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Showing posts from August, 2012
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Home Videos: Get in on the Act

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In 1927, Warner Bros produced the first talkie, The Jazz Singer, on a rather large budget of $422,000 (about $22 million in 2012 terms) - approximately 1.5 times what most silent films had cost to make until then.

In 1995, the Los Angeles Times reported that the average cost of making and marketing a feature film was approximately $50.4 million. In 2011 it cost around $65 million to produce the film plus another $35 million to market it - that's a cool $100 million. 3D movie production company, False Creek Productions, calculates that 3D movie production will set you back an additional 19% (PDF). Mega-3D-blockbusters, like Avatar, reportedly cost somewhere between $280 million and $500 million to produce (plus marketing costs).

In stark contrast to this, according to NuWire Investor:
The cost of producing indie [independent] films varies widely depending on the project, anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $20 million or more. Some indie films, while not usually full-length fe…

Call for Links to Home Movies

I am writing a blog-post about home movies. Send me a link to your home-made videos and I may include them. The deadline is Sunday 26 August, 2012.

Send all links to yossi at ykarp dot com.

So be part of it and don't delay!
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Press 1 to Give Up

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Without taking any formal polls, I estimate that 99% of the world hates automated answering systems.

There's a dark, dank office in the lower basement of a ramshackle castle atop a spindly hill, in which sits a hunchbacked hermit who rubs his calloused hands with evil glee as he codes telephone-menu software. Once in a while, when the crashing thunder shakes the windows from their hinges and the lightning rips through the eerie night sky, you may hear a prolonged, maniacal laugh echo through the deep, desolate valleys as he releases the next version to production.

But we forgive companies because we think that there isn't much of an alternative - it's a busy call center and they have to manage all of the incoming calls somehow, right?

I recently read an article about how companies use a special algorithm to determine if it is worthwhile to answer your phone call or not. The software calculates whether there are others in the queue who are likely to spend more money than y…

Is HR the Enemy?

The purpose of every HR department is to practice the HR policies set by the company. HR reps aren't there to represent the employee - unless, of course, the company policies and the needs of an employee happen to coincide (sexual harassment issues, for example). This may seem to be a sweepingly broad statement, but it is the reality of corporate life.

If you haven't already experienced HR's two-sidedness then you probably haven't been paying attention. The benefits, fun and good feelings that the HR department is responsible for are merely part of a wider aim to smokescreen employees from the true company goals. For instance, the purpose of company fun days, parties, food and birthday gifts is to lull you into a sense of loyalty, community and belonging so you won't leave.

Call me a cynic, if you like. I prefer the word "realist". And, yes, I have been burned by HR before, but that was back in the day when I naively thought that HR's job is to help t…

Turning More into Less, More or Less

One of the important skills a Technical Writer needs is to be able to take long-winded sentences, cut out irrelevant, repetitive, and useless words to make the sentence shorter, thus making it easier for the reader to understand.

Re-write:

To communicate effectively, Technical Writers must be able to edit text for clarity and brevity.


When editing my own work, I sometimes pretend that the text awkwardly creeps across to the next page. The challenge is to use fewer words without changing the meaning of the sentence so that all of the text fits on one page - no re-formatting allowed. It's often easier to write an entire paragraph than it is to convey the same information in a single sentence, so this little game makes for tighter writing.

Knowing which words to cut and which to keep is a skill. Twitter provides a great training ground for improving in this area. With only 140 characters to get your point across there isn't much room for warbling. Increase the level of difficulty b…
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