Apache Co-Founder, Mozilla Board Member, Becomes New CTO of World Economic Forum

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market marshall kirkpatrick Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Brian Behlendorf, primary developer of the Apache Web Server, co-founder of the world’s first dedicated commercial web site creation company and a member of the Mozilla board has joined the World Economic Forum as the organization’s CTO, he announced on Twitter this morning.The World Economic Forum hosts an annual meeting of international economic players in Davos, Switzerland and issues a number of massive econometric reports detailing the development conditions in the various countries around the world. The organization regularly engages with emerging web technology, from actively hosting bloggers at its conference to highlighting tech startups around the world to considering inclusion of social-media censorship and freedom among its considerations when evaluating countries’ preparedness for economic development. Those evaluations make or break huge international investments. The addition of Behlendorf as the organization’s CTO is being celebrated around Twitter as a good move for the organization’s relationship with the open web.The World Economic Forum has also faced extensive criticism as a pompous gathering of elitist international agents of economic exploitation and their non-profit, do-gooder, hangers-on.Behlendorf, aged 37, was told by game programming supernerd Alex Rosenberg on Twitter that “I can’t tell if that’s awesome or if you’re now ‘The Man.’” Behlendorf replied that “the answer is yes and yes.”center_img Tags:#international#news#NYT#web Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai…last_img read more

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Weekly Poll: Where Do You Begin the Road to Cloud Computing?

first_imgRelated Posts A first step towards creating a virtualized infrastructure often comes at a point when the customer starts experiencing performance issues. Servers start failing as application loads increase. When these issues start occurring, what are the first steps to take into consideration? How should a virtualized infrastructure be deployed? How are these pre-production environments developed? What are the most effective ways to deploy a simplified, reliable and optimized virtualization solution?Already we are seeing replies.But what do you think? Here’s a quick poll to help you think through what you want to say. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Analysis#cloud alex williams Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting The decisions that come with deciding how to use cloud computing reminds me of conversations that I am sure you’ve had.You look at a few options then you decide. But with the cloud, it’s about a few hundred features to consider. Our Road to the Cloud,” contest, sponsored by VMware and Intel, is looking at how companies get started in cloud computing. Write a comment and you will be a candidate to win a MacBook Air. We’ll be giving out a new MacBook Air every month.Here’s our first topic: 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Unified Experience Across Devices Through Desktop Virtualization

first_imgTags:#Desktop Virtualization#solution-series Related Posts A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting klint finleycenter_img Due to the popularity of smartphones and tablets, some say we are entering the “post-PC era.” Thanks to these new devices, the desktop computer no longer has a monopoly on our work lives. But as we use more devices, how can we maintain consistent access to our applications and data across them all?Desktop virtualization can provide non-PC devices with access to desktop resources. Through virtualization, we can carry our desktop applications with us across several devices.One common way to handle desktop virtualization is to run the desktop environment as a virtual machine (VM) on a central server. The user will then access applications from the desktop remotely. This approach is sometimes called virtual desktop infrastructure or VDI. VDI enables admins to maintain a single environment for several users, and for those users to have a consistent experience from whatever device they use to access the desktop. This is helpful not only for access on non-traditional devices, but for scenarios when employees may use more than one desktop or laptop for their jobs.Companies like Citrix and VMware offer products for remote access to virtual machines from iPads and other devices. Health care, thanks to electronic health records, has emerged as the leading vertical for post-PC use of virtual desktops. But other verticals will likely follow suit. iPads are popular in finance, and 26% of large enterprises plan to support tablet computers.Another approach to desktop virtualization is to run VMs locally on a device instead of on a server. This makes sense when you want to run multiple desktops from a single high-powered machine. Does it make sense in the post-PC era, where many of the devices that we use are significantly less powerful than a typical desktop PC?Possibly. Many smartphones and tablets now have CPUs that can meet or exceed the requirements of virtualization. Bitzer Mobile is already bringing virtualized applications to mobiles, and VMware and LG are working on a tool that will create virtualized instances of the Android OS that can run on top of an existing Android installation. These are steps towards bringing desktop virtualization to mobile devices, and tablet are particularly well suited for it.In the meantime, remote connections to virtual infrastructures remain the most viable way to provide desktop resources to mobile devices. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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A Second GreenMax Home Goes Up in Wisconsin

first_imgBack in April, GBA noted the completion of a house near west-central Wisconsin’s Black River that was built to net-zero-energy performance standards and was the inaugural project of GreenMax Home, an initiative developed by regional utility WPPI Energy to encourage energy efficient remodeling and new-home construction.Once a home design qualifies for the GreenMax Home program, WPPI Energy helps offset the cost of the project’s incremental energy efficiency upgrades. The second project to make it into the GreenMax portfolio is now being constructed in Stoughton, Wisconsin, 12 miles southeast of Madison.The 4,000-sq.-ft. home will feature a 5.76 kW solar power system, with two pole-mounted 2.88 kW arrays that will tilt to accommodate the movement of the sun; two ground-source heat pumps; a plumbing system that delivers hot water to faucets quickly, reducing water waste; strategically placed Energy Star-rated windows; an airtight shell with R-5 insulation on the exterior, BIBS blow-in-blanket insulation in the 2×6 walls, and foam blown into the box sill framing; and 2-inch R-10 insulation on the exterior of the basement walls and under the basement floor, with BIBS insulation in the 2×4 interior basement walls.The cost to transform the house from highly efficient to net zero is pegged at $99,000. The owners qualify for $17,000 in incentive funds from Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program, $24,000 in federal tax credits, and a $42,000 WPPI Energy GreenMax Home grant. Eighteen thousand dollars of that grant was awarded at project kickoff. Another $18,000 will be awarded upon completion of construction, and $6,000 will be awarded for meeting the project’s energy-use goals a year after the house is completed. The owners will cover the remaining incremental costs for the upgrades – about $16,000.last_img read more

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How Risky Is Cold OSB Wall Sheathing?

first_imgDuring the winter months, wall sheathing is usually cold. Cold sheathing is risky, since it tends to accumulate moisture during the winter. Unless the sheathing can dry out during the summer months, damp sheathing can rot.Cold sheathing can get wet from two directions. It can get wet from the exterior, due to leaks through defective flashing or a poorly detailed water-resistive barrier (WRB). It can also get wet on the interior, due to a phenomenon traditionally called “condensation,” but more accurately called sorption. (As building scientist William Rose likes to say, “Capillary materials do not exhibit condensation at the dew point.”)Most wood-framed walls are somewhat leaky. Interior air can leak into wall cavities through cracks around electrical boxes and cracks between the drywall and the wall’s bottom plate. When the warm air reaches the cold wall sheathing, one of two things usually happens: frost can form on the sheathing, or, at temperatures above freezing, the sheathing (which is hygroscopic or “sorptive”) can gain moisture from the air. (The source of the moisture taken on by sorption can be either interior or exterior moisture; for further details on moisture sources, see Bill Rose’s posted comment below.)Most cold-climate homes have wall sheathing that gains moisture every winter. Usually, however, the wall sheathing doesn’t rot, because:Building components can survive occasional wetting, as long as the rate of drying exceeds the rate of wetting. If, on an annual basis, the wall dries more than it gets wet, it will probably be okay.Probably — but not necessarily. In many areas of the U.S., OSB-sheathed walls have failed at an alarming rate. A combination of factors — poorly installed WRBs, air leaks through drywall, and the use of claddings (like stucco) that dry very slowly — have caused… This article is only available to GBA Prime Members Start Free Trial Already a member? Log incenter_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details.last_img read more

