Excel

  • Formatting cells/columns/rows
    • Wrap Text – this feature is used to keep headings in a compact cell.  It is often used in conjunction with altering the width and height of the cell. 
      • Home tab, Alignment section                        
    • Format Painter: – A quick way to copy format across cells is using the format painter found in the standard toolbar and highlighting the cells you want to treat in a similar manner
      • Click on cell with format to be copied, ensure the bold icon is highlighted, with light green background
      • Double click on the format painter icon . A single click allows the format to be painted only once, whilst a double click paints the format any number of times.  Either clicking the format painter or pressing Esc switches this feature off.
      • Press ESC to turn the format painter off.

 

  • Header and Footer
    • Click on the Page setup – custom header/footer button. The following toolbar should appear:

 

  • Renaming files/worksheets
  • Data validation (eg, drop-down box)
    • Data Validation is used when you want to limit/restrict the entries in a cell.  In this case, we want to create a list box so the user can simply choose the state or geographic area. The first step is to create the list.  This should be in an area out of the way of your potential data.
      • Enter data in sells going down the page
      • To create the list box first select the cell that you want to restrict – E2
      • Select the Data tab, Validate section, Data Validation
      • In the Allow box, use the drop list to select List.
      • Click in the Source box. Highlight your list of valid data, OK. The list must always be on the same sheet.
      • Use Paste Special with the Validation option selected.

 

  • Headers and footers
    • Header and Footer: Click on the Page setup – custom header/footer button. The following toolbar should appear:

 

 

 

 

 

  • Dynamic linking
    • Ø Linking data from one sheet to another: 
One of the design features discussed earlier is the importance of designing a worksheet that can be reused multiple times with minimal changes by the end user.
      • Copy necessary data from original worksheet page
      • Click on destination page – Paste Special, Paste Link
      • Note formula bar to double check linking has been performed.
  • Simple formulas (+-*/)
    • On a worksheet, click the cell in which you want to enter the formula.
    • To start the formula, type =
    • To enter the first numeric value, do one of the following:
    • Type the value that you want to use OR Select the cell that contains the value that you want to use.
 
    • To enter the math operator that you want to use, do one of the following:
      • To use a plus sign (+)
      • To use a minus sign (-)
      • To use a multiply sign (*)
      • To use a divide sign (/)
      • To enter the next value numeric value, do the following:
        • § Type the value that you want to use OR Select the cell that contains the value that you want to use
      • For an operation to take precedence in the calculation, use parentheses around that operation. For example, type =(10+5)*2 or =(A1+B1)*C1.
    • Use the SUM function to total numeric values in a column or row
      • On a worksheet, click a cell below or to the right of the numeric values that you want to total.
      • On the Home tab, in the Editing group, click AutoSum .
      • Press ENTER to display the SUM function result in the selected cell.
    • Fill a formula into adjacent cells
      • When you fill a formula into adjacent cells, either in a row or column, the formula automatically adjusts to calculate the values in the corresponding row or column.
      • On a worksheet, select the cell that contains the formula that you want to fill into adjacent cells.
      • Drag the fill handle  across the cells that you want to fill.
      • To specify how you want to fill the selection, click Auto Fill Options , and then click the option that you want.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Functions (eg: vlookup, if, sumif, autosum) – for autosum see above
    • SUMIF
      • There are many ways to link the Total Sales on the Sales Analysis sheet to the Raw Sales worksheet. We are going to use a formula. SUMIF will be used to enter the Total Sales for each Sales representative. Sales representatives may move between states, so we are again making our design flexible and reusable.
      • There are 3 arguments to the SUMIF function:
=SUMIF(range,criteria,sum_range) – note each argument is separated by a comma.

Argument

Explanation of   Argument

In Hammer Wines

Range

These are the   cells we need to assess

This will refer   to the Sales Representatives in the Raw Sales worksheet

Criteria

This is the   criteria used in assessing

This will refer   to individual Sales representative but rather than use his/her name we will   use a cell reference, making the formula more dynamic.

Sum_range

Based on the   criteria, sum these corresponding cells

This will select   the relevant Total Sales figure for our criteria.

 

  • It is more accurate to click on the relevant cells than to type. As we all know, it is very easy to make a typing error.
  • To access a built-in function use the fx button adjacent to the formula bar
  • With the cursor in the Range argument, the Raw Sales worksheet and highlight the cells containing the names of all the sales representatives – E3:L3
  • Click in the Criteria argument, this time you can just click on cell containing the first Sales Representative B1
  • Click on the Sum_range argument, select Raw Sales and highlight the cells containing the Total Sales for each Sales representative – E63:L63,
  • Click on OK to accept these arguments as above
  • Copy the formula across using the fill handle and dragging technique
  • Oops!!!!– Some cells have nothing in them why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Absolute and Relative Cell Addressing 
Excel uses relative cell addressing when copying formulae – $$$$$$$$$$

Cell Reference

When copied what   changes

Fixed reference

B4

Everything changes   – a relative cell address

none

$B$4

Always refer to B4

Both

B$4

Always refers to   row 4, the column can change

Row

$B4

Always refers to   column B, the row can change

Column

 

Fx = SUMIF(‘Raw Sales’!$E3:$L3,B1,‘Raw Sales’!$E63:$l63)

 

  • Target Sales
    • Enter the Target Sales figures for each sales representative as follows:

 

Target

Cohen, S

$488,000.00

Gregson, G

$1,830,000.00

Kewell, O

$4,530,000.00

Oliver, D

$2,600,000.00

Takalua, J

$550,000.00

Tolson, J

$732,000.00

White, G

$650,000.00

Zhang, D

$1,500,000.00

 

  • Variance
    • To calculate the variance between Actual Sales and Target Sales, use a simple formulae = Total Sales – Target.

