5 Ways to Make Your Girlfriend Like Star Wars and 1 Way to Make Her Hate It

While most of us are happy to sit down and watch Star Wars, respective partners are not so willing. I know that I get quizzed all the time on why I like it so much. My girl friend can’t seem to understand why the Star Wars movies are so good. So I decided to sit down with her and show her why she should like Star Wars as much as me.

1. Harrison Ford. Most chicks still think that he is hot. Yeh sure he’s getting older now days but in the original trilogy he is still a good looking. Plus if you tell her he gets his shirt off in The Empire Strike Back then she will sit there and wait for it. Now we all know that he doesn’t really get his shirt off, just ripped a little, but you are allowed to exaggerate sometimes.

2. Ewoks. Girls all like cute and cuddly things, and there is nothing more cute and cuddly than a Ewok. I know that you may not like the half Wookie want-to-be’s but remember this is not about you. Tell the love of your life that if she likes them then you will get her a Ewok doll. I don’t know if you can, but you can tell her you will try.

3. C3PO. Girls like gay guys. They see them as a man friend with female advice, and who better fits that role than C3PO. Once they know that he is gay they will watch the whole movie laughing at his antics and hoping that he will find another gay robot so that they can live happily ever after.

4. Princess Leia. Chicks love a big tough strong female lead. They also love a soft and feminine character that they can relate to. Leia Organa has the lot. She is tough but soft, brave but scared. Tell your partner that she is a role model and someone you respect. That will win you brownie points every time. It shows a intellectual side. Hey lie if you have to, but remember were trying to sit down and watch our favorite movie here.

5. Cry when Darth Vader dies. When Luke Skywalker takes of his helmet, shed a tear. Show your girlfriend that you have a soft side. Girls dig that. They may not feel the same way, but if it gets you emotional than you will be able to watch it more often.

Now that you have her won over to liking Star Wars you don’t want to stuff it all up by doing something stupid. Unfortunately, as men, we are almost pre-programmed to do stupid things, and what is the biggest mistake we can make when watching Star Wars?

“Gee Leia looks hot in that slave girl outfit!”

And in an instant you have blown it.

Mind you in saying all of this I have tried it all and still have no succeeded in winning her over. Mind you, you are better to try than to just fail outright.

Terry Shadwell

P.S. I do know where you can get a Princess Leia Slave Girl Outfit!



South Indian Actresses – The Hottest Ones

South Indian cinema comprises of the movies of many languages and many genres. South movies can be in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada or Mallu languages. South Indian actresses are considered some of the hottest ones and in some ways; they compete directly with their Bollywood counterparts both for their oomph and their acting skills. Here is a lowdown on the top 5 actresses who have ruled the cinema.

Shriya – She was one the reigning queen of Tamil and Telugu cinema. She started her career with Ishtam and went on to act in dozens of movies. Her prominent movies include Sivaji The Boss, Nuvve Nuvve and Mazhai. After a successful career she tried her luck in Bollywood but she could not get much successful there. Later she returned to her home turf, south Indian cinema and is currently doing a couple of movies there.

Nayantara – This south Indian actress is credited with starting the trend of bikini-acts in Telugu and Tamil cinema with her movie Billa. In fact she shot to fame after this movie. Her super hit flicks include Boss, Vallavan and Ghajini. She was caught in controversy when some photographs of Nayantara kissing her costar Simbu were made public.

Sneha – She is known as homely beauty of Tamil screen because of her girl-next-door looks and roles in most of the films. This south Indian actress has done in all of the languages and every possible genre. In an upcoming movie she has gone for an image makeover as she is playing a tough cop. Her hits include Inba and Pandi.

Namitha – She is the voluptuous siren who has caught the fantasy of million both in India and other countries. According to Google, Namitha was the most searched term on mobiles in 2008. Namitha Kapoor is known more for her skin show than her acting skills. Despite being endowed with an over-sized figure she has mesmerized her fans in every movie. Her craze can be assessed by the fact that her fans are keen on building a temple in her name and worship as her goddess!

Anushka – She is another buxom actress of Tamil and Telugu movies. Anushka is known for her ethnic sex appeal. She has mostly done glamorous roles but in a recent movie Arundhati she played a very challenging role. Arundhati was super hit and made Anushka one of the most sought after actresses.

Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Mallu actresses are very beautiful.



Doctor Who – Sci-Fi’s Longest Running Television Series Ever!

Back in 1963 when the first episode of Doctor who aired on BBC television in the United Kingdom, who would have thought that this small budget science fiction series would become the longest running science fiction series of all time and eventually have several spin-offs? The success and popularity of Doctor Who over the years has simply been amassing!

Today in all the mayor English speaking countries most people will have at least heard of Doctor Who. The countries where Doctor Who has been most successful are the United Kingdom, New Zeeland, Australia and the United States. There exist totally dedicated fan groups in all these countries, most are accessible via the World Wide Web. The web has become one of the best places to access the Doctor Who world, with 100s of dedicated websites about anything from simple Doctor Who news and episode reviews to props collecting and other merchandise!