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A Passivhaus Design for Alaska’s Frigid Climate

first_imgResidential builders in Alaska have at least two major sources of motivation to build homes efficiently and with first-rate performance characteristics. One is the short building season. The other, of course, is Alaska’s Arctic cold.But for general contractor Thorsten Chlupp, whose firm, Reina LLC, is based in Fairbanks, yet another motivator came into play when he set out to build his family’s 2,300-sq.-ft. home to operate without fossil-fuel heat sources and conform to the Passivhaus standard: building-industry experts told him it couldn’t be done.“You wouldn’t believe how many engineers have told me in the past year that it’s impossible,” Chlupp told Newsminer.com for a recently posted story. “I already know I need to build an outdoor swimming pool because I have too much heat.”A big barrier to coldThe builder and his family moved into the house in December and so far have burned a cord of wood in its stone masonry heater, although, Newsminer.com notes, the last fire was set in mid-February. Because there’s very little direct sunlight in that part of the world in December and January, the 480 sq. ft. of solar thermal panels mounted on the south-facing roofline of the home, which Chlupp calls SunRise House, weren’t yet a factor in the building’s heat-source dynamic. But now the solar thermal system’s water-and-glycol-filled tubing is delivering heat from the panels to the slab floor of the house and to its principal thermal storage system, a 5,000-gal. stainless steel tank (14 by 8 ft.) filled with water whose temperature ranges from 130 to 150 degrees.Between the water tank and the concrete surface on the first floor, the house can store about 8 million BTUs of energy, enough, Chlupp says, to heat the home for about two months while its heat recovery ventilator keeps its fresh-air needs in balance. Another, 40-gallon tank supplies hot water to the occupants of the house.The slab of the house is insulated to R-63, while the exterior walls and the roof are insulated with cellulose to R-75 and R-115, respectively. The insulation was installed outside the wood-frame walls’ CDX plywood sheathing, which was taped and sealed for airtightness. That approach allowed the exterior-wall framing to be used for wires, plumbing, and mechanical fixtures. In response to GBA community-forum comments about the project, Chlupp notes that insulation also can be added to that inside-facing wall space if it’s needed, and that servicing the utility components later on can be done without compromising the airtightness of the outside insulation system.Living in and learning from a prototypeChlupp chose triple-glazed windows with insulated frames. The glazing has a solar heat-gain coefficient of 0.60 and a U-factor of 0.072.(These are glazing-only specs, not whole-window specs.) The window openings also are equipped with thermal shutters can be slid shut to provide an airtight seal and an additional R-20 of thermal resistance.A former outdoor and mountaineering guide, Chlupp lived in Germany until 1996, when he moved to Fairbanks. According to Newsminer.com, Chlupp started his construction company 12 years ago with the intention of applying energy-efficiency standards common in Germany to projects in Alaska. The performance of SunRise House is being monitored by a network of sensors that will be analyzed by the Cold Climate Housing Research Center. And it appears the house will easily qualify for Passivhaus certification.But Chlupp adds that the building is, essentially, a prototype – one that he hopes will serve as a source of information that can be applied in cost-effective ways to other projects in both the new-home and retrofit realms.“What I’m after,” he said, “is replacing everything fossil-fuel-based, because if we can get rid of it completely we’re so much better off.”last_img read more

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How to Insulate a Wall from the Outside

first_img Window Construction Details for High Performance and Energy Efficiency RELATED ARTICLES How to Install Rigid Foam Sheathing Calculating the Minimum Thickness of Rigid Foam SheathingForget About Vapor Diffusion, Stop Air Leaks!Are Dew-Point Calculations Really Necessary?Insulating Roofs, Walls and FloorsRigid Foam Insulation CONSTRUCTION DETAILS Making the wall structurally soundOne concern, voiced by GBA senior editor Martin Holladay, is that when the sheathing is applied over the foam, and not directly to wall framing, it can’t provide much structural rigidity. In that case, he’d have to install metal strapping for bracing before the foam is applied.An alternative is to put the sheathing on first, followed by the rigid foam insulation.“I wouldn’t hesitate to install OSB (or, better yet, plywood) over the studs, and then rigid foam and vertical strapping to create a rainscreen, if that’s what you want to do,” Holladay writes.Chris Harris agrees, recommending either dense-pack cellulose or open-cell polyurethane. But he suggests that Gregg might need structural sheathing only in the corners and possibly a few other wall panels. That would allow him to run a combination of 2 in. foam where no structural sheathing was needed, and 1 1/2 in where it was. How thick should the rigid foam be?The thread also touches on a question that’s popped up before: how thick to make rigid foam insulation on the outside of the wall? The risk is that when the exterior foam is too thin, the sheathing isn’t kept warm enough in winter to prevent the accumulation of moisture in the wall cavity. Moreover, the moisture may become trapped inside the wall, unable to dry effectively either in or out.Holladay refers to a blog he wrote earlier on this topic, in which he recommends adequate foam thickness to prevent moisture accumulation, and vapor permeable materials toward the interior: “Because foam sheathing reduces the ability of a wall to dry to the exterior,” he wrote, “all foam-sheathed walls must be able to dry to the interior. That means you don’t want any materials with a very low permeance — especially polyethylene — on the interior of a foam-sheathed wall.” That blog also includes recommendations for minimum foam thickness.But in Gregg’s situation, Holladay adds, the minimum thickness guidelines for foam insulation don’t apply because the insulation he plans to use in the wall is not air permeable. If he switched to cellulose insulation, the guidelines would apply.Another good source of information, Harris adds, is at the web site of Building Science Corp., which includes a searchable database. Gregg is renovating his 50-year-old house in Wisconsin and trying to devise the best way of insulating exterior walls from the outside. The house was built conventionally, with 2×4 walls, fiberglass batt insulation, fiberboard sheathing, and hardboard siding.He plans to tear off both siding and sheathing and remove the batt insulation, then apply 3 in. of spray polyurethane foam insulation into the stud bays. The existing kraft paper vapor barrier on the interior side of the wall will stay in place.Several local contractors have recommended the addition of between 3/4 in. and 1 in. of rigid foam insulation over the studs before applying 1/2-in. OSB sheathing and lap siding. But the recommendation is giving Gregg pause for thought.“While I like the idea of eliminating thermal bridging through the studs,” Gregg writes in this Q&A post at GreenBuildingAdvisor, my concern is that there will be an air gap between the two layers of foam insulation (both of which have limited permeability). In this scenario, wouldn’t I be creating an ideal situation for condensation to form between the two layers? We obviously live in a very cold climate and winter temperatures regularly reach -20°F to -30°F.” Weighing the risks of condensationTrapping organic material (in this case, wood framing) between two impermeable layers is asking for trouble because any moisture that does get into the assembly doesn’t have a way of drying out.But here, the kraft paper facing left from the batt insulation will be less problematic than a polyethylene vapor barrier would be, Holladay says. And if Gregg builds an effective rain screen that is flashed correctly, he adds, then “the wall assembly can still dry to the interior through the studs if there is ever a small amount of moisture in your wall cavity.”“My concern would be the wiring,” says Kricket Smith-Gary, “particularly the outlets and switch boxes in the wall. Remember that condensation is a function of the differentials — temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure AND HEAT RESISTANCE of the assembly — the least insulated materials or areas (i.e. windows and electrical boxes, in this case) tend to provide an avenue for condensation and the moisture can come from everywhere, even what soaked into the studs while you were doing this project, or the humidity from the inside accumulating in the outlet itself…”Smith-Gary suggests filling the wall cavities with closed-cell foam and move wiring inside behind baseboards to eliminate any through-the-wall penetrations that might contribute to the problem.“Think small and aim at a perfect foam insulation with no penetrations,” Smith-Gary says. Our expert’s opinionWe asked GBA technical director Peter Yost for his thoughts. Here’s what he said:The key in Gregg’s situation is the choice of cavity insulation. As Martin points out, if the cavity insulation is not air-permeable, then the first condensing surface is not the structural sheathing, and that is really what you are trying to avoid.If the installation of the cavity and rigid insulation is airtight, then that 1/2-in. air space is not a concern; the amount of moisture in that isolated space is just not enough to worry about. But this assembly will have very little drying potential and therefore won’t tolerate much wetting. Drying through the wall framing will be very, very slow as well. Keeping bulk water out (drainage plane connected to flashing) will be critical. I would definitely employ a rainscreen cladding in this case. Wouldn’t hurt to choose a slightly more permeable rigid insulation such as expanded polystyrene (EPS), either.What could make this project tricky is the sequence of the steps. The spray foam installer is going to want to do the whole project at one time, but eliminating ALL of the shear resistance by taking off all the existing structural sheathing or boards to open up the cavities is not a good idea. Maybe Gregg will need to leave the corners sheathed for temporary shear resistance, and “Froth Pak” insulate those wall cavities as a separate step? And I would definitely keep the structural sheathing up against the wall framing and favor plywood, as Martin suggested.last_img read more

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Can We Rely on DIY Air Pollution Sensors?

