the event; an event that is very traumatic to one person may not be traumatic to another, as people differ very widely in their ability to handle various kinds of challenging situations due to different genetic makeup, early environmental challenges, and specific trauma and attachment histories [2].”Peter Levine is the founder of Somatic Experiencing (SE). SE is considered to be a body-based therapy approach. Body-based therapies help client’s access traumatic experiences that are not yet available for verbal narration and cognitive reflection. These are stored in non-verbal parts of the brain such as the amygdala and in sensory organs [2].SE Body-Based Therapies help individuals alleviate feelings of fear, disconnection, helplessness, and fear that can arise because of trauma. Some of these include Restorative Yoga, Sensory Motor Therapy, Hakomi Method, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Internal Family Systems, etc.“SE therapists have to learn to watch, not just listen; to know when to slow down, when to point out and explore a physical response” [3].Adrienne Baggs, PhD, one of MFLN Family Development’s presenters for our April 23, 2015 webinar on Wellness Strategies, Burnout Prevention, and Mindfulness Part 2, has done extensive research on the benefits of Restorative Yoga when working with victims of trauma, especially PTSD.More insight into Baggs’s experience with restorative yoga can be found in the article, “3 Restorative Yoga Poses To Help Heal Trauma.”Below are additional resources that may provide more insight into Body-Based Therapies:Sensory Motor Therapy3 Restorative Yoga Poses to Help Heal TraumaEye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)Hakomi Method Internal Family Systems Model [1] National Child Traumatic Stress Network (n.d.). Types of Traumatic Stress. Retrieved from[2] Payne P., Levine P.A., & Crane-Godreau, M.A. (2015). Somatic experiencing: Using interoception and proprioception as core elements of trauma therapy. Frontiers in Psychology,  6(93). doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00093[3] Giarretto, Ariel (2010). Healing trauma through the body: The way in is the way out. Psychotherapy.netThis post was written by Christina Herron & Kacy Mixon, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn. Referenceslast_img read more

Just Do a Few Key Things Right

first_imgBe Patient– Similar to the progression to large prizes on the TV show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, it usually takes people a long time to build wealth. The average age of millionaires is 60, meaning that they’ve been investing for about three or four decades. Using the Rule of 72, if an investor earns an 8% average return on a diversified investment portfolio, their money will double in nine years (72 divided by 8). Limit “Shocks” to Finances– Financial shocks include frequent job changes, moving, home purchases, health care expenses, and divorce. Conversely, stability aids in wealth accumulation. Try to control what you can (e.g., good health habits). Unfortunately, military families often move frequently and this lifestyle needs to be factored into decisions such as renting vs. buying a home and a military spouse’s career path. Set Goals- What are you saving for? A nice house? Retirement? College for your children? Keep your eye on your goals and it will be easier to make sacrifices (read: spend less) to reach them. Use this worksheet as a goal-planning tool. Calculate the savings required to reach your goals by dividing the time to save into the dollar cost. Don’t Run Up Your Credit Cards– Going deep into debt for clothes, travel, or restaurant meals will not impress your friends. Instead, impress them with your kindness and sense of humor. Monthly payments on all consumer debts combined (excluding a mortgage) should not exceed 15% -20% of monthly take-home pay. By Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.eduPhoto by Endemoniada. CC BY 2.0Personal finance does not have to be complicated. Rather, most people can manage their finances quite well by doing just a few key things right. Below are ten suggestions to consider as New Year’s resolutions to improve your personal finances during 2017:Spend Less Than You Earn– Live below your means. The only way to “find” money to save and invest is to have money left over after expenses. Shop around for bargains (e.g., online promo codes, price matching, and consignment and thrift shops) and ask yourself whether you really need something before you buy it. Purchase Insurance Wisely– Examples of generally unnecessary insurance include extended warranties on appliances and low deductibles on property insurance. Rather, cover big financial risks including adequate liability insurance and disability insurance to protect your family if you are ill and can’t bring home a paycheck.center_img Invest for the Long Term- Don’t trade too much; market timing is very difficult. If you don’t have the time or energy to research individual stocks, keep things simple and invest through no-load mutual funds, index funds, or exchange-traded funds. Never invest with cold-callers and be very skeptical of investments that sound like “guaranteed” winners. Stick with reputable companies and experienced and well-vetted investment advisors. Save at Least 10 Percent of Your Income- Put money into savings automatically via payroll deduction or electronic fund transfers. Many people who have money taken out of their paycheck, for retirement, or their checking account, to invest in mutual funds, say they never miss the money and are a lot more financially secure. If 10% savings is not possible now, save whatever you can and gradually ramp up your savings level over time. Dollar-Cost Average Investment Deposits– This means investing a regular sum (e.g., $100) at a regular time interval (e.g., monthly), preferably through automatic deposits such as payroll deductions for the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Dollar-cost averaging avoids bad market timing and takes the emotion out of investing because regularly scheduled investment deposits take place automatically regardless of market conditions. Congratulate Yourself for Making Progress– If you hear that you need, say, $500,000 or $1 million to retire in comfort, you might feel too depressed to try to save anything. Instead, celebrate milestones such as paying off your credit cards or saving $1,000. You have a lot to be proud of as long as you’re headed in the right direction.last_img read more

