Apple’s Thermonuclear Patent War Is A Farce

first_imgThe Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Tags:#Apple#HTC#iPad#iPhone#Patents#Samsung Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …center_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement The news: The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has declared a huge Apple multi-touch-screen patent – the so-called “Steve Jobs patent” – to be invalid. As CNET adds, this is the second Apple patent to get a smackdown. The previous one was about Apple’s “rubber band” effect. Neither ruling is final, but still.The best analysis:Groklaw, which has been doing amazing coverage of Apple’s legal war, writes: “If you want to know why people now hate Apple for its legal swashbuckling, this is Exhibit A.”The conclusion: This whole notion of Steve Jobs launching his “thermonuclear war” on Android is a farce. A sham. A joke. It has been from the start.Apple Keeps FailingApple’s claims have been knocked down all over the world. In England a court was so appalled by Apple’s claims that it ordered Apple to run ads explaining that Samsung had not, in fact, copied Apple.Apple appealed, and lost, so the public shaming went forward. Apple brazenly snubbed its nose at the court by creating an ad that taunted Samsung even more. So the court made Apple do it again, and get it right this time.Yes, Apple won a big case in California. But that too could unravel since the jury appears to have made numerous mistakes. Samsung wants the verdict set aside. The judge is now urging Apple and Samsung to make peace.Apple, The Knight In Shining (Bogus) ArmorWhat’s especially rich is the way Apple keeps trying to act like this is some noble quest, that the fights aren’t about money but rather are about principles and “values,” as Tim Cook wrote in a letter to Apple employees after the big win against Samsung last summer. Now it appears that Apple applied for and received a bunch of lame (and apparently in some cases bogus) patents, then used them to launch a cynical war that it hoped would slow the progress of Android. Apple is using lawyers and courtrooms to do two things:First, Apple is using lawsuits as a form of marketing, a way to generate headlines and smear rivals as copycats, while depicting Apple — pure, noble Apple — as the font of knowledge from which all innovation flows.Second, Apple figures it can outspend its rivals and beat them into submission with bogus claims, tie them up with expensive litigation and distract them.This is not what courts are for. Nor is it what patents are for. This is despicable behavior.The Plan Has BackfiredWhat’s worse, it hasn’t worked. Android now has 75% share in smartphones, versus 15% for Apple. Android is also chipping away in tablets, where Apple’s share has dropped to 52%.Steve Jobs’s big “thermonuclear war” has backfired in every way. Apple is the one that has become distracted, while Google keeps chugging away.Apple had hoped to come out of this looking like a hero. But now, as another of its patents gets struck down, Apple instead looks like a bully — and a ridiculous, toothless one at that. dan lyonslast_img read more

Samsung, Meet Icarus: Galaxy S4 Features Aim High, Risk Melting Waxy Disappointment

first_imgYou remember Icarus, right? Greek boy with wax wings takes errant flight path, meets watery death. A classic metaphor for reach exceeding your grasp.Samsung: Meet IcarusSamsung threw so much at us during the keynote launch of its flagship Galaxy S4 that it’s difficult to unpack all of it.  So what are some of these mind-blowing features that you’re going to hear so very much about? Let’s take a closer look.(See also: Samsung Galaxy S4 First Impressions: Beautiful But Bloated)Dual Camera: A feature that allows you to use both the front and back cameras of the Galaxy S4 at the same time. Also allows for Dual Video Call where you can show people what you are looking at during a video call with the front facing camera.Takeaway: OK Samsung, you got me here. This is a cool and innovative use of the dual-camera concept… that was introduced a couple of years ago with FaceTime on the iPhone. This basically taking FaceTime and stretching it to the extreme.  Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Group Play & Share Music: Allows users to share music, photos, documents and games with people around them (at least those also toting Samsung devices) without a data connection. Share Music allows users to play the same song on multiple phones, basically creating multiple mobile speakers.Takeaway: Group Play and Share Music are basically extensions of previous Samsung features that allowed users to share photos with other Samsung users. Samsung has turned this to other types of media and music.S Translator: Instant translation using voice or text for apps like email, text message and ChatOn (a feature in Dual Video Call that allows you to share your screen).Takeaway: Google already has a fairly robust translator in Android. Samsung’s own translator will only be a great feature if it cooperates with Google’s apps like Gmail, Talk and Voice. If not, it’s just another redundant Samsung app.Smart Pause & Smart Scroll: Pause enables the users to control the screen by where they look. For instance, if you’re watching a video, the phone will pause it if you look away. Smart Scroll allows you to scroll up and down emails or a browser without touching the screen.Takeaway: We didn’t get a lot of hands on time with the Galaxy S4, so it is hard to say if this is cool or annoying. It will definitely be a different type of experience. Hopefully Samsung gives users the option to toggle it on and off. Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Samsung is big on naming things. Every new function or feature in the Galaxy S4 comes with a snazzy title and, undoubtedly, a huge marketing campaign for convincing us how remarkable it is. Unfortunately, the Galaxy S4 is not exactly reinventing the smartphone. Samsung may need to brace itself for some blowback, given its over-the-top approach. There’s something to be said for understatement, as Apple so frequently demonstrates and as Google has done with its Nexus series. Samsung wants to be everything to everybody. It’s a fool’s errand. Keep trying and ultimately you become the fool. The same principal applies to the Galaxy S4 as to the Galaxy S3 when we reviewed it last year: more is not always better. Sometimes more is just more. Taken individually, each of these functions is fine and good. Some are more impressive than others, but none (outside of Smart Scroll, perhaps) are really groundbreaking. More is what Samsung does, and generally speaking, it does more very well. If that’s the type of experience you’re looking for in a smartphone, you’ll probably love the Samsung Galaxy S4. If you want something simpler but still powerful, the HTC One or an iPhone 5 may be the way to go.  Air Gesture & Air View: Gesture allows a user to interact with the screen without actually touching the screen. Just hover your finger over the screen and swipe between apps or pages. View lets you preview an app, email or page by hovering your finger over it.Takeaway: If you have ever played with the Galaxy Note II and its S Pen, you are well aware of the Air features. Functional and useful at times but perhaps superfluous features.WatchOn: Allows you to control your various home utilities (TV, DVD player) by turning your Galaxy S4 into a remote.Takeaway: So, Samsung basically just put infrared into the Galaxy S4 and turned it into a remote. Just like a universal TV remote. Hey, why the hell not.Tired Yet?The primary problem with Samsung’s last two flagship smartphones is that it was very easy to get lost in all of the various features that Samsung threw at us. Add in Android apps that do basically the same thing and your phone can start getting confusing very quickly. center_img Drama Shot, Sound & Shot And Story Album: Samsung is stretching out its camera functions. Drama shot allows you to see all the action in a photo in one continuous loop while Sound & Shoot allows you to capture the sound and voice happening during the photograph. Story Album organizes your photos by metadata — time, geo-tag, people etc. specific to that event. Takeaway: None of this is really groundbreaking, as companies like HTC, Apple, BlackBerry and Nokia all have very similar features. Sound & Shoot is creative but, ultimately, probably not terribly useful. Tags:#Android#Galaxy S4#Samsung dan rowinski What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Related Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

