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first_img Related postsInclusive Components: Book Reviews And Accessibility Resources13th December 2019Should Your Portfolio Site Be A PWA?12th December 2019Struggling To Get A Handle On Traffic Surges10th December 2019Building A CSS Layout: Live Stream With Rachel Andrew10th December 2019How To Design Profitable Sales Funnels On Mobile6th December 2019How To Build A Real-Time Multiplayer Virtual Reality Game (Part 2)5th December 2019 Lessons Learned From Plugin SupportYou are here: Posted on 30th June 2016Web Design FacebookshareTwittertweetGoogle+share A year and a half ago I released my first premium WordPress plugin, Advanced Ads. It’s true that once the plugin was out, my most important task was support. Support is a crucial element that determines not only the success of the project, but also how happy everyone will be, me included.With this in mind, I constantly optimized my approach to providing support. Let me share with you what I learned. Read on to find out what I learned about support, the four sides that will help you understand each request, which fears of mine proved to be unfounded, what an efficient support system looks like and, last but not least, how to optimize support.The post Lessons Learned From Plugin Support appeared first on Smashing Magazine.From our sponsors: Lessons Learned From Plugin Support HomeWeb DesignLessons Learned From Plugin Supportlast_img read more

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Poor investments that have not acquired new users.Lack of an aggressive deployment strategy for its high-end smartphones.The fact that Apple and Samsung eat the lion’s share of global smartphone revenue.The first two problems can be remedied if HTC is smart with how it develops its next series of phones and pushes them out to cellular carriers. And that will help with the third problem, too.A Dangerous SituationThe Apple and Samsung duopoly at the top of the smartphone market is not just dangerous for HTC, it spells trouble for every other smartphone maker. Nokia and RIM – two companies that have fully earned their Deathwatch positions – have already felt the pain of competing with the iPhone and Galaxy devices.This is no longer an Android versus iOS issue. This is about whether or not there will be room for any smartphone makers apart from Apple and Samsung. Consumers like choice, especially when it comes to top-of-the-market devices. Competition creates diversity and diversity begets creativity and innovation. If the entire mobile ecosystem comes down to a profit race between Samsung and Apple, the whole market will likely suffer.So, does HTC have a chance to turn things around? The Apple and Samsung duopoly looks strong for the short term. So as of today, HTC is on notice: Find a way to become relevant again or the Deathwatch awaits.  Related Posts Tags:#HTC Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img By many accounts, HTC is the third best smartphone manufacturer in the world. It creates quality devices that consumers like and can go toe-to-toe with anything that rivals Samsung, Apple, Motorola or Nokia throw at it. Yet HTC is slowly dying. As the company’s profits are whittled away, the likes of Apple and Samsung are building an impenetrable duopoly at the to of the market. Sure, the HTC One series sits at the very top of the smartphone market and HTC’s Windows Phone 8 devices rival the quality of those from Microsoft’s preferreed partner Nokia. But HTC is struggling to sell those devices and continues to lose money quarter after quarter – even as Apple and Samsung just grow stronger.Headed For A DeathWatch?The question is whether or not the decline is irreversible. Is HTC one strong quarter away from being a major player again? Or is it a couple more poor quarters away from earning a dreaded spot on the ReadWrite Deathwatch list?HTC’s margin for error continues to shrink. For the third quarter, HTC’s revenue fell 23% from the second quarter and 48% from Q3 2011. Its operating profits were just $167 million, down 76% from the same quarter a year ago. (At least it wasn;t a loss, though.) HTC’s profits have taken a hit due to failed investments, such as Beats Audio and ImageSense, that have failed to entice users away from competitors. HTC also has not released a major device since the HTC One X on AT&T and the EVO 4G LTE on Sprint in May/June. The release of the One X was held up by a patent injunction from Apple, which significantly reduced sales and the company’s second-quarter profit. By the third quarter, consumers were beeing wooed by the Samsung Galaxy S 3 and then the iPhone 5 – and HTC didn’t have anything new to offer as we approach the critical Holiday shopping season.HTC’s Strengths & WeaknessesThe HTC One series are high-quality devices. The company has spent significant marketing dollars in the U.S. (if not quite as much as Samsung and Apple). The company shipped 7.3 million smartphones last quarter, according to IDC, good for fifth behind Samsung, Apple, RIM and ZTE. But HTC’s profit margins are dangerously low. In the third quarter, its margins were 7% and its margins are expected to be around 1% for the holiday season. That makes it difficult for HTC to mount effective marketing campaigns around new devices or spend big bucks on meaningful partnerships able to cut into Samsung and Apple’s lead. HTC’s measly profits come down to three factors: dan rowinski The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

first_imgA well-placed government source leaked ReadWrite this draft memorandum from the White House.*Announcing Citizenship 2.0—The Same Civil Rights You Love, But Better!We’re super excited to announce Citizenship 2.0—now enhanced with extra monitoring for your safety and security!We know that many people have enjoyed the old version of American citizenship. But as with any product, times change and require adaptation and upgrades to stay current.Your old freedoms were delivered in conventional ways. Now you can get just the freedom you need, when you need it. It’s freedom as a service. It’s Citizenship 2.0. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Civil Liberties#Government#nsa#Prism#satire#spying A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting New And Improved!In recent years, this administration has learned a lot from Silicon Valley—and we’re not just talking about the communications we’ve been intercepting for years from some of the biggest Internet companies. We’ve been very interested in how innovative business models can be applied to government.In particular, the freemium style of product has proven very compelling, where most users get a basic service for free and others pay to get an enhanced version.Of course, as taxpayers, you’re already paying the government to provide services. But our expert governance innovators—”governovators,” we call them—have figured out a way to apply this model to the rights you enjoy as a citizen.Get excited, people—freedom is no longer free. It’s freemium!Big Government, Big Data, Big Changes!You may ask, what’s enabling this move? You may have read something about PRISM.PRISM doesn’t exist, of course. But let’s say we had a secret program to monitor all Internet communications with the tacit cooperation or nonresistance of major tech companies. For argument’s sake. If something like that existed, that would merely be a back-end foundation for the front-end interface improvements to your government that really matter. That’s Citizenship 2.0.Here’s what you’re going to get:Unlimited storage for all your communications. You won’t have access to them—but we will. And that’s what matters. If you or your parents come from a foreign country, or you just have a funny-sounding name, or you ever Googled the name of a political organization, you also get extra backups—for free!In-app purchases. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” First of all, that was, like, soooo three centuries ago. Second, what’s with the crazy capitalization? Anyway, we have all this new technology that’s a complete game-changer. With Citizenship 2.0, you don’t have to surrender your essential liberty up front. You can trade little bits of it as you go, for all the temporary safety you want!Access to your leaders. We’re all about transparency—at least when it comes to what you’re doing online. Thanks to Citizenship 2.0, what you do online might end up in a report that the president himself reads! Isn’t that cool? Note: If you prefer the old version of citizenship, you can opt out of these changes and stick to the original version guaranteed by the Bill of Rights by marching, protesting, or writing your Congressman. But let’s get real—no one’s going to bother to do that.*We’re kidding. We hope. owen thomas Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