first_imgNew territory for a known technologyPollution sensors that measure air contaminants have been on the market for many years. Passenger cars have sophisticated emission controls that rely on data collected by air sensors inside the vehicles. These inexpensive sensors use well-established chemical and physical methods — typically, electrochemistry or metal oxide resistance — to measure air contaminants in highly polluted conditions, such as inside the exhaust pipe of a passenger vehicle. And this information is used by the vehicle to improve performance.It turns out these sensors can work outside of your car, too. But they have some important limits. They are often not designed to work in the open air, where conditions are much cleaner than in vehicle exhaust. And they can be affected by conditions such as varying temperatures or relative humidity, or the presence of interfering gases that they are not designed to measure.Sensor manufacturers sometimes provide limited information on these low-cost sensors, and it is very easy to use the devices improperly. This is because they are designed to work under very controlled conditions — for example, at fixed temperatures or with limited wind movement — and these requirements often are not communicated to consumers. Measurement accuracy is especially important when we are trying to understand how exposure to air pollutants can lead to health problems. If we rely on poor measurements and reach incorrect conclusions, we will fail to protect public health.In a recent commentary in Nature, British researchers Alastair Lewis and Peter Edwards highlighted many questions about using inexpensive sensors to measure air pollution. They conclude that these technologies must be better validated prior to general public use, and warn that academic investigators should not be gatekeepers for using them. Rather, what we can do is provide essential test beds to evaluate sensor performance through testing and calibration. We also can call on sensor manufacturers to explain these devices’ limitations more clearly to customers. By RICHARD PELTIERUntil recently, measuring air pollution was a task that could be performed only by trained scientists using very sophisticated — and very expensive — equipment. That has changed with the rapid growth of small, inexpensive sensors that can be assembled by almost anyone. But an important question remains: Do these instruments measure what users think they are measuring?A number of venture-capital-backed startup or crowd-funded groups are marketing sensors by configuring a few dollars’ worth of electronics and some intellectual property — mainly software — into aesthetically pleasing packages. The Air Quality Egg, the Tzoa and the Speck sensor are examples of gadgets that are growing in popularity for measuring air pollutants.These devices make it possible for individuals without specialized training to monitor air quality. As an environmental health researcher, I’m happy to see that people are interested in clean air, especially because air pollution is closely linked with serious health effects. But there are important concerns about how well and how accurately these sensors work. RELATED ARTICLES Richard Peltier is an associate professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. This post originally appeared at The Conversation. Supporting citizen scientistsMany users of these sensor platforms are citizen scientists who have little formal training in measuring air quality. People are rightfully concerned about degraded air quality in their communities, and they are taking matters into their own hands by downloading open-source plans, purchasing a few items and deploying their measurement systems.They can do this with the help of inexpensive, open-source microprocessors and a growing library of open-source software. Agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the South Coast Air Quality Management District in California, among others, recognize this growing interest. They also see the potential danger of empowering anyone to build and use tools that can produce highly inaccurate information.Miniaturized versions of expensive sensors still can cost thousands of dollars — far out of reach for most citizen scientists. So it is likely that market forces and consumer convenience are driving the growth of a do-it-yourself sensor market. Whatever the motivation, these sensors are being used now by many organizations, including concerned citizen advocacy groups, and to some extent by the regulatory community. Regulators are interested in these technologies because they can cheaply expand measurement capacity. But at the same time, they are cautious because of lingering uncertainties about measurements that do not comply with narrowly prescribed measurement methods.Vastly different air pollution levels observed in an image from a commercial aircraft in New York City and New Delhi, India. (Photo: Pallavi Pant)It is not hard to build a $30 sensor to measure carbon monoxide, although such a device probably will not be able to measure concentrations less than, say, one part per million. In many wealthy countries, where pollution levels are relatively low, such a device would not produce meaningful measurements. But on a busy street in New Delhi, or near a brick kiln in Nepal, it could be quite useful because pollution levels are significantly higher.Low-cost air monitoring does have merits. For much of the world, these tools could greatly increase understanding of pollution risks, especially in countries that do not have the financial resources or research infrastructure to produce sophisticated air quality measurements. Many environmental health scientists would like to expand the reach of these sensors to every corner of the world.Use of DIY air sensors will continue to grow as people around the world learn more about the health risks of air pollution. The key is to make sure they work as reliably as possible. By expanding sound research measurements, we can continue to educate the public on the risks of air pollution, and to lobby for better protection from this hazard in a more informed way. All About Indoor Air Quality Designing a Good Ventilation System Four Ways Bad Duct Systems Can Lead to Poor Indoor Air QualityMonitoring Air Quality at Home At their core, these devices rely on inexpensive, and often uncertain, measurement technologies. Someday small sensors costing less than $100 may replace much more expensive research-grade instruments like those used by government regulators. But that day is likely to be far away.last_img read more

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62 Things We Should Ban to Improve Home Building

first_imgLet’s face it. The state of home building isn’t good. Yes, we have building science and energy codes and green building programs out the wazoo. We have cool new products and home energy raters and even Joe Lstiburek. Despite all this, we still have wild ductopuses, holey air barriers, and insipid insulation installations.And I’ve finally lost my patience. I think the only way to improve the state of home building in America is to ban these things.Wait! Don’t leave yet. I know your blood may be boiling just after reading the title of this article, but please read all the way through. There’s something for everyone here. You may not like the idea of banning batt insulation, but how about blower door tests?This list is progressive. The things further down the list build on the earlier ones.Here we go:(1) Powered attic ventilators – They suck conditioned air from your house and backdraft water heaters.(2) Ventless gas fireplaces – Even the industry has a hard time justifying these things, which are already banned in Canada and other places. RELATED ARTICLESBanish These Details From Your PlansMartin’s Useless Products ListMartin’s Ten Rules of Roof Design (3) Foil-faced bubble wrap – A small step up from insulating paint. Let’s use real insulation.(4) Batt insulation – It’s almost never done right.(5) Flex duct – Kinks and sags and ductopuses. Oh, my!(6) Recirculating range hoods – Would you want a recirculating toilet? That’s what Prof. John Straube compares them to.(7) Smart vents – A poor solution for a bad duct system. Do the ducts right to begin with.(8) Rules of Thumb – Thumbs are great things but shouldn’t be used to size air conditioners.(9) Vented crawl spaces – They’re moisture and mold factories. And they sometimes allow you to breathe dead possum!(10) Vented attics – Too often a place for ducts, powered attic ventilators, and dead bats.(11) Housewrap – It’s never installed well enough to be a great air barrier and installers still haven’t figured out how to flash windows with it.(12) Attached garages – If you like to breathe carbon monoxide and other toxic gases, this is a great way to add those vital nutrients to your lungs.(13) Dormers – Too hard to insulate and air seal.(14) Complex roofs – Likely to cause moisture damage.(15) Electric-resistance heat – It may be 100% efficient… but you can do better!(16) Recessed can lights – They’re a problem when they’re put in the building enclosure, especially vaulted ceilings.(17) Panned joist returns – A guaranteed way to suck in that moldy air from the crawl space… and the dead possum particles that come with it.(18) Undercut doors for return air from bedrooms – They’re just not going to let all the air get back to the main return.(19) Dryer vents terminating near air conditioner condenser units – Blowing lint into those fins is a good way to kill the efficiency of your AC.(20) High flow range hoods – You really don’t want your house to suck that bad, do you?(21) Excess wood – Less room for insulation, more thermal bridging, and it’s just a waste of money and resources.(22) Zoning that requires less than 12 units per acre – More density is better for location efficiency.(23) Unbalanced ventilation – Like that unbalanced cousin of yours, you just don’t want it in your house.(24) Thermal bridging – Would you leave cow-sized gaps in your cattle pen?(25) Airtightness higher than 1 ach50 – Air-sealing gives you the most bang for your buck in making homes energy efficient. You know this is where we’re heading, right?(26) Carpet, vinyl, and other offgassing products – “If there is a pile of manure in a space, do not try to remove the odor by ventilation. Remove the pile of manure.” Max von Pettenkofer said that in 1858, and it applies here, too.(27) 2×4 walls – Eventually all walls will have to be at least 12 inches thick.(28) Ceiling fans – People don’t turn them off when they’re out of the room anyway.(29) Manual J load calculations – Sophisticated HVAC contractors have figured out how to get rule-of-thumb results from computer programs. 96 occupants. Single-pane windows instead of low-e. Worst-case orientation. It’s easy to add load when you need to justify that oversized AC and furnace.(30) Combustion appliances – Long after our caveman ancestors discovered fire, we’re still polluting our caves with combustion products.(31) Bonus rooms – Nobody uses that room anyway. It’s too uncomfortable.(32) Attic kneewalls – One of several reasons bonus rooms are so uncomfortable. Rarely done right.(33) Energy modeling – See Manual J above.(34) Storm doors – They’re not a great investment for saving energy.(35) Thermostats – Too many people set them incorrectly anyway, sometimes at the suggestion of their helpful HVAC service company.(36) Rim and band joists insulated with anything other than spray foam – It’s just not going to work.(37) Spray foam insulation – It smells. It shrinks. Some greenie weenies don’t like it.(38) Rim and band joists – Since there’s now no way to insulate, they must be banned. Ban the band!(39) HERS ratings -Wildly imprecise. Didn’t you see my article on the Stockton study?(40) HERS raters and energy modelers – Why should we pay for something so imprecise?(41) Cantilevers – We’ll never get to 1 ach50 and no thermal bridging without eliminating cantilevers.(42) Homes without advanced framing – See excess wood above.(43) Stick building – We might as well just go all the way and admit that stick building is the root of so many problems with home building.(44) HVAC contractors – The industry is broken. It’s time to start over.(45) Home builders – Ditto (what I said about HVAC contractors).(46) Windows – One of the biggest liabilities for heat loss/gain and moisture problems.(47) Skylights – A particularly bad kind of window that deserves to be singled out.(48) Site-built homes – The only way we’ll ever get good houses is to build them in factories in China.(49) Blower door testing – We should use that money for air sealing instead.(50) Single-family homes – Too inefficient.(51) Tiny houses – A fad for millennials who don’t know they’re just expensive trailers.(52) Mansions and McMansions – Just as no one needs more than 640 kB of memory in their computer, no one needs more than 500 square feet person in their home.(53) Ugly houses – As Joe Lstiburek said, “Ugliness is not sustainable.”(54) Energy Star New Homes Version 3 – Builders abandoned it in 2012 anyway.(55) LEED – Can we really support a program that requires all-glass houses!?(56) Passive House – A boutique program for architects who think they can do physics.(57) Know-it-all bloggers – Someone’s always got to come behind them to dispel the myths they create when they try to dispel myths.(58) Stack effect – Too controversial.(59) Psychrometrics – Too complicated. Have you seen that chart!?(60) Rain and snow – The cause of so many problems with houses.(61) Hot and cold weather – A terrible waste of energy.(62) Occupants – The number one reason high-performance homes never reach their full potential!OK, that’s it… for now. Clearly we have some issues in the world of home building. And as you should have been able to figure out by the time you got to the bottom of the list, I don’t really think we should ban all these things.The root of the problem isn’t really using the wrong products or even doing things the wrong way. It really boils down to motivation. Builders are motivated to build to code when they know they’ll have to pass inspections. They’re motivated to build energy-efficient houses when there’s demand for them. They’re motivated to build houses without comfort or moisture or IAQ problems when they’ve had too many callbacks to fix those problems.Of the 62 items on this list, there’s only one I would definitely like to see banned: ventless gas fireplaces. I’d like to see less of some of the others or better ways of doing them, but I think the real problem is getting home builders and other stake holders — including home buyers — motivated properly.And the good news is, as Joe Lstiburek likes to say, the gap between stupid and hurt is narrowing. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. You can follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.last_img read more

