sdgi222's blog

The End of the Semester, and My First Year

Well, very soon winter break will be upon us, and with it comes the anniversary of A&S hiring me.

When I first started here a year ago, almost everything was new.  I'd made and edited videos before, but nothing like what I had to do when I started working.  It was like going from swimming in the kiddie pool to be dropped somewhere in the Pacific and having to swim just as well.  I had to ask around for help with nearly all my early projects.  It's amazing that the senior employees didn't get sick of me and chuck me out the window after a point.

My early videos were...less than stellar, to say the least.  Small errors that completely escaped me, but were obvious to anyone else who'd been working here longer than me.  Many edits were involved, if editing could salvage the wrecks I'd made.  It was panic-inducing to not be sure that my work was on par with what we expected to produce, as far as quality and timeliness goes.  Many nights, I went to sleep believing that I was completely in over my head.

End of Summer Round-Up

Well folks, it’s the end of the summer semester here at UK, and fall term starts but a few days from now.  That means that this week’s blog is going to focus on wrapping up my thoughts and experiences on my first summer as a Media Mafia worker.

I guess I could sum up the summer by saying working here was…interesting, I guess.  There were days wherein I had very little to do, and days wherein I was absolutely swamped.  There were videos to shoot, people to interview, movies to digitize, furniture to move, sandwiches to eat, and programs to learn.  Higher powers, were there programs to learn.

This summer, we were lucky enough to acquire a nifty little application known as After Effects.  It’s fun to play with, but until you can get the basics down, it makes you feel like a complete moron for daring to try and operate a system that is so clearly out of your league in every way, shape, and form.  It took many a frustrating Youtube search and much trial and error, but I finally got to the point where I could make a decent enough video on it without feeling like I was an absolute failure.  I’m not a master of the program by any means, but I’m not so far in the novice range as I once was.

Take a Chill Pill: It's Not the End of the World

It seems like everywhere I look, I see people declaring that the world is getting worse and worse by the second.  Death and famine across the globe, greedy men exploiting the poor, and other such travesties.  Why, just look at this quote I found about today’s young people:

"Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers."

Now, who do you think said that?  The president?  The pope? Some big wig with an over-inflated sense of self-worth who runs a national organization?  Actually, that quotation is attributed to Socrates in the fourth century B.C. Funny how one might assume it’s about our modern kids.

Nickel and Diming: or, "Really People? Really?"

I detest people that nickel and dime others.  Really, it’s a disgusting practice and I imagine after a certain point no amount of soap and water can wash of the shame a retailer feels for doing this to their poor customers.  The rage for this week is focused mainly on EA games.

 

Now if any of you watched E3 this year (doubtful, I realize) you’ll know that they are releasing a Stars Wars: The Old Republic MMORPG later this year.  This issue is that the digital version of the game is selling exclusively on Origin, EA’s site.  Now the game’s preorder price is set to be 40 pounds (the British money, not the weight), but they’re charging 5 pounds for buying it digitally instead of through a retailer, and then another 5 on top of that for being allowed the privilege of pre-ordering.  That’s 50 pounds, or for those of you bad at currency exchange, $85.  This for a game that they’ve said practically mum on, when on average you’d pay $50-60 for a new game in the U.S. and 30 pounds in Britain.

 

Quick Reminders

For this week’s blog, I’m doing a bit of self-advertising to talk about a video series I’ve started called Quick Reminders.  The videos focus on the adventures of two stick people, New Cheerful Employee and Disgruntled Senior Employee, as they explore the dos and don’ts of office life in POT. It’s rather enjoyable, but it’s taught me a few things in the short time I’ve been working on them.

First, animating videos takes a long, long time.  The first video I did was only about three minutes long, but it took a good six hours to put together, even with computers doing most of the work.  I can’t even fathom how long it would take for a professional animator to put together a half-hour or hour-long cartoon, since they’d have to put far more effort into the artwork than I do.  Next time you watch a cartoon, take a moment to thank the animators for throwing countless hours of their life into making a project designed solely for your amusement (particularly those cartoons done before the advent of computers, when everything had to be hand-drawn).

Gaming Platforms

            Earlier this week, some people heard me declaring my intense dislike towards the evil known as Thomas Edison and asked me to do my blog on why I consider him to be a mustache-twirling arch villain.  As much as I’d love to rant about why he’s a lying thief, that will have to wait until next time, because I’d much rather rant about people ranting about something near and dear to my heart; video games.

            Before we get into this, I want to say that I’m stuck in the awkward age where I’m too young to have grown up with the 8-bit games that made the industry what it is today, but am too old to have played my first Pokemon game on a Nintendo 3DS.  My nostalgia period is 2001-2007 on the PS1 and PS2, with a few outliers like Spyro, Final Fantasy VII and Gameboy Color games. Now that you have the appropriate background, here’s the reason for my blog.

Thank you, Internet, for remembering

Before I begin this blog entry, I have a confession to make.  I spend entirely too much time on the Internet.  I don’t really have a good excuse for it (although if you gave me about ten seconds I could probably think up a decent or mediocre reason), it just happens.  Even as I type this entry I have four tabs open on Firefox and I’m checking them like a conspiracy theorist checks his tinfoil hat; that is to say, frequently and with much paranoia that something has happened and I’m not aware of it.

On a certain level, I hate the Internet for this.  I spent four hours outside at a nice picnic today, eating sun-warmed food and breathing air that was neither cooled by an air-conditioning unit nor stank of food left by coworkers in the office fridge, yet as soon as the picnic was over I had to hurry back to my desk and open those four tabs to make sure all was still well and good.  Yet as much as I loathe this wretched creation of man for intertwining itself so closely in my life and workplace that I can never hope to escape its foul clutches for more than a few hours at a time, I realize that deep down I truly love the Internet, for the simple reason that it remembers what I would otherwise forget.

What the PSN breech means for you

As some of you may or may not be aware, the PlayStation Network was hacked several weeks ago, resulting in 77 million users having their names, usernames, passwords, and addresses stolen, among other things.

Look at that number: 77 million.  That’s a greater population than most countries in the world.  How in heaven’s name did a group of hackers manage to gather all that data?  It turns out that Sony thought it would be a good idea to store all their users’ personal information as plain text.  Plain text is infamous for being vulnerable and insecure; sort of like a child using their hands to cover up something they don’t want the teacher to see, only for her to brush them out of the way moments later.  They did have the decency to encrypt credit card data, but this gaping hole in users’ security has done massive amounts of damage to Sony’s PR (for example, Japan still won’t let the network come back online in their country).

So, how does this relate to those of you lucky enough to escape this fiasco?  Stop for a moment, and think about these questions.

1. How many websites do I frequent and use the same password?

2. How many websites have some form of personal info?

3. Which websites log me in with my Facebook/Myspace info instead of a unique username and password?

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