Google Continues Its Land Grab In The Cloud With Stackdriver Buy

first_imgjodi mardesich How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud To give developers another reason to consider its newly spiffed up cloud platform, Google on Wednesday scooped up Stackdriver, a popular service that monitors workloads on the Amazon and Rackspace cloud platforms. Stackdriver, based in Boston in 2012, will join Google’s Cloud Platform team.Stackdriver makes tools to monitor infrastructure, systems and applications. These can range from reports on CPU usage to analyses on minimizing downtime to predictions as to when you may need more computing resources. Traditional data-center monitoring products weren’t designed for the cloud, and developers have had to cobble together tools to track the elastic and ephemeral nature of applications in the cloud.See also: Cloud Wars In 2014: Amazon vs. Google And Other FolliesPhoto sharing service SmugMug, for instance, uses Stackdriver to monitor the health of its systems that run on Amazon Web Services, including Amazon EC2 instances, elastic load balancing, Dynamo databases, MySQL, CloudSearch, Simple Queue Service message queueing, and the petabytes of photos it stores in S3.“Before Stackdriver, all of the [five] people on our operations team spent a lot of time trying to get the data that we need in the format we wanted—often requiring custom development or scripting,” Andrew Shieh, SmugMug’s director of operations, said in a testimonial on the Stackdriver site. “Stackdriver made visualizing and interpreting the data easier, and saves the team about an hour a day.” Googler Toby Smith, senior manager of cloud and infrastructure engineering, raved about the Stackdriver team in a Google+ post. “I’ve been enormously impressed with their domain expertise, their engineering talent, and their clear passion to make the lives of cloud developers better,” wrote Smith, who said he has been working with them for months. “I’m absolutely thrilled that they’re joining our cloud efforts.” Google and Microsoft are in an arms race to strengthen their cloud services. Microsoft recently acquired Greenbutton, which built a dashboard for managing cloud applications. Microsoft General Manager Mike Neil said Microsoft liked Greenbutton’s job management capabilities, and its ability to prioritize jobs and manage costs. Greenbutton’s application is closed to new users as it retools it for Microsoft Azure.In a note on its home page, Stackdriver suggested that it will continue to improve its current products, regardless of their platform.Anthony Myers contributed to this story.Lead image of the Stackdriver team courtesy of Stackdriver Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo…center_img Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … Tags:#Amazon#AWS#cloud#cloud analytics#Devops#Google#Stackdriver Related Posts last_img read more

Making a small corner of Vienna just a little smarter

first_imgRelated Posts Donal Power How IoT Will Play an Important Role in Traffic … Tags:#Austria#energy#Internet of Things#IoT#Siemens#Smart Cities#Vienna Surveillance at the Heart of Smart Citiescenter_img How Connected Communities Can Bolster Your Busi… For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… Siemens AG is leading a consortium undertaking a new smart city research initiative in the new Aspern district of the Austrian capital.The German engineering goliath is the lead partner in a public private partnership called Aspern Smart City Research.The project, which has a five-year budget of $41 million, includes two energy providers to Vienna, Wien Energie and Wiener Netze as the other big partners.The ultimate goal of the research project is to develop innovative energy production solutions for future cities.The research is expected to lay the groundwork for services that utilities could provide in the future like flexible energy tariffs that could factor in the contribution of account prosumers.Another result of the research is to increase efficiency of energy production through the real-time analysis of weather conditions.Just three buildings for nowCurrently the smart cities research is focused on three buildings that are generating 2 million pieces of data daily. Data is coming from a 213-unit apartment building, a school and a student lodging building.Construction on the new city of Aspern was begun from scratch in 2008 on the site of a former airport. The total cost of construction will reach nearly $6 billion and run until 2028.People began moving into the Aspern community in 2015, two years following the district’s connection to Vienna by subway.Currently 6,000 inhabitants have come to Aspern of the total projected population of 20,000 after 20 years of development.Eventually a new train station will be located in Aspern on the rail line that links Vienna to the Slovakian capital Bratislava.The move to develop the Vienna-area smart city follows a new report from research firm Gartner that predicts smart cities will be going green in a big way over the next five years, driven by international efforts to reduce carbon emissions.Gartner expects that at least half of global smart cities will use climate change, sustainability and resilience as key performance indicators by 2020.last_img read more