The fan base for Doctor Who, after it’s around 44 years is considerable; as a result there exist literarily 100s of fan made episodes even some films. On the Would Wide Web you can find pages that list lots of the episodes.

The BBC in response to Doctor Who’s popularity, expanded the series to radio and to Audio book. The radio was used as a way to allow some of the past Doctors to play the role once more, in totally new stories written especially for radio and later made available in audio book format. Doctor Who audio books, in addition to covering radio episodes, have also covered lots of the old original episodes, lost episodes, the new Doctor Who series and Torchwood and even episodes written exclusively for audio book! The first ever Doctor Who audio books were available to the public in the mid seventies on tape and LP, now days there are currently over 50 titles available!

Most of the first Audio books were in simple doctor who soundtrack form from the original television series with linking narration by the Drs., but due to there popularity it wasn’t long before the BBC were bringing out the radio episodes and the original audio book episodes. More recently the BBC has been taking the opportunity to use the audio book format as a way of preserving the lost television episodes by making them available to the public once more. They have also just recently been bringing out audio books for the new series and Torchwood. Doctor who soundtrack audio books are the most economical with prices for downloadable versions as low as 13 $!

But the BBC haven’t been the only ones making Doctor Who audio books, there is also a company named big finish who have for some time now been making their own audio books with original content!

Now it’s up to the likes of the new doctor who series and the two Doctor Who spin-offs, “Torchwood” and “The Sarah Jane Adventures” to live up to doctor who’s incredibly successful past. So far it would appear that they are on the right track as the shows are proving to be very popular indeed with episodes being broadcast all over the globe.



Microsoft – Drinks Chivas, Drives Volvo

Microsoft Corp. is facing an increasing competition in the online video realm. To boot, MSN video is currently the sixth place video destination in the United States and that spot is far behind Google’s YouTube, AOL’s Time Warner, and News Corp.’s MySpace. This is why the software giant is expanding affiliations to cover the wine maker Chivas Brothers Ltd. and the Swedish automaker Volvo Cars.

Microsoft has signed deals with Chivas and Volvo to support two new web series from Reveille, the company behind “The Office” and the “Ugly Betty” television shows. The two new shows include the “Driving School” which would be coming as a comedy about a driving instructor who shares life lessons to his students. The show will be hosted by actor Craig Robinson, who plays Darryl on NBC’s The Office.

The other show titled “This is the Life,” is about travel and adventure linked to a Chivas Regal advertising campaign. The shows will arrive on MSN Web site in the next six months, Microsoft announced Tuesday at an advertising industry conference. Microsoft did not disclose the financial or product-placement arrangements of the deals.

Last month, 11.5 million people visited MSN video, and spent an average of five and a half minutes on the site as compared with the 45 million people who each spent about 41 minutes on YouTube, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.

It could be recalled that after the acquisition of Google Inc. of YouTube, an online video Web site, the same has become a white-hot topic. Advertisers and ad brokers rushed to turn the trend of web equivalent TV ads into dollars. Since then, short spots before or after a video clip online became an instant success.

According to Gayle Troberman, the general manager of branded entertainment at Microsoft, those will remain a staple of Microsoft’s video advertising inventory. But advertisers are also experimenting with original series and user-generated videos as they venture to capture even deeper connections with online purchasers.

In 2006, Microsoft and Reveille produced a handful of MSN shows that fall somewhere between advertising and programming. Troberman touted “Chef to the Rescue,” which is sponsored by Kraft Foods Inc., as one remarkable success story from the Reveille partnership. The software giant said that after the cooking show’s launch in December, over 250,000 viewers printed out related recipes featuring Kraft products.

While it is tempting to label the shows advertorials and leave it at that, Ben Silverman, Reveille’s chief executive, said that he has tried to find more elegant ways to incorporate products and entertainment. “I don’t want to be in something where you’re ruining that content by stupid, clunky choices,” said Silverman.

Microsoft said it planned to expand its commitment to developing original content built around branded entertainment opportunities, announcing during an afternoon session at the company’s Strategic Accounts Summit (SAS) in Seattle, Wash., that it will extend its current relationship with the production firm Reveille while also launching several other new Web content projects.

“We are the leader of original content creation online,” said Joanne Bradford, the corporate vice president and the chief media officer for MSN, citing the 20 plus Web series the portal has launched in the past year. Among those original series is Chef to the Rescue, a result of a partnership between it and Reveille announced at the summit last year.

While others have speculated that MSN’s partnership with Reveille has been slow to yield success, Bradford said the two companies had agreed to extend their relationship, though she forgot to say the duration. During Tuesday’s presentation, Bradford ardently greeted Reveille CEO Ben Silverman – the brains behind the TV hits The Office and The Biggest Losers – with a pair of kisses before handing him the stage.

Volvo has signed on as that show’s charter sponsor. Through the shows, the Swedish automaker could flaunt Volvo master cylinder, safety features, and other milestone innovations. As such, it is expected for this trend to plague the entire Web. Silverman said that while he still believed that TV was a great brand builder, his company’s Web creations offer advertisers much deeper access that is unheard of in the TV business. “I’m always really annoyed that I’m kept out of those conversations [with TV advertisers],” he said. “[The networks] don’t get it yet.”

