Sneak Peek: Future Photoshop of Masking

2010 February 11
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Posted by Trevor

Photoshop Product Manager, Bryan O’Neil Hughes, gives you a glimpse of new selection technology that offers better edge detection and masking results in less time—even with the trickiest images, like hair.

Masking Video

via John Nack on Adobe’s blog.

Americans Consumed 33 billion Online Videos Last December

2010 February 7
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Posted by Trevor

Boom! 178 million US Internet users watched online videos in December. That’s 87% of the total potential audience — very nearly total penetration. I wonder what percentage of Internet users write email — less than 87%? Anyway, of those 33 billion videos, 40% (13 billion) of them were watched at YouTube. But guess who’s next? Hulu — 3%! You TV-horny Americans watched 1 billion videos on Hulu in just one month!

There’s more though — here’s some breakdown: those 13 billion YouTube videos were watched by 136 million viewers, or 97 videos per user. By comparison, Hulu viewers only watched 23 videos each in December. It goes steeply downhill from there — next are Yahoo and Fox, pulling only 9 video views per user.
If you were as surprised as I am about Hulu, get this: Hulu only has 44 million unique users, but still broadcasts twice as many videos as the next site.

Click Here to Read Full Article  [via DownloadSquad.com]

The Rise of Business Populists

2010 February 5
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Posted by Trevor

These are angry times in politics and society. Populism is the mantra of the moment, whether it’s “progressive populism” of the sort that targets the misdeeds of Wall Street and Big Money, or “pickup-truck populism” of the sort that targets the heavy hand of Big Government. In either case the spirit is the same. It’s the people versus the powerful, the little guy versus the establishment, more about what it’s against than what it’s for.

Many pundits have studied populism as a powerful social phenomenon. But I’d submit it’s a powerful business phenomenon as well. Indeed, as I’ve read articles highlighting anger and disgust among voters with the political establishment, I couldn’t help but think back to an HBR article highlighting anger and disgust among customers with the business establishment. The article, published in June 2007, was called, “Companies and the Customers Who Hate Them.” It’s one of the most quietly subversive essays I’ve read in years, and it cries out for a re-read today — when hate seems to be such a driving force.

via The Rise of Business Populists – Bill Taylor – Harvard Business Review.

Being An Expert Takes Time, Not Talent

2010 February 1
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Posted by Trevor

Being an expert is not what you think, probably. For one thing, the article explains that “there is no correlation between IQ and expert performance in fields such as chess, music, sports, and medicine. The only innate differences that turn out to be significant—and they matter primarily in sports – are height and body size. “

So what factor does correlate with success? One thing emerges very clearly is that successful performers “had practiced intensively, had studied with devoted teachers, and had been supported enthusiastically by their families throughout their developing years.”

Written by Penelope Trunk

Click Here for Full Article

150+ Free PowerPoint Templates From Microsoft

2010 January 29
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Posted by Trevor

Written by Lee Mathews for Download Squad

If you use Microsoft PowerPoint to create presentations, the crew from Inside Office has shared a series of downloads that may be of interest to you. The goodies include everything from slide backgrounds to animated text effects and charts. There are eight categorized download sets in all — and they’re all provided free of charge! You can also preview each category (such as the combined picture and text effects) before you download.

As is usually the case with free templates, some of the stuff is a little bit on the cheesey side. There’s still plenty of good content to be had, however, like the nice timeline slide in the header image.

Click Here To View the Original Article

3 Reasons the iPad Could Be a Total Flop

2010 January 27
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Posted by Trevor

Details are still emerging but based on Engadget’s reporting, the 1GHz processor the iPad is sporting and the many UI similarities it has with the iPhone, it appears Apple in creating a big iPhone with slightly better performance may have a dud on it’s hands.

Here’s my top 3 reasons why:

1) Takes up more space in your bag than a foldable netbook.

2) Functionally challenged (take your laptop screen and adjust it so it’s parallel to your desk and try to type for a while, see how your neck feels).

3) Fart apps on a bigger screen don’t make the farts sound any better. Kidding aside, iPhone apps largely lack the sophistication of desktop software. Some are pretty good, but I would say pretty good for apps on phones. I don’t think iPhone caliber apps on a less convenient-to-carry device will be very compelling to most people.

Price will definitely be a crucial factor. I think if Apple jumps into this market over $500 when cell phone companies are giving away Netbooks with a 2 year contract, the iPad will surely go the way of the Newton (shown bottom-right next to an iPhone).

Written by Trevor Warren
Photo of Steve Jobs by: Sam Churchill
Photo of Newton by: Blake Patterson

**Update**

Jobs: "So $499 for 16GB of iPad. That’s our base model. 32GB is $599, 64GB is $799. 3G models cost an extra $130. $629, 729, and 829 with 3G." [via Engadget]

$499 for the wi-fi (a la iPod Touch) version and $629 for the 3G mobile version. Unless iPhone owners who are already locked into mobile contracts can use the same data plan for both devices, that’s going to be another major obstacle beyond purchase price.

