The Startup Toolkit: A Canvas For You to Sketch Your Business Framework

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#start#tips When Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey spoke at the 99% Conference in April, he shared some tips that he found key to the successful development of his own business ideas. One of Dorsey’s suggestions was to “draw it out” – to commit your ideas to paper well before you start to worry about committing those ideas to code.This impulse to “draw it out” lies behind the Startup Toolkit, a project started by Rob Fitzpatrick. The Startup Toolkit is an web-based collaboration tool, where founders can write, revise, and share their business plans and ideas.Worksheets for StartupsThe Startup Toolkit is based on the worksheets that fill Steve Blank‘s book The Four Steps to Epiphany. A proponent of Blank’s ideas, Fitzpatrick found that as he worked through these worksheets, it was sometimes difficult to track and revise information. He says, “Going through his documentation process was eye opening, but I found it very difficult to keep the documents updated. I mean, there are nearly 50 pages of them. And when you’re learning fast and changing beliefs all over the place, it’s hard to stay on top of the implications of those changes for your business.”Visualizing Your Business HypothesesThe Startup Toolkit then takes these worksheet questions and answers and arranges them in a spatial canvas. This method provides both an overview and a visualization for progress. Snapshots of the canvas can be saved, and there’s an offline PDF version as well.“As founders, we get stuck in the day-to-day details and lose sight of the big picture,” says Fitzpatrick. “My core belief for the product is that by writing down your business hypotheses (or leaps of faith or risks or whatever you call them), you focus yourself on the correct questions, which is how to validate the big mysteries as quickly and cheaply as possible. That with just that tiny touch of scaffolding, we can make smarter decisions and be more successful.”Fitzpatrick hopes that the toolkit will help translate dense business texts into an accessible format, so that startup teams can work through some of these frameworks together and can easily report on their progress to investors. Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… audrey watters 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Report: Spotify Inks Deal With Sony

first_img5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout mike melanson 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… Related Posts Tags:#music#news#web center_img 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… Last week, the word on the street was that everyone’s favorite European music service, Spotify, was finally nearing a deal with major music labels in the U.S. and would soon enough be on its way across the pond. Today, Media Memo’s Peter Kafka reports that the company “has finally signed with Sony for U.S. distribution deal.”While this doesn’t necessarily get the company onto North American shores, it certainly brings the ever-mysterious app one step closer.Kafka writes that multiple sources tell him that the deal is closed and offers some details:I’m told the deal calls for a U.S. service that more or less mirrors the one Spotify offers in Europe: A certain number of hours per month of free streaming music, with the ability to pay for an ad-free version, or a more popular one that offers the ability to listen on mobile devices like Apple’s iPhone.According to Kafka, neither Spotify nor Sony have commented. To make it to U.S., he says, “it will need at least two of the three other big music labels to sign on board.” When examining rumors of the deal last week, the New York Post reported that labels were urging the service to take on a different, subscription-based form. If it is allowed to keep its current ad-supported form then it could be a disruptive force in the online music market. For now, we’ll wait and see how it fares with other labels.For the uninitiated, check-out ReadWriteWeb’s extensive coverage of Spotify – it’s our most favorite app that most of us have never even used. 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe Applast_img read more

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IT Poll: Is the Java Dynasty Seeing the Beginning of the End?

first_img3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now klint finley Related Posts IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo…center_img We ran two stories earlier today on the state of Java and its complex partner ecosystem. We looked at a report from Forrester analysts John R. Rymer and Jeffrey S. Hammond. Last year, Forrester analyst Mike Gualtieri put it more bluntly in a blog post: Java Is A Dead-End For Enterprise App Development.But considering that last week we ran a post called “COBOL’s Not Dead,” there’s still clearly a potential for a long and healthy life for Java. The report Rymer and Hammond specifically write that their report is not an obituary. There’s also the chance Oracle will get its act together and keep Java relevant for a long time to come.But it’s clear that Java’s grip on the enterprise is loosening. Are you starting to look at, or use, alternatives to Java? Tags:#enterprise#Trends Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

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26% of Mobile Apps Used Just Once

first_imgThere’s some interesting data from mobile analytics firm Localytics out this week – in a recent report, it found that 26% of the time, customers never launch a mobile application they’ve download more than once. In a report titled “First Impressions Matter,” the firm detailed its findings, which includes both good news and bad.The App Loyalty Report’s FindingsTo determine the 26% figure, Localytics said it studied thousands of applications running on Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 using its own analytics service. For all new customers of an app during 2010, Localytics watched for the first time the app was launched and then checked to see what sort of follow-on usage there was through January 25, 2011. All the apps used only once were grouped into the quarter where they occurred and calculated as a percentage of all new customers in the same quarters, Localytics explained.The result was that that for new app customers between January and March, around 22% would never open that same app again. In both the 2nd and 3rd quarters, the figure was 26%. By the fourth quarter, it had grown to 28%. But on that last point, Localytics noted that 4th quarter customers may still use the app again sometime in early 2011. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces …74% of Apps More Than Once!On the bright side, the firm noted that it’s encouraging that 74% of users will actually launch your app and use it at least once more after download. We’re not so sure that’s encouraging, exactly – isn’t that what’s supposed to happen? After all, why would you download an app if you never planned to launch it? Note, as a commenter pointed out, this means an app is launch once more after the initial download. I’d imagine most app developers would hope their app isn’t just launched the one time! In any event, what this data is actually showing is that tracking download numbers alone is not a valid way of determining what the best mobile applications are, says Localytics. If a customer never opens your app or abandons it after only one (or two, or three…) uses, then high download numbers really mean you have a high churn rate.As we noted late last year, mobile developers have been working to increase user retention and loyalty through a number of means in this crowded app ecosystem by using in-app purchases, subscriptions that deliver new content, notifications and app updates to encourage customers to return to their apps. At the time, however, Scott Kveton, CEO of Urban Airship, a mobile notifications provider, said that there’s only a 5% retention rate on free apps after 30 days. In that case, the numbers from Localytics are actually better news than expected. sarah perez Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Tags:#apps#mobile#news#Trends The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

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Government Agrees With Microsoft: Google Wasn’t Certified [Update]

