Shooting Video in Portrait Mode :- That’s Not How You Use That

August 4, 2013

The smartphone has made us all videographers. We’re constantly pointing our cameras at friends, family and cats. Well, mostly cats. The problem is that too many of us are shooting these videos in portrait mode. And it’s the most annoying thing to hit YouTube since the yelling goats.

Video should be shot and viewed in landscape mode — that’s the “long way” instead of the “tall way,” the orientation that mimics your HDTV screen. Every time you see a video shot in portrait mode on YouTube or Facebook, you should weep for humanity and its inability to teach individuals how to shoot video so it fits properly into the same shape as the TV they watch in their homes. How much more brainwashing can society be expected to bestow on humans than non-stop video in the form of television, movies, and commercials shoved into their faces since birth? It’s a standard we should all know.

Videos, unlike photos, are almost universally presented horizontally. There’s a reason for this: It’s how we’re built to view the world. Our vision allows us to see more to the left and right than top and bottom. So when you shoot a video on your smartphone in portrait mode, you’re violating not only the set video standard, but also the laws of nature as they pertain to human sight.

It doesn’t help that video apps like Vine encourage you to shoot video while holding your phone in portrait mode. Sure it creates a square video, but it’s a bad precedent. So the next time you feel compelled to capture video on your smartphone, imagine what it will look like on your HDTV. If you see it in your mind’s eye as a video with enormous black bars to the left and right of the action, turn your phone sideways.

There. You just stopped your film school friends from having an aneurism, and you made your video about 80 percent better.


Obama Administration Sides With Apple on Import Ban Ruling

August 4, 2013

President Obama and U.S. Trade Representitive Michael Froman in 2011. Photo: Pete Souza/White House

In a letter from U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, the Obama administration overruled an import ban on older iPhone and iPad models issued by the International Trade Commission at Samsung’s request earlier this year. The action allows Apple to continue imports of AT&T models of the iPhone 4, iPad 3G, and iPad 2 3G.

The issue centers around patents held by Samsung for the cellular data chips used in those devices. Samsung claimed Apple infringed on those patents, while Apple argued that Samsung’s patents were so-called “standards-essential patents” (SEPs) that Samsung had agreed to license at “fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory” (FRAND) terms.

In vetoing the International Trade Commission’s decision, Froman highlights concerns that owners of SEPs who have previously agreed to license patents under those FRAND terms can then engage in “‘patent hold-up’, i.e. asserting the patent to exclude an implementer of a standard from a market to obtain a higher price for use of the patent than would have been possible before the standard was set, when alternative technologies could have been chosen.”

Such administration action to veto an action by the International Trade Commission is rare. According to The Wall Street Journal, this is the first time since 1987 that an administration has vetoed a ban ordered by the Commission. The action doesn’t impact Samsung’s ability to continue its legal battle against Apple on the issue, but it means that it will have to take place in court, rather than before the ITC.

Froman’s letter (.pdf) also signals the intent of the Obama administration to keep a close eye on the Commission in other cases involving SEPs, encouraging the Commission to determine “whether a particular remedy is in the public interest.”

In January, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued policy guidelines around SEP enforcement (.pdf) that Froman cites in his letter. These guidelines indicate that the administration sees injunctions and exclusion orders like the one Samsung sought as potentially inconsistent with innovation and the broader public interest.

Infected PCs May Lose Internet Access In July

August 4, 2013

I hadn’t heard of this until this morning and verified this issue with our computer consultation friends at Bronxville Computer. Yes, it’s a legitimate concern, but don’t worry as it’s easy to see if your computer could be affected. From Today’s USA Today here’s the situation:

WASHINGTON – For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing Internet connections this summer. Unknown to most of them, their problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers around the world. In a highly unusual response, the FBI set up a safety net months ago using government computers to prevent Internet disruptions for those infected users. But that system is to be shut down.

Most victims don’t even know their computers have been infected, although the malicious software probably has slowed their web surfing and disabled their antivirus software, making their machines more vulnerable to other problems.

Last November, the FBI and other authorities were preparing to take down a hacker ring that had been running an Internet ad scam on a massive network of infected computers.
“We started to realize that we might have a little bit of a problem on our hands because … if we just pulled the plug on their criminal infrastructure and threw everybody in jail, the victims of this were going to be without Internet service,” said Tom Grasso, an FBI supervisory special agent. “The average user would open up Internet Explorer and get ‘page not found’ and think the Internet is broken.”

Now, said Grasso, “the full court press is on to get people to address this problem.” And it’s up to computer users to check their PCs.

Here’s what you need to know from Bronxville Computer:

Here’s The Good News:

It’s easy to see if you’re computer is infected. Just click this link and you’ll see a photo. If the background of the photo is green, your computer is okay. If it’s red, then you’ll need to take action before July or you could lose your Internet access. The test takes about three seconds.