Silverman was not the only partner to share the moment at SAS. Allen Shapiro, the CEO of Dick Clark Productions and president of the Mosaic   Media  Group, discussed the success of a Golden Globes content program launched earlier this year with MSN – one that  TV  partner NBC was wary of. This year, his company – which owns the rights to many early TV performances of music stars like Prince and Madonna, is exploring launching a classic rock channel with MSN, along with a potential comedy network. “We’re now determined to step this up,” said Shapiro.



The Top Ten Movies You Should See This Holiday Season

It’s the Christmas season, but that doesn’t mean you can go entertainment hungry. Not with all this good material around. Set down the decorations and celebrate with joy, laughter, humor, lots of family love, and some wonderful movies to help it along. Here’s the top ten Christmas movies for this season:

A Christmas Story

This classic is not only number one because it is probably one of the most widely viewed Christmas movies in America, but because it is something that is definitely something that all ages can enjoy. Safe to watch with the family and very lively indeed, it makes us all believe in a true family who although are just an average everyday 1940s household, create magic and mayhem around the holiday season.

It’s A Wonderful Life

As we all watch this movie we wonder if any movie as painful as this is can be worth the pay off…..then we see the ending and know that it most certainly is. When Jimmy Stewart reviews his life as it would be if he were not around we suddenly know what the spirit of true Christmas is, the joy of family, love, and being grateful for that wonderful life in which we possess. With such loyal town folk around we are more than willing to enjoy and feel Stewart’s pain year after year.

Miracle On 34th Street

For those children who are just discovering the truth about Santa Claus, this is the quickest remedy for true happiness. As we go through the trial of a man claiming to be the real Santa Claus, we try to discover the truth for ourselves. With the help of a little girl that tries to believe that this is the real Saint Nicholas of the North Pole. We cling to hope and happiness with this old time movie.

A Muppet’s Christmas Carol

With the help of Jim Hensen’s marvelous puppets we are taken on a oh so familiar journey with more happiness, Muppet mayhem, joyful music, and family fun then you were bargaining for. All that and you get an incredible performance by Michael Caine as that humbug Mr. Scrooge. Be sure that all the Muppets you love so well will be present along with that good message that this Dicken’s favorite will be sure to deliver on.

Gremlins

A little out of the common mold of the traditional Christmas movie, this classic delivers on a playful and mocking way that although not suitable for a younger audience is well worth a watch. Poor Gizmo and those mean ugly gremlins out to destroy all those town’s people Christmas fun. It will have you still screaming “Don’t feed him after midnight!!!”

Babes In Toyland

This 1960s cult classic definitely has a lot to offer. Set to a very fairy tale setting, your family will be enchanted by all the nursery rhyme characters set to a fascinating and changing story filled with costumes and effects a-plenty. Plus, who doesn’t want one of those incredible toy machines?

Little Women

Don’t look at me like that. I know that this is not primarily a Christmas movie, but it should be. Some of the most charming scenes in this movie are set around the Christmas season. Not to mention that this movie is definitely set in the Christmas spirit. With love above money, and happiness despite hard times you will be feeling the love this Christmas.

Elf

Will Ferrell gives every other elf a run for his money in this movie. With a lot to laugh about, faith of his human father on the line, tons of Christmas jokes, Christmas mayhem, and that poor executive who gets called an elf we discover the joy of laughter, faith beyond compare, and the restoration of true love free of all conditions.

Home Alone

That’s right, “Home Alone,” a movie with enough antics, fun, and for every kid that wished he could be left home alone this is the ticket. With some evil robbers trying to take over all the houses while everyone is on Christmas vacation this kid will definitely have none of it and he has more tricks up his sleeve than this pair of robbers have bargained for.

White Christmas

We’ve got to have a full blown musical on the list. Especially this movie which has enough Christmas music to give us those large smiles on our face. With a lively plot and a fun atmosphere it is guaranteed to be a new family classic in your house.

Enjoy your holiday season and may you and your family have the best that the world has to offer!



Social Media: Can Social Media Stop People From Having The Ability To Delay Gratification?

On one hand, there is instant gratification and, on the other hand, there is delayed gratification. When it comes to the former, one way of looking at it would be to say that this is something that comes from the child part of them.

The reason for this is what when one was younger, they would have needed everything straight away. At this age, it wouldn’t have been possible for them to put their needs to one side.

A Time and A Place

At the same time, it could also be said that there is more to it than this, and this is because there are going to be moments when it will be necessary for this part of them to appear as an adult. In this sense, it might be more accurate to say that this drive that is not as important when they are older as it is when they are younger.

When it comes to when this drive is required, it can relate to when they are hungry or need to go to the toilet, for instance. It could then be said that this is something that often relates to their more basic needs.

The Other Option

Yet, when it comes to the latter, it could be said that this something that is a part of their adult self. There is the chance that they would have been brought up by people who exercised this drive whilst they were bringing them up.

During these years, their parent/s would have had to put certain needs to one side in order to fulfil their needs. If this took place, they might have thought about how it would affect their child if they ignored their needs and did what they wanted to do instead.

