Tag Archives: Core

A Labor of Love: How to Craft Your Company's Core Values
June 22, 2018 6:12 pm|Comments (0)

When you’re interviewing applicants to join your company, you want to make sure they’re the right fit. It’s not just about whether or not they have certain skills–it’s also about whether they reflect your organization’s mission and values. One of my go-to interview questions is: “Describe an experience in your last role where you took initiative and created or implemented a process.”

I like that question because it provides insights that resonate with our company’s core value of taking initiative. This has the dual benefit of giving us the opportunity to share our values while determining whether the applicant personifies them or has the potential to do so. We’re a proactive group, so in every interview, we tie questions back to our core values. And it goes even further than that: In our company, we tie our core values to pretty much everything.

Delineate what distinguishes your company

Core values guide how an organization thinks and behaves; they’re the bedrock on which business decisions are made and successful relationships are formed. Once defined, core values should be visible in every aspect of company operations: from sales and marketing to internal reviews to employee check-ins. At our quarterly offsite meetings, we review each core value and give shout-outs to individuals who’ve exemplified them.

As a nod to their esteemed place in our company culture, our core values are painted prominently on one of our office walls:

Take Initiative: Be proactive, challenge each other, take risks and adapt.
Be Passionate: Care about your work and take pride in what you do.
Have Fun: Create a positive work space and build strong relationships.
Value Teamwork: Approach problems with a “we over me” mentality.
Ensure Growth: Learn and evolve personally, professionally, as a team and as a firm.

These values are such a huge part of our company that we can’t fathom a time before they existed. But they’re not inherent to any organization. You have to create them–we had to do it, too–and it can take a lot of work. But it’s a labor of love: Your core values already exist, you just have to identify, define and delineate them.

But don’t rush it. The process of developing our core values was neither quick nor easy. Once we realized the need for organizational values, we knew we wanted to develop them together, as a team. This bottom-up approach made sense because we wanted all team members and our existing culture to guide and inform what’s important to us.

We found that the best time to brainstorm core values was during our weekly company meetings. We’d split up into small groups, and each would list the qualities that they believed we embodied. Once we had each team’s list, we noticed overlap and patterns–which was reassuring. The qualities of “taking initiative” and “being proactive” were so similar that it made sense to combine them.

We also didn’t want too many or too few. Our team decided that five was a reasonable number that’s easy to remember, while thorough enough to cover all the bases. Then we narrowed the full list, chose the most important values, and workshopped them into concise statements. That’s how the core values list above was born.

However, that doesn’t mean the list is static. In fact, a few months later we decided to combine “have passion” and “have pride” into one core value and add “have fun” as its own standalone value. It more accurately represented our team and our overall purpose.

For nearly two years we’ve worked under the guidance of these five core values; I believe they still accurately reflect our team. We also recently realized that these values embody our account service team as well. Because of this, we now promote our core values in sales and marketing materials as a differentiator for our agency. We’re proud to share the values that drive our organizational decisions and direction.

Ready to define your core values?

Our core values are more than just words. They are our way of life. If your business is creating or updating its core values, here are some lessons we’ve learned:

Companies with strong cultures are known to perform better than those without. Although creating and leveraging core values may seem daunting, the impact to your company culture can be tremendous. So, gather your team and get ready to brainstorm!

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Pixel Visual Core Now Adds HDR+ To Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat Images
February 5, 2018 6:07 pm|Comments (0)

When Google launched its Pixel 2 flagship smartphone last year, it included something of a surprise: A co-processor called Pixel Visual Core, the company’s first homegrown, consumer-facing piece of silicon. And while that feels like a momentous foray, the co-processor has lain dormant for months. Monday, Pixel Visual Core goes to work.

As it turns out—and as Google had nodded at previously—the hidden chip inside every Pixel serves a narrow but critical purpose. It will use its eight custom cores, its ability to crunch 3 trillion operations per second, all in the service of making your photos look better. Specifically, the photos you take through third-party apps like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat.

Those are the three partners at the Pixel Visual Core switch-flipping; since it’s open to all developers, more will presumably follow. They’ll all gain the powers to produce Google’s HDR+ images, photos that rely on a series of post-processing tricks to make images shot with the Pixel appear more balanced and lifelike. Photos taken with the Pixel Camera app have already benefited from HDR+ powers since launch—that’s one reason Pixel 2 earned the highest marks yet given to a smartphone by industry-standard photo-rater DxOMark. But Pixel Visual Core will extend the feature to the streams, feeds, and snaps of Pixel owners as well, after an update that will roll out early this week.

HDR+

To understand why Google would devote its first homemade smartphone processor to a relatively narrow function—not just photography, but HDR+ specifically—it helps to understand the importance of HDR+ to the Pixel’s photo prowess. For starters, it’s not the HDR you’re used to.

“HDR+ actually works shockingly differently,” says Isaac Reynolds, project manager for Pixel Camera. Where HDR essentially tries to combine three or so simultaneous exposures for the best result, HDR+ takes up to 10 identical underexposed shots. “We take them all and chop them into little bits, and line them on top of one another, and average the image together,” says Reynolds, who ticks off the reduction in noise and color quality as just two of the benefits.

That’s not just hype, or at least not entirely. HDR+ really does have tangible benefits—especially in Google’s implementation.

“HDR+ technology is a very good technology for noise and data preservation. This removes the noise in the picture,” says Hervé Macudzinski, manager of DxOMark.com. “That enables Google to provide a nice picture with low level noise high level detail.”