Tips For Configuring Adobe Premiere Pro CC

first_imgHaving trouble configuring Premiere Pro CC for best performance? Here are a few quick tips that’ll speed up your Premiere Pro video editing. Finding the right settings to make sure you’re getting the best out of Premiere Pro CC can sometimes be a bit tricky. Check out these quick tips to find out how to configure your RAM usage, change your label colors into sensible descriptions, use two monitors for playback, use a hidden hot key and more.What’s the video at the top of this post got to do with configuring Premiere Pro CC? Not much! But it’s a pretty fun intro to Premiere Pro from the Conan editors.Understanding Premiere Pro CC Memory SettingsDigital Rebellion has a very clear breakdown of how Premiere Pro CC makes use of the available system RAM and how to get the best performance from your machine. Premiere, After Effects, Encore, Prelude, Media Encoder and Photoshop all use the same memory pool so the RAM is assigned between them. Premiere and After Effects are assigned the highest priority within the pool so closing these applications can improve performance in the other apps.As a quick aside if you get ‘low memory warnings’ while rendering you can get around it by doing the following:By default, Premiere Pro renders video using the maximum number of available processors, up to 16. However, some sequences, such as those containing high-resolution source video or still images, require large amounts of memory for the simultaneous rendering of multiple frames. These sequences can force Premiere Pro to cancel rendering and to give a Low Memory Warning alert. In these cases, you can maximize the available memory by changing the rendering optimization preference from Performance to Memory. Change this preference back to Performance when rendering no longer requires memory optimization.Select Edit > Preferences, and select Memory in the Preferences dialog box.In the drop-down list next to Optimize Rendering For, select Memory.Click OK, close Premiere Pro, and reopen the project for the new preference to take effect.Showing CUDA Render System DisplayIn this short video tutorial, SpliceNPost shares a great quick tip to toggle on a hidden feature that reveals a whole load of information on your playback quality.  Even though the tutorial is using CS6, the same applies in CC.To toggle on the CUDA Render System information display (on a Mac) hit CMD+SHIFT+F11. It will then appear the next time you press play. Use the same key command to turn it off again.For a simple display of whether you are dropping frames while playing back your footage click on the spanner icon on in the bottom right of the program monitor and select ‘show dropped frame indicator’.A little dot will appear on the left hand-side of the program monitor. Green is good, yellow indicates dropped frames.Using Two Monitors with Premiere Pro CCLarry Jordan has a great explanation of how to set up Premiere Pro CC to make use of two monitors and how to configure your user interface to make the most of all that new space. Larry also demonstrates how to fix any audio sync issues and save your newly created two-monitor workspaces. A great read, check it out here!Enabling Mercury GPU AccelerationThis short tutorial from Video2Brain, again for CS6 but the same applies in CC, walks you through how to make the most of Mercury Engine GPU hardware acceleration within Premiere. For a full list of supported GPU’s check out this recent blog post from Adobe.Changing Premiere Pro CC Color LabelsOne of the most confusing things in Premiere Pro is the color label settings. What color is Caribbean or Cerulean anyway? It is in fact very easy to change the names and colors of these labels in a couple of clicks.Just head to Preferences > Label Colors to type in new names for the colors and, by clicking on the colored boxes, to change the colors themselves.What you might want to do is to change the names of the colors to the type of assets they will be color coding. For example the default color for a bin is ‘Mango’. If you re-label the mango color to Bin, then when you come to select a color label for a new bin, you will know that all bins should be mango.This becomes more useful in shared edit systems where say all final masters should be red, or all temp graphics green. When any editor clicks on the label colors to change something, they will get a reminder of what color everything should be. This helps everyone to work consistently and collaboratively.To find out the default color of assets click on Preferences > Label Defaults.last_img read more