 

  • % Variance
    • The percentage variance indicates the extent to which a salesperson has under or over achieved his/her sales target for a defined period. To calculate the variance between Actual Sales and Target Sales, use a simple formulae = Variance/Target.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Ø 
Comment – If  
    • To formulate a spreadsheet that produces a statement as to whether the sales representatives have achieved their targets. To do this, we will use the IF function. An IF statement can also be used to provide a message. If the logic test is true, a message such as “achieved target” or if false “under target” will appear.
    • Click on the find the IF function and bring up the IF dialog box

Argument

Explanation

Hammer   Wines

Logical_test

Compares   2 cells or 1 cell against a fixed entry eg: B2>30

If   total sales is greater than the target eg: B2>B3

Value_if_true

What   happens if the test is true. This can be either a calculation or a message

Achieved   Target

Value_if_false

What   happens if the test is false. This can also be either a calculation or a message

Under   Target

 

  • In the logical_test section click on the appropriate cells to reflect the explanation above
  • In the Value_if_true section enter the message “Achieved Target”. Text messages must appear between double quotes.
  • In the Value_if_false section enter the message “Under Target”. Sometimes you may want nothing to appear in which case type a set of double quotes with nothing between them eg.””
  • The formula should read as follows: =IF(B2>B3,”Achieved Target”, “Under Target”). Click OK to accept the formula.

 

  • Ø % Sales – Range Names
    • This measure provides the opportunity to analyse the peer group performance across the sales force without their sales targets being a specific reference point. A relatively simple calculation is required – Individual Sales/TSales
    • In B7, we will need to use the Hammer Wines Total Sales divided by the individual sales figure for each representative. However before doing so we are going to create a range name.
    • A Range Name must not have a space. Therefore we will use TSales as the range name. Type TSales into the name box to change M63 to TSales.
    • Double check your entry by clicking elsewhere in the Raw Sales worksheet and again returning to M63 – the Name box should read TSales
    • On the Sales Analysis worksheet, complete the formula in B7 which should read =B2/TSales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Ø Commission Earned – VLOOKUP
    • The vlookup function will be used to retrieve the % commission figure.
    • Click on Insert Worksheet
    • Add the following table including the heading, starting in cell A1. Notice that the figures in column 1 are listed from lowest to highest. This is the default for using VLOOKUP.

Commission

 

-50%

0

 

0%

0.005

 

10%

0.01

 

20%

0.025

 

50%

0.05

 

75%

0.075

 
  • Click on the Sales Analysis tab, then cell B8 to return to where we are building the sales analysis
  • We will be able to retrieve the % commission required for each sales representative based on their % variance using a vlookup as the commission table is set out vertically. The information will come from the columns. There are 3 arguments/parts to this vlookup:

Argument

Explanation

Hammer   Wines

Lookup_value

What   you want to lookup

%   variance

Table_array

The   table you want to lookup

Commission   table

Col_index_num

The   column number within that table

Column   number 2, as it contains the % commission required

 

  • Use the fx in the formula bar to find the vlookup function – hint type an =sign, look in the name box area and click the drop down arrow. This will hold the most recently used functions. It may be there or select the more functions option.
  • There are 3 arguments associated with this function; the fourth argument is optional and not required, at this stage. 

  • In each argument, use the mouse to select the cells, either by clicking directly 
onto the cell or using this symbol to reduce the size of the dialog box. Then click on the relevant cells to complete each argument. Then click on this symbol to return to the dialog box. The dialog box frequently is on top of the data you are going to use; it can be moved by dragging the title bar to a more convenient location. For the argument Col_index_num you simply type in the column number which holds the result you require, in this case 2.
  • Copy this formula across a couple of cells; you will get the #N/A error message. 
What have we forgotten? Yes, that is correct, the absolute cell referencing. Let’s do a comparison between B8 and C8 

  • The table reference has moved. It should be fixed at A2:B7. We will give the table a range name, Commission.
  • Highlight the table from A2:B7 give this group of cells a range name Commission.
  • Back in B8, edit the formula to read =VLOOKUP(B5,Commission,2)
  • The commission rate has been accurately selected, but we need to multiply this by the variance, that is the extent to which the sales representative has achieved target (the amount, under or over target, represented in dollars).
  • After the vlookup formula add a * and click on B4
  • =VLOOKUP(B5,Commission,2)*B4

