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[Poll] Has Apple Gone Too Far?

first_imgTags:#Apple#mobile#Poll What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … dan rowinski Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts center_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology The rise of Apple as the darling of the technology industry was a decade in the making. The company had fallen on hard times before its co-founder and guru Steve Jobs came back in 1997 and redefined what Apple computers stood for.A decade later, in 2007, Apple released the iPhone, and love for the company as well as its revenue have skyrocketed since. But will the litany of lawsuits coming out of Cupertino, finally sour public opinion?The iPhone and iPad are two of the best-selling consumer-electronics products of all time. Each iteration leads Apple’s sales to greater heights. To many, Apple can do no wrong.They think that every decision is right, every mistake is someone else’s fault. Others have come before. Research In Motion’s BlackBerry was once so ubiquitous and heavily used in businesses that it earned the nickname “crackberry.” Nokia was a dominant global cellphone maker for years. Both companies now struggle, their once loyal customers likely toting iPhones right now. Poor decisions and bad timing led to their downfalls. The same fate is not coming to Apple soon. The company enjoys undeniable momentum, having sparked the global market for smartphones and tablets. The true mobile-computing revolution, however, has not been the technology, but the market Apple created. To protect its market and thought leadership, Apple has turned to the legal system. The company owns a clutch of patents for the design and functionality of touchscreen computers and it is using these patent to beat its competitors, if possible, into surrender.Apple has sued Samsung, HTC and Motorola in courts around the world. New patent claims are filed by Apple and other companies in the mobile industry so regularly that it is hard to keep up. The current case in point is the battle being fought between Apple and Samsung in a California court. Apple claims that Samsung willfully copied the design and functionality of the iPhone, and is asking for billions of dollars in damages. An Apple win here could set a precedent that leaves other companies vulnerable to Apple patent claims. But the courtroom battles are straining the affections of buyers and the trade media. Comments on Apple/Samsung articles that we have published are more vitriolic than usual even if Apple still has phalanxes of staunch, vocal supporters.Apple-bashing is not a new phenomenon. Yet more people are questioning Apple’s motives and whether it is still a mobile innovator.  “Apple is a technology-recipe company,” said Logan Hale from the Web show Tek Syndicate. “They take interesting things that other people have done and they add a little garlic, maybe some cilantro, and then say, blam, this is lovely.” Hale said the product “is delicious, and you like it, and then you run around to most of your friends and say ‘look at what Apple has invented.’ Well, they have not invented most of those things.”Have your opinions of Apple changed? Has it become a bully? Can it still innovate? Let us know in the comments. last_img read more

Apple’s iOS 6 Maps App Falls Short In Early Reviews

first_imgTop Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Another widely cited issue with Maps is that it’s not as comprehensive as Google’s offering. As Stevens explains, “Maps will list some important POIs – mostly gas stations and convenience shops – but if you want to see all Mexican restaurants on your route you’ll have to dig deeper.”In his lengthy iPhone 5 review for AllThingsD, Walt Mossberg says Maps is the “biggest drawback” he experienced while test-driving the new iPhone, citing the lack of transit directions and the loss of Google’s photographic imagery. Granted, this is a software feature (and thus easier to address than a cruddy camera or underperforming processor), but Maps is used very heavily by many users, so its substandard performance affects a broad swath of the iPhone community. Even the typically Apple-friendly MG Siegler wrote that, while he was impressed by Maps overall, it’s still not as good as Google’s app. Most critics of the new app have been understanding, given the complexity of providing a mapping solution, Apple’s business need for booting Google and the fact that it’s a brand new program with many iterations down the road. Anil Dash was less forgiving. Calling the Maps upgrade “pretty but dumb,” Dash called Apple out for replacing a widely-used feature with something less polished and comprehensive. Having used iOS 6 for a few months, Dash put the app through its paces and found that the traffic directions and venue search capabilities fell short. Apple clearly has improvements to make in Maps, but it does look like a fairly solid offering overall. The lack of transit directions is unfortunate for any city dweller, but third-party apps are often better than what Google provided. In my own testing, I found the UI of Maps to be hugely improved, especially the way that driving directions are displayed. It’s not only nicer to look at, but it’s also probably safer for drivers to use, particularly when combined with the iPhone’s hands-free, turn-by-turn navigation.It may not seem like a worthy successor to Google Maps, but it’s viable and presumably Apple is working on improvements. And who knows? Perhaps Google is working on its own Maps app for iPhone, just as it did with YouTube. If paying customers are as dissatisfied as some of the early reviewers, it wouldn’t be surprising for Google to capitalize on their discontent.        Tags:#Apple#web Related Posts Most people wont’ get their hands on an iPhone 5 until later this week, but the early reviews are in. Most critics are enamored with Apple’s latest smartphone: It’s faster, thinner, taller and, even though the camera isn’t a huge upgrade, it’s still an improvement. But one new feature isn’t getting much love: the native mapping application in iOS 6.Apple made headlines earlier this year when it was confirmed that Google Maps would no longer be the default app for mapping and navigation on iOS devices. That years-old partnership crumbled amid rising tensions between the two companies, mostly due to Google’s entry into the smartphone market. To fill in the gap, Apple acquired C3 Technologies, a company that specialized in building 3D mapping software. At its Worldwide Developers Conference last summer, Apple showed off the slick, immersive result. While many agree that the user interface of Apple’s Maps is an improvement over its predecessor, not everyone is thrilled with the overall experience. Writes Tim Stevens on Engadget: The biggest drawback is the unfortunate lack of public transportation directions. If you haven’t quite mastered New York City’s subway system, you won’t get any help from your iPhone 5. Curiously, the app offers to give you public transportation directions, but should you choose that option it pops you straight into the App Store with a search for “Routing Apps.” Right now, there are zero results.That’s odd. We figured Apple would partner with third-party transit app developers and at least link directly to those providers. (The lack of search results sounds like a glitch Apple will soon fix.) That would be a big win for those developers and would help keep the user experience intact.  john paul titlow 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

