NetSuite Gives Software Grants to Social Enterprises

first_imgklint finley A small, capable and emerging group that would otherwise be unable to afford organization management software like NetSuite.A for-profit or nonprofit organization.A group focused on automating a single business process like ecommerce.A group that can clearly articulate social impact and offer metrics to measure it.A group that has the organizational capacity to implement NetSuite software and use it to accelerate their social impact, as measured by their metrics. According to the same page, the ideal grantee is: 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… This week NetSuite announced the recipients of the product donation program sponsored by its non-profit organization The Social Enterprise Grant provides free access to NetSuite’s offerings to select social enterprises. In this case, social enterprise doesn’t mean enterprises that use social media. It means companies that are doing something for the social good. Easy Office, United Prosperity, EdTec, Envirofit and Kiva were this week’s recipients.The donation includes NetSuite’s complete software suite, five user access licenses and support. Recipients also received discounts for additional users licenses and options based on the organization’s revenue. Organizations with less than $2 million per year in revenue receive a donation, those with $2-5 million receive an 80% discount and organizations with over $5 million receive a 50% discount. Service is provided by NetSuite employees who volunteer their time. NetSuite’s announcement highlights the ability to track social good as a key performance indicator as primary advantage in using NetSuite. Applications for the program are available. The grants are given out on a rolling basis.According to the guidelines page, NetSuite does not provide grants to: Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… Related Posts individuals;groups whose primary purpose is religious or political;groups that are primarily a professional or trade association;groups that discriminate on the basis of race, ethnic or national origin, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, physical appearance, language, educational background or veteran status. IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Tags:#enterprise#saas last_img read more

What is Apple Without Steve Jobs?

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… guest author 1 Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… By now you’ve probably seen several reports about how Steve Jobs, 55, has taken a medical leave of absence to focus on his health. According to the New York Times, an anonymous source at Apple stated that Jobs had been looking “increasingly emaciated,” and that he was on a “down cycle” leading up to his medical leave announcement.It’s well-known that Jobs had pancreatic cancer, a rare form called islet cell neuroendocrine tumor with an incident rate of 2 per 1 million people. He was originally diagnosed in 2003 and successfully treated with a variation on the “Whipple” procedure, called a pancreatoduodenectomy, on July 31, 2004. This procedure includes the removal of part of the stomach and small intestine, portions of the duodenum, the head of the pancreas, the gallbladder, the common bile duct and regional lymph nodes.According to a Fortune magazine profile of Jobs, for nine months leading up to his surgery he tried alternative therapies, with reports that he had initially refused traditional Western medicine. He finally acquiesced to pressures from those close to him after a scan revealed growth in his tumor, and went through with the Whipple procedure. Without having to receive chemotherapy or radiation, he ended up recovering, back at Apple shortly after his surgery. WWDC 2006, 2007, 2008Over the next few years, Jobs became noticeably thinner. It’s not uncommon for those who have undergone a Whipple procedure to lose body mass. However, according to The Center for Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases at the University of Southern California, Department of Surgery, it’s usually only around 5% to 10% of the body’s regular weight, and “stabilizes very rapidly”. Based on his appearance, this hasn’t seemed to have been the case with Jobs.When he announced the iPhone 3G on June 9, 2008, about four years after his original cancer surgery, his weight sparked rumors in both the media and the Apple community that his cancer had returned. Apple PR was quick to respond, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that he was suffering from a “common bug.”In January 2009, he took another medical leave of absence. Just like now, the media was buzzing. To quell speculation, Jobs wrote an open letter to the Apple community on Jan. 5, right before MacWorld 2009 San Francisco, explaining that his weight loss was due to a hormone imbalance that had been “robbing” his body of essential proteins, and that he had already begun treatment.Guest author Ryan Vetter is a Project Manager at liquidpubs. He has published articles on MacNN, and is the author of an upcoming book “People, Technology, and Change”. His interests revolve around education, publishing, and technology. One week later, he wrote an email to Apple employees explaining that his health issues were “more complex” than he had originally thought, and that he would be taking a six month medical leave of absence. During his absence, Tim Cook, Apple’s COO became operations manager while Jobs remained CEO and was still involved in all major strategic decisions for the company.The same month in which he was to return from his absence, The Wall Street Journal reported that Jobs had received a liver transplant in Tennessee and was recovering. As Fortune would later report, he flew to Switzerland prior to his transplant to undergo an “unusual radiological treatment” at the University of Basel. According to Fortune, he chose the University of Basel because it had developed a unique form of hormone-delivered radiotherapy to treat neuroendocrine cancer. This treatment isn’t currently available in the U.S.When Jobs appeared on stage at an Apple Special Event in September looking frail and speaking in a soft-pitched voice, he told the world that he had indeed received a liver transplant. It?s still unclear whether the transplant was due to a recurrence of cancer spreading to his liver, or because of some other reason. However, it may have been due to a recurrence of his cancer, since a liver transplant is a treatment option for people whose neuroendocrine tumors have metastasized to the liver itself. This would also explain his trip to Switzerland.Now that he’s on another medical leave of absence, there’s speculation that he has either had a recurrence of cancer or that he’s having difficulty with the immunosuppressants he takes, better known as anti-rejection drugs. Without these drugs, the body would quickly mark and attack any transplanted organs because they contain foreign DNA.Since we’re not at a the point where we can grow new organs from patients’ own stem cells, Jobs has to deal with the side effects of anti-rejection drugs. Those are increased risks of disease and infection, in addition to an increased risk of tumors recurring. Apple is characteristically tight-lipped about Jobs’ medical issues, and has not stated exactly what kinds of medical problems he?s experiencing.There has been much debate about whether shareholders have the right to know more details about the CEO’s condition, including information about a succession plan.Here’s why I’m not terribly interested in succession plans.Let’s assume for the moment that Jobs will not be returning to Apple.Apple Without JobsThere?re two camps when it comes to the topic of Apple sans Jobs. One camp is optimistic. Apple is comprised of great people from top-to-bottom, and because the company has so much depth, it would continue to be successful well into the future – particularly because it’s believed that it has a set of products and services in the pipeline that will carry it for the next two-to-five years.The other camp is not so optimistic. They believe Apple will never be the same company without Jobs. The thinking goes something like this: Apple equals Steve Jobs. Without Jobs, there is no Apple. As many great people as they may have, without a leader to steer the ship, there will be no vision, no navigator.I tend to side more with these folks than I do with the optimistic ones. I don’t think Apple will fall face-first if Jobs is unable to return, but eventually, it’ll lose some ground and focus. Jobs is a special kind of person. He’s one of the few that can lead a company through all the competitive detritus in the world, and make it sing.Thanks to Jobs, Apple is one of the most innovative companies. He’s the perfect blend of a consumer and a businessman all wrapped into one, creative, visionary body. He strives for ultimate perfection and accepts nothing less. With his famous reality distortion field, he?s able to push people to new heights, and shake up entire industries. He’s a Da Vinci and a tyrant all in one. Tags:#Analysis#Apple#web Related Posts From all the little decisions to all the big ones, Jobs has his hand in a lot of it. You can see his name on an array of Apple?s patents for instance. He was even known to pick the music for iPod commercials. Since his return in 1997, Apple has become very dependent on his leadership and vision, and the culture that he infused into the company. As a result, he?s the source of Apple?s greatest strength. But he?s also the source of its greatest weakness, and that?s simply because he’s irreplaceable.Photo credits: top photo by BENM.AT Live Coverage; WWDC 2006, Collin Allen; WWDC 2007, acaben; WWDC 2008, Tom Coates; Newsweek, Business Week and Time magazine covers via Ballistik Coffee Boy; UnixWorld via mrbill.A History of Apple Without Jobscenter_img Jobs the VisionaryHistory doesn’t necessarily have to repeat itself. However, since Jobs is so unique and adept at creating the most innovative consumer technology, if he is unable to return, not only will it be a major loss for Apple, but for the world. We’d be stuck with Microsoft’s wares. Smartphones would likely still be dumb-phones. There’d be no iPad.He’s a change agent. We’ll look back and marvel at his creations.Jobs is one of the only individuals who has the ability to see the future with such sharp clarity, while at the same time is able to deliver that future today in a way that makes sense to consumers. As Sculley stated in Odyssey, his memoir, “What I perceived as symbols of the new technological age, Steve saw as low tech junk, remnants of antiquated technology that polluted the area’s beauty. He was right. Steve was mentally living twenty-five years in the future.”In a now-famous interview in Playboy in early 1985, the interviewer asked Jobs about the purpose of personal computers in the home. Jobs replied, “The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications network. We?re just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people–as remarkable as the telephone.” And that’s exactly what happened. The PC industry exploded as soon as the Internet hit critical mass.A more recent example is from an interview Jobs did on CNBC after the announcement of the first iPhone in 2007: “I think the iPhone may really change the whole phone industry… I think this is where the world’s going… This is the future… I don’t see why everybody wouldn’t want one of these.”I hope history doesn’t repeat itself should Jobs end up not returning to Apple. And we may not even reach that point. He could get better, and be right back at the helm full-time. In fact, in a recent study , long-term survival rates for neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer can be as high as 77% post-surgery.Here’s hoping that Jobs makes a speedy recovery. WWDC 2010 photo by BENM.AT Live Coverage. “[Microsoft was] able to copy the Mac because the Mac was frozen in time. The Mac didn’t change much for the last 10 years. It changed maybe 10 percent. It was a sitting duck. It’s amazing that it took Microsoft 10 years to copy something that was a sitting duck. Apple, unfortunately, doesn’t deserve too much sympathy. They invested hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars into R&D, but very little came out. They produced almost no new innovation since the original Mac itself.”Billions of dollars were spent under Sculley’s rule, with hardly any product output. For instance, Apple tried to create a new, cutting-edge operating system in the late 1980s code-named “Pink”. Because of problems with memory leaks, processing power and more, they weren’t able to output a product. This was part of the beginning of Apple’s troubles. With other expensive R&D initiatives that didn’t result in any consumer products, the bills added up, and quickly.In 1993, the same year the first Newton MessagePad was launched, Sculley?s pet project that ended up costing the company hundreds of millions of dollars, Apple was beginning to seriously question Sculley’s ability to run the company. It didn’t help that its six-year lawsuit against Microsoft over the ownership of a graphical user interface operating system had just been dismissed. Around this time, Sculley admitted to his secretary that he was tired and was thinking about leaving Apple. In June of that year, the board removed Sculley from power, and placed Michael Spindler as CEO.Shortly after, Sculley left Apple.By the end of 1996, Apple was in disarray, unable to recover from its past mistakes, and was on its third CEO of the decade. Its stock was trading at $5.22.While there were some good things to come out of the company sans Jobs, like the PowerBook, it was losing relevance and desperately needed a new operating system. Windows had most of the world’s market-share. At that point, Windows was more advanced than the Classic Mac OS, since it sort of multi-tasked, whereas the Classic Mac OS, full of legacy code and old technologies, didn’t. The Mac had simply been frozen in time.Since Apple failed at creating a new operating system, it decided to try and buy one.But which one? There wasn’t much choice. They courted a few companies, one being Sun Microsystems. But they soon found themselves on Jobs’ doorstep. It was the little-known NeXT operating system they were after.When Jobs had originally left Apple, not only would he go on to found Pixar, which produced Toy Story in 1995, he started a new computer company called NeXT, Inc. It was there that he created what many believed at the time to be the world’s most advanced operating system: NeXTSTEP. It could multi-task, it supported multiple processors, and had excellent graphics support. It was essentially OS X, born 15 years earlier.Apple came back into Jobs’ life just at the right time. After some 10 years on the market, NeXT wasn’t profitable. But it housed incredible innovation.With Apple now at his mercy, Jobs had the opportunity to make something out of what he created at NeXT, and, most importantly, redeem himself. He seemed particularly focused on the latter. In an interview from Triumph of the Nerds, he had this to say about Sculley: “What can I say? I hired the wrong guy. He destroyed everything I spent ten years working for, starting with me, but that wasn’t the saddest part. I would have gladly left Apple if Apple would have turned out like I wanted it to.”This was Jobs’ chance to turn Apple around, and make it into the company he always wanted it to be. And that was a consumer company. Sculley lacked the unified vision Jobs had for Apple, teetering between a focus on business and an interest in consumers. This confused Apple’s R&D initiatives and product lines. An example is the Newton.As Jobs stated in the above-referenced Rolling Stone interview, “A perfect example is the PDA stuff, like Apple’s Newton. I’m not real optimistic about it…they thought individuals were going to buy them and give them to their families…at $1,500 a pop with a cellular modem in them, I don’t think too many people are going to buy three or four for their family. The people who are going to buy them in the first five years are mobile professionals.” The Newton ended up being used by mobile professionals, and didn’t gain much ground with consumers, just as Jobs had predicted.Jobs had originally built the company around the idea that it was primarily to be a consumer company, betting against Xerox on the idea that personal computers were just that: personal.He made a deal with Apple in 1997, sold NeXT and all its assets to them, and returned to run the company. He swiftly simplified and “consumerized” Apple’s product line, reducing the number of products, and streamlining their marketing.From 1997 until now, the rest is history. Apple’s stock (NASDAQ:AAPL) went from a decade-low of $3.28 at the end of 1997 to a high of $348.60 as of January, 2011, with almost $60 billion in cash and marketable securities. Apple has risen to be the second most valuable publicly traded company in the world, second to Exxon (NYSE:XOM).Shortly after Jobs returned in 1997, industry-changing products and services were spun out incredibly quickly; the Clamshell iBook, iMac and Titanium PowerBooks, Mac OS X, iTunes, the iPod, the iPhone, movie and TV show rentals, the MacBook Air, and the iPad, among others. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting During Jobs’ absence, Apple ended up nearly bankrupt. According to Jobs, when he first got back to Apple, it was within 90 days of bankruptcy. The stock had tanked; its product line was a mess. There was no real business strategy.While anything can happen in the future, we do have some prior knowledge of what Apple was like without Jobs at the helm. Let’s look back to 1983. Jobs et al. were hard at work on the all-in-one Macintosh computer. With sales of its previous computers, like the Apple II, having transformed it from being a basement business into a multi-million dollar company in just a few years, it needed to not only look like a big company, but act like it too.In order to achieve this, Jobs, among others at Apple, decided that they should bring in someone from the corporate world to run things. At this point, Jobs and company were self-aware enough about how hippy-ish Apple’s culture was and that it needed some kind of father to come in and watch over it.Jobs and the company chose John Sculley, the CEO of PepsiCo. Sculley exemplified the cold, withdrawn, hard-nosed CEO they were looking for. In a now famous line, Jobs called up Sculley and said, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world?” While they developed a close relationship in the beginning, Sculley was immediately taken aback by how out-of-control both Jobs and Apple as a company was upon his arrival. For instance, as Sculley stated in his memoir Odyssey, at one of his first meetings with Jobs and other Apple executives, there were people interrupting and insulting each other, acting rude. “Many of them traded insults as often as kids used to trade baseball cards,” he wrote.Fast forward two years. At this point, Sculley managed to rally the board against Jobs, which resulted in him being removed from power. Feeling dejected, Jobs left Apple in September, 1985. Shortly before Jobs?s departure, Sculley had also executed a massive layoff, axing 1,200 jobs from Apple?s payroll. Apple wouldn’t be same again until 1997, when Jobs officially came back to Apple.During Jobs’ absence, Apple ended up nearly bankrupt. According to Jobs, when he first got back to Apple, it was within 90 days of bankruptcy. The stock had tanked; its product line was a mess. There was no real business strategy. Sculley was responsible for a lot of the trouble Apple was in. As Jobs said in an interview in Rolling Stone in 1994: 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