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Designing an Air Barrier for a Timbered Cathedral Ceiling

first_imgThe house that Dennis Miller plans on building next spring will include a cathedral ceiling with timber trusses exposed on the interior. The issue, as Miller explains in this Q&A post, is making sure the ceiling gets an effective air barrier that will prevent moisture problems in the roof. “In a regular ceiling I’d think a continuous plane of drywall would do the job,” Miller writes. “However, this is a cathedral ceiling built on timber kingpost trusses that are exposed to the interior. In this case, the ceiling drywall is not continuous but broken into sections by the exposed timbers.” As the drawing at the top of this column shows, the ceiling will be insulated with cellulose. Rafters in this Climate Zone 5 house will be supported by a ridge beam and the outer wall in this double-stud wall design.RELATED ARTICLESAir BarriersOne Air Barrier or Two?How to Hang Airtight DrywallRescuing a Problem Cathedral CeilingHow to Build an Insulated Cathedral Ceiling Miller wonders whether his only option is to do a “tedious caulking-gluing-sealing job” where the drywall meets the trusses. Or is there another way? “I think my question really applies to any situation where someone has a ceiling with exposed beams,” he says. “What are some good methods to ensure a good air barrier when the ceiling plane is segmented?” That’s the topic for this Q&A Spotlight. A continuous layer above would be best In general, Malcolm Taylor replies, the best approach is to include a continuous layer of material above the exposed trusses. “That’s in part why many timber-frame houses have tongue-and-groove or plywood roof decking, which can be fastened to the tops of the trusses,” he says. Taylor thinks that sheathing and taping the tops of the 2×4 strapping would be the safest and most effective approach. As an alternative, Miller could use rigid foam insulation for that layer, although it isn’t clear how he would go about sealing it, and then build the rest of the roof structure on top of it. Yes, adds Akos, use some kind of sheet material above the timber beams and tape the seams. If Miller tries to seal each seam between a truss and the drywall, failure is likely — even if he’s meticulous in his attention to detail. “Sealing drywall along long seams is a pain (speaking from personal experience),” Akos says. “If you want it to last, it has to be a very clean, even joint, and you need to put a backer rod into the gap, and then caulk. I did most of this work myself and even then had to redo a section where the joint failed after a couple of years. (No matter how careful, human nature is to take shortcuts and will bite you in the $%^). The probability of this being done properly by a contractor is near zero.” Adding a layer of foam above With those suggestions in mind, Miller considers adding a 1-inch-thick layer of extruded polystyrene (XPS) insulation above the drywall strapping, leaving a few small openings to blow in cellulose. Those openings could be sealed later. “This would make the XPS the primary air barrier rather than relying on the drywall layer,” Miller says. “Or,” he adds, “instead of XPS, just put down a 4- or 6-mil sheet of poly, with a few openings to blow cellulose and then seal them shut. I would think poly or XPS is OK if the [assembly] can dry to the exterior, and in this design there is a 2-inch ventilation space under the roof sheathing.” Zephyr7 suggests that Miller use polyisocyanurate insulation rather than the XPS (since the blowing agents in XPS have a high global warming potential). Reducing the thickness to 1/2 inch would produce the same air-sealing result. “Polyethylene sheeting would work, too,” Zephyr7 adds. “You’d still have to detail everything at the edges, which might be tricky if you have timber framing. You could caulk the poly to the timber pieces, that might be better than trying to tape it.” It’s the detailing that will count, points out GBA moderator Brian Pontolilo. “Airtight drywall is a legitimate approach to air-sealing,” he writes, “but it is much more involved than hanging and taping drywall panels.” Pontolilo said he initially wondered whether ZIP System sheathing might be an option for the continuous layer of material above the timbers. Whether Miller opted for that, or rigid foam, carefully taping the joints and detailing other potential trouble spots would be essential, and to that end Pontolilo points Miller toward an article and video series on the topic. Or, move the air barrier Trevor Chadwick has another idea: move the air barrier so it’s above the rafters, rather than in the area immediately above the trusses, as the drawing below illustrates. The air barrier also could be shifted upward, one GBA reader suggests. “Seems to me that the extra materials to do it this way would be less than all the labor trying to get a quality sealing job another way,” he says. The idea puzzles Miller, who has been planning on an interior air barrier that prevents moist interior air from getting into the wall and reaching an area where it might condense. “I assumed I would also have an exterior air barrier, basically what is shown in Trevor Chadwick’s drawing, to prevent external air from blowing into the insulation and undermining its R-value,” Miller adds. He also had imagined only drywall on the ceiling, rather than adding a layer of polyiso or XPS, so that the assembly could dry to the interior. “If you were doing the ceiling without the timbers breaking things up, wouldn’t you just make a giant drywall plane in an airtight manner, have an exterior air barrier (per the Chadwick drawing) and be done with it?” Miller asks. “But I’ve complicated things by allowing the timbers to be penetrations? And that’s the issue I’m trying to resolve.” Chadwick points to the ventilation channel between the insulation and the roof sheathing. He contends that given where Miller is building, and that he’s going to be using dense-packed cellulose, an air barrier on both sides of the insulation is probably unnecessary. “You’re right that I might not need so much air barrier,” Miller replies. “… So maybe the ventilation channel, uncaulked, is just fine. But one thing I was hoping to prevent was the moisture from humid summer air condensing in the insulation as it gets near the air conditioned ceiling. But again, maybe I’m over-thinking this — if it’s OK that the insulation in the attic doesn’t have air and vapor barriers over it, then why should my assembly need it?” Our expert’s opinion Here’s what GBA Technical Director Peter Yost has to add: The way in which Dennis Miller is thinking this through — and using the skilled advice of other GBA folks — is a testament to exactly how GBA does great work: collectively. Here are some additional recommendations to consider: Connecting exterior wall and roof air-control layers: So often with timber-frame structures, rafters and ridges extend from conditioned space to the outside. In my experience, these are never continuously sealed to start, nor maintained over time. There’s just too much wood movement for sealants to manage. So, healthy overlapping at the eaves (because rafter tails don’t extend to the exterior) eliminates a tough and losing battle. Mechanically supporting adhered overlaps: The other great performance feature of overlapping the roof and wall barriers happens at the eave, where you can reinforce your airtight seal with sticky stuff by mechanically supporting subsequent rigid materials. Relying on both chemistry and physics is a great “belt-and-suspenders” approach. Do you need two air control layers in this roof assembly? If your cavity insulation is air-permeable, then it must be confined on all six sides for the full insulating effect. Cellulose insulation is air-permeable — not nearly as air-permeable as, say, fiberglass batts, but cellulose insulation is 50 times too porous to qualify as an air barrier material. And if there is an air leak into the roof assembly, there will be moisture carried with that air, and moisture that will certainly reach dew point as it moves towards the first condensing surface. Using Huber Zip sheathing system on your roof: The thing about this sheathing system is that the material compatibility of the sheathing surface and the pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) tape has been worked out by the manufacturer. Zip tape sticks to the Zip sheathing very well (see my Sticky Business series of blogs). It’s at least worth considering. Polyethylene sheeting: I know that there are many Canadians who have successfully detailed polyethylene as an air control layer, but this remains a mystery to me personally. And I will take a rigid air control layer over a flexible one every time. The latter is simply more durable and easier to detail for sticky (chemistry) and mechanical trapping (physics). Test your air barrier: Since Miller will be doing most of the work himself, and also for the first time, I think it is essential that he test the continuous control layers with a blower door test supported by infrared imaging. This sort of performance testing is incredibly revealing, particularly at your first rodeo. Your ceiling interior vapor retarder: From what I can gather from reviewing your Pennsylvania code and the 2009 International Residential Code, there is no explicit guidance or requirement for an interior vapor retarder for your roof assembly. But if we apply the language of the code for exterior walls — and use the logic of vapor movement by diffusion during the winter in cold climates — I think you have three options: (a) Warm your air-permeable roof cavity insulation with topside rigid insulation according to R-value ratios that keep your first condensing surface temperature above the dew point for the three coldest months of the year; or, (b) replace enough of your cellulose with air-impermeable insulation, such as spray foam, to avoid first condensing surface temperature issues using the same R-value ratios as above; or (c) install a Class I or II interior vapor retarder in your roof assembly. For more on how much rigid foam to install, see “How to Install Rigid Foam On Top of Roof Sheathing.”last_img read more