first_imgTags:#enterprise#news 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… Related Posts center_img Today, the U.S. government agreed with Microsoft’s accusation that Google had provided misleading information about whether or not its Google Apps for Government is certified under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).According to Business Insider, a government agent agreed with Microsoft in front of the U.S. Senate, testifying that the product in question was currently going through the recertification process.Update: A Google spokesperson got in touch to say that “The Business Insider story is totally wrong,” and said they would provide further statement. We are still awaiting that statement.Update #2: Google has posted on a blog on the the topic:Microsoft claims we filed a separate FISMA application for Google Apps for Government, then leaps to the conclusion that Google Apps for Government is not FISMA certified. These allegations are false.We take the federal government’s security requirements seriously and have delivered on our promise to meet them. What’s more, we’ve been open and transparent with the government, and it’s irresponsible for Microsoft to suggest otherwise.Google offers a full rebuttal on its blog.Update #3: The U.S. General Services Administration offered the following statement:“GSA certified the Google Apps Premier environment as FISMA compliant in July of 2010. Google Apps for Government uses the Google Apps Premier infrastructure, but adds additional controls in order to meet requirements requested by specific government agencies. The original FISMA certification remains intact while GSA works with Google to review the additional controls to update the existing July 2010 FISMA certification.”David McClure, an associate administrator with the U.S. General Services Administration, testified before a hearing led by U.S. Senator Tom Carper, in which Carper asked if McCure would “comment on these recent reports and discuss how OMB and GSA are addressing the concerns that are raised by them.” His answer, as quoted in Business Insider (with their emphasis):MCCLURE (GSA): Sure, I’d be glad to bring some clarity to it. In July 2010, GSA did a FISMA security accreditation for “Google Apps Premier.” That’s what the Google product was called, and it passed our FISMA accreditation process. We actually did that so other agencies could use the Google product. If we do one accreditation, it’s leveraged across many agencies. Since that time, Google has introduced what they’re calling “Google Apps for Government.” It’s a subset of Google Apps Premier, and as soon as we found out about that, as with all the other agencies, we have what you would normally do when a product changes, you have to re-certify it. So that’s what we’re doing right now, we’re actually going through a re-certification based on those changes that Google has announced with the “Apps for Government” product offering.Google does have FISMA certification for Google Apps Premiere, but not for the Apps for Government, although that claim does appear on its website.When we wrote about this topic earlier this week, Google’s David Mihalchik told us that “we did not mislead the court or our customers. Google Apps received a FISMA security authorization from the General Services Administration in July 2010. Google Apps for Government is the same system with enhanced security controls that go beyond FISMA requirements. As planned we’re working with GSA to continuously update our documentation with these and other additional enhancements.” Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… mike melansonlast_img read more

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Live Blog: Microsoft MIX 2011 Day 2 – New Windows Phone 7 Features, Silverlight 5, Kinect SDK

first_imgToday we’re at Microsoft MIX, a developers conference in Las Vegas. Microsoft will be trying to woo developers and presenting on HTML5, Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight.Today we’re expecting to see more about mobile and Kinect.9:05 The event kicked off with this video made by a fan. Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president and director of Windows Phone Program Management, says that if the video gets enough page views it will be turned into a television commercial “because we care about the community.”9:08 Belfiore is addressing the issue of failed updates. Says issues weren’t widespread, but Microsoft decided to halt the updates because of uncertainty about how widespread the issues are.9:11 He says that operators make the final call about when updates go out.9:13 There are now 13,000 apps in the WP7 app market.9:15 Gartner and IDC predict WP7 will be the 2nd most popular mobile OS by 2015.9:16 Marco Argenti, head of developer experience for Nokia, is taking the stage to talk about the Microsoft partnership.9:18 Says Nokia will bring more users to WP7, more customers for WP7 app sellers.9:18 Back to Belfiore. He says WP7 will support 16 language. Today developers from 30 countries can build and sell apps, that will increase to 38. End users will be able to buy apps from 35 different countries, up from 16.9:21 Experience for users with lots of apps will improve – searching for installed apps, searching marketplace etc.9:22 Better filtering in the marketplace – music, podcasts and apps will be separated. More meta data, including ratings.9:24 Belfiore is demoing the marketplace features on an Asus device, not a Nokia.9:27 Demoing the ability to append additional info to the “cards” for various objects (apps, movies, etc.) within the OS.9:29 The same IE9 codebase as used on the desktop will be on WP7.9:31 Now playing music from an HTML5 site – you can multi-task with this, leave the music playing in the background while opening other apps.9:32 Now he’s comparing an iPhone 4, a Nexus S and a WP7 phone running an HTML5 “speed reading” test. WP7 smoked all of them, the Nexus was 2nd and the iPhone lagged behind.9:36 New features coming in the fall: sockets, built in sql database, more launchers and choosers, and access to contact and calendar. Also, access to sensors: raw camera access, gyroscope, etc.9:39 Demo of scanning a barcode in order to find a price on Amazon.com. Showing how to pin the app to the homescreen to make it easy to do the barcode scanning.9:40 WP7 team worked with Microsoft Reseach to create the “motion sensor” which makes it simple to build motion sensative apps with the compass and gyroscope. Demoing the use of augmented reality app Layar.9:44 Demoing multitasking. Spotify is coming to WP7, and it will support the background audio stuff demoed earlier.9:45 Angry Birds will be available for WP7.9:46 “Live Agents” – system of running background apps w/o eating too much battery.9:47 Example – Qantas app. He can pin a tile for each flight he has in the app. The tiles update can trigger alarms, change color, etc. depending on flight status and where you are.9:51 Developer tools, codenamed “Mango” will be available next month.9:52 Scott Guthrie now talking about developer experience.9:53 Demoing new emulator capabilities, including accelerometer support via a 3D emulator allowing you to move the virtual phone around, on Windows Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone.9:55 There’s also now location simulation so that you can test location-aware apps in VS.9:56 All the features he’s showing are part of the free version of the Phone development tools.9:58 Nice looking WP7 app performance data collection and visualization in VS.10:05 Performance enhancements in Mango – much smoother scrolling, etc.10:09 Demo of how the local SQL database works. Makes many tasks easier – search, for example, can be added to an app in only one line of code.10:11 Sockets are supported in Mango. Demoing an IRC client built easily on WP7 using an existing open source .Net IRC library.10:15 Demo of Kik for WP7. Works in real-time – you can see when someone you are chatting with receives your message and when they begin typing a response. Kik guy says it’s easy to add push notifications to WP7.10:23 Silverlight 3D demo.10:25 Switching gears to Silverlight 5 for the browser.10:26 New features: Hardware decode, “trickplay” so that you can play video faster without making the speakers sounding like chipmonks. Good for watching educational/training videos.10:29 U.S. Navy talking about using Silverlight to create a website.10:36 John Papa will now speak about new features in Silverlight. Demoing an app called “3D House Builder.” Impressive 3D animation and rendering using GPU. Plus, data binding and data binding debugging. Full list of features here.10:44 Jeff Sandquist talking about Kinect now. Says Kinect is the fastest selling electronic device ever.10:45 Kinect SDK for Windows will be available this spring, first with a non-commercial license.10:47 Demoing how to build Kinect apps in Visual Studio. Very straight forward. Made a live painting app in just a few minutes and a few lines of code.10:51 Showing a chair with omnidirectional wheels controlled by Kinect. X and Y axis are controlled by gestures. “It’s like tank driving.”10:58 worldwidetelescope.org demo – using Kinect to navigate a virtual outerspace.10:59 University of Konstanz student researchers have built a Kinect system for the visually impaired. A Kinect receiver is mounted on a helmet to detect obstacles – when the user gets too close to an obstacle he gets a vibration notifications of varying stength depending on how close he is to th object. The Kinect can also read QR codes to provide directional information.11:03 Frog Design is demoing a Kinect game called Wall Panic 3000. Participants have to mimic the positions presented by the screen.11:05 The Oprah moment: everyone at Mix is getting a Kinect. Clarification: Press, including ReadWriteWeb staffers, are NOT receiving free Kinects. However, please do see the disclosure below.That’s it for the keynote.Disclosure: Microsoft paid for Klint Finley’s travel and lodging to attend MIX, and MIX is a ReadWriteWeb sponsor.. Tags:#hack#news Related Posts Why You Love Online Quizzes 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac…center_img How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? klint finley Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoidlast_img read more

