AVID VERSUS DIVA – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Avid and Diva

First, there was Diva. It was a “big format” video editing tool meant for use in television studios or advertising agencies. I didn’t work there, though I did go for one of those insane interviews where you have to meet everyone in the company from the guy who runs it, to the overnight backup guy.

I was impressed by the product and spent 20 hours interviewing with them. They obviously hired someone else and didn’t so much as send me a postcard to tell me they’d weren’t interested.

I never understood that. It happened a lot of times over the years. They keep you coming for interviews and you figure — after the better part of a week of interviewing everyone — that while you might not get the job, the least they could do was let you know they’d decided on someone else.

But they didn’t and as the years went on, this became common practice. Whatever happened to simply being polite?

Then, I was interviewed by Avid who was producing a nearly identical product. Diva did much better than Avid in the professional market in the beginning, but eventually Avid sold better, even though the products were nearly identical.

Today, both of them are “box” software, though Avid is also available as a subscription, like Adobe. Their “Pro Version” costs $999 if you want to buy it outright, which is a lot less than it used to cost.

Diva went another way and is available free as an open source product for the Gnome operating system.

Avid is a “paid” product sold largely to private users who want to make videos for the internet.

I have no idea who creates the software currently used by television studios, but from my encounters with that software (AVID — admittedly quite a few years ago), it sucked.

If you understand the concept of “look alike, feel alike,” it means that modules in a software “package” feel and look similar. That means a user can slide effortlessly from module to module with minimal training. The people who built that ridiculously expensive software apparently never heard of it.

They needed to hire real developers to produce software that made sense for people who just wanted to get a job done — without memorizing seven separate formats unrelated to each other. As it is, they had software using many modules. Each module was completely different from every other one. Their only connection was the main menu and the only function of that menu was to allow access to a particular area of the software. Which was limited by your job.

Thus a reporter could write scripts, edit film and post-editing (a separate function — I suppose you had to be an official editor to edit a written script), after it was sent back as “approved,” link the script with the digitally edited “news” and forward it to whatever slot to which it was assigned. To say this was confusing doesn’t begin to explain it.

I understood it because that’s what I did for a living. I figured out what the software — any software — did, then explained it (in a book) to people who had to use it. In this case, I had to figure out the software that Channel 7 was using, then teach Garry to use it. In one weekend.

If he didn’t get it, he’d lose his job the new old-fashioned way: inability to understand the computer.

My car had been hit by a truck that Friday and it was (I think) the fourth of July weekend, so we had three days. I told him I’d do it, but he had to never object to the tone of my voice and he had to do exactly what I told him to do no matter how many times I told him to do it. Repetition is the key to using most software and he had to keep doing it until he didn’t need to think about it.

First I asked him what he did. He told me. I looked at the main menu, doped out which parts of the product did the things he needed to do and by the end of those three days, he knew it. Of course, by now he has completely forgotten it — as have I. This is stuff you use or lose. I have dumped more technical data from my head than most people ever learn. At this point, my head is surprisingly empty. I barely remember what I used to do.

I was particularly good at learning very complicated material for a very short time, them emptying my brain and learning something completely different — for a very brief interval. That’s how people like me functioned in those days of tech. Everything was new and everything was a first. You didn’t really need experience, just a knack for computers and an exceptionally good short-term memory. Oh, and the ability to write and teach. Basically, I was teaching — just via a book, not usually in person.

Garry was my singular exception to teaching a real live person how to do something. I wasn’t bad in the classroom for the couple of years I taught, but I didn’t really like it. I like writing better than talking. And yet, I made more friends in the classroom than I made in all my years of office work. Hmm. I never thought about that before. I’ll have to do some pondering.

This is “Nerd History.”

You had no reason to learn it, have gained nothing by learning it, and I’m sure you wonder why I bothered to write about it.

Diva “product”

It’s the words. Avid to me is that “other” video editing company. Diva came first and Avid flipped the name around. Voila!