SXSW: Accelerator Finalists and Winners

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… sarah perez 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market At last week’s SXSW conference in Austin, Texas, 32 companies presented at the SXSW Accelerator awards, sponsored by Microsoft’s BizSpark. The companies spoke in front of a panel of judges, one of which was ReadWriteWeb’s editor, Richard MacManus, who helped in judging the news applications. By day two, 32 finalists were narrowed down to just 12, all competing for the top spot in one of four categories: news related technologies, innovative Web technologies, entertainment technologies and social media and social networking technologies.So, who won?The grand prize at this year’s awards show went to the following:News Related Technologies: StorifyInnovative Web Technologies: HipmunkEntertainment Technologies: TangoSocial Media & Social Networking Technologies: PopVoxIf you’re not familiar with these services, all are worth taking note of.Storify is a useful tool for creating stories using social media. We’ve used Stofify here at ReadWriteWeb to curate tweets about popular events, for example, including SXSW itself. But you can also make collections that include Flickr photos and YouTube videos, using the service.Hipmunk is an easy-to-use flight (and now lodging) search service which offers an improved interface for finding, sorting and filtering results. One of its sorting options is called “agony,” which the company describes as a way of sorting flights taking into account price, duration, and number of stops, combined. Hipmunk also recently launched an iPhone application that lets you perform flight searches on your phone, then book on your mobile or email yourself a link to the flight you chose.Tango is a free mobile calling service, that, unlike Apple’s FaceTime, works across platforms (iPhone and Android, and others soon). It also works over Wi-Fi and 3G, while FaceTime is currently limited to Wi-Fi-only. Tango hit 3 million downloads in November, and has now just recently reached 10 million.Finally, PopVox is a service providing real-time information on current legislation. Designed by people who have worked in around government for years, and advised by Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, the site lets you locate a bill you care about, declare your opposition or support and share that opinion directly with Congress. For politicians, the site provides a number of bill-tracking tools to stay on top of public sentiment.The other finalists at Accelerator included the Participatory Politics Foundation, a nonprofit promoting civic engagement; DocumentCloud, a tool for journalists that enables publishing public documents to a Web-based catalog; the eye-tracking service GazeHawk; Kabbage, a service providing funding to online merchants; Portalarium, makers of a new social game called Ultimate Collector; Viki, a crowd-sourced foreign-language captioning for the movies and TV shows; CompassLabs, a social media advertising agency; and Neighborgoods, a community that allows you to share items (e.g., a lawnmower, bike, drill, etc.) with your neighbors,Neighborgoods also got Accelerator’s Bootstrap Award for having done the most with the fewest resources. Tags:#news#web center_img Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts last_img read more

Jive and Get Hitched by Appirio

first_imgJive and have been seen as competitors since at least the announcement of Chatter, which brought into the enterprise 2.0 market. Jive has also started to encroach on territory by announcing its Jive Apps Market, a competitor to the AppExchange and platform.But now, Appirio is making the two vendors’ services work in harmony.Appirio announced this week a new series apps that will integrate customer relation management information from with the enterprise collaboration features of Jive. The first of these apps, part of Appirio’s CloudWorks line, is based around what Appirio calls “collaborative selling.”The debut app is already available for Jive 5 beta customers, and will be available in the Jive Apps Market once Jive 5 officially launches. Future plans include applications for customer service, marketing, account management and partner management.The Appirio services demonstrate the value that systems integrators and third-party developers can bring to applications and services that have robust APIs.Appirio was founded in 2006 and is funded by Sequoia Capital and GGV Capital. It also offers integrations between and Google Apps.This integration comes hot on the heals of the announcement that will integrate with QuickBooks Online. IT + Project Management: A Love Affair 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Tags:#enterprise#saas Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…center_img klint finley Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Related Posts last_img read more

Minnesota Faces An Acute Shortage of Energy Auditors

first_imgGearing up to Spend Weatherization Money Will Take TimeST. PAUL, Minn. — With a flood of federal dollars headed their way, Minnesota officials are scrambling to find enough home-energy auditors to ramp up the state’s low-income weatherization program. According to the Pioneer Press, “Right now, there simply aren’t enough qualified personnel to do the job.”An avalanche of fundingLast year, Minnesota’s budget for low-income weatherization was only $10 million — a paltry sum compared to this year’s $135 million avalanche of federal stimulus funds. “To deliver the weatherization dollars as quickly and effectively as we can and put people to work as quickly we can, we’re going to have to deal with a couple of bottlenecks,” said Minnesota Representative Jeremy Kalin. “First, we’re going to have to hire and train hundreds more home-energy auditors.”According to the Pioneer Press, the task won’t be easy. “Officials are looking for ways to dramatically increase the numbers of home-energy auditors, as well as identify contractors who can do the job — in the shortest time possible. The state already partners with Dunwoody College of Technology to train home-energy auditors, but those courses are packed. The school recently added new courses, but the earliest openings aren’t until June. So the state is looking to replicate the training elsewhere.”Can private contractors meet the demand?Most weatherization jobs require the services of an insulation contractor. According to Bill Foley, owner of Maple Tree Insulation in Mahtomedi, Minn., small companies like his find it difficult to ramp up quickly. The Pioneer Press reported, “Some of the local organizations that administer energy programs have suggested — even before the stimulus package but especially now — that Foley expand his business. But he’s not sure he can afford to, and that raises questions about whether private contractors can meet the demand — especially since the jobs may disappear once the stimulus dollars evaporate. ‘They want us to increase. They want us to put on people; they want us to put on more trucks. But we (small operators) don’t have enough money for that,’ Foley said. Even if he were to hire more staff, Foley said that it might take three to four months to train them.”The problem is not unique to Minnesota. Steve Boniello, director of Neighborhood and Community Services, is trying to hire four additional energy auditors for the weatherization program in Kansas City, Mo. “You’d think we’d be getting applications from people from the construction trades,” said Boniello, “but we haven’t seen many applicants.”last_img read more

