Beautiful Things

Merry Christmas From All of Us at Pravda Media Group

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We at Pravda Media Group wish all of you who celebrate Christmas a joyful holiday.  We hope that you find yourselves engulfed in the light and laughter that comes from spending time with friends and family.

And for the love of Santa, can someone please tell us whats the deal with Figgy Pudding?

 

 

Happy Hanukkah From All of Us at Pravda Media Group

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For those of you who celebrate the Festival of Lights, we hope that the candles illuminate these dark days of winter and give way to joy and celebration.

All of us at Pravda Media Group wish you a Happy Hanukkah.

 

The Links We Love

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Happy Monday, Everyone!

We hope you had a peaceful, relaxing, and enjoyable weekend.

Now, go get your coffee on,  and check out these links.  We hope you find them as interesting as we did!

First of all, our client, Babylon.com, just started a new series on their blog called “My Life in Translation”

“How many of us have found ourselves visiting or even living in a country where we can barely speak the language?  Sure, while It’s an adventure to navigate new cultural terrain without being able to communicate the way you would ordinarily in your homeland, it is certainly not without its challenges.”

Every few days, Babylon will post a new sotry.  The first two posts are dynamic and engaging, and we hope you’ll check them out:
Babylon is also celebrating International Children’s Day (November 20th!) with a cool infographic featuring fascinating facts about children from around the globe.  For instance, did you know the earliest written version of the Cinderella story comes from China in 860 CE?  And here we thought we could blame shoe fetishes on Disney or the Brothers Grimm!
We also found some interesting videos that highlight creativity that we think are worth sharing:
And, we found some terrific articles about Social Media that we found interesting and relevant:
Finally, there were two clever videos about Facebook that made us laugh out loud.  Literally.  And hopefully you’ll like them, too:
Hopefully you’ve got your caffeine buzz on by now, and are enjoying your Monday!

Memories in a Digital World

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Four months ago I went through a life changing experience: My first daughter was born, and I fell immediately in-love with the little adorable baby that became an important part of our (now mostly sleepless) life.

From the moment she was born, my wife and I photograph and videotape her, using our iPhones, and our DSLR camera.

At the same time my parents aren’t getting younger. My father turned 72 this year, and my mother 66. On his 70th birthday, I made a short film about him, as an excuse to both hear and document the story of his life. We went through old photographs that were lying in our living room drawers, and with each picture came a story, about love, war, family, and friendship. Most of these pictures were older than me –from the 50s and 60s — telling the story of his life as an immigrant, young tank commander, husband, and young father.

Not surprisingly, I love gadgets, applications, and great sites. That’s why I upload my daughter’s pictures to Flickr and Facebook, and save all of them in our centralized media hub, and I also back it up using Dropbox. I use Twitter, Foursquare and serendip.me to tell the story of my life – places I’ve been at, songs I’ve heard, thoughts I’ve had at a specific point in time.

Up until now, I was certain this is enough. We have all those cameras with their amazing images, those fancy video cameras, these smartphones that are actually point and shot cameras that can also call people. But something is missing:
When you look at it from an historical perspective, all these sites and gadgets lose their sex appeal. The reason is simple – in 40 years perspective, suddenly Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, hard disks and iPhones seem like not the best way to store memories.

I don’t know what will happen with Apple, Yahoo!, Twitter and Facebook 40 years from now.
I don’t know if the images I am taking now will be compatible with the technology 20 years from now.
I don’t know if my media center’s hard disk will survive the next 5 years.
And maybe, just maybe, Dropbox will go out of business.

There is a missing link in our digital age. There is a crucial element that is not guaranteed in our advanced technological environment. It is a simple thing: the physical element of our memories. The real life scrap book. The image, printed on a paper.

Yes, I know, these physical representation of our memories can be lost or destroyed. In fact, history teaches us that the physical element of our memories could be easily destroyed (such was the case of the Library of Alexandria).

However, if there is one thing that is for certain, it is that we will be able to see the pictures of our lives in the future. It is not a matter of file formats, web applications, and smartphones. Our eyes will still be able to see pictures. Our fingers will still be able to feel the aging paper they are printed on.

Think about it, next time you look at your hard disk full of those priceless images of your life.

Mourning the Death of a Smartphone

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Back in the day when I lived in LA, I was incredibly low-tech. I’d listen to mix tapes instead of  mp3s. I’d read books that required actual page turning. And my cellphone was much the way I expect to be 50 years from now–crotchety and decrepit.

So, when I’d see other people whip out their Smartphones to email or text or to find the nearest Starbucks because heaven forfend they drive four blocks in one direction when they could achieve caffeinated nirvana by only driving just two blocks in the other, I would roll my eyes.

Ok, Ok, I’ll admit it: I was secretly jealous. I envied Los Angelinos their gadgets, and I wanted my finger on the pulse of all that is hip, too. I thought grooving to an iPod would be sublime.  I thought downloading books onto a Kindle would be rad.  And above all,  I yearned for a Smartphone: I fantasized about being able to check email while sitting at Starbucks (Grande Vanilla latte and delusions of Grandeur for Sarah!) I wanted to download Angry Birds, and create personalized ringtones that would make me look edgy and cool (I was thinking a little Gangsta Rap would be nice.)

My Smartphone would be my magic portal, freeing this tired mama from her daze of dirty laundry, and sub-par cooking; a safe haven from power struggles with the kids–tantrums (theirs), meltdowns (mine), and way too much time spent in front of the TV (ours). Come what may – this phone would keep me sane, connected 24/7 to my real life.