Diva always felt they should sue Avid for stealing their name — backward. But you couldn’t prove who came first and I don’t think they ever settled it, in or out of court. Eventually, it didn’t matter because other players entered the game and both companies stopped being especially important.

I’m sure this goes to show you that getting an early start in the tech field doesn’t mean you’ll still be a player a few years later. Almost all these early companies that I knew when they were effectively just getting started have gone bankrupt or just faded into the woodwork.

What was interesting for me was watching them come, get really big, become very important, then vanish as if they’d never existed. It’s a reminder that “big” in this world is temporary. Just because you used to be someone doesn’t mean you will be someone next year.

Just a little thought to keep in mind as you “bigly” your way through life.

NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP – Rich Paschall

Gotta Make You Understand, Rich Paschall

Never gonna give you up 
Never gonna let you down 
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

We’re no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of
You wouldn’t get this from any other guy

The 80s dance sensation was the first single released from Rick Astley’s 1987 début album. It rose to number 1 in 25 countries and was, by all measures available, a worldwide hit. It was played so often for so long that people started to get sick of it. This sometimes happens with a mega-hit.

Never gonna give you up

The pounding beat was actually mesmerizing.  The lyric was catchy, as they say. The dancing in Astley’s video was just fun.

The dance video premiered when MTV was still big into playing music videos and this one caught almost everyone’s attention.  With his good looks and deep voice, Astley became a star.  He was categorized not just as a pop singer, but also labeled “blue-eyed soul.”  Many singers with this label were not actually “soul” singers, but have been dubbed so due to their vocal quality.

One of the top cover songs of 2018 is said to be that of Never Gonna Give You Up by Bronze Avery (Gabriel Brown).  The pop singer has slowed down the song and removed the driving beat. The vocal is now a sensuous and soulful take on the original.  It certainly will never achieve the overwhelming success of Astley’s hit, but it can stand on its own merits.

In case you wonder if Astley still has fans, his official music video was posted on his channel in 2009 and now has over a half billion views there.  The lyrics are still well-known, as the ever-young Astley proves when these festival fans sing along at a more recent appearance.

Source: “The Best Cover Songs of 2018,” covermesongs.com, December 17, 2018

YOU ARE MY HEART – Marilyn Armstrong

Autumn, 1987. Boston, Massachusetts

Time for a little memory and a bit of nostalgia.

I was recently back from Israel. I’d been gone almost a decade. Much had changed. My friends had half-grown children who I’d never met. They had married, divorced, changed jobs, moved to different cities. The tribe had dispersed.

72-Marilyn & Garry in studio July 11

Garry was in Boston, working for Channel 7, as he had been when I’d left, but we were different. We each had survived wrenching relationships and awful professional periods. Though we’d known each other since college, we weren’t the kids we’d been. Life had beaten us up.

We were in love, not for the first time, but for the last time.

We looked at each other differently. Rod Stewart was on the radio. As I drove around — in the first new car I’d ever owned without a co-signing husband — this was the song.

I sang along. That was how I felt.  This time was our time.

MORE BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

So even though I didn’t shoot any more pictures today, I shot so many yesterday I’m not running out anytime soon.

Chickadee

We are actually expecting our first serious snowstorm next weekend. Pretty much the right time of year, too.

A pair of yellow Warblers

Although we have had years when we had serious snow on the ground from before Thanksgiving, many years our first heavy snow is the end of January and beginning of February.

Junco enjoying table feeding. Juncos like feeding on flat surfaces. Mourning Doves, too.
A stone toad, a hungry Junco, and deck rail that badly needs a paint job

March is also a heavy snow month and we don’t really get much of a whiff of spring until May and even then, spring usually lasts an afternoon. The next day, it’s summer.

Flapping Warbler, contemplative Warbler, and a Junco
Hard to miss those markings

That wasn’t true last year, though. It stayed winter until it was absolutely summer. The spring flowers all bloomed in July.

When the big bird eats, the other birds wait. Not far away, mind you … but they wait.
Woodpecker

Despite the absence of snow so far, winter isn’t too far off the rails. Yet. I guess we’ll know soon enough.