LEED Can Change, Part Two: LEED AP

first_imgChanges for the LEED Accredited Professional Program for 2009As a builder, I have a pet peeve that I would like to share because I think it could be productive to other builders in particular and the building community in general. When I go to a green building event, an AIA educational event or most higher-level green education events, the facilitator inevitably asks the crowd questions about their backgrounds.“How many architects are in the crowd? Show me your hands. How many engineers? How many LEED APs? Any builders?”Builders are always last or, even worse, not in the question at all. Is it because not many builders are interested in these events, or do they not attend because they will feel excluded if they show up? I think it’s high time to combat both pressures. Architects, give builders a chance; and builders, show the architects that we are smart and we do give a damn. Disclaimer: This is a blatant generalization, but with all of the change in the air these days, maybe this trend could tag along.More and more builders are embracing green building, which is good. I think that green building could be the great unifier for architects and builders. Could the transition to a greener economy and built environment have a healing effect on this professional chasm? I’d like to think so. In order for American buildings to be the best product, they need the involvement of all professionals.That’s right, I’m calling builders professionals. How will you, as a builder, place yourself at the head of the pack when we emerge from the darkness of the current economic doom and gloom? Become a LEED AP. Take some of these higher-level green-building classes. Learn about the techniques and products that can make your projects truly green.Below is a description of the changes in the LEED AP system that are coming this year, including a LEED AP+ Homes and Neighborhood Development accreditation.LEED V3: Professional Accreditation ChangesFirst off, if you are already a LEED AP, you will not have to retest as long as you opt in to the new LEED Credential within two years. You will have to maintain your credential by paying a $50 fee every two years and taking 30 hours (6 LEED-specific) of continuing ed in the same time frame. The course descriptions are available at you haven’t passed the LEED AP test but still want to before the new program, you need to register for the test by March 31 and pass it by the end of June. If you are or become a LEED AP, you will always be one as long as you fulfill the maintenance requirements. You can also choose to enroll in the new system.The new LEED credentials will include tier-one (LEED Green Associate) and tier-two (LEED AP+) accreditation. There will also be a LEED Fellow designation for the true green-building gurus. These designations will require a multiple-choice test similar to the current LEED AP test. There will be tests in the specialty areas of Building Design & Construction, Interior Design & Construction, Operations & Maintenance, Homes and Neighborhood Development. With these credentials comes a biennial maintenance program that consists of a fee and course requirements.In my next entry, I will discuss the corresponding changes in the USGBC Education Program, lay out the dynamic LEED V3 roll-out schedule, and share my opinion about how high to set the green-building bar.last_img read more

A Net-Zero Multifamily Project in Seattle

first_imgIts construction delayed two years by the financial meltdown, zHome, a 10-unit townhouse project in Issaquah, Washington, has finally opened. The near-zero-energy project claims to be the Seattle area’s most energy-efficient and greenest multifamily development, and among the first of its kind on the West Coast.The project is a collaboration between the City of Issaquah and a number of regional partners, including the Built Green residential construction program, King County, Port Blakely Communities, Puget Sound Energy, the Washington State University Extension Energy Program, Seattle builder Matt Howland, and builder-developer Ichijo USA.Steps to zeroThe zHome website describes the project’s construction and expected performance features. Exterior walls are insulated to R-38 and the ceilings to R-60 with expanded polystyrene inside the wall studs and another 3 in. of EPS on the outside. The townhomes are equipped with double-pane fiberglass windows with a U-factor of 0.33, ground-source heat pumps, and heat-recovery ventilators. The development team calculates that, thanks to these features and energy-efficient lighting fixtures and appliances, the townhomes’ average energy use will be reduced by about two-thirds. The remaining one third will be addressed by roof-mounted photovoltaic systems.Tim Walsh, of Ichijo USA, told GBA that the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scores for the townhomes ranged from zero to minus 12, and Tom Balderston, the project’s performance tester, added that air leakage rates ranged from 2.85 ach50 to 4 ach50, depending on the unit tested.Ten rainwater cisterns, with capacities ranging from 1,000 to 1,800 gallons, will supply water for toilets and laundry, and low-flow fixtures and appliances will help reduce water usage by an estimated 70%. About 78% of the wood used on the project is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and the zHome team also used a lot of recycled, reclaimed, and regional materials.A model for others?The project partners say that a key goal in bringing energy-efficient performance and green construction practices to prominence is to show the process can be cost-effectively replicated in mainstream housing production. To help highlight that possibility, one of the zHome units – the zHome partners call it the Stewardship Center – will be kept off the market for five years and used as a teaching and marketing facility for builders, designers, and students interested in zHome concepts that can be applied to new-home construction and retrofits.The other nine units are for sale, with prices ranging from the low $400,000s to the $600,000s.last_img read more

Trouble on the Roof

first_imgOur expert’s point of viewHere’s how GBA technical director Peter Yost looks at it:Having investigated a number of SIP roof moisture problems, rule number one is to back up every panel joint that is foam-sealed with a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) tape. Over time, even the best of foam sealants can develop hairline cracks with repeated contraction and expansion. The flexible PSA tape maintains the air barrier should the joint sealant fail. And because of wintertime stack effect, even the smallest of cracks at the roof line lead to warm moist air leaking into the panel joint and condensing. So, all SIP joints need to be sealed and taped to be part of a longterm continuous air barrier system. The need for this is greatest in the roof system, typically, because it goes through the most dramatic temperature and expansion-contraction cycles.In this case, I am afraid that the roofing panels need to be removed so that all of the SIP joints can be taped. Leakage may be most pronounced at the ridge, but sooner or later, you will almost certainly be needing that flexible backup PSA tape at all panel joints. And yes, the SIP installer is liable here, to the extent that best practice is belt-and-suspenders at panel joints.Rule number two: check the building pressure balance with the HVAC running. You need to know whether the HVAC system is making matters worse.Rule number three: check to see if your HVAC system is both properly sized and has the climate-appropriate Sensible Heat Ratio (SHR). An oversized AC unit could be short-cycling and not accomplishing enough latent heat (moisture) removal, aiding and abetting condensation at your interior roof finish. And a unit with the proper SHR means the AC unit is designed to “favor” latent heat or moisture removal in hot-humid climates. An SHR no greater than 0.70 makes sense in Kentucky. Jeremy Ballard is living in a relatively new home built with structural insulated panels (SIPs), and he’s already spotted something that’s keeping him up at night. The weather in Kentucky is turning hot and humid, and with the humidity has come condensation on corrugated metal panels installed on the interior of the roof.“Our center ceiling beams are dripping wet throughout the day, causing small puddles on the floor,” Ballard writes in a post in the Q&A forum at GreenBuildingAdvisor. “The ceiling is hot to the touch at the very peak on either side of the center beam. I believe hot outside air is leaking in.”As he starts a round of calls to his builder, the SIP manufacturer, and the manufacturer that provided the frame, Ballard looks for recommendations on how the problem can be corrected. Seams between SIPs are not taped, either on the inside or the outside, and they’re now inaccessible. Other possible clues: the unvented metal roofing is installed over furring strips and a layer of “double bubble,” a foil-faced product sold as insulation.Another question faced by Ballard: Who’s responsible for making it right? Among the candidates are the general contractor for the house, the manufacturer of the SIPs, and possibly himself.“I couldn’t sleep last night thinking how this cost our family over $32,000 for the SIPs and the first summer [they] are failing,” Ballard says.That’s the topic for this Q&A Spotlight. Suspect seals at the ridgeBallard can add some visual evidence that air leaks at the ridge are behind the problem. He provides a photo taken during construction showing a gap of at least an inch between SIPs at the ridge, with a bit of gasket material showing (see Image #2, below).“I was ignorant during construction, but realized this was not right,” he says. “I sent the picture to the manufacturer a year ago when it occurred and the response was that my concerns were not valid. I poorly chose to rely on the professional opinion. However, the evidence now is that my concerns are valid.”Ballard doesn’t quibble with any of the comments that have been posted, but the real question is how to fix it. He thinks a possible solution is to seal the entire ridge from the inside and “basically build the ceiling down below some sort of added seal and barrier.”Following that, he adds, the ridge should come off and the seam sealed from that side as well.“I have no idea what could seal it, but I wouldn’t be opposed to a solution of adding up to a couple of inches to the inside if it assured a bullet-proof seal,” he says.Start at the ridge, says GBA senior editor Martin Holladay, by removing the ridge flashing. “If the removal of the ridge flashing exposes enough of the SIPs on both sides of the ridge to install SIP tape,” Hollladay says, “then the fix would involve spraying the gap between the SIPs with spray foam; trimming the foam after it cures; and then installing SIP tape that is wide enough to stretch from the SIP on one side of the roof, over the ridge, and onto the SIP on the other side of the roof.”If removing the ridge flashing does not expose enough of the SIPs to do this work, the builder will have to remove enough of the roofing screws to lift or remove the roofing panels, “as needed to gain access to the ridge area.”And while this work is underway, Ballard might think about hiring a home performance contractor to find out why the house is depressurized in relation to the outside, a condition which is encouraging the influx of warm, moist air. The builder might be able to expose enough of the roof to correct the leaks by removing the ridge cap, but that prospect seems unlikely because in an unvented roof the metal roofing would extend very close to the ridge. “But perhaps,” he adds, “the ridge cap is large enough to allow some wiggle room up there.”He also suggests that a home performance contractor equipped with a blower door and an infrared camera might be able to identify other air leaks in the house. A good home performance contractor might also help determine whether the HVAC system is depressurizing the house and contributing to the problem.Exposing the ridge might also reveal the “other side of this coin,” writes Andy Chappell-Dick: “warm, moist air leaking out in the winter.”Everyone in the SIP business, from manufacturer to installer, knows the importance of a “belt-and-suspenders” approach to air sealing, he adds. “Due to the high pressures of winter stack effect, the most critical interior joint to seal is the peak, that one that is now inaccessible,” Chappell-Dick says. Yes, air leaks are the culpritDavid Meiland has no doubt the problem is a leaky roof assembly. “As you allude to, the issue is probably air leakage and the solution is to seal the joints where air is leaking in,” he writes.If the builder responds to Ballard’s requests for help, Meiland adds, he will probably want to correct the problem from inside the house by caulking the seam on either side of the ridge beam. But the real solution is elsewhere: on the outside of the house, where the seams between adjoining SIPs should be sealed with tape. Structural Insulated Panelscenter_img RELATED ARTICLES CONSTRUCTION DETAILS And who’s responsible for this mess?There seems to be some consensus on how to fix the problem (tackle it from the outside, not the inside), but now it gets a little sticky. Who is legally responsible for the repairs?Ballard had a general contractor/builder for the house, but he hired a SIP installation crew under a separate contract. To be precise, he says, he paid the SIP manufacturer, paid their installation crew, and then paid his GC to come in and finish the roof with flashing and trim. “In my mind,” he says, “the SIP install contractor is the person I need to be talking to.”That makes you the GC for the SIPs, says Holladay, adding, “It’s up to you to pursue the problem with the crew that you paid.”Stephen Sheehy, who practiced construction law, suggests that Ballard invite both the general contractor and the SIP contractor to the house for a chat.“Otherwise, it is highly likely that the SIP contractor will blame the GC and the GC will blame the SIP contractor,” he writes. “You need to emphasize that they have a problem and you need it fixed by either or both of them. I’d copy my lawyer on any correspondence.“One lesson you’ve learned the hard way is that there is significant risk in carving out a part of the construction of the building envelope and hiring a sub yourself,” Sheehy continues. “While the SIP installer may very well have screwed up, maybe the GC made matters worse. Maybe the GC should have noticed the problem before the roofing went on. But does the GC have an obligation to inspect work by subs hired directly by you? Probably not.” Green Basics: Structural Insulated PanelsHow to Protect Structural Insulated Panels from Decay Air-Sealing SIP Seams Q&A: How to Protect Structural Insulated Panels from DecayQ&A: SIPs RidgingStay Away from Foil-Faced Bubble Wraplast_img read more

