Microsoft Sneaks Out New Privacy Policy

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… In a revised privacy policy updated over the weekend, Microsoft now says that it will take the content that people upload and use it to improve Microsoft’s “integrated” suite of online services. The new Microsoft services agreement, distributed to consumers the Friday night before the Labor Day holiday, looks fairly innocuous. But the accompanying email makes the company’s intentions clearer: “We also clarified how Microsoft uses your content to better protect consumers and improve our products, including aligning our usage to the way we’re designing our cloud services to be highly integrated across many Microsoft products,” the email states.Anyone who signs into Microsoft’s online services is bound by the agreement – services including Microsoft’s Hotmail, SkyDrive, Live Messenger, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail Desktop, Writer, Bing, MSN and The effective date us vague: The policy itself claims to take effect Sept. 27, while Microsoft’s email claims the new policy will take effect Oct. 19.Microsoft also added a stipulation that to use its services, people must agree to a class-action lawsuit waiver, which blocks or at least makes very difficult collective suits in favor of arbitration.Microsoft appears to be taking a page from Google, which in January said that it unified and reworked its privacy policy, preparing for a world in which it would share cutomer data across its integrated services.Google’s spin on the move was that it could help keep people on schedule if it reads a person’s calendar and knows his or her location. Pundits and legislators freaked out, even though Google later integrated those services with little uproar – a precedent which Microsoft will undoubtedly benefit from.Here’s what Microsoft’s new policy now claims will happen.“When you upload your content to the services, you agree that it may be used, modified, adapted, saved, reproduced, distributed, and displayed to the extent necessary to protect you and to provide, protect and improve Microsoft products and services,” it says. “For example, we may occasionally use automated means to isolate information from email, chats, or photos in order to help detect and protect against spam and malware, or to improve the services with new features that makes them easier to use. When processing your content, Microsoft takes steps to help preserve your privacy.”The key phrase is “necessary to protect you and to provide, protect and improve Microsoft products and services.” Microsoft is making these changes to protect you, and it is making these changes to help itself.Microsoft customers might also assume that their data may be used to provide the same kind of integrated services that Google gave in its example. But Microsoft doesn’t say that. In fact, Microsoft’s updated privacy policy lacks the sort of context (read: official blog post) that a change like this demands. Unfortunately, that blog post was added to the Microsoft Volume Licensing blog, which few consumers would ever read. The rather terse post does make clear that Microsoft prioritizes privacy, however, and doesn’t use the contents of your email or your SkyDrive documents for advertising purposes.In fact, the example of “isolating information” from your content to stop spam and malware shouldn’t exactly reassure anyone that Microsoft has your best interests at heart. Microsoft has taken pains to remind us that Hotmail, once a haven for spam, has dramatically improved, in part by using algorithms to scan emails for malware and to use reputation to help isolate suspicious email.But give credit where it’s due: Google, for its part, provides a ”dashboard” that summarizes what Google knows about you.In reality, the dashboard is an extensive list of data reminding you that Google knows what restaurants you’ve reviewed on Maps, who you’ve called on Voice, sites that have been shared with you, who you most frequently email on Gmail, et cetera. Google also archives past iterations of its privacy policy, and provides extensive tools for managing the data it stores, also allowing you to delete or export the data.Google’s one knock? If you don’t want to share content across services, Google offers you essentially the same choice as Microsoft: Don’t use it. The depth of data is a bit unsettling, but it’s comparatively easty to know what data Google is tapping into.Microsoft does no such thing. In fact, I had to go back to 2010 to discover what data Microsoft’s online services collect, from an interview with Redmond Magazine.“When Microsoft receives a Bing search query, we collect a number of pieces of information, including the search query provided, IP address, unique identifiers contained in cookies, browser configuration and the time and date of the search,“ Brendon Lynch told the magazine.“As part of our privacy safeguards, search terms are stored separately from account information that could personally and directly identify an individual, such as e-mail address or phone number,“ Lynch added. “This helps protect against unauthorized correlation of these details.” Hotmail uses a similar policy, Lynch said.Here’s the problem: Microsoft’s “window” into its own data-collection practices shouldn’t be an online interview, but a comprehensive document.This needs to change now. Microsoft does provide its own privacy policy, detailing how information is collected and used, and how people can manage their profiles. But greater transparency into what additional data Microsoft collects is essential, as is the right to manage it, or, at worst, delete it.Microsoft needs to offer its own version of the Google Dashboard, and try to convince people that it has their best interests in mind.Google has proven itself a master in convincing customers to trade their personal information for targeted advertising (that generates billions of dollars of revenue).But Microsoft is gaining fast, and the company’s choice to slip in a change to its online services agreement over a holiday weekend already smacks of sleaze. Unless the company does a better job of disclosing what information it collects, people might want to stay away. Tags:#privacy#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Related Posts markhachman A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

Time For Apple To Buy Developer Love With A 0% Cut?

first_imgRole of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement It’s getting harder to make a dent in the mobile app market, especially for Apple and Google. While it’s easy to point to the billions being paid to app developers, the reality is that Apple’s and Google’s 30% cut on such revenue is a rounding error. Given Apple’s struggle to fend off Google, and the comparative peanuts it makes on mobile app sales, it may be time for Apple to give even more revenue back to developers to encourage a continued “iOS-first” policy.Apple CEO Tim Cook crowed at an investor conference earlier this year that Apple had paid $8 billion to developers since the App Store’s launch. While this may sound impressive, that equates to around $3.4 billion to Apple over five years, or about $170 million per quarter.Sound like a lot? It’s not. The $170 Million Rounding ErrorAfter all, just last quarter Apple notched $54.4 billion in revenues, nearly $31 billion coming from sales of the iPhone alone. $170 million in mobile app sales? Apple makes 3X that amount in the first day of a quarter.Not that app sales are immaterial to Apple’s business. On the contrary, apps make Apple’s hardware more appealing. As beautiful as Apple’s devices are, few would bother to buy them if they didn’t come with a massive app ecosystem.So apps matter to Apple. It’s just the app revenue that really doesn’t matter. Not even with the overall mobile app market blossoming to $25 billion in 2013, according to ABI Research. That’s not where the real money is.The Mobile App EconomyAt least, not for Apple. But developers? They could use that money.Even as app sales boom, generating revenue from mobile apps is something of a bust for developers, and it’s getting worse. According to a VisionMobile report, 35% of mobile app developers “live below the app poverty line,” in that they don’t make enough money from app development to sustain themselves. Furthermore, research firm research2guidance recently released data indicating a 27% drop in average revenues per paid app, from $26,720 in 2011 to $19,560 in 2012.That drop in top-line revenue is already hard to swallow, but becomes even more so for iOS developers, given how pricey they are to create relative to other platforms: Related Posts Apple, in other words, doesn’t need to win over developers, so much as it needs to give developers a bit more incentive to keep it top platform for them. As volumes start to shrink relative to Android, letting developers keep a bigger chunk of their App Store haul could go a long way toward encouraging developer loyalty. Matt Asay Hey, Apple, Can You Spare A Dime?As such, and given Android’s continued market share domination, it may be time for Apple to further encourage developers to stick with it by dropping its App Store cut. While dropping its share from 30% to 20%, 10%, or 0% won’t hurt Apple’s revenue profile, it could go a long way toward keeping developers’ pockets full.Of course, Google could (and likely would) simply follow suit. After all, Google, like Apple, doesn’t rely on app revenue, instead monetizing mobile through advertising.  But by moving first, Apple would not only generate goodwill, but it would reinforce developers’ preference for iOS, as a recent Appcelerator and IDC survey shows:center_img The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#ABI Research#Android#App Store#Appcelerator#Apple#developers#Google#IDC#iOS#mobile apps last_img read more