first_img12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… While an Xbox Live Gold premium account is still necessary to unlock online multiplayer gameplay and other online gaming features, a whole slew of other Xbox Live apps will be soon made free to all users, including ESPN, NBA, NHL, UFC, Twitch, Machinima and more. The maneuver might reframe the original video content Microsoft has been planning for the Xbox One, including a documentary about that crazy Atari legend we followed into the desert and at least six original TV shows. Suddenly the Xbox One doesn’t look so unfriendly to the casual living room crowd, which the Xbox One initially seemed to court. Since then, major shifts in policy have come as direct reactions to public outcry among the core gaming set, including controversial DRM, always-on and regional restrictions.It’s easy to look at the pricing news and think Microsoft’s Xbox One isn’t selling. That is indeed the case, but it’s a signal of something bigger.It’s worth noting the news of a $399 Xbox One isn’t a price drop for the console itself—it just shaves off a pricey, required peripheral that no one really wanted, and it gives would-be Xbox One buyers a choice they should’ve had in the the first place. An unbundled Kinect sensor will be available this fall, and odds are that it will be improved over the one that’s currently shipping. From the Xbox Wire blog:“Since the beginning, we have focused on delivering great games and entertainment experiences for you. Your feedback matters to us and it shapes the products and services we build. Your feedback showed up in the Xbox One console we launched back in November and in the monthly updates we’ve delivered since. 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Tags:#Hulu#Microsoft#Microsoft Xbox#Netflix#Streaming video#Xbox#Xbox Live taylor hatmaker 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe Appcenter_img 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… In an about-face to some of its least popular Xbox One policies, Microsoft has proven it’s still listening to its customers—and willing to give gamers what they want.Starting June 9, the company will sell a standalone, Kinect-free version of its Xbox One console for $399. With news of the Kinect unbundling, Microsoft also announced an even more substantial change of heart: that it would unshackle Netflix, Hulu and other streaming entertainment apps from its pricey $60 annual (more paid month-to-month) Xbox Live Gold membership.The Kinect, Microsoft’s 3D motion camera that executes voice and gesture commands, was largely to blame for the substantial price gap (and unit sales) between Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4, which sells for $399. The shift is tied to both a change in strategy and a shift of leadership following last year’s departure of former Xbox chief Don Mattrick to Zynga, and the later loss of Xbox lead Marc Whitten to Sonos. Happily, it appears that Phil Spencer, longtime Microsoft employee and new head of Xbox, isn’t afraid to admit mistakes and shift gears when they need shifting.Netflix, Hulu Free At Last We’ve heard that you want more choices from Xbox One. You want a wide variety of options in your games and entertainment experiences and you also want options in your hardware selection.”The Long GameFor Microsoft, it’s wise to provide those purchasing options ASAP. The Xbox’s uniquely draconian Netflix policy has lived on way too long already and the company needs to lure in video consumers before it starts delivering all of those expensive original shows. Looking over the fence, Sony has managed to sell 7 million units of its Xbox One rival, the PlayStation 4, as of early April 2014. Microsoft sold almost 4 million Xbox One by the end of January 2014, but the company has remained mum on numbers since then. For tech companies, no news isn’t good news—it’s a sign of unimpressive news or altogether bad numbers. Still, it’s way, way too early to call it. The PlayStation 4 was the darling out of the gate, but Microsoft has shown a remarkably humble willingness to comply with the demands of outspoken gamers, and that strategy is well suited to the slow-and-steady pace of the so-called console wars.  Related Posts last_img read more

first_imgNo makeup artist on set? Your actors could end up with shiny skin. Here’s how you can minimize the problem in post-production.All images courtesy of the author.Unwanted shine is every narrative filmmaker’s headache from time to time. It can distract from the story, and it lends an amateur air feel to the production. For example, here is a still from a project I’m currently working on.While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with the picture at the surface level, upon closer inspection we can see a problem.In the shot, the left side of the actor’s cheek is showing unwanted shine. These are specular highlights that are somewhat brighter than normal facial highlights. This sort of shine can be the result of sweat or makeup, and the reflection becomes slightly stronger than the skin tone. It’s important to note that these highlights are different from seeing the side of an actor’s face completely clipped due to improper exposure.For some, this may not be a dilemma. However, when someone brought up the skin shine here, it was all I could see when the actor moved his head.Let’s look at how you can fix this problem. We’re not going to be able to eradicate the shine, but we will be able to dull the glossy texture.In the shot, the actor is wearing a dirt makeup mixture of Aloe Gator SPF Gel and Mehron Star Blend Cake Makeup: ebony color. This was the mixture makeup artists on Terminator: Salvation used to give the characters a “lived-in” dirt effect. The Gator Gel is a substance similar to petroleum jelly, and it’s giving the actor an oily complexion. At the time, we didn’t have any HD translucent powder, which would neutralize the shine, and as a result, we now have to fix this problem in post.For this specific task, we’re going to be working in DaVinci Resolve. So head on over to the color window and find your clip.Using the HSL qualifier, select the specular highlights, and minimize the selected area using the luminance and saturation controls. You want to avoid bringing neutral skin into your selection, but if it’s unavoidable, don’t worry: we can fix that a little later.Next, you want to blur the selection from around 75-150. The amount of shine will dictate how much blur you use.You now want to lower the gain/highlights to minimize the shine, but we don’t want to kill the natural vibrancy of the area, so we’re also going to slightly increase the gamma/midtones. This will reduce the shine, but maintain the overall luminance. If you find that part of the area has become discolored, gently introduce a similar color in the gain color balance controls.Our final image will look like the following. You can now see that the shine is significantly less noticeable, and it looks a lot more natural. There is a slight discrepancy in exposure between the two images. But as the scene has yet to be graded, that is very easy to fix later.Depending on the intensity of the shine, this fix may not always work. Highlights are the enemy when working with digital, and you’re going to want to minimize any post-production work that involves healing them. In this case, we should have had a makeup artist at the ready with the HD powder to avoid this issue, but that’s low-budget filmmaking for you.Looking for more DaVinci Resolve tips? Check out these articles.Reduce Unwanted Skin Shine In Post-Production with DaVinci ResolveEmploy the Usage Tab to Simplify a DaVinci Resolve ProjectDaVinci Resolve Tip: Use Color Keys to Fix White BalanceDaVinci Resolve: Enhance Your Sky in Under Five MinutesSpeed Change Techniques In DaVinci ResolveInterested in our entire collection of Resolve articles? Check them out here.last_img read more