New York Utility Finds Big Payoff in New Ideas

first_imgNew York electric utility Con Edison is using a mix of efficiency programs, neighborhood solar, and other non-traditional approaches to relieve looming power shortages in parts of New York City and to avoid spending $1.2 billion on a new substation. According to an article posted at Inside Climate News, ConEd realized two years ago that parts of two New York City boroughs, Brooklyn and Queens, would be demanding more electricity than the current grid could provide within a few years. The problem would be particularly acute on hot summer days, when air conditioning in the city is running at full tilt.Typically, the answer would be to build a new substation, but the $1.2 billion price tag helped convince ConEd to look for a different solution. ConEd asked for suggestions and to date has received more than 80, which have been bundled into the Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management program, or BQDM. It employs a mix of efficiency and conservation measures as well as distributed power sources such as fuel cells and small-scale solar to meet 52 megawatts of an expected shortfall of 69 megawatts of electricity in 2018, the website reported. The rest of the power, 17 MW, would come from traditional utility infrastructure projects.The cost? About $200 million, less than 20% of what ConEd would have spent on a new substation.“This could be a harbinger of similar types of pilots that could happen elsewhere,” Omar Siddiqui, a senior technical executive at the utility funded nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute, told Inside Climate News. “Other utilities are certainly paying attention to what’s happening here.”New York energy chief Richard Kauffman said that ConEd’s plan is something that could be replicated all over the country. “It’s not only an evolution of processes, thinking, and culture,” he said, “it’s also a gradual change in business models, evolving away from ‘programs’ to these activities being integral to the business itself.”Some details are still being worked out, such as how new sources of electricity and conservation can be integrated with its existing grid, and how commercial and residential consumers can buy or sell electricity, the website said.The ConEd service area covered by the plan includes about 310,000 customers, including 29,000 public housing apartments. Renters are the norm, the report said, and they are one of the “hardest markets to crack with incentives for energy efficiency.”last_img read more

Maine Gets Another Passive House Multifamily Project

first_imgThe Largest Passivhaus Building in the U.S.Multifamily Passivhaus Project Starts in OregonPassivhaus Apartment Complex Would be a GiantPassivhaus Townhouses Are Underway in PhiladelphiaA Passivhaus Multifamily in Maine Nears Completion RELATED ARTICLES Passive House, but no room for frillsPassive House construction necessarily includes more insulation than conventional buildings, high-quality windows, and careful air-sealing, all of which can easily drive up costs. To stay within strict budget guidelines, Bayside developers looked for ways to trim unnecessary building elements — and that started with parking. Arguing that area residents owned fewer vehicles than average, developers successfully petitioned the city to overlook parking-space requirements that normally would have applied. (The building sits on what was a parking lot).The site is over a layer of marine clay, which is inherently weak. Designers worked to keep the building as light as possible, allowing it to rest on a floating concrete slab without the need to sink pilings for extra support.Project architect Jesse Thompson led a tour of the partially complete building in June, the last such tour on this year’s passivhausMAINE schedule.Interior finishes are simple: painted drywall, vinyl flooring, basic kitchen cabinets. Designers shrank interior hallways to bare minimums, and revisited building details repeatedly to look for potential savings.“The building got simpler and simpler as we went along,” Thompson said.While he and others working on Bayside might have preferred a few more upscale finishes inside, it just wasn’t going to happen with a minimal budget that had been set three years earlier. If kitchens got bargain cabinets with drawers that were stapled together, so be it. “Every dollar in there shows up very quickly,” Thompson said. “There’s no tolerance for glamorous here.”Designers did, however, manage to find enough money to keep vinyl siding off the building’s exterior. Instead, it will get fiber-cement cladding over a ventilated rainscreen gap.On the construction side, Wright-Ryan recognized that the longer builders were on site, the higher construction costs would be. Its construction managers, drawing on their experience at the Brewer Passive House project, looked for ways to speed up the process. They divided the building into sections, each with its own set of deadlines, to improve efficiency. Exterior walls are panelized rather than built on site. Even small steps helped: So workers would not have to sort through stacks of drywall to find the right thickness for a particular application, Wright-Ryan simply specified 5/8-inch wallboard throughout the building.If developers hit the November 21 completion date for the 38,500-square-foot building, it will mean a construction schedule of about 10 months. Many single-family homes, Thompson pointed out, take longer than that. Although construction started in January, Bayside Anchor has been in the works since 2013. That year it won a national competition, sponsored by Deutsche Bank, for innovative designs for affordable housing.Finding ways to cut costs has never been far from the minds of its developers, and efforts have paid off. The building will come in at $142 a square foot, project architect Jesse Thompson told a group touring the building recently, “substantially less” than the norm for new Portland housing. At the same time, residents will be getting the benefits of Passive House construction: low energy bills, high indoor air quality, and a superinsulated building envelope that will keep them comfortable.“You’ve got affordability baked into the building forever,” Thompson said. On November 21, three days before Thanksgiving, developers plan to complete Bayside Anchor, a mixed-use apartment building in Portland, Maine, built to meet the Passive House + 2015 standard on what amounts to a shoestring budget.The 45-unit building, about one-third complete, is located in the city’s Bayside neighborhood, a part of the city carved in half by a 1960s urban renewal project. It will contain mostly affordable one-bedroom apartments, plus a few two-bedroom and studio units. The ground floor also will house an office of the Portland Housing Authority, a Head Start program, and a police substation, making it a community hub and giving it its name, Bayside Anchor.Behind the project are the Portland Housing Authority and Avesta Housing, a private non-profit developer of affordable housing. The $7.6 million project is being financed mainly with low-income housing tax credits through MaineHousing, a state housing agency. The project was designed by Kaplan Thompson Architects of Portland. Wright-Ryan, which earlier this year finished a Passive House multifamily in Brewer, Maine, is the general contractor.center_img The PHIUS standard is ideal for multifamily projectsInsulation R-values may seem low for a Passive House project, but Thompson said that’s because a large multifamily building has proportionally less outside wall area for a given volume than does a single-family house.“People are used to seeing PHIUS + and Passivhaus single-family houses with very large R-values,” he said. “Passivhaus was invented as a multifamily program in Europe. It was not a single-family construction program. The numbers work so well in multifamily. In Germany, the first Passivhaus was a townhouse, and the middle unit in a town house has two walls that face neighbors — they don’t touch the outside air.“You think of a middle floor apartment at Bayside Anchor and it’s got one outside wall. It’s 24 feet long and 8 feet tall,” Thompson continued. “So, thermally, it’s just incredibly easy because your ratio of house to walls is tiny.”Heat loss from the building is one-third through the enclosure, one-third from the ventilation equipment, and one-third though the windows, Thompson said. In a single-family house, the numbers are very different, with ventilation losses only 10% to 15% of the total.As a result , the 75% efficiency for Bayside’s ERVs is very important for overall building performance, especially with something like 2,000 to 2,500 cubic feet of air per minute moving through the building around the clock. With an ERV that efficient, when it’s 0°F outside, and 70°F inside, incoming air is in the mid-50s. It doesn’t take much energy to boost that to the set point. On a 30°F day, incoming air is in the low 60s. “Very little heat is needed to bring it up to a good temperature,” he said. Double-stud walls, and nix the OSBExterior walls consist of a structural 2×6 wall and an inner 2×4 wall with a 1-inch gap between the two. Wall cavities will be insulated with dense-packed cellulose, with a layer of CertainTeed’s MemBrain on the interior to control vapor and air movement.Thompson said that plans call for plywood sheathing on the exterior of the building rather than oriented strand board because plywood is more durable and more weather-tolerant during construction. Seams between sheets of plywood are sealed, and the entire outer surface is treated with a liquid-applied air barrier, Defendair 200, a mostly silicone product made by Dow Corning.When it came to windows, designers considered a range of products before settling on triple-glazed units with PVC frames made by Kohltech, a Canadian manufacturer. Passive House buildings often get European tilt-and-turn windows, but in this case designers chose a mix of casements and fixed-glass units, in part to meet requirements of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.As Thompson explained, Bayside Anchor will be required to provide air conditioning to any tenant who can present proof of a medical need. By using outward-opening casements, a tenant could use an air conditioner that sits on the floor and vents through a plexiglass insert in the window opening, thus meeting the HUD requirement, without installing AC for the whole building or investing in ductless minisplit heat pumps.Windows specs are the same throughout the building, with a solar heat gain coefficient of 0.40. The Kohltech units averaged about $30 per square foot.Other building details:Insulation. In addition to the dense-packed cellulose in the walls (about R-32), there are 8 inches of polyiso rigid insulation on top of the roof deck (R-50), and 3 inches of sub-slab expanded polystyrene. There is no spray foam in the building other than what was used to seal the rim joists between floors.Ventilation. Each floor has two RenewAire energy-recovery ventilators to supply each apartment with fresh air. The units, which operate continuously, are 75% efficient. Kitchens have recirculating hoods that are not vented to the outside.Space heat. Each apartment is heated with strips of electric baseboard that cost a total of $30,000. The bill to heat the entire building is projected at about $5,000 a year, Thompson said.Airtightness. Although the standard for the German Passivhaus standard is 0.6 air changes per hour at a pressure difference of 50 pascals (ach50), the PHIUS + 2015 standard uses a different metric: 0.05 cubic feet per minute per square foot of gross envelope area at 50 pascals. When this is translated to ach50, it becomes 0.37. Need for housing is very strongJay Waterman, development director for the Portland Housing Authority, said that Bayside Anchor will be both a catalyst for more development and a hub for the community. The area was completely changed by construction of Franklin Arterial, a main thoroughfare linking Interstate-295 on the west side of town and upscale Old Port, with its shops and restaurants, on the east.“It was small streets, a grid-patterned working-class neighborhood for many, many years, and then through urban renewal, Franklin cut a swath so the tourists could get over to the Old Port and people were displaced,” Waterman said. “It became more of a service center and industrial and lower income neighborhood, and I would say it’s still on its way up.”The demand for housing is strong in the Portland area. Bayside Anchor, while significant for the neighborhood, won’t put much of a dent in it.“Let’s put it this way,” Waterman said. “There is effectively a 0% vacancy rate in Portland right now and the city would like to have 2,000 more housing units built in the next four years. We’re doing 45, so it’s a real drop in the bucket compared to the demand.”last_img read more