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Pro/Con: Vinyl Is Green

first_imgVinyl’s affordability can help green go mainstreamBY PATRICK MOOREArchitects and home builders across the nation are increasingly interested in green building. Yet, especially in this time of deep economic uncertainty, green building must not only be environmentally friendly, it must also be affordable.Green products that are out of reach for the average consumer will remain niche products that have little chance to make a positive impact on the environment.Moving green building beyond niche status and into the mainstream requires the use of affordable, widely available, and environmentally friendly products. We know how to measure affordability and availability, but how do we determine what’s environmentally friendly?Fortunately, tools are being refined that help builders and consumers choose. Life-cycle analysis (LCA) is the science of examining a product’s entire life, from extraction of raw materials and manufacturing to transportation and installation to final disposal or recycling. Another tool is risk analysis. All activities, including making and using products of various materials, carry risks. Risk analysis helps us put risks and benefits into perspective.LCA shows that two of the most important environmental features of products are renewability and durability. Renewable materials and energy sources are green by nature. Durable materials last longer and require less upkeep. So which materials perform well in life-cycle and risk assessments? Wood, of course, is abundant, renewable, requires far less energy to make than either steel or concrete, soaks up carbon dioxide, and has diverse applications. It has a strongly positive life-cycle impact.So does vinyl. More than half derived from common salt, vinyl is one of the most energy-efficient materials to make. Vinyl’s energy-efficiency attributes are further highlighted in the performance of products such as windows. It is durable and lasts for decades with relatively little maintenance compared to that required for other materials. At end of life, it can be managed in the same fashion as other building materials. We are constantly learning of increasingly successful techniques for recycling vinyl building products at the installation and even end-of-life stages.Yet vinyl gets targeted by environmental activists. Some have created lists of objections.The fact is that vinyl’s environmental issues have been thoroughly studied and answered.Dioxin? The vinyl-products industry was always a small contributor of dioxin in the environment (somewhere between 8 to 10 grams annually in the U.S.) and has worked to reduce even those emissions. Dioxin levels in the environment have been falling for decades (a regulatory success story you probably have not heard about). Those concerned about this issue today should be objecting to backyard burning, power plants, vehicle emissions, and other larger sources of dioxin.Heavy metals? You don’t need lead, cadmium, mercury, or other “heavy” metals to make vinyl.Plasticizers? According to government health review bodies in Europe, Canada and the United States, there is no evidence that phthalates – the plasticizers in vinyl products – cause harm.Vinyl scores well in life cycle tests. The U.S. Green Building Council, the European Commission, and the state of California all looked comprehensively at vinyl’s pros and cons and concluded that its overall impacts were in line with those of other materials – and that vinyl could do better than the competition in some applications.Vinyl products are constantly being improved and – under programs such as FloorScore, Green Label Plus, and Greenguard standards – new products are now being certified by third parties as low emission.The best way to deliver affordable, safe drinking water is through a vinyl pipe. The best way to insulate electrical wiring is with a vinyl coating. In hospitals, vinyl is used widely for floors and wall coverings because it is easily cleaned and disinfected. Vinyl is a durable, cost-effective siding for buildings because of its low maintenance requirements and long life. Building with vinyl saves on energy and material costs.At a time when sustainability, affordability, renewability, and durability are paramount, we should be using more, not less, of the materials that score well in comprehensive life-cycle evaluations.And in case you don’t think affordability has a place in this discussion, don’t forget that the money saved upfront on energy-efficient materials like vinyl can be spent on other environmental add-ons, such as a ground-source heat pump that uses clean geothermal energy to make a home even more sustainable._An advisor to government and industry, Dr. Patrick Moore was a co-founder of Greenpeace and is now chairman and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd., www.greenspiritstrategies.com._Read an opposing view: Vinyl is Lethal RELATED ARTICLES center_img Vinyl Is LethalVinyl Windows and Vinyl SidingGBA Encyclopedia: Vinyl Siding Study Linking Autism to Vinyl Flooring Stokes Phthalate DebateLife-Cycle Assessment is a Tool, Not a Silver BulletAssessment of Technical Basis for a PVC-Related Materials Credit for LEED Should We Phase Out PVC?last_img read more

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Deep-Energy Retrofits

first_imgWe need to achieve more like 50-75% energy reductions in our existing housing stock. Achieving such significant savings will be both challenging and expensive. It will require what are now being referred to as “deep energy retrofits.”In new construction, a rule of thumb in northern climates for achieving that 50-75% savings is the “10-20-40-60 rule” for insulation: R-10 under foundation floor slabs; R-20 foundation walls; R-40 house walls, and R-60 ceilings or roofs.While these targets aren’t exactly easy to achieve in new construction, they are doable without too much additional cost or effort. With existing homes, on the other hand, meeting these targets is extremely difficult—and very expensive. It’s rarely possible to achieve all of those targets with existing homes, especially the R-10 goal for basement or floor slabs. But it is possible to achieve dramatic improvement compared with standard weatherization—and that’s what deep-energy retrofits are all about.A few strategies for carrying out deep-energy retrofits of existing homes in a northern climate are described below:Insulate foundation walls on the interior. Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) can be used against existing foundation walls—even rough walls such as stone. A good approach is often to add a couple inches of SPF against the wall, then build interior frame walls with 2x6s that are insulated with cavity-fill cellulose or fiberglass. You have to deal with any moisture problems first, since moisture entry and mold can be very significant problems.Add rigid foam insulation to house walls. Getting anywhere close to the R-40 goal for wall insulation isn’t possible by simply insulating existing wall cavities. (Insulating 2×6 walls with dense-pack cellulose or fiberglass achieves less than R-20.) The best approach for dramatically boosting wall R-values is usually to add a layer of foam insulation. Whether to add this on the interior or exterior depends on what shape the exterior siding and interior walls are in and how much space you have to work with. In a big house where the exterior siding is in good shape, insulating on the interior with 4″ of rigid foam, then adding new drywall and trim may make sense. But in most existing homes, adding a thick layer of foam on the exterior usually makes more sense. Adding four inches is a reasonable plan.Extend roof overhangs and window openings. Assuming rigid foam is added to the outside of walls, the roof overhang may need to be extended to protect the walls and windows. This is a big job that can easily cost $10,000. Window and door openings also will have to be extended, with proper flashing, air sealing, and trim.Replace or upgrade windows. Windows are a key component of deep-energy retrofits. Existing single-glazed or insulated-glass windows will probably need to be replaced with state-of-the-art triple-glazed windows with two low-emissivity (low-e) coatings and low-conductivity gas fill, such as krypton. If the existing windows are in good shape, adding double-glazed, low-e storm windows might be an option, though such windows will likely have to be custom-made, since no insulated-glass storm windows are currently on the market.Add more attic insulation. If you have an unheated attic, more insulation (cellulose or fiberglass batts) can usually be added on top of what’s already there. If you have a cathedral ceiling and insulation in the roof, boosting the R-value can most easily be achieved by adding a layer of rigid foam insulation on top of the roof when re-roofing is done. In this case, detailing at the eaves and gable-end of the roof has to be carefully planned to keep the roof from looking clunky.Cost of deep-energy retrofits, of course, is a huge challenge. For an average-sized house, the cost of this scale of retrofit could easily cost $50,000 to $75,000. I’m hoping that new loan funds will become available that will make this approach more feasible. Starting in the 1970s, following the first energy crisis, major weatherization programs were launched to tighten up American homes. The Weatherization Assistance Program of the U.S. Department of Energy, which focuses on low-income homes, has weatherized some 6.2 million dwellings, reducing energy consumption by an average of 32%, since its inception in 1976. State and local programs and private weatherization companies have weatherized tens of millions of additional homes.All this is great. But it isn’t enough. If the U.S. is serious about reducing our contributions to global warming it is becoming increasingly clear that we will have to go a lot further in reducing the energy consumption of existing houses. Residential buildings account for 21% of total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions and 4.3% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.To achieve the sorts of carbon-reduction goals that climate scientists are telling us we need to achieve—a commonly quoted goal is an 80% reduction by 2050—we will have to reduce residential energy consumption by a lot more than the 30-35% that can fairly easily be achieved through simple weatherization. RELATED ARTICLES The High Cost of Deep-Energy RetrofitsA Leaky Old House Becomes a Net-Zero Showcase Roofing and Siding Jobs Are Energy-Retrofit OpportunitiesBest Construction Details for Deep-Energy RetrofitsThe History of the Chainsaw RetrofitAn Old House Gets a Superinsulation RetrofitEnerPHit — The Passive House Approach to Deep RetrofitRemodel Project: Deep Energy RetrofitDeep Energy Makeover: One Step At A TimePart 1: What Is a Deep Energy Retrofit?Deep Energy Retrofits, Part 2: Focus on the Envelope Deep Energy Retrofits, Part 3: Apply the Energy Efficiency Pyramidlast_img read more