Nintendo’s Epic Fail — Grabbing Copyright From Its YouTube Fans

first_img9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout fruzsina eordogh You might think that Nintendo, beleaguered by falling revenues, minuscule profit and the almost-but-not-quite-failed launch of the Wii U, already has enough problems to worry about.And you would be wrong, as Nintendo itself set out to demonstrate last week by going out of its way to alienate a bunch of its fans on YouTube.The fans in question make YouTube “playthrough” videos about, well, video games — features that combine elements of commentary, review, tutorial and walk-through. Some of these commentators reach millions of subscribers, and many support themselves in full or in part by running ads against their videos.The Empire Strikes BackThis, apparently, Nintendo could not let stand. So last week, the game company began making mass copyright claims on YouTube gameplay videos — in particular, on the the popular “Let’s Play” series of playthrough videos. Nintendo did so via YouTube’s “Content ID” system, which allows the company to robo-claim ownership of videos that contain footage of its video games.Nintendo isn’t trying to take down the commentary videos. But by asserting copyright, the game company can then run its own ads against the commentaries — and thus, of course, deprive the video creators of revenue.In effect, Nintendo has put those video creators on notice that, while it will tolerate them for now, it won’t let them make money from their efforts. It doesn’t matter if the post is a detailed review, a think piece on the art style, or a tutorial for a difficult level, all of which involve a substantial additional effort on the part of the video creator. Insofar as Nintendo, is concerned, any ad revenue those efforts raised now belongs to… Nintendo.Nintendo released this statement to the gaming-news site Gamefront last week:As part of our on-going push to ensure Nintendo content is shared across social media channels in an appropriate and safe way, we became a YouTube partner and as such in February 2013 we registered our copyright content in the YouTube database. For most fan videos this will not result in any changes, however, for those videos featuring Nintendo-owned content, such as images or audio of a certain length, adverts will now appear at the beginning, next to or at the end of the clips. We continually want our fans to enjoy sharing Nintendo content on YouTube, and that is why, unlike other entertainment companies, we have chosen not to block people using our intellectual property.For more information please visit also contacted Nintendo for comment. A spokeperson replied that the company is “looking into” the mass copyright claims, but offered no further statement.Mass Unhappiness Ensues Let’s put this simply: Nintendo’s move is one of the most egregious marketing mistakes ever committed by a major video-game company. It is going to come back to bite Nintendo. Hard.       Playthrough videos such as Let’s Play do a lot to fuel the commercial videogame complex, every bit as much as magazines and blogs. With their ad revenue diverted to Nintendo, however, these Internet-famous gamers have no commercial incentive to play, or talk in-depth about, any Nintendo games ever again.Some are already boycotting Nintendo. Take, for instance, Zack Scott, a prolific creator of Let’s Play videos:Since I started my gaming channel, I’ve played a lot of games. I love Nintendo, so I’ve included their games in my line-up. But until their claims are straightened out, I won’t be playing their games. I won’t because it jeopardizes my channel’s copyright standing and the livelihood of all LPers.Dozens of videos by angry gamers have started to populate the site, and comment sections across YouTube are exploding.“I’ve bought, played and enjoy several games simply because I heard about them and saw gameplay on YouTube,” one individual using the pseudonym TelaranRogue wrote in the comments to a new anti-Nintendo video (titled, cleverly enough, “Nintendo Hates YouTubers”). “With this move, Nintendo just killed their chance of getting sales from me.”“I think Nintendo really took a crap on themselves in doing this,” wrote “robert letourneau” in comments to the IGN video “Let’s Not Play Nintendo Games.”Nintendo’s Self-Inflicted HeadshotShaun Spalding, a former attorney at New Media Rights, argues that Nintendo is really only harming itself. “[G]ameplay videos generate consumer buzz (so much so that game publishers actually pay some high-level Youtubers lots of money just to start ‘Let’s Playing’ their games),” he told me in email. Both the PS4 and Xbox have built-in capabilities that help gamers upload videos to the Internet, he said, but Nintendo has moved in the opposite direction.It’s not even clear that Nintendo’s copyright claims are justified (although they’re likely to stand unless successfully challenged in court). Some critics argue that playthrough videos should qualify for the “fair use” exception to copyright because they don’t incorporate the entirety of the original game and also add a substantial amount of new creative material in the form of commentary, gameplay tips and the like.As gaming commentator “Totalbiscuit” pointed out in his video on the topic:[B]ecause you actually play the game yourself, and you do so in a different way, you transform the work in some respect. It becomes yours, it becomes unique.Too bad Nintendo doesn’t see it that way. At least it’s first in line to suffer from its short-sighted decision. Unfortunately, its fans are queued up right behind it.Image screencapped from YouTube video “Let’s Play Donkey Kong Country 2” by Cobanermani456 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe Appcenter_img Tags:#Nintendo 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… Related Posts last_img read more

Packing For Your Next Business Trip: The Gear You Need

first_imgRelated Posts ReadWriteTrip is a series that chronicles the modern challenges of tech-savvy business travelers.Business travel has evolved over the past 10 years, and nowhere is this more true than what goes in your luggage. In fact, just about the only thing you can really count on getting better in business travel is what you carry in your bag.Over the last decade, I’ve traveled a minimum of 125,000 miles each year and have learned a few tricks to making life on the road a bit more like home.You Need One Bag—At Most TwoSome things never change. When traveling, you need to optimize for space and weight. If you spend as much time in airports as I do, or even if you simply don’t trust airlines to care for your baggage (you’re right to be paranoid), you don’t want to check bags. Ever. It’s therefore critical to pack light, preferably taking just one bag with you.The Tumi Alpha Deluxe Wheeled Brief has a laptop case tucked inside which you can take out.Which “one bag” should you buy? That depends on how you travel and what you carry with you, of course, but for me this Tumi Alpha wheeled brief is about as close to perfect as possible. If I’m traveling four nights or less, this is the bag I take. It’s not cheap but it’s the single best piece of luggage I’ve ever used. Still, for overnight trips I tend to instead use my Tumi Alpha expandable briefcase. Part of the reason one bag is possible is that far more fits into it.Everything Gets SmallerLaptops have gotten lighter: The MacBook Air is the perfect combination of weight, storage and processing power for the business traveler.But so have books.Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader eliminates dead-tree weight for reading material.I no longer carry a paperback book with me. Instead I haul thousands around with me on my slim, lightweight Kindle Paperwhite. Instead of carrying around my iPad, which is both heavier and less pleasurable for reading for hours at a time, I find the Kindle Paperwhite offers the optimal way to enjoy my literature. I also love that it syncs across devices. I read to my kids while I’m traveling, and can instantly tell if they’ve been reading ahead.And thanks to the recent FCC decision allowing use of smaller devices during takeoff and landing, I don’t need a backup magazine or newspaper—I can read for the whole flight.Speaking of reading, when I’m traveling abroad, I read to my kids over Skype. Available for years, Skype lets me call home on amazingly clear lines, even over spotty hotel Wi-Fi. I’m not one for video chatting, but friends of mine use Apple’s FaceTime or Skype to keep in video touch with loved ones while traveling. Each can make do surprisingly well with not-great Wi-Fi connections.One exceptional companion for phone calls, Skype sessions, and workouts are the Bose SIE2i sport headphones. I used to carry Bose QuietComfort noise-canceling headphones, but no more. They’re too big and bulky and lack the integrated microphone that the SIE2i headphones have, and can’t survive the sweat of the gym, anyway. While I still carry the diminutive Sennheiser IE60 earphones with me, I increasingly rely on the SIE2i’s. They serve multiple purposes so well.What To WearAnother revelation for me, albeit a low-tech one, are Nike Free running shoes. As mentioned, I never, ever under any circumstances will check a bag, so getting everything into my carry-on luggage is critical. For years my running shoes were a thorn in my side: they took up a lot of space that could have been used for extra clothes, because of the construction of their soles and sides. Now my running shoes take up hardly any room at all, because a pair of Frees compresses down to a very small size without damaging the shoe.The minimalist running shoe movement is good for travelers. But so are the materials from which exercise clothes are now manufactured. Here’s a pro tip: ditch anything made of cotton. Not only is it uncomfortable while working out, it also doesn’t allow you to easily wash and dry between exercise. I take my workout clothes into the shower with me, letting the soap and shampoo wash over the clothes. After rinsing I hang them up. Modern exercise clothes dry quickly, letting me use the same clothes for several days without becoming that guy or gal that stinks up the gym.When figuring out which clothes to bring, plan for multiple use. Coordinate colors and fabrics so that you can bring one pair of work shoes, belt, sport coat, etc. You don’t want to have to bring clothes that demand special favors—a different pair of pants to wear with only one particular shirt, for example. Oh, and when you’re packing your clothes? Think “roll,” not “fold.” Rolling your clothes yields fewer wrinkles and more space.Packing For MobilityEach of these tips contributes to making you an agile traveler. With just one bag it’s easy to navigate airports or city streets, and not checking bags keeps you flexible when the occasional weather delay or worse throws your plans askew. By focusing on a few items that serve multiple purposes, be they gadgets or clothes, it’s easy to get what you need in a single bag. Or, two, if you must.Just promise me you won’t check a bag. Ever.Photo by reinis 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Matt Asaycenter_img Tags:#business travel#kindle paper white#Nike Free#Trip#Tumi 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