How to Fail Your Way to Success

first_imgRelated Posts Owen O’Brien Tags:#business model#Business plans#Entrepreneurs#entrepreneurship#fail to succeed#failure#Fear of Failure#success How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture China and America want the AI Prize Title: Who … “Failure is success in progress” ― Albert EinsteinEntrepreneurs are enthusiastic and serial failers.Entrepreneurs seem to be constantly looking for solutions and alternative ways  of doing everything. And crucially, they don’t give a damn about failure, because they know that failure is, in fact, discovery. Some have declared, “The only way I will know if something works is by doing it and that means doing what seems impossible or unlikely.”Entrepreneurs are comfortable with failure, almost enjoying it.This is because every experience, positive or negative tells you something. If you are working in a specific area of expertise, which you are likely to be, tech, law, medicine, marketing, for example, your experiences of doing will become a rich mixture of interconnected successes and failures.The very act of doing will develop, over time, a focussed and overall understanding of your area which will be unrivalled by those simply thinking about it, or, dare I say it, studying it.The learning gleaned from action is called tacit knowledge.As Michael Polanyi (1967: 4) wrote in The Tacit Dimension, we should start from the fact that “we can know more than we can tell.”For that reason, I am skeptical about business plans.These plans are mostly not worth the paper they are written on. On the one hand a business plan seems to be leading people down a deceptive path of fantasy and disaster. Yet, on the other hand, business plans can be very dangerous, stopping people from doing anything at all.The business plan is a blueprint for the financials and can give basic indications of whether what you are thinking of is even worth doing at all. The problem is that these business plans often stop you from employing the basic trial and error methodology adopted by most the most successful entrepreneurs and stable businesses. The tradition business plan rarely reflects reality, particularly in a start-up situations.We don’t always do what we say we will, in fact, we often don’t do that at all. We reach for convenient existing theories of business to explain things and business plans are usually formulaic and poor imaginings for the needed action: go talk to the customer stupid. Get a mentor; learn more about your subject.There is a tendency to direct start-ups in developed countries into incubation centers.These centers are usually run by state enterprises whom, with the best of intentions, actually cosset the fledgling enterprise from the realities of the commercial world, and in doing so, prevent the very essential learning that is so necessary to develop a real sustainable and gritty business model.There is a toughness and street-wise element to successful enterprise. These successes will not be created in comfortable shiny offices with too many people sitting around chatting in the cafeteria, at the water cooler or even in meetings, wondering where the customers are.Enterprisers with the experience of — learning by doing — will often say that your mistakes cost you money, and that ensures you don’t make them twice. Richard Branson advises you to “pick yourself up, brush yourself off, don’t let your ego get the better of you.” In other words: get over it — and quickly.Go ahead, feel bad for failing. You should feel lousy, and that bad feeling is good for your business. Studies now show that you will be less likely to repeat the same error twice.In a recent study, Dr Selin Malkoc from Ohio State University said, “All the advice tells you not to dwell on your mistakes, to not feel bad. But we found the opposite.”“When faced with a failure, it is better to focus on one’s emotions – when people concentrate on how bad they feel and how they don’t want to experience these feelings again, they are more likely to try harder the next time.”Failure has been acknowledged by successful people from Steve Jobs to Bill Gates for helping them achieve their final success.Irish playwright Samuel Beckett is quoted as saying, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again.”It is probably worth seeing yourself as an “experimenter” in the business world. Consider that the enterprises you undertake or take on as a business are often experiments to see if your ideas are correct when faced with reality. In some ways the pioneers of electric cars and autonomous vehicles are yet to see whether their enormous experiments will work when the market decides.In business, failure is the customer telling you to go back to the shed and iterate one more time.Vitally, the secret is surviving the various events that make up success. Therefore it is important to minimize the downside. If you are going to get it wrong, make sure that you won’t fall too far and that you can pick yourself up and get on with it, one more time. Don’t over-commit to a line of action that will destroy your future financial freedom to change, or iterate again on your idea. Refrain from committing yourself personally to long lease contracts, for instance.James Dyson is definitely the king of failure – 5,126 of them to be exact. That is the number of prototypes he developed over the course of 10 to 15 years before releasing his iconic bag-less vacuum in 1993. The upright domestic model, DC01, used the patented “Dual Cyclone” technology. Dyson says his willingness to fail is the reason for his success.Dyson said, “The failure is the starting point, because when something fails, you understand why it fails. Then you start to think of ideas as to the ways you can overcome that failure. The moral of the tale is keep on failing – It works.”So go on then and fail away all you like. Keep in mind that your failures are only lessons, after all, and crucially, it is the only way you are ever going to find out. After many failures, when you finally find out you’ve got it right, you will have failed your way to success. Owen is an entrepreneur, teacher, songwriter, and general ideas man and has run several businesses over the past 30 years. Working as a barman, and then a sales representative, he decided to go out on his own when he found that he has no difficulty selling and making deals for other companies. What Nobody Teaches You About Getting Your Star… How to Get Started in China and Have Successlast_img read more

Prior Suicide Attempts Increase Suicide Risk

first_imgJay Morse & Heidi Radunovich, PhDWhile most clinicians are aware that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, the impact of previous suicide ideation and history on future suicidal behavior has not previously been studied with a military population. Bryan and colleagues (2014) [1] examined this phenomenon with two separate samples, and found evidence that suicidal thoughts and behaviors prior to enlistment were associated with increased risk for suicidal behavior in the military.[Flickr, DSCN0841 by Aubrey Arcangel, CC BY-ND 2.0] Retrieved on September 17, 2015A large body of literature about suicide and suicide prevention exists. However, the utility of this information and the ability to interpret it is often questionable. Consistent data allow researchers to better gauge the scope of the problem, identify high-risk groups, and monitor the effects of prevention programs and policies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes a set of suicide related definitions to be used by researchers and practitioners [2].In a previous blog, we discussed suicide risk in the military and research conducted by Bryan and colleagues (2014) related to suicide and the military. In this more recent publication, the researchers studied the prevalence of self-injurious thoughts and behaviors (SITB) prior to joining the military, as well as its relationship to incidence of suicidal thoughts and attempts made during military service or as a veteran.Study MethodologyTwo samples of self-reported data were collected: one from 374 college student veterans, and one from 151 military members receiving mental health treatment. In both studies, instruments with good reliability (herself-injurious thoughts and behaviors, (STIB), The Patient Health Questionaire-9 (PHQ-9), PTSD Checklist Short Form (PCL-SF)) were used to measure SITB and suicide attempts, depression, and post-traumatic stress. The second study utilized the preceding three measures plus an additional measure of current suicidal ideation.Past self-injurious thoughts and behaviors were calculated by comparing the age of the first onset of suicidal ideation, suicide plans, non-suicidal injury, and suicide attempts with the age of the participant when they joined the military.Student veteran study resultsOf the 374 students completing the survey, 82 or 21.9% reported suicidal ideation prior to joining the military and 12 or 3.2% made a suicide attempt. Of those attempting suicide after joining the military, 18 (50%) reported having had suicidal ideations and 3 (16.7%) had made suicide attempts prior to joining the military.Active duty resultsIn the active duty sample of 151 active duty personnel receiving mental health treatment, 16.6% reported a history of suicidal ideation and 3.3% reported a suicide attempt prior to joining the military. Of those that made a suicide attempt (16) after joining the military, 8 (50%) reported suicidal ideation prior to joining the military, and 2 or 25% had made a suicide attempt prior to joining the military.ImplicationsAlthough both studies included fairly small (the authors recommended larger studies), and relied on self-report and retrospective report, both studies provided support for the idea that prior suicidal ideation and behavior increases the likelihood of suicide attempts after entering the military.Helpful tools: SAMHSA provides FREE wallet cards for mental health professionals with a mnemonic as a helpful reminder for assessing suicide risk. Similarly, they also provide FREE wallet cards with the national toll-free suicide hotline and a guide for when to ask for help following a traumatic event for the general public:National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Wallet Card: Assessing Suicide Risk: Initial Tips for CounselorsNational Suicide Prevention Lifeline Wallet Card: Having Trouble Coping? With Help Comes Hope. References[1] Bryan, C. J., Bryan, A. O., Ray-Sannerud, B. N., Etienne, N. & Morrow, C. E. (2014) Suicide attempts before joining the military increase risk for suicide attempts and severity of suicidal ideation among military personnel and veterans. Comprehensive Psychiatry 55(3) 534-541.[2] Crosby AE, Ortega L, Melanson C. (2011). Self-directed Violence Surveillance: Uniform Definitions and Recommended Data Elements, Version 1.0. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.[3] SAMHSA (2014) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Wallet Card: Assessing Suicide Risk: Initial Tips for Counselors. Retrieved from: http://store.samhsa.gov/product/National-Suicide-Prevention-Lifeline-Wallet-Card-Assessing-Suicide-Risk-Initial-Tips-for-Counselors/SVP13-0153.[4] SAMHSA (2014) National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Wallet Card: Having Trouble Coping? With Help Comes Hope. Retrieved from: http://store.samhsa.gov/product/National-Suicide-Prevention-Lifeline-Wallet-Card-Having-Trouble-Coping-With-Help-Comes-Hope-/SVP13-0155R.This 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