first_imgFrom Oscar-winning editors and production designers to producers and screenwriters — here are some of the biggest takeaways from our recent interviews.Over the past year, here at PremiumBeat we’ve been lucky enough to speak with some industry-leading creatives and filmmakers. At one point, these rock stars were right where you are now, whether that’s just starting out or creating your next feature. Whatever your filmmaking goals may be, these masters of the craft have given us some truly excellent advice.Here are some of our favorite quotes from our recent interviews.The Masterful Editing of First ManImage via Universal.Probably one of the best working editors alive, Tom Cross broke down how he tackled the enormous task of cutting First Man. Our talk was long but full of gems for anybody thinking about editing a film.That clarity really made us edit the sequence differently than other scenes in the movie. Instead of it being cutty, messy, and rough, the richness of the image invited us to slow the pace down, allowing us to linger on shots so that you could really look at these tiny little details like the richness of the soil and the stitches in the gloves. This shift invites you to stay and hold onto shots longer. It also allowed us to double down on this subjective style that we had set up in other scenes, so it let us linger on these POV shots of the hands going to the ladder, so you really feel like you are in his spacesuit climbing down the ladder, and its you the audience taking the first step on the moon. So the IMAX led us to a different take and rhythm but Damien really wanted the moon sequence to feel like another world.— Tom Cross, ACE on Editing First Man and Working with IMAX FootageBlack Panther’s Oscar-Winning Production DesignMarvel Studios’ BLACK PANTHER Filmmakers BTS on set of Black Panther (Ph: Matt Kennedy ©Marvel Studios 2018).Hannah Beachler is now an Oscar winner. Her work on Black Panther was one of the biggest reasons the film was so darn captivating. Wakanda looked and felt like a place rooted simultaneously in history and fantasy. When asked about the decision and freedom to incorporate vibrant colors in a Marvel film — due in part to the success of Guardians and Thor: Ragnarok — Beachler had the following to say.So the textiles are colorful, the buildings are colorful, everything is colorful. So I knew that was gonna be a part of it. Then looking at the [Jack] Kirby stuff, there was a lot of color in this Thor work, and even in the Black Panther comics at the time.We were gonna put all of that out there, you know, bring in the rich architecture. A lot of the architecture has designs, shapes, and colors that all have meaning. Senegalese buildings that have big, bold pinks, purples, and greens — and others with stripes that come down the columns.We went crazy with it, and there was a color story. There is definitely a color story, and as I watched it in the premiere, I was like, ‘Yeah you can definitely feel that color story with the characters.’— Exclusive: Designing Wakanda and the Amazing Sets of Black PantherTatiana S RiegelImage via NEON.The Oscar-nominated editor behind I, Tonya dove into why and how an editor must look at their own work — and the importance of knowing when to take others’ opinions.Don’t get hung up on one note. For every ten notes that I get, I may disagree with nine of them, one of them is going to be something I never thought of it. You have to push through the other nine to get to that one that opens the door. Stay open and flexible, and embrace other’s opinions. In the end, you’re not making a movie only for yourself; you’re making it for an audience. Otherwise, you can do that, but you won’t get very far if nobody wants to see it. So Practice, and be open to notes and opinions.— Interview: How the Editor Behind I, Tonya Recreated HistoryPatrick J Don VitoImage via Green Book (Universal).Right before Oscar-nominations were announced, Patrick J. Don Vito detailed what it was like bringing the now Best Picture-winning film to life. He talked in-depth about learning how to let the audience breathe and knowing when to let the scene play out.There’s a scene when Doc Shirley kind of browbeats Lip when he’s playing craps outside the concert, and he says “They have to stay outside. You didn’t wipe your knees off. They have dirt on them,” and then you go into this kind of map sequence, where you crane up and see them driving off, and then they arrive at a hotel, and Tony starts writing a funny letter. That sequence in the middle didn’t exist. It cut right to the moment when he’s writing the letter. There was something about that that always bugged me. It seemed too abrupt. We created that moment in between where you get a chance to breathe and sit with your feelings about what just happened before you have the joke. And what ends up happening is the joke actually hits harder. When it’s put up against the other scene, people are still recovering from him being chastised. So it’s about figuring out the balance of the whole thing. Figuring out when to have a joke to relieve the tension, and when to not. Letting people stew a little bit. Let them feel it.— The Editor of Green Book Offers Insight Into the Art of BalanceStacey SchroederImage via A24.We spoke with the editor of Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. Need I say more? The Disaster Artist was easily one of the most complicated films to make in recent memory, but somehow the team pulled it off — and then some. Stacey is slowly becoming one of the most sought-after editors in the business and The Disaster Artist is a testament to her talent for blending genres and managing expert pacing.We, certainly in the edit room, try out a lot of jokes. When I’m receiving dailies, I try to cut my favorite version of most of the jokes that come through — just to have them cut together, and it can give you a different feel. Then I try to pick my favorites and put them in my editor’s cut. The jokes in this one, though, were tough. We took out really funny jokes in moments when we needed people not to laugh — or when it felt just too broad, or too out of character, or out of the scene. There’s so much emotion in this movie, more than the average comedy, we had to be very careful picking the moments. There was a lot of discussion, and things came in and out a lot (clips being cut and brought back in), but you get there.— The Disaster Artist: Editing a Film About Making a FilmErnie GilbertImage via “This Is America.”Ernie Gilbert is regular collaborator with Hiro Murai and Donald Glover. That was enough to stop me dead in my tracks. Ernie’s brilliance as an editor and storyteller are on full display in “This is America.”Initially, I thought I could do a tracker document and try to rate each take with good or bad moment markers, making a count, and then mathematically choosing which to use. But I’ve found that the best way to handle it is to watch all the takes and go with your gut. Generally speaking, there’s one take that feels just right. That being said, sometimes there’s a second or a third that could work, and then there are a few that just won’t. Hiro is incredibly supportive and collaborative as a director. He wants to hear your opinion and get that different perspective. This motivates me to dig in and find the takes that really speak to me. Once I had my selects, I kicked out a rough cut for Hiro’s review, and then we sat down to look over alternative takes and my second and third choices per section.I cut in the latest version of Adobe Premiere Pro CC. I find it to be incredibly fluid for my music video work. I use Premiere’s multi-cams to keep track of different takes and stay on top of all the options throughout the edit. I prep everything in a way that I have access to options quickly, so my directors can see alts for any section at any time. I also knew our VFX artist would be working primarily in After Effects CC, and being able to prep projects for him straight out of Premiere with the truncated schedule would ensure accuracy in the VFX handoff and keep things moving quickly.— The Editor of “This is America” on Building the Iconic VideoAdam SalkyImage via Jeong Park.One of the finest directed movies in recent memory, I Smile Back is a tragic and narrative masterpiece. We sat down with Adam to talk about his approach to editing, shooting indie projects with little time, and working with actors.Most independent films have zero rehearsal because there usually isn’t money to pay the actors to commit the time. Or, the actors are so busy working that they literally only show up the day before the shoot, and/or the film doesn’t have the time or money to make room for it in a very quick prep. TV has even less time because you don’t even meet the actors until you show up on set on the first day!On I Smile Back I was lucky to be in touch with Sarah from the moment I became involved. We met in person and spoke many times over the phone about the character, different scenes, story moments. Then as we got closer to production, we did have two extremely helpful, multi-hour rehearsal sessions where we read through the script with the whole cast and worked on a particularly tough scene the night before we shot it. I love rehearsal. I say use as much as you can get.— Adam Salky on Directing Projects with Powerful EmotionMatt KennedyImage via Black Panther.Look, I’ll get right to the point: this dude shoots BTS and stills for Marvel movies. I mean, come on! How cool is that? We spoke with him about his process and working with studios. (The picture up there under Hannah Beachler’s section at the beginning of this article . . . check out the photo credit.)I would say in the beginning I was very surprised what images the studio would pick. Now, I’m not surprised at all. I’d say 75 percent of what they choose is not an image I would pick first. I feel like so many great images never get to see the light of day. In the end, it is the filmmakers’ and studios’ final say what is released and how it is used. They have their idea of what represents the film, and so do I. The trick is giving them great material to choose from, and as long as they are happy, that is really all that matters in the end. Sometimes we are on the same page about images, and that is always a satisfying outcome.— Set Photographer Matt Kennedy on Shooting for Marvel and MoreDan MoroccoImage via Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox).Starting out as an assistant to Alexandre Desplat, Javier Navarette now scores Brooklyn Nine-Nine. This creative genius creates the iconic score with the images right before his eyes. We spoke with him about taking those first steps and how he finds inspiration.What’s great about writing music to picture is that I almost never have a blank page. I almost always have picture to draw inspiration from. I really started writing music by writing to picture, so for me it really is much easier to have the guidelines of where the music needs to stop and start, what it needs to help, and what lines to stay out of the way of, etc. I’m sure for musicians that started by just writing songs it’s a little harder to have all of those boxes to check while you’re just trying to write a cool piece of music, but for me it’s an essential part of the creative process.— Composer Dan Morocco of Brooklyn Nine-NIneBradley OlsenImage via Off the Tracks.Bradley Olsen‘s seemingly niche documentary about Final Cut Pro’s transition to the fateful Final Cut Pro X is much more intricate and accessible than its subject matter suggests. Olsen hopes that a documentary like this might one day help change some minds and open possibilities for future editors.As Apple puts more attention into professional workflow features, such as built-in collaboration, that will enable industry movers and shakers like Michael Cioni and Sam Mestman to push Final Cut Pro X in Hollywood without any more excuses. But behavioral changes are very hard in an industry that’s very much set in its ways. I hope my documentary can be a tool to open some eyes and allow Final Cut to gain more acceptance because post-production in Hollywood is largely stuck in the past, and there is a desperate need for them to change. The rest of the world is quickly embracing new ways of doing things, and I am very interested to see how that shapes the kinds of projects we see in the future.— Filmmaker Bradley Olsen and His FCPX Documentary “Off the Tracks”Patricia ResnickImage via Mad Men (Lionsgate Television).Having worked with Robert Altman and contributed to one of the best shows ever created, Mad Men, Patricia Resnick is a powerhouse writer that has had some truly inspiring and unbelievable experiences. We were lucky enough to speak with her about how the pitch process works for screenplays these days. Be sure to check out the rest of the interview for some of her awesome stories, like dancing with the First Lady.In the ’80s I once sold a very brief pitch. Gave him two lines and sold it on the phone. That doesn’t happen anymore. So now, they want things unbelievably worked out, and as far as TV, they really want all the characters, the first season, where you plan to end up. Visual aids. Look books — to people actually doing trailers for things that have not been shot. Big boards and Power Points — you really have to have things nailed down and worked out.— Screenwriter Patricia Resnick on Altman, Mad Men, and Working on 9 to 5Toby HalbrooksImage via A Ghost Story (via Bret Curry). One of the fastest rising producers in Hollywood and on the Indie film circuit, Toby Halbrooks is one of the most hard-working filmmakers around. Having worked on both micro-budget short films and Disney blockbusters, Halbrooks gave us his take on why keeping your cool and trusting your team is key to being a successful producer.Eventually you learn to trust your teams and stay out of the way. If they need you, you’re there to support the department heads, so you want them to stay on track, but you don’t want to meddle too much. The trick is to have an eye on all aspects of the project to make sure it’s running smoothly. Once the machine is built to go, you let it run.— Producer Toby Halbrooks Shares Indie Film InsightsLooking for more video production insight? Check these out.How to Change the Color of Exterior Lights in After EffectsTutorial: Removing Audio Pops and Recording Audio DifferentlyBuilding a Heavily Diffused $50 DIY LightDaVinci Resolve 15 Video Crash Course — Working with Audio on The Edit PageVideo Tutorial: Which Microphone Should You Use?last_img read more

