Saturday, May 27, 2017

Changing Photo Sizes at Once Using Automator

Ever had a time where you wanted to resize multiple images to a certain size at once to post on a website? If you want to edit one image, using Preview might be faster. (Check my Preview blog post.) However, when resizing, say, 100 images, resizing each image one by one is time taking and takes effort. But using Automator, no matter how many photos there are, all could be resized in less than a minute.

First, open Workflow in Automator.

Then, open Photos → Scale Images

Drag a list of images to scale.

Select the folder to move the edited images to and choose the size to resize the images to.

Click Run on the top right corner.

As could be seen, all the images are cropped to 480 pixels.

Ease your resizing jobs with Automator!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

How to Pitch a Project

Recently, I personally had to pitch a project to a couple of teachers. Since the entire CTI course is very much project-based, many of us will have also had similar situations. Many of us may have been inexperienced in giving pitches about their projects or ideas and did not know the best way to approach the challenge. Perhaps that fear/nervousness/cluelessness will be gone after your read this post.

Let's begin with the purpose of the pitch. A pitch is when you go talk to a prospective client and persuade them to work with you. Usually, there will be other teams pitching the same project as well. You should not think of it as a competition and that you are pitching against them. You're pitching your own ability to do the project well. This small difference in attitude will result in a big change in the way the client sees you. If you talk about how you will do the job better than the others can, you still might not convince the client that you can do it. Being able to do it better than others is different from being able to do it up to the clients' standards.
Pitches are difficult to nail, and most people will be terrible at it in the beginning. They can be extremely subjective and there are numerous variables which you have no control over, that determine whether you get the project or not. For example, your client may have been in a very bad mood the day of your pitch, and thus is less inclined to give you the job. You cannot have control over these things, and all you can do is deal with their outcomes.

Tip number one: It's not about you.

No one cares who you are as an individual and what type of background you have. No one is going to give you a project just because you mentioned your past achievements. Clients want to known if you can understand and fix their problems. Think of this as going to the doctor during a medical emergency, and the doctor spends precious time talking about all the past surgeries he has performed rather than helping you in that painful situation.
In the pitch, tell them who you are, but spend no more than two minutes talking about yourself. Make the rest of the conversation about your client, the project, the problems at hand, etc. When showing examples of past work, make it relatable to the current project. For example, draw parallels between projects by saying "In this project, the client had an issue that is very similar to the one at hand. Here's how I fixed it for them, and how it can work for you too...".

Tip number two: Confidence is key.

As much as pitching may make you uncomfortable, the image you project will inevitably have an impact on whether or not you land the project. Aim to be the pitch that makes your client think they don't have to go through any more boring pitches because they've found a partner. Your confidence is for their benefit; you will be working together, after-all.
However, a certain type of confidence is potentially harmful. When you are too confident in your abilities and keep saying things like "this will be easily fixed", you are making the client think that your job there isn't so necessary. You are minimizing their problems, which makes them reflect whether they really need to get it fixed or not. This could tarnish your chances of landing the project. No matter how easy you might think it is to fix someone's problem, remember that their pain is real. Acknowledge it, then fix it.

Tip number three: Ask good questions.

The key to every good pitch meeting is to get the client talking, because not only do you absolutely need to hear what they have to tell you in order to move forward with the project, the client will feel great telling you. It's like talking to someone about a problem you have and relieving yourself of that burden. So make sure you walk in with a bunch of good questions to ask.
"What kind of site do you want?" is not a good question
"What impact do you see the new site having on quarterly earnings?" is a better question.

Tip number four: Make it a kickoff.

The best way to show your client what it's like to work with you is to start working. Forget that it's a pitch, and treat it like a kickoff. Let the conversation flow and gently guide it into interviews. Your client wants the pitch process to be over as much as you do. They want to get started, so show them what that looks like, show them that you're able to take the project by the horns.
However, overdoing this technique will appear to your client that you are in over your head and desperately trying to move forward, while disregarding what they may be saying or evaluating at this stage.

So there they are, four tips on how to improve your project pitches. Whenever there is a project and you want to brief your client about how you will tackle it, remember these four key things to help you nail the pitch, project a good impression of yourself as a working partner, and actually land the project.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

New Surface Laptop. Is it worth it?

Surface Laptop Comparasion

So Microsoft released a new device, the Surface Laptop. Is it good? Should you get it? Short answer: No

Long answer: 

To me a Surface is a device that crosses the gap between Laptop or Desktop and tablet. Surface Pen and Surface go hand in hand. If I can't use the Pen it's not a Surface. I know you *can* use the pen on the Surface Laptop, but not *really*. The new laptop hinge's don't make it flip all the way around, so you can't use it for taking class notes on it's screen.

If you look over the fact it doesn't bridge the gap between laptop and tablet, and you're just looking for a $999 laptop with great specs and hardware, this also isn't the laptop for you.
Image result for surface laptop
For $999 on the surface laptop you get
4 GB ram
128 GB SSD
Screen: 13.5”
Display Resolution: 2256 x 1504
i5 resolution
Fabric keyboard

Compared to Razerblade stealth

Now let's compare this to another laptop released this year
Image result for razer blade stealth
The Razerblade stealth laptop crushes the new surface in every division. For $999 you can get better specs in almost every category

8 GB ram
i7 processor
Display Resolution: 2560 x 1440
256 GB SSD
1x  USBC port
HDMI output
Backlit keyboard

Conclusion: The new surface laptop isn't a revolutionary new device from Microsoft. Compare Microsoft's other products released this year, the stunning surface studio and detachable surface book. The new laptop offers nothing more when compared with other laptops in the same genre. Had Microsoft put the hinge all the way around, this might be a different story. But the bottom line still stands, you can get more use for your money if you literally buy any other $999 Ultrabook laptop.