Android Is Fading Into The Background—And That’s A Good Thing

first_imgWith Ice Cream Sandwich, Android not only became usable, it became seamless—and that’s when it started to fade into the background. Since Ice Cream Sandwich, Google has worked to refine Android’s features, functionality and performance and been very successful. Last year, Google announced Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a mostly iterative update that brought a couple neat tricks to the operating system, like its “Android Beam” NFC sharing, resizable widgets and Google Now. Google announced last year at its I/O developer conference that performance in Jelly Bean was a key focus (the so-called “Project Butter”) and the results were noticeable. Since Ice Cream Sandwich, users and developers have complained less about Android’s fragmentation problem, apps not working on different devices and screen sizes.It is very telling that the focus for Jelly Bean (both version 4.1 and 4.2) was not on new features, but performance. It took several years for Google to get Android to the point where it wasn’t fighting itself but rather creating a platform that just worked well.The Benefits Of Android MaturityAt the beginning of 2012, Google started requiring that apps show consistency in look and user experience across the board. The goal of Android’s Holo Themes: ensuring that various Android “skins,” or interface layers on top of the core Android OS, would look consistent while also allowing designers to differentiate the look of their apps. This, along with a variety of improvements in CPU performance and efficiency within newer devices, has led Android to a state where the operating system no longer gets in its own way.What has this led us to? A developer landscape where apps built for Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean run with more consistency and reliability. Smartphones and tablets where the manufacturers can create excellent features and experiences that are built on top of Android without needing to be a feature of the operating system itself.Some argue that this scenario puts Google at a disadvantage, allowing Samsung, the dominant Android smartphone maker, to take advantage of a weakened Android and push its own innovations. I disagree. A sign of maturity for any technology platform is when it stops being primary topic of conversation and becomes part of the background.It has taken the half-decade since the first Android smartphone for the operating system to get to this point, but now that Android has matured, everybody from app developers to smartphone and tablet manufacturers benefit. The ultimate winner then becomes the consumer who reaps the benefits of a platform that allows innovators to push the boundaries of what is possible. Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces dan rowinski What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Tags:#Android#Google#Google IO13 Related Posts This week’s Google I/O conference is promising to be an anticlimactic event when it comes to new products running Android, Google’s mobile operating system for smartphones and tablets. And that may be a good thing.The Year of Android was 2011. That was the year that Android became a stable platform and sales of smartphones running the operating system began to rocket towards the moon. Android was all that anybody could talk about, for good or bad.Two years later, Android is almost a forgotten term among the partners Google depends on to make hardware.By our count, four major smartphones running Android have already launched this year: the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, HTC First and LG Optimus G Pro. All of these smartphones are some of the best to ever hit the market in terms of screens, batteries, processors and cameras. Even the HTC First, considered a ho-hum middle-market device, is of such quality that it helps to redefine what a middle-market smartphone can be. Each of these smartphones shares a distinct trait: They all run on Android, and yet its presence is not a talking point. Instead, the smartphones themselves take center stage. The HTC One is best known for its “ultrapixel” camera, Zoe camera features and BlinkFeed home screen. The Samsung Galaxy S4 is so packed with features (like Air Gesture, Air View and Smart Scroll) and Samsung-made apps that the underlying Android operating system is hardly recognizable. The First is, of course, the “Facebook Phone,” running the Facebook Home launcher. The Optimus G Pro is a large-screen phablet, or smartphone-tablet hybrid, with a couple of neat user interface tricks up its sleeve. HTC One The Device Has Become The StoryFor Android’s first five years, the story about every new smartphone running Android was the operating system. How well does it work? Do apps run without crashing? What Android features are present and how well do they work? When manufacturers like Motorola, Samsung or HTC announced new smartphones, they would show off what can be done with Android. If something was good or bad about a device, it was Android that received the praise. Or the blame.I was at the launch events for the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. At both events, Android was mentioned exactly once, in passing to note what operating system the phones were running. In reviewing those two smartphones, I hardly thought about Android at all. The focus was on the features of the smartphones, such as the improved cameras and battery life. Android’s Inflection PointThe first Android smartphone was released in October 2008. The HTC G1 was a curiosity. Most people thought of it as the “Google Phone,” and it was notable only because it came pre-loaded with Google apps like Maps.Looking back over five years of Android, we can break it down into two distinct eras: What came before Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and what came after.The Google Nexus family of devicesGingerbread, released in December 2010, is still the most-used version of Android. It was the release that supercharged Android smartphone sales across the globe. But it defined an early era of Android development where manufacturers and users had to play a guessing game about compatibility with screen sizes and hardware.Ice Cream Sandwich, which came out less than a year later, was the biggest leap that Android has made in its short history. This was the version where Google started to take design, performance, functionality, and ease of use and development more seriously. With Ice Cream Sandwich, Google made it simpler for developers and manufacturers to build apps for multiple screen sizes and varying chipsets. In Ice Cream Sandwich, the improvements that had been introduced in Android Honeycomb 3.2 (designed specifically for tablets) were merged with the core of Android 2.3 Gingerbread.last_img read more

Why We’ll Have Robots In The Workplace Before Robots At Home

first_imgWhy You Love Online Quizzes lauren orsini How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Tags:#Beam#PR2#robotics#robots#ROS#Suitable Technologies#Willow Garage Two technology companies have decided that the world needs a robot that can help you telecommute more than it needs a robot that can deliver beer.Suitable Technologies announced Wednesday that it will be hiring the majority of employees at another robotics company, Willow Garage. As a result, far more manpower will be put into Suitable’s robotics research, and it appears that Willow Garage is essentially ceasing further development of its main product, the PR2 robot.Suitable Technologies and Willow Garage are both started by the same founder, Scott Hassan. Suitable Technologies is best known for Beam, a remote presence robot. Beam began as Willow Garage’s Project Texai, but became such an intense project that Hassan created a separate company around it. Beam competes with several existing robot product lines that help employees “attend” company events remotely while they’re physically still at home. See also: Can’t Make The Meeting? Send Your Robot InsteadWillow Garage, on the other hand, is best known for its sophisticated personal robot, the PR2. Operating on open-source robotics technology, PR2 can flip pancakes, deliver beer to employees, and even plug itself in when it senses its battery getting low. See also: How An Open Source Operating System Jumpstarted Robotics ResearchNow that Suitable Technologies will be retaining Willow Garage employees, don’t expect to see any new developments with the PR2. Intricate but bulky, and priced at $400,000, the PR2 is sophisticated but not revolutionary.Its legacy may actually be more in software than hardware. When DARPA needed to choose a standard on which to base its global robotics contest, it picked ROS, the robotics operating system Willow Garage developed with PR2 in mind, but not the PR2 itself. For the physical robot model, it chose Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot instead. Meanwhile, Beam is priced at $16,000 (which is still pretty steep when you realize there are remote-presence robots on the market for as low as $2,000.) And the PR2 requires extensive programming for practical use. In other words, the PR2 simply isn’t as close to being ready for mainstream manufacturing as Beam is. It makes sense that Hassan is more interested in putting his focus into Beam.According to a company press release, customer support for the PR2 will still continue. However, Willow Garage will be selling its “remaining stock” of PR2 models, which makes it sound like it won’t build new models. I’ve reached out to Suitable Technologies for more information on just what innovations we can expect to see soon with Beam.Photo courtesy of Suitable Technologiescenter_img 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Related Posts Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoidlast_img read more

