February 3, 2006: The Surfing IT Wiz Pays a Visit

I had to be up this morning so that I could get down to Castile. Dad is monitoring the labs today but there are a few classes help over from earlier in the week so he is going to be teaching as well today. So I am going down to help. We have only been up and running for one whole week now so there are still a lot of glitches in the system. Best if I am there in case anything goes wrong. We have also found that having two people down at the school is really helpful because computer classes really work better when there is someone able to teach and someone available to help students.

I spent most of the day working on miscellaneous projects at the school and testing everything to make sure that it is still working. The printer that was installed on Tuesday appears to be working really well now. That is a huge relief. It is so much better to have a large, centralized printer so that everyone can use it. One less major project that I do not have to worry about now. Of course, now I need to look into getting the other big laser printer, the colour one, installed and onto the network so that we can print colour as well. And there is that nice duplexed deskjet that really should be put to use as well. Boy, there is always something more to be done, isn’t there?

I managed to video tape one of dad’s classes today. It is the first thing of any length that I have recorded with my new videocamera. I was very excited. I was just barely able to get the entire class onto a single video tape. That will give me something to work with later. I have never really worked, at all, with editing video on a computer so I need to get some experience at that. It is unfortunate that current the only computer that I have that can extract the video from the camera is my laptop. I really need to get a firewire (IEEE 1394) card for my desktop. Then I need to get an additional hard drive as well. Boy, I just want everything don’t I?

Dad and I did lunch at Lorraine’s as usual. They are just so cheap and the food is just so good. It is hard to pass up. We wrapped up and managed to leave the school at about 3:00. I had left Oreo at home by himself so I needed to get back to him quickly. Plus I had things that needed to be done before John “The Surfing IT Wizard” Stephens arrived.

I got back to the house and got to work cleaning and installing that computer as quickly as possible. Mary stopped by and dropped of the card that Dominica and I need to be able to get a cheaper hotel stay in Chicago in a few weeks. That is creeping up on us quickly. We need to get everything scheduled for that trip soon. I managed to get the house mostly cleaned before John arrived. It could have been a lot worse, I suppose.

John arrived in Geneseo a little after 5:00. It only took him two hours and forty minutes to get to us from Owego where he had left from. We haven’t seen John up in this neck of the woods for about two years! That is hard to believe. This past year has really just flown by. I have only seen John twice since having moved up here to Geneseo. As you get older you strangely end up seeing people quite seldom and it seems natural. I do talk to John all of the time over the internal company instant messaging so it seems like we see each other more often than we do.

John and I were both pretty hungry when he arrived so we pretty much took off right away to get some grub over at the Omega Grill. John really liked the Omega. It is his kind of place. Back in Ithaca we would always get food at the Dryden Queen Diner which was pretty similar.

After dinner we ran up to Henrietta because John wanted to hit our Best Buy to see what sales they had since our store is larger than the store in Ithaca. We shopped there for almost an hour. Funny enough Andy was in the store shopping in the same section that we were but we didn’t run into each other and didn’t find out that he was there too, until later. Just funny that we were all in the same spot at the same time and didn’t see each other in that store. It isn’t like that store is THAT big. John managed to find additional seasons of Stargate SG-1 that he had been looking for and I picked up some additional Mini-DV tapes for the camcorder and some discounted CDs. The stuff wasn’t very exciting but I got a really good deal on some older classics.

We got back to the house just a little bit before Dominica did. We all hung out for a little while but Dominica has to work early tomorrow so she went to bed. John and I went down to the theatre in the basement and watched the first two episodes of Firefly by Joss Whedon. That is a really awesome show. I really like their fresh take on sci-fi – mixing it up with western themes but explaining why, sort of. Not so much serious sci-fi as much as it is a “futuristic western” but it is still a really good concept. It is really sad that an actually good show had to be cut part way through its first season. They had such a huge following that they even managed to get a full movie made and into theatres. It just goes to show how much the success and failure of a television show is just a product of the network and nothing having to do with the show itself. Television is a lot like pop music – the only people making decisions about what is good and bad is a small group of record company executives in closed rooms. Because the entire distribution system is controlled by such a tiny group of networks it is impossible for shows to be judged on their own merits. Espiecally since shows with less common demographics may need to be placed at a certain time slot in order to be available to its market. This is the very reason why I think that it is so important that the studios creating “television” content wake up and realize that they are only hurting themselves by working through the established network distribution chain and need to turn to the on-demand structure of the Internet to distribute their content. Sure it means an entire rethink to everything that they do but it will work. And all it takes is one or two shows with huge followings of highly intelligent fans like Firefly to start a revolution. Firefly fans will happily go online to download episodes as their come out and they will be happy to pay two dollars per episode to do it. Especially if those episodes are available in high quality, “high definition” MPEG-4 formats. Who needs DVDs? We don’t want physical media. We just want to download and watch in really high quality. I don’t want to have to downgrade what I am watching because the DVD specifications do not allow for really high quality even when it will fit on the disc. What a waste! The time is right. Viva la revolution!

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