first_imgSale leaders underestimate just how much impact their sales force can have on the execution of their strategy.If you do not intend to lead with price, competing on price is a change of strategy. “But we are not competing on price,” you say, “We are competing on value.” This may or may not be true, but every time you match a competitor’s price, you have decided to compete on price. More still, every time you beat a competitor’s price to win new business, you are absolutely competing on price—and by doing so, changing your overall strategy.If your product or service isn’t undeniably the best in the category to the point that it defines that category completely, you cannot compete on product or service. “Our product really is better than our competitor’s,” you say. If you insist. Look, you know far more than I do. That said, almost everyone has a good product or service. If you lead with product, you are selling features and benefits. This means you are selling at too low a level to be compelling, differentiated, or a trusted advisor.When your salespeople compete on product without that actually being your strategy, they lose because they have decided to change your strategy.I know, you want your team to compete on value creation. You want them to be consultative, and you want them to be considered trusted advisors, peers of your clients. But when your sales force isn’t equipped to sell value, that’s the same as not having a disruptive, insight-based strategy.Some portion of your sales force will try to make selling easy by competing on price, when it is not to your advantage to do so, and by expecting the product to sell itself. It is likely that this isn’t  possible in an economy that is commoditizing everything it can.If you don’t want your sales force to change your strategy, then you cannot be responsible for changing the strategy either. This means you can’t allow your sales force to compete in ways that aren’t aligned with your strategy. Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

first_imgWe sometimes forget that we are competing to win business. Your competitor can walk in right behind you. One of you wins, one of you loses.last_img

first_imgToday, October 11, 2019, marks three years since I published my first book, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need. My primary outcome when writing this book was to ensure that it would stand the test of time (which is why I don’t follow fads like social selling and look instead for trend-lines that provide a sense of direction and suggest an evolutionary change).I had been writing this blog for five years when a publisher asked me for a book. At the time, I didn’t feel I needed to write a book. I was writing a post every day, and at five hundred words a day, I was already writing the equivalent of three books a year, a book being roughly sixty-thousand words. Because readers kept sending me notes asking me to write a book, I drafted a book with the working title 21 Elements: The Periodic Table of Sales Success. I hired an editor to help me with development and ended up with only seventeen of my original twenty-one elements.The publisher read the book and hated it. He asked me why I would make the first chapter Self-Discipline, in his words, “when everyone hates self-discipline.” He continued sharing his thoughts, aiming for the third chapter, titled: Caring. Has said, “What does caring have to do with selling?” At this point, I realized the call wasn’t going as well as I hoped it would.Rather than try to argue about each chapter, I asked him a question, even though I knew the answer. I asked, “Have you ever sold or led a sales force?” He confessed he had not. I followed up by telling him, “I have never published a book, so I will count on you to have a deep understanding of that, and you’ll have to trust that I understand my subject.” He countered by asking me if he could compile several blog posts into a book, and idea that had no interest to me whatsoever.Going It AloneAt that moment, I decided to publish the book myself. I hired an editor and spent the next six months writing and editing the text. My editor helped me clean up the book, polishing sentences and paragraphs. At one point, he told me to delete chapter seventeen, which he said added nothing. I rewrote it from scratch.Six weeks from the publication date, I received a direct message on Twitter from an acquisition editor from my publisher asking me why I hadn’t written a book. I DM’d back that I had, and he suggested he couldn’t find it. I told him I was six weeks away from publication. We had a phone call, and he shared with me that he hated my title, and we agreed I would send him the book. A few days later, I signed with my publisher, who immediately recognized the book as a competency model. We published the book, and it became an Amazon.com and the USA Today national bestseller.Why I Love This BookI get notes and emails from people who read my books and this blog. The notes about my second book, The Lost Art of Closing, always include something about how much more money the person is making because they learned to control the process and trade value. The emails about book three, Eat Their Lunch, always suggest that the writer is booking more meetings and winning more and bigger deals. But TOSG brings different feedback.Most of the notes about this book say that not only did it improve their sales, but it also made them a better parent, spouse, and person. The first half of the book is designed to do just that; improve your intangibles, like Self-Discipline, Optimism, Caring, Competitiveness, Resourcefulness, Persistence, Initiative, Communication, and Accountability.Who you are matters much more than what you do or what you sell. Success in sales is individual, not situational.There is not a single novel idea in The Was Only Sales Guide. The only novelty in the book is the competency model that I constructed out of character traits and skills that are all well-recognized and documented. Because the ideas are so well documented, I included a reading list at the end of every chapter for people who need to go deeper in any area.Learn Anthony’s core strategies & tactics for sales success at any level with The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever NeedTOSG is a sales book. So all the Mindset chapters in the first half of the book are all written for a salesperson. The second half of the book is made up of the skills necessary to succeed in sales, and I added a few that have merged as being critical to success, even though they are not widely taught or trained. In that half, you find Closing, Prospecting, Storytelling, Diagnosing, Negotiating, Business Acumen, Change Management, and Leadership. The last three of these skills are differentiators for a salesperson—especially when coupled with the Mindset chapters.On my first book’s third birthday, I can’t imagine writing about anything else. When you pick it up, email me at Anthony iannarino.com so that I can send you the workbook. 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

