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A Recap of ACI’s 2012 National Conference

first_imgThe 2012 ACI National Home Performance Conference was held in Baltimore at the end of March, and was yet again another marathon geekfest. With almost twenty concurrent sessions running from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by more sessions lasting until 8 p.m., it is a feat of endurance to attend this almost week-long event.This year there appeared to be an underground movement (Twitter handle: #ACIafterdark) that threw late-night parties, although I never managed to figure out where they were.Heat-pump water heatersI managed to attend several good sessions this year, providing good data and food for thought. The first panel I attended covered heat-pump water heaters, and what I learned reinforced my position that they aren’t the great hope of energy conservation that many people believe them to be.Presenters shared results from two studies, both showing only very modest energy savings over traditional heaters. As is the case with most things, the total savings depend on many factors including where they are located in the house, use patterns, and the available free air for the heat pump to take heat from. Tests showed most units to be in the range of 10% to 40% more efficient than electric resistant heat.High volume use maxes out the efficient heat pump mode, requiring the use of resistance heat to make up the difference, lowering efficiencies even more. These studies did not address the energy penalty that they may impose in cold climates where they remove heat from the air which offsets some of the total energy savings.John Straube is quotableJohn Straube was, as Allison Bailes put it, “a walking quote machine.”In his presentation on insulating and air sealing roofs and attics, he was, as always funny, entertaining, and informative. One obvious, but often overlooked, point is that air sealing on new homes frequently leaks in short order as new framing lumber shrinks and creates gaps, while air sealing on retrofits lasts much longer since the lumber is more stable. In real terms, a typical 1/16” crack between drywall and top plates adds up to 12 square inches for each 100 feet of wall.My favorite Straube quote of the day: “R-Value is like IQ — when you’re in single digits, you’re kind of an idiot.” In an extended discussion comparing deep-energy retrofits to minor repairs, he referred to the latter as “turd polishing,” pointing out that you can’t always afford the expensive stuff, and if you are “surrounded by turds, it’s nice if they’re shiny.” Can’t wait to see him again.Some geeks are studying marketingThere were almost continuous sessions on marketing, websites, and blogging, and all appeared to be well attended. The geeks have realized that they need to market, and they (we?) were happily taking notes and tweeting away throughout the sessions.Probably my favorite event was an evening session hosted by Chris Dorsi that was delivered entirely in the Pecha Kucha format that restricts each presenter to 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide. I was impressed at the quality of the speakers and their ability to get their information across quickly and concisely.Book raffleOn Wednesday evening, Dow Building Solutions hosted a party for our new book, raffling off several copies to the group. Three different people with Habitat won copies, but my favorite photo of the night was John Krigger, co-author of Residential Energy posing with his associate Darrel Tenter and our book. I returned the favor the next day by posing with his.Overall, the conference was very good, and not noticeably different from previous years. I still contend that there are too many sessions and they go on too long. Maybe they should just give up all pretension and switch to a 24-hour conference. If you want to be in a session at 8 p.m., why not one at 3 a.m.?There are still too many presenters who don’t know how to put together a readable, visually compelling presentation, and too many are simply not good speakers. As with most conferences, I would like to see better vetting of speakers, something that should happen as videos of speakers become more commonplace.Although I returned home thoroughly exhausted from the experience, ACI was well worth the effort and I expect to return again.last_img read more