  • Using the fill handle
  • Range names
  • Sorting data
    • Ø Sort
      • It is often useful to sort a list to make it easier and quick to find data. To sort the list of Sales representatives into alphabetical order
      • In the Sales Analysis sheet highlight all the names, Data tab, Sort & Filter section, Sort
      • For multiple colums – sort first column
      • Select both columns
      • Custom sort
      • Select 2nd column and sort by values
      • Go back to original and sort normally
  • Creating a chart
    • On the Sales Analysis worksheet highlight A1:I3 to be charted: Sales Representatives, Total Sales and Target
    • Click on Insert tab Charts section, select column, 3-D clustered column.
    • Select the Chart style from the Chart Tools, this is a personal choice
    • If the chart appears over the top of existing data, it can be moved by clicking just 
inside the chart and dragging to a more appropriate location
    • Use the little dotted sizing handles to resize the chart in order to clearly see all 
the sales representatives’ names.
  • Creating a macro and macro button
    • Macros are keystrokes or a series of mouse clicks that are repeated.  You will be asked to give a macro a name.  Like range names, these are not allowed to contain spaces.  The macro name should give an indication of what the macro will do. If it is a complex series of operations, it is wise to practice before you start. But first we need to turn on the Developer tab. In Excel Options select Customise Ribbon, place a tick next to Developer then click OK.
    • Select Developer tab, Code section, Record Macro
    • Assign the macro a name – SORT,  enter a description and click OK
    • Repeat the steps for Sort given at the end of the last Activity starting at the paragraph Sorting the data
    • Click the Developer tab, Code section, Stop Recording button.
    • Let’s look at the macro code or visual basic we have created.
    • Developer tab, Editor section
    • Close the macro code window
    • Again using the Product Analysis worksheet and the Developer tab, click Button .
    • The mouse will change shape – it will be a small cross
    • Draw an appropriate size button – use gridlines as a guide
    • Assign the Sort macro by clicking on it, then OK
    • Button 1 should be highlighted, type Sort – this will give the button a more meaningful name.
    • Right click on the new Sort button, select Format Control and change the colour of the text.
    • If you make a mistake or forget to give the button a name, you can right mouse click the command button, Edit Text.
    • The button is not visible on the printout unless you change the properties of the macro
    • Again right click on the new Sort button, select Format Control
    • Select the Properties tab and check the box Print Object, OK.
    • Test it out.  Don’t forget to do a print preview to make sure the button appears on the page.
    • In the Save As dialog box, underneath the file name, in the save as type drop box, select  an Excel macro enable worksheet

Ø  Macros

  • Macros are keystrokes or a series of mouse clicks that are repeated.  You will be asked to give a macro a name.  Like range names, these are not allowed to contain spaces.  The macro name should give an indication of what the macro will do. If it is a complex series of operations, it is wise to practice before you start. But first we need to turn on the Developer tab. In Excel Options select Customise Ribbon, place a tick next to Developer then click OK.
  • Select Developer tab, Code section, Record Macro
  • Assign the macro a name – SORT,  enter a description and click OK
  • Repeat the steps for Sort given at the end of the last Activity starting at the paragraph Sorting the data
  • Click the Developer tab, Code section, Stop Recording button.

Ø  Macro Code

  • Let’s look at the macro code or visual basic we have created.
  • Developer tab, Editor section
  • Close the macro code window

Ø  Command Buttons

  • Again using the Product Analysis worksheet and the Developer tab, click Button .
  • The mouse will change shape – it will be a small cross
  • Draw an appropriate size button – use gridlines as a guide
  • Assign the Sort macro by clicking on it, then OK
  • Button 1 should be highlighted, type Sort – this will give the button a more meaningful name.
  • Right click on the new Sort button, select Format Control and change the colour of the text.
  • If you make a mistake or forget to give the button a name, you can right mouse click the command button, Edit Text.
  • The button is not visible on the printout unless you change the properties of the macro
  • Again right click on the new Sort button, select Format Control
  • Select the Properties tab and check the box Print Object, OK.
  • Test it out.  Don’t forget to do a print preview to make sure the button appears on the page.
  • In the Save As dialog box, underneath the file name, in the save as type drop box, select  an Excel macro enable worksheet

 

Ø  Creating a Main Menu – More Macros and Command Buttons

  • Insert a Main Menu worksheet. Using Activity 2 as your guide, create the following macros and command buttons:

Macros

Button Names

GoToWPriceList

Wholesale   Price List

GoToRawSales

Raw   Sales Data

GoToComm

Commission   & Profit Margin

GoToSAnalysis

Sales   Analysis

GoToPAnalysis

Product   Analysis

GoToSChart

Sales   Analysis Chart

  • To make the Main Menu screen attractive and user friendly, we have grouped the buttons (using Insert tab, Illustrations section, Shape, Rounded rectangle) and then draw the command button in the rectangle and add general instructions above each group.  It is a good idea to click in the A1 cell of each worksheet before you stop recording. 
  • Each of our worksheets requires a button to take the user back to the Main Menu.  You need only create one button and then copy it.  Let’s start by creating the Main Menu macro.
  • On the Wholesale Price List worksheet, Insert a button, record the macro naming it MainMenu – Click on the Main Menu sheet tab, to select this worksheet – Click on A1, stop recording – Label the button Return to Main Menu and format appropriately.  Make sure you are able to print the object before you copy it.
  • Right mouse click, copy – Select another sheet and paste – Keep pasting until each sheet, other than the Main Menu, has a Return to Main Menu button.  