Move Over Dropbox, Google Dives In With Google Drive Online Storage And File Sharing

August 4, 2013

Today, we’re introducing Google Drive—a place where you can create, share, collaborate, and keep all of your work. Whether you’re drawing up floor plans with a client, creating a presentation with classmates or planning next year’s budget with colleagues, Drive makes it easy to work together. You can upload and access all of your files, including videos, photos, Google Docs, PDFs and beyond.

With Google Drive, you can:

Create and collaborate. Google Docs is built right into Google Drive, so you can work with others in real time on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Once you choose to share content with others, you can add and reply to comments on anything (PDF, image, video file, etc.) and receive notifications when other people comment on shared items. As a business user, you can share files or folders with specific people, your entire team, or even customers and partners outside your company, controlling who can view or make edits.

Store everything safely and access it anywhere (especially while on the go). All your stuff is just… there. You can access your stuff from anywhere—on the web, in your home, at the office, while running errands and from all of your devices. You can install Drive on your Mac or PC and can download the Drive app to your Android phone or tablet. We’re also working hard on a Drive app for your iOS devices. And regardless of platform, blind users can access Drive with a screen reader.

Search everything. Search by keyword and filter by file type, owner, activity and many more. Drive can even recognize text in scanned documents using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology. Let’s say you upload a scanned image of an old newspaper clipping. You can search for a word from the text of the actual news article. We also use image recognition so that if you drag and drop photos of the Grand Canyon into Drive for an upcoming ad campaign, you can later search for [grand canyon] and photos of its gorges should pop up. This technology is still in its early stages, and we expect it to get better over time. Open more than 30 file types right in your browser—including HD video, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop—even if you don’t have the corresponding program installed on your computer.

We know you rely on your files to get work done every day. Drive uses the same infrastructure as other Google Apps services, meaning it also has the same admin tools, security and reliability, including:

Centralized management: New tools available in the Apps control panel for administrators to add or remove storage for individuals or teams of users.

Security: Encryption on data transfer between your browser and our servers, and optional 2-step verification that prevents unauthorized account access by having users sign in with a secure code from their mobile phone.

Data Replication: Simultaneous data replication in multiple data centers, so that in the unlikely event that one data center is unavailable, your files will still be safe and accessible.

Uptime: 99.9% uptime guarantee so you can be confident that your files will be available whenever you need them.

Support: 24/7 support for assistance when you need it.

Each Apps user gets 5GB of storage included and administrators can centrally purchase and manage more. When a user reaches their limit, administrators on Google Apps for Business accounts can buy storage as it’s needed. Start with an additional 20GB for $4 per month and add as much as 16TB. (Just as before, Google Docs don’t count against your storage quota.)

Starting today, Google Apps administrators will see new controls for Drive in the control panel. Users at organizations on the Rapid Release track will be able to opt-in to Drive at

Drive is built to work seamlessly with your overall Google experience. Drive is also an open platform, so we’re working with many third-party developers so you can do things sign documents with DocuSign and HelloFax, design flowcharts with Lucidchart and manage projects and tasks with Smartsheet directly from Drive. To install these apps, visit the Chrome Web Store—and look out for even more useful apps in the future.

This is just the beginning for Google Drive; there’s a lot more to come. Contact our sales team or a Google Apps reseller if you are interested in signing up for Google Apps and Drive

Leaked: First Office 14 screenshots

February 7, 2009

It didn’t take long this time, either. Earlier this week, testers received alpha builds of Office 14, the codename for the successor to Office 2007. A reader wrote in to tell us that a tester from Russian site has now leaked the screenshots of the applications included in the productivity suite.

While he didn’t screenshot every application individually, we do now know that the list includes: Access 14, Excel 14, Groove 14, InfoPath Designer 14, InfoPath Filler 14, InterConnect 14, OneNote 14, Outlook 14, PowerPoint 14, Project 14, Publisher 14, SharePoint Designer 14, Visio 14, and Word 14. Without further ado, here they are:

I’ve been told that the beta of Office 14 will start in May, and the final version is slated for the end of the year. The alpha is reportedly running with good stability, all things considered. Redmond is expected to provide official release details for Office 14 next quarter.

Pietersen, Flintoff hit jackpot at IPL auction

February 7, 2009

Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff became the costliest players in IPL history as the two were each sold for $1.55 million (Rs 7.35 crore) at the IPL auction on Friday.

The beleaguered Bangalore Royal Challengers successfully bid for Pietersen, while last year’s runners-up Chennai Super Kings bid the highest for the England all-rounder which set the new record, overtaking the $1.5 million bid last year for Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Only 50 players, for 17 slots, were on sale at the IPL auction here on Friday, and fewer were bid for. But the presence of England stars made for frantic bidding.

With the teams’s spending limit set at $2 million each, teams were cautious in their bidding. Pietersen’s appreciation was only a fraction of his base price of $1.35 million, as was Flintoff’s $900,000.

Jean-Paul Duminy thus became one of the prized catches of the auction, as Mumbai Indians’ $950,000-bid for the South African batting sensation raised his value over three times.