Google Glassware: How Developers Can Build Apps For Google Glass

first_imgWhat Google Won’t Let You DoGoogle does not want developers placing their own advertising in their Glassware. Part of this is likely because Google wants the user interaction to be free from clutter and pleasing to the user. Another reason may be that Google would rather be the one monetizing the data collected from Glass through its own apps and services – like Google Now. Google prohibits developers from gathering data of any kind for advertising purposes and will not allow developers to charge fees or collect payments for downloaded apps. Developers may not tie payment to virtual goods or upgraded functionality.Essentially, Google has made it impossible for developers to make money from Glassware apps. No ads, no in-app payments or “freemium” functions will be allowed. This should help protect the user experience, but may slow developer participation past a certain point. Why would developers bother to create Glassware timelines and cards if they can’t make any money from it?Are you going to build apps for Google Glass? Let us know your plans in the comments.  Since the user is so fond of cute little kitties, she might decide to find the nearest pet store after adding a cat to her most recent picture. Glass can do that as well. Glass will fetch the user’s location, run the search and “pin” a card to the user’s interface as they move around in search of a pet store. Timeline + CardsThis timeline + card interaction is the primary method of building apps and functionality for Glass and for users to interact with the hardware. Timeline cards can be text, images, HTML or video. Essentially, anything you can create on the Web can be created as a timeline card in Glass. If you add the capabilities of Glass to what we know of the timeline cards, we begin to get a clearer picture of exactly what can be done with Glassware. The primary hardware features of Glass will be location ability, photos with a 5-megapixel camera, videos shot in 720p, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 12GB of usable memory synced with Google cloud storage (16GB Flash memory total) and a full-day battery for “typical use.”So a user could take a picture, search the contents of it, save the picture to a Google+ profile. If a user subscribes to a service, that service can send push notifications through Glassware tied to location. Examples could go on and on. Thoughtful and innovative developers will have a field day with Glass capabilities, extending what a smartphone can do to a device specificallydesigned for augmented reality. Glass can be tied to a smartphone through an app called MyGlass. To enable GPS or SMS, Glass will need to be tethered to a smartphone through MyGlass.Guidelines For GlassGoogle has four primary guidelines for developing for Glass: 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees? Tags:#app development#developers#Google#Google Glass#mobile Design for Glass: Do not design for another device, like a smartphone, and import to Glass. Because Glass is unique in how users interact with it, Google suggests that you developer directly for it.Don’t get in the way: Apps should be for users, not for developers. Don’t be pushy with notifications and other information.Timely: The goal is to provide users with up-to-date information with Glass. Make sure your app responds with correct information in a timely manner.Avoid the unexpected: Imagine walking down the street and Glass sends you an unexpected notification. This can be annoying or even dangerous. Make sure the user has given explicit permission to be notified in Glass.center_img Add A Cat: User InteractionUsers of Google Glass interact with apps on a timeline. These items, or “cards” display information to users (like weather, business information, search results and so forth). Glassware is accessed from the cloud, not locally on the device, and developers call upon a RESTful endpoint to carry out actions such as creating new cards, updating cards, receiving input or subscribing to Glass push notifications.Google uses the example of a cat to show off examples of the Mirror API. For instance, a user could automatically composite a picture they have taken with a random picture of a cat accessed through the API. Here is a work chart from Google on how a developer could “add a cat to that.” Why You Love Online Quizzes Google Glass just got a little bit more real. If you were worried that Google’s augmented reality glasses were a pie-in-the-sky concept that might not ever become a real product, you can relax. That is not going to happen to Google Glass.Google released the tech details to Glass this week – along with everything that developers need to know to build apps for the specs. Called “Glassware,” the Google Mirror API is designed to let developers create innovative, useful and fun apps for the forthcoming Glasses.What can you build and how do you build it? Let’s break it down.Java Or PythonGoogle recommends two programming languages for building apps for Glassware: Java and Python. For Java, developers will need Java 1.6 capability, Apache Maven for part of the build process and the App Engine SDK for Java. Apps can then be built in Eclipse, an integrated developer environment (IDE) for app building. Developers will need to create an OAuth verification and tie their Google account to their Glasses and allow access to Google’s Glassware API and access the SDKs. It is essentially the same for Python, except you do not need Maven or Eclipse. Developers use the App Engine SDK for Python to start.  Related Posts dan rowinskilast_img read more

Gov’t Improving Access to Employment for Persons with Disabilities

first_img State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Zavia Mayne, says that the Government is working to ensure that persons with disabilities (PWDs) have greater access to skills training and employment opportunities. Story Highlights The legislation seeks to promote the fundamental rights of PWDs and their individual dignity and autonomy, ensure their full and effective participation and inclusion in society and prevent or prohibit discriminatory practices against them. The initiative is funded by the Japan Policy Human Resources Development Grant and implemented through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank). State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Zavia Mayne, says that the Government is working to ensure that persons with disabilities (PWDs) have greater access to skills training and employment opportunities.He said that alliances are being forged with employers for the inclusion of more PWDs in the workplace.Mr. Mayne noted that PWDs remain one of the most vulnerable groups in Jamaica, and while Census reports indicate that approximately 200,000 Jamaicans are currently living with a disability, fewer than one per cent are employed.“The Government of Jamaica is working diligently to address these gaps and continues to strive to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to find gainful employment,” he said.Mr. Mayne was addressing a Ministry consultation on creating access to job opportunities for PWDs at the Sandals Royal Plantation hotel in Ocho Rios on Thursday (July 19).He said that progress has been made in improving skills training and employability outcomes for PWDs, through the Social and Economic Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities Project, which involves partnership with the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH).The initiative is funded by the Japan Policy Human Resources Development Grant and implemented through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank).Mr. Mayne said that through the project, beneficiaries have been placed “on a path to self-sufficiency and economic independence”.“Over 500 persons have accessed training opportunities and 320 of them participated in work experience training, and 77 of these persons have been able to secure permanent employment,” he indicated.Meanwhile, Mr. Mayne said that the passage of the Disabilities Act remains a top-priority for the Government.“We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the necessary legislation is in place to support the welfare and rights of persons with disabilities,” he noted.The legislation seeks to promote the fundamental rights of PWDs and their individual dignity and autonomy, ensure their full and effective participation and inclusion in society and prevent or prohibit discriminatory practices against them.last_img read more