Hopefully by the time the surface pro 5 rolls out, we'll see a better laptop by Microsoft by then. In the mean time, I'll be dreaming about the surface book and studio and forgetting this laptop.
Image result for surface studio

Digital Divide

Hong Kong is a developed city, and since we are living in a developed city, we are privileged that we are able to access internet and technology without limit and use it for our own advantages. However, there are many people in different countries that are unable to access internet and technology. This divide is one of the issues addressed at the Global Issues Network Conference that was held at AIS in March. It is part of our digital rights that we should have access to the internet, yet so many are still unable to access it.

Digital Divide, by definition, is the gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the internet and those who do not.

Why is this issue relevant?
Digital Literacy is imperative to the world we live in today where everyone communicates news and information online. However, digital literacy cannot be attained without access to the internet and computers. Imagine those people who have no access to computers and internet, those people won't know how to work with computers and because of that new information are hard to get through.

What is being done to bridge the gap?
First of all, democracy. Freedom is critical to getting access to the internet because what is the use if the government won't allow you do access it. Some people are fighting for their rights to access the internet and individuals around the world are also helping others so that they could have access to the web.

Secondly, technology should be integrated into education, and work so that people would find the relevance of computers. Incorporating technology into education and work has increased these past few years. So it won't be long until everyone realizes that technology is important. As a result, the government or the people would feel the need to get computers and allow their people to access it.


Social Media Plays a Big Part of Our Daily Life

Every day we see people, friends, family members go to their phone and visit their social media sites. Social media has played a big part of our society today because, through social media, we are able to connect with people who are not near us.

Through social media, we are able to share our achievements, our pain, and our frustration. It is a place where we feel most comfortable sharing our life stories because it doesn’t need a direct contact to people. For this very reason, many people overshare their personal stories and frustration online, and sometimes it turns into something inappropriate. Let us all be aware that everything we post online is permanent and can be seen by others.

Universities and employers might look at your social media sites for information about you as a person, outside the boundaries of a resume or academic testing. When they see inappropriate things on your profile, they may not be willing to accept you. Not only will they see your profile but comments made on other post is public to anyone. That is why social media can build or destroy you and your career in the future.

It is true that the purpose of social media is so we can present ourselves freely to our friends and family but at the same time let us think about our posts first before we post it online.To sum it up, be sure that whatever we post online are relevant.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What can improve you in your school community?

1.  Being yourself

Being yourself is very important in life, if you are only being what others want you to be, you won't be happy, because you aren't yourself. So be yourself, there will be people who accept you for who you are. 

2. Speak Up

If something is bothering you, or something you want to change, feel free to make a difference, if you are afraid that you will fail, just remember that failure will bring success. If there is something you want to change about school, that would improve the school, speak up, make a proposal, be a part of the student council!

3. Create Great Relationships

Having good relationships with your peers, parents, and mentors is very important, so try not to start any fights, dramas, or arguments at school or anywhere else. 
Be nice to everyone, don't talk behind people's back, and think about the consequences of a bad action before you do it. Remember that diversity is good, so don't always be picky about who you want to be friends with, it is always good to have a diverse friend group.

4. Do it!

If something is bothering you, or you notice something that you can change about the school, to improve the school community, then do it, raise up your voice, and suggest it to someone, you can suggest it to the teachers, the Principal, or the Student Council.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How to Manage Stress for your Own Benefits

Managing Stress

Constant stress is the cause of neurasthenia, ulcer diseases, hypertension and other physical and mental illness. Stress is a leading factor connected to suicides around the world. Stress could also affect relationships between families, friends, and people around the workplace, causing divorces, unemployments, and even crimes.

And we know, as soon as we start to blend in the society, we take responsibilities, and with responsibilities, comes stress. Almost everyone feels or felt stress in some way, and feel bad about it. But, moderate stress can actually be beneficial if managed correctly.

Therefore, I am going to talk about the benefits of having moderate stress.

In order to provoke improvement, accomplishment, and learning, moderate stress is required, procrastinators know this very well. When the deadline of an essay is closing in by hours, they start to finally feel stress, and when human feel stress, their brain start to produce chemical that allows your brain to think and react faster, that is way people under stress tend to finish work faster with great efficiency.

Medical experts suggests, moderate stress can actually be beneficial to health, due to the fact that when people are stressed, their heart start to pump and discharge more blood around the organs, allowing faster blood flow, which strengthens the contraction of the blood vessels, improving vasomotor function, which is beneficial to cardiovascular health, ultimately reducing the chance of getting cardiovascular diseases.

So now we know moderate stress is beneficial. But how do we manage them?

1. Set yourself a goal.

A clever way to manage stress will be to set yourself a goal to accomplish in a certain period of time. Such as finishing the first two paragraph of the essay by midnight, or run 10km every week, etc.

By doing so, it keeps your mind in a mild stress mode, benefitting mind and you body.

2. Know your limit.

Whether you give yourself stress or others, always know your limit of how much stress you can handle. Because if stress is overloaded, it could be harmful for your body and mind.

So, once in a while, take a day off and relax your mind and body, take a break, for better performance in the following days.

3. Know that moderate stress is beneficial.

By constantly reminding yourself moderate stress is beneficial, you will then have the energy to go on, you will then have the motivation to keep going.

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