Internet of Things in Healthcare: What are the Possibilities and Challenges?

first_imgRelated Posts Ray Parker Ray Parker is an entrepreneur and internet marketer with over 9 years of experience in Search Engine Optimization, Creative Writing and Digital Marketing. Technology has disrupted every industry including healthcare, business, finance and others. Healthcare remains the fastest to adopt technological changes to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of the body. When we talk about the Internet of Things (IoT), it offers a multitude of benefits such as improving the effectiveness and quality of services by deploying it in medical devices.Have a look at few of the statistics revealing the use of IoT in healthcare and the overall impact on the industry.Nearly 60% of healthcare organizations have introduced IoT devices into their facilities73% of healthcare organizations use IoT for maintenance and monitoring87% of healthcare organizations plan to implement IoT technology by 2019 which is slightly higher than the 85% of businesses across various industriesNearly 64% use of IoT in the healthcare industry is patient monitors89% of healthcare organizations have suffered from IOT related security breachIt has a widely known that interconnected devices are being used in such ways as gathering data from fetal monitors, blood glucose levels, electrocardiograms and temperature monitors. However, some of these tools require follow up communication with a healthcare specialist.Moreover, the majority of hospitals have invested in introducing smart beds to determine whether it’s occupied or not. When we talk about the Internet of Things, there are concerns regarding the data privacy and security. However, it doesn’t matter as far everyone is getting the right treatment, and the patients and doctors work in complete harmony.How healthcare industry can harness the power of IoT and set the stage for highly accessible, personalized and on-time healthcare services for everyone. Have a look at it.Cutting Cost through Remote Health MonitoringThe number one benefit of adopting IoT in a healthcare organization is cost reduction. Healthcare specialists can take advantage of remote health monitoring without the patient being present in the hospital. No matter, whether the patient is at home, in the office or some other part of the world, healthcare specialists can monitor the patient’s health and provide recommended treatments.Thus, it can reduce the workload of healthcare providers who can’t bear the flooding of patients each day. Moreover, the shortage of staff at medical health centers would never disrupt the checkup of patients. IoT can also be helpful in third world countries where health facilities are inaccessible. It can also be useful in areas hit by flood, earthquake, tsunami or hurricane. Overall, the impact of this technology will offer better health facilities, no longer specific to particular regions but globally.Collecting and Understanding Medical Data During a patient’s stay, they are tangled in medical devices including heart monitors, blood pumps, respirators, and IVs. However, the operation and recording of information from these devices take a lot of time and are prone to errors on behalf of caregivers.Today, with IoT a patient’s data can be conveyed through Electronic Health Record systems automatically. This method helps in increasing the accuracy of data and allows nurses to spend more time providing care.On the other hand, doctors have to interpret data to decide the cure for patients. Due to the increase of medical devices, it can be challenging for doctors to come up with a proper diagnosis. For this, an IoT solution can be used to support health practitioners while combining IoT data from a multitude of medical devices and gain insights about patient’s health, without scattering the information.Patient Monitoring The evolution of wearable health gadgets like the Apple iWatch has begun playing a pivotal role in the monitoring of an individual’s health. Still, these products are sometimes not as accurate compared to general medical equipment.On the other hand, wearable IoT devices can analyze and detect different health points such as blood pressure, heartbeat, brainwaves, temperature, physical position, footsteps and breathing patterns. With the help of data collected through IoT devices, doctors can share their feedback and give general suggestions in the case of an emergency.Although, the IoT is revolutionary in the healthcare sector, there are few challenges as well that needs to be kept in mind. Have a look at them.Challenges of IoT in HealthcareSecurity Threats The primary concern for regulatory bodies is the security of Personal Health Information, stored and conveyed through connected devices. While many healthcare organizations make sure that the sensitive data is stored in a secure and encrypted manner, they do not have control over the safety and security of the data access points being used to transmit the data. This creates a significant threat that increases gradually based on the number of new devices connected to the network.Multiple Device Integration Multiple device integrations is also an obstacle to the successful deployment of IoT in healthcare. Today most health devices and equipment within hospitals need to be connected to collect data of the patient. For instance, if a person is suffering from heart disease, he/she may be suffering from high blood pressure as well.The most prominent challenge is that device manufacturers have not agreed upon set of protocols and standards. As various mobile devices are connected to the network for the collection of data, the difference in protocols results in complicating the process of grouping the information. The lack of homogeneity among the medical devices reduces the successful implementation of IoT in healthcare.Inferring Results from Immense Data The process of aggregating and collecting data is attached to many complexities. Though the combined data results can help in deriving new conclusions inferred from the patient’s record. However, coming up with the results from such a significant amount of data is quite challenging, without refined analytics program and data experts.Identifying valuable and actionable data is critical as most of the medical specialists and physicians find it difficult to conclude with the growth of data. The decision-making process with rapidly increasing data lacks quality. Moreover, the concerns are becoming bigger and bigger with the growth of some connected devices that continuously collect and generate big data.Conclusion IoT will undoubtedly transform the health industry and the way patients are treated. Not only will it benefit doctors and other specialists, but people who have no access to the basic health facilities. Addressing few problems such as data security will revolutionize the health industry without breaching the privacy. Let’s embrace technology as a blessing instead of a curse and see what happens in the coming years. Can IoT Bridge The Gaps In Modern Mental Health… How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… FDA Extends Collaboration on Living Heart Proje… Tags:#featured#Healthcare#IoT#top 8 Unusual Ideas for a Dentistry Businesslast_img read more

Caregiving Tips for the Holidays

first_imgAlthough the holidays can be a joyous occasion, they can also cause our lives to become more hectic and stressful. Caregivers can become overwhelmed by continuing to take care of their service member while also trying to make this time of the year special and memorable. Below are some suggestions to help you make it through the holiday season.1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with caregiving dutiesSometimes the things you’re most grateful for are not material things, but help. During the holiday seasons there seem to be more things to do each day, and less time to get it done. Don’t be afraid to make your wish list with caregiving activities on it. Talk to your family and friends about helping you out with running errands, taking service members to appointments, or helping you out around the house. Remember that you need to take care of yourself to, so let your loved ones pitch in this holiday season.2. Recognize the signs and symptoms of burnoutDuring the holidays your stress level may reach an all-time high trying to juggle caring for your wounded warrior as well as everything that the holidays entail. Lookout for signs of becoming overwhelmed. If you reach the point of becoming overwhelmed try some mindfulness techniques to refocus your attention and move past the stress.3. Simplify your holiday activitiesThe hype of the holidays and the buildup we create with our imaginations is difficult if not impossible to actually manage and maintain. Change your expectations to something that you can obtain without adding more stress to your life. Set limits to help you manage this time. If you are preparing a holiday meal, try choosing foods that are simpler to cook, try crockpot meals, eat out or order a prepared meal.4. Consider making new holiday traditionsTraditions are wonderful and can be something to look forward to, but sometimes they can become too overwhelming. If this is the case consider starting a new tradition that suits where you’re at better. Go easy on yourself and understand that as a caregiver you are creating a ‘new normal’ which will inevitable cause some changes.5. Be aware of and anticipate triggers from your service memberAlthough the holidays are meant to bring joy and happiness, sometimes the holidays may trigger stress and unhappy memories for your service member.  Be mindful and acknowledge their emotions as well as yours. Service members may feel anxious in large holiday crowds; and they may even trigger negative emotions because your service member may no longer be able to participate in the same ways they were accustomed to. Try to stay focused on the positive and remember how thankful you are that they are with you, especially during the holidays.This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on December 4, 2015.last_img read more

