Posted By Lex, on October 11, 2003 at 2:29 PM
Squatting at the edge of the technology fire, looking in, eyes aglow…
So. Got the new ‘puter two weeks ago, coolest one I could reasonably afford (ed: who’s reason? – Hush). Now what to do with it? Got a good deal on Final Cut Express, which the helpful salesman at CompUSA informed me was a much more powerful tool than the installed iMovie.
Powerful. It’s funny how that word means different things in different contexts. Most folks wants a more powerful engine in their car, probably, and no one has ever flown a fighter that was powerful enough. In the context of technology, it seems to me that it can have two meanings: from a hardware perspective “powerful” is taken to mean, “won’t crash a lot when I’ve got a bunch of windows open or am goofing with Photoshop.” But software?
There’s the rub: In the context of user apps, “powerful” tends to imply, “difficult to master.” Raise your hands if you’ve got MS Office installed on your ‘puters at home or work… hold on, I’m still counting… ok – put your hands back down. (the idea that untold thousands of people just raised their hands gives me a perverse sense of real power – of course you’ve got MS Office, it’s pretty much the standard, no? On the other hand, the indisputable fact that no one out there actually raised their hands, because they know I couldn’t see them [ except for that guy who keeps leaving his webcam on] could cause me to call into doubt fundamental elements of my sanity.
Anyway, my point (and I believe I had one), was that MS Word, for example, is an exceptionally powerful tool. Like the human brain however, most of us use only a very small portion of the inherent capacity. Why? Because we can send letters to our congressmen without having to muck about in a bunch of control-alt-shift-F codes. Who could remember?
So anyway, I break the seal on the cool new app, and out tumbles a sheet of laminated shortcut labels, suitable for placing on the keyboard of the Mighty Mac. Also, a tutorial DVD. Eh.
Last time I saw keyboard labels was about, sheesh, 12 years ago, back before WYSIWYG meant anything to those benighted heathens trapped under the grinding boot of Bill Gate’s illegitimate and dictatorial C-prompt regime. Wordstar had been the word processing app of the moment for the US Navy. When we shifted over to the Office suite, many poor yeomen had to be dragged kicking and screaming from their 5 1/4 ” floppy disks. Their specialized skills were threatened with buggy-whip manufacturer-like obsolescence – now they would have to learn a bunch of new keyboard prompts. Me, I smugly did my correspondence on my cool-as-a-dry-martini-in-Las-Vegas Mac Classic, font managing to my hearts content.
(If anyone out there ever reads this and feels compelled to defend the WINTEL regime, either down through history or in the moment, please, PLEASE let it go… I am a southerner by birth – defending lost causes is a part of my birthright. And I won’t listen anyway.)
I watched the DVD. Twice. Hooked up the digital video cam, poked around a bit and decided I would tackle re-editing the Kat’s horseback riding competition some other weekend. It’s fully charged now, sitting by the ‘puter quietly, biding its time, waiting for its turn. It’ll have to wait a little longer.
It was what, four days ago? I downloaded IBlog, and have been having fun with it ever since. I was instantly aware that it combined the best kind of power – easy to use “out of the box” and hiding sleek muscles beneath that friendly exterior. I’ve been around the blogger block, I’ve seen the cool things actual Users can do. So I wanted a taste for myself, just a bite – a counter would be cool, and the friendly folks at Site Meter and iBloggers.net were there to hold my hand – it was pretty easy. Comments are pretty cool too, assuming that 1) anyone ever visits your site, 2) actually reads what you’ve got to say, and 3) feels like entertaining themselves by posting a response. That proved a bit harder, but consumed no more than about four or five hours of my time (ed. that he’ll never get back) thanks to the helpful folks at HaloScan and more mentoring with the aforementioned iBloggers. It also required mucking about in Java, something that I have always been loathe to do. I was always aware that Java was out there, and sort of like Chinese Algebra, knew it was important to some people, but didn’t ever think it would be me. It wasn’t too bad, but couldn’t really be called fun.
The last thing on the blogger plate (week one) was to have been a blog roll – sadly, the kind folks over at the blog rolling store are in the process of moving servers, so I guess letting either of my readers see what sort of fever swamps I troll around in will have to wait until next weekend.
Bet you can’t wait!