Ø  Duplicating Buttons

  • Each of our worksheets requires a button to take the user back to the Main Menu.  You need only create one button and then copy it.  Let’s start by creating the Main Menu macro.
  • On the Wholesale Price List worksheet, Insert a button, record the macro naming it MainMenu – Click on the Main Menu sheet tab, to select this worksheet – Click on A1, stop recording – Label the button Return to Main Menu and format appropriately.  Make sure you are able to print the object before you copy it.
  • Right mouse click, copy – Select another sheet and paste – Keep pasting until each sheet, other than the Main Menu, has a Return to Main Menu button.  

Student Charter And Google Docs

In total, I made eight edits to the student charter.

1st change: I added ‘but always ensure to be mindful of your colleagues and work as a team to achieve the most successful academic and personal outcomes’. I thought it was really important because mo matter how your own learning develops, the interaction with other colleagues and peers at university is the most efficient way of gaining experience and new thought. This will ultimately improve the academia of not only the individual but also the group that surrounds them.

2nd change: I added ‘by submitting the most true and thoughtful elements to all university outcomes’. I thought that the importance of being honest to not only just academic but all elements of university life remains paramount within the period we are studying. The importance of good ethics and morale also remain very important.

3rd change: I added ‘by always being an interactive member in tutorials and lectures with a continual observation for course goals and outcomes’. I thought that the importance of effective feedback and experience would be influenced by the interaction in which we have in the course and our dedication and focus on the goals and motivations that lie ahead.

4th change: I added ‘and be accepting of the diverse community in which the University possesses’. I thought that the ability for individuals to be accepting of other cultural difference remains paramount in the succession of university differences and it is through this acceptance that disputes and problems are eliminated.

5th change: I deleted ‘Value the diversity of student and staff’ as I integrated it into the previous dot point.

6th change: I added ‘and report any’. I thought that not only the rejection of discrimination was important but also the reporting of it is even more beneficial, in order to eliminate the problem.

7th change: I added ‘always’. I think that not but to champion thought, but to ‘always’ champion thought was more meaningful and related to every aspect of university life.

8th change: I added a new dot point ‘Be honest and true to yourself’ – I thought that this point was the most important – because it not only remains fundamental for all of university actions – it remains a fundamental responsibility for life.

So there you have it! Google Docs has been a great way to share information with people…to be honest…before networked media I’d never actually used it. So I’ve definitely learnt something about collaborative experience. File sharing systems are the most efficient way to communicate with your colleagues and friends and is a fantastic database of knowledge. It has been a fantastic tool to improve my university experience this semester!

wewalksideways

 

E-books: What’s the hype?

E-BOOKS. A new phenomena right? WRONG

Dating back to 1945 the first prototypes for e-books started to evolve. Books during this time went through a process of photographing data and then placed onto microfilm before being relayed onto screen. The data was stored on these microfilm reels but were in no way portable and remained stationary in a desk. Below is an image of the original formation of the e-book.

Memex

We now look at the turn on the century marked by the 2000s. Since the beginning of e-book concept a lot has changed not only in the physical structure of the e-book but also the data content allowed to be present on such a device. In 2007, Amazon release the first generation Kindle. The process of re-establishing the Kindle and renewing its features became an annual occurrence for Amazon with competitors starting to realise the potential of e-book technology reflecting consumer desire. Technological giant….yes you know who I’m talking about…APPLE…then decided to bring out their iPad which could do all the functions of a Kindle and more. So yes. Apple. You win again. Because let’s face it e-book reading will merge with tablets – another technological advancement at its best.

The rise of e-book technology and its popularity for convenience has somewhat degraded and alienated conventional retail book sellers as the market surges forward through new stages of technology. (I will never buy a kindle – they hurt my eyes reading on a screen for too long!) I do see the value in e-books though. Their convenient – they save:

  • Time: their deliverance is almost instantaneous – from the moment you press the purchase button until the moment you start to read it all remains to convenient in the comfort of your own home – information is immediate
  • Money: a buck for your buy – they are usually cheaper online and you can receive bonuses on your purchase
  • Effort: no effort required to operate – easily storable – space is minimal – portability
  • Environment: you’re saving the environment and production of actually hard copy material – no packaging and shipping
  • Efficiency: Links to other e-books when purchasing online – can search for content on e-book device itself – interactive – fonts can be altered and resized.

Despite all these wonderful attributes to e-books and their technologies, there are studies that show that e-books can intact take longer to read than your original print medium. The article denoting this information can be read here…

The Nielsen Norman Group tested three different e-book methods — the PC, the Kindle 2, and the iPad. The comparisons made from the technologies to that of regular print was tested on twenty four different people to actually determine the accuracy of their claims through reading a short story.