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Critics Claim Agreement Helps Home-Building Industry Block Tougher Energy Codes

first_imgAn undisclosed pact between the nation’s most powerful home builders’ lobby and the organization that writes model building codes has slowed the adoption of energy-saving requirements for new homes, critics have claimed. The arrangement is between the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), which represents some 140,000 U.S. builders, and the International Code Council (ICC), which publishes the International Residential Code, an influential model building code that has been adopted in many states. In a published report last week, The New York Times said a deal first signed in 2002 guaranteed NAHB four of 11 voting seats on the committee that develops new versions of the IRC in return for NAHB’s support of the model building codes that ultimately win ICC approval.RELATED ARTICLESAre We Really Better Off With Building Codes?Study: Green Building Codes Don’t Save EnergyGerman Building Codes Keep Ratcheting UpWhat Is the Building Code?The First Green Building Code The building codes are updated every three years and are not legally binding until they are adopted by state or municipal officials. The dispute pits energy efficiency advocates against a construction industry seeking to keep building costs low. Even though the four guaranteed seats are a committee minority, critics say they are enough to block or slow down the adoption of new provisions that would require greater energy efficiency in new houses. Whitney Doll, ICC’s vice president for communications, said the NAHB is “one of the groups that has reserved seats on the International Residential Code committee.” Doll would not disclose the full text of the agreement but she provided a summary that was prepared two years ago by Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law firm with headquarters in San Francisco. The summary said that the ICC agreed, among other things, that one-third of the voting members of the IRC code development committee would be qualified representatives offered by NAHB. In return, NAHB agreed to provide a “clear and definitive statement of support” for the adoption of the IRC at all levels of government. In an amendment to the agreement in 2005, the ICC also agreed that the IRC code development committee would hear all proposed changes to the IRC rather than have them assigned to a different committee. The ICC Board of Directors agreed to “oversee the committee appointment process and provide a direct and permanent conduit through the ICC CEO for NAHB and other strategic partners to request appointments.” NAHB was declared a “strategic partner” of the ICC. Ron Jones, a former board member at NAHB, told The NYTimes that the agreement makes it difficult to move energy-saving changes through the ICC. “The home builders took them hostage by saying, ‘If you don’t work with us, we will look elsewhere to promote other codes,’” he said. The view was echoed by Bill Fay, the executive director of the Energy-Efficient Codes Coalition. He said in a telephone call that the upshot of the pact—what he called the “30,000-foot view”—was that the NAHB committee membership was blocking the very energy efficiency improvements that many government officials want. In an email, Doll defended the arrangement and said that a certain number of seats on some of the ICC’s code development committees are reserved for representatives of industries that use the codes. “Representatives from these industries go through the same application, review, and approval process as all others who apply or are nominated for committee seats,” she said. “The participation of these industry representatives is critical to the process, as their input helps ensure that code-change proposals reflect the evolving needs of their respective trades.” Doll added that industry representatives do not make up a majority of any code-writing committee, and that final votes on all code changes are made by “governmental member representatives” with no financial stake in the outcome. “Non-governmental members who served on committees do not get to vote in this final round,” she wrote. There are roughly 8,000 voting members who ultimately determine the outcome of proposed code changes. “Our code development protocols are designed to protect the integrity of the process and ensure that no single group is able to influence the code development process to favor a particular trade or industry,” Doll’s email said. Analysis shows energy changes slowed NAHB Chairman Greg Ugalde told The NYTimes that it is appropriate for the industry to have a voice in the code-writing process. He added that committee members selected by NAHB “make their own decision on how to vote” and don’t vote as a block. Yet evidence cited by the newspaper shows that moves toward greater energy efficiency slowed to a crawl after the International Energy Conservation Code fell under the agreement in 2011. Prior to that, in code changes for 2009 and 2012, energy costs for homeowners had been reduced by 32% compared to a 2006 baseline because of more rigorous energy requirements, according to an analysis of the Department of Energy. After the IECC became subject to the deal in an ICC reshuffle of the committee structure, however, projected residential energy savings went down by less than 1% in the 2015 code, and less than 2% in the next round of changes in 2018. More rigorous code provisions for energy efficiency can save homeowners many thousands of dollars over time, far outweighing initial investments in more efficient appliances, more insulation, or better air-sealing. But NAHB has objected to requirements that make new houses more expensive, and the association has crowed about the influence it has had on code changes. “Of the 259 proposals on which the association took a stand, the committees agreed 81% of the time,” a NAHB newsletter said in 2015. “And only 6% of the proposals that NAHB opposed made it through the committee hearings intact.” In a 2018 “NAHB Now” newsletter, the trade group told its members that among its “advocacy victories” was the “preservation of lower cost options in building codes.” The estimated value to builders was $1,000 per housing start. NAHB said it succeeded in blocking a number of proposed provisions that would have upped construction costs from the 2015 versions of the IRC and IECC. Defeated proposals included new U-factors for windows that would have meant a bump to triple-pane units in Climate Zones 5 through 8, high-efficiency water-heating equipment, and requirements that new homes accommodate solar installations in the future. A sleeper issue that got legs Although apparently long-rumored in the industry, the ICC-NAHB deal was first brought to light by Earthjustice after the organization began tracking down rumors two years ago. “The existence of the memorandum was a secret, but not a particularly well-kept one in that there were a lot of people who had heard something to the effect there was an agreement,” Earthjustice staff attorney Timothy Ballo said in a telephone call. “There was a lot of strong indication that there was one, but no one had really seen it.” Ballo said many members of the ICC board were state or municipal employees who are subject to open-records laws. Earthjustice began submitting Freedom of Information requests that would compel those employees to disclose what they knew about the memorandum. Eventually, the ICC contacted Earthjustice and the two began discussing how they would resolve the issue, “basically to make us stop,” as Ballo put it. Ballo said he was permitted to review the document, make notes, and prepare the summary that was ultimately approved by both NAHB and ICC. This was the summary that Doll sent to GBA. At first, Earthjustice did nothing with the information. “The feeling was that if we discredit the ICC process or cast doubt on it we don’t really have a Plan B,” Ballo said. “The thinking was that by showing we knew of the existence of [the memorandum] by putting some pressure on the ICC we would get them to even out the process a little bit and wouldn’t have the major roadblock to efficiency in the next iteration of the codes.” But the new version of the codes in 2018 suggested that it was going to be business as usual—slow progress on energy-saving code changes. The thinking, Ballo said, was that “if we’re not going to make any progress on the IECC, there’s no point in preserving whatever dignity the ICC’s progress supposedly bestowed.” Ballo then planned to write an Earthjustice blog about the arrangement. But he was contacted by NYTimes reporter Christopher Flavelle before it could be written or published. Ballo said he had no idea how the newspaper learned about the NAHB-ICC agreement and that he was actually surprised that such a “wonky” discussion on codes would even end up in the newspaper. But Ballo said there is no question the agreement has slowed progress on forcing builders to make new houses use less energy. “It’s made it very difficult, as I think the NYTimes piece said, for pro-energy-efficiency measures to succeed at that committee state,” he said of the ICC-NAHB arrangement. “You need essentially every committee member not connected with the NAHB to vote in favor of it. And the vote of that committee, while it’s true that the municipal code professional members of the ICC do get the ultimate say, the committee’s action where the NAHB has significant sway is dictating what threshold applies.” Was the deal common knowledge? The NYTimes article called the pact a “secret deal,” adding that when originally asked about it, the ICC denied having an agreement with NAHB. The efforts that Ballo describes to learn the details of the arrangement, as well as the ICC’s continued refusal to make the document public, suggests the parties are still sensitive about it. Yet Ugalde and others scoff at the notion there was anything secret about it. In a written statement released by NAHB, Ugalde said, “The idea of a ‘secret pact or agreement’ is ludicrous at best and harmful at worst.” The ICC hasn’t tried to disguise the fact that it has partnered with several groups, adding, “It would be more newsworthy if the governing body for the codes development process did not seek out the opinion of leading experts.” “We have made no secret of our resistance toward the adoption of requirements into the IRC that are not cost-effective,” he said. “Housing affordability must be a cornerstone in any efforts to create cleaner and stronger homes.” He said increasing housing costs “by imposing unnecessary mandates is not only tone-deaf but harmful to American consumers.” Michael Pfeiffer, senior vice president for technical services in the ICC’s central regional office, said the existence of the agreement is well-known. “It is not a secret agreement,” he said in a telephone call. “We have not publicly disclosed an agreement but for anybody involved in the code development progress it’s common knowledge, once again not only this agreement with NAHB but other agreements as well because these agreements foster ICC’s ability to bring the talent to the table.” Pfeiffer also took issue with the idea that NAHB committee members have an undue influence on energy policy because of the “checks and balances” built into the system. If tougher energy provisions are voted down in the first round of review—what are called the committee action hearings—they can be reintroduced later and voted on by the full ICC governmental membership. The committees consist of 12 members, but the chairman votes only in the event of a tie. It takes a simple majority of the committee to approve or reject new code provisions. However, it takes a two-thirds majority of voting members at the public hearing stage to get that provision back on the agenda for a final vote. So, for example, if the IRC committee votes against requiring triple-glazed windows or more insulation in new houses in the first round of review, it would take two-thirds of all governmental voting ICC members to reverse that later. “The process weights the expertise of the committee,” Pfeiffer said. “If you want to propose something differently than what came out of the committee, it does require two-thirds because the process relies on the expertise that’s brought to bear by the respective committees.” What’s next? The review process for the 2021 versions of the I-codes is still underway, but the disclosure by the New York Times has clearly ruffled some feathers. “Yes, there is going to be some fallout on this,” Fay said. “I don’t think it’s going to die and it shouldn’t. This stinks. It’s an astonishingly troubling document and I think that’s why it’s secret. I think it’s very disturbing.” -Scott Gibson is a contributing writer at Green Building Advisor and Fine Homebuilding magazine.last_img read more