Resource Discovery| Mobile App: PTSD Coach

first_imgBy: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFTImage from US Department of Veterans Affairs[PTSD Coach Mobile App]June is PTSD Awareness Month and in its honor, we would like to share this great app created by the VA’s National Center for PTSD  in partnership with the Department of Defense’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 60% of men and 50% of women experience a trauma in their lives. Approximately 7-8% of the US population will have PTSD at some point in their lives. For Veterans, the number of PTSD cases in a given year varies by the service era with approximately 11-20% who served in OIF or EIF.Thinking about the statistics above and the ever- growing use of technology, the National Center for PTSD has created a mobile app designed to provide education and assistance in managing symptoms that may occur after trauma. This app has multiple features including the following sections: Learn, Track, Manage, and Support.LearnThis option provides three different categories where you can learn about PTSD, get professional help, and how PTSD impacts the family. Each category features questions, answers, and resources that may assist people in learning more about their own symptoms or those of a loved one.TrackThis option also provides three different categories offering users the option of taking an assessment, reviewing assessment history, and scheduling an assessment. These three options allow users to monitor their results over time to assess whether their symptoms are getting better or worse. An easy- to- read graph is provided so that users can quickly determine their progress. Additionally, users can schedule times to take their self-assessments where the app will remind them to complete it. They recommend using the month schedule to take the assessment.ManageThis option has several symptoms in a list, offering the user a ‘distress meter’ where they can determine their level of distress at any given time. After the user enters their level of distress, the app provides a tool to help manage the symptoms and change the level of distress. The tools range from ambient sounds to inspiring quotes. There is also an option for adding favorite pictures and sounds to assist in self-soothing techniques.SupportThe final option offers users three categories as well, including crisis resources, find professional care, and grow your support. These categories feature phone numbers to hotlines for crisis intervention and a place where users can add phone numbers that may be helpful to them. Additionally, there is information on ways to locate mental health care providers for the general public and veterans in their area.PTSD Coach is a wonderful resource for those who are struggling with or know someone who is struggling with symptoms of PTSD. While this does not take the place of professional evaluation and help, it is certainly a tool that can be used in a very personalized and private manner, offering some light during those dark times. This app is available for FREE download from iTunes and Google Play.This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development concentration on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.last_img read more

After Effects Video Tutorial: Light Particles

first_img1Create a new composition with a dark solid background layer. 13Set the transfer mode of the light layer to soft light. 7Set the opacity of the particle layer to around 50% then change the transfer mode to add. 6Change the velocity to 0, the gravity to -.001, the birthrate to .1, and the longevity to 5. 4Create a new black solid. Add a fill effect and make it a brighter/white color. Add in CC Particle World. 2Create another new solid and label it ramp. Add in a gradient ramp with a degradation from 50% grey in the upper left corner to 100% white in the bottom right. 10Option click the stopwatch of the evolution keyframe. Add the expression time*100 to make the turbulent noise move over time. 12Add an expression to the center parameter:[wiggle(,1,50),3000] 8Duplicate the particle layer and offset the time by a couple seconds. You can also change the gravity to make the particles float faster.center_img 11Add a radial blur to the noise. Set the amount to around 100, the position to be far below the composition, and the type to any one of the three zoom patterns. 14Blur out the particles using a fast blur. 9Create a solid with a turbulent noise effect added. 5Change the radius of the producer to 1 on the x,y, and z. 3Set the opacity of the ramp layer to 10% and change the color profile to 32 bits per channel to alleviate some of the inevitable banding. In this Premiumbeat exclusive tutorial we take a look at how to create an awesome particle based background.Don’t purchase animated backgrounds – make them! In this After Effects video tutorial we show you a workflow for creating a particle background with a high-end look. The After Effects fundamentals covered in this tutorial include:Using Particle GeneratorsUsing Radial Blurs to simulate lightUsing Gradient Ramp’s to simulate depthParticle backgrounds are versatile and can be used for a wide variety of projects and subject matter. How will you use them?Don’t want to watch the video? Follow along with the step-by-step tutorial below. Click any image for larger view.  Know of any other ways to make professional background designs? Share in the comments below.last_img read more