Fighting Over Communication Inefficiency

2010 January 25
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Posted by Trevor

When was the last time you scheduled a meeting and invited eight people instead of the three people who really needed to be there simply because you didn’t want anyone to feel left out?

When was the last time you sent a companywide e-mail that said something like, "Hey, attention coffee drinkers: If you finish the pot, make another!" even though there is actually only one person who violates this rule (and she’s your co-founder)?

When was the last time you got into a long discussion over the color palette for the new brochure with a programmer, who has nothing to do with the brochure but sure knows that he doesn’t like orange?

These are symptoms of a common illness: too much communication.

Now, we all know that communication is very important, and that many organizational problems are caused by a failure to communicate. Most people try to solve this problem by increasing the amount of communication: cc’ing everybody on an e-mail, having long meetings and inviting the whole staff, and asking for everyone’s two cents before implementing a decision.

But communications costs add up faster than you think, especially on larger teams. What used to work with three people in a garage all talking to one another about everything just doesn’t work when your head count reaches 10 or 20 people. Everybody who doesn’t need to be in that meeting is killing productivity. Everybody who doesn’t need to read that e-mail is distracted by it. At some point, overcommunicating just isn’t efficient.

It’s a particularly insidious problem for fast-growing start-ups. When you’re really small and you’re just starting out, you don’t have that many people, so keeping everyone in the loop on everything doesn’t really take that much time. But as you get bigger, the number of people who might potentially get involved in any particular discussion increases, and the amount of stuff you’re doing as a company increases, and the amount of time you can waste overcommunicating becomes a serious problem.

As companies expand, the people within them start to specialize. At such a point, some managers will conclude that they have a "keep everyone on the same page" problem. But often what they actually have is a "stop people from meddling when there are already enough smart people working on something" problem.

It’s not that Bob in Accounting doesn’t have anything useful to say about the photography for the new advertising campaign. Yes, Bob has a master’s in fine arts. Yes, Bob is an amateur photographer. And maybe he even has better taste than do the people in marketing. Still, Bob shouldn’t be telling the marketing manager what to do, because it’s just not efficient. In fact, it’s highly inefficient.

Click Here for Full Article  [via Inc.com]

Gartner: Phones overtaking PCs as most common web browsing device by 2013

2010 January 24
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Posted by Trevor

Predictions about phones overtaking PCs at one task or another are hardly anything new, but research firm Gartner has gotten a bit more specific than most with its latest forecast — which, among other things, foretells of a day when cellphones will be the most common device used for browsing the web. That momentous event will supposedly happen by 2013, when Gartner expects the number of browser-equipped phones to exceed 1.83 billion, compared to 1.78 billion old fashioned computers in use. According to Gartner, however, while browser-equipped phones will outnumber PCs by then, they won’t actually be most folks’ primary browsing device until sometime in 2015. In other prognostication news, the firm also says that fully three billion of the world’s population will be able to make electronic transactions via mobile or internet technology by 2014, and that by as soon as 2012, 20% of businesses will "own no IT assets" — meaning that employees would be using their own personal computer, and that the businesses themselves would be relying on cloud-based services.

Click Here for Full Article  [via Engadget]

See Your Entire Web Persona With WebMii

2010 January 13
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Posted by Trevor

WebMii is a search engine that will show you all of the most popular results for your name by category.

image

URL: http://www.webmii.com/

Why Design Thinking Is the Next Competitive Advantage

2009 November 13
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Posted by Trevor

Most companies today have innovation envy. They yearn to come up with a game-changing innovation like Apple’s iPod, or create an entirely new category like Facebook. Many make genuine efforts to be innovative–they spend on R&D, bring in creative designers, hire innovation consultants. But they get disappointing results. Why? In "The Design of Business," Roger L. Martin offers a compelling and provocative answer: we rely far too exclusively on analytical thinking, which merely refines current knowledge, producing small improvements to the status quo.

To innovate and win, companies need design thinking. This form of thinking is rooted in how knowledge advances from one stage to another–from mystery (something we can’t explain) to heuristic (a rule of thumb that guides us toward solution) to algorithm (a predictable formula for producing an answer) to code (when the formula becomes so predictable it can be fully automated).

As knowledge advances across the stages, productivity grows and costs drop–creating massive value for companies. Martin shows how leading companies such as Procter & Gamble, Cirque du Soleil, RIM, and others use design thinking to push knowledge through the stages in ways that produce breakthrough innovations and competitive advantage. Filled with deep insights and fresh perspectives, "The Design of Business" reveals the true foundation of successful, profitable innovation.

[via HarvardBusiness.org]