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Taking Sides on Efficiency Rules for Manufactured Housing

first_imgThe Department of Energy recently solicited information from experts and other interested parties that will help the agency develop energy efficiency standards for manufactured housing. It could be an interesting process, and perhaps a contentious one.The DOE’s basic mandate is to comply with a provision (Section 413) of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that requires adapting the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code to manufactured-housing practices, but doing it in a way that also is compatible with factory-housing rules – known as HUD Code – and that are currently enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.This balancing act, not surprisingly, is complicated by the concerns of energy efficiency advocates, who see development of the standards as a prime opportunity to address what they say are manufactured housing’s woeful energy efficiency performance, and the concerns of the manufactured-housing industry, which is trying to control costs and revitalize its diminished market.The DOE requested interested parties’ input in an “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,” which it entered in the Federal Register on February 22. The response deadline was March 24.A chance for transformationOne of the people sending comments to the DOE docket was Lane Burt, a construction engineer and the manager of building-energy policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council. In an NRDC blog post, Burt complained that “a manufactured home can come off the assembly line today and immediately be eligible for weatherization through the Weatherization Assistance Program. That means that the government could immediately be paying to retrofit this home to become more efficient when just months before it could have been done at the factory for pennies on the dollar. I can’t think of a single reason why it is acceptable for new manufactured homes to be weatherization candidates because the code is not up to par.”Burt also cites a DOE analysis showing that manufactured homes use almost twice as much energy per square foot as site-built single-family homes.Of course, cost – specifically the purchase price of a manufactured home – also is a principal issue for the Manufactured Housing Institute, an industry trade group.Advising cautionIn its comments to the DOE, the MHI cited a 2007 housing survey showing that the median annual income of a family living in manufactured housing was $28,343, and that 2008 Census Bureau data showed that the average price for a manufactured home was $64,900, excluding land. Financial pressures on manufactured housing’s customer base – which now represents about 14% of the market for new single-family homes, according to the MHI – are now especially severe; not long ago, the industry served about 20% of the market.Beyond standards that won’t push purchase costs beyond the financial means of the industry’s customers, the MHI also advocates that the standards DOE imposes mesh smoothly with HUD’s supervision program for manufactured housing. Another priority for MHI is that the new standards rely on whole-house performance rather than prescriptive requirements for building components, and that they be compatible with the engineering, design, and material-management software commonly used in the industry.MHI also recommends that the DOE allow a year after the rules are finalized before requiring compliance. The big issue for the industry, MHI repeated in its comments to DOE, is that the standards don’t push the purchase cost of a manufactured home so high that the likely cost of operating it becomes a moot issue.The DOE says it will present a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, containing the proposed standards, later this year, and will then invite public comments and also play host to a public meeting on the proposed rules. It could indeed be interesting.last_img read more

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My 6th Commandment: Don’t Try to Be Something You’re Not

first_imgYou know what I’m talking about. You have had the same questions yourself, I am sure. But once we move beyond those obvious questions and the discussion gets deeper—down to the good stuff, where we all really start to learn about the greening of our industry—I occasionally get asked some different questions — second-level questions that are not as obvious.They are usually some variation on: What do I have to watch out for? What is my biggest risk? And my answer is the same, each and every time: Do not try to be something you’re not! You can’t fake this stuff any more than an Irish Catholic can fake his way into a Protestant pub in Belfast! (I know, because I tried it once). Well, I guess you can try it (I did), but it’s certainly not for the faint of heart!Where’s the beef?Not that being you is a bad thing; it’s just that it will be your death knell in trying to establish your credentials as a green professional, if your prospects see right through you.You tell me you are a manufacturer of “green” plywood, and I want to hear more than it is made from pre-consumer recycled content. You tell me you are selling green products for the lumberyard, and I want to see if you know more than what’s on the back of your company brochures. And if you are telling your sales prospects that you are a green builder or remodeler, you’d better be able to back that up, too.You can’t be part-time green and still call yourself green. Either you build green or you don’t. You can’t be a green professional and not have credentials like CGP, LEED AP, or LEED Green Associate to back it up. You can’t say you build green homes if you are not willing to submit the plans and construction methodology to the independent, qualified third-party analysis and testing of a recognized local or national green building program.There is no honor system anymore, folks. We had the chance as an industry to build right, and we blew it. If you are going to sell yourself as a green professional, you need to earn industry-recognized credentials to prove it, and you need to submit your products or homes to third-party review. So, don’t portray yourself as somebody you are not, and you will never violate my 6th commandment of building green. My advice to those involved with residential construction: if you are not sincere in your efforts to be a green builder/remodeler/supplier/architect, don’t try to be something you’re not. Quit fooling around, get out of the way, and do something you believe in. Otherwise, it will not be long before you are uncovered for what you are.Everyone wants to go greenOver the past several years I have traveled around the country, speaking to (and with) building professionals of all different types: custom builders and remodelers, midsize “custom” builders, and large production builders. I have also met with designers of every persuasion, from architects, engineers, and interior designers to do-it-yourself decorators with no credentials whatsoever. Some of my most powerful conversations have been with the most senior management of Fortune 500 suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers in the residential construction industry as well as owners of local mom-and-pop hardware stores.In every case, the conversation is about “going green.” Their business, my business, every business—and how we are all selling our products and services—is being impacted by the green tsunami sweeping over every aspect of our lives.Silk purse or sow’s ear?The most obvious questions I get asked regularly are: What’s green? Will it last or is it a fad? Can I really make money selling green? How do I “do” green? Other Blogs in this Series My 1st CommandmentMy 2nd CommandmentMy 3rd CommandmentMy 4th CommandmentMy 5th CommandmentMy 6th CommandmentMy 7th Commandmentlast_img read more