How to Make Event Footage More Cinematic

first_imgMost of us are capable of capturing cinematic looks on narrative productions. But what about event footage? Here’s how to get great results at your next videographer gig.Top image from ShutterstockShooting events like weddings, bar mitzvahs, and corporate functions may be not always be the most exciting type of work, but many filmmakers moonlight as event videographers to pay the bills. Naturally, they still want their work to shine. That said, many of these same individuals run into issues when shooting on the fly, as their usual approach to working on set doesn’t always translate well to a live environment.Compared to capturing narrative material, event coverage is a very different beast. Things move extremely quickly, quantity is often preferred over quality (by the client at least), and the shooting schedule can be much less predictable. Unfortunately, many shooters with a narrative background try to directly translate over their style of shooting. They end up missing shots, not getting enough coverage, and ultimately delivering a poor end result.The good news is that there are ways to still capture beautiful footage even when working in less than optimal shooting conditions. Many of the tips and techniques that will help you accomplish this will likely go against what you’re used to doing for narrative work. But that’s all part of the process. As long as you as you are well-prepared and still bring your creative A-Game to the table, you’ll end up with a solid final product.1. Shoot on Fast ZoomsImage from B&H PhotoLike many DPs, I prefer shooting on prime lenses for many reasons. They’re usually faster, sharper, and more detailed than their zoom lens counterparts, and in a narrative environment you always want the best of the best.When shooting events, however, everything changes. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to get away with shooting on primes (and if you can, you really should), but in most cases they simply aren’t practical.Ideally, you will want to have some relatively fast zoom lenses in your kit, like the Sigma 18 – 35 F1.8 or the Canon 24 – 70 F 2.8. These lenses will still deliver beautiful results while allowing you to work on your feet more quickly and swap your lenses far less often.2. Get a Low-Light CameraImage from PetaPixelUsually with event coverage you have little or no control over the lighting. This is obviously problematic for a number of reasons — the worst of them being under-lit shooting situations.It is very common to walk into a wedding, corporate event, etc. and realize that even at 800 ISO and F1.4 you don’t have bright enough exposure. For this reason, low-light cameras are a must. I would suggest looking into cameras like the Canon C100, a7S, or other DSLRs that can record cleanly at ISO 3200 or above. You don’t necessarily need the best low-light camera on the market, but you definitely need one that can produce great results above ISO 800 or 1600, which is where many cameras top out.3. Bring a Second Shooter or AssistantImage from Almoe AVOne of the most common mistakes that first-time event shooters make is going at it alone. 99% of the time, you absolutely need another shooter or at least an assistant to help you capture live events. This matters for a few reasons… Firstly, you can’t be two places at once. There will be at least one time during any event that you need to be covering two things simultaneously (let’s say a speech and crowd reaction) and have to choose between the two.Secondly, and most importantly, a huge part of being an effective event shooter involves moving very quickly. With an assistant you can pack up gear, change lenses, ask for assistance, and move around far more quickly and efficiently.4. Rethink Your AudioImage from VideomakerWe all know that audio quality is just as important as video quality, and this notion applies to events just as much as narrative projects. That said, the way in which you capture the audio will vary significantly between those two types of productions. Unlike narrative films where you have the luxury of working with a boom operator and likely also have lav mics on your talent, during an event that will not typically be possible.You will want to look for other ways to get great audio without being too invasive by asking guests to put on a lav mic to be interviewed, or have a boom op walking around with lots of gear. I always suggest only using lavs on guests that you know you will be featuring throughout the video (for example someone doing a main speech at a corporate event), but then also looking for alternate solutions.You may be able to plant a Zoom recorder on a podium, record a live feed off of the house mixer, or have your assistant hold a mic during interviews. This approach will change drastically depending on the event you are shooting, but always be prepared for any type of situation.5. Avoid Event-Style LightingImage from ShutterstockOne of the most obvioussigns of event videography is flat lighting. Typically videographers will have a small LED light mounted directly on top of their camera which does help with exposure, but also can diminish the overall aesthetic. The reason? Placing a light directly in front of a person’s face is going to really flatten them and make the shot look very synthetic.I would highly advise anyone that needs to use LED lighting for event coverage to find a way to offset it to one side. You’re going to get more useable results if your light is set up on a 45 degree angle (as opposed to straight on), so do whatever you can to make that happen. You might need to rig up your LED on a light stand, magic arm, or even have your assistant hold it in place.As long as it isn’t directly in front, you’ll be lightyears ahead of most other event shooters.Want to read more about how to handle events, weddings, and corporate clients? Take a look at these PremiumBeat articles!Corporate Video: Getting Your Clients to Commit6 Marketing Tips for Wedding Videographers7 Tips for Shooting Awesome Wedding VideoWere these tips helpful? Got any other advice to share with your fellow videographers?last_img read more

The Biggest Reasons Your Big Idea Failed

first_imgHave you ever had one of those really big ideas, the kind that’s certain to produce breakthrough, revolutionary results? Have you ever had trouble bringing it to life?You have had some big ideas about how you could improve your results. You’ve had some great ideas about how you could make things better at work. And you’ve had some gigantic ideas that would produce dramatically better results for your dream clients.But your big ideas stalled out. They died prematurely. Here’s why and what to do about it.You Didn’t Sell ItWithout the support of the people you need to make your big idea work, it isn’t going anywhere. If you didn’t make selling your big idea a marketing campaign, selling it to the people you needed onboard, your big idea was doomed from the start.Executing a big idea is 10% big idea and 90% big execution. Half of that 90% of execution is pure sales and marketing: you have to go and change hearts and minds.If you want your big idea to succeed, you have to sell it. You have to shout it from the treetops, sharing your idea far and wide. You also have to go from individual to individual, building consensus around your big idea.You Didn’t Execute ItIf your idea failed, it’s not likely that the idea itself was bad. It’s more likely that your execution was bad. You took half-measures when full measures were required. You underfunded it in both time and money. You underestimated the effort required to get the idea up and running.The world is littered with great ideas and great insights that went nowhere because someone lacked the will to execute on them.Most of the time your big ideas have value. If you are going to make them work, you have to relentlessly focus on the execution. Spend more time taking actions—and gaining the commitments of others to take action on your big idea—than you do talking about how wonderful your idea is.You Gave Up Too SoonSometimes you sell the idea well and you start to execute. But the results aren’t there; they come slowly and only with great effort. So you throw in the towel, believing that your big idea wasn’t so great an idea after all.But the tipping point, the point where the breakthrough you imagined occurs, is always just a bit beyond that point where most people give up.If you want to see your big idea come to life and produce the results you imagined, you have to see it through. You have to continue to sell it and continue to execute throughout the dark place where it seems hopeless, where it seems it’s a lost cause. When everyone else is ready to throw in the towel, you rally the troops and push through until you get your big idea to breakthrough.Don’t make these three mistakes and see your big idea generate the big results you dreamed it would.QuestionsWhy do most big ideas fail?How do you get the support you need to make your big idea a reality? Whose support do you need?What are the steps large and small that you need to execute for your big idea to work? What does your action plan for taking these steps look like?How do you keep going through the dark spots where it looks hopeless for your big idea? What do you do to push through?last_img read more