Why Real Estate Developers Are Ignoring the Middle Class

first_imgHousing for the wealthyBut not everyone in the industry is convinced. “Supply constrained — really?” joked one investment manager. He was referring to huge amounts of new housing being built in ultra-expensive cities like New York and San Francisco. The real issue seems to be that most of this new housing is for rich people. The newest housing tower in Vancouver, for instance, is selling studio apartments for over $1 million. “A lot of construction is happening but a lot of the new projects don’t seem to be affordable to locals,” Simon Fraser University professor Josh Gordon recently told the CBC.Many leaders within the real-estate industry share the assessment. “New homes that are developed tend to be for a high-income market,” reads PwC’s Emerging Trends report. “Few builders are targeting middle-income buyers.” High land and labor costs are partly to blame. “We can’t afford not to develop apartments at the high end,” one respondent said. But so is the real estate industry’s business model. Because affordable homes tend to generate “incremental profits rather than large windfalls,” it reads, most “builders have been targeting more affluent buyers.”Protesters in Vancouver, B.C., point to the disparity between wage increases and rent increases.Yet the reasons for this aren’t only financial. They also reflect a social calculation. The real estate industry knows that income inequality is at record highs in Canada and the U.S. It believes this gap will continue to grow. One result of income disparity is to make our society’s top cities inaccessible to regular people. The report likened the experience of living in these cities to attending an invitation-only party. “At the entrance to fashionable nightclubs or red-carpet opening nights, access is controlled through use of velvet ropes on brass stanchions,” it observed. “Bouncers let only select individuals gain entry — the others have to stand and look in from the outside.”The implication is clear. Cities like Vancouver have become exclusive hangouts for the wealthy. The rest of us are now passive observers of civic life, staring longingly from the periphery. “Just as the downtowns of cities ‘hollowed out’ in the second half of the last century, so too the middle class has been hollowing out,” the report reads. This is not just confined to places like Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles. Inequality is now spreading to secondary cities across the continent. “For these areas and many others, the velvet rope means increasing income segregation,” it reads. The real estate industry wants to be inside the velvet rope. It wants the company of rich people. And it’s abandoned the middle class on the sidelines.Many leaders within the industry realize that this is a risky strategy. By focusing so heavily on affluent customers the industry is alienating big sections of our society. “Rents are hitting levels that are unaffordable to most of the younger workforce,” the report explains. And with affordability overall “on the decline,” it adds, “the related strain on the social fabric is getting high-level attention.” Real estate leaders know that if prices keep rising there will come a point when the majority of people can simply no longer afford them. “Affordable housing may be the real estate industry’s vulnerable flank,” it reads. But for now many developers are opting to ignore it. The real estate industry knows there’s huge demand for less expensive homes. It’s aware that millions of people in Canada and the U.S. don’t have the financial means for a million-dollar mortgage. It gets that this is a growing problem. But real estate developers aren’t that interested in solving it. Land in cities such as Vancouver and Toronto is expensive. Developers — and the industry at large — make much bigger profits building luxury homes for wealthy people than affordable homes for the rest of us. It’s why so few new developments are targeted towards average incomes.But the real estate industry is not only making a financial calculation. It’s making a social calculation as well. Income inequality has been growing steadily for the past few decades. It’s now at levels not seen in over a century. The real estate industry predicts the gap between rich and poor will continue to widen. It’s aligning itself with our society’s wealthiest members. And it’s ignoring the middle class. Geoff Dembicki is a reporter for The Tyee, where this article was originally published. His book, Are We Screwed? How a New Generation Is Fighting to Survive Climate Change will be published later this year. Those are some of the takeaways from Emerging Trends in Real Estate — United States and Canada 2017, a report produced by PwC and the Urban Land Institute. Its authors describe it as “one of the most highly regarded and widely read forecast reports in the real estate industry.” Its conclusions were drawn from a wide-ranging survey of investors, developers, advisers, consultants and other real estate industry leaders. “Researchers personally interviewed more than 500 individuals and survey responses were received from more than 1,500 individuals,” the report explains. A shortage of “regular rents”The report’s authors declined an interview. But many of the experts quoted in the report spoke candidly about the industry. Some of them are concerned about the direction it’s heading. “We’re not paying enough attention to affordable housing, and I don’t mean low-income or government-subsidized. Just regular rents. No new buildings are providing that kind of product,” said one CEO. “Time will tell if that’s going to come back to haunt us. Not everybody makes $75,000 to $100,000 a year.”Housing has become so expensive in cities like Vancouver, San Francisco, and New York that the industry has amended its definition of “affordable.” There is now a “distinction between ‘big-A’ and ‘small-A’ affordability,” the report explains. Big-A affordable housing is what most of us are familiar with. It refers to housing for our society’s poorest members, often built with the support of governments. Small-A affordable housing refers to the needs of people earning $31,000 to $87,000 per year. “In many markets,” the report observes, “middle-income households… are housing stressed, spending more than a third of their income on housing costs.”The industry knows that this is a problem. A society in which a majority of people can no longer afford your product is bad for business. Increasing numbers of real estate leaders seem to be paying attention. “Housing costs and availability were rated by Emerging Trends survey participants as being ‘considerably important’ issues,” the report reads, “increasing in importance this year when compared with the ‘moderate importance’ given to future home prices and affordable/workforce housing in our survey a year ago.” But acknowledging a problem is only the first step. The real estate industry doesn’t seem interested in actually addressing it.Many industry leaders have opted to blame others instead. The reason housing is so expensive in cities like Vancouver, they believe, is because local communities are resistant to new development. “[These communities] are engaged in a rear-guard action, contrary to their own self-interest,” the report reads. And governments are also blamed: they must lift restrictions and approve projects faster. “Government needs to increase the supply [of new homes],” one respondent told the report’s authors. “If there was enough supply, there would be no affordability issue.” RELATED ARTICLES A Forgotten Tool to Solve the Housing Crisis Can Low-Income Housing Be Energy-Efficient and Affordable?Green and ‘Nutritious’ Affordable Housing?Boston Mulls a New Template for Urban HousingAffordable Housing Is Leading Green BuildingSeniors Snap Up Houses Meant for Young BuyersMaking Green Affordable, Part 1Making Green Affordable, Part 2last_img read more