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Turning a Smartphone Into a Thermal Imaging Device

first_imgIts exact specs haven’t been publishedDavid Meiland, a builder in Washington State and a frequent contributor to Green Building Advisor forums, said that Flir is a “dominant” manufacturer of infrared equipment. But he cautioned that an imager in this price range may not have the resolution or thermal sensitivity of more expensive devices, so its usefulness would be somewhat limited.Meiland, who has been using an $8,000 Fluke imager for the last four years, says there are times when detecting temperature differences of as little a .05 degree Celsius are important. But in other situations, measuring minute temperature differences wouldn’t be critical. Suppose, for example, that a builder suspects that a hidden heating duct has split, spilling warm air into a wall or ceiling cavity. “In those circumstances, low resolution and a slow processor and a small image would probably give you the same result,” Meiland said.Flir posts the range of temperatures that the One will detect, but not the temperature sensitivity — the minimum difference in temperature in adjacent surfaces that would appear in the image. Nor does the website list the resolution of the image. The Flir sales office in Boston said it didn’t have the information, and that technical inquiries would be handled by e-mail.As useful as thermal imagers can be in tracking down elusive information about buildings, Meiland said they’re not magical. “The real issue with infrared is getting an incorrect diagnosis,” he said. “It’s really easy to look at something and say, ‘Oh, here’s what’s going on.’ And then you check it with other tools and you realize, ‘Wait, that isn’t what’s going on. There’s more going on.’ You can get all kinds of incorrect conclusions out of infrared. That’s where the risk is. Sometimes I still have to get out a Sawzall, look inside the wall.”If you want to read more about thermal imaging, read this blog by GBA senior editor Martin Holladay. An Oregon company has introduced a $349 gadget that turns an Apple iPhone into a thermal imaging device capable of detecting heating and cooling leaks in buildings.Flir introduced the Flir One at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on January 7. The company said it would start selling the device worldwide this spring. The Flir One fits on an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5S, the most recent models.A Flir-equipped iPhone displays an image showing heat rather than visible light, so it can show heat loss through walls or around windows. That could help builders and remodelers see areas where insulation or air-sealing need to be improved. Among other uses, the company said, are spotting water damage and detecting intruders at night.The device has its own rechargeable battery good enough for two hours of operation, and it boosts the iPhone’s battery life by as much as 50%, the company says.Flir, based in Wilsonville, Oregon, said that the thermal imager is the first of its kind designed specifically for consumers. Pro models can cost thousands of dollars.last_img read more

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3 Easy Tools for Crafting a Great-Looking Personal Webpage

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Need an online portfolio in a hurry? Not all of us have the time, energy, or skill to build something from scratch, or the resources to farm out the job to more capable hands. Happily, some great tools are available that make it a breeze to build a good-looking personal website without actually building much of anything at all. Something simple that looks good can serve as a placeholder – and you might end up liking the it enough to keep it around. Whether you need a basic resume page, a photo portfolio, or a springboard to your (or your brand’s) profiles on sites like Twitter and Facebook, these sites get the job done quickly and easily – and free of charge. Fully Flexible and Socially Promiscuous: FlavorsFlavors has a lot in common with AOL-owned About.me, but the former was first and we’ve always been partial to it. Sign up for a free Flavors account and you’ll get access to a social Swiss army knife’s worth of webpage tools. It’s dead simple to make an attractive site – particularly a sparse, modern one; less is more, after all. Add your essential info to a basic landing page and get to work tweaking the background image, fine-tuning the colors, fonts, and alignment, and you’ll have a great looking result in no time.If you spring for the premium version, you can mask the Flavors.me domain with a custom url and no one will be the wiser. Flavors connects to just about every social network we use (and some we don’t), letting you display content from Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and many more. Since the content dynamically loads on your new profile page, this is a great way to feature portfolio fodder like writing or photos that you can host externally (and easily). Cherry-pick your best work, publish it on a (less versatile) site like 500px, plug it into Flavors and voilà.Eminently Searchable in a Snap: Google+Google+ is the quick and dirtiest of the quick-and-dirty options. Want to fast-track your name to great SEO? Invest a little time sprucing up your profile page on the social platform crafted by the search king itself. Google tweaks its search secret sauce regularly, but you can bet that putting in the time to flesh out and maintain a Google+ profile page will pay off in search rankings. In our casual testing, we searched for a handful of folks we know, from both within and without our G+ circles, and a Google+ profile popped up in the top five results every time. (If you’re one of the John Smiths of the world, well . . . good luck to you.)Beyond its SEO advantage, Google+ is a pretty solid – if uninspiring – way to funnel people to your links and social accounts. The About section of a Google+ user page includes a tagline, an introduction section (your bio can go here) and a section dedicated to any links you didn’t sneak into your introduction. But be sure to enable the “Profile discovery” option toward the bottom of the Google+ profile edit page (found just above the “Other profiles” link section) to allow search engines to index your G+ profile – that’s how the magic happens. If you’ve got some kind of author page floating around out there on the web, Google+ would be happy to link up your profile with what you publish. You’ll have to jump through a few hoops, but the result is a little pic of you that pops up next to your links in search. Photographers in particular will appreciate Google+’s attractive lightbox view and well-implemented photo sharing and organization features. Related Posts Tags:#Publishing Services#web Social Data Infused with Style: VizifyVizify is the newest tool on this list, the least traditional, and definitely the most fun. If you’re interested in an eye-catching, ultra-modern spin on a traditional landing page, this one will be right up your alley. Vizify is so new on the scene that you’ll need to request an invite. But once you’re in, it couldn’t be simpler to set up. Choose which social networks you’d like Vizify’s engine to cull data from, pick a flattering color scheme and you’ll quickly be met with an elegant array of brightly-colored data nodes arranged into a web of personal info.You can drill down and get as granular as you want, adding individual images from Instagram or highlighting your pithiest moment on Twitter, or just see what Vizify comes up with organically. It’s untraditional, sure, but that’s the point – all of the important stuff is there, from the links you want to highlight to your current position and location . . . it’s just arranged more playfully than you might be used to.Whether you want something flexible, practical or fun, between Flavors, Google+ and Vizify, there’s likely an option here to inspire you to landing page greatness. Got a Web profile creator that didn’t make this list? Let us know and we’ll take it for a spin. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting taylor hatmakerlast_img read more