A Cheap Sales Force Is An Expensive Problem

first_imgFrom time to time I hear from entrepreneurs who want to grow their revenue without investing in a sales force. Some want to put no money at risk, but they want the results that only come from real investments. They want to be cheap for different reasons, but it’s often a resistance to paying before they get results or because they’ve been burned by salespeople that didn’t produce.Regardless of the reason for not investing, a cheap sales force is really more expensive sales force. You may believe that commission-only salespeople, independent agents, or very low paid salespeople will help you grow your business and reach your goals, but they won’t.Commission OnlyCommission-only is a compensation structure that works in some industries, and mostly only where the sales cycle is short enough to allow the salesperson to be immediately compensated upon making the sale. It isn’t easily applied to long-sales cycle, complex sales where the salesperson might take months to build a pipeline and start winning big deals. Running down the commission-only road costs you time–time that you can’t ever recover.Sometimes independent agents work. But if they represent you along with a lot of other products and services, you have very little control over how much of their effort is really made representing and selling on your behalf. More lost time and more lost opportunities.Very Low Base, High BonusYou may be tempted to try a very low base, very high commission strategy. But getting compensation plans right is more complicated than simply basing the base pay on how little you can get away with paying. If the compensation structure prevents you from acquiring the talent you need to compete and win, it’s an expensive sales force. You’ll spend time, effort, and money without producing the results you need.Don’t believe that this means you should pay any price for the talent you need. Getting the talent you need requires a thoughtful, well planned, and well executed compensation structure. Your budget is a consideration, but there isn’t any way to build a professional sales force without making the necessary investment. The cheaper you are when it  comes to investing in a professional sales force, the worse your results will be–if you even produce any results at all.QuestionsWhat is the primary reason some people don’t want to invest in a professional sales force?What are the real costs of an ineffective sales force?How do you afford a sales force when you have real financial constraints?How do you design a compensation structure that produces the real results you need? How much is that driven by real constraints and how much is imagined constraints or personal resistance to paying? Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Competing With Good Enough

first_imgYou have the more expensive solution. Your competitors sell what you sell, but at a lower price. But you have the superior offer. The way you compete with “good enough,” is to make it “not good enough.”Justifying the DeltaTo compete with “good enough,” you must contrast your “best” offer with your competitors “good enough” offer.The difference that makes you different from competitors who sell “good enough” has to be in the value that is worth paying more to obtain. If the differences do not create enough value to justify the delta between your offer and the “good enough” offer, you make it easy for your prospective client to choose “good enough.”Your prospect has to agree that that value is worth paying for. So how do you make “best” a must for your potential customers?Outcomes and RisksIt is critical that you focus on your prospective client’s most strategic outcomes and how your solution ensures they achieve the results they need.If you don’t have a thorough understanding of your potential client’s strategic outcomes, then you’re going to struggle to beat “good enough,” whether it’s the status quo or a competitive offer. If you can’t speak to exactly how “good enough” increases the prospective client’s risk in obtaining those outcomes, then “good enough” wins. Better still is the ability to prove that “good enough” won’t allow your prospective client to obtain the results they need.Without hanging your justification on your client’s most important needs, you risk losing to an inferior offer.SettlersEven when you can justify the delta between your higher-priced, higher value-creating offer and “good enough,” some of your prospective client’s will still choose “good enough.” This is a sad reality.Some of your prospective clients will hold the belief that they can get by with something less than they need. (There is a strategy for this, but that’s for another post). Some mistakenly believe they can have better, faster, and cheaper. Other prospects will choose “good enough” because they have post-traumatic recessionary stress disorder and are fearful to spend more money.There are buyers, however, who recognize value and will easily pay the higher price to avoid a solution that is merely “good enough.” They understand the need to invest in a solution that is in line with their goals.Succeeding with a higher price in a category is a question create enough value to justify the delta between your product and one that is “good enough.”last_img read more

A List of Negativity Tells

first_imgYou project your attitude. You project your deepest beliefs. Even when you don’t think you are doing so, you have “tells” that completely give you away. Your negativity “tells” inform people who you are even when you aren’t aware of what you are projecting.Cynicism is a dangerous form of negativity. When you are a cynic, when you believe that no one can be doing anything for any noble reason, you project that you are negative. It’s a surefire tell.Making snarky comments about other people is a negativity tell.Judging other people is another tell. When you talk about other people, when you judge them, you are practicing negativity. This is never more true than when you do so behind that person’s back.Oh, so you’re a critic. You point out what is wrong with everything and everyone, no matter how insignificant, and no matter how unimportant. That’s your tell. That’s how you identify you’re negative.Assuming bad intentions is a tell. When you believe everyone is acting out of malice, you are involved in a dangerous, happiness-crushing form of negativity. Their intentions are unknown to you, and it’s more likely that are acting from good intentions, and if not, from fear.Being scarcity minded, another sure tell. The infection that makes you believe that there is not enough is negativity, especially in a universe that is abundant. If you focus on there not being enough, then that is surely what you will manifest, even if that manifestation is self-fulfilling negativity.Look, you’re not the Devil’s advocate. You’re just being negative by pointing out anything and everything that might go wrong. If you weren’t negative, you’d be working on how to make ideas work, not shoot them down.In case you don’t know. Now you know. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