first_imgOvernight rains at many places and fresh light snowfall in Gulmarg led to an increase in the minimum temperatures across the Valley and Ladakh region, with the mercury settling above the freezing point at most places.There was fresh light snowfall of about 1.5 inch at Gulmarg in north Kashmir last night, an official of the Met Department said here.Owing to the overcast conditions, the night temperature at Gulmarg was recorded as —3.6 degrees Celsius, the official said.He said the resort was the only place in the Valley where the mercury stayed below the freezing point. Some other places in the higher reaches of Kashmir received light snowfall, while most other places, including Srinagar were lashed by rains.The mercury in Srinagar settled at 3.5 degrees Celsius. In Qazigund, the minimum temperature of 1.6 degrees Celsius, the official said.Pahalgam recorded a low of 1.8 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara registered a low of 1.1 degrees Celsius. Kokernag in south recorded its minimum temperature at 1.5 degrees Celsius, the weatherman said.Leh, in Ladakh region, shivered at —5.6 degrees Celsius, even though it is an increase of nearly seven degrees from the previous night’s —13.3 degrees Celsius.Kargil town was the coldest place in the state with a minimum of —7.5 degrees Celsius, the official said.The MeT Department has forecast scattered to widespread rainfall or snow for the next five days.last_img read more

first_imgA live bullet was found in the baggage of an army jawan at the Srinagar International Airport on Tuesday, after which he was detained, a security official said.The soldier Pandia Raj, who was proceeding to Delhi on leave, was handed over to the army for further investigation, the official said.Prima facie, it seems that the bullet was left behind in the bag “by mistake”, the official added.This is the second incident of an army soldier caught at the airport with live ammunition.On Monday a jawan was arrested after two hand grenades and other ammunition were found in his baggage during the security screening.He had claimed that the grenades had been given to him by a “superior official” for transporting these to Delhi.last_img read more

first_imgA court in Gandhinagar, hearing a rape case against religious preacher Asaram, on Thursday allowed a petition seeking in-camera proceedings in the case.The plea was moved by public prosecutor R.C. Kodekar citing threat to life of witnesses in the case.Principal sessions judge A.N. Joshi allowed the application which said prosecution witnesses coming to the court faced risk to their lives and therefore the proceedings should be held in-camera and members of public be not allowed inside the courtroom.“From now on, witnesses will be examined in-camera owing to the risk to their life,” the court held.A witness was examined in-camera on Thursday after the court granted permission for it.The case before the Gandhinagar court relates to a complaint filed by a Surat-based woman, who accused Asaram of raping her many times when she was living at his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city between 1997 and 2006.The charge sheet also names his wife Lakshmiben, daughter Bharti and four women followers Dhruvben, Nirmala, Jassi and Meera for abetment of rape. The charges against Asaram were framed in March last year.Asaram is also facing another rape case in Jodhpur in Rajasthan, and is currently lodged in a prison there.last_img read more

first_imgUnder pressure from allies in the government over a year after de-classifying the coconut palm as a tree during its earlier stint, the BJP-led coalition Cabinet here on Wednesday passed an amendment restoring the coconut palm in the list of trees and also according it the status of State tree. “The State government has decided to include coconut palm as tree in the Goa, Daman and Diu (Preservation of ) Trees Act, 1984 to regulate felling of coconut trees under this Act,” the Cabinet note on Wednesday stated. The State Cabinet which met here on Wednesday also resolved to declare the coconut tree as the “State tree”. Agriculture Minister Vijai Sardesai of the Goa Forward Party, who had taken the initiative in this regard said the new amendment would be ratified in the State Legislative assembly during the ongoing monsoon session. “We have restored tree status to the coconut (palm),” Mr. Sardesai said. The Opposition as well as civil society had questioned the previous BJP-led coalition government for amending the Goa Daman and Diu (Preservation of )Trees act 1984 in 2016 to drop the tree status accorded to the coconut tree. Opponents of the government, which then included Goa Forward Party led by Mr. Sardesai, had accused the government of unfairly hastening real estate and industrial development at the cost of environment by selectively allowing mass removal of coconut plantations.last_img read more

first_imgA wanted criminal was on Saturday killed and two others were arrested during an encounter with the Punjab Police in Himachal Pradesh’s Bilaspur district, an official said. The deceased was identified as Sunny Masih of Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, Bilaspur Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar said. Mr. Kumar told PTI that five criminals had snatched a car from a person at gunpoint in Mohali district in Punjab. He said after receiving information, the police chased them. When the police team reached close to them near the PWD Rest House in the Naina Devi area, one of the criminals opened fire on them, the SP said. The police retaliated and Masih suffered serious injuries, he added. He was taken to a hospital in Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, where he died, Mr. Kumar said. The other two criminals – Amanpreet and Goldy – were arrested, he said, adding that two of the five persons managed to escape.The incident took place around 3 a.m., according to the Punjab Police. Mohali Senior Superintendent of Police Kuldeep Singh Chahal and other police officials reached the spot of the encounter, Mr. Kumar said. “They had snatched a car and also fired a shot,” Mr. Chahal said. The Bilaspur SP said they were listed as accused in several cases in various police stations in Punjab.last_img read more

first_imgThe magisterial probe into the Amritsar train mishap, which claimed 61 lives, has found the organisers of the Dussehra event and the gateman of the railway crossing at Jaura Phatak accountable for acts leading to the tragedy.The inquiry also gave a clean chit to Navjot Kaur Sidhu, the wife of the Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had attended the function as chief guest, saying “she had no role in organising the event”.The magisterial inquiry into the incident was conducted by the Divisional Commissioner (Jalandhar) B. Purushartha on the orders of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who has now sought strict action against those held responsible.“Everyone concerned with organization, regulation and supervision of the event under inquiry committed omissions and commissions including dereliction of statutory duties,” observed the inquiry report, adding, “it is true that such omissions, commissions, dereliction of duties have not been done for the first time (but) in this event it combined with the blunders committed on the part of key rail employees and a ripe situation for occurrence of this accident was created.”The report, recently submitted to the State government, examined all aspects related to the tragedy. It was based on interviews with all the people affected and various officials concerned, from the district administration and the Railways.The inquiry report observed that while the spectators “committed the mistake” of watching the Dussehra event from rail tracks, the organisers held the event without permission and without undertaking the necessary safety and security measures.The organisers of the event include municipal corporation councillor Vijay Madan and her son Saurabh Madan Mithu, both associated with the ruling Congress party.The report blamed the police and the municipal corporation functionaries for their failure to enforce the law and showing unwanted generosity, while the key rail employees failed to take safety and security measures even after having full knowledge of the presence of a large number of people on and around the rail tracks.The inquiry concluded, “Gateman of Jaura Phatak, Gate No. 27 Mr. Amit Singh has not only failed in discharging his statutory duties but also committed a blunder in not taking appropriate safety and security measures which could have easily prevented this accident. He is one of those key railway employees whose blunder has resulted in this accident.”The inquiry report also blamed the gateman of another gate (No. 26) for his failure. It said, “It is also evident that Gateman of railway level crossing Gate No. 26 Mr. Nirmal Singh also failed in discharging his statutory duties by his late reaction in informing Gateman of Jaura Phatak, Gate No. 27. He came to know about this gathering on rail tracks around 5.30 p.m., but informed Gateman of Gate No. 27, Mr. Amit Singh around 6.40-6.45 p.m. He did not inform the concerned station master and keep giving all right signals to approaching trains. Therefore, he is also responsible for committing this blunder.”Organisers pulled up The inquiry report said the organisers did not having permission required for holding this event.“It is also evident that the organisers conducted this event without taking adequate precautions, measures to ensure safety and security of the people gathered to watch Dussehra celebration,” it added.Blaming the organisers for failure to inform the Railways, the report said, “The organisers neither informed the Railways nor took any precautions and safety measures to stop people from watching the celebrations from rail tracks.”last_img read more