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U.K. Judges Say Apple Is Getting Cute With Samsung Court Order

first_imgTags:#Apple#infringement#Samsung dan rowinski More than a few people were eager to see how Apple would comply with a British appellate-court order this summer to state publicly  that tablet competitor Samsung had not copied its iPad design. Well, it’s done so, and at least three people — the appellate judges — are unhappy with Apple’s effort. Here’s the statement on apple.com.Look at Apple’s statement below.  Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Related Posts The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Apple, which had charged in the U.K. that Samsung infringed on its registered designs, but the original judge disagreed and took the unsusual step of ordering Apple to publicly state that it’s accusation was false.According to The Guardian, the three-judge panel said that Apple’s statement does not comply and is erroneous. It has ordered Apple to publish a notice on its home page within 48 hours pointing to a corrected statement in, “not less than 11-point font,” according to the Guardian. Apple said that it could not comply in less than 14 days, which at least one judge found incredible. Specifically, the judges took issue with how Apple its acknowledgement included statements from the original judge, Colin Birss;  information about other, German, infringement actions; and the Apple vs. Samsung patent trial in California, which Apple won this summer. According to Bloomberg, Apple lawyer Michael Beloff said of the court order and his firm’s response, “the only purpose is to dispel commercial uncertainty,” and that it was not “designed to punish, it is not designed to make us grovel.”I think that the way Apple has fought the U.K. ruling and now how it has acted on its court-ordered obligations shows a company that thinks it is above the law. It is easy to imagine a boardroom full of Apple executives turning purple over the British court order. So, the best way to avoid looking bad is to fuzz the situation to make itself look good rather than give Samsung (and the U.K. court) an inch. I think sometimes the high road is the one that holds the most honor, gains the most respect. Apple had an opportunity to both dispel commercial uncertaintly and regain honor and respect. It failed.  Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech …last_img read more

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SDL SM2: Find Out What People Are Saying About Your Business On Social Media

first_img(This post is sponsored by SDL-SM2, a social-media analytical tool for small- and medium-sized businesses and small agencies.)Tracking and measuring social media is no longer just a nice-to-have for businesses – it’s now a core essential of any modern marketing plan. And that’s true for giant multinational corporations as well as small businesses, agencies, researchers and even social-data hobbyists. Where Does Social Media Monitoring Start?Typically, identifying the Who and Where of social media conversations about your brand and market is a great place to start. The next step is to drill down into word associations and sentiment analysis: What words are people using to describe your products and services, and what are the values associated with those words? And to fully understand where your brand stands in the market, you need to know what people sareaying about your competitors.What does all this mean in practical terms for your business? SDL SM2 makes it easier to identify your most likely prospects. By understanding where they spend time online and what they like to talk about, you can tailor your marketing to be more efficient and effective. And you can get this information without running expensive, intrusive and time-consuming surveys, questionnaires and focus groups.SDL SM2 is available at affordable prices via credit card on flexible month-by-month payment terms with no long term commitment.For more information on Social Media Platforms for Small Businesses, check out SDL’s Cheat Sheet Inforgraphic. Tags:#marketing#small business#social media#social networking Related Posts A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit Yes, They Really Are Talking About YouIf you’re new to social media monitoring, you might think no one’s talking about your business at all. But that’s probably not the case. More likely, they’re talking plenty, you just don’t know about it.Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to listen in with SDL SM2, the entry-level, self-serve product offering from the SDL Social Intelligence Division. SDL SM2 offers automated sentiment analysis of more than 60 billion social conversations on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter as well as forums, blogs and wikis going back to 2007 – in your choice of more than 50 languages. It includes customizable and shareable real-time dashboards and the ability to segment the data with category rules. You can even export social media data into Excel or SPSS for further analysis.Social media monitoring isn’t just an academic exercise. It’s all about helping you achieve your business goals: strengthening your brand, staying relevant to customers and driving revenue.Monitoring social data is critical because it:Provides both current and historical informationCan help predict consumers’ behavior Delivers pure, customer-generated feedbackOffers unique insight into competitor activity and perceptionsProduces deep understanding of customers – beyond their relationship to your brandcenter_img The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… ReadWrite Sponsorslast_img read more

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Get Those Wrists Ready: Samsung Reportedly Outing Smartwatch Sept 4

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … adriana lee The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Bloomberg reports that Samsung will indeed announce its own smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, at a press event on September 4.Not that smartwatches are anything new—see Pebble and Sony. And the rumor of a Samsung device has been going on for months. But if the wire service’s two anonymous sources are right, Samsung Galaxy Gear will be having its coming-out party next month—a week before Apple holds a similar launch event for its own new products.Apple has long been rumored to be working on its own wristworn smart device, unofficially dubbed the iWatch. Both patent filings and job listings strongly suggest Apple’s plans are real. See also: Arm Race: Samsung To Build A Smartwatch TooApple’s not the only company supposedly trying to make our wrists smarter. Others—including Google and Microsoft—are reportedly racing to bring their own smartwatches to market. The reason why is obvious: If any one of these companies can blaze this trail, it offers a substantial advantage. The market for smartwatches isn’t as saturated as tablets or phones, so the winner here has a better chance of standing out and locking even more users into its respective platforms.The wrist, in short, is viewed as virgin territory for gadgets. Though ReadWrite’s editor-in-chief may rail against wearable wrist-bound devices, he’s shouting at the waves. Smartwatches now officially seem to be the “It” thing in tech.According to this latest report, Galaxy Gear will be an Android device that makes calls, surfs the Web and manages email messages. It won’t, however, sport a flexible screen, at least not in the this version, though Samsung’s working on it for future devices.  Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Tags:#Arm Race#mobile#Samsung#smartwatch#Wearable Computing#wearables Related Posts last_img read more