Retirement Planning for Military Spouses

first_imgBy Carol ChurchThe military’s new blended retirement system will be in full effect as of January 2018, and the changes will mean that many more service members will leave service with substantial retirement savings. Though not everyone is pleased with everything about the new system, overall, this is good news for the military population, more of whom will now have a nest egg in their later years.But let’s not forget: that money belongs to the member who serves. Of course, as long as the couple remains married, and the service member is still alive, all should be fine there. But in the event of divorce or the member’s death, things look quite different.Divorce pixabay [divorce-619195_1920 by stevepb, January 31, 2015, CCO Public Domain]Most military spouses are female, and past studies have found that military wives earn less and spend less time in the workforce than civilian women, meaning they may have very little in the way of retirement savings of their own. It’s important to know that after a divorce, ex-spouses are not automatically entitled to the service member’s retirement pay. However, exes may be awarded a portion of the pay (up to 50%) by a court in the divorce order.DeathAfter the death of a service member, retirement pay stops. If the family has elected to pay into the Survivor Benefit Plan, which is similar to life insurance, families can receive up to 55% of the service member’s retirement pay monthly for life, in exchange for a monthly premium. However, remember, this is only 55% of that pay! Benefits will reduce significantly.Planning AheadNo one wants to plan ahead for these eventualities, but since they do happen, it’s very important for spouses of service members to set aside funds of their own. If nothing else, they will be an excellent source of supplemental income in the years to come, and will make both members of a couple feel secure and cared for. And in some cases, spouses who find themselves on their own will need this money. So, what are some options for military spouses wanting to save for retirement?Traditional or Roth IRA—It’s a great idea for both spouses to fund an IRA, but if the spouse does not have any other retirement funds in his or her names, this becomes a priority. Families should try to fully fund a low-cost IRA every year when possible. IRAs are great because they are so easily automated and are extremely portable. However, you can’t contribute that much per year ($5500, or $6500 if over 50).Prioritize jobs with retirement accounts—This may be difficult or impossible for spouses who must work part-time or in other less regular jobs, but employer-matching funds are a key benefit whenever they can be found!Spouses should try to contribute the max amount when possible, especially if “catching up” after years of not owning a plan. This can be done even if the military spouse is contributing to the maximum to TSP.Consider a self-employment retirement account. If the nonmilitary spouse has self-employment income, he or she has a couple of options:Simplified Employee Pension (SEP), to which he or she can contribute as much as 25% of net earnings (up to $54,000). These are the easiest to set up.A solo 401K, to which he or she can contribute as much as 100% of earnings (up to $18,000, or $24,000 if age 50 and over). This may be best if the spouse is not earning much.The advantage of these plans is that they lower your taxable business income while also creating a retirement nest egg.A SIMPLE IRA. Though perhaps more typically used for small businesses, these plans are easy to set up and workers can contribute 100% of self-employment income up to $12,500. Every military couple should take the time to put aside retirement savings for both members. Fortunately, there are multiple options that make this fairly easy. This wise financial choice ensures financial security for the future, come what may.last_img read more

How to Manage your Emotions and Finances during the Holidays

first_imgPressure- Santa seems to be getting more and more generous these days. He seems to be giving gifts that are extravagant and over the top. And, if Santa doesn’t come to your home, you still have pressure from your neighbors, friends, and family members when they start telling you the items they will be giving their children- a new car (yes, you read that right), a brand new iPad AND MacBook, etc. Don’t Fall for It: There will always be pressure. While it is hard for most of us to watch our children feel disappointment, most of us share the ultimate goal of having happy children. Spending large amounts of money and giving extravagant gifts might make a child happy for a short amount of time, but giving them your love, affection, and undivided attention is worth so much more in the long run. It may also be helpful not to ask others about what they will be giving their children for the holidays. Sometimes, comparing can only make us feel worse! Give the Gift of Experience: Practice giving the gift of experience rather than an item – plan a special family event after the holidays. This can be more special than a toy for many children. Resolve to Do Differently in 2018If your holiday spending didn’t go according to plan, resolve to beat financial stress in 2018 by making a plan and sticking to a budget. Here is a list of tips and resources to make saving money easier in the New Year:Make saving automatic. Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account. You’ll never even miss the money and you don’t have to think about it.Examine your spending and develop a plan. Take a look at your income and expenses and develop a spending plan to determine where your money is going.52-Week Money Challenge: Save small amounts of money each week of the year and you’ll have $1,378 saved by the end of 2018.Many New Year’s resolutions are health and fitness based and research has shown the conscientious behavior that allows folks to make positive lifestyle changes that improve health are positively correlated with positive financial management. Take the Small Steps to Health & Wealth quiz to assess potential changes you can make to improve your overall well-being. Whatever tips you decide to use from this blog, we hope that you find them helpful! We wish you a healthy, happy, stress-free (or at least stress “less”) holiday season!This blog was written by Molly Herndon, Social Media Specialist for MFLN Personal Finance and Bari Sobelson, Social Media Specialist for MFLN Family Development. Guilt- Perhaps you feel like you just don’t spend enough quality time with your loved ones throughout the year, so you feel that the guilt can be contained by giving large or expensive gifts to your loved ones.Send a different type of message: Think hard about what message this sends. This suggests that you can buy someone’s love and replace time with gifts. If you are concerned that you don’t spend enough time with your family, work on creating a new year’s resolution to do this! You can make a ‘family (or friend) resolution’ so that everyone is committed to it. Give the Gift of Love and Time: Instead of spending large amounts of money, spend more time. Think of projects, games, or other group activities that all of you can do together. Stress- It isn’t uncommon for stress to induce impulsive behaviors such as overeating and overspending. You might find yourself attempting to reduce your stress levels by buying more and thinking less.Reduce your stress level: Don’t wait until the stress hits you like a ton of bricks to try and reduce it! Before the holidays even start, put some practice into place- exercise mindfulness, self-care, and other stress-reducing tactics that work for you. If you start the holidays with a stress-reducing plan already in motion, you are more likely to stick to it! You are also setting yourself up for more protection from stress! Make a spending plan:  Lynn Little, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent from Maryland Extension suggests making lists for each of your holiday shopping categories – such as gifts, food, and travel. Determine the amount of money available for spending, then estimate those expenses to develop your spending plan. Be as detailed as possible – list all your gift recipients (don’t forget babysitters, neighbors or your children’s teachers). Shopping with a list reduces the urge to spend impulsively. By Molly Herndon, MS and Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFTU.S. Air Force photo illustration/ Senior Airman Michael SmithWith the holidays right around the corner, many of us are pulling out our wallets and getting our lists together,  while simultaneously pulling out our hair!  Although the holidays can be a time of great joy and excitement, they can also present feelings of dread, leaving you emotionally and financially drained. Here are some problems and possible solutions to think about during this holiday season in an effort to navigate your way through managing both your emotions and your finances.center_img Obligation- During the holiday season, there are parties and gatherings galore! Some of your friends and family may host gatherings that have gift exchange as a main feature. These types of parties can add up fast and so can the money you spend and the stress it induces! It’s Okay to Say No: You can always say no. Don’t be afraid to tell your loved ones that you will have to pass on this particular gathering. You can also tell them that you would like to attend but that you will pass on the gift exchange piece. Most people would rather have your presence than your presents anyway! Get Creative: Suggest to your loved ones that a gift exchange doesn’t have to be with NEW items! A white elephant gift exchange is always fun (give something that you already have at home that you don’t use or have never even opened)! This way, you are still doing the gift exchange, but you aren’t spending any money. You could also have an upcycling gift exchange where each of you finds something you already have and turn it into something else. This could spark creativity and lots of fun!   ProblemSolution Getting Back on Financial TrackMaybe your holiday shopping has already gotten out of control or there were some unexpected expenses this year that were put on a credit card. Don’t let the end of year financial missteps mar your financial outlook for 2018. When your credit card statement arrives, take a look at the interest rates. Does it make more sense to tackle the debt with the higher interest rate first, as many experts suggest? Or would you feel more empowered by eliminating small debts first?There is no wrong way to pay down debt. Dr. Barbara O’Neill suggests using PowerPay, a program developed by Utah State University Cooperative Extension. To use the program, users enter their creditor’s information, outstanding balance, APR and monthly payment amount. PowerPay then determines the amount to be paid each month to most efficiently pay off the debt with as little interest paid as possible.last_img read more

Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day

first_imgIn observance of Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day this Sunday, we would like to take the time to remember the surviving mothers and families, and honor the legacy of their loved ones who died while serving our country.Gold Star Mother’s and Family DayDuring World War I, military family households would put a Service Flag in the windows of their homes. The Service Flag would have a deep Blue Star and/or a Gold Star for each family member that was serving our country. A Blue Star represented those who were alive and a Gold Star honored those who had lost their life.In 1928, twenty-five mothers who resided in Washington, D.C., created a national organization known as American Gold Star Mother’s Inc. In 1936, the last Sunday in September was designated as the Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day, which has been observed each year by a presidential proclamation.Loss and GriefThere are many emotions that come with grief after the loss of a loved one. The Cooperative Extension System is there to help with support by offering resources to help cope. Here are a few:Loss and Grief – Grief Comes With Many EmotionsCoping with lossLoss and Grief – Activities to Help You GrieveFor more information and resources to help cope with the loss of a loved one, connect with your local Cooperative Extension.last_img read more

Working with Layered Photoshop Files in FCPX

first_imgHere’s an important tip for success in FCPX: Rasterize all layer effects before saving your Photoshop file. Adjustment layers and layer styles will not be translated into FCPX unless they are rasterized or flattened first.FCPX & Photoshop Best PracticesAfter the release of 10.0.3, Apple released a white paper on the best practices for creating a layered Photoshop file in FCPX. This is a lot of technical info, but here are a few standout points.Photoshop files should be in 8-bit RGB color mode before being brought into FCPX. 16-bit color mode files will come into FCPX flattened, 32-bit won’t input at allUse the default film and video frame sizes in Photoshop (files that are too big will cause FCPX to be sluggish or crash)Photoshop blending modes are supported only if there is a FCPX equivalentFCPX supports enabled and disabled layersYou can find tons of info and technical FCPX & Photoshop specs on Apple’s site. And if you’re looking to get better with Final Cut Pro X, our blog is loaded with tutorials, tips, and techniques — including our Final Cut Pro X Editor Kits, featuring free footage from Shutterstock and royalty free music from the PremiumBeat library!How’s Final Cut Pro X working out for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Round out your video editing skill set by learning how to optimize your Photoshop files for Final Cut Pro X!Importing layered Photoshop files into earlier versions of Final Cut Pro was one of the quickest ways to give yourself a headache. Layers ended up as a nested clip and it was time consuming to identify what each layer was. If you applied an effect or changed any aspect of one of the layers, you’d be in for painfully long render times. To top it off, the Photoshop files led to all sorts of instability issues, occasionally causing FCP to give errors or crash.Since the 10.0.3 release, you can now bring Photoshop files into Final Cut Pro X. A few of the above pain points have been addressed, but a few of these quirks still exist. Knowing how to prep your Photoshop files for Final Cut Pro X will keep you out of hot water.The following two resources provide everything you need to know about working with Photoshop files in FCPX.MacBreak Studio: Photoshop Files in FCPXIn the video above, the guys from Pixel Corp present an informative, entertaining primer on working with Photoshop PSD files in FCPX as part of their MacBreak Studio series. Discover how to bring Photoshop files in as layered graphics and how to add new layers to those graphics in FCPX (once new layers are added, they become compound clips). You can easily identify what elements are on each layer by taking advantage of the FCPX clip skimming feature. Other highlights from this video tutorial include:How to identify your Photoshop files in FCPXTransform and add effects to individual layersKeyframe specific layers of the Photoshop fileUsing transparency (alpha channels) from your Photoshop fileslast_img read more

Alien Invasion: After Effects Video Tutorial

first_imgLearn how to composite a realistic alien spaceship into your footage in this exciting After Effects video tutorial.In the second part of our Alien Invasion tutorials we will take a look at how to composite, track, and distort an alien spaceship onto a video plate. In our previous Alien Invasion tutorial we took a look at how to build a realistic spaceship using Cinema 4D and After Effects. We highly recommend checking out Part 1 before preceding with this tutorial!First, let’s check out what we’ll be creating:In this exciting tutorial we will take a look at how to blend our 3D elements into our 2D video plate and add a few distortion effects to sell the entire shot. The tutorial will cover:Shooting in high shutter speedsThe Rolling Shutter Repair effectMocha trackersCreating custom trackersViewing individual color channelsUsing effects to blend elementsCreating distortion using fractal noise Want to watch more After Effects video tutorials? Check out the After Effects section of the PremiumBeat blog. There you’ll find dozens of exclusive tutorials dedicated to making you a better motion designer or check out my site want to know what you think about this tutorial! Got questions? Drop a line in the comments below.last_img read more