Bangladesh pacer Mashrafe Mortaza’s bid at the closing round of the auction made for an intriguing duel between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab with the Knight Riders finally securing him for $600,000, an astonishing 1100 per cent appreciation on his base price of $50,000.

Mortaza’s captain Mohammad Ashraful, though, remained unsold during the auction, only to be bought by Mumbai Indians to fill their last slot for $75,000. Bangladesh’s player of the season, Shakib-Al-Hasan, however, wasn’t bid for.

The first round of auctions saw Shaun Tait, the Australian speedster, being sold to defending champions Rajasthan Royals for $375,000, before Duminy, Pietersen and Flintoff went under the hammer.
The second round of the IPL auction had another England duo up for sale, and Delhi Daredevils bought both Owais Shah and former ODI skipper Paul Collingwood, each for $275,000. The previous year’s semi-finalists didn’t go for any other player, after having already bought Australian opener David Warner a few months ago and had retained pacer Ashish Nehra from Mumbai Indians.

The Deccan Chargers, who had a miserable outing in the first season despite having a star-studded line-up, purchased the West Indies duo of pacer Fidel Edwards ($150,000) and all-rounder Dwayne Smith ($100,000).

Defending champions Rajasthan Royals, whose representatives also included new co-owners Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty, added South African all-rounder Tyron Henderson to their squad for $650,000.

The Mukesh Ambani-owned Mumbai Indians, after securing JP Duminy, added New Zealand bowler Kyle Mills, while Bangalore, who had already spent a fortune on Pietersen, snapped up another Kiwi Jesse Ryder for $160,000. Chennai Super Kings, meanwhile, bought Sri Lankan paceman Thilan Thushara ($140,000) and Australian George Bailey ($50,000).

Kings XI Punjab bid successfully for England all-rounder Ravi Bopara for $450,000. But after the end of all six rounds of bidding at the auction, Kings XI and Mumbai Indians had a slot each left for an overseas player. The Preity Zinta-Ness Wadia-owned franchise pocketed West Indies pacer Jerome Taylor at his base price of $150,000 to wrap up the player auction.

Auction results
$1.55 million (A$2.37 million):

Andrew Flintoff (ENG) – Chennai Super Kings
Kevin Pietersen (ENG) – Bangalore Royal Challengers

$950,000 ($A1.43 million):

Jean-Paul Duminy (RSA) – Mumbai Indians

$650,000 ($A987,000):

Tyron Henderson (RSA) – Rajasthan Royals

$600,000 ($A910,000):

Mashrafe Mortaza (BAN) – Kolkata Knight Riders

$450,000 (A$682,000):

Ravi Bopara (ENG) – Kings XI Punjab

$375,000 (A$575,000) :

Shaun Tait (AUS) – Rajasthan Royals

$275,000 ($A417,000):

Owais Shah (ENG) – Delhi Daredevils
Paul Collingwood (ENG) – Delhi Daredevils

$160,000 ($243,000):

Jesse Ryder (NZL) – Bangalore Royal Challengers

$150,000 ($A227,000):

Fidel Edwards (WIS) – Deccan Chargers

Kyle Mills (NZL) – Mumbai Indians

Jerome Taylor (WIS) – Kings XI Punjab

$140,000 ($A212,000):

Thilan Thushara (SRI) – Chennai Super Kings

$100,000 ($A152,000):

Dwayne Smith (WIS) – Deccan Chargers

$75,000 ($A114,000):

Mohammad Ashraful (BAN) – Mumbai Indians

$50,000 ($A76,000):

George Bailey (AUS) – Chennai Super Kings

Google Launches Multiple Inboxes For GMail – Its Like Having Multiple Screens!

February 6, 2009

Google really seems to be in the groove. We’ve been covering a lot of Google stories in the last 2-3 days and here’s another one.

From what it seems, Gmail is going for subtle and not so subtle changes. Every day another feature gets added through Google Labs. The subtle changes include vanishing of the search the web browser at the top and inclusion of a separate move to/labels tab.

Now Google Labs has introduced a new multiple inboxes feature and it’s quite interesting.

It’s creator introduces it in this blog post:

“I’m seriously into filters and labels. All the email I get related to Flash goes under my “flash” label, everything about paragliding goes under “flying,” and they all skip my inbox because that’s how I like to stay organized. But when new email arrives I have to switch to the “flash” label first, then click on “paragliding,” etc. I wanted a way to see it all at once.”

To select this feature, head over to Google Labs section and enable Multiple Inboxes. And the end product? Here have a look for yourself.

You can obviously choose how many inboxes you want. To do the same go to settings and select the Multiple Inboxes tab (after you have enabled the feature). There is great personalisation. You can select the labels and even the number of posts you want to see so that you’re screen isn’t too cluttered. This is what it looks like.

I think it’s an awesome feature because its almost like having 2/3 screens at once as far as mail is concerned and makes it very convenient if you’re using a lot of labels.

This feature was created by Octavian “Vivi” Costache in his 20% time that Google offers their employees. Do check the feature out and then discuss it in the comments section below.