Today’s computing update is more about Tobae and less about me. Other than without son and technogeek Mark at home, I am now her technogeek.
Tobae is an avid backcountry skier and for many years part of the team that teaches the Everett Chapter of the Mountaineers’s avalanche awareness course. And to keep doing that she needs to take an instructors course from AIARE which she will be doing Wednesday through Friday this week. And she has assignments, the difficult one being to deliver a five minute lesson using “instructor mediated video clips” with the thought these would be imbedded in PowerPoint and run on “somebody else’s computer”. I’d never plan on doing such a thing myself! PC vs Mac and different software versions, what are they thinking? (Tobae “reassures” me that these are ski guides, not technogeeks, but she is the one doing this, not me…)
So instead of skiing today we spent the day in (okay there were many football games on so that was okay, more on this later). She studied the huge decks of PowerPoint slides in the instructor resources trying to find some slides to illustrate her topic, the “wind slab” avalanche type, and finding appropriate video. And around 2 p.m. I help her piece together five slides and an imbedded video in OpenOffice Impress. For we have never had Microsoft Office on her computer, for her entire use of such functionality is that she keeps a spreadsheet of vertical climb (several 100k feet last year). Then we saved the presentation on a flash drive in old style PowerPoint (ppt) along with the media file and I tried to look at it on my computer. Mac PowerPoint 2008 would not read it. LibreOffice would (I’ve abandoned OpenOffice as have many), but couldn’t save it in a form yet PowerPoint compatible. Keynote read it and let me save it such that Mac PowerPoint 2008 would read it. Of course it didn’t behave the same as her slide show, but the video did work. (That this would be difficult I already knew, see above). But is was workable and I saved it in many forms (some of which didn’t work at all back on her computer, also see above). And I took advantage of the Microsoft at Home program afforded by the UW contract to buy Microsoft Office for the Mac 2011 on the cheap and install it on one of our personal computers, hers. So she has it in the most modern format possible which actually imbeds the video right in the file. But of course who knows what she will have in the conference room at Stevens Pass!
There is a simple rule here. Never ever use any advanced feature of any presentation program and expect portability. Ever!
Now to football. Today was the “January 1 is Sunday” version of New Year Day. TSN (Canadian cable channel “The Sports Network”) shows some content from ESPN. We enjoyed the Georgia-Michigan State game. Tobae is from Georgia, enough said. But did the Rose Bowl follow? No. Or the Fiesta Bowl? No. I was reduced to our desperation system. Finally finding my notes on how to create a proxy through Mark’s hacked router in Menlo Park, using the Firefox “Advanced > Network” to connect to it, and using the ESPN privilege of his cable provider we were able to watch both games. Tobae had a year of trail-breaking with her friend Tim riding on Oregon-Wisconsin. Sorry Badgers and sorry Tim, I was pulling for you. I had to go with Stanford to honor Mark’s girl friend Christie, but I’m sure Miles Logsdon is quite happy with the outcome and that will have to do. Why neither of these Pac 12 teams could put up points like the Huskies remains a mystery!
So how does this all connect with Eat Your Peas? I believe I have come on the solution to the lack of a functional US Congress! While Canada may not have ESPN, they have mastered the art of votes of no confidence and rapid fire elections. Thus the simplest solution to my need for ESPN while in Whistler and my desire for a functional Congress is to have Canada invade and annex the US. No longer would Rick Perry have to worry about his gaffes about Canadian oil being domestic, no more “rights” and “sovereign content” issues around material on Canadian cable, and no need to wait more than 90 days to replace Congress when it doesn’t do it job.