Building a $100 Cinema Camera

first_imgHow inexpensively can you put together a digital cinema camera package? Here’s what to spend your money on in the post-peak-camera era.Film will only become an art when its materials are as inexpensive as pencil and paper.– Jean CocteauWords from a mid 20th century filmmaker, often repeated when talking about the “democratization” of filmmaking. A lot of us have assumed he meant the cost of gear, so I did a reality check to see if we are there yet, or more practically: how inexpensively can I put together a digital cinema camera package?I spent less than $100 on a camera body and memory card, and grand total of 178 dollars to build a rig with a camera body, recording media, interchangeable lenses, rails and follow focus. Here’s how you can do it, too.USED IS “NEW” TO YOUIn the last couple of years, the camera body has become the most volatile expense when building rig for filmmaking. It started with the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera (BMPCC): a micro 4/3rds sized sensor that captured images in high bitrate and raw video codecs that cost less that a thousand dollars. The trend has continued with DSLRs and other M4/3 systems gaining higher bit rate codecs, slog and UHD (aka 4K). The decision to shoot on these small camera bodies no longer means a compromise in recording quality. This removes a significant barrier between professional and prosumer gear.While DSLRs and other camera/video hybrid M4/3 systems are priced above the one thousand dollar mark, Blackmagic continues to lower the price bar, debuting its micro cinema camera at NAB this year. The BMMCC shots raw 1080P video, boasting 13 stops of latitude on a 16mm sized sensor. The camera is tiny — it’s really just a sensor with a box around it. No screen, no frills, just a high-end sensor that you can attach all kinds of things to. This is a camera designed for a drone or to be shoved into small places.The Black Magic Pocket Cinema CameraThis is a good thing, because in a year, there will be larger sensors recording more stops of latitude, higher frame rates, and costing less. It makes so much sense to just swap a sensor unit out to prevent the rest of your gear from becoming obsolete.This could be the subject of a very interesting article, that’s not what I am writing. I am writing about what to do when someone throws out their old amazing camera to pursue the shiny and new. This is about the camera for the “rest of us”.1080P capable camera bodies are already flooding the used markets of Ebay, Craigslist, and Amazon. We have reached some kind of critical mass in abundant cheap digital camera gear. There are enough spare parts laying around now to quickly and cheaply cobble together a digital motion picture camera. Will this camera set the bar for performance and image quality? No. That’s not the point. This project is not about high-end performance, it’s about an “all access” affordable motion picture camera that borders on semi-disposable. I give you the “$100 Digital Cinema Camera.”THE RULESThe Panasonic Lumix GF2First, some ground rules: by cinematic image, I mean a large enough sensor that a visible change in depth of field could be achieved natively (aka shallow focus.) Second, the sensor had to be sensitive enough so that at least 7-8 stops of latitude would be possible. Finally, I wanted the recording format to be as lossless as possible. 24 progressive frames per second was the target frame rate. Ideally I would get this natively, but, if I had to post process to get this, that would work too. And I wanted to spend a hundred dollars or less on the camera body and media.Must record an HD imageMust record either a native 24P frame rate or a 60i frame rate (to convert to 24P in post)interchangeable lensescamera raw or high bit rate codec to minimize compression artifactscamera + recording media < $100large sensor, equivalent to 16mm or largerAny accessory must be less than 40 dollars, preferably less than 20!A hundred dollars is arbitrary, I know. It’s kind of an economic and psychological pain threshold. It’s the cost of a week’s groceries, or two and a half tanks of gas, a pair of nice sneakers, etc. It’s an amount that fades into the day to day background of a large percentage of people’s economic lives. While not the cost of a pen and paper, it approaches a level of affordability that has the potential to make it just as ubiquitous. Most importantly, it puts the camera and potential for cinema in the hands of some of the most creative and least economically affluent people I know — young people.I settled on a hacked Panasonic Lumix GF2 shooting 1080/60i at 50m/bits that I picked up used on Amazon for 78 dollars. Using Magic Bullet Frames I was able to swizzle the fields and convert the 60i to 24P just like in the olden days of 2002.THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CHEAPOpteka CXS-25 15mm Rod System When you spend $78 on a camera it gets hard to justify buying expensive support gear like a Zacuto rig. So instead I spent $60 on the cheapest used kit I could find on Amazon and got rails and a follow focus.I got a Nikon G to M4/3 adapter for $25 so I can use my Nikon 50mm f1.8 and Nikon 20mm f2.8 from my still camera. And I bought a 32GB class 10 SDHC card as an open box special at Best Buy for $15.HACKING THE CODECThere is a vibrant community of Lumix camera hackers that have juiced the video codec from a meager 17mbit AVCHD up to a card-crushing 110mbit monster. Also there’s a 100mbit MJPEG 4:2:2 codec if you have a fast enough SDHC card. I honestly can’t tell the difference between the rock-solid-50mbit AVCHD codec and the crashes-often-100mbit MJPEG. They both capture a tremendous amount of detail.RESULTSMy “$100” Cinema CameraIt works! Of course, there are funny things that you have to deal with since it’s a hacked codec (like the camera locking up from time to time.) But I have strapped this system to the top of my car and gone speeding down the streets of San Francisco with it, not really worrying if it flies off, because it was so inexpensive. The cost of the unit makes me feel way less precious about it, like pencil and paper.Am I making great cinema now that I have a close to zero-cost cinematic camera?Not really. While M3/4 systems and DSLRs are perfectly capable of capturing stunning cinematic moments, cameras don’t create cinema, they capture it. Cinema is what goes on in front of the lens with light, shadow, color, performance and story. Cinema is experience and craft, not a the result of a camera package alone.My advice is spend as little as you have to on a camera that works. Spend your budget on wardrobe, location, and lighting. By all means save your money, just don’t spend it on a camera package because now you don’t have to. Instead, take time off work and write a great story. Beautiful image making is unbelievably cheap to do now, almost the cost of pen and paper, while telling a compelling and cinematic story is just as hard, and costly, as it’s ever been.The upshot is that in a year or two you’ll be able to pick up a used 4K, HFR capable camera body with 17 stops of latitude for next-to-nothing. So, you know, start planning the shot list now!Here’s some more camera-related (and budget-minded) content from PremiumBeat:The Best Camera Options for Production Company Startups8 Killer Filmmaking Cameras Under $1,000Lens vs Camera: Which is a Better Investment?Ready to rush out and build your $100 cinema camera? Share your plan in the comments below!last_img read more

Photoshop Quick Tip: Color Correcting an Image Sequence

first_imgAlthough many software platforms have the capability to edit and color RAW media natively, there are situations when Adobe Photoshop might be the best tool for the job.On several occasions, I’ve needed to batch process an image sequence (usually Cinema DNG RAW material from a Blackmagic Cinema Camera) using Adobe Photoshop. While I’m proficient in Resolve, After Effects, and other applications that are more than capable of handling image sequences natively, there have been times when Photoshop was ultimately the best solution.This was often the case when working on a computer system that wasn’t my own and didn’t have Resolve or any other finishing software installed. It’s not uncommon when working in the post-production world to get asked at the last minute to do a “one light color pass” when delivering your digital dailies to the editor. In a scenario where you simply don’t have access to any other software, here’s how you can use Photoshop as a band-aid solution.Step 1: Open the Source MediaMuch like opening up a single image, simply select Open from the file menu and locate your image sequence folder. Select all of the images and click Open once again. This will load all of your individual images from the sequence into the Camera Raw window.Step 2: Color CorrectWith the files now imported into the Camera Raw window, hit CMD + A to select all. This way, any changes that you make to the color will be globally applied to each individual shot. Use the usual color tools on the right side panel to make any and all creative adjustments.The familiarity and convenience of using the Photoshop tools makes for a simple and easy grading experience. You won’t be able to add power windows or create secondary grades, however that shouldn’t be an issue, as you’d typically leave more complex adjustments for the finishing stages of post.Step 3: ExportOnce your color work is done, click Save Images on the bottom left of the window. Not only will this allow you to re-export all of your shots (with the color changes), but it’ll also allow you to convert the files.If for any reason you need to work with a TIFF sequence or JPEG sequence, you’ll have the ability to convert the format at this step. This may be helpful for FCPX users who are able to use workarounds to edit JPG image sequences, but won’t be able to edit DNG sequences in the application.Have any tips for color grading RAW footage in Photoshop? Share in the comments below.Need stock photos for your next creative projects, check out the Shutterstock stock photo collection.last_img read more