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As Internet Growth Slows, Tablets And Mobile Data Are The Industry’s Best Hope

first_imgowen thomas Related Posts Tags:#Internet#Internet usage#Kleiner Perkins#Mary Meeker#mobile#mobile revolution Growth in Internet usage on the whole is slowing, technology investor and analyst Mary Meeker warned in her latest Internet Trends report, an annual exercise in looking at the state of the industry that she’s done since her days as an analyst at Morgan Stanley and has continued at Kleiner Perkins, the venture-capital firm where she’s now a partner.While Meeker spent most of the report, which she published online and delivered at the Code Conference in Los Angeles Wednesday morning, looking at the Internet’s opportunities, the first line of the report should give people pause:• Internet Users<10% Y/Y growth & slowingfastest growth in more difficult to monetize developing markets like India / Indonesia / Nigeria  A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai... Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting • Smartphone Subscribers +20% strong growth though slowingfastest growth in underpenetrated markets like China / India / Brazil / Indonesia Tablets are surging, with unit shipments growing at a 52 percent annualized rate; tablets have now surpassed both desktop and laptop PCs in sales. And mobile data usage is growing even faster, at 81 percent.Yet if overall Internet usage isn’t growing, especially in the developed markets where it’s easiest to make money off of users, that suggests that tech companies are, to a large extent, just reshuffling deck chairs, shifting share around as consumer habits change.Or they’re looking to make more money off the users they have. Meeker pointed out that Google makes six times as much money per user as Facebook does, and twelve times as much money as Twitter.One area where Meeker sees growth is the continuing shift of video usage from linear television to on-demand, online video.See also: Goodbye, TV Channels—And Hello, TV AppsMeeker’s complete report is available on Slideshare:KPCB Internet trends 2014 from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic... 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Microsoft to turn Windows 10 PCs into smart home hubs

first_imgDavid Curry Related Posts Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to… Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Tags:#Connected Devices#featured#HomeHub#Internet of Things#IoT#Microsoft#PC#smart home#top#Windows 10 center_img Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Follow the Puck Microsoft is planning to turn Windows 10 PCs into smart home hubs in next major update, scheduled for September. According to internal documents seen by The Verge, HomeHub will support devices from Philips Hue, Nest, SmartThings, Insteon, and Wink.The update is aimed primarily at ‘kitchen-PCs’ that are used by all the family, and Microsoft is reportedly working with HP and Lenovo to create PCs similar to Amazon’s Echo Show, announced a few days ago.See Also: Microsoft not throwing in towel on wearables yet; introduces new smartwatchShared calendars, to-do lists, notes, and apps will also be part of the update.Users will be able to change settings on smart home devices from across the room with Cortana, Microsoft’s own virtual assistant. Even though it will be available to all PCs, the company is definitely shooting in a similar direction to Amazon.Microsoft is digging IoTMicrosoft made major strides in the enterprise Internet of Things (IoT) market last year, with impressive growth in cloud, IoT, and enterprise computing sales. This is the company’s first major dip into the commercial side of IoT, and it comes later than its enterprise rivals.Amazon has already taken a chunk of the commercial market with the Echo and its Web Services (AWS) platform. Google has also moved into both enterprise and commercial, launching the Home hub last year.Microsoft has an event on May 23 in Shanghai, where it is expected to unveil the HomeHub feature. The company may call on developers and hardware manufacturers to begin buildings products tailored for those types of experiences at the event.last_img read more

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Fitbit confident smartwatch will arrive on time, despite rumors of delays

first_imgInternet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts David Curry Fitbit’s next smartwatch is “on track” to launch at the end of this year, according to chief executive James Park, who denied the multiple rumors of delays.In an interview with the Financial Times, Park said the smartwatch will be the company’s best yet, sporting “industry leading” GPS performance, a music player, and new biometric sensors that may find use in the medical industry, if Fitbit receives FDA approval.See Also: Study hints that wearables are terrible at counting calories, just like their usersOne thing that won’t be in the next Fitbit is cellular options, which Park says requires too many tradeoffs, the most important being battery life.Even though Fitbit has one of the better records for accuracy, in a report last year the Apple Watch was deemed far more accurate when it came to heart-rate and high-intensity exercise. The improved GPS may help reduce inaccuracies, alongside the new sensors.Customers say “Where’s my jam?”The company has also been hounded by customers that want to control music through the fitness tracker. The acquisition of Pebble late last year has helped them add third-party applications to the new wearable, according to Park.Entering into the medical market has been rumored for a few months, and Park confirmed the company’s intentions: “Getting approved by the FDA and going down that pathway is something we wholeheartedly embrace. The exciting thing about larger form-factor devices is it allows us to have those capabilities and unlock them over time.”Fitbit is in a tricky situation, if the FDA approval doesn’t come in and the smartwatch doesn’t work wonders, it could be seen as same old to Wall Street. The company’s stock has halved in the past year, and it recently lost its position as the most popular wearable manufacturer, now third behind Apple and Xiaomi.center_img Follow the Puck Tags:#biometric#FDA#Fitbit#fitness tracker#GPS#smartwatch Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

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Join a Savings Challenge

first_imgBy Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, oneill@aesop.rutgers.eduAmerica Saves Week and Military Saves Week are February 27 to March 4 so now is a good time to discuss savings strategies with service members. What is the best way to “find” money to save? There is no one right answer. Automatic payroll deductions work well for many people. For example, they have deposits into a credit union savings account or the Thrift Savings Plan automatically taken out of their paycheck, before they can spend it. Other people do well by saving loose change in a jar and depositing it periodically in a savings account as the jar fills up.Find more info at http://militarysaves.org/A third way to save money is to complete a savings challenge that gradually ramps up (or down) weekly deposits. While many people start these challenges during the first full week of January, as a New Year’s resolution, they can be started at any time. For example, another option is to make a “catch up deposit,” perhaps using tax refund money, in February or March and then complete a calendar year challenge from that point forward until the end of December.Below is a description of six different savings challenges and how they operate:The 52-Week Money Challenge– This challenge begins with a $1 deposit during Week #1. The weekly deposit rises by $1 per week and reaches $52 during the final week of the Challenge (Week #52), with total savings of $1,378. Some people have suggested doing the 52-Week Money Challenge in reverse if people have more money in January (e.g., from holiday gifts or a year-end bonus at work) than they do in December, which tends to be a very expensive month for many people with holiday gifts and travel. The “reverse challenge” strategy is also very motivating. After five weeks, you already have $250 saved. A third way to do the 52-Week Money Challenge is to pick an amount each week that you can afford (e.g., $25 one week and $16 the next) and complete the challenge in any order. Tracking forms are available athttp://walton.ifas.ufl.edu/fcs/files/2014/01/52-Week-Money-Challenge.pdfhttps://www.affinityplus.org/Portals/0/Documents/Blog/52Week.pdfhttps://www.lgfcu.org/sites/default/files/docs/52week_challenge.pdfThe 365-Day Penny Challenge- With this challenge, people make a daily savings deposit and increase their deposit by a penny a day. At the end of a year, they have $667.95 of savings. A description and tracking form are available at http://funhappyhome.com/2016/01/365-day-penny-saving-challenge-save-667-in-one-year/. Like the 52-Week Money Challenge, the 365-Day Penny Challenge can be done forward, backward, or in any order that works for savers.The 52-Week Youth Money Challenge– This challenge is for parents to use to encourage their children to save. See http://www.slideshare.net/BarbaraONeill/52-week-money-challenge-for-youth0315. Weekly savings deposits are 10 weeks each of $1, $2, $3, $4, and $5, resulting in $150 of savings. Week #51 is an optional $25 from birthday gifts and Week #52 is an optional $25 from holiday gifts ($200 total). There is also an option for parents to provide a 50% ($100) match of their child’s savings, resulting in total annual savings of $300.The 15-Week Money Challenge– This challenge is for high school and college students and adults with short-term financial goals. See http://www.slideshare.net/BarbaraONeill/15-week-college-student-money-challenge0715. The Basic Challenge includes five weeks of $10 savings, five weeks of $20 savings, and five weeks of $30 savings, resulting in a total accumulation of $300. The “Hard Core” Challenge starts with a $10 weekly deposit and ramps up the savings deposit by $5 per week for a final deposit of $80, resulting in a total accumulation of $675.The $2,500 Savings Challenge- This challenge begins with a $2 deposit during Week #1. The weekly deposit rises by $2 per week and reaches a high of $98. There are two weeks “off” at a saver’s discretion and a $50 deposit is made during the final week of the Challenge (Week #50), with total savings of $2,500. Like the 52-Week Money Challenge and the 365-Day Penny Challenge, the $2,500 Savings Challenge can be done forward, backward, or in any order that works for individual savers. See http://www.slideshare.net/BarbaraONeill/50-week-2500-savings-challengeThe 30-Day $100 Savings Challenge– This challenge is for small dollar amounts andshort-term financial goals. The challenge format is saving $1 for five days, $2 for five days, $3 for five days, $4 for five days, and $5 for ten days, resulting in $100 of savings on Day #30: http://www.slideshare.net/BarbaraONeill/30-day-100-savings-challenge-0416. Like several other challenges, deposits can be made in any order throughout the month.  For example, some people may have more money to save at the beginning of a month than the end.last_img read more

