September 15, 2019

Happy birthday, Mr. Smith: You're now an octogenarian

For my Cineversary podcast episode #15, I am joined by San Francisco State University film professor Joseph McBride, author of "Frankly: Unmasking Frank Capra" and "Frank Capra: The Catastrophe of Success." Together, we dive deep into Capra's "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," marking an 80th birthday this fall, and explore why the movie is worth celebrating four decades later, its cultural impact and legacy, what we can learn from the picture today, how it has (and hasn't) stood the test of time, and more.

To listen to this episode, click the "play button" on the embedded streaming player below. Or, you can stream, download or subscribe to the Cineversary podcast using Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Anchor, Breaker, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Google Play Music, Overcast, Pocket Casts, PodBean, RadioPublic, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at tinyurl.com/cineversarypodcast and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

September 9, 2019

Halloween fun is right around the corner

In addition to writing articles for newspapers, magazines and websites across the country, I also do some fun PR campaigns for local clients. Case in point: A commercial Halloween attraction I promote called Midnight Terror Haunted House.

This year, Midnight Terror was voted a top 10 haunt by USA Today. I helped share the news in a press release just distributed. You can read about it here.

September 8, 2019

Why AI schools rule

Google, Amazon, Facebook and other big tech players in the industry continue to expand the boundaries of artificial intelligence and speech technology as well as reap the profits earned from related products and services. But while these private sector giants, and the scientists, researchers and innovators who work for them, continue to grab headlines and market share, arguably the most cutting-edge and important discoveries in the field are coming from the hallowed halls of academia.

That’s because many universities, colleges and other institutions of higher learning have ramped up their curricula related to AI, machine learning and speech technology in recent years and bolstered their programs and departments with impressive faculty and resources. The reason is simple: growing demand from students seeking to earn a degree in these tech fields and fill the strong demand for high-paying high-tech jobs. Armed with bright minds, smart tools and a determination to innovate, these educational establishments are pushing technology forward faster thanks to groundbreaking research, testing and inventions.

But while learning opportunities at schools have increased, so have the challenges—including recruitment and retention of skilled teachers, lack of funding, inability to meet enrollment demand, and keeping up with the pace of progress.

Learn more about this topic by reading my latest article for Speech Technology Magazine, available here.

September 1, 2019

In-demand industrial

The word “industrial” may conjure up cold and hard imagery—like cement, metal and machinery. But when talked about as a design esthetic, many experts get warm and fuzzy about the industrial look.

That’s because, when applied to a home, the industrial style doesn’t have to be bland, impersonal or off-putting like a factory floor might be. Instead, it can create an inviting and open space with an attractive modernity and simplicity.

Learn more about this design technique and how it can be effectively implemented in your home by reading my latest syndicated CTW Features story, available here.

August 25, 2019

Celebrate...with extreme prejudice

Cineversary podcast episode #14 is here. This time, I speak with Jason Henderson, host of the Castle of Horror podcast and author of the Young Captain Nemo book series. Together, we examine Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 epic “Apocalypse Now,” which celebrates a 40th birthday this month, and discuss why the movie is worth celebrating four decades later, its cultural impact and legacy, what we can learn from the picture today, how it has (and hasn't) stood the test of time, and more.

To listen to this episode, click the "play button" on the embedded streaming player below. Or, you can stream, download or subscribe to the Cineversary podcast using Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Anchor, Breaker, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Google Play Music, Overcast, Pocket Casts, PodBean, RadioPublic, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at tinyurl.com/cineversarypodcast and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

August 18, 2019

How low can they go?

No one has a crystal ball that can accurately forecast where mortgage rates will land by the end of this year. Yet many real estate pros feel good about rates remaining low or even dropping further.

Last November, I asked 10 respected industry experts for their mortgage rates predictions for 2019. Interestingly, most agreed that 30-year fixed rates would average 5.5% and 15-year fixed rates would average between about 4.5 and 5.0% by mid-2019. Turns out that rates dropped a lot more than these and most other experts expected. As of this writing, the 30-year rate is just below 4.0%; the 15-year rate is around 3.30%.

Now, in an updated article for The Mortgage Reports, I've asked many of these same pros (and a few new ones) for their predictions on rates through the end of the year. Take a look at their projections for 30- and 15-year fixed-rates, which may help you make a more informed decision about getting a mortgage loan in the weeks and months ahead.