Change the Language of Adobe Creative Cloud Apps

first_imgIs English not your first language? Here’s how to change the default language preferences for all Adobe Creative Cloud apps.People all over the world use the Adobe Creative Cloud, so users everywhere need to customize their experiences. In this quick tutorial, I’m going to show you how to change the language settings of Premiere Pro and After Effects to one of the 25+ languages that Adobe CC supports.In this quick video tutorial, I’m going to show you how easy it is to change the default user language of all the Adobe Creative Cloud apps.Let’s dive in. Setting the Adobe CC Language in Mac OS 10.7+ and Windows 7+For those of you using the Adobe Creative Cloud on newer operating systems, odds are you already have the Adobe Creative Cloud desktop app installed. Look for the Creative Cloud icon in the Apple menu bar or Windows taskbar.Step One: Click on the Creative Cloud iconSimply click on the Creative Cloud icon in your operating system. If you do not see the icon, do the following:Windows: Start > Programs > Adobe Creative CloudMac OS: Go > Applications > Adobe Creative Cloud > Adobe Creative CloudStep Two: Click on the 3 vertical dots, Select PreferencesOpen the Preferences panel by clicking on the three vertical dots and selecting Preferences.Step Three: Open the Creative Cloud tabSwitch over from the General tab to the Creative Cloud tab.Step Four: Open the App tab, Select the Language of your choiceIn the Apps tab, you will see a dropdown menu for App Language. Click on the dropdown menu, and select the language of your choice.Step Five: Download the Adobe CC AppsYou will now need to re-download the Adobe Creative Cloud apps you need. Once downloaded, these new versions will be in the language of your choice.If for some reason the language does not change, uninstall the Adobe CC apps, and then reinstall. That should take care of any issues.last_img read more

How to Overcome the 5 Biggest Obstacles to Writing Your Screenplay

first_img2. Defining Your CharactersWriting movies takes a lot of imagination. Not only do you have to create an entire world, you have to create believable, compelling characters to inhabit it. In the beginning, these characters are usually simply designed. This is helpful for the broad strokes, but once you start really nailing down your story, you’ll need each of these characters to be living, breathing people with clearly defined goals, fears, and motivations.The Right Way to Give and Receive Feedback on a Script6 Free Scriptwriting Resources for Your Next Screenplay5 Tips from the Pros for Adapting Books into Film Scripts 3. Nailing Your Climax EarlyImage via Trumbo (Bleecker Street Films).In some screenwriting courses, they teach you, as an exercise, to start with your climax and work backward from there. There’s some wisdom in it. The climax is the crux of your story, and every other scene should build toward it. You can write and write as much as you’d like on everything else, but until you have your climax knocked out, you can’t really say for certain how all your other scenes will go.7 Reasons You Should “Script” Your Documentary Projects8 Questions to Ask Yourself When Deciding on a Script5 Important Tools Every Screenwriter Should Have 4. Getting Caught up in the Small DetailsIt’s fun to write for writing’s sake. An exercise like word-association or free-writing opens your mind to creatively explore your ideas and characters. And while defining your characters and the climax is important, you don’t want to get too lost in the dreaming — because that can sometimes last forever.It’s important to build out a plot summary early on so that you can keep a 10,000-foot perspective on your project. I’ve found notecards help a great deal, and you can lay out scenes on a timeline. Don’t lose track of the details, but also don’t get caught up in them such that you can’t make major outline changes when they’re necessary.The Walk and Talk: Crafting Exposition That Won’t Bore Your AudienceScreenwriter James V. Hart on Career, Coppola, and Creating a MethodInterview: Tracy Andreen on the Romance of Writing for Hallmark 5. Every Film Doesn’t Have to Be GroundbreakingImage via In a Lonely Place (Columbia Pictures).Of all the obstacles, this is probably the hardest to overcome. When you’re starting out, you’re usually drawn to write stories that matter to you. You’ve had a great idea and are justifiably excited to get it made. But this can cause you to become too invested.Movies can be very personal and explore expansive themes, but they don’t all have to. In fact, most of the masterpieces you’ve seen usually come at the end of storied filmmaking careers. In the beginning, it can be helpful to take that pressure off yourself and just try to write scripts that would be fun to shoot with friends.Screenwriter Norman Steinberg on Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, and Getting HeardInterview: Animated Advice from Films to Comics with David Avallonecenter_img Struggling to finish your film script? Here are five of the biggest obstacles screenwriters face — and how to overcome them.To be honest, starting a screenplay is probably the easiest thing in the world to do. People have great ideas all the time. Inspiration strikes, and you feverishly begin scribbling away at a brilliant idea. Not to reduce any of your excitement, because people truly do have great ideas all the time, but the real challenge isn’t finding the right concept — it’s finishing it.There are millions of unfinished great ideas out there. However the only great ideas that actually get made into films are the ones that are painstakingly worked on, revised, edited, and finished.To finish a script, you’ll have to overcome many obstacles along the way. And while each obstacle will be unique to you and your story, there are some general ones you might experience. Here are five of the biggest obstacles screenwriters face when working on their brilliant ideas — and how you can overcome them.1. Finding the RIGHT Opening SceneImage via Adaptation (Columbia Pictures).Speaking from personal experience (as well as helping and listening to dozens of other writers and filmmakers), the majority of people who sit down to write their screenplay begin with the opening scene. This makes sense because movies begin with an opening scene, don’t they?However, once you spend a few weeks on your script, the opening scene becomes simply one scene among many. And while you’ll probably painstakingly work and re-work every other scene in your film, you might, like many writers, fall into the trap of caring too much about your original idea for the opening.The right scene to open your movie isn’t necessarily your first idea. Or your second or your third. If anything, your opening scene should be your most nitpicked and reworked scene of them all. So, start how you’d like, but finish by finding the right opening scene.Austin Film Festival Interview: Insights for Turning Your Script into a 90-Second PitchHow to Break a Script Down Into a Shot ListPro Insight: Highlighting Scripts Cover image via Barton Fink (Twentieth Century Fox).last_img read more

You Get What You Focus On

first_imgYou get what you focus on.If you focus on distractions, you will be distracted. If you focus on the next novelty, the next interesting thing that might capture your attention, your results will reflect the fact that you were distracted.If you focus on excuses, you will find them. If you look for reasons that you can’t do something, the reasons will appear as if by magic. And your results will reflect the rationalizations and excuses you make.If you focus on blaming other people, you will always find your scapegoat. Your parents, your teachers, your manager, your boss, your President. Your results will reflect your other-focus.If you focus on having the identity of procrastinator, you will indeed procrastinate. You will put off the work you should be doing now, and your results will reflect that decision–and the identity you have chosen for yourself.If you focus on creating opportunities, you will produce new opportunities. And those opportunities will provide you with growth and success. If that’s what you focus on.If you focus on continuous improvement, you will go from day-to-day, week to week, month to month, and year to year getting better, faster, stronger, smarter, and more capable. That focus will produce a bigger, better you.If you focus on taking action instead of waiting, your focus will produce real, tangible outcomes. Focused action always gets results.If you focus on success, you will produce success. It may not be as fast as you want it to be. It may not be the straight line upwards that you want. And may not be anywhere as easy for you as it is for someone else. But if you focus on success, you will most assuredly produce it.What are you focused on right now?last_img read more