Damage

Yet, if they did do this and focused on their own needs, it could have set one up to be abandoned. Thus, out of their inability to see the bigger picture, they would have caused a lot of harm.

At this time, doing what they wanted might have felt good, but if they were able to step back, they would have realised that this would have a big effect on their own flesh and blood. It could be said that this emphasises how important it is to have a well-functioning brain.

Different Needs

When it comes to having this ability as an adult, it can allow them to achieve things that are significant. Ultimately, if one wants to have a fulfilling career, for instance, it is unlikely to happen overnight.

To get to this point, there is a strong chance that they will have to do things that won’t be very pleasurable, and this could happen for a number of years. And even if they were to get to this point, it doesn’t mean that it will be plain sailing.

Relationships

Along with the effect this will have on their career, it will also have a positive effect on their connections with others. For example, if one wanted to be with someone, they are going to need to handle the moments when it doesn’t go how they want it to.

But through going through these moments, it can bring them closer to the other person, and it will be able to fulfil a lot of their needs. Having casual encounters can allow one to experience more pleasure, but they are unlikely to do much else.

Exercise

In addition to this, if one wants to lose weight or gain muscle, it is not going to be something that happens straight away. And even if they do see a difference without too much time passing, it can take while for them to go to the next stage.

In the short-term, they are going to have to experience pain, and they will need to overlook other things that would be more pleasurable. Even so, it will be far more rewarding for them in the long-term.

A Bigger Impact

And, when one does achieve something like this, it will be far more meaningful than if they were to simply have something straight away. They will be only too aware of all the effort they have put in, and this will allow them to appreciate it more.

If one has what they want, when they want it, it is unlikely to mean anything to them. In the same way that human beings typically don’t think about how wonderful air is, as it is always there.

Nowadays

But while it is clear that having the ability to delay gratification is vital, it is something that is being undermined in today’s world. One way this takes place is that people have the ability to order something and have it delivered soon after.

Another way this occurs is through what takes place when one uses social media, and this is somewhere where one can have a number of their basic needs taken care of almost instantly. If, for example, one wants to receive attention, approval or to talk to someone, this can happen through using their device.

Regression

And through being able to get these needs met so easily, they can come to expect every other need to be met in the same way. When it comes to someone who has been brought up with social media, they could find that they have a greater need to experience life in this way that someone who hasn’t.

Having said that, this can all depend on how much time they spend online. As a result of this, one can be like a child that needs to have everything provided for them straight away, and they won’t be able to tolerate frustration.

Conclusion

There are going to be times when one can have their needs met instantly and times when they can’t. If one is unable to delay gratification, it can stop them from being able to live a fulfilling existence.

If one can relate to this and they want to change their life, it is going to be a good idea for them to develop the ability to delay gratification. There is plenty of information online on how this can be done.



How to Make Author Events Effective

When starting out, many authors wonder how they should promote their books, and many are disappointed when they hold a book signing and no one shows up. An author might sign books at a bookstore in his or her hometown and have a dozen or so friends and family come, but then the second book signing in a neighboring town might be a flop with only one or two books sold at the most. For a long time, book marketing experts have said that a bookstore is the worst place to sell a book. I don’t think that’s true-over time, authors sell the majority of their books in bookstores-but a book signing in a bookstore usually is a colossal failure for most authors.

What makes an author event effective? Participation by the author in terms of spreading word about the event is a large factor. You can’t rely on the bookstore or organization to promote your event. You still may not get a crowd of people if you do, but the more effort you put into advertising the event yourself, the more likely you will attract a crowd. Here are just a few ways you can help to promote your event:

  • Send out invitations via Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media.
  • Send out an email invitation to your email list-remember not everyone is on Facebook, and not all your Facebook friends are on your email list so cover your bases both ways (and don’t discriminate and fail to invite friends in other states or across the country-they may not come, but they may cheer you on from afar and the positive energy helps a lot-it’s also a reminder to them to order your book.)
  • Send out postcards to people on your snail mail list-especially your older readers who may not be on Facebook or even have email.
  • Post the scheduled event on a prominent place on your website.
  • Make up posters and distribute them around the area-grocery stores, libraries, restaurants, anywhere there’s a bulletin board or a door where you can tape something-always ask the manager’s permission before doing so (and invite him or her and the staff to the event while you’re at it). Be sure to give some posters to the event planner, bookstore owner, etc. to distribute.
  • Send out an event listing, or even a press release, to local media-many television stations and newspapers have community events calendars. And you never know when the newspaper might write up the event, or the TV station might come to cover it.

Promoting your event yourself can be a lot of work, but it gives you a better chance of having an audience and selling your book than if you don’t promote it. Making posters might especially seem like a waste of time and money, especially if you can’t place them all, so I recommend making up a generic poster for all your events and then leaving a place where you can list the time, place, and location details for each specific event. Then you can later print up stickers or just handwrite that information on the posters so you always have posters available and don’t end up throwing any away.