first_imgThe issue of providing a permanent resident certificate (PRC) to six communities that do not enjoy Scheduled Tribe status is hotting up in poll-bound Arunachal Pradesh.At least 18 student and civil society organisations in the State have come together for a 48-hour shutdown from Thursday to protest against the Bharatiya Janata Party government’s alleged move to grant PRC to the six communities classified as non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe or non-APST.These six communities – Adivasi, Deori, Gorkha, Mishing, Moran, and Sonowal Kachari – inhabit Namsai and Changlang districts of the State. Some of these communities are ST in Assam.Appeal to CMOn Tuesday, these organisations had asked Chief Minister Pema Khandu to withdraw the government’s move to grant the PRC that they said would go a long way in robbing the rights of the indigenous communities of the State.During a public rally at Vijaynagar in Changlang district on December 14 last year, Mr Khandu had said that his government was looking into the possibility of granting PRC to the non-APST groups. At the same time, he said the interest of the indigenous communities would not be compromised with.In another public rally, Deputy Prime Minister Chowna Mein had also said the PRC would be the government’s New Year gift for the six communities. The government later clarified that there was no such move but local NGOs have not been convinced, particularly after a joint high-power committee submitted a report on the issue a few days ago.Motive doubtful “The recommendations in the report, whose motive is doubtful, need to be scrapped,” the NGOs said in a joint statement. These organisations include the Arunachal Law Students’ Union, All Papum Pare District Students’ Union, All Nyishi Students Union, United Arunachal Indigenous People’s Forum, All Tagin Students’ Union, and Arunachal Anti-Corruption Union.last_img read more

first_imgPune – Ending weeks of speculation, Sanjay Kakade, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Rajya Sabha MP on Sunday finally announced that he would soon be joining Congress.Mr. Kakade, a prominent Pune-based realtor, had openly expressed his desire to contest from the Pune Lok Sabha constituency on several occasions in the recent past.“Given the changed circumstances in the country, I have decided to join the Congress. If the top leadership gives me a ticket, I will fight the election to the best of my ability. If not, I will abide by Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s decision and am willing to wholeheartedly perform whatever task is entrusted to me,” said Mr. Kakade.However, sources within the Congress said that while the BJP leader was welcome to join the party, there was no guarantee that he would be given a ticket. Mr. Kakade’s decision to join the Congress party comes in the face of stout opposition within the BJP to give him a ticket for contesting the Pune seat.However, the BJP MP’s entry is not likely to be taken too kindly by Congress loyalists in Pune, most of whom are opposed to Mr. Kakade’s induction in the party.The MP was earlier with Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) before being elected as an independent candidate to the Upper House and later joining the BJP. A known wheeler-dealer, Mr. Kakade is believed to have played a vital role in engineering BJP’s victory in the Pune civic polls in February 2017. “The Congress is accommodative of all religions and communities and has a rich heritage. Hence, I have decided to enter the Congress fold,” Mr. Kakade said, adding that the move would not affect his cordial relationship with Mahasrashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. His disenchantment with the BJP stemmed from the allegedly ‘shoddy’ treatment meted out to him by Pune Guardian Minister Girish Bapat and BJP State president Raosaheb Danve.“It will be good to take on Girish Bapat. I am confident of polling 50,000 votes in Bapat’s Assembly constituency itself,” claimed Mr. Kakade. In 2017, Mr. Bapat had publicly censured Mr. Kakade’s induction of alleged criminals within the party before the civic polls.In the same year in December, Mr. Kakade had created a flutter after he predicted a dismal showing by the BJP in the results to the Gujarat election. He was later forced to eat his words after the party emerged victorious in the Gujarat Assembly poll. “I had not taken into account the impact of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal ‘charisma’,” Mr. Kakade had said at the time.While one strand of opinion views Mr. Kakade’s exit as a possible setback to the BJP, the rebel MP’s exit is viewed with a sigh of relief by present Pune MP Anil Shirole and Minister Girish Bapat, who along with Mr. Kakade, were frontrunners for the candidacy of the Pune seat.Speculation about Mr. Kakade’s imminent exit from the BJP gathered momentum after the MP met with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar in December last year just after the BJP’s poll debacle in five states. Likewise, he also held parleys with senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar last month in yet another indication of his growing disaffection with the BJP.last_img read more