Self-Proclaimed eBay Hackers Put Alleged Personal Data Up For Sale

first_imgTags:#bitcoin#Data Breach#ebay#ebay hacked#ebay passwords#hackers#now#pastebin#privacy Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Less than 24 hours after e-commerce giant eBay admitted to hackers illegally accessing millions of encrypted passwords and personal data after a cyber attack on its corporate network, several Pastebin posts have surfaced claiming to be selling personal records allegedly obtained from the breach.One of the more prominent anonymous postings is selling the data for 1.453 BTC, or $753. The anonymous user linked to a sample information dump containing personal information from 12,663 users in the Asia Pacific region. I downloaded the sample, and it includes names, the supposedly encrypted passwords, email and physical addresses, phone numbers and birth dates. Still, there’s no way of knowing if this data is legitimate, and more specifically, if it belongs to those users victimized from the most recent eBay cyber attack.We’ve found one other Pastebin post claiming to have eBay users’ personal information—the post seems less sophisticated and thus less likely to be legitimate. We remain highly skeptical of all of these anonymous posts, but one thing is certain: A cyber attack most certainly did occur, and eBay users should definitely change their passwords immediately.eBay said Wednesday no financial data was compromised in the attack—just personal details like names, encrypted passwords, emails and physical addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth. Though if a hacker cracks your encrypted eBay password, they could try and match you username and email address and try elsewhere, say, for instance, your PayPal account. It is still unclear who is behind the attack, but eBay said it is working with security researchers and law enforcement officials to find out. In the meantime, just change your password already. Update 11:26 AM: As cybersecurity reporter Brian Krebs points out, the Pastebin posts are most likely attempts to steal Bitcoins. However, it’s possible the real attackers may try and sell this data eventually—perhaps not over Pastebin—so your personal data is likely still at risk.Update 5/23 5:00 PM: eBay says the database is not authentic.Lead image courtesy of jessicalstreit on Flickrcenter_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts selena larsonlast_img read more

Walk this way towards better wearables security

first_imgThe Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) have invented a new layer of security for wearables, by tracking the way the owner walks and recognizing slight alterations in the style.The team also figured out a way to harvest energy from hand movement and feed it back to the wearable, potentially extending the battery life when on the move.See Also: Meet Emma, the wearable that helps people with Parkinson’s“By applying both techniques we have developed a way to achieve two goals at once – powering devices and the ability to verify a person’s identity using a wearable device by capturing the energy generated from the way they walk,” said Sara Khalifa, a research scientist at Data61.CSIRO’s Data61 team have built prototype devices and are pleased with early results. It noted a 78 percent reduction in energy consumption and 95 percent authentication accuracy.Testing promising — but not quite doneThe security layer still needs some work, as 13 of the 100 people that tested the wearable were able to break in. Compared to the accuracy of a fingerprint or heart-rate, that is a very high rate of failures.It is also questionable how accurate CSIRO or any other research team could make this security layer. Even though we don’t change the way we walk often, people do move between arms swaying, hands in pockets or hands on smartphones quite often, which could set off the security layer.Data61 is not stopping there, it already has concept ideas for breathing patterns, something that is much more unique and harder to replicate. Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces David Currycenter_img Follow the Puck How Myia Health’s Partnership with Mercy Virtua… Tags:#concept#CSIRO#Data61#Internet of Things#IoT#prototype#research#smartwatch#wearable last_img read more

Money Monday

first_imgBy Dr. Barbara O’NeillIs there assistance with meeting child care expenses for military families?Operation Military Child Care (OMCC) is a Department of Defense initiative to support the temporary child care needs of military parents who are activated/deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism. This program is provided in partnership with the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies and the Child Care Resource and Referral Network (NACCRRA), which changed its name to Child Care Aware® of America in 2012 (see NACCRRA.ORG/ABOUT-US/BRAND-TRANSITION).Following are some of the support services provided by OMCC:Helps eligible military families locate affordable child care options in local communities.Reduces child care fees of eligible military families who are already using licensed community child care programs and providers.Supplements and expands the deployment child care services already provided on military installations. For more information, refer to more military personal finance blog posts and webinars here.Follow Dr. O’Neill on Twitter!This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network blog on February 4, 2013.last_img read more