10 Free After Effects Templates: Typography

first_imgThe following FREE After Effects templates feature creative typography and animated typefaces. Build up your motion graphics library!Whether you are a professional motion graphic designer or a novice After Effects user, the following free After Effects templates make it exponentially faster (and easier!) to integrate animated type into your projects.———-Want quality After Effects templates and AE freebies?Visit our sister site,!———-1. Anodine: Free After Effects TypefaceAnodyne is an animated typeface created by the motion graphic experts at Animography. You can download a free version of Anodine from Animography’s website. A paid version is also available which features options for variable line thickness, 8 colors, elasticity and damping.Download Free After Effects Typeface2. Mega Title Pack: Free After Effects TemplatesThe Mega Title Pack is essentially 100 separate free After Effects templates in one big pack. From grungy to modern, this typography pack covers a ton of different styles.Update: File Removed3. Franchise: Free After Effects TypefaceFranchise is one of the most popular free typefaces on the Internet. However, the good people at Animography have created an animated version completely free for you to use on your next motion graphics project. Each letter was created by a different motion graphic designer. The bold and simple design of the typeface makes it a great fit for a wide variety of video projects.Download Free AE Typeface4. Alphaballs: Free After Effects TypefaceAlphaballs is a free After Effects typeface that features an organic bubble-based animated font. The template features a very easy-to-read san-serif font and also includes a free Cinema 4D file.Download Free After Effects Typeface5. Type-O-Matic: Free After Effects TemplateType-O-Matic is a free After Effects template that allows users to create their own custom animated typefaces. The download includes three free templates each with a different design style. Users can control the objects rotation, scale, opacity, mask, and velocity.Download Free After Effects Template6. Typography World: Free After Effects TemplateThis free After Effects template features 15 different typography scenes. Users will be able to pick from various templates like word-trees, animated phrases, and bouncing text.Download Free After Effects Template7. Kinetic Typography: Free After Effects TemplateThis free After Effects template not only features fast paced typography, but also drop zones for pictures. The template doesn’t require any plugins so you can use it natively in After Effects.Download Free After Effects Template8. Green Typography Outro: Free After Effects TemplateThis typography template was designed to be put at the end of your video projects. The template features a customizable call to action along with icons for various social media accounts.Download Free After Effects Template9. Short Kinetic Typography: Free After Effects TemplateThis free After Effects template showcases kinetic type – a style that’s exploded in popularity recently. Users have the ability to change the typography and color scheme.Download Free After Effects Template10. RED Outro: Free After Effects TemplateThe red outro AE template is meant to be used as a close for business and  corporate videos. Users can customize the ending text to include their own brand’s name and information. This free After Effects template can easily be changed to another color if you prefer.Download Free After Effects TemplateWant even more FREE After Effects templates? Check out a few of our previous posts:Free After Effects Templates: Title and Logo Effects – PremiumBeat30 Free Plugins and Filters for After Effects – PremiumBeat10 More FREE After Effects Templates – PremiumBeatlast_img read more

Royalty Free Music Roundup: Action Packed!