Making an event effective also has to do with how you “sell” it to your prospective audience. Saying “John Smith will sign his new book on X day at X place” may not excite too many people, especially if they can always get the book at that place any other day of the week and don’t care if it’s signed. But spicing up the event can help a lot. Here are a few additional ways to give that bonus reason for why people should attend your author event:

  • Invite fellow authors to attend. They are not your competition. They are your greatest resource. If you get other authors to do the event with you, they can help you to promote it, and their fan base will show up and discover your book as well. People are also more likely to show up for six authors than one author. You might have to spend a little more time coordinating the event with everyone, but it also extends your chance of making the event a success, and if no one does show up, at least you’ll have other people to talk with, and network with-slow author events are often where you can get some of your best ideas for marketing your book just by talking to the other participants.
  • Have a contest or giveaway. Have a drawing-sell tickets, or give away a ticket for everyone who buys a book-you can give away free books, or it can even be non-book related items. You might even want to find a sponsor, someone who will donate an attractive or desirable item as a prize for the event-a great way to advertise for the sponsor. Don’t be afraid to get creative. I know of one author who held a contest for the chance to be named as a character in the author’s next book.
  • Entertain your audience. People may not be willing to show up just so they can buy a book, but they may show up if you are going to give a talk on a topic that interests them. If you have five or six authors, make up a schedule and each of you can give a twenty minute talk during the event. If you know anyone musical, it doesn’t hurt to have someone sing during the event or play an instrument. You can also show a short film or your book video. People want to be entertained, and they like free entertainment. Entertain them and they’ll be more likely to buy your book. And even if you don’t sell books, you planted a seed, so they might later buy the book as a Christmas gift for someone else.

No matter how hard you work, some events are going to end up being failures. But even if an event is a flop, if you are invited back to participate in the event the next year, give it a second try, and analyze what you could have done better to promote the event so you have a better chance the second time. If it still flops, then perhaps you might reconsider not participating in the future-especially if you are busy or could spend that time writing or doing something more fruitful-but if you have the time and want to keep going, the worst that can happen is you spend your time, and you never know who might show up the third time around.

Eventually, you might end up deciding not to attend certain events any longer, but also remember that sometimes it just takes the one right person showing up to make the event worthwhile. For example, I know an author who held a book signing and only one person showed up for it, but that person was the right person. She was the head of the library book club, and she liked the author and his book so much that she got the book club to read the book. The author spent two hours at the book signing and only sold one book, but it resulted in the other sixteen members of that book club buying his book a couple of months later. Not only that, but the book club invited him to their book club meeting, which included a free dinner and they paid him to come and talk. I’d say those are pretty good results from a book signing where only one person showed up.

Author events can be a success if authors are willing to make the effort and be a little creative to bring in the crowd. Don’t just show up for an event. Create the event, own the event, be the event. Then your author event can be a success.



Ancient Philosophy On The Internet Can Change How We Think

Here I am again sitting at my computer, my job is to write about the positive aspects of the Internet. I’d like to think of myself as a bit of a novice philosopher as well as writer. The other day in poetry class at university my lecturer mentioned a quote from a guy who I had already read and enjoyed, Baruch/Benedictus Spinoza. The quote mentioned was quite a simple one, and in my opinion simplicity is the best form of communication (and everything else for that matter). Spinoza once said, “Reality is perfection.” I feel this idea is quite a powerful one indeed, in relation to all aspects of life, including the Internet.

Where do you go these days when you want to find out about anything? Church? School? Parents? No, you go to the Internet. The Internet is the collective pool of unconscious, sub consciousness, and conscious ideas, beliefs, knowledge and wisdom of humanity from the past to the present. There has never been such a tool available for us. Of course there is a perfectly imperfect amount of crap out there to sift through as well, but that is intrinsic in this perfectly balanced reality that has always existed.

So, if reality has always been perfect, why is the existence of the Internet anything special? The truth is, it is only as special as anything else in life. Now, you have to ask yourself, “Is life special?” I think you know the answer to that one…then again there’s that perfect paradoxical balance. Why the Internet then? Well, my younger brother once said, and I don’t know where he pulled this little tidbit of wisdom, “The only constant in the Universe is that everything is in constant transition.” The Internet exists because of a natural progression in human thinking; it’s an evolution of our collective minds. It is a constructed idea formed through the process of eternal change.

Human beings have a huge history spanning at least half a million years. As well as the magic feeling of love there has always been the balancing emotion of fear. It seems that over time societies go through different stages where one of these feelings dominates and then permeates general actions by the community. At the moment many people would find it hard to disagree with the fact that we are in a period of fear. With war, hatred and segregation prevalent in reality as well as the ‘reality’ presented by the   media  news and  TV /film, fear is reigning supreme in many of our daily interactions.

This relates to the use of the Internet because it looks as though people are afraid to get on the Web. I used to be afraid for Pete’s sake! To tell you the truth I still have some irrational fears when it comes to researching a paper for school. I often think, “Will I find the ‘right’ information?” The answer of course is that there is always a possibility of things going wrong, that’s this perfection of reality. Life would be stale, stagnant and sterile otherwise. The key lies in our belief in this perfection. The Internet has eliminated the need to go to libraries and carry around huge books just to read small sections of each. There is also less need to get to a science library and then sociology, mathematics etc. So much information is now available to people in our own homes.

