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Facebook Will Prove You’re Alive During the Next Disaster

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5889455/facebook-will-prove-youre-alive-during-the-next-disaster

Facebook Will Prove You're Alive During the Next DisasterWhen an earthquake ravaged Fukushima and terrified all of Japan, the entire country had one reaction: is everyone OK? And if you knew someone in an afflicted area, you might’ve been thinking, is my husband okay? Now Facebook will tell you.

Facebook’s new Disaster (currently in trial for Japan only) feature is so simple and could be so very useful: if you’re in an area hit by a natural disaster (or terrorist attack, I presume), you’ll have the option to flag yourself as safe with all the ease of clicking “Like.” Or, if you’ve managed to get in touch with someone you know in a danger area, you can flag their profile as safe for them. Either way, Facebook will become a go-to source for peace of mind. It’s the kind of tool you hope you’ll never have to use, but one we might be glad to have. And one that’ll rack up ad views for Facebook the next time a crisis hits. Click! [YokosoNews via NewScientist]

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Thursday, March 1st, 2012 digital No Comments

How a Small Studio Pulled Off a Major 3-D Film Using Energy-Saving Technology

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5583881/how-a-small-studio-pulled-off-a-major-3+d-film-using-energy+saving-technology

Despicable MeTraditionally, only the mammoth Hollywood studios could afford to work with 3D—it’s too expensive to build the necessary, air-conditioned 24 hours a day, server farms. The company behind Despicable Me decided to try something new, and cut the AC.

Illumination Entertainment, the company behind Despicable Me, decided to try something new. Instead of using air-conditioned server farms to render images, the company asked IBM to built a customized server farm using the iDataPlex system, a processing system that cuts down on energy use by 40% compared to traditional server farms.

The iDataPlex has two key advantages: a flexible configuration that doubles the amount of systems that can run in a single IBM rack and the ability to run an ambient temperature room (no costly air-conditioning required). The system has been on the market for over a year, but Illumination is the first studio to use it for animated film.

This doesn’t mean that any scrappy studio with a dream can now produce a high-end 3-D animated film. Illumination used a 330-person team of artists, producers, and support staff to produce 142 terabytes of data. And the rendering farm, which processed up to 500,000 frames per week, was built in conjunction with Mac Guff Ligne, a French digital production studio.

But the iDataPlex gives Illumination a leg up in the graphics rendering process. Illumination Entertainment’s server farm, for example, is the size of four parking spots. That’s half the amount of space the company initially allotted to the farm. “Oftentimes a small studio like Illumination really wants to put their energy behind creating as compelling of content as possible,” explains Steve Canepa, Vice President, Media & Entertainment Industry at IBM. “By minimizing the technological issues associated with building and managing the [rendering] environment, we allow studios to reduce the amount of time, energy, and resources necessary to create an underlying technological platform.”

It’s a compelling idea for studios—even major ones—that want to cut costs and look environmentally conscious at the same time. IBM is already working with a number of other studios to implement similar solutions. Canepa concedes that studios could build similar systems by purchasing off-the-shelf racks and processors, but the iDataPlex’s unique configuration of servers packs a lot of processing power into a small space—and that’s not easy to replicate. Don’t expect these rigs to be appearing in suburban garages anytime soon.

How a Small Studio Pulled Off a Major 3-D Film Using Energy-Saving TechnologyFast Company empowers innovators to challenge convention and create the future of business.

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Monday, July 12th, 2010 news No Comments

What do I see? Utter, Unfathomable Inefficiency – that is retail as we know it

Have a look at the 2 pictures below taken at a mall-attached large chain retailer.  Not a SINGLE customer in the store.  Practically every rack had a red and white sale sign on it.  Look at the multiple sizes of each item that have to be made available.

Now consider this.

What is the probability of someone walking through the store to this location, finding an article of clothing that is subjectively pleasing and desirable enough for the person to pick it up and consider the price. Consider if this is a nice to have or need to have item. Further consider the price and whether it is higher or lower than the clearing price — the price at which the user (in that particular user’s mind) thinks it is a good deal and decides to buy it. What is known is the quantity of work needed to inventory, merchandise, display all the products. What is not known very well is the probability of a sale for any or all of the items in the store.

Further consider the redundant inventory of similar (or the same) generic products — redundant because multiple stores attached to the same mall carry pretty much the same generic stuff. Even brand names provide little differentiation or value add. And celebrity designers and endorsers such as Kimora, Cindy, Kathy, or even Jaclyn Smith don’t help. The entire Kimora section was just as deserted as the second photo in this bunch.

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Thursday, July 1st, 2010 integrated marketing 1 Comment

Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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