An Idea For Avid, From Google

I just purchased a Nexus S this weekend.  Buying it was an interesting process, because Google only sells it through Best Buy and their UK branch, Carphone Warehouse.  Best Buy had only a couple people around to sell phones, which meant standing around waiting for service for a half hour, then sitting there with the paperwork (I was renewing my contract with T-mobile as well) for a half hour because the computers there were so slow.  The phone itself is brilliant.  I handled one in the store and I was thoroughly impressed.  What a machine.  A curved touchscreen.  NFC chip.  4G (well, pretend 4G like everyone else in the US).

One item that really impressed me though was the Google voice recognition technology.  I’d like to see this used in video editing.  Why can’t a computer do a little transcribing while it captures?  Even it if isn’t perfect, having a basic script linked to timecode would be a huge time saver.

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Hard Driving Hard Drives

The caveman in me loves good hardware.  From the time that the monolith inspired that monkey to beat his cousin to death with a thigh bone, man has striven to kill man with the best toys.  As our technology improved, the nuances of our technology became more important.

In my life, one of the big things to keep an eye on is my hard drives.  I have a lot of them.  My Z800 has four internals, then I have four externals in a RAID, then I have my editing laptop with its internal and two externals, then there’s my PC and I’m building an external for it so I can back it up as well.

Complicated.  One thing to keep in mind though is this interesting fact: I don’t buy external hard drives anymore and in fact none of the externals I named are actually external hard drives.  The problem with externals is they each have a bus that will simply quit on you one day, long before the actual drive dies.  So what do I do?  I buy internal SATA hard drives http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=14&name=Internal-Hard-Drives and plug them into external enclosures http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=92&name=External-Enclosures which if they burn out, I can open, remove the hard drive, and swap out.

My old laptop died recently.  Sad, I know, so I took the hard drive from it (the laptop died when the power supply burned out) and planted it in an enclosure and by using some clever software http://www.laplink.com swapped over all my old programs and data onto my new laptop.  Now that the new one is up and running, I plan on putting the old one in an enclosure and using it as a backup drive to my new computer.

Doing this is cheaper (internal drives are often much cheaper and better made than externals, and external enclosures only cost about $20) and provides more flexibility.  For example, I have a friend who has 2TB of data I want to copy from him.  I can get a 2TB drive http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148506 put it in an external box http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817173043 take it to his house, load it up, then bring it home and put it into my workstation.  Best way to go.

Anyway, why bring this up now?  Well, one of the drives in my RAID has a faulty fan.  So I’m buying a $20 box to replace the one it’s in because the fan is hopelessly broken.  Problem solved.  Were this an external only drive, it would cost five times that.

My Adobe Instruction Adventure

The situation has changed.  Over the last ten years, being proficient in Adobe software has become more and more important, even for an Avid editor like me.  I’ve been using Photoshop and similar software for decades, going back to the days when Corel was on twenty-five three and a half inch discs, but I’ve never been given any formal instruction.  Anyway, I took the plunge, got my hands on Adobe CS5 Master Suite, most of which I have no idea what it’s for, and got a six month subscription to Total Training, a website that will teach you anything under the Adobe sun.  I decided, despite the fact that the real reason I’m doing all of this is because of After Effects, what the hell, I’ll start with the Photoshop tutorial, despite knowing everything.

Boy was I wrong.  I don’t know everything.  I mean, I know enough for what I do, but I’m by no means a “power user” a term that to me sounds like some cross between drug terminology and some kind of S&M game, but according to Total Training, is what people who have spent the best years of their lives learning Photoshop call themselves.  I suppose this is to reconcile themselves to years of sitting alone in the night, drilling hot keys into their heads instead of going out with girls, or boys as the case may be.  Personally, I spent those years mostly drawing, watching the same movies over and over again until I thought I “really got them” and doing magic.  Apparently I didn’t do the right thing because honestly, I don’t know if my six month subscription is enough time to actually learn every piece of software made by Adobe, which is what I now own.  Apparently, buying everything they make is actually cheaper than the route I was bound to go originally, buying After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator, so I went for it, thinking I’d build myself a website down the line, since I’ll have all the tools.

Really?  Am I Tim Allen now?  Do I buy tools just so someday, maybe I’ll get around to a.) learning how they work and b.) using them?  I expect I’ll have mastered the software I got the package for in a few months, and I’ll be animating in my editing work and retouching old photos (as I recently did for my mom, who produced a photo of my grandma at 18 years old) but will I finally build my stupid website already?  Well, maybe.  If not, I guess I can always renew my subscription to Total Training and keep on studying, as long as my money is green.