Whether you are researching seventeenth century philosophers’ ways of thinking for personal or professional reasons, or even just looking up information on how to make your own chai tea, or on how to change the oil on your car; the Internet is a source for so many areas of interest it is simply mind boggling. It is truly the most perfect form of reality’s perfection in modern contemporary society. That’s why they call this the Information age right? The only problem has to deal with the perfectly imperfect amount of pornography that constitutes more than half of all websites on the Web. What does this say about our current moral disposition in our changing perception’s construct of reality? I’ll leave you with that one to ponder…



Windows Media Video Compression Using Adobe Premiere Pro

I’ve written this tutorial for anyone who uses adobe premiere pro and wants to find out the best way to compress a video using “Windows Media Video”.

I cover things like what bitrate to use with what resolution and frame rate as well as what a few of the different settings do and mean. Find out for yourself and take a read…

(not you will need to copy and paste image url’s in to your browser)

Getting to Adobe Media Encoder

1. Render all unrendered footage if you haven’t done so already in premiere pro

2. Now go, File >> Export >> Adobe Media Encoder

3. Select “Windows Media” from the format drop down list

4. Then, from the preset drop down list, select something like “WMV9 720 25p” (doesn’t really matter what you choose)

Video Settings

1. Select “Video” on the left hand side of the Adobe Media Encoder

2. Under Video, make sure…

  • Select “Windows Media Video 9” as the codec
  • Leave “Allow Interlaced Processing” Unticked
  • Under Bitrate Settings, Select “Two” encoding passes and make sure the mode is “Variable Constrained”. This offers way better results compared to a single encoding pass

Image: fullvoltage.com.au/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=333.0;id=29;image

Audio Settings

1. Select “Audio” on the left hand side of the Adobe Media Encoder

2. Under Audio, make sure…

  • Select “Windows Media Audio 9.1” as the audio codec
  • Under Bitrate Settings, Select “Two” encoding passes and make sure the mode is “Constant”. This will make sure the audio quality stays the same the whole way through the video

Image: fullvoltage.com.au/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=333.0;id=30;image

Audience Settings

1. Select “Audiences” on the left hand side of the Adobe Media Encoder

2. Audiences is the most important part as this is where you actually set the quality and the file size

3. Now, select your desired frame rate, it’s usually best to keep it at its original level. But, say you’re original level is 50 frames a second, reduce it to 25. If you’re going for a really small file, then you’d want to bring your fps down to 20 or 15, but 25 will always enhance the footage as it will appear a lot smoother.

4. For Pixel Aspect Ratio, set it to however you’re original footage is set. If you’re editing footage shot on the computer, then square pixels will give you the best results.

5. Frame Width and Frame Height is a big factor for when considering image quality with file size. You kind of need to match them both up. In theory, for simple scenes like a close up of a human face “1 bit” per 200 pixels will offer good results,you may even want to try 250 pixels per bit. But with a more complex scene which includes maybe scenery and shrubs or a fast action video.etc, you’d want to aim around “1 bit” per 100 pixels (no where over 140 pixels per bit). To work this out, simply look at all the scenes in your video. If your scenes vary a lot in terms of colour and complexity, then you want lesser pixels per bit, this will increase file size (or reduce image size) but will offer way better results otherwise. On the other hand, if you’re video contains long interviews with a still background. Then the compressor will be able to produce good results with a high pixel per bit rate.

6. Now, moving down to the basic audio settings, if you’re video contains a lot of sound and the sound is really important in the video. Then you wont want to go under 96kb/s, but I usually prefer to use 160kb/s or 128kb/s as if you compare the 160kb/s bitrate of the audio to the say 5000 bitrate of the video, you can see that the audio isn’t going to effect file size much in this case. The higher your video bitrate, the lesser the impact the audio will have on the filesize. Use CBR audio, not (A/V) CBR audio. Use stereo if your sound differs from channel to channel (most music does).

7. Back to the Video now, Set Decoder Complexity to Auto

8. For key frame interval, if you have a high action video with complex scenes, set this to about 1 or 2. On the other hand, if you have not so complex scenes like an interview with a still background, then you can raise this up to about 10.

9. Leave buffer size as default

10. Now, here is the good bit. Because earlier on, we set a Video Encoding mode to a Two pass encode with a variable but constrained bitrate. This means we can now give a maximum and average bitrate. It will use the maximum bitrate in the more complex scenes and will use the average bitrate for normal scenes. Now, setting your bitrate is important. This is basically, where we shove all our resolution and other data, in to a tightly packaged file. If you package your file to tight, bits of data start oozing out the corners which is why it’s important to package your video tight, but not too tight. Let’s say we have a rather complex video which is fairly fast paced with lots of different colours and scenes. We set our resolution to 1024×768 with a frame rate of 25 and we want excellent quality, but a small file size.

Ok, let’s put what we learnt in to play. Ok, 1024 multiplied by 768 gives us 786000 pixels. That means that every single frame will contain 786000 pixels. If our video is running at 25fps, that’s 19.2 million pixels a second. The way compressors work, is they look for similarities across multiple frames and they try and share the data. Sometimes, when you set the bitrate too low, it just can’t deal with that data so it needs to throw away some pixels. The lower the bitrate, the more pixels get thrown around or ripped up.