Nielsen found that those reading the e-book version were as much as 10% slower than those who read the printed version. Those who read the story on the PC took even more time, and universally rated by participants as the worst way to read.

 Although I would like to think that print proves to be the more accurate system of knowledge in regard to efficiency and time – judgements could not be solely made on this study – because inevitably we are all going to be different types of readers and of substantially different paces. Also the mere sample size of the group analysed would not appropriately cover a large enough portion of the population to make generalised assumptions.

Regardless, it speaks well for the future of e-books despite the slower reading times. User satisfaction with reading on e-book devices — with the exception of the PC — was higher than printed books, Nielsen said.

E-books are one technology which I believe will have many potential prospects going into the future. It’s not to say that I don’t like technology – I’m typing madly on my mac at the moment – and without it I’d be lost. But, I think that we shouldn’t forget the past – shouldn’t forget its importance – because inevitably without it, we wouldn’t be here today. Society can benefit from our past – because past becomes future.

wewalksideways

History of the Internet

  1. We neglect to understand the importance of the internet and its transformations over the history of time. The internet was not just something that happened. It was a continually evolving technological phenomena – and without it – we would probably all seem a little lost nowadays. The internet has provides a whole new realm to the effectiveness of communication – let’s begin where it all started. 
  2. HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) was a revolutionary development within the realm of internet technology. The ability for users to be navigated into a seemingly spontaneous and evolving world on the internet came at the introduction of HTML integration on the WWW. 
  3. As the progression of the internet started to evolve the interactiveness of browsing began to increase much more diversely and opened up a variety of new doorways and also classification of researching. 
  4. Websites were starting become quite complex. The internet was becoming an integral component to many professionals whether for research or personal usage. The introduction of ‘hypertext’ within website design enabled a greater variety of information and linkages to the WWW. This was a major development within the Internet realm.
  5. The final page to date is the influence of social media and the importance of databasing to track such phenomenal patterns of internet usage. Les Manovich summarised that the importance of databasing in the progression and evolutional patterns of the internet could be denoted to the influence of database systems.

The Smart Phone ‘App’ Phenomenon

Who these days is without a smartphone? Let’s be honest…Most of our grandmas now use smartphones…I’m about to make a huge generalisation here…BUT…everyone has smartphones…and everyone uses apps!

Back in 1993 was the start of the smartphone generation with IBM and BellSouth releasing “Simon”. The phone had many capabilities in which we have on our own smartphones today – touch screen technology and also email and fax attributes were enabled. The main differentiation between smart phones and normal mobile phones is that the ‘smartphone’ provides an extension to the norm – much like of what most technologies provide for us in modern day arenas. QR scanners applications are one downloadable apps for smartphones that has been a major development over the past decade, whereby information can be recorded and disseminated in the palm of your hand regarding particular information about a product. Recently, women’s retail store Sportsgirl implemented QR codes within their advertising campaigns for productivity and consumers value. QR code applications do not primarily just operate within retail but stretch far and beyond to other avenues such as websites, coupons and now even to social media dwellings online.

What is the reasoning behind this phenomena and why are we as populations governed to become so dependent on smartphone application technologies. I started researching on the The Age’s “Digital Life” section on their online website. WOW. This was an absolute chock-a-block information hub for pretty much anything…well…digital! The most common element I found in my research was societal needs for organisation, efficiency and productive within daily life. This is something that an ‘app’ can give. We have become so dependant on technology its scary…can you really see your life without your iPhone? Didn’t think so.

Communication barriers are broken and efficiency of daily activities is increased – or is it? Because of this dependency on apps we now take out the middle man in our daily applications to replace it with an ‘app’ or computer to perform the task for us. For example – Facebook – we need to get a message across to a friend – we no longer need to go to the post office and send a letter – we no longer need to ring them and actually open our mouths – we rapidly type content into an app which translates it to that person – and BOOM – DONE. I’ve become a little nostalgic to the old. The days where we would ride our bikes to the neighbours – the days we would search for hours through cook books to find that chocolate brownie recipe – the day we actually PHYSICALLY OPENED OUR MOUTHS AND COMMUNICATED NOT THROUGH AN APPLICATION!

In regard to social networking I would say that the old fashion was the right. In regard to business I think apps are definitely the way to go.Below are a list of apps that are very effective for business purposes:

  • TradeEzi
  • The Builder App
  • Airtasker
  • Docfinder
  • Google+ Local
  • Yelp

From banking, to documentation, to email – it makes businesses more efficient and productive. But personally – a app for personal communication – no way!

On a global perspective the world is coming to be a lot smaller than in previous years. This is due to advancements in technologies – notably apps. The sheer effort that needs to go into operating apps is minimal. With the touch of a button – you’ve release data into a global network of interaction. At the beginning of app technology – I don’t think anyone could have anticipated the success rate that would follow and the popularity of such a phenomenal invention.

In a recent  recent Flurry report “smartphone adoption has exploded, growing faster than any consumer technology in history. It is rapidly expanding beyond early adopter markets such as North America and Western Europe, creating a true worldwide addressable market”.

The report also noted that the data gathered from more than the 200,000 applications it tracks – 640 million devices throughout the globe were operating with these apps.

