Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Kicking and Screaming toward Competency

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tantrum

For those of you who read my last post, you’ll understand when I say I’m using my dishwasher to tell this story. Here’s what happened when I decided I wanted to take video that I had shot and put it on YouTube.

I realized that my favorite version of Windows Movie Maker was on a dead PC. So I went looking for an open source video editor. First I went to a favorite website of mine, Kim Komando. While I was there, I got distracted by a video call she received in 2010 where she bought a laptop and plane tickets for a caller who was trying to get to Palestine to do humanitarian work. It was really nice, but I digress.

I then went to SourceForge, looked at and downloaded three different video editing software packages. One was script based and I know nothing about that. And two were simple editors without the option of layering tracks or adding audio. They were basically slideshow creators.  So then I went looking for the latest version of Windows Movie Maker even though the Internet was full of people furious that Windows had essentially neutered the XP version.

Apparently, the newest version that Windows created for Windows 7 is so stripped-down that everybody hated it. I downloaded it and tried to use it the way I had used the old version and my experience was somewhere between a joke and an insult. But I found that someone had posted a link that had the old version that was compatible with Windows 7 somehow.  I dunno.  Anyway, I downloaded that version after I deleted the new bad version.

Then, discovered that the video I had shot was in the MP4 format, which this version of Movie Maker couldn’t import. So now I was on the hunt for a video conversion program. On my dead PC was something called Any Video Converter. I remember it being both free and flexible.  So I went looking for the new version because I assumed there was one, and lo’,  there was. It was preset to convert any imported video to play on the iPhone. So I had to putz around with it until I found the .wmv format for Windows. But I found it, converted the video and now am editing with the old new moviemaker. Piece of cake, right?

For people who do this kind of work while they’re playing three-dimensional chess and writing code in Pearl, I’m sure this is nothing.  But for common folks who are pissed that Windows 95 is gone, and that no cars come with points and a distributor cap anymore, this kind of self detective and self tech-support work is the minimum of what you need to know do anything on the Internet it seems.  It’s sort of the equivalent of knowing how to change your own oil, lest you end up at some oil change place, paying hundreds of dollars for stuff you don’t know you don’t need. It’s grunt work, like unclogging the toilet or cleaning the lint screen on the dryer.  It’s not very technical, but it can be tedious and if you don’t do it, you’re asking for trouble down the line.  I once knew a lady whose brother didn’t know he had to clean his lint screen and the dryer eventually set his house on fire.

You’re forced to stumble around as you learn this constantly changing stuff.  No wonder the Amish fight to hold onto to simplicity.

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Written by Interviewer

April 17, 2013 at 08:06

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