first_imgGet over those winter blues and put a spring in your audience’s step with this curated playlist of high-energy royalty free music tracks.Spring is on the way if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. The cold weather is no longer a viable excuse to avoid hitting the gym or going for a run. Sometimes we all need a little push out the door.If your video project also needs a push, these high-energy, royalty free music tracks will do the trick. I’ve curated this collection of my favorite upbeat tracks from the PremiumBeat music library. The PremiumBeat Standard License covers most usage, including ALL web video (Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, etc). Find the perfect royalty free track below and inspire, motivate and energize your audience!last_img

Royalty Free Music Playlist: Hypnotic Electro-Pop

first_imgTake a midnight drive to this collection of the best moody electro-pop royalty free music tracks in our music library.These darkly addictive royalty free music tracks are perfect for instilling a thoughtful, pensive feeling throughout your projects. Featuring hypnotic beats and smoldering textures, these electro-pop tracks offer an introspective escape from the rush and pressures of daily life. Royalty free electro-pop can give your project a cool, modern vibe while creating a dreamy atmosphere that’s sure to make you think.If your video project is lacking in vibe, these chilled-out royalty free music tracks curated from the PremiumBeat music library will do the trick. The PremiumBeat Standard License covers most usage, including ALL web video (Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, etc). Find the perfect royalty free music track below to bring your audience just the right amount of dark atmosphere.last_img read more

How to Use a Third Camera on Interview Shoots

first_imgWhen shooting professional interviews, a one or two camera setup is usually the norm. However, if you have the resources, a third camera can bring an extra dynamic to your productions. Here’s how.Cover image via Brian LevinMost filmmakers are familiar with standard A-cam and B-cam setups for interviews. If you’ve shot an interview with only one camera, you know how tricky it can be to work with the footage without having a different shot or angle to cut between. While it requires additional resources and management, a second camera opens lots of additional coverage opportunities.Here’s an example of a two-camera set-up.However, if you have the resources to use a third camera (and have an additional shooter to utilize), a third camera can be a huge help. Assuming you tripod the A-cam and B-cam, you can have the C-cam on a shoulder mount or move between setups (tripods, sliders, etc…) with an eye for creative filler shots. Here’s a diagram of the setup.From your third angle, you can get a handful of other creative shots to use in your edit that you normally wouldn’t be able to try or risk. Feel free to get creative or use some of your own go-tos, but here are a few suggestions.Rack In and Out of FocusIf you’re operating solo, you may need to conduct the interview with your whole focus. However, if you have a producer or interviewer to help, but need to manage the cameras yourself, you can set the A-cam and B-cams on tripods for steady shots. (Be sure to allow for enough depth of field in case the subject moves forward and backward while talking.)This should free you up to operate a third free-motion camera where you can take liberties like working with some in and out of focus tricks. When done at the right times, a nice focus rack can add emphasis to your edit.Extreme Wide ShotsImage via Allied VideoI’m a fan of including production elements (lights, other cameras, crew, green screen edges, etc…), but a wide shot that is significantly different from your A-cam or B-cam shots is a great way to add depth and impress magnitude. Unless you have the room to physically move much further away, you should be able to make do with a wide-angle or fisheye lens to get all the space you’d like into the shot.Extreme Close-UpsImage via SWSLConversely from an extreme wide-angle shot, a third camera can also be used to get those extreme close-ups you would never risk shooting with an A-cam or B-cam position. Again, if your space is limited because you don’t want to encroach on your other shots, using a telephoto lens is a good way to get a nice close-up to help emphasize points in the interview. From the close-up, you have lots of options to shoot depending on what the story of the video dictates. A few suggestions:FacesEyesMouth talkingHandsLegsClothingJewelryProfile ShotImage via ShutterstockWhile not a practical shot for a two-camera setup, a profile shot of the subject against a flat background can be a great insert in your edit that you don’t usually get to capture. Set at a 90-degree angle against your A-cam, a profile angle can vary from a full-body wide shot to a close-up on your subject. The flat angle can help build a theme by framing the subject squarely against a background — which will bring us to our next point.Use the BackgroundLike the points above state, using a third camera gives you a chance to be a little more thematic and objective in how you shoot your interview. You even have the option of setting up a shot where the subject is no longer the sole focus. If the background of the interview plays thematically into your story, you can frame up your subject to be overshadowed by what is behind him or her. This can be done in several ways to pull the viewer’s attention away through focus, light levels, exposure, or creating a silhouette.What’s your take on using a third camera for interviews? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

