Friday, October 31, 2008

Steve Jobs, visionary and hard-nosed realist in one

Here is my hero David Pogue in his New York Times 'Circuits' column this week, applauding the new MacBooks but also venting about the dropping of FireWire:

FireWire is how you connect tape camcorders to the Mac. This is the part that kills me.

I'm big into home movies. I've got 100 MiniDV tapes carefully stored--of my children growing up, of my TV appearances, of our trips and memorable moments. The video quality is amazing. And because they're digital, I sleep easy, knowing that I can make fresh copies of those tapes at any time, without any quality loss. For 15 years, I've intended, someday, to edit those tapes down into a series of cherished DVDs. Maybe when the kids get married.

But not if FireWire goes away. If that happens, my tapes will be stranded and uneditable. ... Last week, on the phone, I got a chance to vent my unhappiness to Steve Jobs himself. I told him about my long-held intention to edit down those 100 tapes, maybe when I'm retired.

I must admit, he gave me quite a wakeup call. He pointed out that in 10 years, there won't be any machines left that can play them.

(He also mentioned that, realistically, the only time people really edit their movies is just after they've shot them. And sure enough: I've been intending to edit my tapes for 15 years now; what makes me think I'll have time to do it in the next 15?)

See, this is why Steve Jobs is Steve Jobs and the rest of us aren't. He has a proper understanding of both human nature and the nature of the passage of time.


Anonymous said...

but realistically (or, more accurately, unrealistically) who wants a proper understanding of human nature and the nature of the passage of time. Me, I prefer the illusion that I WILL get around to doing that thing (what was that excellent list you had there a few weeks ago, or was it months, with the prioritised items?). I have so much planned for my long service leave next year, that they better give me one of those redundancy packages right now so I can do Dave's dv tapes as well.
or plan b is to sleep through it

dogpossum said...

I keep thinking about all that data NASA's collected, but which is just eroding away to nothing, unread, irretrievable... outmoded media, how melancholy you are...

Fine said...

Oh dear. I need to disabuse people of this idea that videotape, especially miniDVD is a safe storage medium. The actual videotape perishes over time. This is especially the case with mini DVD because it's really delicate. DVDs are also considered dodgy by film and video conservationists. Put it all on hard drives in various places.

Fine said...

Of course I meant miniDV tapes.