Laughing at the Frustrating and Embracing Quiet Moments

first_imgJayden Serck is a new military wife.  After graduating from college with a Human Development and Family Studies degree, she married Jordan, her high school sweetheart, who graduated from college a year earlier with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.  When Jordan joined the Air Force with a direct commission they encountered multiple transitions in their young married life.  Jordan traveled from South Dakota to Alabama for training before they traveled together to their first duty station at Travis Air Force base in California.  Jayden is not new to military service as her mother served in the Army National Guard and her father is currently serving in the Air National Guard.  However, being a spouse of an active duty Service member is new.  In this blog Jayden shares her experience as they encounter a variety of transitions.  The LetterIt’s real.  It’s here.  When the letter came in the mail it was proof that Jordan (my husband) had been accepted to the US Air Force and the process had officially begun.  It was exciting and full of unknowns.  During this time, we quickly learned the “hurry up and wait” motto of the military!  There was so much to be done, yet each step required completion of a previous task in order to proceed.  At this point in our journey, we learned to not stress too much about anything.  Jordan was in close contact with his  recruiter and prepared for his first PT (Physical Training) test at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station).The SeparationJordan left our home in South Dakota to attend four weeks of commissioned officer training in Alabama.  We decided that I would not join him in Alabama so that I could continue working and make plans for our big move to Travis Air Force Base in California.  Whether it be basic training, commissioned officer training (aka COT), deployment, temporary assignment (aka TDY), or any other sort of event that causes spouses and families to be separated from their Service member, it is best to appreciate time alone and reflect on the reasons why the marriage and love is worthwhile and strengthening throughout this process.  Keeping busy is also HUGE (or “youge” as Donald Trump would say) for staying sane.  Picking up extra hours at work or spending time with friends and new acquaintances made the time fly for me.The past few months I’ve really been able to live out my New Year’s Resolution to the fullest (it’s possible!). In December 2015, I decided I needed to start saying “yes” when asked to do something, no matter how lazy I’d rather be.  By doing so, I have met so many new friends, changed my lifestyle and made wonderful memories.  For example,  I recently took a trip to Santa Clara with a family I’ve met just once to go to a FREE Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Old Dominion and Sam Hunt concert  (check our Vet Tix if you have not yet to see how).  I anticipated that this experience would be uncomfortable at first, but it was an opportunity I will probably never get again. I want to live my life to the fullest; regardless of whether the outcome of the experience is positive or negative.The Move & In-processingI found it extremely valuable to participate in Jordan’s graduation ceremony!  Going to Jordan’s graduation helped me visualize and understand what he had experienced the previous month.  Alabama was crazy humid and I give all of those officers props for staying disciplined in 100% humidity. After the graduation, everyone was kicked off Maxwell AFB and were on a timeline to get to their first duty station. We took advantage of this time! After being separated for a month, things fell back into place very quickly.  It was like being on a mini vacation. We were able to visit landmarks in 10 states and spent a night in Las Vegas on our way to California.We found that we spent a lot of money during the move.  We learned that waiting on housing can take months, and it is likely military families may need to sleep in hotels and temporary lodging for at least one month. A certain amount of these expenses are  reimbursed, however that can take a long time (it took about two months for our travel pay to come through) so budgeting is necessary! We’ve also learned that it is common for the LES (paystub) to be messed up after the member starts working too, so be sure to constantly be checking.Arriving on base was a relief, but was a high paced environment.  Jordan was thrown into trainings immediately, before spending 10 days  house hunting (we definitely utilized these too!). House hunting was easily the most stressful part of our PCS.  We felt we needed to get housing immediately and didn’t have a clue where to look.  We were incredibly fortunate to be offered on-base housing within three weeks of arriving on base and moved in two weeks after being offered the house.  That meant, we obviously well exceeded our 10 day allotment.  After putting down a non-refundable $200 deposit on an apartment, we didn’t even sweat the loss, knowing we’d have an additional 1000 square feet and live in a secured, safe neighborhood.Spouse EmploymentA lot of spouses choose to work, and a lot do not. Many stay home with their children or have in-home daycares (which they must set up through a base Human Resources; at Travis it is through NAF or nonappropriated funds).  Many spouses, like myself, choose to find a job as soon as possible. After looking at a lot of options on and off base, I found NAF hires for most of the amenities on base such as lodging, child development centers, and recreational buildings.  The process can go quick like it did for me (1-2 weeks) or take much longer (1-2 months – especially for childcare jobs that require FBI fingerprint results to be returned before starting). There are many HR offices on base though for GS jobs ( and AAFES jobs at the BX and commissary. My biggest piece of advice here is to really consider all of your options and choose a job that will make you happy rather than trying to get a job as fast as possible.Continuing our CommunityThe most helpful resources in terms of getting to know the area were spouses’ Facebook pages and both Jordan and my co-workers.  Within a few days, we had been invited to multiple gatherings and dinner parties by co-workers.  They let us know good and bad areas to live, and places in the area that are must sees. People are always flooding on and off the base, so going to any on-base events or parties that may be offered are crucial in establishing friendships and long-term happiness.I also decided to start a snail mail fund to keep in touch with family and friends back home. Social media is great, but it is so nice to send and receive little presents and letters to keep in touch. Skype is great, too, of course and holding ourselves to calling when we say we will has been important as well.Overall, our transition was very smooth and we are now happily settled in our California home and life!  We learned to laugh at the ridiculously frustrating things and embrace the quiet little moments. Whatever life brings our way, we will be together and are in a caring and helpful community full of people who closely relate to everything we are experiencing.last_img read more

Considerations When Working with Individuals with Special Needs

first_imgWritten by Rebecca Bardenhagen, M.Ed. and Lakshmi Mahadevan, Ph.D.As service providers who work with special needs populations, you strive to make your clients feel comfortable and accepted during each meeting. To aid you in providing the best experience you can when meeting with clients we have come up with a few tips and ideas. 1. Make sure your office is accessible to those with special needs.The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) stipulates that buildings must be accessible to those with disabilities by providing them equal access to public facilities. The building in which you work is likely built to be accessible or has been modified to be accessible. It is also important to consider the physical layout of your office. Some accessibility factors to consider include (University of California, Santa Cruz, 2018):Ensure a clear pathway through the door and into the office.Ensure a clear area where someone in a wheelchair can turn around.No objects hanging overhead nor objects protruding from the walls.Have written materials available in large print.Refrain from wearing perfume or other heavily scented products.Make sure your work area is well lit; adjustable lighting may be helpful.Provide comfortable seating and room to move around if needed. References:Allen, W. (2002). It’s My Choice. Retrieved on March 19, 2018.Texas Council of Developmental Disabilities (n.d). People First Language. Retrieved on March 19, 2018.University of California, Santa Cruz (2018). Disability Accommodations and Resources.  Retrieved on March 19, 2018.Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (2018). Communicating Effectively. Retrieved on April 77, 2018. 3. Find out about programs and resources available at your center as well as in your community.Knowing the policies, practices and programs available both in your center as well as in the community will help families be directed to the resources they need. It may be helpful to prepare a list of helpful resources, websites, and phone numbers so that families can access needed resources quickly. This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on May 11, 2018. Every client you meet with will have unique needs, therefore it will be necessary to tailor accommodations for each individual. The goal is to treat everyone with respect and show them that their specific needs are not a barrier to helping them get the services and information that they need.Use this checklist to self-assess ways in which you accommodated the needs of your clients.You can download a printable version of this checklist here: Are You Accommodating the Needs of Your Clients? 4. Make sure to include the person with the disability in the conversation.A person-centered approach to thinking and planning with special populations means that the person is involved in conversations about their present and future. This approach means respect is given to really listening to what a person wants and desires out of life. In this way, people are able to freely express themselves. As a result, individuals, with the help of others, can find ways to lead the life they prefer, be more independent, and be an active member of society (Allen, 2002). 5. Be aware of how to communicate effectively. When meeting with a client, keep the following in mind (Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, 2018):Allow for plenty of time for the meeting.Allow for a longer wait time for answers than you may normally give someone.Understand that some people are able to hear and understand what you are saying better than they are able to express themselves.Check the person’s comprehension of what was discussed to make sure important information was understood.Involve another family member/caretaker in the conversation to better understand what is being communicated.Meet in a quiet area free from distractions. 2. Use people first language.People first language recognizes the person before recognizing the disability. It recognizes that there are more similarities between us than differences. Some examples of people first language include (Texas Council of Developmental Disabilities, n.d.):Emphasize abilities not limitations.Tell what a person has not what a person is (“He has autism” as opposed to “He is autistic”).Do not talk about disabilities as challenges that need to be overcome.Avoid using negative words such as “afflicted,” “unfortunate,” or “victim.”last_img read more

