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November 19, 2018
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Final Draft screenwriting software goes to 11

in Apps/Assistant/Delhi/film/Film Production/filmmaking/India/Politics/real-time/TC/writer by

Of all the fascinating apps to be found out in the wild I’m especially enamored of Final Draft. It’s an app dedicated to writing and developing screenplays and it has stood the test of time, going through eleven iterations to reach this latest version, the pinnacle of screenwriting warez.

While most of us are content with Word or Google Docs, screenwriters have gotten used to Final Draft’s unique key combinations and styling but made do with software that was, to be fair, far behind the state of the art. Now the latest version is beginning to offer many competitive features including collaboration tools and powerful formatting tricks.

The most important change is the decidedly proprietary collaboration system. Final Draft creates a chatroom where you and your collaborators can sit and work together on a single document and the changes are visible on all copies of the text. You can also use the room to brainstorm ideas using the Beat Board view, essentially a cork board that makes it easy to put up ideas, scenes, or characters.

The system now also includes voice-to-text capabilities so you can dictate your next screenplay just by talking to your computer. It also adds tagging so you can break down scripts in terms of props, animals, actors, budgets, and schedules. You can also add images to scripts, a feature aimed at graphic novel writers and game creators.

There is also a Night Mode for when you’re deep in thought and that third midnight glass of Burgundy as you puzzle out a messy plot point.

I’ve used Final Draft for a year now – I wrote a script with a college friend – and I didn’t notice much of a UX/UI difference between Final Draft 10 and 11. The collaboration features are excellent, however, and great improvement over the previous versions. Being able to add in photos and other multimedia is icing on the cake, so to speak.

Final Draft is now aiming at a more general audience and, while there are plugins for scriptwriting in Word and Google Docs, many screenwriters swear by the software. At $249 it’s a bit pricey but as long as you’re working on your next great screenplay featuring a robot that falls in love with a washing machine it is, presumably, a tax write off. That said don’t hold me to that advice.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Kegel trainer startup Elvie is launching a smaller, smarter, hands-free breast pump

in Amazon.com/berlin/Bluetooth/breast pump/breastfeeding/connected device/Delhi/Elvie/Gadgets/Hardware/Health/India/Milk/Politics/Pumps/smart technology/smartphone/Startups/Tania Boler/TC/Technology/United Kingdom/United States/Wearables/writer by

Elvie, a Berlin-based startup known best for its connected Kegel trainer is jumping into the breast pump business with a new $480 hands-free system you can slip into your bra.

Even with all the innovation in baby gear, breast pumps have mostly sucked (pun intended) for new moms for the past half a century. My first experience with a pump required me to stay near a wall socket and hunch over for a good twenty to thirty minutes for fear the milk collected might spill all over the place (which it did anyway, frequently). It was awful!

Next I tried the Willow Pump, an egg-shaped, connected pump meant to liberate women everywhere with its small and mobile design. It received glowing reviews, though my experience with it was less than stellar.

The proprietary bags were hard to fit in the device, filled up with air, cost 50 cents each (on top of the $500 pump that insurance did not cover), wasted many a golden drop of precious milk in the transfer and I had to reconfigure placement several times before it would start working. So I’ve been tentatively excited about the announcement of Elvie’s new cordless (and silent??) double breast pump.

Displayed: a single Elive pump with accompanying app.

Elvie tells TechCrunch its aim all along has been to make health tech for women and that it has been working on this pump for the past three years.

The Elvie Pump is a cordless, hands-free, closed system, rechargeable electric pump designed by former Dyson engineers. It can hold up to 5 oz from each breast in a single use.

It’s most obvious and direct competition is the Willow pump, another “wearable” pump moms can put right in their bra and walk around in, hands free. However, unlike the Willow, Elvie’s pump does not need proprietary bags. You just pump right into the device and the pump’s smartphone app will tell you when each side is full.

It’s also half the size and weight of a Willow and saves every precious drop it can by pumping right into the attached bottle so you just pump and feed (no more donut-shaped bags you have to cut open and awkwardly pour into a bottle).

On top of that, Elvie claims this pump is silent. No more loud suction noise off and on while trying to pump in a quiet room in the office or elsewhere. It’s small, easy to carry around and you can wear it under your clothes without it making a peep! While the Willow pump claims to be quiet — and it is, compared to other systems –you can still very much hear it while you are pumping.

Elvie’s connected breast pump app

All of these features sound fantastic to this new (and currently pumping) mom. I remember in the early days of my baby’s life wanting to go places but feeling stuck. I was chained to not just all the baby gear, hormonal shifts and worries about my newborn but to the pump and feed schedule itself, which made it next to impossible to leave the house for the first few months.

My baby was one of those “gourmet eaters” who just nursed and nursed all day. There were days I couldn’t leave the bed! Having a silent, no mess, hands-free device that fit right in my bra would have made a world of difference.

However, I mentioned the word “tentatively” above as I have not had a chance to do a hands-on review of Elvie’s pump. The Willow pump also seemed to hold a lot of promise early on, yet left me disappointed.

To be fair, the company’s customer service team was top-notch and did try to address my concerns. I even went through two “coaching” sessions but in the end it seemed the blame was put on me for not getting their device to work correctly. That’s a bad user experience if you are blaming others for your design flaws, especially new and struggling moms.

Both companies are founded by women and make products for women — and it’s about time. But it seems as if Elvie has taken note of the good and bad in their competitors and had time to improve upon it — and that’s what has me excited.

