Tag Archives: Productivity

Updates from Adobe

How to Create a Surreal Photo Collage
By Terri Stone – When you composite photos, you usually don’t want the result to look like a composite. Even if the final scene is fantastical, your aim is to transport viewers into another world. Filip Hodas, a 24-year-old freelance artist from Prague, has been creating convincing digital realities for years. Now he’’ agreed to share his process.

To make the otherworldly landscape featured here, Hodas relied heavily on Adobe Photoshop CC layer masks. He placed each source image on its own layer and then used layer masks to hide and reveal parts of each. He also used layer masks to adjust color and add highlights and shadows.

Next came a Color Balance adjustment layer, which he added to the background images so their colors would be a better match. Trees on the right side of the horizon image were distracting, so he removed them with the Clone Stamp tool.

Hodas knows that small details can have a big impact on a composite’s overall look, so his next step was to refine the foreground image’s mask. That softened jagged edges a little and removed a slight yellow outline. more> https://goo.gl/7jat2c

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Updates from Georgia Tech

Pioneer of Modern Electronics
By Michael Baxter – The smartphone you peer into, the LED bulb in your desk lamp, the Blu-Ray player that serves up your favorite film – all are here largely because of Russell Dupuis, a professor in electrical and computer engineering at Georgia Tech.

That’s because an essential component of their manufacturing traces back to a process that Dupuis developed in the late 1970s, a process that ushered in a new breed of mass-produced compound semiconductors. These electronic components – particularly those forged of elements from columns III and V in the periodic table — can operate at extremely high frequencies or emit light with extraordinary efficiency. Today, they’re the working essence of everything from handheld laser pointers to stadium Jumbotrons.

The process is known as metalorganic chemical vapor deposition, or MOCVD, and until Dupuis, no one had figured out how to use it to grow high-quality semiconductors using those III-V elements. Essentially, MOCVD works by combining the atomic elements with molecules of organic gas and flowing the mixture over a hot semiconductor wafer. When repeated, the process grows layer after layer of crystals that can have any number of electrical properties, depending on the elements used. more> https://goo.gl/eG2G8e

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Updates from GE

GE Just Turned the World’s Most Powerful Jet Engine Into A 65-Megawatt Power Plant
By Tomas Kellner – GE is taking the world’s largest jet engine and turning it into a power plant. The machine’s beating heart comes from the GE90-115B, which is the largest and most powerful jet engine, capable of producing 127,900 pounds of thrust, according to Guinness World Records. The electricity generator, which GE calls LM9000, will be able to generate a whopping 65 megawatts — enough to supply of 6,500 homes — and reach full power in 10 minutes.

The technology is also a good example of what GE calls the GE Store — the system of sharing technology, research and expertise among its many businesses. Today, aeroderivatives power towns and factories but also oil platforms and ships. more> https://goo.gl/dSwnhF

Dramatically reducing software vulnerabilities

By Paul E. Black, Larry Feldman, and Greg Witte – There are varied approaches to reducing software vulnerabilities, many of which are not primarily technical. These approaches cover many aspects of the development life cycle.

For example, helping users to meaningfully describe security needs may help to ensure that security is built into the products. Similarly, improving training for those who design, build, test, and use software will help to avoid, detect, and correct product defects

Practical changes in the development approach can significantly reduce the number of these errors, vastly improving the quality of the resulting product. Understanding the specific impact of each approach requires effective methods to measure software quality – such measurement itself is a difficult challenge. more> https://goo.gl/4zU50z

The Robot Rampage

By Chris Bryant Elaine He – Building a large manufacturing sector has traditionally been the path emerging economies have taken to raise living standards. Now, robots and other types of automation are a threat to that development model. In November, the United Nations warned two-thirds of jobs in developing countries are at risk.

It’s an open question whether services jobs – like driving for Uber — will be as well paid or secure as a job on a production line. There’s also the risk those services jobs will become far more automated — driverless cars are a threat to cab drivers.

Competition for good services jobs is likely to be fierce, keeping a lid on wages. Taken together, it’s possible robots end up exacerbating inequality in low income countries.

Trump will have to deal with the consequences: few manufacturing jobs are coming back to America and not many will be created elsewhere. more> https://goo.gl/eZLdGg

Updates from GE

By Mark Egan – As the approaching winter solstice shrouded Oslo in gloom and darkness last month, the workers at a GE factory located in the Norwegian capital found their cheer in a bright green robot known affectionately, if not officially, as “Hulk.”

The facility, which belongs to GE Healthcare, makes contrast media — the fluids doctors inject into patients to highlight organs during X-ray and CT scans. But last year a swell in orders set off by an increased demand from global customers was starting to tax the muscles of some workers. “We experienced an increase in injuries and sick leave,” says Fadi Fetyan, lean manufacturing leader at the Oslo factory.