Adobe Prelude: Organize, Log and Rough Cut

first_imgJump start your editing workflow with Adobe Prelude before moving to Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro.Whether your an individual or a team, everyone is looking for ways to save time and work efficiently while creating the best work they can.  This is especially true in the video production business, where time is short and deadlines are always fast approaching.Prelude is a handy tool for video pros to ingest and organize your video footage.  Video producers and editing assistants can use Prelude to ingest, log, and create a simple rough cut edit in Prelude before handing off to the editor. Prelude can be used on-location on a laptop or older computer as it has lower system requirements than Premiere Pro.But Prelude is not just for Adobe Premiere Pro video editors.  If you also work with Final Cut Pro 7 or Final Cut Pro X (common for freelancers) you can export an XML file from Prelude to continue working in those apps.In this post we’ll explore logging, clip organization and creating a rough cut in Adobe Prelude.  Note, if you’re new to Prelude, check out my previous posts on ingesting in Prelude here and here.Get Organized With PreludeIt’s hard to be creative when you can’t find your footage! Getting organized at the beginning of the project will save you a lot of hair pulling later on.  To organize your clips in Adobe Prelude create bins, just as you would in Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer.Click the bin (folder) icon to create a new bin (highlighted in red below). Or right-click in the Project Window and select “New Bin”.Editing trivia break: If you are wondering why they are called bins and not folders, film hung in bins when editors were cutting film!Right Click Contextual Menu:Be aware that if a bin is selected and you create a bin, the bin will be created nested inside the previous bin.  In some instances you may want to have sub bins, it just depends on your workflow. Note, you can’t see icons of clips currently in the Project, but hopefully that is added in a future release.Logging: Subclips & Adding MarkersIn Prelude we can create subclips and add markers to save the editor time. Subclips let you break large clips into smaller, more manageable clips and can be better organized by topic or priority. Comments are useful to pass along notes to the Editor like “stabilize shot” and “fix white balance.”Double click on a clip in the Project to open it’s Timeline. To add a marker, press the appropriate number (1 for subclip, 2 for comment).Give your marker a name in the highlighted blue “Name” column. Use J,K,L to navigate the clip and set In & Outs with I & O like you would in an editing app.After adding your marker you’ll see an asterisk in the timeline, telling you you have unsaved changes. After you save a subclip, you will see the subclip in the Project.You can always name the marker later and add comments by clicking on it, and renaming it in the Marker Inspector.Creating a Rough Cut in PreludeIf you want to rough out an edit in Prelude, you’ll first need to click the Rough Cut icon (highlighted in red below) or use the shortcut Command + N (on a Mac) or CNTRL + N (on a PC).  Name and save the rough cut, and it appears in your project.  Click image for larger view.Open the timeline by double-clicking the rough cut in the project panel.You can now drag clips and subclips into the rough cut timeline, or right click on a clip and select “Append to Rough Cut”. The editing functionality is kept basic (no transitions or insert/overwrite), as Prelude is designed to roughly string together clips which is then handed to the editor.Send to Premiere Pro from PreludeIf you are running Premiere Pro and Prelude on the same machine you can send your Prelude project to Premiere.  Select the rough cut and the bins you want to send, right click and choose “Send to Premiere Pro”. Alternatively, you can use File> Send to Premiere Pro.If you have Premiere Pro already open, whatever you send from Prelude will be added to your current Premiere project.Export to Premiere Pro, FCP 7, & XIf Premiere Pro is on another machine or if you want to export Final Cut Pro XML,  use Export instead of Send To.Select your rough cut, clips and bins.  Then from the menu bar select File > Export (you can also use the shortcut Command + M on a Mac or CNTRL + M on a PC).  In the dialog box, set your Destination (hard drive or FTP), Project, and Media settings.  Then, click OK.If you are a Final Cut Pro X editor you will need the 7toX app  ($9.99) to convert from FCP 7 to FCP X xml.  Depending on your format you may also want to transcode to Pro Res if working in FCP.Markers & subclips are sent with the XML to Final Cut Pro 7 & X (terminology is different).  This is helpful, as freelancers often use various software depending on the job. For more details check out the Adobe online help site and forum.  Are you using Adobe Prelude in your post production workflow?  Have tips or tricks to share?  Let us know in the comments below!last_img read more

MovieCode is a Fun Archive for Film Buffs and Programmers Alike

first_imgIs the computer code featured on TV shows and films the real thing or just a made-up string of nonsense? MovieCode is a website that aims to find out.The image above is a screenshot taken from the 2001 film “Swordfish”, where John Travolta hires Hugh Jackman (one of the world’s greatest hackers) to write a computer program to steal money from the US government.  Of course then, like many ‘high-tech’ plots, the film features shots of code being typed out on a simulated computer screen.This type of code in popular media got British programmer John Graham-Cumming thinking about the realism of the computer code we see in TV and film. Is it based on real-life programming languages or is it all a bunch of made up text? From that, MovieCode was born.On the site, readers submit shots of code from television/film and Graham-Cumming, or others, will deduce the programming language and what the code actually means (if anything).Even as a non-programmer, I find the experiment fun. It’s certainly got me reminiscing about some of the featured shows/films from years past…and how attention to detail is important in EVERY aspect of a film project.Check out MovieCode on Tumblr – and submit screenshots of your own favorite TV shows and films!From Iron Man’s Boot Up Sequence:last_img read more

Video Inspiration: A Guide to American Football

first_imgThis explainer video tackles the structure and gameplay of American football with impressive motion design.With the Super Bowl on the horizon it seems fitting that this impressive video by animator Fraser Davidson is showing up all over the ‘net. Amazingly, we’ve heard that Davidson designed, animated and wrote “A Guide to American Football” in just over two weeks.Using witty commentary and gorgeous motion design, “A Guide to American Football” explains the basic rules of the game, NFL league structure and the framework of a regular season (and playoffs) leading up to the ‘big game’.For those that live and breathe football, you’re not going to learn anything new…but the animation itself makes it well worth taking a look.To see more of Davidson’s work (in his unique animation style) check out his personal page or Vimeo account.last_img

DaVinci Resolve Tip: Use an EDL and Scene Cut Detection to Set up a Project

first_imgNext, click on the top right of the Scene Cut Detection window and select Load EDL. Choose the EDL the editor has provided.As soon as that’s done, the project is instantly sliced up for me. I can add the edits to the media pool and ultimately drop them into a new timeline.This method of working is so simple, easy, and accurate. I recommend using it whenever possible. That said, if you need to deliver a file with handles, or are working with RAW footage this may not be an option for you. But when you can pull it off, it’ll save you a lot of time and keep your workflow in check.Got and DaVinci Resolve workflow tips to share with the community? Let us know in the comments below! For long-form DaVinci Resolve projects, one of the easiest ways to get up and running involves using the powerful scene cut detection feature.For those of you that aren’t as familiar with this feature, scene cut detection is a powerful tool within DaVinci Resolve that will scan through a video file and automatically create cuts for you so that you can grade each shot individually.It works beautifully, but like any tool, it isn’t always 100% accurate. Sometimes it misses an edit, while other times it may create an edit where there shouldn’t be one. The good news is that you can use scene cut detection in conjunction with an EDL file in order to get frame-accurate cuts every time.Typically when I’m going to color grade a feature film that doesn’t need to be linked to RAW files (for instance if we’re using a ProRes workflow), I’ll simply ask the editor for two files: one master file of the film in full resolution and one EDL file.I’ll also specify that the master file should have no text, filters, or effects on it and the EDL should be created after the project has been flattened down to a single video track. In other words, if the editor has been layering clips on tracks two, three, etc. to test them out, I’ll request that they flatten everything down to track one before creating the EDL. This makes it easiest for DaVinci Resolve to translate the edit points.From there, I’ll simply right click on the master file in DaVinci Resolve and select Scene Cut Detection…last_img read more