 With international growth accelerating, there has never been a better time, in the history of technology, to be a software developer.

Maybe we should all start developing apps – or maybe we shouldn’t.

My prediction…they’ll eventually fizzle out like every modern phenomena!

wewalksideways

 

Digital Storytelling

The world of digital sorry telling remains limitless. We are only constrained by the limits of our imagination. The influence of digital storytelling has been quite significant over the past decade, as the impact of digitalisation and technology on society has enabled such a transition of storytelling from the norm. The advantage of digital storytelling is that the effort is reduced in the actual storytelling process – we can literally open up our browser and view that story in a matter of seconds in comparison to your conventional book or magazine. Technological progression is key – this has also allowed a shift in the way in which we relay stories. We no longer remain content primarily with our goldilocks or three little pigs, but aim to alter the norm to reinvent our stories in a creative and non-linear formation. The experience in which we are enabled through digital storytelling is like no other – we can combine graphics, photography, sound, light and a variety of enhancing editing tools to ultimately indulge the viewer in a synergetic experience. The art 0f such a technological phenomena not only expands our imagination capacity but allows an unforgettable and truly mind-blowing media comprehension. Sorry my friends…but picture books may be a thing of the past.

I love this idea of the digital through storytelling. I know I contradict myself a little here because I’m usually so anal technology – but I think this gives such an increasingly better variety for all ages to interact with storytelling processes. It remains so exciting because the possibilities are endless and the construction makes me jitter!! Ahhhhh so good!!

I started on YouTube to find some interesting examples of digital storytelling. I really couldn’t find much that really extended my imagination. I thought Vimeo would be a better opt as the content usually displayed by the browser is ambiguous and pretty creative in genre. It was amazing…the transition and difference of storytelling. Vimeo users had uploaded content upon content and all with completely different motives but all their tapestries were so rich of life and energy. The creators should be credited for such amazing pieces of work.

The first piece I took a browse through was a story titled Little Red. This was the first animation short created by collaborative group Sillsoe Mouse and marks their initiation into the digital storytelling world. On first impression the story looks to combine photographic and both animation elements – but once viewing on several occasions the pure skill and crafting of the graphic combinations and editing techniques enables such a visual to be projected. Little Red is an adaptation of the original fairytale Little Red Riding Hood but takes on a more modern and cinematic approach through digital animation. The scene is set by a clear view of a forrest with auburn and warm lighting remaining as a theatrical backdrop to the dark forrest silhouettes. There becomes a transition when the young girl enters the screen as from her left to right motion across the frame a hue transition is enabled from the warm spectrum to something of a dark and gloomy nature. This is also reinforced by the eerie background sounds of forest night creatures. One of the most effective visual elements the composer uses is the zoom in on little red with the emergence of the wolfs mouth – this is ambiguous at first – but with the shot change and fade up it proves to be a highly skilled and effective interaction technique. Also the slow motion of the girl falling when she trips remains beautiful and almost mesmerising – followed by that of the blood spill zoom out on her leg, we begin to become calm and believe the story will have a positive conclusion. We then head to the view of the truck pulling up to rescue both wolf and little red and we are relieved…BUT suddenly this changes automatically with the shot from the drivers seat with wolf driving to little red in a hook-filled van which now initiates her death. Sadness comes over you but the composer has so cleverly manipulated the death of little red into a jingle about “Little Red Meat”. The almost humorous song concludes the piece with narration such as “sick of sinking your teeth into little pigs, sink your teeth into the fresh, succulent taste of little red meat”. The irony just about kills you!! This digital story works so fantastically as I was continually intrigued and entertained not only by the content but also the sequence and clarity of the animation. The collaboration of graphic, sound and editing features really gave that overall synergetic experience. It always remains a challenge to execute and adapt an already so used story, however Sillsoe Mouse has most cleverly manipulated through both story and style a very interesting take on this fairytale. I give Little Red 5/5

The second digital story I came across was one of the suggested stories, Goldilocks. I really enjoyed the beginning of the film before the opening credits with the key hole visual – it was very effective with the muddled letters and gave an impression that there was a code to be unlocked to the doorway to this story – a very effective digital starter I thought. Motorbike scene at the beginning sets you up for a drama and you anticipate that there will be a chase and a drama to transpire soon – the music also illuminates this with the tension gradually building. The filming for the motorbike scenes is done particularly well for iPhone quality and is enhanced by the night time street and tunnel lighting. However, the filming outside the motorbike night scenes I thought were pretty poor and the story structure was inevitable with the audience never really guessing what would happen next…shoots one…back on bike…shoots two…back on bike…shoots three…you get the picture. I also thought that the initial shots of the woman running were framed very well however after that the quality of shots and story sequencing was terrible and the music really did not do the shots any justice. All in all I think that there was not really any room for the imagination in regard to creative and artistic expression and it was a pretty stock standard. It obviously did tell a story digitally, but I believe it really lacked creativity and thought which is relevant in both shot and structure. I give Goldilocks a 2.5/5.