6 Ways to “Citizen Kane” Your Film

first_imgThe filmmaking techniques on display in Citizen Kane continue to influence generations of artists. Here are six takeaways for your next film or video project.Citizen Kane images and clips via WarnerCitizen Kane is still considered one of the greatest films ever made. Despite the fact that the film was released 75 years ago, it continues to be a source of inspiration for modern filmmakers like Star Wars Episode VIII director Rian Johnson. Let’s consider Kane’s legacy and discover some practical filmmaking techniques that you can put to use in your own projects.1. Deep FocusOne of the key collaborations during the production of Citizen Kane was between the director/producer Orson Welles and his cinematographer, Gregg Toland. The beautifully-lit film is masterfully composed and makes use of deep focus. The deep focus is defined by a wide depth of field and was not a common technique at the time of production.Deep focus allows subjects close and far away from the camera to remain in focus and is achieved by using a wide-angle lens and a smaller aperture. Deep focus means deep staging of characters along the z-axis. An early scene in Citizen Kane (below) is a great example of the deep focus found in the film.Roger Ebert pointed out the importance of mise-en-scène, or placing on stage, when using deep focus. When everything in the composition is in focus, the filmmaker must be conscious of guiding the attention of the viewers. Ebert pinpointed how the movement of the subjects within the frame and camera movement can become ways to draw the eye and the attention of the viewer.2. Long TakesExtended takes, or “oners,” were around long before Birdman. Even before the production of Citizen Kane, directors such as F.W. Murnau used the technique to beautiful effect and likely influenced Welles and Toland. Murnau’s film, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans makes use of long takes and a variety of other cinematic innovations.The previously mentioned Citizen Kane clip (seen above) is known for both its deep focus and the long tracking shot from the window to the table. Keep in mind that the film was made before the days of the Steadicam and other portable stabilizers. Because of this, furniture and props had to be moved around the camera as it tracked forward or backward. Roger Ebert pointed out an interesting clue to the moving table in the clip above. Watch the hat on the table (around :44) for a noticeable shake after being slid into position.3. Expressionistic LightingThe lighting style in Citizen Kane is decidedly chiaroscuro and owes a debt to German expressionism while also prefiguring the visual style of American film noir. Noir in the United States was just getting started in 1941 with the release of The Maltese Falcon.The lighting reflects the plot, which seeks to understand the man behind the legendary public figure, Charles Foster Kane. The expressionistic lighting is fitting for a film that ends on a note of continued mystery. The true Charles Foster Kane remains in the shadows, making the lighting style a direct comment on the nature of identity in the film.4. Low Angles and CeilingsStagecoach via Twentieth Century FoxThe many low-angle shots in Citizen Kane meant that the sets needed ceilings. Director John Ford used ceilings in some of his films (for example, Stagecoach, as seen above) but the technique was not commonplace in 1941 because of lighting and audio needs.Fun fact: According to Ebert, the ceilings in Citizen Kane were constructed of cloth to allow microphones to be placed above the heads of the actors.Ceilings are quite commonplace in film productions these days. In fact, the use of ceilings can work to one’s advantage in low-budget genre films produced without the luxury of an expansive set. For example, consider the use of low-angle ceiling shots in Beyond the Black Rainbow.Beyond the Black Rainbow via MagnetWhen it comes to cinematography techniques, there are too many to list. Gregg Toland was absolutely essential to the film.Toland was so essential, in fact, that Welles showed his appreciation to his cinematographer by sharing an end title card, as you can see above.5. Editing & StructureVagabond via CriterionThe non-linear plot structure of Citizen Kane has a lot in common with a detective film. After the death of the main character, we as viewers follow a faceless investigator as he interviews the important figures in the life of Charles Foster Kane. The stated objective is to understand Kane’s dying word, “Rosebud.” However, it’s hard to pin down a precise genre or classification for Citizen Kane because it’s such a broad mix of different genre elements.The biopic, interview-style reconstruction of a Kane’s life contributes to the narrative complexity in Citizen Kane. This non-linear structural technique crops up consistently in modern cinema. One notable must-see example is Agnes Varda’s Vagabond.Welles was certainly fond of long takes but he also made great use of rapid-fire montage to dispense with time in an efficient and artful way. Consider the twenty-year ellipsis cut (seen below) between Thatcher’s well wishes on Christmas and New Year’s. This cut is also an example of what Welles called a “lightning mix,” which is considered in the section on sound below.Perhaps more well-known is the breakfast-scene montage (below) between Kane and his wife. In it, we get to watch a rapid-fire transition from happy newlyweds to a disenchanted married couple. Also worth noting in this sequence is the theatrical lighting cue at the beginning. You can see the background light dim during the dissolve to help transition from Jedediah Leland’s interview to the breakfast scene.It’s important to remember that Robert Wise edited Citizen Kane. Wise would later make a name for himself directing a number of major movie classics, like The Day the Earth Stood Still, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.6. Complex SoundOrson Welles made a name for himself in radio with the infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast, so he certainly had an ear for audio innovation.Welles made use of overlapping dialogue, which means that characters talk over one another’s lines. Overlapping dialogue is a technique Robert Altman used famously throughout his films. Welles used the technique throughout Citizen Kane, but one of the more obvious moments is during the screening room sequence (pictured above).In addition to the overlapping dialogue, Welles used what he called a “lightning mix.” This is a way of rapidly transitioning between scenes by using a continuation of a sound effect or a line of dialogue. The previously mentioned scene with Thatcher on Christmas and New Year’s is an example. Another example is the following sequence.Kane’s clapping transitions to the applause of a small group supporters listening to Jedediah Leland give a speech about Kane. Leland’s speech is then used to transition to Kane’s famous speech in front of what appears to be a huge crowd.In ConclusionCitizen Kane remains a rich textbook of seemingly endless production techniques for every filmmaker. From deep focus to overlapping dialogue, there are too many takeaways to list. Citizen Kane should be on every filmmaker’s must-see list. The impressive filmmaking techniques and themes continue to remain relevant today.What is your favorite, or least favorite, aspect of Citizen Kane? Please share below.last_img read more