8 Killer Filmmaking Cameras Under $2000

first_imgCan’t wait for NAB? Need a camera now that will get the job done without breaking the bank? Check out these eight cameras under $2000.NAB is approaching and that means we’re going to be seeing all manner of new camera gear popping up between now and April. But what if you need to replace a camera now and can’t wait for NAB? This article will help.Expensive cameras aren’t always the answer. Current NLEs like Avid Media Composer, Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro are robust and filled with post-production options that let you do more with less. These cameras are available now and will get the job done — without breaking the bank.1. Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera: $995 3. Nikon D750: $1999 2. Canon 7D Mark II: $1500 5. Blackmagic Cinema Camera: $1995 Pros: Compact Form Factor, Ease of Use, High-Quality ImageCons: Poor in Low Light, Form Factor Doesn’t Feel SolidThe versatile Panasonic GH4 is often used for timelapse photography, as it captures amazing imagery in UHD 4K. This camera also boasts a Micro Four Thirds mount, an upgraded LCD monitor, a viewfinder, and built-in Wi-Fi. It’s also compact and lightweight, making it a great option as a second camera for quick b-roll or cutaways. It still performs poorly in low light, but its pros outweigh the cons.Panasonic GH4 Test FootageVideo via Alberto Tarrero Pros: Solid Image Quality, High ISO, Large LCDCons: Noisy Image at High ISO, Short Battery LifeNikon’s D750 is another great entry-level DSLR camera. It comes with a CMOS sensor that records HD 1080 at as high as 60 fps, while being able to expand its ISO up to 51200. With capabilities like this, the D750 can produce a quality image, which can be viewed through a large LCD monitor. Its only real negatives: weak battery life and a noisy image when using a higher ISO.Nikon D750 Test FootageVideo via Dean 4. Sony A7R: $1898 Pros: Flip Out LCD Screen, High ISO capabilities, Large Lens SelectionCons: H.264 Recording Only (without hack)The 7D Mark II from Canon presents users with a more-than-capable camera for HD video. It’s capable of capturing images at up to 60 fps just like the 5D Mark III, but doesn’t quite match the low-light abilities of the 5D. So, if the Canon 5D Mark III is just out of your budget, the 7D Mark II could be the way to go.Canon 7D Mark II Test FootageVideo via Gizmodo 6. Panasonic GH4: $1299center_img Pros: Good Image Quality, Compact Form Factor, Solid in Low LightCons: Short Battery Life, Some Reported Issues with Shutter, Complicated Menu SystemThen the Sony a7R is a very capable and affordable camera. The a7R’s image quality is impressive and has been a favorite for independent videographers wanting to capture timelapse and slow motion on a budget. The a7R is incredibly compact, easy to use, and really great in low-light.Sony A7R Test FootageVideo via Khaled Gamal 8. Canon XC10: $1999  Pros: 2.5K and 4K Sensor Available, Captures ProRes, Captures Flat ImageCons: Bulky Form Factor, Poor in Low Light, Monitor Almost Unusable, Not Capable of HFR, Poor Power LifeThe Blackmagic Cinema Camera is incredibly robust — and pretty bulky. The Cinema Camera comes in two forms, 2.5K and 4K, both of which can capture CinemaDNG or ProRes. Its image quality is incredibly sharp and flat, which makes it perfect for color grading. There is one glaring issue with the camera: the lack of any kind of high frame rate capability.Blackmagic Cinema Camera Test FootageVideo via Philip Bloom 7. Nikon D800: $1899 Pros: Solid Form Factor, High ISO Range, Full-Frame SensorCons: LCD Prone to Glare, Nikon F Mount, HFR Only in 720Nikons have always been known as great cameras for still images — but over the last several years, Nikons are being used more and more by indie filmmakers and videographers. The D800, while a little older than some of the cameras on this list, still performs great. It boasts a CMOS sensor, Full HD 1080, and an expanded ISO range up to 25,600. Also, like other Nikon and Canon DSLRs, it runs both SD and CF cards.Nikon D800E Test FootageVideo via Macgregor Pros: Super 16 Sensor, Captures RAW or ProRes, Up to 60 fpsCons: No LCD Screen, No Built-In WiFi, Internal BatteryBack at NAB 2015, Blackmagic Design wowed the industry with the news of Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera. This camera has proven to be a solid entry into the micro-camera market. Its small design makes it a perfect fit for aerial drone footage or for mounting on a car. The Micro Cinema Camera has a Super 16 Sensor and captures CinemaDNG RAW or ProPres up to 60 fps, which is a major plus for the camera. However, it has no LCD screen, no built-in wifi, and the battery is internal.Blackmagic Micro Cinema Camera Test FootageVideo via Nicholas Swartzendruber Pros: Compact Form Factor, Capture UHD 4K, 60fps HD 1080Cons: Ease of Use, LCD Adjustments, Awkward Form FactorCanon’s XC10 Professional Camcorder is a compact UHD 4K powerhouse of a camera. Built specifically with handheld and aerial filmmaking in mind, the XC10 is a lightweight camera that can easily be used on a steadicam, 3-axis gimbal, or drone to capture 4K footage. If you need higher frame rate footage, the XC10 has you covered with its ability to capture 60 fps in HD 1080. Just be aware — this camera feels nothing like a 5D Mark III and will take some getting used to. Also, its LCD monitor and exterior buttons are limited.Canon XC10 Test FootageVideo via Alf PryorAre you a filmmaker on a tight budget? Check out a few of the following posts:Budget Buys: Light Wands for Video Production3 Low-light Cameras For Every Budget RangeHow to Capture High Quality Audio for Low Budget FilmsKnow of any other great cameras under $2000? Have you used any of the cameras on the above list? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts in the comments below!last_img read more

The Best Places to Find Film Grain

first_imgFeatures: 1 6K 35mm Grain, 16 HD Film GrainsPrice: $99If you’re looking for the highest resolution possible, RGrain might be the best solution for you. With a 35mm plate that has been scanned at 6144 x 3160, RGrain is probably the largest film grain pack available. RGrain boasts that the increased resolution of their 6K clip will allow users to control the size of their film grains.4. Ultimate Grain Features: Authentic 4K Film GrainsPrice: $99If you’re looking for the very best film grains on the internet, look no further than Emulsion from RocketStock. Emulsion is a comprehensive pack featuring 8mm, 16mm, and 32mm film grains. Unlike some of the other grains on this list, Emulsion film grains were actually shot using real film cameras. All of the film grains are delivered via a 4K ProRes 422 codec.Each clean film scan showcases 15 seconds of grain, designed for looping. Dirty scans are also included for those who want that retro, grungy look. Emulsion is perfect for all skill levels! All you need is Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X, or After Effects, and you’re ready to go. A detailed tutorial comes with your download.Here’s a quick demo of Emulsion in action.2. Gorilla Grain Features: 21 HD Film Grain ClipsPrice: $99Another good option for quickly putting film grains in your next project is Gorilla Grain. Unfortunately, Gorilla Grain is only in HD, so if you are working on 4K projects, you might want to choose something else, but if you want a super 35mm film grain pack that features real 35mm and 16mm film grain, this might be a great pack for you. Just like Emulsion, Gorilla Grain features 4k ProRes video delivered via instant download.3. RGrain Features: 12 Film Grain PlatesPrice: $49Ultimate Grain from Holy Grain is a great all-purpose solution if you are looking for cheap film grains that you can easily drop into a video project. Ultimate grain also features a few extra plates that you can use to stylize your clips.center_img Know of any other great film grain resources? Please share in the comments below. Make your video look like film with these awesome grain packs online.Getting an “authentic” film look is the goal of most filmmakers. However, one of the biggest challenges to making your digital footage look like film is finding the right film grain. Fortunately, there are a few good places to find film grain online.In the following article, we’ll take a look at our favorite places to find film grains online.1. Emulsionlast_img read more