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The 5 Most Pivotal Moments For Digital Music In 2012

first_imgThere could hardly have been a more symbolic official end to the Napster era and more importantly, the beginning of one in which all-you-stream music subscription services are seen as a legitimate way forward for the industry. Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich not only shared a stage with Napster cofounder Sean Parker to announce the band’s arrival on Spotify, he hugged him. Major questions remain about the viability of Spotify’s business model and whether it can fairly compensate artists, but it’s still early in the game and the fact that Metallica has embraced the model is a positive sign. Don’t hold your breath for The Beatles, though. 3. BitTorrent Goes Legit2012 was the year the strict association between the word BitTorrent and piracy started to erode. It still has a long way to go, but BitTorrent, Inc. has been aggressively marketing itself as a legitimate content distribution platform and teaming up with established artists and authors to prove it. Author Tim Ferriss may be the most high-profile content producer to partner with Bit Torrent, but musicians have been experimenting with the platform as well. After Pretty Lights published a bundle of free music and videos on BitTorrent, it soared to the top of Pirate Bay’s download chart, the DJ saw a 700% increase in traffic to his website, collected 100,000 email addresses and, probably not coincidentally, sold out two concerts at the Red Rocks amphitheater in Colorado. For musicians, BitTorrent may provide an unexpected path to revenue. 4. Internet Radio Fairness Act IntroducedInternet radio providers like Pandora and iHeartRadio are expensive to operate. That’s largely because these companies operate under a different royalty rate regime than terrestrial and satellite radio stations, both of which pay far less than Pandora to copyright holders. In September, a bill called the Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA) was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that aimed to level the playing field. Record labels, royalty collection organizations and some artists were less than thrilled with the IRFA. Congressional testimony and debate got underway in November and the issue is expected to continue to be a contentious one in 2013. Whatever happens with the IRFA as it was originally drafted (many predict its demise), something needs to give, and that something will have to balance the need for innovation with the rights of those who create music for a living. The end result of the debate that kicked off in 2012 will have a huge impact on radio’s future. 5. Amanda Palmer’s Blockbuster Crowdfunding Experiment2012 was the year that independent musicians, desperate for a new business model, started taking the crowdfunding craze seriously. In an age when revenue is harder and harder to come by for musicians, many turned to fans to help fund the recording of their album, production of music videos and other projects.There were plenty of successful campaigns, but none got more attention than that of Amanda Palmer. The singer took to Kickstarter to fund the release of her album and ended up blowing past the $100,000 goal to rake in more than $1.1 million. Suddenly, crowdfunding looked like a viable model for musicians. The Amanda Palmer example is not without its caveats, though. For one, not all independent artists will have a fan base as rabid as the famously social media-savvy Palmer. About half of all music-related Kickstarter projects fail to reach their goal. For the right projects and artists, though, crowdfunding can work quite well, as Palmer demonstrated. Any artists that do luck out on Kickstarter might want to do their best to avoid the public relations headache incurred by Palmer after she invited unpaid musicians to play with her onstage – and was subsequently lambasted across the Web. Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 2. Lars Ulrich Hugs Sean Parker, Embraces Spotify  9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App john paul titlow Related Posts 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 2012 was a big year for music. No, I’m not talking about Adele, Call Me Maybe or the Tupac hologram. The big news this year were the shifts at the intersection of music and technology that occurred as the industry continued to figure out its digital future. Indeed, the biggest moments in music tech this year all had to do with piracy or the tricky evolution of a business model to replace the one that started dying a decade ago. 1. The Death Of SOPA / Megaupload Raid These two events were not officially related, but they happened within 24 hours of each other and they both helped frame the debate about content piracy. In late January, the uber-controversial anti-piracy bills called SOPA and PIPA were tabled by the U.S. Congress after massive online protests. The death of SOPA meant the fabric of the Internet would be spared from the wrath of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and set the stage for new legislative battles.  Just as that attempt at fighting piracy ended, an even more dramatic one began when New Zealand police – by request of the U.S. Justice Department – arrested Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and several of his colleagues in a military-style raid. The hacker group Anonymous responded with large-scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that took out the Department of Justice’s website. For the first time, the so-called “piracy wars” started to look like an actual war. The Megaupload raid marked the beginning of a lengthy legal procedure, but it also raised major questions about the rights of non-infringing cyberlocker users and caused similar services to get more serious about fighting piracy, if they didn’t shut themselves down all together.  Tags:#digital music#internet radio#Kickstarter#music#Pandora#SOPA#spotify#streaming music 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

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Stalking Shadow IT: Amazon Assembles An Enterprise Cloud Army

first_imgServerless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … If you’re like most enterprise IT professionals, you have serious concerns about cloud computing. According to a new Lieberman Software 2012 Cloud Security Survey, sponsored by the Cloud Security Alliance, 88% of the 300 IT professionals surveyed believe that some of their data hosted in the cloud could be lost, corrupted or accessed by unauthorized individuals. That’s likely why 86% keep their most sensitive data behind-the-firewall.Despite those concernse, though, an equally whopping 86% believe their cloud deployment has been a success. It’s therefore not unreasonable to suspect that 100% will be back at the cloud computing trough, again and again and again.That is really good news for Amazon, which is looking to double down on selling its cloud services to the enterprise.Amazon Hires an ArmyIn a bid to drive enterprise adoption, the cloud leader looks set to nearly double its AWS salesforce, as Business Insider discovered. No doubt these salespeople will focus on moving enterprises to use Amazon Web Services beyond the test and development workloads currently in the cloud, currently the dominant type of workload enterprises cede to AWS. The goal, clearly, is to get them to move mission-critical applications to AWS.This could prove harder than it first appears, given enterprise insistence on tight Service-Level Agreements (SLAs) and the big differences between enterprise and consumer cloud requirements, as Wikibon’s Kristen Feledy posits:IT organizations are under tremendous pressure to cut costs and the “Amazon Effect” increases that pressure. The reality is many of the successful public cloud examples are characterized by a single application accessed by millions of people; whereas the traditional enterprise is made up of hundreds or even thousands of apps accessed by thousands or maybe tens of thousands of users. These are different worlds where the former is all about scale and simplicity and the latter emphasizes service levels, reliability and security.Amazon, after all, has mostly taken a somewhat blasé approach to SLAs, which Wikibon describes as “we’ll do our best – if we don’t please send us an email.”Not exactly a confidence booster for the cloud-wary CIO.Shadow IT: First Open Source, Now CloudThis is changing. Amazon recently rolled out premium support plans for the enterprise, including “white glove case routing.” To sell a premium AWS experience, Amazon’s job profiles scout for sales professionals who “possess both a sales and technical background that enables them to drive an engagement at the CXO level as well as with software developers and IT architects.” In other words, Amazon recognizes that it is the developers and architects that pull cloud computing into the enterprise, but it is the CIO who will bless this “shadow IT.”After all, it is shadow IT that has been selling the enterprise on Amazon for years. By now, just every enterprise is using the cloud, be it from Amazon, Microsoft, Rackspace or others, as progressive IT professionals have looked to the cloud to get things done despite friction from internal bureaucracy. For those paying attention, this is precisely how open source succeeded: currying favor with developers until its spread was so pervasive within the enterprise that CIOs were forced to accept it, and signed sales contracts with Red Hat and others to mitigate legal risk and improve service.Hence, Cloudscaling’s Michael Grant is arguably correct to suggest that rather than fight shadow IT and its inexorable march to the cloud, CIOs should recognize shadow IT as “a forward thinking testbed for IT innovation.” If Grant is right, that testbed suggests a future in the cloud, both for dev/test and mission-critical workloads, driven by the promise of higher convenience and lower costs, but really about increased innovation.But it also suggests that Amazon has been right to first focus on the enterprise’s new kingmakers: developers. This is how open source won. It’s how the cloud is winning, too.  How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts center_img Tags:#Amazon#AWS#developers#enterprise#Open Source#Redmonk#shadow IT#Wikibon Matt Asay Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo…last_img read more

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New ‘Social’ Businesses Want To Know All About You—No Thanks!