Last but definitely not least was Random Acts – The Event. This animation was by far the hardest to analyse as the ambiguity and unawareness you had in viewing the shots was paramount within the experience. It begins with a line leg on the ground which comes into connection with another let to link toes – the shot quickly shows that it is someone of companionship to the subject and they weep while the soul seeps upwards toward the sky. The reoccurring goggle effect of a set of eyes opening and closing integrates the audience quite effectively because we are positioned to be in the first person and experiencing the scene for ourselves. The single dot that then appears rapidly opens and closes which made much more sense at the conclusion of the story. The narrator is very ambiguous in both style and structure and the clear changes in graphics in regard to body language through darkening features shows denotes distress. It is clear that it is through the narration that drives the story. The collaborative efforts of actual footage and animation in combination creates fantastic montages – especially on the third day when they left their cars in short stay. Also, the use of dull colours with the saturation of hues gives an almost unrealistic and surreal viewing for audiences. I was amazed at the talent of the illustrator and the editing however the ambiguity of the story remains constant right up until the end, “the sky was a chemical peel” – the flashing of limbs and other body parts from ‘THE EVENT’ concludes the story. I think that this was definitely a classic representation of digital storytelling, however the ambitious efforts to provide a clear story structure was lacking a little. I give Random Acts – The Event 4/5.

Digital storytelling is unlimited. It has no limits. No constraints. No boundaries. We as the creative minds of the future however must create stories through media in a way that remains clear and concise for audience interpretation and standards – because to be honest – audience is everything. The future remains in our hands. Catch ya’ round bookworms!

wewalksideways

Advanced Blogging: That’s What Makes You Beautiful

So I’ve been asked to do some blogging based on some RSS feeds that I receive – trust me…I’ve got many. It’s amazing the transformation since I began this course. (Don’t tell anyone….shhh..I didn’t even know what an RSS feed was!!)

One of my RSS feeds is fashion and beauty. Ive found that most of the information I receive it just your usual jargon and clutter. But occasionally I come across the most amazing links that denote very interesting perspectives on not only fashion and beauty, but more importantly image and the importance of ‘the woman’.

I continue to scroll through my RSS feed under my category of body image and came across an alarming article on ThinkProgress Health. Annie-Rose Strasser’s, “Skinny Minnie Mouse Could Give Girls Body Image Problems For Christmas” got me thinking about a variety of ideas – sorry peeps…this ones going to be a doozy!

It is clear that over the past decade the influence of eating disorders, body image, stereotypes and societal changes has smothered the brains of the female population. We base perceptions that come from these ideas to make judgements within our everyday lives. But to what means do these decisions increase our vulnerability and affect our health and metabolic makeup. New York fashion giant Barneys has started their christmas campaign with ideas that are anything but jolly. They plan to incorporate Micky and Minnie Mouse to their runway. But with a twist…

 A runway display that will feature classic Disney stars like Mickey and Minnie Mouse. But, to make the mouse duo more “appropriate” for the runway, the characters will be taller and skinnier than their actual size — a decision that has some people outraged because of the message it sends to young children about body image

What kind of message will this be sending our children…That because Minnie Mouse is now getting skinnier so should we. People neglect to think about the impact of their actions in modern society. By increasing the publicity around certain images, such as ‘making Minnie skinnier’ gives a negative illustration for children of our generation. I considered this statement by Dennis Freedmen, creative direction of Barneys:

The standard Minnie Mouse will not look so good in a Lanvin dress. If we’re going to make this work, we have to have a 5-foot-11 Minnie.

One word. Pathetic.

I wonder if designers actually consider their impact? The problem with society – not just the fashion industry – but the business enterprise itself – is their profit-seeking motives and their underlying surge of greed which I figure they mostly neglect. In the United States 80% of 10-year olds girls have been on some form of a diet.

So Minnie…let’s think about it…do you really want to be skinny?

We as females have an unrealistic perception of ourselves because of the stereotype the media and society anticipate us to be. Dove, a international beauty company promotes the beauty of real, true, beautiful women without the enhancement of technology to ‘improve’ overall appearance. I came across this YouTube video which was in response to a search for beauty. Have a look for yourself below…

Disgust. Disbelief. Yep…that’s what I thought as well. No wonder we have a tainted approach of what beauty is – because unless its in the flesh (well mostly) – its not beautiful – it’s fake. Body image is a major problem yet companies come to contradict themselves, especially in the fashion industry. Designers try and take an approach which promotes healthy models to walk to runway to then juxtapose this with a billboard on CityLink which is definitely a misinterpretation of the truth. I wonder what must be going through the minds of female women all throughout the world. Their isolation, their insecurities, their overwhelming embarrassment for no apparent flaw. Blogging around I wanted to find a confessional by someone who had been through the ‘body image’ experience. I found this article by Jenny Bee on BangStyle. This is her confession…