first_img The custodians of Jagannath say they are dealing with their own worries. Fani didn’t spare the Jagannath temple in Puri, the mainstay of the town. One of the key idols is damaged and losses to some of the temple’s property amount to ₹5 crore, reckons S. Chatterjee, a temple administration official. However, the temple itself is not participating in any relief work or donating any of its corpus to the State to help with rehabilitation. The temple administration receives, on average, ₹2 lakh per day as donation but was expecting help from the government and individuals to prepare for the annual Rath Yatra in July. The long stretch of road, where the idols are carted, is largely clear. “Since the cyclone hit, daily offerings have plummeted. In the first two days, after the storm we barely got ₹700 on an average,” Chatterjee says.In the artisanal village of Raghurajpur, on the outskirts of Puri, the 100-odd families skilled in the art of pattachitra (painting on palm leaf) while away their time. In their part of town, Cyclone Fani brought rain and destroyed some of the paintings. Each painting takes about a day to make, says Gauranga Maharana, an artist who is in the midst of painting a wood-carved swan when we meet him. “The winds and the rain were so strong that my paintings got soaked. Paintings worth nearly ₹20,000 have been damaged,” he says. Maharana, who traces his artistry to “several generations”, estimates that a usual summer day brings in close to a thousand tourists (Raghurajpur is a heritage village), but now with the State battered, the number of tourists, both Indians and foreigners, has dwindled.Also Read Cyclone Fani’s fury creates four new mouths in Odisha’s Chilika Lake  Capital without powerSince Bhubaneswar is bald without tree cover after Fani, the heat and humidity are more palpable than before. There is no power, to add to the woes, so the city after dusk is both dark and uncomfortable. While city-specific figures aren’t available, the State Disaster Management Authority estimates that at least 45,000 km of power lines and 11,000 distribution transformers have been destroyed by the cyclone.Sarath Chandra, a hotel manager, says that normally in early May, when the tourist season is just beginning, his hotel is only about 60% full. “This time we’re nearly 85% full,” he says. “There are no outstation tourists. All of them are locals escaping the heat of their homes.” Chandra’s hotel is among those equipped with a diesel-generation set, which means that there is a steady supply of water and electricity.Also Read Shattered windowpanes, sturdy trees lying flat on the roads, and downed power lines are the prominent markers of Cyclone Fani, which pounded Puri and Bhubaneswar in Odisha on May 3. Three days after Fani, categorised as an ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’, ploughed through the State killing at least 40 people and injuring 160, the streets of Bhubaneswar are filled with workers of the National Disaster Response Force, dressed in bright orange. Senthil Rao, 28, and five others have spent all morning trying to remove an uprooted banyan tree. “It is an old tree and has blocked an entire stretch of the main road. My work seems interminable,” Rao groans during a tea break.Also Read Cyclone Fani: Naveen Patnaik seeks more kerosene for Odisha  Anger in PuriIts stature as a capital city and the prevalence of concrete houses may have contributed to zero casualties, according to official figures, in Bhubaneswar, but the temple town of Puri, which is about 60 km away, presents a vastly different picture.National Highway 316 that connects the two cities is smooth; it was spared Fani’s wrath. However, on both sides of the highway lie uprooted coconut trees and houses with holes in their tiled roofs. At least 21 deaths have been reported in Puri district.Also Read Long wait for power in Odisha after Cyclone Fani snaps transmission lines Cyclone Fani tears down artists’ village in Odisha A girl from Chandrabhaga village feeding her sister at a shelter in Puri.  The problem of communicationWith mobile phone connection down, the Collectorate, with its compound walls and plantations hit, is relying on a ham radio network. Ramesh Kuthumbaka, a Hyderabad-based advocate and an amateur ham operator, says he was called by OSDMA on May 1. “Two ham radio colleagues and I left Hyderabad and travelled 1,200 km by road in a Qualis to reach OSDMA and set up a ham network. We struggled to come here, there were strong winds. We reached on May 3,” he recounts. Another team of ham operators from Kolkata reached the Puri Collectorate and installed a radio station. “Since then we’ve been helping the State authorities with transmitting and receiving instructions. The Chief Secretary relied on our network. There was nothing else,” he claims. Kuthumbaka has skipped many meals. He complains of the lack of support from the district administration. “There doesn’t seem to be a well-thought-out plan. For instance, in spite of knowing fairly reliably by April 27 that Odisha would be hit, we were told only on the 1st,” he says. However, he will be present in Puri “as long as he is needed”.Sethi points out that the “operational difficulties” and the sheer magnitude of the devastation would mean that returning to normalcy will take weeks. Nearly 100 million kg of rice was readied beforehand, yet distribution is tardy, he says. “We had to evacuate about 1.4 million people within 12 hours. Nearly 200 lakh SMSes were sent to various levels of administration — right down to the village heads of 14 districts,” he says. He explains why people were mobilised into action only by May 1: “Remember, this was after the election exercise, itself an arduous task, had just concluded on April 29. Officers and the administration are human too.” Cyclone Fani: Food distribution on track in Puri center_img This is Rao’s tenth tree since early morning. It’s largely due to the efforts of 600 teams of the State and Central disaster response forces that the city roads are navigable now. Tree trunks and branches have been swept into mounds and line the sidewalks and street corners. There are so many of them that the government has permitted anyone, with the means and the men, to cart them away and use them as fit without the usual tendering and bureaucracy.There is little public and private transport on the streets; only the bulky JCBs can be seen in corners and inner streets. They are clawing out crumbled billboards and the remnants of carts and tyres from the rubble, and lifting logs. Santosh Rout, who manages a fleet of JCBs, says that he has been charging a 30% premium for the use of his machines. “The demand is very high. However, I hear there are nearly 30 teams of JCBs commissioned, so it looks like things will be normal in less than a week,” he says.Also Read  “The air conditioner in the room doesn’t cool but being here is better than being at home,” says Dolly Patra, who is staying with her family at Chandra’s hotel. Her second floor flat, barely 3 km from the hotel, is a cauldron, she explains. Power is expected to return only after a fortnight, and water supply is irregular. When the cyclone howled through her apartment complex, she was scared for herself and her infant. “I was terrified that the asbestos sheets nearby would smash into my bedroom,” she says. After the storm she stayed put at home, but mosquitoes entered her home in droves and she was afraid that her child would fall sick. “I hope to get back home soon or move to a relative’s place. Staying in a hotel is expensive for us,” she says.At the Secretariat of the Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA), Bishnupada Sethi presides over a crew of officers who compile and coordinate information with district centres and the IMD. Details of damage, relief dispensed and lacunae are continually wired to Sethi’s office. While the unit’s coordination has earned plaudits — from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United Nations — Sethi says that in spite of the preparation and the “memories of 1999”, citizens were “mentally unprepared” for the impending disaster. “This is a State where cyclones recur. At the State level, there are plans and a standard operating procedure to deal with the eventuality. However, many were unprepared. In fact, many people refused to leave their thatched houses and go to shelters,” he notes.  Fani, which started out in the Bay of Bengal in the last week of April, was quite unlike the typical storms that Odisha is accustomed to. From 1965 to 2017, the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea collectively registered 46 ‘severe cyclonic storms’. More than half of them occurred between October and December. Seven of them occurred in May and only two (in 1966 and 1976) were recorded in April, according to data from the India Meteorological Department’s cyclone statistics unit. Before Fani, only one of them (in 1966) had actually made landfall over India.While modern, meteorological record-keeping dates furious cyclones in Odisha to as far as back to 1831, to the average citizen, in contemporary times 1999 marked the turning point for the State. The cyclone that hit that year was catastrophic: it killed thousands, obliterated homes, and left a trail of destruction. The State was cut off from the rest of the country, and it was weeks before the magnitude of the tragedy hit home. Since then, Odisha has prepared itself in various ways to face such cyclones — by building specially crafted storm shelters and commissioning electric poles that are designed to withstand strong gales.By May 1, the weather department was confident that Fani would be unforgiving, but not as powerful as BOB 06 (cyclones then didn’t have names) that had hit the port town of Paradip in 1999.  The cyclones of MayHoused in a single-storey building, the walls of which are plastered with charts describing El Nino, warming seas and other climate phenomena, the scientists at the State headquarters of the IMD are working in the corridors and verandahs to escape the stifling heat. Habibur Rehman Biswas, the chief scientist of the department, says he hadn’t left the office for 72 hours straight after May 1. “Initially, we thought it would be a typical summer cyclone of the Bay of Bengal. We thought it would go either towards Andhra Pradesh or turn towards Bangladesh and Myanmar and miss the Odisha coast. We were wrong.”Meteorologists note with worry that so-called recurving cyclones — ones that sharply turn eastwards — are becoming more frequent around the Indian Ocean. The IMD publicly disseminates information via a WhatsApp group that has senior district administration officials and media representatives. “We’re always getting inputs, but with power gone, it’s a bit slow. Still, there are other IMD agencies that pick up inputs and relay them. There will always be regular inputs, come what may,” he says.With Cyclone Fani gone, Rehman doesn’t rule out the possibility of another strong cyclone. “There’s nothing which says that such a strong storm won’t lead to another one in a few weeks, though there aren’t immediate indications yet. May is usually when there are many more cyclones.” Cyclone Fani causes extensive damage to power infrastructure, standing trees  Not far from the beach, where the sea is now placid, anger is growing at the government shelter near Talabaniya in Puri town. This pink building is one among the 879 constructed by the Odisha government across Puri, Cuttack and Khordha. The two-storey buildings, designed in 2004 with assistance from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, are low-cost and capable of accommodating about 3,000 people. They are resilient to wind speeds greater than 200 kmph. The Talabaniya shelter is also equipped with an alarm and a horn. In the event of an impending storm, instructions are relayed to those living in thatched houses, or the homeless, to come to the shelter.“There were warnings on the day before the cyclone struck and many of us came to the shelter,” says Pintu Pradhan, who works in a nearby hotel. “A day before the storm, we were given rice and dal. On the day of the storm we were given packed dry fruits, chuda (flattened rice) and gur (jaggery). There’s been no food ever since.” Pradhan’s house, along with the houses of about 700 others of the Biju Nagar slum, was reduced to rubble. Only those with “food security cards,” says Pradhan, were eligible for the Chief Minister’s relief package of ₹2,000 and 50 kg of rice per month as well as polythene sheets that could be used as roofs. There were families who lost everything in the storm and now have no food, water or jobs, he says.While Pradhan and several men, most of them daily wage labourers, rue the absence of primarily benefits, the women of Biju Nagar trek a kilometre to the grounds of the government technical training institute to collect fallen branches and twigs to use as firewood. The trunks are also useful to rebuild houses, one of them points out. Another group of women has congregated at the Puri Collectorate to protest against the unavailability of food and water. Due to the absence of an effective communication system, the promised welfare and supplies are not making their way to the people, says Shanti, one of the protesters. As part of relief measures, residents are eligible for up to ₹95,000 for ‘fully damaged’ structures and compensation for damage to agricultural and horticultural crop, and fisheries.Balwant Singh, the Puri District Collector, who assumed charge on May 7, says the lack of power and telecommunication has hampered access to supplies. “There’s a standard operating procedure in place. Setting up free kitchens near shelters and restoring road connectivity are our immediate priorities. For all that we need to have the communication system with Bhubaneswar running smoothly,” he adds.Also Read Cyclone Fani: Many families from Odisha flee to Visakhapatnam to escape havoc A view of the destruction caused by Cyclone Fani after its landfall, in Puri, Friday, May 3, 2019.  | Photo Credit: PTI  Another challenge, adds Sethi, was to convince people to leave their homes and rush to the shelters. “Often they wouldn’t listen. We have seen it here every time there has been a cyclone. People say they will weather the storm and then they all suffer.”In Brahmagiri town in Puri, a block-level official says that in the administrative block of Bhagawat Patna, nearly 27,289 people had to be evacuated. “Many of them refused to come, saying Lord Jagannath would keep them safe,” he recounts. “There were four deaths, but it’s not confirmed if they were specifically due to the cyclone.”Also Readlast_img read more