11. Now, we need to set the bitrate. So, seeing our scene is fairly complex, and we want good quality, I think 130 pixels per bit will be fine. So, lets divide 786000 by 130. This gives us 6040 bits. So, 6000 bits a second is what we need. We’ll set 6000 as the peak and 5000 as the average. Now, 5000 bits a second will produce a fairly large file in terms of the internet, but remember, we are using a resolution of 1024×768 which is very big in terms of the net, but we want viewers to see “all” the work we have put in to it.

12. Now, once the bitrate is set, we have our buffer size, the larger your bit rate, the larger you want your buffer size. In this case, a buffer of 20/25 will be fine (buffer usually doesn’t effect anything).

Image: fullvoltage.com.au/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=333.0;id=31;image

Saving

1. Now, save the preset buy hitting the floppy disk icon up the top of the Adobe Encoder Window. But, before you do that, place a comment for the preset if you want.

2. Now, hit OK at the bottom of the window which will then prompt you for a location to save it. It will also give an estimated file size based on your video length and you’re peak data rate (for both the video and audio). But seeing we are using a variable bit rate, this estimate is usually higher than the end result.

3. Let it render out, then enjoy.

Tips

  • It’s usually good to set your work area to a length of 5 seconds over a complex part of your video, that way, you can do test renders to find the best bit rate
  • If you get errors while exporting and you use a hyperthreading processor or a dual core processor, visit this site to fix the problem. If you don’t get this problem, it may still be a good idea to visit the site and get the new adobe media encoder.

    [http://www.adobe.com/support/techdocs/330380.html]

I hope you learnt something from this tutorial Smiley

Cheers!

[http://www.fullvoltage.com.au]



Impact of Social Media on Society

“Do you have Facebook?”

“Yes, of course. But I don’t think you can find me, as there are too many people who have the same name as me. Try searching with my surname as well.”

“Hey, you celebrated your birthday in K-Box, right? I saw the photos in your Facebook.”

“Bro, I saw your comments about the YouTube video that I’ve posted in my blog. I’m happy that you are also deeply moved by the ‘Dancing Peacock Man’ as well.”

Social media or “social networking” has almost become part of our daily lives and being tossed around over the past few years. It is like any other media such as newspaper, radio and television but it is far more than just about sharing information and ideas. Social networking tools like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Blogs have facilitated creation and exchange of ideas so quickly and widely than the conventional media. The power of define and control a brand is shifting from corporations and institutions to individuals and communities. It is no longer on the 5Cs (e.g. condominium, credit cards and car) that Singaporeans once talked about. Today, it is about the brand new Cs: creativity, communication, connection, creation (of new ideas and products), community (of shared interests), collaboration and (changing the game of) competition.

In January 2010, InSites Consulting has conducted an online survey with 2,884 consumers from over 14 countries between the ages of 18 to 55 years old on social networking. More than 90% of participants know at least 1 social networking site and 72% of participants are members of at least 1 social networking site. On the average, people have about 195 friends and they log in twice a day to social networking sites. However, 55% of the users cannot access their social network websites at work. In the past, not many adults were able to make more than 500 friends, but with social media, even a child or teenager can get to know more than 500 people in a few days by just clicking the mouse. Social media has devalued the traditional definition of “friend” where it means trust, support, compatible values, etc. Although we get to know more people, we are not able to build strong bond with all the people whom we met as our available time is limited. Hence, there is an upcoming social trend of people with wider social circles, but weaker ties (people we don’t know very well but who provide us with useful information and ideas).

Social media also influences people’s buying behaviours. Digital Influence Group reported that 91% of the people say consumer reviews are the #1 aid to buying decisions and 87% trust a friend’s recommendation over critic’s review. It is thrice more likely to trust peer opinions over advertising for purchasing decisions. 1 word-of-mouth conversation has an impact of 200 TV ads. With the prevalence use of social media, there is numerous news related to it from the most viewed YouTube video on “Armless pianist wins ‘China’s Got Talent'” to Web-assisted suicide cases (e.g. New Jersey college student who killed himself after video of him in a sexual encounter with another man was posted online). Thus, does social networking make us better or worse off as a society?

Positive Effects of Social Media

Besides having opportunity to know a lot of people in a fast and easy way, social media also helped teenagers who have social or physical mobility restrictions to build and maintain relationships with their friends and families. Children who go overseas to study can still stay in meaningful contact with their parents. To a greater extend, there is anecdotal evidence of positive outcomes from these technologies.

In 2008, President-elected Obama won the election through the effective use of social media to reach millions of audience or voters. The Obama campaign had generated and distributed huge amount of contents and messages across email, SMS, social media platforms and their websites. Obama and his campaign team fully understood the fundamental social need that everyone shares – the need of being “who we are”. Therefore, the campaign sent the message as “Because It’s about YOU” and chose the right form of media to connect with individuals, call for actions and create community for a social movement. They encouraged citizens to share their voices, hold discussion parties in houses and run their own campaign meetings. It truly changed the delivery of political message.