My dream phone would make me feel young and au currant because in reality, my screen was scratched, paint chipped, powering down on a whim like a narcoleptic.

(And believe you me, my phone was even worse.)

So when my family moved to Israel last year, I had one condition: I wanted a smartphone. That way, I could be on Google Chat or Facebook all the time – constantly in touch with friends and family back home. I wanted quick and dirty email access so I could send pictures back home to Beeka and Bakah (my dad and his wife…) I wanted to download a kindle app so I could read books in English without having to expend energy —gasp— flipping pages. And let’s be real: I wanted to look all high-tech and whatnot, whipping out my sexy Smartphone and strutting around in high heel boots, way more “LA Woman” than I ever was back in LA.

Thus began my codependent relationship with Sammy the Smartphone. It was love at first sight: Within seconds of charging the battery and turning him on, I had changed his settings to English, and downloaded Tupac Shakur’s California Love for my ringtone. Whither I goest, he went – through the fields, to the coffee place, and beyond…Chatting, texting, always connected to my life back home.

And our relationship wasn’t all about looks and cool apps or the fact that he vibrated – although believe you me, Sammy had that going on. Because no matter how homesick in the Homeland I was, I had Sammy – and because I had my Sammy, I had Aimee, and Crystal, and Jeff, and Corey, and David, and Alex, and Elana, and Michelle, and Chris, and Beeka and Bakah, and so many others that live on the other side of the world, with me every second.

Until the day Sammy drowned. In the toilet. Because there is no app to get rid of my inherent clumsiness and pathological case of mama brain.

I tried everything to bring Sammy back to life. I opened him up, and took out his battery, simcard, and SD card. (He felt so light lying there in the palm of my hand, just an empty shell.) Then, I placed him lovingly in a bag full of rice because I had read somewhere that this can sometimes save a drowned cellphone. It didn’t. And I shook my fists and screamed to the heavens…“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” (Because the first stage of grief is denial.)

My husband rolled his eyes. “Don’t be such a baby. It’s just a cellphone.”

And on to the second stage of grief: Anger.

I hurled Sammy’s corpse at my husband. I shouted. I cursed. And I cried hysterically, while my husband looked around for the nearest escape route. (Seriously. In that moment, I done Mel Gibson proud.)

And while I know in hindsight that I may have (just a little bit) overreacted, the thing is, it wasn’t “just a cellphone.” Sammy was my lifeline–my fast-track to LA from like, a million light years away. And as I try to figure out my place here in Israel –in a home where my daughter straight up refuses to speak English (I swear, it’s like she does this on purpose to upset me), in conversations where I wonder W.T.F. is happening, like all the time when my husband is talking to his mom, or the preschool teacher, or the doctor about something related to our kids in Hebrew, where I am perpetually lost in a heavy fog as I try to figure out a strange word in the middle of a joke, while everyone else is laughing at the punchline.

(At least Sammy had a Hebrew/English translation app. May he be of blessed memory.)

 

This post originally appeared here on kveller.com.

What a Story

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Kate Bush played an important part in the soundtrack of my childhood. My sister loved her music, and we used to spend a lot of time together listening to her CDs.

But as the years went by, my musical taste changed.  I started listening to  Prodigy and heavy metal bands — music that energized me — instead of more relaxed music.

When my daughter was born, I started to play music from the 80s and 90s.   (I’m doing my best to make sure she doesn’t become a Lady Gaga fan, people.)  And it was then that I rediscovered Kate Bush music and videos.

YouTube replaced CDs, and for my daughter, music will forever start as a visual experience.

Kate Bush was an artist, who knew how to tell deep and meaningful stories, as well as convey experiences, through a seamless blend of lyrics, music, visuals, and choreography.
In this clip, she tells the compelling story of a son’s inability to save his father. Little did I know when I first heard this song that it is based on the story of Peter Reich and his Father Wilhelm Reich, a controversial psychoanalyst, who was jailed in 1957.
This clip is a great example of storytelling. Hope you’ll enjoy it.

Extraordinary Storytelling – Apricot

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There are rare occasions, when I see a piece of creativity that tells a story in a condensed format, but manages to convey so many emotions.
This is one of them. Enjoy.

Additional information about the creators could be found here

42 Seconds of Visual Beauty

42 Seconds of Visual Beauty
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I came across this video on Vimeo’s top videos group. Some of the others are interesting, but this one is a combination of excellent visual storytelling coupled with some basic human sensitivity.

Last Day Dream [HD] from Chris Milk on Vimeo.

What's HD-DSLR and Why Does It Matter

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Canon EOS 7D with EF 28mm f/2.

Image via Wikipedia

Canon EOS  7D, Canon 5D Mark II, Nikon D90 – if these models sound like a foreign language it means you weren’t paying attention. These are models of hybrid video and DSLR cameras called HD-DSLR. And they are changing the industry as we know it. Canon 5D Mark II, full frame high end Canon DSLR Camera, had one small feature, that looked like an after thought – the ability to shoot full HD videos. Like many other ground breaking products, this feature was severly crippled. In the first version of these cameras, the video mode was fully automated – which means that the photographer couldn’t control ISO and frame rate among other paramters – making it very limited for serious video shooters. But Canon released a new firmware with the ability to fully control all video parameters besides frame rate. And this is nothing less then revolutionary.

Why? More

Pure Awesomeness (NSFW)

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The Wire was the best TV show I’ve ever seen. But it is over, and now we have only reruns to enjoy it.

Here is little something to make you remember this amazing show. One of my favorites is around 8:40. NSFW (language), mind you…