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STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND
19 December 2005
Man, oh man, just try to break into a new field of computer technology. Talk about being instantly lost. I sometimes feel like I've been set down in the middle of downtown Hong Kong and told to find my way home all by myself, with no familiar faces and no knowledge of either the written or spoken language.
Don't try to break into "video blogging" in your golden years!
I have learned so much in the past six months. I have posted (believe it or not) more than 100 videos. I have slowly begun to learn the lingo, speaking in the equivalent of toddler-babble. I know about "compression," I kinda sorta understand what RSS feed is, though don't ask me to explain it to you.
"Aggregator" is in my vocabulary, though I'm not 100% sure I have its definitely right. I know enough about "aggregators" to say that I've tried FireAnt and prefer Google's reader to it. (Doesn't that sound like I know what I'm talking about?)
But there ain't no way that I feel part of this community, which is mostly peopled by young people, but which, I am pleased to realize, contains a few people with grey in their hair as well. There is even 80+ year old Millie Garforth, who has a video blog, but her son does it for her, so I don't think that counts. But Randolfe Wicker has a few summers under his belt and makes some interesting videos. He has greater chutzpah than I (and better equipment).
I joined a Yahoo videoblogging group and to continue the metaphor, that feels like being thrown into the ocean with only some water wings to keep your body afloat.
I have never belonged to a Yahoo group that is so amazingly prolific. My mail easily tripled when I began receiving messages from the videoblogging group.
I have toyed with quitting. I don't own even an iPod Shuffle, much less a Nano, much less the new iPod with video capability. So all the talk about iPod technology (and there was tons right after the new video iPod came out) goes way over my head, though I did learn from someone who used to watch my videos (but who doesn't any more, I don't think) that my videos could not be downloaded into an iPod. That's when I learned about 3ivx compression. Don't ask me what it is, but I press a button and it makes my videos take up less space, start right away, and people can download them to their iPods. Perhaps my viewership increased from 3 to 4 when I did that. Woohoo!
(Hey--it kind of feels like I know what I'm talking about here!).
But if I don't understand all the conversation about dealing with the iPod, I am totally over my head in discussion of ffmpegx or a Word Press plug-in for FLV support or multiple file formats in MT feeds.
Since I started writing this piece, I've picked up e-mail several times. Each time there were no less than 10 messages and sometimes many more (plus the usual spam) and each of them was from the videoblogging group. None of them was a topic that I am interested in following (Even "Porn and possible solutions" wasn't very interesting!)
Often, as I may have mentioned here before, I feel more like a thorn in everyone's side than an actual member of the group, since 99% of my messages go unnoticed. The only ones which seem to get any response at all are the ones where I say that I feel more like a thorn in everyone's side than an actual member, then one person will write and tell me that it's really not that bad and they're really happy to have me there and really happy to help me, and then I fade into obscurity again.
I did have one moment of notoriety, though, when someone decided I was the most prolific vlogger. That's me. Quantity, not quality!
So why do I stick around with this group of kids, most of whom are younger than David would have been and who speak a language that I know to be English, but not an English that I can easily understand?
Because once in awhile, I do understand. And I do pick up some information and learn from it. And isn't that what life is about--learning?
The other thing that I have to admit is really neat is that the media is suddenly discovering video blogging. Newspaper and magazine articles, radio spots, and TV coverage are popping up all over the place in mainstream media. The neat thing is that all the people they interview as the pioneers in this new medium are people I've been following for quite some time and "knew" before they were anybody. Kind of fun, at my age, to be in on the ground floor of a brand new technology, even if I'm only on the outer fringes.
I will never continually upgrade to the newest, biggest, best, most technologically advanced thing, but I have found quite a few of nice sites where there is free stuff for someone at my level to learn and enjoy.
I've learned the basics of a couple of different pieces of editing software and that really feels good, to know what I'm doing.
My movies are looking a bit better, at least to me. I realize that the stopping point for "quality" lies in my head (my imagination and my courage) as much as in my technological expertise and equipment, but still I think more and more about what I'm doing and how I want it to look whether I actually achieve that goal or not.
It sometimes frustrates me to realize how very, very small my viewing audience is and how many of the people closest to me, for whom I really make these things, don't have the proper equipment to see them.
But when you come down to it, I do it for me. Maybe someday someone will really care--and if not, no big loss.
From all I know of Alzheimers, it seems that the best thing you can do to delay the condition taking over your life is to keep your brain active, and by continuing to hang around with the videobloggers, to try to understand their language, decipher their "code," and to keep learning the stuff that I am capable of learning, I am at least keeping my brain active!
Calling all Grinches...if you have no objection to 4-letter words
starting with "F," you might enjoy this site.
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