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Technology is Great — When it Works
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
Earlier this year, I bought a digital video camera. Due to computer problems (several viruses infected my laptop, which even amazed my computer repair guy, who’s been in the business for seven years) it has taken me forever to get anything done. However, as of this writing, Robert and I have completed a couple of brief sketch comedy videos, and I am making progress on a parody of the video, “Baby Got Back”, starring several robust bottoms of visitors to Headwaters Park during the Three Rivers Festival. And lest you think I’m making fun of fat people, you’d be right, so that’s why my ass makes a cameo appearance, and I’m shown on camera licking a Cheeto. Don’t worry; the link will be on my blog when the video gets done.
I complain about a lot of things, but technology has kind of leveled the playing field when it comes to creativity, and that is a good thing. There are tons of computer programs out there to help you do just about anything—edit your home movies, make videos, YouTube skits, documentaries, fix your photos, combine them for special effects, parody corporate logos, make music and all sorts of other things. Making mix CDs has never been easier—pop a disc into your computer and the entire thing is ripped in a minute or less. It takes the same amount of time to burn it. That same music on your computer can be used to make a music video. Feel like putting video of your daughter’s first steps to the music of “These Boots Were Made For Walkin”? Knock yourself out. You’re really only limited by your imagination.
That being said, there’s the flipside of the democratization of technology: truly crappy videos and music. Why a girl in Tokyo thinks millions of people want to see her latest eye shadow application step by step is beyond me, but who am I to say? There might be several thousand makeup artists out there really interested in that.
I’m sorta new to videos. My family had a gigantic video cassette camera back in the day, and I used it for pretty mundane things. Vacation videos (which I’ve never watched) parodies of other videos, crap that seemed funny at the time. But filming videos and editing them took more time and effort than it does today. When my computer is working right, I can drop in a music soundtrack within a few seconds, and match up each shot to precisely where I want it to appear. For a control freak perfectionist such as myself, this is Heaven. It is also hell, because I can spend several minutes on getting a shot JUST RIGHT. What I’m creating can hardly be considered “art,” but if it gives me a laugh, I figure I’ve done my job.
The biggest advance in technology that has made the most impact on me is, of course, word processing. In college, if I had to revise a paper, it meant retyping it from the point where I made my correction. If I were lucky, I could just get away with retyping just that one page. In other cases, it might have been everything from page here to eternity. Now, if I want to change something right in the middle, it’s a snap.
And yes, I do bore my students with stories that start out, “when I was in college,” and tell them about my adventures in typing all of my college on a Brother portable typewriter, which I still have. I couldn’t possibly get rid of the machine that was instrumental in launching my career (stop laughing). However, I can’t remember ever cussing at it, like I do my Sony Vaio, which I’ve nicknamed the “Sony Vile.” Actually, it’s not really Sony’s fault, it’s Vista that’s the problem, and as soon as I find a way to kill Bill Gates and make it look like an accident, we can all look forward to better computers.