Microsoft Surface Gains Early Lead Among Windows 8 Devices, Ad Data Indicates

first_imgRelated Posts Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Tags:#Microsoft#Surface#Windows 8#Windows Phone Although the data might be a little uncertain, figures released by AdDuplex indicate that Microsoft’s Surface is winning the early race to be the most popular Windows 8/ Windows RT device. At least as calculated by which platforms are acccessing ads on the company’s network.An AdDuplex blog post shows the Surface clearly leading in the tablet and the notebook space, while the Nokia Lumia phones (specifically the older, Windows Phone 7-based Lumia 710) are showing an early lead within Windows Phone. That said, the data also shows Windows Phone 8 capturing 4% of the available Windows Phone views in just a week.However, HP’s PC chief, Todd Bradley, recently told CiteWorld that the Surface is receiving too much hype. “I’d hardly call Surface competition,” Bradley sniffed. “One, very limited distribution. It tends to be slow and a little kludgey as you use it… It’s expensive. Holistically, the press has made a bigger deal out of Surface than what the world has chosen to believe.”“We’re not entering the consumer tablet fray any time soon,” Bradley added, noting that HP does plan to offer a consumer tablet, but not before next year, and most likely a convertible, at that. For now, HP is focused on the enterprise, although it showed off the HP Envy X2 last month. On The Surface, Surface Is WinningBut if the AdDuplex data is to be believed, Bradley’s comments might be seen as spin control. That’s because HP’s own products are just behind the Surface in terms of market share, although a significant gap exists between the two. AdDuplex shows the Surface capturing 11% of all ad impressions, with the HP Pavilion g6 and dv6 notebooks grabbing 2% and 1% of the rest. Far exceeding all of these, however, is the “other” category, with 81% of the totals.  markhachman The enormous “other” category most likely comprises the numerous legacy devices that have been upgraded to Windows 8 as well as generic new PCs  shipped with Windows 8. “Surface is already the most popular single device running Windows 8/RT with 11& of the overall “market”,” AdDuplex said. “That said, we had hits from almost 3,000 different devices running Windows 8 (or Windows RT) in a single day.”With Windows 8 and Surface sales still measured in weeks, not months, it’s difficult to ascribe any real adjectives to describe the success of the Surface launch. AdDuplex didn’t break out the total numbers of impressions; “they are specific to AdDuplex and releasing them would only result in unnecessary speculation,” said Alan Mendelevich, who runs AdDuplex. He also cautioned that ad impressions don’t necessarily correspond to device sales. And, since the company’s network caters exclusively to Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps, it’s difficult to know how Windows 8 products are faring as a whole.That’s a lot of disclaimers, but within the ad sales on Windows 8 this initial data point makes it appears that the Surface is the early winner.Steve Ballmer’s comments to a French-language magazine, in which he reportedly described the Surface tablets as selling “modestly,” was later spun by Microsoft as “in relation to the company’s approach in ramping up supply and distribution of Surface with Windows RT, which has only been available via our online store and Microsoft retail stores in the U.S and Canada,” according to CNET. Instead, Microsoft said, people should think about the Surface launch as what Ballmer has characterized as “fantastic.” More Microsoft Hardware ComingOn stage at the Churchill Club on Monday night, Ballmer used the term “spectacular” to characterize the launch of Windows 8, and talked about how the Surface represented the best of both worlds of tablets and notebook PCs. As for competing against its manufacturing partners, Ballmer acknowledged that Microsoft was “carefully” managing its relationships.“Do I anticipate that partners of ours will build the lion’s share of all Windows devices over the next five years? The answer is, absolutely,” Ballmer said, as quoted by Reuters. “With that said, it is absolutely clear that there is an innovation opportunity on the scene between hardware and software and that is a scene that must not go unexploited at all by Microsoft.” (A full replay of Ballmer’s conversation with LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman at the Churchill Club is available on for $9.95.)Some took that to mean that Microsoft is indeed building a Surface-like version of the Windows Phone. Other interpretations could be that additional Surface revisions could be on the way – whether or not that merely includes the Intel Core-based “Pro” version of the Surface due next year or other hardware is still unknown. What seems to be happening with the Surface is this: Consumers, perhaps unsure of which Windows 8 tablet to buy, have chosen the product, Surface, from the manufacturer that designed the operating system. Is this a case of consumers buying the manufacturer-approved hardware, such as the Google-blessed “Nexus” line of phones or tablets? Microsoft’s huge advertising push? Or some other reason? A Good Start for Windows Phone 8?Apart from Windows 8 and Windows RT, observers are also trying to puzzle out how well Windows Phone 8 is doing. But the AdDuplex data could be skewed because the existing installed base of Windows Phone 7-based hardware should be expected to dominate overall Windows Phone ad impressions. (Again, we have no real sales data for Windows Phone 8 devices at this point.) Four Nokia phones running older versions of Windows Phone – the Lumia 710, 800, 610, and 900 – dominate the impressions, capturing two-thirds of all Windows Phone-based AdDuplex impressions. AdDuplex also reported that it’s difficult to tell what Windows Phone 8 phones have been detected, because of reporting problems with the various Nokia models. But overall, Windows Phone 8 captured 4% of the total Windows Phone impressions in a week, an auspicious start. (Want to know what ReadWrite thought of Windows Phone 8? Here’s a hint: We liked it.) So what does this all mean? If the Surface really does succeed, it will be interesting to see what responses comes from Windows hardware makers. Will they try to outdo Microsoft’s hardware, or back off and try to find a path that doesn’t go head on against the company that supplies the operating they use? On the other hand, if you total up all of the products under a given manufactuer, HP is number one (with 24%), followed by Microsoft (17%). The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Is Facebook Down? Facebook Affected By Outage

first_imgThe Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos taylor hatmaker Related Posts Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Update: 6:30 P.M. Pacific: Users on Reddit have reported that attempting to access Facebook with the “www” prefix resolves the problem, while the “” root domain continues to experience issues. Reports around the web also suggest that Chrome users are disproportionately affected by the outage.We’ve grown to know Twitter’s fail whale pretty well at this point – and Tumblr seems down half as often as it’s up… but Facebook? Facebook doesn’t just go down – not often, anyhow. As of 5:15 p.m. Pacific time or so, Facebook isn’t loading for some users. We’ve confirmed the outage with Downrightnow and a handful of other monitoring sites, which lists the social network’s status as experiencing a “likely service disruption”.It remains unclear at this point if the Facebook outage is the result of an internal issue, like the DNS misrouting blip back in October 2012, or if it’s an attack of some kind (our money is on the former). Here in Portland, Oregon we’re experiencing the service disruption, but anecdotal reports suggest that many of our contacts in San Francisco are unaffected at the moment. We’ve reached out to Facebook about the outage, but in the mean time, you’ll have to poke and like in the real world. That or tweet, pin, +1 and tumble for a little bit. Is Facebook down for you? Let us know where you are and what you’re seeing. center_img Tags:#Facebook#social networks Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

Why Foursquare Is Breaking Up With The Check-In

first_imgFoursquare is unbundling. The company announced Thursday it’s splitting the main Foursquare application into two services—one that tracks and shares where you are, and another that helps you figure out where you’re going next.The plan is an ambitious move to split up Foursquare’s mobile services—perhaps taking the lead from Facebook in that manner—and shed the stereotype that has plagued the app since 2009: That Foursquare is just an app for checking into places.See Also: Foursquare CEO: How We’ll Tell You Where To Eat And What To OrderThe new Foursquare app eliminates the check-in entirely, placing it instead in a separate new application called Swarm. A redesigned Foursquare app will be built from the ground up for a launch later this summer, and that app will be responsible for offering personalized recommendations in a similar way to Yelp.“The unbundling is motivated by us listening to the users and observing the way users use the app, both watching them and seeing the data and what the data suggests,” Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley said in an interview. “A lot of functionality is crammed into the Foursquare experience.”Moving Beyond The Check-InFoursquare’s directory of places, unlike Yelp’s, doesn’t feature paragraph-long diatribes that accompany the location. Instead, each location has specific “tips” or short snippets of what’s best or what to avoid at any given destination. It will be hard for Foursquare to shift its reputation from a check-in app to a recommendation engine. Many people use Foursquare for this singular purpose, and the check-in is arguably Foursquare’s bread and butter.It’s a risky move to rip checking in from Foursquare entirely. People are accustomed to using Foursquare for this main reason, not so much to find recommendations. Crowley said the company is building in hooks so bouncing between Foursquare apps isn’t an inconvenience, but it doesn’t change the fact that Foursquare is in completely new territory. (Again, Facebook pursued a similar strategy recently by removing the chat function from its main app and forcing users into its private Messenger app.)Foursquare needs to be mindful about the failure of most ambient location services. Many location-broadcasting startups never caught on with the masses; Facebook has even failed multiple times with its friend-finding features, and more recently, when the company rolled out a feature nearly identical to Foursquare’s Swarm, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative.Giving Up Privacy For Suggestions selena larson Tags:#Check-In#Facebook#Foursquare#foursquare checkins#foursquare facebook#foursquare fragmentation#Foursquare swarm#Location#privacy#Swarm#Swarm app Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Related Posts Foursquare has spent the last four years building a massive collection of places thanks to five billion global check-ins. It doesn’t need you to add to it anymore; instead, Foursquare will learn your behaviors and provide you with suggestions as to what it thinks you will like.Already the app alerts users to places they will probably like nearby, based on their previous locations. “Some of those passive notifications that you’ve gotten [in the Foursquare app] is because Foursquare can just sense you’re at a certain place,” Crowley said. “Without saying too much about what the new Foursquare will look like, you can imagine a version of Foursquare that doesn’t actually need you to check into places.”Essentially, even though Foursquare won’t be the check-in app anymore, it will still collect all your data, even without you checking in. Foursquare will use your phone’s location services paired with its vast location database to track where you go in order to provide you with location suggestions.Foursquare won’t be sharing this location data with your friends, but Swarm will. You don’t need to check in for your friends to be able to find you. Swarm is supposed to help friends find each other easier, whether or not they check in. Its ambient location services will know your relative location even if you don’t check in, and will share that information with friends. “The app has neighborhood awareness,” Crowley said. For instance, he said, “if I open up my app right now I’ll see 20 people checked in to Foursquare HQ in New York City, but I’ll see a handful of other friends in the Soho neighborhood who haven’t checked in anywhere.”For users that would rather not have their friends know where they are at all times, Foursquare’s ambient location service can be turned off. Foursquare’s new approach is interesting. Personally, I find the Foursquare location suggestions potentially helpful, though I’m not keen on my friends knowing where I am at all times—especially since many people in my Foursquare network aren’t even real friends anymore. As a service that knows which restaurants you frequent, Foursquare telling you where to eat and what to order might come in handy. As long as you’re okay with Foursquare tracking your whereabouts the rest of the time. All images courtesy of Foursquare The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

Study shows cities getting smarter in 2017, but data use gets dumber

first_imgSurveillance at the Heart of Smart Cities How IoT Will Play an Important Role in Traffic … Tags:#IDC#Internet of Things#IoT#open data#Smart Cities In its 2017 predictions, International Data Corp. (IDC) sees smart city activity and open data projects accelerating, though urban leaders will remain poorly equipped to harness the new data potential.The market research firm recently released its report IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Smart Cities 2017 Predictions.Smart cities are expected to begin churning out staggering amounts of data from connected infrastructure and widely proliferating Internet of Things (IoT) technology.However, IDC sees that by 2017 a shocking 75% of global cities will fail to take full advantage of this wealth of smart city data and related digital assets.IDC says the data disconnect is largely due to a talent vacuum, with city personnel lacking critical project management, process and change management skills.On the positive side IDC sees a trend towards increased maturity in smart city digitization efforts. By 2019 it predicts that nations with 50% of mid- to large-sized cities with high levels of smart city maturity will be more successful in country digitization initiatives.Seeing a future in open data projectsIDC also saw positive developments on the horizon for smart city open data projects. It predicts that by 2019 50% of open data projects will evolve both monetized and free data services. Cities will drive these data services as they experiment with new data revenue models in their efforts to justify open data investments.“The awareness of the potential of Smart Cities has grown exponentially over the past year. States, provinces, counties, cities, and national governments realize that they can positively alter the lives of millions of urban residents with the technology and data-driven opportunities digital transformation provides,” said global director of IDC’s Smart Cities Strategies Ruthbea Yesner Clarke.“This transformation is not without challenges, as a broad ecosystems of partners must work together to implement complex initiatives, and this will affect the entire program life cycle from policies and regulation to worker training and process improvements,” she added. How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi…center_img Donal Power Related Posts For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In…last_img read more