You can see an example of what that means in the below before-and-after shots, with the usual caveat that Google provided them, and your own experience may vary.

The various benefits of HDR+ are also more or less pronounced depending on the conditions of the shot you’re taking. It helps especially bringing clarity to low-light images, or to give an assist if you for some reason take a portrait with the sun at someone’s back.

Google’s not the only company capable of this particular trick, but its execution clearly stands apart.

“The HDR+ is very impressive because they did something very efficient,” says Macudzinski. “If you want to do that, it’s going to be optimized and very powerful.”

Pixel Visual Core will also power two related photographic enhancements; RAISR, a technique to sharpen zoomed-in shots, and Zero Shutter Lag, which is exactly what it sounds like.

Until now, these optimizations have been off limits for third-party developers. Photos taken within the Instagram app, for instance, look a bit muddled compared to those taken with the Pixel’s native camera app. Which is where Pixel Visual Core comes in.

Sharing the Wealth

The primary benefit of the Pixel Visual Core, now that it’s on? You still won’t even notice it, says Ofer Shacham, the chip’s engineering manager.

“If we look at HDR+ as a key benchmark for us, it gives us the ability to run five times faster than anything else in existence, while consuming about 1/10th of the energy of the battery. We can put it under the hood,” says Schacham. “We basically hide it. That’s what enables every developer to use it, while not consuming energy from the battery, and even better, reducing the energy consumption from the battery while those applications take pictures.”

That also hints at why Google decided to go it alone with Pixel Visual Core, rather than rely on the powerful Snapdragon 835 processor that handles the bulk of the Pixel 2’s computational needs. The Pixel Visual Core offers not just customization, but flexibility.

“Google in a sense is a software and algorithm company,” says Schacham. “We want something that allows us to rapidly innovate, rapidly change the algorithm, rapidly improve it.”

To that end, the Pixel Visual Core is also programmable. That means while it works primarily in service of HDR+ today, it could go toward making other applications zip in the future, a possibility that Schacham acknowledges, while declining to go into detail on what sorts of use cases Google envisions.

More broadly, though, the Pixel Visual Core represents Google’s first foray into an increasingly common trend of smartphone manufacturers rolling their own silicon, giving itself tighter control over its product and weaning itself off of chip giant Qualcomm.

“I think it’s significant in that, first off, Google is an advertising company, who is also an operating system provider, and they are going more deeply vertical in what they’re doing by adding semiconductor features to enhance the experience,” says Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights & Strategies. “Any time somebody in software gets into hardware, interesting things happen—as in interesting really good, or interesting really bad.”

It would also make sense, Moorhead says, for Google to extend its processor plans beyond Pixel Visual Core. Microsoft uses a custom system-on-a-chip for the Xbox. Apple’s A series SoC has contributed greatly to the iPhone’s dominance. And with Google having poached a key Apple chip designer last summer, it seems unlikely that an HDR+ coprocessor is the end of the line.

For now, though, Pixel 2 owners can look forward to adding an HDR+ veneer to their social media pics—while waiting Google’s broader ambitions to come more fully into focus.

Pixel Perfect

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Canonical Announces the Availability of Ubuntu Core for Samsung ARTIK 5 and 10
May 7, 2016 11:05 am|Comments (0)

Thibaut Rouffineau, an IoT & Ubuntu Core evangelist, has announced the availability of Canonical’s Ubuntu Core operating system for Samsung ARTIK 5 and 10 IoT (Internet of Things) platforms.
Those of you who have been waiting to get their hands on the Ubuntu Core developer images for the Samsung ARTIK 5 and Samsung ARTIK 10 boards should know that they are available for download for free from the https://developer.ubuntu.com/en/snappy/start/samsung-artik-iot-modules/ website.
These Ubuntu Core image will give developers access to a number of technologies of the two Samsung ARTIK IoT boards, including but not limited to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and they can also be used as a starting platform to build their next Internet of Things applications and devices.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/canonical-announces-the-availability-of-ubuntu-core-for-samsung-artik-5-and-10-503744.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht


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Microsoft will bring BitLocker and Secure Boot to Windows 10 IoT Core
December 16, 2015 1:45 am|Comments (0)

Raspberry Pi

Microsoft is beefing up the security capability of Windows 10 IoT Core, the compact version of Windows intended for Internet-connected devices. Microsoft’s BitLocker data encryption technology and its Secure Boot system for only supporting trusted software will both appear in in an upcoming release of the operating system, Microsoft announced today.

“By building this into IoT Core you can get these highly valuable security features without needing to build your own implementations meaning you can get your project done faster and still be more secure,” Steve Teixeira, director of program Management for the Internet of Things team in Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group, wrote in a blog post.

The build packing BitLocker and Secure Boot will be available to people participating in the Windows Insider Program, Teixeira wrote.

The OS became publicly available last month following a preview that came out in April, days after the formal release of Windows 10 proper.

For those who want to try it out, a new Windows IoT Core Starter Kit might be just the thing. It costs $ 114.95 with a Raspberry Pi 2 and $ 75 without the Pi. An SD card in the kit comes with the OS installed.



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DX Digest: Mark Grannan on Core Services Architecture #DXS15
November 13, 2015 12:50 pm|Comments (0)

DX Digest: Mark Grannan on Core Services Architecture #DXS15

In a comment responding to Part 1 of my conversation with Forrester analyst Mark Grannan, Arjan van Rooijen, the chief evangelist with customer experience management platform provider SDL, said, “I strongly believe practitioners need to transform their practices to meet the demands of a digital era.” Technology

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