Obama campaign had made 5 million “friends” on more than 15 social networking sites (3 million friends on Facebook itself) and posted nearly 2,000 YouTube videos which were watched over 80 million times. At its peak, their website, MyBarackObama.com, had 8.5 million monthly visitors and produced 400,000 blog posts. In order to ensure that their contents were found by people, the Obama campaign spent $3.5 million on Google search in October alone, $600,000 on Advertising.com, $467,000 on Facebook in 2008, etc. Currently, Obama’s Twitter account has close to 6 million followers.

In 2010, after the earthquake happened in Haiti, many of the official communication lines were down. The rest of the world was not able to grasp the full picture of the situation there. To facilitate the sharing of information and make up for the lack of information, social media came in very handy to report the news about the affected area on what happened and what help was needed. Tweets from many people provided an impressive overview of the ongoing events from the earthquake. BBC covered the event by combining tweets from the work of its reporter Matthew Price in Port-au-Prince at the ground. Guardian’s live blog also used social media together with the information from other news organisations to report about the rescue mission.

It has been two years since CNN officially launched iReport as a section of its website where people can upload video material, with contact information. During the Haiti crisis, CNN had published a range of social media material but not all the materials were verified. The editorial staff would vet the reports from the citizen journalists and labeled them differently compared to unverified contents. On Facebook, a group, named “Earthquake Haiti”, was formed to show support and share updates and news. It had more than 14,000 members and some users even pleaded for assistance to the injured Haitians in the group. Using email, Twitter and social networking sites like Facebook, thousands of volunteers as part of Project Ushahidi were able to map reports sent by people from Haiti.

The most impressive part of the social media’s impact on Haiti is the charity text-message donations that soared to over $10 million for the victims in Haiti. People interested in helping the victims are encouraged to text, tweet and publicize their support using various social networking sites. The Global Philanthropy Group had also started a campaign to ask wealthy people and celebrities, like Ben Stiller and John Legend to use Twitter and Facebook to encourage others to give to UNICEF. An aid worker, Saundra Schimmelpfennig, allowed the advice from other aid workers and donors to post on her blog regarding to choosing which charitable organisations to support. In the meantime, donors were asking questions in Twitter, Facebook and blogs about their donations and endorsements of their favourite charities. After every crisis, the social media for social cause becomes a more effective medium to spread the word.

Negative Effects of Social Media

There are always two sides of every coin. Social media is just a tool or mean for people to use. It is still up to the users on how to use this tool (just like a knife, can help you to cut food or hurt others). Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center conducted a study on “The Future of Online Socializing” from the highly engaged, diverse set of respondents to an online, opt-in survey consisted of 895 technology stakeholders and critics. The negative effects presented by the respondents included time spent online robs time from important face-to-face relationships; the internet fosters mostly shallow relationships; the act of leveraging the internet to engage in social connection exposes private information; the internet allows people to silo themselves, limiting their exposure to new ideas; and the internet is being used to engender intolerance.

Some respondents also highlighted that there will be development of some new psychological and medical syndromes that will be “variations of depression caused by the lack of meaningful quality relationships”, and a “new world society”. The term, “Social Networking”, has begun to deceive the users to believe they are social creatures. For instance, spending a couple of hours using Farmville and chatting with friends concurrently does not convert into social skills. People become dependent on the technology and forget how to socialise in face-to-face context. The online personality of a person might be totally different from his/her offline character, causing chaos when the two personalities meet. It is apparent in online dating when the couple gets together in face-to-face for the first time. Their written profiles do not clearly represent their real-life characters. It is more enticing for people to type something that others want to hear than saying the truth.

Besides the “friendship”, creators of social networking sites and users redefine the term, “privacy” in the Internet as well. The challenge in data privacy is to share data while protecting personally identifiable information. Almost any information posted on social networking sites is permanent. Whenever someone posts pictures or videos on the web, it becomes viral. When the user deletes a video from his/her social network, someone might have kept it and then posted it onto other sites like YouTube already. People post photographs and video files on social networking sites without thinking and the files can reappear at the worst possible time. In 2008, a video of a group of ACJC students hazing a female student in school on her birthday was circulated and another video of a SCDF recruit being “welcomed” (was hosed with water and tarred with shoe polish) to a local fire station made its way online.

Much news has been reported about online privacy breach in Facebook and Facebook is constantly revising their privacy policy and changing their privacy controls for the users. Interestingly, even when users delete their personal information and deactivate their Facebook account, Facebook will still keep that information and will continue to use it for data mining. A reporter asked whether the data will at least be anonymized. The Facebook representative declined to comment.

In the corporate world, human resource managers can access Facebook or MySpace to get to know about a candidate’s true colours, especially when job seekers do not set their profiles to private. Research has found that almost half of employers have rejected a potential worker after finding incriminating material on their Facebook pages. Some employers have also checked the candidates’ online details in Facebook pages to see if they are lying about their qualifications. Nowadays, younger generations have a complete disregard for their own privacy, opening doors to unwelcome predators or stalkers.