Fiat Chrysler joins BMW, Intel self-driving consortium

first_imgSam Enoka Tags:#Autonomous#BMW#Continental#driverless#Fiat Chrysler#Intel#Mobileye#Self-Driving#Waymo Fiat Chrysler has joined BMW’s growing consortium of automakers, tech companies, and suppliers, all working together to accelerate the creation of semi-autonomous and driverless vehicles.Alongside Fiat and Chrysler, FCA owns the Jeep, Maserati, and Dodge car brands, covering almost all consumer vehicle sizes. That should allow the consortium to modify self-driving software down to the type of car.See Also: Intel to deploy 100 self-driving vehicles worldwide by end of year“In order to advance autonomous driving technology, it is vital to form partnerships among automakers, technology providers and suppliers,” said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne. “Joining this cooperation will enable FCA to directly benefit from the synergies and economies of scale that are possible when companies come together with a common vision and objective.”It is not FCA’s first foray into the world of self-driving, the company has supplied over one hundred modified Chrysler Pacifica minivans to Waymo. It has reportedly also been in talks with Uber and Amazon, although nothing appears to have come of these meetings.The eagerness to partner with others has not been matched by the company’s own self-driving research and development. FCA is estimated to be behind General Motors, Ford, and BMW, all three aim to have driverless vehicles on the road by 2025.FCA may look to the consortium to fill in the gaps. Intel and Mobileye can supply the processing power, sensors, and connectivity. Suppliers Delphi and Continental are looking to have major stakes in the self-driving market, possibly supplying other essential parts.With Waymo working on the self-driving software, FCA may only need to manufacture the cars, same as what they do now, to be successful. Related Posts IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A…center_img For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… Break the Mold with Real-World Logistics AI and… 5 Ways IoT can Help to Reduce Automatic Vehicle…last_img read more

Creating an Applause-O-Meter: Animation Synched to Audio in After Effects

first_imgDynamically link audio to animation in After Effects! In this video tutorial we show you how to use this technique to create a Noise-O-Meter (or Applause-O-Meter) in AE.Using expressions you can dynamically link audio to motion in your After Effects project.  One example of this cool technique is the Applause-O-Meter or Noise-O-Meter that you often see on the big screen at sporting events – as the crowd cheers louder the needle on the meter moves on the meter.Buckle up for this tutorial!  Motion designer and Premiumbeat blogger Evan Abrams  gives you a quick crash course on creating your own Applause O Meter in AE in just over 10 minutes.  The tutorial starts out by showing you how to create the visual elements needed for the crowd activated meter.  Then, Evan will demonstrate two techniques for using audio amplitude to drive motion in After Effects:Writing expressions that drive the rotation of the needle based on keyframes:v=thisComp.layer(“Volume Control”).effect(“Volume”)(“Slider”) ;a=linear(v,0,100,-75,75);w=wiggle(8,v/5);a+wOr actual sound to animation based on imported audio imported into AE:i=thisComp.layer(“Audio Amplitude”).effect(Both Channels”)(“Slider”);linear(i,5,30,1,100)Evan is an After Effects pro, so you may have to start/stop the video often to catch up with his syncing animation to audio workflow.  Although the tutorial details every step necessary to create a noise-o-meter, you can apply the same principles to any After Effects project where you want motion to correspond to audio or sound.Full Video Transcript:[color-box color=”gray”]This is Evan Abrams for, and today we’re going to be making an applause-o-meter, or noise-o-meter in After Effects. Now this is something that use live events to gauge the amount of clapping that the audience is doing, and it’s basically just a decibel meter.So we’re going to be linking audio into the needle, but they also use just straight up key frames in order to do this to elicit the audience to make more noise and show more noise than there is. So it works basically by having someone yell for them to make noise and then, [clapping 00:34] just like that.We’re going to make this in After-Effects, we’re going to do both the key- framed and the audio driven version and let’s get to it. The first thing to do is make a new composition and it doesn’t really matter the presets. We’re going to use HDTV108025, call it whatever you like, and set the duration up to about a minute.Then we need to make a new background, it can be solid, make it whatever color you like. We’re going to go with yellow here, just because that’s kind of a pretty color I guess. Then we’re going to need to make the needle, and we’re going to make that out of a shape (?), call it needle. Then we’re going to add a rectangle to that, and then change the shape.You’re going to need to unlink those properties, so you just don’t make a square, but we’re going to make a rectangle about 50×250, then move it’s position up -125. That aught to do it, then we need to add a fill to that, give it a fill that’s maybe 20% dark, then we’re going to add a poly-star. Then change the poly-star to have three points, change it from a polygon, give it three points. Move it up, and then scale it down a little bit, a radius down to about 50, I guess.That looks about right. And we’re going to duplicate it and make it a little bit more visually interesting by adding a stroke to a layerunderneath. Just setting the stroke to like a red, then putting it up to like 16, 16 points is probably good. Then duplicating it again, and then setting that to be a white, but not totally white, 95 is good. You never want to go full white on things. Setting that up to 32 stroke, then select all of those and go layer, layer style, and give it a drop shadow. Just to make it pop a little bit.Take those, take needle two, and needle three and parent those to the first one, because we don’t want to be moving too many objects around. And as you can see when we rotate it, everything sticks together. So needle is complete.Up next we’re going to make the gauge, we’re going to make a new shape layer again, label it gauge. Then we’re going to add to it, an ellipse. Bring up the size of that ellipse, to be outside where the needle is, because obviously the border of this needs to be larger. About 950 should do.We’re going to add a rectangle, and this rectangle is going to be used to cutoff the bottoms. So make this rectangle larger than the circle, and then we need to make it taller and move it down so it covers the bottom half.Then we’re going to add another ellipse to make the center, which we’re also going to cut out. It doesn’t need to be too big. Now we’re going to add a merge [paz] to this, and you’ll see it adds a fill in a stroke for us. Now change the merge path to subtract, then you can just set the fill to clear because we don’t need that.Then go ahead and change the border down to be that 20% darker color, and we now have a lovely gauge to go around the outside. We’re going to duplicate that. We want to separate these, because we’re going to do something interesting with them in a little bit. Set that to be a solid color, use the color white, that off-white that we used before, and then take away its stroke, because it doesn’t need it.Then set it below everything, just on top of the background. Now we need to make the tick marks that go around the outside of this gauge, because it’s not a good applause-o-meter if you can’t tell how loud it is. We’re going to use the proportion grid to line it up in the center. Then just draw a line using the pen tool right in the center.Take away its fill, because it doesn’t need one and make sure it has a stroke applied to it. Make sure it’s the right color. Then we will be adding a repeater to this which will duplicate it without us having to do a lot of work. Then change the repeater properties to have more copies and we’re just going to transform it.Take the default, 100 away from the position and put 10 on the rotation, because we want it to rotate every 10 degrees and then change the offset to where it needs to be and then change the number of copies to fill out the rest. So that’s a pretty quick way to bring that up and take down the stroke a little bit.Now we’ll just select those, move to layer, we’ll go down to layer styles, and we will add a drop shadow to those. Now we’re going to setup the background here, taking that fill and the background. We’re going to set a track mat to punch a hole in that, and then move it up to the top of the stack. So it kind of overlays all of the things we’re looking at.Then we’ll duplicate the background layer and make a white version. Bring that down to the bottom, so now you can see we don’t have to look at the bottom part of the needle, and everything is covered up. Next we need to make the red zone where we know that things are going to be getting too out of control. So duplicate that bottom layer, and go layer up to solid settings, and then we’ll change it to be a red solid for this one.So, about 90 from the saturation, maybe 100 on the darkness, Okay, that’s good. Now we’re just going to use a radial wipe to remove the amount of this layer that we don’t want. Set that radial wipe up to whatever percentage you think is fair. Then change the start angel to be where you think it should be. That’s seems about right.So that’s most of our design elements all taken care of. We’re going to go ahead and pre comp the red solid so that that the radial wipe stays where we want it to be, and then we will move everything down, just to get it in the right place. You can lock that background layer, because it will never move, and we just want to move the mask that’s on top of it.We’ll shift this down more into the center so that it fits. Then we will add some text layer, call it the noise-o-meter, so people know what we’re talking about. We are just about ready to start adding some expressions and making this thing move.Let’s size this up a bit using B-bass new and we’re just going to apply an inner shadow to this. Remove that position grid, go layer, layer styles, add an inner shadow just for a little bit of visual interest. Add an inner shadow to that one too. Just tweak its settings just a little bit so that it’s not so harsh.Okay, we are ready to add some expressions. So make a new null object, and this will be one of our control layers. This will just stand in for the volume while we do the key frame commands. We add a slider control to that, which will stand in for the volume. Then we’re just going to go ahead and set some key frames so click the stop watch and we’re going to go from 0 up to about 100. Go ahead as many frames as you like, it’s not totally important at this point, just so that you can see that the value is going from 0 to 100.Then we’re going to take the needle, it’s rotation pull it up by hitting R, hit Alt, click on the stopwatch, so we’re going to create an expression and that’s going to be first setting the variables V= and then [inaudible 09:00] up to the control slider there, and then hit a semicolon to end that. And we’re going to type in linear expression, linear bracket,[V, 0, 100, -75, 75. So we’re remapping the values, 0 to 100 to -75, 75. Meaning that it’s going to rotate those values as the other values move from 0 to 100.Now this is all good, but, it doesn’t take into account the wiggling we want to have happen when things start to get a lot louder. So go ahead and add a new line in here. We’re just going to squeeze an A = in front of the linear and then put a semicolon at the end. So the linear is now generating a new variable called A, and then the next line is going to be A+W, where the W is going to stand in for how much wiggle is going to happen.Then we just have to define W=[wiggle] and then the parts of the wiggle are going to be 8x a second, V, for the volume; which will generate some interesting results because it’s going to be waving a round way too fast because the volume is too high. So, we’re just going to go back to the V,and then we’re just going to divide that by say 25, or 5, or whatever youneed to get it under control.And that pretty much wraps up how to use key frames to define all of this motion, but if you’re interested in using real audio to define what it’s doing, we’re going to have to take this one step further. So we’re going to go ahead and import some audio. Go ahead and click in your project panel and then import some audio.I’ve got the intro clip for this that I’m going to use. And then drag that down onto your timeline hit LL to bring up its wave form. You can see there’s actual values to work with. And then we’re going to go animation, key frame assistant, convert audio to key frames, and after waiting an appropriate amount of time, we’ll have an audio amplitude over the top that will have values in it for the left and right, and both channels combined.We don’t need the left and right, so just delete them. And then as you can see the values on the slider here have a certain range to them that we then want to map into that volume slider. So hit Alt and click on the stop watch for the volume slider, and then pick whip it to the slider of both channels.Now you can see something is happening, but it doesn’t quite get as far as you want because the value of both channel sliders is too low to make what we want to have happen. So we’re going to use another linear expression and we do this by first setting a variable, I = and then that pick whip value, semicolon at the end. And then we’re going to say linear [I say 5, 25, 1, 100. So this will remap the values 5 to 25 to the values 1 to 100.And that’s pretty close, but in order to know what values you actually have to be remapping, you’re going to have to open up the slider and have a look at those values as they’re graphed out. And you can do that by selecting the slider, hitting the graph, and you can see all of these points everywhere.If you change the view of the graph, you can see what those values actually are, and you can see it seems to hover under 15 units and it only goes above that up to around 25 units towards the end. Even then there’s not a lot of those. So you want to use these values to tell you what you’re going to be remapping and to where.Close that, and then we will edit the values to say it caps out at 30, and that seems to work pretty well. So now you can see when you scroll through, you’re going to be able to see the needle moving as the voice comes in and getting far more erratic towards the top end of the graph, and you’ve pretty much finished off the noise-o-meter.Feel free to make it look like whatever you like. Perhaps you like something grungier going on, and you might be able to map these expression to all sorts of interesting things, but this is the basics of how to make a noise-o-meter that is run by key frame, and one that is run by a voice.You can export this and then use it as show graphics in live places, and in general everybody’s going to clap loud so don’t worry about it. So this has been Evan Abrams for want to thank you very much for watching, and subscribe to our channels, and come around to the website if you want to see more things on After Effects and interesting projects you can make. The blog is full of interesting tips and articles, and I’m sure you’ll love it. So again, I’m Evan Abrams, thanks for watching, and I’ll see you around the internet.[/color-box]last_img read more