As my fellow TechCrunch writer Natasha put it in her initial review of Elvie as a company, “It’s not hyperbole to say Elvie is a new breed of connected device. It’s indicative of the lack of smart technology specifically — and intelligently — addressing women.”

So why the pump? “We recognized the opportunity [in the market] was smarter tech for women,” Boler told TechCrunch on her company’s move into the breast pump space. “Our aim is to transform the way women think and feel about themselves by providing the tools to address the issues that matter most to them, and Elvie Pump does just that.”

The Elvie Pump comes in three sizes and shapes to fit the majority of breasts and, in case you want to check your latch or pump volume, also has transparent nipple shields with markings to help guide the nipple to the right spot.

The app connects to each device via Bluetooth and tracks your production, detects let down, will pause when full and is equipped to pump in seven different modes.

The pump retails for $480 and is currently available in the U.K. However, those in the U.S. will have to wait till closer to the end of the year to get their hands on one. According to the company, It will be available on Elvie.com and Amazon.com, as well in select physical retail stores nationally later this year, pending FDA approval.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Watchmaker Doxa resurrects its most famous dive watch

in Delhi/Diver/eta/fiction/Gadgets/India/literature/Politics/TC/writer by

Doxa is a storied dive watch company and their most popular watch, the Sub, has just gotten a 2018 overhaul. The watches were made famous by writer Clive Cussler whose character, Dirk Pitt, consulted his beefy Doxa on multiple occasions.

This new model is made in collaboration with gear manufacturer Aqua Lung and features a 42mm steel case with 300 meters of water resistance, a Swiss ETA movement, and a unidirectional diving bezel. It will cost $2,190 when it ships in August.

The SUB 300 ‘Silver Lung’ continues the yearlong 50th anniversary celebration for DOXA Watches, whose pioneering SUB would first plumb the ocean depths in 1967 as the first purpose-built dive watch for the emerging recreational scuba diving market. Lauded for its bright orange dial and professional-grade build quality and dependability, the SUB quickly became the benchmark against which all other dive watches were measured, and ultimately won the approval of the pioneers of modern diving. This included those at Aqua Lung, who would soon distribute the watches under the US Divers name before consolidating into the singular name Aqua Lung in 1998.

Why is this important? First, it’s a cool-looking watch and priced low enough for a Swiss movement and case to be interesting. Further, it has real history and provenance and is a little known brand. If you’re a diver or just want to pretend to be one you could do worse than this beefy and very legible piece.

News Source = techcrunch.com

The long Cocky-gate nightmare is over

in Amazon/author/Author's Guild/crescent/Delhi/India/Judge/New York/online communities/Politics/Startups/TC/The Guardian/writer by

I’ve been wanting to write about Cocky-gate for some time now but the story – a row between self-published authors that degenerated into ridiculousness – seems finally over and perhaps we can all get some perspective. The whole thing started in May when a self-published romance author, Faleena Hopkins, began attempting to enforce her copyright on books that contained “cocky” in the title. This included, but was not limited to, Cocky Cowboy, Cocky Biker, and Cocky Roomie, all titles in Hopkins oeuvre.

Hopkins filed a trademark for the use of the word Cocky in romance titles and began attacking other others who used the word cocky, including Jamila Jasper who wrote a book called Cocky Cowboy and received an email from Hopkins.

After taking up the cause on Twitter and creating a solid example of Streisand Effect, Jasper changed the title of her book to The Cockiest Cowboy To Have Ever Cocked. But other authors were hit by cease and desist letters and even Amazon stepped in briefly as well and took down multiple titles for a short time.

From the Guardian:

Pajiba reported on Monday that the author Nana Malone had been asked to change the title of her novel Mr Cocky, while TL Smith and Melissa Jane’s Cocky Fiancé has been renamed Arrogant Fiancé. Other writers claimed that Hopkins had reported them to Amazon, resulting in their books being taken down from the site.

This went on for a number of weeks with the back and forth verging on the comical…

to the serious.

Hopkins went to court to defend her trademark and then bumped up against the powerful Author’s Guild who supported three defendants including a publicist who was incorrectly named as the publisher of one of the offending titles, The Cocktales Anthology.

“Beyond the obvious issues with the merits, it is evident from the face of the complaint that Plaintiffs failed to conduct a reasonable pre-filing investigation before racing to the courthouse. Indeed, the number and extent of defects alone call into question whether the filing was made in good faith. Plaintiffs’ lack of due diligence failed to uncover the stark difference between a publisher and a publicist, i.e., non-party best-selling author Penny Reid is the former, while Defendant Jennifer Watson is the latter (Ms. Watson’s website even states that she provides “publicist and marketing services” and nowhere indicates that she writes or publishes books),” wrote Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York. “In sum, there is nothing meritorious about Plaintiffs’ situation, let alone urgent or irreparable. Defendant Watson cannot offer Plaintiffs the relief they seek as she bears no responsibility for The Cocktales Anthology they wish to enjoin from further publication. Defendant Crescent’s first allegedly infringing book was published over nine months ago. Plaintiffs have admitted that her use of “cocky” in titles would not likely cause confusion as to source or affiliation; moreover, she has publicly stated that she has not suffered lost sales.”

Online communities are wonderful but precarious things. One or two attacks by bad – or even well-meaning – actors can tip them over the edge and ruin them for everyone. In fact, Cocky-gate has encouraged other authors to try this tactics. One writer, Michael-Scott Earle, has attempted to register the words “Dragon Slayer” in a book title and there is now a Twitter bot that hunts for USPTO applications for words in titles.

Now that the cocky has been freed, however, it looks like the romance writers of the world are taking advantage of the opportunity to share their own cocky stories.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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