first_imgA legislative stalemate over animal research could become costly for Italy. On 23 January, the European Commission asked the E.U. Court of Justice to impose a fine of more than €4.5 million per month for failing to incorporate a 2010 E.U. directive on animal testing into its national laws. A new law on animal tests has been the subject of a fierce debate in Italy.E.U. directive 2010/63 aims to harmonize the protection of animals in research across the European Union and minimize their use by requiring alternatives to be used when available. All 27 E.U. member states were supposed to have “transposed” the directive in national legislation by 10 November 2012. Six other countries—Finland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, the Netherlands, and Poland—have failed to do so, for various reasons. A spokesperson for the Environment Directorate-General says the commission may ask for punishment for those countries, too; their cases don’t all move at the same speed, he says. Whether a fine is actually imposed is up to the court.In Italy’s case, the directive’s transposition has become entangled in a struggle over the future of animal testing in the country. A draft law that is now wending its way through the political system would put far-reaching limitations on animal testing that go well beyond those required by the European Union, and some wonder whether it is in compliance with the E.U. directive. If not, that could cause further problems for the country in the future.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The latest development in the political process came on the same day the commission referred Italy’s case to the court, when the Senate’s Committee on Health and Hygiene approved the current draft bill. The bill still has to go to a committee at the Chamber of Deputies before it comes back to the government for the president’s signature. Scientists say the law would damage scientific research in the country, and they recently launched a petition in protest. But the current version of the bill would postpone until 2017 three controversial bans: on drug abuse research involving animals; xenotransplantation; and breeding dogs, cats, and nonhuman primates for scientific purposes.Countries are allowed to have more restrictive rules than those in the E.U. directive only if they were already in place before September 2010. This is not the case for Italy, which could expose the country to a so-called infringement procedure by the commission. Emilia Grazia De Biasi, chair of the Senate’s Health and Hygiene Committee, has asked the government to assess whether the new law would be compliant with the E.U. directive.Italy should just transpose the directive without further modifications, as most countries have done, says Roberto Caminiti, a physiologist at the University of Rome La Sapienza and chair of the Committee on Animals in Research for the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies. Postponing the most controversial restrictions in the law is “a clumsy attempt to have the best of both worlds,” he says. Caminiti says Italian politicians don’t know or care enough about science to resist the animal rights movement and blames media for spreading “misinformation” about animal research.Ilaria Capua, a former avian influenza researcher and now a member of the Chamber of Deputies, agrees that Italy should respect its obligations within the European Union and pass a law that is compliant with the directive. Not doing so—and incurring a fine—is “expensive nonsense,” Capua says. But Michela Kuan, a biologist and a member of the animal rights group Lega Anti Vivisezione in Rome, says Italy’s problems weren’t caused by animal rights activists or the political debate, but by the animal research lobby. Kuan hopes that the 3-year delay will be taken out of the legislation.last_img read more

first_imgResearchers have taken several steps toward using stem cells to treat a rare genetic disease that leaves people with skin so fragile it blisters at the slightest touch. A trio of lab and animal studies reported today could help pave the way for a clinical trial for the disorder, called epidermolysis bullosa (EB).Although EB is quite rare, occurring in one in 20,000 births, about 500,000 people around the world suffer from some form of the disease. It is caused by defects in any of several genes that code for proteins, such as collagen, that link the top and bottom layers of skin. The gene defect creates fragile skin that easily tears, resulting in painful blisters and sores. There is no cure; physicians usually treat symptoms only by dressing wounds and treating infections. Those with severe forms of EB who survive childhood are also prone to skin cancer and often die from that by their mid-40s.A few years ago, researchers tried gene therapy in a single EB patient, using a virus to add a corrective gene to skin cells cultured from that person and then grafting sheets of them onto his legs. Although the repaired cells took hold, the risks of the virus used in the trial and challenges of growing enough cells to cover a large surface area led researchers to look for other options.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Several groups have now turned to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, a type of cell created by reprogramming adult cells back into an embryonic state. These iPS cells can be coaxed to grow into large quantities of various adult tissues that are genetically matched to a person and therefore less likely to be rejected by the immune system than cells from a donor.A Columbia University team pursuing the iPS cell approach recently took advantage of the fact that some EB patients have skin cells that somehow lose the disease-causing mutations and turn back into healthy cells. The scientists transformed some of these “revertant” cells into iPS cells, then from them grew skin cells called keratinocytes that expressed the type of collagen missing in the patients. When grafted onto the back of a strain of mice with a weak immune system that would not reject the cells from a different species, the keratinocytes grew into human skin and produced the correct form of collagen. Using revertant cells in this manner for EB could avoid the risks of gene therapy and “be a little more straightforward,” says study leader Angela Christiano.But only about 20% to 30% of people with EB have revertant skin cells, so other groups have taken a more traditional approach. In a second study, researchers at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, created iPS cells from skin cells taken from three EB patients lacking a collagen different from the type studied by the Columbia team. They then fixed the genetic defect in the stem cells before turning them back into keratinocytes. These steps can potentially introduce harmful mutations, and the original cells from EB patients can also carry cancer-causing mutations. But the team reduced this risk by genetically screening and banking only iPS cells free of harmful mutations. The cells grew as skin grafts on mice for up to a month before the cells died.Neither of these studies showed that cells could help treat the disease in an animal with EB. But in the third study, researchers in Josef Penninger’s lab at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna did just that by deriving iPS cells from the skin cells of mice with the same defect as the EB patients studied by the Stanford group. They then repaired the collagen gene; turned the cells into fibroblasts, another type of skin cell; and injected them under the sick mice’s skin. These cells formed skin layers that expressed the correct form of collagen for 18 weeks.Together, the three papers, published today in Science Translational Medicine, “should provide a lot of optimism that this approach has a lot of legs,” says Anthony Oro, who co-led the Stanford study with Marius Wernig. Both his group and the Columbia team have applied for funding to launch trials of the iPS cell treatment in EB patients.Although the reports are promising, they also show the challenges of using such cells for the skin disorder, says stem cell scientist Lorenz Studer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He points out that the researchers haven’t yet found the right recipe for producing human skin cells that live longer than a few weeks. “This therapy is still kind of on hold until the field can achieve long-term engraftment,” Studer says.Jakub Tolar of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, who also studies iPS and gene therapy for EB, highlights another issue. The skin graft approach won’t treat internal problems that many EB patients suffer from due to the disease’s effects on the lining of the gut and esophagus. Tolar is working on a riskier, but more comprehensive solution: giving EB patients bone marrow transplants of gene-corrected cells made using iPS cells. Still, he’s impressed by the current trio of papers. “It’s gratifying to see they have taken it this far,” Tolar says.last_img read more