Setting Custom Composition Displays in After Effects

first_imgCreate a more pleasant After Effects experience with custom composition displays.Cover image via Shutterstock.When I first started working in Adobe After Effects, the wide array of tools in the program intimidated me. Just take a look at the composition panel, and you’ll see a number of buttons, boxes, and drop-down menus. This is normal when you’re working in such a powerful motions graphics and visual effects program. However, often when working in After Effects, you only need access to a few tools.Let’s say, for instance, I’m working on a project that involves simply applying keyframes to one layer. Let’s also say I’m working on a small laptop that doesn’t offer me much screen space. Both of these reasons incentivize me to customize the display options of my composition.In this video tutorial, I’m going to show you how I can quickly configure the composition panel in Adobe After Effects to only display tools related to my needs. Specifically, I’m going to customize my comp panel for a keyframing workflow. This will help me cut through the clutter of tools and give me extra screen real estate for a smooth keyframing experience. Let’s get started.ColumnsAs I stated before, if you’re new to After Effects, all the buttons and options in the composition panel can be quite confusing. The panel itself consists of a number of columns, all providing some nifty tool to assist you in your motion graphics workflow. Just the switches column alone has a lot going on, including controls for motion blur, adjustment layers, effects, and 3D controls. To customize these columns, I’ll open up the panel settings drop-down menu. Under the columns section, I can select or deselect thirteen different options, including the following:A/V FeaturesLabel#Layer/Source NameCommentSwitchesModesParentKeysInDurationOutStretchIn addition to using the panel menu, I can also quickly deactivate columns by control-clicking directly over the column and selecting Hide This. For this particular workflow, I’m going to hide all of the columns except for Keys and Layer Name. Once you do this, you’ll notice I have plenty of space in the composition panel to keyframe.Special ModificationsThe panel settings menu has numerous other display options, which will help me customize a keyframing workflow. I want to select Show Cache Indicators since I will be previewing my animation. Also, I can switch from Keyframe Icons to Keyframe Indices, which will allow me to view my keyframes as numbers in order in the composition. Finally, if I command-click over the timecode indicator, I can change the display style of my timecode to frames.last_img read more