Speed Change Techniques In DaVinci Resolve

first_imgLearn how to change the speed of your video projects in DaVinci Resolve — and more.Top image via Shutterstock.There are several different ways to change the speed of a video file in DaVinci Resolve 12.5 — just as there are several ways to change how Resolve interprets the preceding frame when slowed down.For example, you could decrease the speed of an entire clip and set the frame interpolation to “Nearest,” which duplicates the frames. Alternatively, you could reduce the speed of a clip for only a portion of its duration and choose “Optical Flow.” This will generate new frames based on the information of the previous and following frames to create a realistic slow-motion effect — as if the original shot was filmed at a high frame rate.The Simple StuffLet’s have a look at creating simple speed change effects, including increases and decreases in speed, as well as freezing a clip altogether.There are two methods of doing this:Select a clip in the menu bar and choose “change clip speed.”Right-click a clip in the timeline and select “change clip speed.”Both methods will bring up the following pop-up box.Here, we can increase or decrease our speed by percentage. Additionally, if your footage is currently locked in at 120fps and you haven’t yet converted it down to 24fps, you can change the fps setting if necessary.One feature that I do miss dearly in Adobe Premiere Pro is the camera still button. The button saves a still to the desktop, which I found incredibly useful when I was working on software videos, and I needed the screen capture to pause while I continued explaining something. The freeze frame function in Resolve’s pop-up box is a good alternative. Unlike the snapshot option in Premiere, which creates a separate still file, the freeze frame function will freeze the entire selected clip, displaying the still where the play head currently is. Therefore, you will need to create a cut where you want to freeze the frame.If checked, the ripple sequence will push or pull all of the preceding clips to accommodate the change in the clip duration due to the speed change. These are all very basic speed change effects, but you have a lot of control with an efficient display to achieve your desired effect. If you have worked with Premiere Pro, you’ll likely be familiar with the layout of the pop-up box.Advanced Speed ChangesYou can also create quite complex speed changes within the Resolve edit interface by using the retime control. For example, you could increase a clip’s speed by 200 percent, then reverse it and then play forward at 50 percent — all within the same clip, with only one effect applied. You can activate the retime control by selecting a clip and choosing Retime Clip. Alternatively, keyboard shortcut aficionados can select the clip and hit CMD-R/CTRL-R.Here, you will see one of the visual differences between Premiere and Resolve — the visualization of the speed change on the clip itself.  You can see that arrows appear on the top of the clip when you have entered retime. The yellow arrows indicate that the clip has been slowed down, and the compact blue arrows suggest that the clip has been sped up. You also see the degree of increase or decrease to the clip’s speed. However, I find that if you have many layers with hundreds of different clips, the visualization of the speed change can help find you the clip more easily.Like the rate stretch tool in Premiere Pro, you can now expand the clip manually by simply moving your cursor over the clip in the retime bar (where it says Speed Change). If you try to rate stretch your clip by dragging the sides, it will just expand or decrease the clip’s natural duration. It is important to note that if you are in Normal Edit Mode (Keyboard shortcut A), you will trim the neighboring media if your speed duration increases your clip size. If you are in Trim Edit Mode (T on the keyboard), you will ripple the timeline.At the bottom of the clip, you can also find a small, black drop-down triangle. By clicking on this, you open the retime speed menu. Here, you see the same options from the clip speed menu, plus some extra features. The difference here is that the operations act differently. They operate in an advanced fashion, which isn’t as simple as just changing the entire clip speed to 150 percent.For example, if we choose Freeze Frame, which would freeze the entire clip when using the standard speed change settings, we get a section of the clip that we can now freeze for a specific amount of time. This, in essence, is closer to the still function in Premiere. Remember that using the Selection Tool or Trim Tool will completely change how the preceding clips react to the frozen frame’s extended duration.The retime overlay also allows you to create a speed ramp effect. By selecting the dropdown menu and choosing speed ramp (up from 0% or down to 0%), you divide the clip into several different sections, all of which have different speeds (increasing or decreasing), and all of which you can completely customize. You can change the speed of each segment, increase the section, or remove it entirely by clicking reset to 100%. You can modify the speed quite quickly by dragging the slider of the individual segment.Earlier, I touched on different frame interpolation settings that you can apply to a time-remapped clip. To adjust this setting to your preferred choice for the clip, simply select your clip in the timeline, open the inspector, and scroll down to retime and scaling. From the Retime Process menu, you can then choose three options: nearest, frame blend, and optical flow. The frame blend option is essentially a blend of the nearest and optical flow processes. Neighboring frames dissolve together to smooth the increase or decrease in speed.This is pretty much Resolve Speed Effects in a nutshell. On the surface, it looks just about the same as any other NLE. As soon as you open the retime effect overlay, you can easily change the speed of a clip.A few years back, if you wanted to convert a 24fps shot into smooth slow-motion, you had to buy a very expensive plug-in such as Twixitor. It’s very cool to see that many NLEs and compositors have integrated this into the basic software operation. Here’s a clip that was shot at 24fps and then slowed down to 25% using nearest frame. The comparison uses optical flow. Bonus tip: If you prefer working with curves for a more precise control over the position of the time change, you can right-click and select show retime curves to bring up the control box.Do you have editing tips for DaVinci Resolve? Let us know in the comments.last_img read more

From Idea to Execution to Idea

first_img 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 Now One of the keys to prospecting effectively is having a differentiated, compelling idea. You get in because you have some way that you can help your prospective client with some new or better outcome. It’s your ideas that make you worth meeting with (and it’s your lack of ideas that make you worth avoiding, like the salesperson who calls me each quarter to “check in to see if anything has changed.”)Once you win your prospect’s business, the value you create needs to move quickly from ideas to something more concrete: execution. You have to deliver what it is that you sold. The idea needs to be brought to life in your client’s company. For many of us who make a living carrying the bag, this is where things get sideways—especially when we succeed. We’ve delivered on the idea, and we settle into the warm comfort that is the status quo.Your status quo is your competitor’s opportunity for disruption. Think about it. All they need is a differentiated, compelling idea that helps your client produce an even better outcome than you are now. Isn’t that how you got in?What’s Next?Client retention, wallet share, and growth require more than idea and execution. They require idea, execution, and the next idea.Look at Apple. You buy the newest version of the iPhone or iPad knowing that Apple is going to cannibalize their success and release an even better device in a few months. And you know that the next device is going to blow the doors off the last device. You wouldn’t go back to the original iPhone, would you?The key to beating back complacency—and the accompanying low wallet share, lost clients, and negative growth—is to move from value creation to execution to new value creation. Either you disrupt the status quo and cannibalize your success or your competitors will.QuestionsWhat ideas do you have that you can use to “get in?”Why isn’t executing enough to retain your clients?How do you come up with the next idea and prevent complacency—on your part and your client’s?What can you do to cannibalize your success?last_img read more