The One Thing That Causes You To Fail to Overcome Objections

first_imgThe word “objection” is technically correct as it relates to the words your dream clients use when they say no to your request for a meeting. It is “a reason for disagreeing.” Over time, however, I have come to realize the objections aren’t the reason the contact you are asking for a meeting declines the invitation. Instead, the objections all mask the real reason they say no to your request, and lurking behind the opposition is their genuine and unspoken concern. The one thing that you do that causes you to fail to overcome objections is not addressing the real concern.Your Contact’s Single ConcernYour contact says no to a meeting because they believe it is a waste of their time. If they thought it was worth their time, they would gladly accept the meeting request. Salespeople, especially those new to the role, believe that because their prospective client rejects their meting request, they must also reject other salespeople. Twice in the last few months, several salespeople have stated that people don’t have face-to-face meetings in New York City, a generalization that is not only false but also one that flies in the face of reality.If the contact you asked for a meeting believed you had something of value to offer, they would be more inclined to agree to meet. Because people tend to be polite (even if less so in New York City than, say, Nashville), they don’t usually share with you their real concern.Little White LiesWhen your dream clients ask you to send them information, they are not interested in learning more about your company and your offerings by reading a PDF (or seventeen PDFs). You have never had a prospect call you after not receiving information to ask you when you are going to send it. It’s equally unlikely that anyone receiving your information called you back the next day to say how compelling a read it was, and how urgently they needed you to come to their office for a meeting.Nor is your dream client happy with their existing partner. They tell you they are because you accept that as a justification for their refusal to take a meeting. If you were to gain a meeting, it would start with them suggesting they are happy, and over the first fifteen minutes, later disclosing there are a few areas where they are struggling, and even later in that same meeting suggesting that they have had unmet needs for a long time. Their real concern is that they haven’t yet committed to change, and they are not sure it is worth the time and trouble to do so, making a meeting a waste of their time.A polite and brilliant objection is the request for you to call your contact back after some specific and well-designed period has passed. They ask you to call them again next week, next month, next quarter, next year, or January. They’ll also supply you with the rationale. They will be looking at new suppliers in the new year, things will be slowing down, and they’ll be better prepared to look at doing something new. By asking you to call them back then, they give you a positive rejection, one that provides you with hope and them with high odds that you never call them back. Have you ever had a single prospective client call you to ask you why you hadn’t call them back? And, I promise, you never will.Left Unaddressed, Concerns RemainAny concern you leave unaddressed is a concern that remains. I have heard salespeople say things like, “What would you like me to send you?” believing that challenge will somehow address their concern or somehow cause them to change their mind. If you don’t know what the real concern is, it is that you aren’t going to give them enough value for the time they give you, any response that doesn’t address this is likely to fail.Worse, I have heard salespeople say some version of “What do you like about your existing partner?” I am not sure what they hope to hear, but they often end up saying, “That’s great. I am happy to hear that.” How on earth could you possibly be glad to hear that your competitor is doing well when your sole intention is to gain a meeting and take their client from them? In another version, they use a cold call to say something like, “If there were one thing you wish they did better, what would it be?” The concern is still unaddressed and unnamed.When given a time in the future to try again, some salespeople respond with the challenge, “What will change between now and then?” You should never fear your prospective clients, and you should always be a peer. That said, if you are going to be consultative, there are better language choices available to you. Language that doesn’t allow you to address and resolve the real concern isn’t going to be more effective than language that resolves the concern.Tell Them You UnderstandIf you want to resolve their concerns, tell them directly how you intend to create value for them during the time they give you—even if they never do business with you. You also benefit from telling them directly that you won’t waste their time.The contacts you call on have given their time to salespeople in the past, only to be severely disappointed by the lack of value and the time they lost and can never recover. We are all paying for the sins of the bad salespeople who called on our clients before us. The gap here is only increasing as the evolution of sales continues to move us away from transactional behaviors and towards more significant value creation. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

BJP lashes at CPI(M) MP over BSF shooting deaths, gives financial aid

first_imgBJP lashed out at senior CPI(M) leader and MP Jitendra Choudhury for ‘abusing’ Border Security Force (BSF) following shooting incident in south Tripura that left three tribals killed. Party vice-president Subal Bhowmik said Mr Choudhury acted like an investigation agency while making ‘false and fabricated’ statements against a disciplined force.“Image of BSF which is guarding our territory can’t be tarnished for isolated incidents. We also demand proper enquiry and punitive action against responsible security men” he told newsmen at the party office in Agartala on Friday.Mr Bhowmik stated Mr. Choudhury in his Facebook posting made ‘objectionable’ remarks against the BSF after the shooting incident at Hebratali in Sabroom subdivision on March 17 in which three tribals including a woman were killed and two injured.While BSF had insisted its personnel resorted to firing in self-defence after being attacked by cattle smugglers, the villagers gave different version. They claimed BSF soldiers resorted to indiscriminate firing after locals were protesting against a rape attempt.BJP state president Biplab Deb and vice-president Subal Bhowmik handed over cheques each containing Rs. 50,000 to three bereaved families. The injured persons got Rs 15,000 each.“This is just a token support to the poor families who lost near and dear ones. We are not doing politics out of a tragic incident”, said Biplab Deb who condemned BSF shooting and demanded a thorough probe.The party placed demand to the state government to pay Rs 5,00,000 compensation each to the victim families. It announced decision to take burden of education of children from Hebratali victim families.Top brass of BSF visited Hebratali after the MHA ordered high level prone. BSF now shifted from its initial cattle smuggling claim with assurance of measures to avoid such ‘unfortunate’ incident in future.last_img read more

Chhota Barda awaits its fate

first_imgTucked away near the Narmada river in Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh, the people of Chhota Barda village has just one topic of discussion — what will they do if their houses get submerged days from now?They say that they have been told by the administration to start vacating their houses a week from now. By the month-end, they say, they have been asked to shift to a site 7 km away, where many of the families have been offered alternative land.Gates closedAfter getting permission from the Narmada Control Authority to close the floodgates of the Sardar Sarovar dam, the Gujarat government has closed all the 30 gates of the dam, causing water level in the reservoir to rise to 139 metres from the earlier 122 metres. This will generate hydel power, irrigate fields and provide drinking water to parts of Gujarat. However, it will submerge many villages such as Chhota Barda.“If it rains continuously for 24 hours, much of our village will be submerged,” says Vinod Yadav, a doctor who practises in Anjad nearby.As the ongoing march by farmers’ organisations enters the village, residents serve the guests lunch in a large open space next to a temple. The Narmada is visible, flowing at a lower level at some distance. This very space — which has been submerged in floods in the past, too — will go under water, villagers say.“This is already in the submergence zone. It will go under water any day,” social activist Medha Patkar tells The Hindu.The district collector of Barwani and the Narmada Valley Development Authority Commissioner at Indore, could not be reached despite attempts over phone. Residents claim that the alternative land offered is far away from their fields, which lie close to the village and are outside the submergence zone.“There is no motorable road yet from the site to our fields. How do we sustain our livelihoods?” asks Naren Yadav.They also claim that basic facilities have not been provided at the alternative site. “There is no drinking water facility there yet. There is no drainage system there yet,” says Himanshu Chaubey, a resident of the village.Trouble on groundMr. Chaubey claims that the land he has been allotted is in a depression. He adds that officials have offered to give him just ₹ 2000 to level it.Dayaram Yadav has an additional complaint. He says that his house was not surveyed when the survey took place more than a decade back. “There are 70 such families, whose houses have not even been surveyed. What do we do? We built our houses here. Where do we go after leaving them?” he asks.Some villagers say they will not move out of their village, leaving the property on which they spent money to perish. Asked what they would do if the waters indeed come in and submerge their houses, they reply with a counter question — will they have an alternative when their houses will get submerged without a new settlement that’s anything close to what they built over decades?last_img read more