Efficiently Lighting and Shooting Product Shots for YouTube

first_imgLighting and shooting products is a common challenge videographers face. Here are some tips to make your life a little easier.Products are among the most common things YouTubers shoot. Yet, there is very little information online about how to do it efficiently. Most product video tutorials are based on commercials, where a dozen crew members have a whole day to get that perfect shot.When I started shooting products, I lit them just like a human face, but I quickly came to realize products come with their own set of challenges.In filmmaking, you’re always struggling against the two-dimensionality of the screen when shooting a product shot. The screen is flat — the product is not. So, it’s surprising how much of cinematography is trying to create the illusion of depth.People see a static shot of a product from one perspective, and they don’t understand its scale, weight, size, or how it fits in with other things. The best way to create dimension is to orbit around an object, dollying as you pan from one side to the other. This creates a powerful feeling of dimension and what the object looks like. It’s also a nice way to have light play off the corners and angles. You almost always see this in TV commercials, where they do an orbit move around the object they’re advertising.Orbit shots are not that simple to do because you need a dolly or a slider. You also need to pan consistently from one side of the object to the other, at the same rate that you’re moving with the slider.Two Ways to Get Around Orbit ShootingSlidersA motion-controlled slider is a great option; however, it’s relatively expensive, and it takes quite a long time to set-up — especially when all you want is one shot of the product. A curved track slider is the cheaper option. ProMediaGear make these — they come in different lengths and different curvatures, which allow for different shooting distances. The interview-specific unit has a radius of five feet. There is also a model for smaller objects, which is great for product shots, where the radius is only two feet away. This allows you to get in close with a macro lens. The move, combined with shallow depth of field and some nice lighting, yields a professional look. This is an elegant solution to the orbit shot, and it eliminates human error in the pan.There are a few different ways to mount a curved slider, but you need to make sure the camera won’t sag or move at either end. You can put it on two tripods — a single tripod with a removable bracket, or even on two lighting stands, which is what I use. You don’t even need to use a tripod head with it — you can simply put the camera on the slider itself, then adjust the height of the stands, or the height of the object.Lighting the ProductThere are a couple of ways to get good reflections when lighting product shots. First, start with a hard backlight that edges the object from its background. Second, add points of light in the background to create a sense of dimension as the camera pans back and forth. Lastly, use a long light source like a Quasar Science or Astera Tube placed 45 degrees above and 45 degrees in front of the object you’re photographing. This creates a nice long line, and it accentuates the object’s build. If you need a fill light, you can either put a second source below and in front of the product (at the same 45-degree angle), or use a light as the stand itself. This shoots light up through the object and works best with transparent or translucent materials.With orbit moves and some good lighting, you can make any product seem like it’s grabbed straight from a commercial, without the time and expenses.Looking for more video production tips and tricks? Check out these tutorials.Quality vs. Quantity: What Should You Record While Traveling?Editing Tips: Sorting Footage and Creating Quality TimelinesFrom The Wizard of Oz to Transformers: 100 Years of Color GradingCreative Uses for Bokeh Overlays + Free Prism Bokeh PackTips for Making High-Quality Small-Budget Video Tutorialslast_img read more