I’ve always been a head-in-the-clouds type of girl, perfectly content with entertaining myself and being alone. Until high school, I didn’t have very many girlfriends to speak of, and of the few, most of those girls were as minimally concerned with their outward appearances as girls can get. With that being said, I remember the very first time that I ever felt “fat.” It was the spring before my freshman year in high school, and I had decided to try out for the 2000-2001 Varsity cheerleading squad. To me, being part of the cheerleading squad seemed like a fun and happy way to spend time with girls my age and make some real friends. When I walked into the high school gym that March, I was greeted with an unexpected surprise. I noticed immediately cliques of girls scattered throughout the tryout area, comparing the size of their thighs, waist, arms, and every other imaginable body part to what they were reading in the March 2000 edition of Seventeen Magazine. Completely unnoticed, I joined a small cluster of girls to see what all the fuss was about. It was like entering another world, one that I have been – for the most part – unable to escape ever since. It was not unlike the scene from Mean Girl’s when Lindsay Lohan’s character Cady says, “I used to think there was just fat and skinny. Apparently, there’s a lot of things that can be wrong on your body.” The characters played by Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried then go on to complain about their calves, pores, nail beds, etc. After an afternoon in what seemed like The Twilight Zone, I went on to not only join the cheerleading squad, but also begin a five-year-long battle with anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Today, media pressure exists for women of all ages – not just teenagers! Women are bombarded with Photoshopped images of models and celebrities, sure, but now that celebrity habits are so easily accessible through interviews, talk shows, and magazine articles, women (including myself) are more than ever obsessed with being prettier and thinner.

Adriana Lima, supermodel and hot mom, recently admitted she sticks to liquids only nine days before the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and stops drinking water for 12 hours before she hits the runway to drop the most weight. “I know it’s very intense but…I just have an athlete’s mind and I appreciate doing this thing… “It’s not that I do crazy diets throughout the year. I just do it for this particular thing. After this show, I become normal again!” (via E!Online). She defended the drastic measures, comparing herself to an athlete in training. I caught myself excusing her liquid diet, because after all, Adriana is a Victoria’s Secret model, and “that’s what is expected of them.” When I really sat down and thought about it though, I realized the tragedy that what is expected of models nowadays- dieting to the point of starvation, even for a short time, in order to achieve a man made version of “perfection.”

Huffington Post Writer, Juliette Frette had this to say about the Hollywood body epidemic:

While some tabloids cater to identifying fat and cellulite on thighs and stomachs, others send readers conflicting messages by praising the supposed diet and workout routine of a nearly skeletal Hillary Duff, only to attack her later for harboring an eating disorder. What are we to think about that? What message can we glean from conflicting media promotions?

More often than not, we are all directly and indirectly encouraged by the commercial sphere to diet and conform. Comically, despite their own apparent and negative influence, which notably generates considerable income for various weight-loss products as well as the product of magazines themselves, such outlets will defensively attempt to protect their integrity.  The underlying disclaimer can be translated as follows: We are not at all responsible for the eating disorder or any other crazy thoughts you may develop because of our sensational stories and highlights. And to prove it, we shall attack Nicole Richie for being too skinny. See? We don’t want you to be anorexic! Now turn to page X to read about Kate Hudson’s special diet and how you too can look like a star!

Aside from generating insecurity and mortification among female celebrities and enhancing the body image issues they may already have, tabloids, television shows, and other magazines undoubtedly affect how the general public — namely women and girls — view themselves in comparison.

My question to all women is simply this: “What is to be done?.” I’m not going to pretend that I haven’t been found idolizing Jennifer Aniston’s legs or Miranda Kerr’s seemingly flawless Victoria’s Secret body, but I’ll be the first to admit that we, as women and as role models for the next generation of girls, need to take a firmer stand in loving ourselves and our bodies.

Even though my battle with body hatred started in high school, I’ve seen and heard girls as young as 6 or 7 years old talk about diets, skipping meals, and wanting to be “like the girls in the magazines.” After struggling heavily with eating disorders for many years, I can say that personally, it was impossible for me to face my insecurities alone. With the help of a few wonderful girlfriends, I was slowly but surely able to stop obsessing over weight, and make a conscious effort to quit participating in the game of comparison.

The global issue remains.

The influence of the media. Have you been personally manipulated? Do you interpret beauty in a way other than you already are? Are your views unrealistic?  The domination that media holds over us is astonishing. The problem – that we are integral in their war path of brainwash. Their aim is for personal accession and nothing else. I will admit that I use Photoshop for a variety of purposes within not only my course at university but also for personal usage. However the problem remains that we Photoshop images to manipulate the real. Women are ‘created’ rather than ‘presented’.

A little left field…But I’m guessing you’ve seen or heard about Toddlers and Tiaras, where young girls are “stylized” to the point of obsession all in a means of publicity, popularity and most evidently self-preservation for parents. What kind of people do we have living in our neighbourhoods? Who the heck wants their three year old SPRAY-TANNED! The construction of the female, whether tall, short, fat, thin, brown hair, blonde hair and so on, are all characteristics that form a woman for what she is, not the mould the media or her mother entails her to be.

For more information on body image Media Smarts is a great website to browse for a variety of different media and body image topics.

So I’m guessing you all remember Britain’s Got Talent’s Susan Boyle…Yep. She’s my idol no matter what she looks like…damn that woman can sing! Maybe we should all be just like her… 49…”on one side!”

wewalksideways

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk&feature=r-vrec