Sunday, February 03, 2013

Life - Internet Connection

Whenever I think of the Internet being down I think of one of the funniest clips I've ever seen. A colleague sent it to me in my IT days saying that, minus the Halo gaming, it reminded them of what they saw me doing at work.

Scroll to the bottom here and click on the video for Episode #1, "Sales Guy vs Web Dude". May not be totally safe for work (sound and visuals) and this is funny only if you're a geek or work in IT support of some kind. Or, as my colleague said, you work with someone who does IT support of some kind.

Anyway that's a minor segway because I was thinking about our internet connection.

In the last few weeks I managed to work around my iMovie issues where I simply could not import clips into iMovie. Ends up the newer version of iMovie doesn't work right so I'm using an older version.

This means I can finally work on clips again. I've been busy importing movies just before I go to bed (it takes 4-8+ hours), editing, then publishing when I have time (it takes about 1-2 hours to make an iMovie project into a .mov file), and then re-editing and re-publishing them as I find errors or weirdness.

A common error I get is the text I put in a text box disappears and it reverts to the default text and font. This happened twice in the clips described below in the credits, a real pain because I have to redo the whole cast, music list, and the various notes and shout outs. It happens less often with the smaller text boxes within the clip although I found a few so far where  the font changed back to the default.

To avoid errors I've been restarting the machine as soon as I notice the text boxes lagging or any other performance drops in iMovie. By then the app is taking 2 GB or more of memory and seriously faltering. Restarting iMovie usually works but sometimes other apps grow in size also, taking up the limited 4 GB of memory on the machine. At that point restarting the machine is the best option.

Finally, when I'm satisfied with the clip, I upload it. That takes 5-8 hours on our slow-ish connection, depending on a bunch of factors. The clips are generally over 1 GB in size so quite substantial for an upload.

I started a number of clips and realized that for one reason or another I didn't want to produce the clip, at least at this time. This took up about 8-10 clips worth of effort. I guess the good part is that I've imported the raw footage. The bad thing is that this took many nights and delayed the work on the other clips.

I did get one clip out so far, one from @TuesdayTheRent, because it was a mainly neutral clip. It has some tips in it and a fun finish. That one went together quickly, only two iterations and I put it up.

Next up in the queue I have a clip of the 2012 White Plains Criterium, a sort-of new race. It existed twice before, a long time ago, but disappeared until a new and enthusiastic racer made the race happen once again. It's a great course, a rare middle-of-downtown thing, very exciting to race, and I think it'll be a big race in the future. My clip offers some tips and observations and initially I hesitated in putting the clip up. After some feedback I decided that it should go up - I offer constructive criticism and I hope that this helps everyone who races. I've already made three iterations of the clip and I think after the 4th it'll be ready to go.

After that I'll be uploading a race at Ninigret Park in Charlestown, RI. I uploaded one clip from there in 2010 but I ran out of memory in the ContourHD because I didn't clear out previous clips. This meant I only captured 15 minutes of the race. Well, this clip is the 2012 M40+ New England Crit Championships. It's the best race I did last year in terms of the field's skill, experience, and tactical astuteness. I left the race raving about the skill level of the field in general. This clip also has some good stuff in it. I've done two iterations of this clip and need to make a few corrections before I upload it.

The third race that should be going up is the first year 2012 CCNS Kermis race. A fantastic course, one of the most fun courses I've done in a while, with a lot of tactical thoughts and comments in the clip. I'm just finishing the initial iteration so it's sort of the rough draft. I expect to need to make at least one more version before it's ready to go up.

Finally I did a clip of URT in concert back in 2002, playing one of my favorites "Green Wine". Although I'm already on the second iteration I see some major flaws in it. I expect at least one or two more versions before that can go up.

I don't have more clips in mind immediately at the forefront at this point. I want to upload everything before the Bethel Spring Series really kicks off so I need to do some serious uploading in the next four weeks. After that I'll hopefully be uploading Bethel clips for 7 of the next 8 weeks.

I was thinking of fixing and uploading the White Plains Crit this weekend but then something happened - we lost our internet connection.

We're currently on our backup wireless broadband connection but it's awfully slow - we can't even watch YouTube clips. I'm not going to clobber our already limited bandwidth uploading something for 10 or more hours.

So either I'll find someone with a fast and unused connection or I'll wait for our connection to go back up. In the past I could use a work internet connection and kick off the job in the off hours. Unfortunately that option doesn't exist anymore so I'm a bit stuck.

Anyone in my immediate area with a monster internet connection, please feel free to contact me :)

Otherwise it'll be a day or three before the next clip goes up.

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