first_imgFacebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… But consider Benioff’s example of the Internet of Things driving social business. He cited Philips’ Internet-connected toothbrush that records the time and duration of brushing. With one of these babies, when you go to the dentist and he asks, “have you been brushing” and you answer “yeah,” the conversation doesn’t end there, Benioff said. The dentist could reply “Let’s have a look” and see exactly how much brushing you actually did.That thought terrifies me. While such a scenario might indeed help keep my teeth from falling out, it’s also profoundly creepy and invasive. After all, what if my dental insurance provider got hold of the data, and decided it wouldn’t pay to fill that cavity because I didn’t brush long enough?As Benioff correctly noted, the “biggest part is trust.” “With all that data about you out on the network, it gets down to another level of trust with the vendors you choose to let be a part of your life.”I trust my doctor with a large amount of intensely personal information – augmented by pretty specific laws and industry practices. For some reason, I’m less comfortable giving my dentist the same degree of trust. Philips and Salesforce? Absolutely not!How Much Should Your Shirt Salesman Know About You?Another participant at the event, male-apparel retailer Trunk Club, is also leveraging user information to help “guys that just dont like to shop” said COO Rob Chesney. Trunk Club’s goal is to make “it really easy for you to look great” by not just tracking what he’s already bought, but whatever other information may be available online. When a customer contacts Trunk Club, “we pull up this guy and find out what is he all about. We see all his social media info. “It’s the future of service-oriented retail.”Not for me.Chesney noted that having this kind of info could help Trunk Club sell higher end clothing to a customer who just got a promotion – an event it might learn of Facebook. That might not be so bad, but what is the company going to do if the customer gets laid off? Offer condolences and try to sell them cheap t-shirts? Awkward to say the least.Social.com: Salesforce’s Facebook & Twitter Tools Salesforce also pitched its new Social.com tools, designed to help other companies operate this way. Salesforce rolled out the ability to run Facebook campaigns that target users based on what they’ve posted and linked to on their own Facebook pages.On Twitter, the idea is start “buying in the moment” – spreading promoted tweets even as the larger Twitter conversation is trending. The promoted tweet shows up any time someone tweets with a relevant hashtag.To make that work, of course, you’ve got to be monitoring all the time. “You can’t be relevant if you’re not listening,” explained Facebook’s Fergus Gluster (yes, that’s his real name). Jonathan Nelson, CEO of ad agency Omnicom Digital, said that these innovations are a key step toward closing the loop linking real-time advertising to real-time buying. The key, he said, is delviering “the right message for the right person at the right time.”Ironically, in a small panel discussion for journalists, Nelson noted that the “suppression of advertising” when it’s not appropriate is “more than half the battle.”That’s a key part of reducing the creep factor. Finally, just so you know, I’m not alone in worrying about these issues. Another panelist, Altimeter Group’s Susan Etlinger, admitted that “as a consumer, I don’t particularly want to be targeted.” The key, Etlinger said, is to build a relationship over time and “be relevant when the consumer needs us, not when we need them.” That’s a step in the right direction. But if companies they really care about not being creepy, they’ll learn to respond quickly and effectively when asked, and otherwise stay out of my face.Photos – except for the toothbrush – by Fredric Paul for ReadWrite Marc Benioff, Salesforce.com‘s hyperbolic CEO, has been telling anyone who will listen that the “sudden convergence of cloud, social and mobile spheres” is forcing – and allowing – companies to connect with customers in new ways, and to listen with an intensity never before possible.I’m sure the benefits of social business are dramatic and undeniable, but am I alone in being totally creeped out at what seems to be an obvious invasion of privacy? I don’t know about you, but I’m just not ready for companies – even companies I choose to do business with – to closely follow everything I do and say. Even if other humans aren’t involved.Do You Want To Be Connected To A Machine?At a recent executive event in San Francisco, Benioff entertained customers and journalists wtih a video featuring Beth Comstock, GE’s high-profile CMO, claiming her “core belief” is that “business is social.” But she didn’t just mean people communicating with people, she also meant people communicating with machines. The big question for GE, Comstock said, is “how do we connect our customers/employees to our machines?” GE’s goal is to combine data from customers and data from its machines – connecting machines to social networks is very big.The video demonstrated how GE was connecting jet engines to social networks to alert mechanics of their diagnostic status. “If you’re in business,” Comstock said, “you need social because it will get you closer to your customer… Feedback – that’s a marketers dream.”Sounds great, right?The Menace Of An Internet-Enabled Toothbrush Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Related Posts Tags:#Facebook#Salesforce#social media#social networking#twitter The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos fredric paul A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Auditlast_img read more

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New York is the newest state to allow self-driving car tests

first_imgNew York will start approving applications for self-driving car permits this month, making it the latest U.S. state to open its roads to driverless vehicles.Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the year-long pilot program, aimed at exploring the possibilities of self-driving cars in New York and figuring out if they’re safe.See Also: NYC’s smart city leaders say it’s all about the sharing and caringNew York requires that a human be behind the wheel and that the car complies with all safety and inspection standards. It has also banned self-driving cars from driving in construction and school zones.Successful applicants must submit a full report of the test by March 2018.“New York has emerged as one of the nation’s leading hubs for innovation, and as we invite companies and entrepreneurs to reimagine transportation technology, we will encourage the development of new, safe travel options for New Yorkers,” said Cuomo.“With this action, we are taking a careful yet balanced approach to incorporating autonomous vehicles on our roads to reduce dangerous driving habits, decrease the number of accidents and save lives on New York roadways.”NYC too tough on driverless tech?New York City is the most metropolitan city in the U.S. and one of the most densely populated in the world, making it a very unique place to test self-driving cars. Automakers and technology companies may even be willing to foot the $5 million insurance policy tagged onto the permit, if it allows them to test sensors and systems in the city.The press release says nothing about trials after the current one ends, but we should expect New York to lower its barriers to self-driving vehicles in the future, unless the cars turn out to be even more riskier than humans driving in NYC. IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A… Surveillance at the Heart of Smart Cities Tags:#automotive#Autonomous#cars#driverless#New York#NYC#Self-Driving David Currycenter_img How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi… Related Posts How IoT Will Play an Important Role in Traffic …last_img read more

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Canonical: Businesses are struggling to hire IoT talent

first_imgBusinesses are struggling to recruit skilled Internet of Things (IoT) developers, which could be slowing the deployment of enterprise IoT solutions.In a report from Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu OS, 68 percent of IoT professions say they struggle to recruit employees with the right IoT experience. Data analytics and big data skills are the most sought after, but 35 percent of professionals struggle to find an employee with that skill set.See Also: Four big trends pointing to a boom in healthcare IoT75 percent of professionals surveyed said data analytics and big data were key skills for any IoT expert, with embedded software development, data security, and cloud software development also ranked highly. Artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics were not considered as useful.Canonical included 360 IoT professionals, developers, and vendors opinions in the research.“When it comes to the internet of things, the business community is still overcoming a significant skills gap. Many businesses are concerned by their own lack of knowledge and skills within the IoT market and many business leaders are finding themselves running head first into a set of technology and business challenges that they do not yet fully understand,” said Mike Bell, executive vice president of IoT and Devices at Canonical.IoT to be ubiquitousHe said businesses need to realize that working in IoT should not require such an extensive variety of skills. What is needed, instead, is a simplification of the technologies behind IoT. “Within the next five years, we expect to see IoT technologies built into all aspects of the business environment,” he said.The lack of expertise could be one of the key reasons why enterprise IoT deployment is so low. In a survey of decision makers, 16 percent said their company had a comprehensive roadmap for IoT, with most taking a “wait and see” approach to the technology.The outlook for IoT deployment in the next few years remains positive, despite the perceived lack of skills. U.K. chip maker ARM estimates one trillion IoT devices by 2035, adding $5 trillion to the global GDP. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts Tags:#business#Canonical#Connected Devices#enterprise#featured#Internet of Things#IoT#top#Ubuntu David Currycenter_img Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Follow the Puck Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