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10 Tips for Succeeding in Film School

first_imgStarting film school? Success is measured in more than just good grades. Check out these 10 tips to propel you to the top of the class.So you’ve taken the plunge. You’re starting film school and looking to pursue a career in the film and video industry. School is great for providing a solid basis of skills and build network connections, but to succeed post-graduation you’ll need to position yourself for success.Share your own thoughts and advice in the comments below!1. Start Shooting ImmediatelyWith the way college is structured, students usually have to take a full year’s worth of basic classes before they can actually start shooting film and video projects. Don’t fall into this trap. It’s better to get your bad films out as a freshman than to wait until you’re a senior with a terrible demo reel. Take the incentive to learn video/film production techniques on your own and you’ll be a step ahead.2. Volunteer to Help Out on ShootsOne way to develop your skills early on is to volunteer on projects other classmates are working on. There’s a lesson to learn on every shoot, even if that lesson is what not to do. See if there are any call boards in your school seeking crew members and connect with the classmates above you to see how you can help.3. Use the Barter System or RentYou don’t have to own a full studio worth of equipment to get proficient with different lighting and camera gear. Try bartering gear with other students – just be sure expectations are clear about responsibility and what would happen if the equipment were to be lost or broken. Another option is to rent equipment on a short term basis. Online rental houses like BorrowLenses, LensRentals and LensProToGo, provide high quality gear, nationwide shipping and affordable pricing.4. Become Friends with ActorsThey may be weird but they’ll work for pizza!Don’t make the mistake of asking your roommate to be in your student film. They will inevitably lose interest and your film will show it. Students pursuing an acting degree are often more than willing to be in your short films. It’s mutually beneficial – you get an actor, they get content for their demo reel. If you befriend an actor they may also open up connections to other talent.5. Don’t Get Bogged Down with TheoryA good portion of film school curriculum typically involves film theory and history. This academic approach to film works in a classroom setting, but isn’t applicable to most career goals of film students (unless, of course, you want to be a film professor). Many film schools are notorious for saying and not doing – which puts the initiative on you to get the production experience you need for post-graduate employment. Go shoot a film project, critique it, then shoot again. Being in school allows much freedom to explore and create – you may never have that same flexibility again.6. Realize You Need More than ‘Traditional’ SchoolHaving a college degree doesn’t guarantee you a job, especially in the film and video industry. You will need more than classes if you want to increase your chances of being employed when you graduate. You need applicable skills. Supplement your film school classwork with self-initiated study, either through online tutorials, in-person film/video workshops or on-set experiences (see #2).7. Specialize in SomethingYou’ve probably heard of the old phrase “jack of all trades, master of none.” While having a well rounded education is important, you should also try honing in on the areas that interest you most. Use the first year or two of film school to explore different production and post career paths. Experiment with shooting, editing, motion graphics, lighting, etc. Then, in the final year(s) of school try to get the most experience in the area you enjoyed most or excelled at. There’s a reason why Hollywood blockbusters require hundreds of people with very different, very specialized skill-sets.8. Learn Software EarlyHaving knowledge of post-production software is an extremely marketable skill that potential employers may consider. In fact, in many cases your application won’t even be considered if you don’t have proficiency in certain softwares.Often times, film schools will only have agreements with certain software providers, leaving other industry leading apps by the wayside. What you don’t have available at school, start learning on your own. Applications like Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, After Effects and DaVinci Resolve have widespread pro-level adoption, so it’s important to have some familiarity with each.9. Look for Gigs Outside of SchoolBeing in film doesn’t mean you have to work on only school related shoots. Look for shoots happening in your city or region. Companies are often more than willing to have “interns” work for free on their sets to gain experience. This can also be a great opportunity to connect with would-be potential employers.In larger metropolitan areas, check out popular online film/video job boards like Production Hub and Mandy.com, which often have open crew and post production positions listed.10. Use Your “Film Student” CardLeverage your position as a student. Don’t have money to rent a location? Let the owner know it’s for a school project and they will be much more likely to let you use it for free. Want to tour a studio? Most people are happy to show film students their studios. Find people in job roles that you may want to be in and email them. They are often very willing to answer questions regarding their work with students. Did you know you may even be able to write-off movie tickets because you’re a film student?‘Real life’ doesn’t begin when you graduate. You are in real life right now and the connections you make and work you produce will have the power to open up doors for the rest of your life.Any tips you’d like to add?Share in the comments below!last_img read more

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Why You Should Care About Blackmagic’s Acquisition of Eyeon Fusion

first_imgBlackmagic Design has acquired high-end compositing and effects app Eyeon Fusion, marking their entrance into yet another segment of the professional film and video market.At IBC 2014, Blackmagic Design announced that they had just (seemingly literally) acquired Eyeon Software Inc, the creators of the compositing software Fusion. Is this something you should be excited about? Given the spectacular way in which Blackmagic Design transformed DaVinci Resolve into a hugely accessible color grading application, yes you should be! DaVinci Resolve used to be hugely expensive, with a semi-clunky user interface and an unituitive workflow. Now it’s freely available, sleekly designed and constantly being improved. We can only hope that history will repeat itself with Eyeon’s Fusion.So why did Blackmagic buy Eyeon? It’s a little tricky to figure out, but time will tell. The best guess is Blackmagic’s attempting to go head-to-head with with Autodesk’s Smoke and The Foundry’s Nuke – both high-end 3D compositing applications. It’s not secret that Blackmagic has aspirations to tackle film production from beginning to end: shooting (cameras), video editing, color grading, encoding, monitoring. Fusion excels at combining motion design and composition, a current void in Blackmagic’s full production pipeline.This is what Blackmagic Design president Grant Petty had to say about it in an email he sent out during IBC:For years we have been amazed by the incredible Fusion software and what an amazing feature set it has for compositing. It has been the tool used on over 1000 major Hollywood feature films and has been used on some of the most recent blockbuster movies for some of the most complex effects scenes in these movies. It’s an incredible tool and it’s really Hollywood’s secret to doing some of these major effects shots.Now we have just completed acquiring eyeon software and for us, this is extremely exciting as, similar to DaVinci, we now have a second powerful software tool that has remarkable creative power. The guys at eyeon are also excited as now we can add better sales and support for eyeon’s software tools. So I think it’s a very good match.What is Eyeon Fusion?Eyeon Fusion, now in version 7, is a high end motion graphics and visual effects compositing tool that allows you to do things like rotoscoping, keying, and generating particle systems. If you check out the feature film credits listed on the Eyeon website, you’ll soon see that it’s a trusted and reliable part of the Hollywood visual effects industry’s tool kit. In the short video above you can get a feel for Fusion by seeing how you might go about creating a 3D lower third title in the program, using it’s node-based workflow. Hopefully the interface will get an overhaul once Blackmagic’s design team get their hands on it!Currently Eyeon Fusion runs around $2,500 US per license. Will we see Blackmagic radically slash the price and improve the app, just as they did with Resolve?Why Editors Will Want To Learn FusionIn this 30 minute interview with feature film editor Alan Edward Bell you can hear his take on why Fusion is such a compelling addition to the modern editor’s tool kit. Alan uses it to perform all sorts of visible and invisible effects such as splitting performances, speeding up slow performances, creating temp effects and much more. If you’re thinking that After Effects is an easier software to learn, then Alan would argue that the node-based architecture of Fusion, instead of the layer-based workflow of After Effects, is far more efficient way to work, especially when taking creative work from one project to another.“In a layer based universe you can get work done, there’s no doubt about it, but when you go back a month later when you have no idea what you did to achieve that stunning visual effect. when you go back to that layer you’ve got all these nested effects in all these layers. It will take you hours to figure out what you did. And if you want to recreate that on another comp, it’s very hard to just take that chunk… and pull it out and add it to something else. In a node based environment that is very easy. With nodes you can see exactly where all the information is going, and what each piece is doing.”Eyeon Fusion TutorialsThere is a wealth of learning materials available from the Eyeon website to help you start creating, including an online manual, a getting started guide and a comprehensive masterclass series of tutorials. If you want even more resources then you should also check out Jason Myres helpful post over on the Lift Gamma Gain forum.last_img read more

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