The Bad Salesman

first_imgBad Salesman: We have an A-rating on Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau. We are members of the National Association of Remodeling Industry. The law requires that we have $1,000,000 in liability insurance; we have $6,000,000 in liability insurance. Are we the kind of company you want to business with?Me: I don’t know. I just met you.This is one of the problem with tactics like tie-downs. Bad Salesman, and his cologne, had only been in my home for a few minutes and he was already trying to close me tactically. He revealed that his visit was about him and not me. Worse still, my wife had looked up Bad Salesman’s company on Angie’s List to discover they have a C-rating (2 A ratings, 2 F-ratings). Ouch! Never good to lie!Bad Salesman: If money wasn’t an issue, would you buy this right now? I can give you 6 months same as cash, and I can waive the interest payments.Me: Money isn’t an issue. I’ll pay cash when I buy. But I am not ready to buy. I am taking bids from a number of companies. I met with you because you called and asked me to quote.I showed Bad Salesman two other projects that were important to me. He wasn’t interested enough to discuss them, even though his company did those kind of projects, too. The rest of the conversation did go any better. So Bad Salesman picked up his computer, put it in his bag, and hustled out of the house disappointed (his cologne stayed for a couple additional hours, much to my disappointment).Bad Salesman’s problems really started when his company called to ask to quote on a project and told my wife that certain rebates were available, but only if both she and I were here to meet with the salesperson together. I understand the desire not to have to deal with the additional time and sales calls that result when only the husband or wife is home, but I don’t understand the dishonesty. They could have just said, “We’d really like to schedule an appointment when both you and your spouse are home so we can hear from both of you together.”There is no substitute for trust. There is no substitute for caring. Old school tactical shortcuts violate trust and prove you don’t care. Don’t be like Bad Salesman.last_img read more

Lies, Damn Lies, Statistics, and Pure Social Selling Nonsense

first_imgYesterday the article’s headline read, 84 percent of B2B Sales Start with a Referral — Not a Salesperson. Today the headline has been changed to read How B2B Sales Can Benefit from Social Selling.The text is the same, “Outbound B2B sales are becoming less and less effective. . . . Meanwhile, 84 percent of B2B buyers are now starting the purchase process with a referral, and peer recommendations are influencing more than 90 percent of all B2B buying decisions.”Poppycock.Enter, RealityPull up your pipeline of opportunities right now. Look at the name of the company for the first opportunity on your report. Was that opportunity generated by a referral? What about the next opportunity? If the first two weren’t referrals, then statistically speaking, the next eight opportunities were generated that way.Wait? What is this you say? None of those opportunities were generated by referral? Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.Think of all the salespeople you know. How many of them have a pipeline with 84 percent of the opportunities generated by referral? How many have a pipeline with 10 percent of their opportunities generated by referral, for that matter? For most salespeople, 10 percent would be far better than they have now, and more than many of their peers.The reality is that very few opportunities are generated by a referral. In fact, most salespeople don’t ask for them, and even fewer buyers go out of their way to refer their suppliers to their peers.A Lie Repeated Long EnoughThe problem with lies is that if they are repeated often enough, they eventually begin to sound like the truth. You’ll likely see a slide with this 84 percent statistic at a sales conference in the next year, with this HBR article cited as its source.No doubt you’ll hear that social selling is what generates enough referrals that you should no longer use any other method to prospect and create opportunities, least of all cold calling.The fact that this may very well become the newest in a long line of bunk will not make it true. Nor will it make it useful.Poor SocialPoor social selling again takes a beating. Drivel like this over promises and under delivers.For social selling to be a useful toolkit for salespeople, it doesn’t have to create a pipeline that is made up of 84 percent referrals. It doesn’t have to exclude all other methods of prospecting. Worse still, because so many ridiculous statistics are bandied around as if they are truth, they are all now suspect.If you want to build a pipeline of referrals, call your best clients and ask them to refer you to someone they know who would benefit from the same value you created for them. If you want to use social as part of this process, go to LinkedIn and see who they know before you make the call.last_img read more

The 10 Time Management Strategies You Need to Implement Now

first_imgI have spent much time studying time management, or something I often refer to as Me Management since you can’t control time, but you can control what you do between the ticks of the clock. Here are ten strategies that, when implemented, are guaranteed to improve your productivity.Calibrate Your Priorities: There is nothing more critical to effective time management than determining your priorities. If you are going to be productive with time, you need to know what you want in every area of your life, something I call Achievement by Design. Because you have one life, you should design what you want from it. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in tasks that are not related to your priorities, so get clear on what’s most important first.Determine Your Outcomes: One of the reasons so many people struggle with time management is that they have a task list, or a to-do list if you like that better. The most productive people have these lists too, but they are focused on the outcomes of the tasks, not the tasks themselves. Let’s say you want to increase the sales of your business by $1,000,000. That growth will likely require many to-dos, and those tasks will probably change over time. Let me give you a straightforward example. You might have a task that reads, “Go to dinner with significant other.” The outcome might be “deepen the relationship with significant other,” a result you can achieve regardless of where you eat dinner.Treat Everything Like a Project: One way to improve your time management is to treat everything as a project. A project will likely have several tasks, it will take some time, and you will probably have helpful resources available to you. When you treat important outcomes as a project, you spend time planning your actions, and you schedule a time to complete the necessary tasks, turning a list of tasks into something more substantial.Establish Routines: In interviewing dozens of writers, they universally shared the routine of rising very early and producing pages first thing in the morning. They all suggest this routine was an essential part of their process. Whether your routine is to work immediately upon waking (my method) or go for a run or a workout, the discipline will improve your time management. You might have a morning routine, an afternoon routine, a weekly review routine, or a routine for reviewing your priorities.Draw Boundaries: When you say “yes” to small things, you are saying “no” to bigger things. It is challenging to manage your time when you don’t have boundaries. Some people want your time and attention at work, and many times, their needs are real. Without borders, you will never be able to protect the time you need for your priorities. You will no doubt be asked to help with projects, some of which will be interesting to you. However, when you agree to chair a committee, you are saying no to the things that are more important to you. Saying “no” is a powerful and necessary strategy, if you want to manage your time better.Schedule Weeks and Days: Minutes turn into hours, hours into days, days into weeks, and weeks into months. It is easy to fritter away your time when you haven’t determined beforehand what you are going to do with it. Once you know your priorities, you can schedule your days and weeks, starting each day with a solid plan to make progress on the few important things. When you begin to work, you won’t waste any time deciding what you need to do.Give Your Priorities Your Focus: Even though you have a schedule, you have limited attention and focus. You have some times of the day where your focus and your will power is stronger (for me, it is the first thing in the morning). You want to give your best energy to your most important priorities. Refuse to give those power hours to things like your email or social media sites. Instead, do the few things that move you closer to the outcomes you need to produce.Aggregate Tasks: Some tasks are necessary, like responding to your email or voice mail. You also have to pay your bills and fill out reports. These tasks lend themselves to aggregation. Instead of living in your inbox, check it three times a day, and process the emails completely (if you read it, decide what to do with it, do it, or put it on a task list, then archive it). If you are going to pay your bills or do your expense reports, collect them and do all of this work in one sitting—instead of allowing it to chip away at your time.Use a Single Task Manager: Some people’s idea of a task manager is a computer monitor covered in yellow post-it notes (maybe not the most elegant solution, and one that is also not mobile-friendly). It would be best if you had all of your projects and tasks wrangled into one place where you are confident you won’t miss something. If you like electronic task managers, there are dozens of good ones. If you prefer analog, a notebook works, as long as you keep everything there. Whatever your choice, commit to it completely.Decide What Not to Do: A to-don’t list is as crucial as a task list. What would go on a to-don’t list? How about “Don’t open email first thing in the morning.” Or, “Don’t allow people to interrupt your focus blocks.” If you want to do even better with your time, maybe try: “Don’t let other people place their priorities above mine,” knowing you can make exceptions when it makes sense. A list of things you are not willing to do will help you better manage your time.The list above is in the order I would recommend you implement and execute these time management strategies. If you decide to go out of order, I strongly suggest you start by calibrating your priorities.last_img read more