Third quarter fiscal update shows Alberta spending more but saving more

first_imgEDMONTON, A.B. — New numbers show Alberta’s economy continues to dig itself out of the deep hole caused by crashing oil prices as Premier Rachel Notley’s government both spends and saves more.Finance Minister Joe Ceci says the province is on track for a $9.1-billion deficit when the budget year ends March 31. That’s $1.4 billion lower than the deficit expected when Ceci tabled this year’s budget last spring.Ceci notes forecasts also point to an economic rebound as production goes up and unemployment falls. The house resumes sitting March 8. Ceci is to bring in the 2018-19 budget later in the spring. “Nearly 90,000 full-time jobs were created over the last year and Alberta’s GDP growth led the country at 4.5 percent in 2017,” Ceci said in a statement Wednesday after releasing the third-quarter update to the 2017-18 budget. “We will continue to work hard to ensure this recovery reaches all Albertans.”The province is expected to take in an extra $1.9 billion this year on $46.9 billion in revenue – mainly due to higher than expected oil revenue and returns on investments. Spending is also rising to $55.9 billion – about $1 billion more than projected at budget – to cover increases in services for children, people with disabilities, and for employment and income supports.The debt is going to hit almost $42 billion this year. Debt payments will be $1.4 billion. Alberta will bring in $883 million from crude oil royalties, almost double what it had expected, although revenue from bitumen royalties will be $2.4 billion – about $188 million less than projected.Oil revenues were hampered this year by the price discount Alberta’s blended bitumen sells at compared with the benchmark North American West Texas Intermediate price. The discount is tied mainly to pipeline bottlenecks that drive up the price of getting Alberta’s heavy oil to U.S. refineries and ports.The NDP has been running high deficits throughout its term in government. The government says slashing budgets and jobs would only worsen the situation and kill an economic recovery.The province has been saving money by negotiating contracts with zero pay increases for teachers and nurses and other health professionals,. It has also axed redundant agencies and committees and consolidated other programs and services.Alberta has been hit with multiple credit downgrades, however, which have increased the cost of borrowing. Ceci has promised to present a more detailed plan to get the budget back in balance by 2023.last_img read more

Premier Rachel Notley unveils carbon tax break for drilling companies

first_imgNotley later criticized Wednesday’s federal fiscal report for underplaying Western Canada’s oil price crisis, blamed on insufficient pipeline capacity to take away a glut of crude trapped in Alberta.She told reporters that if Canada’s manufacturing sector was suffering as much, it would have been mentioned in the first paragraph of the update speech.The CAODC, meanwhile, says it expects little improvement in drilling activity next year, calling in its 2019 forecast for an increase of 51 wells to about 7,000. That’s down from about 13,000 wells in 2014 before global oil prices crashed.“Other industries in the same situation would be holding their hands out for a government bailout. Yet instead our industry has only asked for government permission and support to get our products to market,” said association president Mark Scholz.“The lack of action and attention by the federal government to this pressing issue is deafening.”(THE CANADIAN PRESS) CALGARY, A.B. – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is handing out tax breaks for oil and gas drillers along with criticism of Ottawa’s lack of appreciation for how damaging are current price discounts on western Canadian oil.In a speech at a Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors event in Calgary, she announced her government would add oil and gas drilling to a list of trade-exposed industries exempt from the province’s carbon tax.The exemption, made retroactive to when the tax was introduced at the start of 2017, is expected to provide $750,000 to $1.5 million per year in relief for the drilling industry.last_img read more

Site C Employment numbers drop in October

first_imgThe number of Peace River Regional District resident contractors employed at Site C decreased to 729 or 24 percent.The number of apprentices employed on the project increased from 145 in September 2018, to 167 during the month of October 2018.The number of indigenous workers employed on the dam also dropped to 270.And the number of female contractors employed on the project dropped by 26, to 458, meaning women make up 12.4 percent of the dam’s contractor workforce. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The number of people working on the Site C Dam project dropped in October from the projects peak of 3,746 in September.The size of the workforce sat at 3,681 in October.  The number of contractors on site sits at 3,085. The number of engineers and project team members sat at 596.Of the over 2,085 contractors at Site C, 2,395, or 78 percent were B.C. residents.last_img read more

