February 20, 2024

Audiovisual augmentation

With astounding relative speed, artificial intelligence (AI) technology has permeated many different businesses and industries in recent years. But lately, its encroachment into video and voice creation has been particularly remarkable, providing ample opportunities for players in this field to succeed in more efficient, economical, and impressive ways. 

Consider how AI is revolutionizing the field of video by automating tasks, improving the editing and post-production process, and unlocking innovative opportunities. Video editors powered by AI today can, for instance, efficiently analyze and process extensive amounts of footage, identifying key moments and automatically generating highlights. AI also plays a crucial role in tackling intricate editing tasks such as color grading and transitions. Additionally, AI-driven tools empower creators to produce distinctive and captivating visual effects, introducing a new layer to storytelling. 

AI has reshaped the creation of voices, as well, ushering in an era of realistic and expressive synthetic speech that is now used widely within areas such as customer service chatbots, voiceovers, virtual assistants, and audiobooks.  Deep learning algorithms, trained on vast datasets of human speech, can now generate voices that are virtually indistinguishable from their human counterparts. This breakthrough has expanded possibilities across various domains, including voice-over work, animation, entertainment, and personalized communication.

It’s constructive to consider the progress that’s been achieved on these fronts, the adoption rate of voice and video creation, the difficulties that still need to be addressed, and the enticing possibilities ahead. Learn more by reading my newest piece for Speech Technology magazine, available here.

February 14, 2024

Cineversary podcast sends valentine to It Happened One Night for its 90th birthday

Joseph McBride
In Cineversary podcast episode #67, host Erik Martin and guest Joseph McBride, a film professor at San Francisco State University and author of Frankly: Unmasking Frank Capra, send a valentine to It Happened One Night, directed by Frank Capra, which celebrates a 90th birthday this month. Erik and Joseph hitchhike across Hollywood history to examine how this granddaddy of the romcom and screwball comedy remains a classic, its influence on later films, what it reveals about Capra, and much more.

To listen to this episode, click here or click the "play" button on the embedded streaming player below. Or, you can stream, download, or subscribe to Cineversary wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audible, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, PodBean, RadioPublic, and Overcast.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at www.cineversary.com and email show comments or suggestions to cineversarypodcast@gmail.com.

February 7, 2024

Will your health insurance cover talk therapy?

Want help for a mental health-related issue? The good news is that most health insurance plans will cover treatment like talk therapy, inpatient hospitalization, substance abuse treatment, emergency care, and medications. But your need for these services and pharmaceuticals must be deemed medically necessary, which requires a diagnosis.

Learn more about if and to what extent health insurance covers mental health treatment, how to confirm if therapy coverage is in place, what kinds of treatments are typically covered, how much therapy costs, and more by checking out my newest story for Forbes Advisor, published here.

February 2, 2024

The perks of pet ownership

Fido, Fluffy and friends with feathers, fins and scales can make a big difference in our lives, providing companionship, structure and distraction from our concerns. But pets can also contribute to better physical and mental well-being, yielding substantial health benefits.

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research indicates that the connection between individuals and their companion animals is associated with numerous health advantages, including reduced blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, fewer feelings of solitude and anxiety and diminished symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. Pet ownership also increases opportunities for physical activities and outdoor pursuits, improved cognitive capabilities in seniors, and enhanced occasions for social interaction.

Read my newest article for CTW Features, available here, to discover more of the benefits of owning a pet.

January 23, 2024

Not a "morning person"? Here's how you can still stay healthy

Have trouble staying alert in the a.m. hours? Feeling sluggish during the early part of the workday? Did you stay up too late last night because you had trouble falling asleep? If you are not a “morning person,” you’re not alone. But getting it in gear can be challenging when you consistently get insufficient slumber or if you can’t rise and shine efficiently.

When you have to wake up earlier than you prefer and struggle with this early schedule, there are things you can do to feel better, improve your energy levels, and maintain recommended health and wellness. Learn more by reading my latest article for The Daily Herald, found here

January 17, 2024

Cineversary podcast celebrates 60th birthday of Dr. Strangelove

Rodney Hill and Kenneth Turan
In Cineversary podcast episode #66, host Erik Martin heads to the War Room with former LA Times and NPR film critic Kenneth Turan and Hofstra University film professor Rodney Hill to decipher the top secret codes behind Dr. Strangelove, directed by Stanley Kubrick, in celebration of the movie’s 60th anniversary. Erik and his guests explore how this black comedy masterwork remains evergreen, Kubrick’s brilliant directing choices, and key themes underpinning this supreme political satire. Erik also chats briefly with Tom Lucas from Fathom Events, who unveils Fathom’s 2024 lineup of Big Screen Classics returning to theaters this year.

To listen to this episode, click here or click the "play" button on the embedded streaming player below. Or, you can stream, download, or subscribe to Cineversary wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audible, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, PodBean, RadioPublic, and Overcast.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at www.cineversary.com and email show comments or suggestions to cineversarypodcast@gmail.com.

January 9, 2024

A New Year's resolution to ruminate on: Modernize your home's look

“Out with the old, in with the new” is a credo that doesn’t have to exclusively apply to the turn of the year. In fact, it often pays to keep early tabs on trends coming down the pike and proactively implement what the experts forecast, especially when it comes to home improvement. Indeed, paying attention to interior design trends from year to year is a great way to get new inspiration for your home. Trends often emerge from innovative ideas, which can give you a fresh perspective on your abode.

Discover creative ways to update your home's design by reading my latest article for The Daily Herald, available here.

January 3, 2024

Housing market experts offer predictions for the next 3 months

We may be in the thick of winter, but many homebuyers and sellers are starting to have warm thoughts about the housing market. That’s because, looking ahead, market indicators suggest we’ll see increased activity thanks to lower mortgage rates. Yet home prices remain high and inventory levels are tight in many markets.

How will the first quarter of 2024 shake out when it comes to rates, prices, sales activity and more? In my newest story for Bankrate, available here, I asked top real estate experts to identify upcoming trends and offer their predictions.