Fetyan says that as each 6.5-pound box of contrast media came off the production line, a worker would lift it, turn sideways, lean over and place it on a pallet for shipping. A worker had to perform that physical operation seven times per minute, or as many as 3,150 times during an 8-hour shift. The repeated twisting and leaning motions caused back, shoulder and neck aches as well as hand and wrist problems.

That’s when Fetyan started thinking about help. As lean leader, he is a key player in making the factory smarter while lowering costs. So he proposed bringing in a collaborative robot — or cobot.

He reached out to FANUC, a Japanese company that specializes in building robots that automate factories, which had just the machine he needed. The robot’s first trip was to GE Healthcare’s Advanced Manufacturing Engineering (AME) lab in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The lab typically tests new automation technologies designed to make machines and factories work more efficiently. more> https://goo.gl/jDdEZC

I’ve left Twitter. It is unusable for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators

By Lindy West – Twitter, for the past five years, has been a machine where I put in unpaid work and tension headaches come out. I write jokes there for free. I post political commentary for free. I answer questions for free. I teach feminism 101 for free.

Off Twitter, these are all things by which I make my living – in fact, they comprise the totality of my income.

But on Twitter, I do them pro bono and, in return, I am micromanaged in real time by strangers; neo-Nazis mine my personal life for vulnerabilities to exploit; and men enjoy unfettered, direct access to my brain so they can inform me, for the thousandth time, that they would gladly rape me if I weren’t so fat.

I talk back and I am “feeding the trolls.” I say nothing and the harassment escalates. I report threats and I am a “censor.” I use mass-blocking tools to curb abuse and I am abused further for blocking “unfairly.” I have to conclude, after half a decade of troubleshooting, that it may simply be impossible to make this platform usable for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators.” more> https://goo.gl/YTbReR

Creating a Sense of Purpose at Work

By Art Petty – Too many people I encounter have given up striving to move beyond what they characterize as the daily grind. Instead of creating and building, they are surviving. And while some cultures seem adept at sucking the souls out of their employees, I believe you choose your attitude, and you can frame your work in terms that give it meaning or words that make it mundane.

Most of us have encountered the story of the two stone masons busy cutting stones. One described himself as simply a stonecutter The other described himself as a mason and announced triumphantly, “And I am building a great cathedral.”

Which one are you? more> https://goo.gl/h5OrTb

Updates from GE

What’s Next For GE In 2017: Changing The Game With A Digital Industrial Strategy
By Timothy Cheng -Every December, GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt hosts a meeting with analysts and investors to walk through the company’s strategy and financial goals for the upcoming year and review major wins from the past year. This year, Immelt discussed GE’s transformation into the world’s largest digital industrial company and his plans to lead the digitization of industry and revolutionize how we make things by adopting 3D printing and other additive manufacturing technologies.

Highlighting past achievements, Immelt pointed to plans to merge GE’s Oil & Gas unit with Baker Hughes to create Baker Hughes, a GE Company. “The Baker-Hughes deal makes us one of the three big players in oil and gas,” Immelt said. “This is a good deal for investors in the right time.”

The combination will create a $32 billion fullstream oil services business — based on 2015 combined revenues — with operations in over 120 countries. He also noted that it’s been a year since GE’s acquisition of Alstom’s power and grid business — its largest single deal in history. He said that the integration of Alstom with GE’s energy businesses has already driven growth and synergies across the portfolio — on track with projections and growth targets. “Alstom and Baker Hughes are good deals and they add to the company strategically and financially,” Immelt said.

In addition to Alstom and the Baker Hughes announcement, Immelt said that GE has continued to expand its digital and additive manufacturing capabilities — the two key technologies the company is using to unlock new ways of working with customers and suppliers. more> https://goo.gl/WX0KGw

You Might Have Earned It, But Don’t Forget That Your Wealth Came from Society

BOOK REVIEW

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Author: Adam Smith.
The Theory of Moral Sentiments, Author: Adam Smith.
The Wealth of Humans, Author: Ryan Avent.

By Ryan Avent – The wealth of humanity is limited by our ability to produce goods and services of value. The production of goods and services of value increasingly rests on the collection, processing and management of information. There is no value without the knowledge of what can be produced, what ought to be produced, and how it can be produced most effectively.

It is the information-processing structures of firms, cities, nations, and other institutions of human society that gather that information, and sort it, and turn it into the production that enriches people around the world. The wealth of humans is societal.

But the distribution of that wealth doesn’t rest on markets or on social perceptions of who deserves what but on the ability of the powerful to use their power to retain whatever of the value society generates that they can.

That is not a radical statement. People take what they can take, and it is only the interplay of countervailing forces and the tolerance of the masses that limits that impulse – that works to create institutions that limit that impulse. more> https://goo.gl/kZbREa