UK diplomatic protection of jailed woman wont ease things Iran

first_imgTehran: Iran’s foreign ministry warned the UK on Tuesday that giving diplomatic protection to a British-Iranian mother jailed in Tehran would not make the situation “easier”, state news agency IRNA reported. Britain on Friday extended the status to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was arrested in Tehran in 2016. “What is certain is that the British government’s move lacks goodwill and is in no way constructive or positive,” said ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi on Tuesday. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi Jinping”If it does not make the situation more complicated, it will surely not make things easier.” Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation — the media organisation’s philanthropic arm — is serving a five-year jail sentence for sedition. She has denied all the charges against her. Diplomatic protection is a rarely-used mechanism allowing governments to seek protection for their citizens on the grounds that they have been wronged by another state. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in XinjiangBritain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Friday that London would take the “extremely unusual” step of extending diplomatic protection to the jailed mother. This would signify the “formal recognition by the British government that her treatment fails to meet Iran’s obligations under international law”, he said. But Ghasemi denied this, saying Zaghari-Ratcliffe is “enjoying all legal and citizenship rights — both throughout her trial proceedings and during the conviction period”, including medical care. Tehran was informed of the UK’s decision via official channels, and is currently studying the legal and political implications, the spokesman said. Ghasemi dismissed the move as “merely reflecting a political decision by the UK” and said that it would not “in itself bring about a new legal status internally or internationally.” Iran’s envoy to London said last week that the UK’s decision “contravenes international law”, as governments can only exercise such protection for their own nationals. Writing on Twitter, Hamid Baeidinejad said Iran does not recognise dual nationality. “Irrespective of UK residency, MS Zaghari thus remains Iranian,” he wrote.last_img read more

48yearold man beaten up forcefed pork in Assam for selling beef

first_imgTezpur (Assam): A Muslim man was allegedly beaten up and forced to eat pork by a group of people who were angry over his selling beef in Assam, police said Tuesday. Consumption of pork is a taboo among most Muslims.The victim, Shaukat Ali (48), was assaulted by a group of locals at Madhupur weekly market in Biswanath district on Sunday and required hospitalisation, Superintendent of Police Rakesh Raushan said. A video of the incident that has gone viral showed a dazed Ali surrounded by some people who angrily demanded to know from him where he came from and whether his name figured in the contentious National Register of Citizens that intends to weed out illegal migrants. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsAli, according to Raushan, was beaten up by locals not aligned to any fundamentalist organisation. Ali, who owns a food stall, claimed he was force-fed pork by the assailants, but police did not confirm it. “We have also heard about that. It is a matter of investigation. It is only after that has been done that I will be able to tell,” the SP said. A man was arrested in connection with the incident and questioned. Ali claimed he had been selling beef at the market for over three decades and never faced such a situation. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayThe group also beat up 42-year-old Kamal Thapa, the contractor of the market, for allowing Ali to sell beef dishes. Cow slaughter and consumption of beef is not banned in the state but the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950, permits the slaughter of only cattle above 14 years of age after due certification by a veterinary officer. The Sunday’s incident came to light when a video shot by one among the group of assailants went viral on social media. A case was registered with the Biswanath Chariali police station on the complaint of the victim’s brother Sahabuddin Ali on Monday evening.last_img read more

Wrong to say outsiders get stepmotherly treatment Nawazuddin

first_imgMumbai: Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui finds it unfair when people say that only star kids get work in the film industry as he believes if one has talent, work will eventually follow. For the longest time, there has been an ongoing nepotism debate in the industry, kick-started by actor Kangana Ranaut, who said star children get preferential treatment in Bollywood. When asked if he feels people from non-film family background find it harder to make it, Nawazuddin told reporters, “The good thing about the industry is that if you have the talent, then sooner or later people see it. Also Read – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has James Cameron’s fingerprints all over it: Arnold Schwarzenegger “It isn’t that any person walking on the street can say they are not getting work. It takes time. If you have it on you, no one can stop you.” The actor said today there are lots of avenues for people to show their talent, including the digital medium. “We can’t say we are getting step-motherly treatment and no one is giving us work. It isn’t like that. There is a new wave of actors today working in web series and films because they have the talent. If you have the talent, you will get work eventually.” He was speaking at the launch of the book “The Stranger in Me” Tuesday.last_img read more