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Money Monday

first_imgIn coordination with Military Saves, this week’s post focuses on consumer protection. By Dr. Barbara O’NeillIs there information Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP) staff can provide to service members to make them aware scams exist?Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP) staff can use the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) “Anatomy of a Scam” brochure. Some of the scams discussed include work-from-home schemes, “free trial” offers, advance-free loans, lottery and sweepstake scams, etc. The more knowledge service members are armed with, the safer they will be when confronted with such cons. For more information, refer to bbb.org/blog/top-online-scams.pdf.Another resource is Fakechecks.com. This site has an interactive fraud test and prevention page. For more information, refer to these websites:fakechecks.org/fraudtest.htmlfakechecks.org/prevention.htmlBrowse more military personal finance blog posts and webinars answered by experts.Follow Dr. O’Neill on Twitter!This post was published on the Military Families Learning Network Blog on July 8, 2013.last_img read more

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Can Education and Coping Strategies Reduce the Effects of Childhood Maltreatment?

first_imgBy Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhDMilitary deployment can place additional stress on a family, sometimes resulting in childhood maltreatment. Emotional, physical, and/or sexual maltreatment can have devastating effects on child development. What are some protective factors that can improve outcomes for individuals who experienced childhood maltreatment? In a 2013 article published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, researchers examined protective factors that could reduce symptoms related to childhood maltreatment, and decrease the likelihood of adult personality disorders [1].[Flickr, School Nic Miriam 03 crop by Liberal Democrats, CC BY-ND 2.0] Retrieved on September 17, 2015This study was conducted as part of the “Zurich Programme for Sustainable Development of Mental Health Services” in Zurich, Switzerland. In this portion of the study, 680 residents of the canton of Zurich, ages 20 to 41 years, were given personality disorder (PD) questionnaires, a childhood maltreatment questionnaire, and coping questionnaires. The childhood maltreatment questionnaire included questions about emotional and physical abuse, emotional and physical neglect, and sexual abuse. Coping strategies included emotion-focused coping, problem-focused coping, and dysfunctional coping.In examining the interactions among childhood maltreatment, level of education, coping strategies, and symptoms of personality disorders, the following results were found:Individuals with low levels of education levels were less likely to use problem-focused coping resources.Surprisingly, in maltreated individuals, as problem-focused coping increased, dependent personality trait disorder scores increased.Consistent with other research, all forms of childhood maltreatment were related to dysfunctional coping skills.Implications for CliniciansFor adults who have experienced childhood maltreatment, increasing adaptive coping skills (such as ) and reducing dysfunctional skills (such as avoidance, denial, self-distraction or self-blame) may reduce symptoms of personality disorders. Problem-based coping skills to consider when developing a treatment plan could be planning, instrumental support, or active coping. Emotion-based coping skills might include; acceptance, emotional support, humor, or positive reframing.For more information on childhood maltreatment and the impact on brain development, review the MFLN webinar, “Trauma in Young Children Under 4-Years of Age: Attachment, Neurobiology, and Interventions”. Blogs related to childhood maltreatment include: “Child Maltreatment Prevention“; “Child Brain Development & Trauma”; “Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples Affected by Trauma”; “Therapeutic Book for Child Trauma”.More on protective factors: “What Leads to Better Outcomes for Children Who Witness Family Violence?”References[1] Hengartner, M. P., Mueller, M., Rodgers, S., Roessler, W., & Ajdacic-Gross, V. (2013). Can protective factors moderate the detrimental effects of child maltreatment on personality functioning? Journal of Psychiatric Research, 47(9), 1180-1186. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.05.005This post was written by Jay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhD, members of the MFLN Family Development (FD) team which aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network FD concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, YouTube, and on LinkedIn.last_img read more

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Networks and Resources: Military OneSource

first_imgChristopher Plein, Ph.D.  West Virginia University and MLFN Caregiving Team Member.November has been Military Family Month – it’s been a time to recognize and reflect on the contributions made by military personnel and their families, both active duty and those retired.  With the close of the month, it is fitting to discuss some of the resources that are available for today’s military families.  In the MFLN’s Caregiving Concentration Area we seek to provide caregivers and those who support their efforts the resources and information that can be of help.  One very important resource is Military OneSource which serves as both a portal to resources and a platform of important information, services, and training for those in and around the military community.On December 13, we will be offering a webinar on Military OneSource that will be delivered by program staff.  They will review some of the purposes of this federal government program and some of the important developments that have been underway to improve and enhance services and resources to military families.Many Needs, One Source: Navigating Military OneSource for Caregiver Support December 13, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EasternIn anticipation of the Webinar, this blog provides a brief introduction and overview of Military OneSource – with special focus on caregiving resources.In our age of connectivity, most of us turn immediately to the internet to find out information about things that are both new and familiar.  The hard lessons of searching and hunting down information have taught many of us that some web-based resources are more helpful than others.  One of the most important functions of Military OneSource is to provide quality information that is up-to-date and reliable. This information can help military personnel and families at different stages of life, career, and in the face of new and unexpected challenges and opportunities.  As Military OneSource stresses, “Each person we serve is on a journey through the military life cycle. We’re here to help, with robust online information and resources vetted by the Department of Defense. In addition, Military OneSource connects you to high-quality programs, services and products developed for military life.”A visit to the Military OneSource website reveals the many different resources that are available.  The set-up allows for both general and specific information.  It acts as a portal in identifying trusted resources to link to and access.  A non-exhaustive list of topic areas includes financial and tax consultation; spouse education and career opportunities, wounded warrior and caregiver services; special needs; spouse relocation and transition; and adult disability and elder care.Those interested in military family caregiving and information on healthcare, healthy living, mental health, and wounded warriors will find Military OneSource especially helpful.  It offers a pathway to helpful online resources.Military OneSource is more than just a portal to other online resources, it is also a platform to provide more active and one-on-one services to families.  For example, confidential help is available for non-medical counseling either through an online live chat or by telephone.The measure of any successful network can be found in the strength and ties of the actors, stakeholders, and participants within.  Military OneSource serves as a hub and center of activity to assist military families.  It is tied closely to resources beyond the Department of Defense, offering a level of quality assurance in an information rich age.  It also provides inroads to military support and family readiness, be it Army Community Services, Marine Corps Community Services, Navy Fleet and Family Support Center, and Airman and Family Readiness Centers.  Like the Military Families Learning Network, it serves as a network for information, learning, and action.  We hope that you can join us on December 13 for our webinar – Many Needs, One Source: Navigating Military OneSource for Caregiver Support. This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on November 24, 2017.last_img read more

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