Deciding to Say No In Advance

first_imgDecide to say no to distractions before you are confronted by them. Decide to shut the laptop lid, turn off your notifications, close the browser, and avoid the things that entertain you but waste your time. Say no in advance by eliminating the opportunity to be distracted.The phone in your hand. Put it down. Turn it off. This is the small screen of infinite distractions, and most people use it as their primary consumption device instead of their primary creation device. Consumption is mostly distraction. For many, creation is a distraction. Say no in advance by turning off the phone for a few hours at a time.Decide to remove the television from your office so that you are not confronted with the events of the day, the hyped up stories designed to capture your attention, and the sense of disappointment you feel when there is nothing worth your attention. For some people, the news is their entertainment. Saying no here means avoiding spending time and energy on things about which there is nothing you can do.Decide to say no to things that spark your FOMO, your fear of missing out. Something sounds like it’s going to be interesting or fun, and so you want to say yes. You know, however, that it isn’t going to be all it is being purported to be, and you would be just happy saying no and buckling down to focus on what’s important. Saying no here means politely declining, and asking to try again next time.Decide to say no to commitments that you haven’t made, like a good part of your email. Anyone with your email address can drop a complicated task directly into your inbox—without your permission. It can be terribly difficult to decide what to do with some requests, and when they send you an email, you have already been given the task of making a decision, responding to a question, or providing something the other party wants—a good portion of which are distractions, and very few of which deserve your attention right now. Maybe you don’t say no, but at least say “not now,” to commitments that were made for you without your consent. Saying no in advance means leaving the email where it lies and responding on your own timeline.Say no to an open door policy. There is no reason that a leader should be so reactive as to allow anyone to walk into their office at any time. The principle of addressing people’s needs is right, but the idea that you have to say yes to every interruption is a results killer. So you say no for hours at a time, allowing yourself to do purposeful, meaningful work—without distractions.Saying no to distractions in advance is how you say yes to what is most important. It’s how you become super productive. 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

Why You Absolutely Must Read Books

first_imgEvery human being that is born starts at exactly the same place. They are a blank slate, knowing nothing that they need to know to survive and thrive in the world in which they find themselves. There is no knowledge that is transferred biologically from parents to child. Regardless of the capacity to learn and the different forms of intelligence human beings possess in greater or lesser quantities, you have none of it.Even though you know nothing at birth, much is already known by others. The people that have come before you have had experiences that resulted in a certain knowledge in that area. Other people have studied some area to make discoveries and develop a deeper understanding of this thing or that. When you are born, you are way behind in the acquisition of human knowledge, some gained through experiences and some through research and study.If you embrace the idea that books are not helpful to learning you are deciding that there is nothing worth knowing if it is not gained through your own experience. This is to suggest that the way one should learn about the dangers of fire is to burn themselves, even when others who have already had that experience might strongly suggest that you don’t burn yourself, and even if they can explain to you very clearly and easily how not to do so.Let’s use K. Anders Ericcson’s 10,000 hours rule, popularized by Malcolm Gladwell. Through a lifetime of experience, someone has learned something useful to other people. While doing so, they have also developed the concepts and ideas that help other people make sense of this thing they know. They have also developed some advice, some strategies, and some tactics that might help other people produce results in this area both faster and more effectively, and they’ve codified these ideas in a common form that allows the transfer of this knowledge from one person to another.The suggestion that one would be better off avoiding any knowledge that wasn’t gained through own their experience is to believe that there is nothing that can be known that would shorten the learning curve. Following this thinking, you would have to learn that multiplication and division are concepts on your own. It would mean that the only history of any value is your own and that your analysis of your experience is the only experience with any real value. The collective whole of human knowledge and experience would be of no value to you at all, being full of ideas, concepts, strategies, tactics, and instructions that, despite being useful to thousands or millions of people before you, are worthless.It is true that you cannot learn to swim by reading a book. But you can shorten the learning curve and accelerate your mastery by learning from those who already swim at a level far beyond the level of competency you’ve achieved. Part of that learning can and will be codified in the form of a book. Reading helps you understand your experience and provides context.For around $25 and 6 hours of your time, you can learn what took someone else a lifetime to learn.Any suggestion that you should not read books should be rejected with extreme prejudice, and you should think carefully about taking any advice from people who believe there is nothing to learn from others if it has been published as a book. There is no reason to remain ignorant when help gaining knowledge and understanding is available to you, and for a song at that. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Two minors sexually assaulted in Jaipur

first_imgTwo instances of sexual assault of minor girls was reported here in the last three days. One of the victims was admitted to hospital with serious injuries. The accused in one of the cases — a domestic help at the child’s house — has been arrested.A four-year-old girl was allegedly raped in her house in the Manak Chowk area of the Walled City here on Saturday, while a six-year-old girl sleeping next to her mother on a pavement in the Mansarovar locality was allegedly abducted and assaulted by an unidentified person early on Monday. The accused in the second case is yet to be arrested.A 20-year-old youth, working at a jewellery shop and also at the shop owner’s house, allegedly took his four-year-old daughter inside a room and raped her after increasing the volume of television to make her screams inaudible. Police said the girl’s mother spotted the youth in the room and raised an alarm.Police have arrested the youth and registered a case under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act against him. The charge-sheet in the case is likely to be filed within a week.In the second instance, an unidentified man allegedly abducted a six-year-old girl, daughter of a labourer couple, from a pavement near the Mansarovar Metro depot, where she was sleeping, and assaulted her in the early hours on Monday.When the girl’s mother raised an alarm after finding her daughter missing, police launched a search and found her at some distance. The victim, who had received multiple injuries, was rushed to the Jaykay Lon Children’s Hospital and admitted there.last_img read more

Now, an impasse over Abu Dujana body

first_imgThe Kashmir Valley remained on edge on Wednesday in the wake of the killing of Abu Dujana, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba militant, and his local associate in an encounter on Tuesday.The police said they had asked Pakistan “to claim the slain militant’s body”. “We will request them [Pakistan High Commission] to take back Dujana’s body,” said Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir, Muneer Khan.Dujana, 27, who the police believe was of Balti origin and hailed from Gilgit-Baltistan, was, however, given a “silent burial” at Boniyar in Baramulla, where most of the foreign militants killed this year were buried. Funeral prayers in absentia were held in Pulwama and the Maisuma area here for the two militants.‘Lashkar sidelined him’Confirming reports of differences between Lashkar and Dujana, its “chief operational commander”, of late, Mr. Khan said: “He [Dujana] was sidelined by the LeT, which is why the outfit didn’t pay tributes to him. He didn’t follow the policies of the outfit.”Sources said the last biggest attack carried out by Dujana was in July 2016 on the Srinagar-Jammu highway near Pampore, which left eight CRPF personnel dead. “This year, Dujana was sidelined. Our assessment suggests that foreigner Abu Ismail, who carried out the deadly attack on a police party in Achabal and on Amarnath pilgrims this year, was sent to replace Dujana,” said a top counter-insurgency official. “Dujana was a master-strategist and organised most of his attacks on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.” It remains to be seen if the LeT will nominate Ayoub Lone of Pulwama as its new operations chief or continue to assign the job to a foreign handler, the official said. Kashmir shuts downWith separatists calling for a shutdown in protest against the killing of a civilian near the encounter site in Pulwama on Tuesday, the authorities imposed curfew-like restrictions in areas under five police stations in Srinagar. All the main roads in the old city were sealed. Severe security restrictions were imposed.There were no reports of any major clash. However, Internet and railway services were stopped. Life in the entire Valley remained affected.The authorities on Wednesday decided to extend the closure of educational institutions in Srinagar and Baramulla by one more day.Another civilian diesOne more injured civilian, Akeel Ahmad Bhat, a resident of Gabarpora-Haal, died of bullet injuries at a Srinagar hospital on Wednesday morning. He was injured allegedly in security forces’ firing when the locals tried to reach the encounter site on Tuesday. Local youth clashed with the security forces after Bhat’s funeral.last_img read more