I sit here in the darkness, broken only by the light of my monitor typing away the morning dawn. My fingers huddle around the warm cup of cappuccino i just made myself , to avoid cramping up in the cold. I could turn the heater on but I refuse. Outside the drizzle marches on for the fourth day in a row , Its presence only occasionally broken by an outright downpour or the faintest illusion of a clearing of the clouds. It does sound like an autumn tale .. But its actually mid August. This summer has been a truly weird one. Having frozen our preverbal behinds off in ‘the winter that would not end’ giving us the chance to fire up the boilers until may, the brief glimpse of summer we had was like looking into the exhaust of a launching space-shuttle with temperatures of 36 degrees and more for days and days straight.
Binary Weather system.
And now .. plunk : Rain-season has been bestowed on us ! Incredible but true. Its like we have a binary climate system here. Summer / autumn / summer / autumn etc etc .. Not that I mind the latter weather. I mean , OK , its drowsy and cold .. but one must admit, the drizzle brings the chisel to the geek. What better excuse to spend hours behind the computer then a never ending monsoon season outside. And thats what I have done yesterday all afternoon. With my wife (still sounds weird) having a cold in the midd of summer and feeling poorly, stretched out on the couch underneath a pile of pillows.. I was hammering away on one of the most time consuming varieties of computer use : Video editing. The down part of having 400 pictures, 2 hours of video and 3 hours of audio recorded on your wedding day .. Is the fact that you have to edit it all ! Wanting to make something special for our guests I am going with the ‘video’ approach and am pouring everything into my own ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ epic wedding video-with-more-pictures-then-actual-video. All-tough fascinatingly interesting to do, peaking all of ones creative hairs .. its actually quite amazing if you think of it. With a 1200 euro laptop and the enclosed software one is able to edit pictures, organize them, turn them into movies, arrange the movies, edit the movies, add effects to the movies, add menu’s to the movies, animate the menu’s to the movies, add titles and scores to the movies and utterly come up with a completely ready to play DVD.
99% Crap. Ok , 99 % of what people make is utter crap , (possibly including mine) but the fact is that its incredible that this kind of multimedia editing power is at the fingertips of the average computer user. Add a pinch of talent and one does get a dangerous alternative to the crap thats on TV. In the span of 5 years , from the analogue linear editing consoles to the completely computerized home video studio , a lot of power has been put into the hands of the average joe and I'm utterly fascinated at what people do with it. Where places like Youtube are piled up to the rim with crap, the occasional gem does sparkle in the form of some beautiful contribution to the meld.
We become the media. The conclusion : WE have become the media. And as the power to create is bestowed on us , I hope the big time media conglomerates are finally seeing that : Maybe they should get their act together. As PVR’s and Portable media players free us from the linear consumption of media we are no longer shackled by the bounds of ‘what’s on now’. We have become not only the kings of the realm of ‘anytime anyplace and on any device’ when it comes to consuming media .. We are also the ones that say : If its crap ? We’ll make our own.
Helpdesk Saturday. Being in the IT field I get a lot of phone-calls. I must say, if I don’t “accidently” leave my cell phone at home from time to time .. Saturday afternoons, rainy days, and holidays would turn into some kind of private on line help-desk sessions. It used to be even worse, being awoken on a saturday morning with by a random native of my town who was standing outside my door , computer case in his arms, demanding I fix his computer by the end of the day, and stuff like that. But as I said … its not THAT bad anymore. Some of the people I know have actually evolved from : “Calling Knightwise whenever I fracked something up” to .. “ Calling Knightwise BEFORE I frack something up.” This results in the fact that I get some phone-calls and questions on “advice” rather then “ support “I don’t mind advice calls, sometimes even think they are rather charming. People standing in an IT store, disregarding EVERYTHING the sales person has just tried to sell them, picking up the cellphone and calling ME for objective and trusted advice.
What to buy. Same thing happened last saturday : A phone-call from a niece of mine, on the one big question : What MP3 player should I buy : A creative or an Ipod. Ah … She had come to the right place of course. My house is the virtual Dagobah of portable media device advice and “ The master am I in advice about what to buy ! ” ( or some Yoda-esque quote like that) So after explaining for 20 minutes straight that the Ipod is most surely the better buy. ( I’m not pimping Apple here , I have just been so frustrated with Creative MP3 players that the last time I threw one away I surely must have launched it into orbit) My niece who is a very bright and chipper girl gave me some excellent questions and was well informed about the matter : What’s the best buy in storage-space for your money , What device has the best software, What device has the best hardware quality etc. Gingerly I answered all her questions and pointed out that the Ipod is the best buy. Creative has been struggling to make “ipod killer” after “ipod killer” but they just can”t do it. With software that is more instable then the Tjernobyl nuclear reactor, Devices that look like some five year old just had a run in with a blob of play doh and battery life that mounts up to the attention span of a ADD patient on red bull … its not something you want to by. So I say , scream, argue and imprint the line : Don’t buy a Creative : Buy an Ipod onto her synapses. Short from writing the message on the face of the moon .. I have used up all my recourses in trying to convince her. Satisfied with a job well done .. I hang up .. Flattered by the fact that people trust my advice and follow my directions before they plunge themselves into technological mayhem.
Erm .. I made a booboo. Or so I thought : Because yesterday evening .. I got a call .. From my niece. Prepping up to give her some Ipod pointers, software, websites and advice .. I was a little dumbstruck by her first line ..” Well erm .. I went out to buy an mp3 player .. And I bought a Creative”. My heart skipped a beat and for a little moment in linear time I thought that insanity must have claimed me. I seriously started doubting my communicational skills or the fact I have somehow contracted an alternate personality that had advised the purchase of such a devilish device. As she went on she explained (frustrated) that the Creative just didn”t work right. Importing movies onto it did not function properly and the software that came with it decided it would cease functioning after the first use : Result : The creative does not work. The words “ I TOLD YOU SO “ formed like a big sign in the back of my head. What part of the message : DO NOT BUY A CREATIVE had not been very clear. Did I have to implore reverse psychology ? Did I by some strange interstellar phenomenon appear to be an unreliable source of advice ? I do not know honestly. But I’m a nice guy , did NOT say I told you so , but was unable to offer any advice accept for the fact ‘ Because its CRAP” as to why the Creative MP3 player did not work. Sadly for my niece she has to dive into the manuals of the device and hope and pray it will preform correctly. Oh well.. at least i’m not like NICK BURNS !
Problably a little disturbing video, but I could not let it slide. Do videogames make you violent ? Not per se, at least not in the way you think they would.( Shooting your classmates after playing to much Grand theft auto and that). No i'm talking about the kind of frustratons games give you by the sheer complexity of the game. Going bonkers in Packman, warping out after getting eaten by a crock in pitfall .. Or being on the verge of killing your computer after it freezes up in level 52 of world of warcraft. That kind of frustration. Above is a classic example of the latter .. And I must say .. since the kid is German it only makes it better. Don't get me wrong , I love my German neighbours and I think it is the IDEAL language .. to swear in ! .. enjoy.
This week we do an in depth 'Knightcast Style' review of the 13,3 inch tinkerbell of technology called "The Macbook". Is it all that its cracked up to be ? Is it realy that great or is it all just a fab ? We dive down into the bowels of this Mac laptop and see if it can tune tech into your way of life.