Free PSDs and 3D Models of iPhone, iPad and Mac Style Computers

first_imgFree iPad Mini PSDfrom PixeDen Free iPad 3D Modelfrom ModelPlusModel If you’re needing a computer, tablet or phone model for your graphic or motion design work, these FREE Apple style mockups should do the trick.In this post we’ve pulled quite a few Apple style mockups from around the web. These PSDs and 3D models are super useful for creating a website, game or app demo. Please note, we are in no way affiliated with Apple or Mac. iPhone, iPad and Mac Book are trademarks of Apple Inc. Free iPad PSDfrom Iceflow Studios BONUS: iOS 7 Full GUI PSDfrom GrabPSD Free Apple TV PSDfrom RezzF on Deviant Art Free MacBook Air PSDfrom DesignerFirst Free MacBook Pro 3D Modelfrom ModelPlusModel Free MacBook Pro PSD (Retina)from PremiumPixels Free iPhone 5 3D Modelfrom VideoCopilot Free Flat iPhone 4/5 PSDfrom PremiumPixels Free iMac PSDfrom Iceflow Studios 3D (OBJ and MAX) Models Free iPhone 5S PSDFree iPhone 5C PSDfrom Iceflow Studios Free iMac 3D Modelfrom ModelPlusModellast_img read more

Top 5 After Effects Expressions for Better Designs

first_imgNew to using expressions in After Effects? These 5 AE expressions are a great start and will add power to your After Effects workflow.Expressions can seem really scary if you are new to After Effects. It took me a while to be comfortable with expressions to the point that I could write them on my own instead of copying from a Google search. They take time to learn, so have patience with them! There are many useful After Effects expressions that can automate processes and make your animations even better.According to motion designer and Premiumbeat blogger Sean Frangella, the following expressions are the top 5 to learn in After Effects. These provide a solid base for getting comfortable with AE expressions, but they only represent a small sample of what is possible. If you want to learn more about using expressions try checking out previous post:  How to Use Expressions in After EffectsFeel free to copy and paste these expressions into your own projects. Implement them into your AE workflow often and pretty soon you won’t need to copy them at all!In the following video tutorial, Sean Frangella shows us how to use all 5 of these expressions along with a few other great tips.This video was created by Sean Frangella. Along with having an awesome YouTube channel, Sean creates Cinema 4D tutorials here on the PremiumBeat blog. If you want to find some more insightful tutorials from Sean or chat with him, check out his facebook page.1. Wigglewiggle(1,15)The wiggle expression is by far the expression that I use the most in After Effects. Wiggle expressions do exactly what you might imagine, they wiggle an object across random values. This expression can be used to make your scene seem more organic and natural.The first number is the number of wiggles per second and the second number is the value of the wiggle. So, a position parameter with an expression of wiggle(2,30) will wiggle 2 times per second at up to 30 different expressions.2. Timetime*10The time expression is perfect for objects with perpetual motion. For example if you wanted to have an object rotate indefinitely you can simply add the word time as the rotation parameter and your object will rotate 1 degree for ever second. The time parameter also works with basic math equations, so if you wanted to have the previous object rotate 30 times faster, you can simply have the expression time*30.3. loopOut()loopOut()The loopOut() expression creates an infinite loop that will last forever. However, unlike the wiggle and time expression the loopOut() expression requires keyframes to be present. So if you had an object that rotates in a full circle in the span of 1 second you could add the loopOut() expression and the motion will be repeated forever.4. seedRandom()seedRandom(5)seedRandom() is just a hair more complicated than the previous keyframes, but it completely makes sense after you think about it for a few seconds.Random numbers aren’t completely random in After Effects. Sure, it may be called ‘random’, but in reality true random values cannot be achieved in javascript and subsequently After Effects. It’s for this reason that “random” numbers need to begin with some sort of base number. When After Effects draws this base number it uses the layer number that can be found on the far left side of the layer in the timeline. Each different iteration of “random” is called a seed so a random seed of 1 is different from a random seed of 2, but if you had similar wiggle expressions (i.e. wiggle(3,2)) with say a random seed of 5, they would actually wiggle in the exact same way.If you were to change a layer’s order in the timeline from slot 3 to slot 10 it’s random seed would change, thus your wiggle will now look completely different. This isn’t a huge problem, but sometimes a certain wiggle iteration looks absolutely perfect and you don’t want them to change if your project order changes. To fix this you can use the seedRandom() expression. This expression locks random seeds so that your expression doesn’t change if you add in new layers.5. Math.round()Math.round()Math.round() is an expression that rounds up decimal numbers to the nearest whole number. This is perfect for doing countdowns or numbers in the source text. Simply add your normal expression into the Math.round() expression parenthesis in your source text expression box and all your numbers will be rounded up.If you are really wanting to learn the ins-and-outs of expressions in After Effects, CodeAcademy offers an informative free JavaScript course that’s 100% free and worth checking out.Have any other expressions that you frequently use?Share in the comments below.last_img read more

Everything You Need to Know About Stabilizing a Shot

first_imgFrom capturing the image in camera to sitting down in front of your computer, here are all the ways you can fix (or work with) shaky footage.Top image via Zach Ramelan.I have a love/hate relationship with shaky footage. On one hand, the aesthetic can add realism while grounding your project, giving it a documentary feel. But on the other hand, it’s easy to write off shaky footage as amateur or low-quality. It’s all about what look you’re going for.However, sometimes you absolutely have to get rid of the shake, especially if you’re shooting for a client. Even if you don’t have a super-nice gimbal or a Steadicam, you can pull off sweeping, cinematic smoothness with a few of these tips and tricks before you hit record.How to Plan AheadSo before you actually start capturing your footage, if you know you’ll be using Warp Stabilizer in post, there are a few different things you can do to increase your odds of success. One is to shoot at a high shutter speed. This will reduce motion blur, making everything a bit crisper and making Warp Stabilizer’s job a lot easier.Some practical tricks to try with your gear include using your tripod as a Steadicam. The weight of the legs will counterbalance the camera and tripod head to smooth your tracking shot.Also, you could shoot in 4K (if possible) because Warp Stabilizer will crop the footage, so you’ll be able to get your full 1080p after the fact.Another way you can help your future self is to shoot with a wider lens. This brings us to our next video, which explains why shooting movement with a wider lens is a must.Choosing the Right LensesSo a rule of thumb is that if you’re going to move the camera around (necessitating Warp Stabilizer later), then you really want to shoot with a wider lens. Not only will you get more in the shot, but you also won’t have the condensed background you’d get with a longer lens — and there’s more in your frame. This means movements aren’t as big, which can make the shot disorienting for your audience.In the video above, Zach Ramelan suggests using a wide zoom lens, which gives you a little more freedom to find the right focal length for your gimbal shot. But most of these gimbal shots are going to be for B-roll, or they’ll be cinematic in nature, so it’s okay to use up to a 50mm. Anything more, and you’ll have to be careful with the steadiness and how much you move the gimbal.However, gimbals aren’t the only tools you can use to steady your camera.Building the SolutionThe solution to all your problems is here! Not really, but who doesn’t love a good, old-fashioned dolly? For this particular build (there are many other variations of this rig), all you need is a piece of wood wide and thick enough to support your tripod. Throw in some PVC pipes, skateboard wheels, 4 L-brackets, and some hex bolts, and you’ll be rolling smoothly in no time.Even after using a rig like this, I still throw on Warp Stabilizer because there will inevitably be some minor shakes in your final shot, and the Stabilizer does a good job of smoothing it all out.Once You Make It to PostSo when it comes to using Warp Stabilizer in Premiere Pro, the hows and whats are pretty simple. You simply drag the effect over to your clip on the timeline and let the effect analyze it. The effect will take some time. But as you can see, if you’ve followed some of the tips from the videos above, the end result will look pretty satisfying. You won’t be able to include the shot if it’s a super long “oner”-style take, but there’s no denying that the effect works wonders under the right circumstances.Looking for more filmmaking tips and tricks? Check out these articles.Tips for Selling Your Cameras and Video Gear Online5 Production Tips for High Frame Rate VideographyThe 5 Top Editing Gadgets on the Market Right NowHow to Design a Close-Up Shot — And When You Should Use ItStrike the Right Balance: Choosing Music for Tutorial Videoslast_img read more