Will fight to restore J&K autonomy: NC

first_imgA meeting of the National Conference, attended by hundreds of delegates, on Sunday passed a resolution “to fight for restoration of autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir”, and asked India and Pakistan “to resume dialogue.”“We continue to strive for the restoration of autonomy, and restoration of Article 370 to its original, pristine form. We condemn those divisive voices who are opposed to the sovereign constitutional guarantees,” read the resolution passed by the delegates, who gathered at the party headquarters Nawa-e-Subh here in a show of strength. The meeting resolved to “work within the constitutional parameters that enshrine the State’s special status.” It called for a sustained dialogue with both internal and external stakeholders to address the Kashmir problem.“The recently announced initiative through a representative of the Government of India should have clarity and seriousness of purpose to ensure the sanctity of the institution of dialogue is restored and upheld,” it said.It urged both India and Pakistan “to initiate a sustained, sustainable and comprehensive dialogue process to resolve all outstanding issues.”“It is for this purpose that our party wishes to see the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration to be rejuvenated to usher the entire subcontinent, especially J&K, into an era of peace and stability,” it added.Meanwhile, the NC retains three-time chief minister Farooq Abdullah as its president and Omar Abdullah as working president.Separatists threaten agitation over Article 35(A)Meanwhile, separatist leaders — Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik on Sunday threatened “a mass agitation if the Supreme Court delivers verdict against the interests and aspiration of people of state”.“Any move to tinker with state subject law will create Palestine-like situation. Tempering with Article 35(A), which gives special rights and privileges to the natives of J&K, is a conspiracy to change the demography of the Muslim-majority state,” said a joint statement of the separatists.It said people will safeguard the integrity and special status at any cost. “People from all corners of the state will come on roads and resist such move,” it added.The Supreme Court is hearing several petitions filed against Article 35-A on Monday morning in New Delhi.A team, led by state law minister Abdul Haq Khan is in Delhi to persuade the petitioners to withdraw their petitions and take pleas for dismissal of the petitions against Article 35-A during the course of hearing in the Supreme Court.last_img read more

CRPF jawan killed in Sringar attack

first_imgA Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel was killed and another injured as militants opened fire on a deployment in Srinagar’s busy Batamallo area on Tuesday afternoon.A police official said the attackers fired at the security forces personnel near Fire and Emergency Services building. “The militants took advantage of the crowd in the area and managed to flee,” said the police.Constable Shanker Lal from Rjasthan with the CRPF’s 23 Battalion was injured in the attack and later succumbed in a city hospital. “Another injured jawan was discharged from the hospital after the treatment,” said the police.The police claimed it “has tangible leads on the attackers” and released a picture of the suspected militants from a CCTV grab. The picture showed two youth riding a motorcycle, with one wearing a helmet. The Hizb-ul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attackIn a separate case, the police said they had reunited two children, who had fled from a religious seminary in Srinagar, with their families. The children were from Pulwama and Shopian.A minor boy, Mohammad Ashiq, a resident of Kasba Kayan in Poonch, was injured near the Line of Control in cross border firing . An official said he was hit by shrapnel of a shell fired from across the LoC.last_img read more

Root, line and sinker

first_imgDuring winter, when the Umsiang turns as transparent as glass, the Khasis, Karbis, Tiwas and Bodos, who live along the river, pick a day for traditional fishing. They then forage in the forest for the root of a mystery tree. It’s a well-kept secret, as none of them divulge the tree’s name.The collected roots are kept in a cool, dry place, and news spreads upstream to downstream by word of mouth. On the appointed day, villagers come to the river and perform a ritual. They beat the roots with sticks for a few minutes to let the juice poison the water. Stunned on ingesting the poison, the fish surface to the waiting nets and spears of the villagers.The effect of the poison lasts just a couple of hours, the narrow window to fish. The villagers say the fish is safe for consumption despite the poison. The practice, perhaps, originated in the upper ridge of Meghalaya, as the river flows down through the State’s boundary with Assam and meets the Brahmaputra. The Umsiang has a wider variety of fish than in other rivers in the region.last_img read more

Majerhat bridge to be demolished

first_imgThe West Bengal government will demolish the Majerhat bridge, a portion of which came down on September 4 killing three people and leaving more than 20 people injured.Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that the inquiry committee headed by Chief Secretary Malay Kumar De has recommended razing the bridge and constructing a new bridge on Diamond Harbour Road in a year’s time. Ms. Banerjee had earlier set up a committee headed by the Chief Secretary to look into the reasons for the collapse.“He (the Chief Secretary) has pointed out two things. It was the responsibility of the PWD and their negligence is to be blamed. The metro construction work might have had an impact on the structure but it needs to be probed further,” the Chief Minister said.She also clarified that the work of Joka-BBD Bag Metro project was closed on the site of bridge collapse only for seven days for necessary inspection. “Some people have said that I stopped the work of Joka-BBD bag. How can I stop the work which I started?” she said.Clean chit Ms. Banerjee later told journalists that the PWD officials did not raise the issue of poor maintenance of the bridge with the Minister of the department, thereby giving a clean chit to Arup Biswas.She also said that talks are on with the Railway authorities on constructing a level crossing at the site. The 54-year-old Majerhat bridge is a railway overbridge on the suburban line which connects Sealdah with Budge Budge. The bridge on Diamond Harbour Road connects Behala and its adjoining suburbs to the city. “The State government has proposed to bear the entire cost of the level crossing. We can allow small vehicles and buses to use the railway level crossing. This would give some relief to the people as Durga Puja is approaching and so is Ganga Sagar Mela,” the Chief Minister said.last_img read more