10 Sales Nevers. No Way. You Just Cannot.

first_imgThere are a lot of sales and social selling gurus, or as I like to call them – charlatans – out there selling you the magic elixir to sales success. The honest truth is: there is no magic pill, no easy path, no snap-your-finger route to success. Truly successful salespeople are professionals who have honed their craft; that doesn’t mean that they have learned the tricks that others don’t know. It means that they have skills and standards, and those standards include clear lines in the sand. Here are the 10 Nevers – the 10 things you can never do if you are serious about being a successful sales professional. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Never begin a sales conversation with a lie. The foundation of your relationship and the currency you trade in is trust. Don’t tell me you’re following up on an email that you never sent. Don’t tell me that you are following up on a LinkedIn conversation I had with your boss that I know never happened.Never make a promise that you do not intend to keep. Your word is your bond, and even though we live in a litigious time, no one should ever need to use a contract to enforce a promise you made.Never avoid dealing with a challenge or problem now. Problems don’t age well. They only grow in complexity and require greater time and attention in the future. Besides, professionals do the work that amateurs, pretenders, and poseurs avoid.Never avoid having a conversation about the investment necessary for your prospect or dream client to achieve their goals. By avoiding the discussion, you make it appear as if you’re afraid to talk about the price. That fear can make your prospective client believe you don’t believe in your product and your pricing.Never get comfortable. Never be so comfortable that you avoid doing things that stretch you. Growth only occurs when you adopt a new belief, even one that scares you, and when you take a new action, especially one that scares you.Never give up the pursuit. Even if you lose an opportunity, you must keep trying. Listen, if the prospective account you were pursuing was worth your time and energy when you lost, then it’s still worth your time and energy now. Regroup. Recover. Reload.Never spend time with people who make you less. Never spend time with those who are negative, cynical, burnout, has-beens, or never were’s. There is truth to the idea that you become like the people with whom you spend the most time. The greatest risk to your mindset is allowing yourself to become infected with poor beliefs. Never spend time with energy vampires.Never lie to win business. Don’t say that you can do something that you can’t do. And don’t commit your company to doing something your business can’t do. If what you sell will not benefit the person or people you are selling it to, then don’t sell it. Work harder at prospecting and maintain your integrity at all costs.Never leave a meeting without establishing the next necessary action in gaining the commitment to take it. If I can offer you only one piece of advice to improve your sales now, this would be it.Never believe that there is something that you cannot do. If you can imagine it, and if you can see yourself doing it, it is possible. This is especially true if other people are already doing what you dream of doing.last_img read more

Will You Be Disintermediated

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Despite what you have heard, all salespeople are not going to disappear due to artificial intelligence. That concept is being thrown around a lot right now – often by people afraid of selling or totally ignorant of what sales really is. It doesn’t matter how much they throw it around, it is still an untruth.Disintermediation means the reduction in the use of intermediaries between producers and consumers. There is no doubt that this has happened at a rapid pace over the last two decades in many economic sectors. There is such a thing as the coming onslaught of AI, but before you cower or revel in the notion of a world where there is no need for salespeople, you must understand our economy.We have an hourglass economy. It has a big top, a narrow middle, and a wide bottom. The internet is disintermediating anything it can. If you’re a book seller or retailer,  Amazon’s ease of use has already impacted or erased you. Amazon Prime or Prime Now means that you can get things you want quickly with less hassle. If you’re a salesperson and the internet creates the same value as you do, by talking about features and benefits and lower pricing, you are going to be disintermediated. If, on the other hand, you move into the higher part of sales where there is more money, you will be where people want high trust, high value, and high caring. You will be disintermediation-proof, because people making high dollar purchases want a trusted advisor, they want council, and they want insights; the internet cannot provide all of these.In the higher realm of sales, relationships are important and you are more than a salesperson, you are a business partner. In this realm what you do is so intertwined with your client that they have to know, like, and trust you. You must provide the right advice and the next initiative. That is a different arena, and there is already a dearth of salespeople with the business acumen to do the job well.If you have the ability to act as council and the ability to manage change and be strategic, you are untouchable. The grey matrix of AI will not obliterate all sales people. The question is, are you creating enough value for you to avoid being disintermediated?last_img read more