Vince Codac, an unlucky, would-be nonlinear editor, needs your help.

Cyber-psychotherapist Monty welcomed his long-time patient into his office. “Why, it’s Vince Codac. Long time, no see! You must have been in editing heaven with that nonlinear system of yours. Rich and famous?”

Vince stepped into the office, but didn’t quite make it to the couch. Instead he collapsed into a fetal position on the floor, sobbing.

“Vince, what’s wrong?” The good therapist massaged Vince’s back, unfolded him and stretched him out on his couch. After a minute, Vince began to find his voice.

“J-J-J-Job had it easier”

“Job? You mean the man of sorrows of ancient days?”

“Yes, when his afflictions came to an end, he got to live happily ever after. Why do mine just start all over again?”

“Your editing system collapsed?”

“Just before I put the finishing touches on my greatest epic. I sank eight months of work into this project. Now I can’t even view a single shot from it!” Vince began to curl up again, but Monty intervened and stretched him back to the horizontal.

“Do you know what happened?” asked the therapist.

“The Internet ate my system.”

“How can that be?”

“Well, I use my nonlinear editing computer to browse the World Wide Web.”

“Vince, I’ve heard that it’s best not to use a nonlinear computer for anything else.”

“Is that why God is punishing me?”

“Vince, I didn’t mean … go on with your story.”

“Web browsing these days is getting sophisticated. You often hit sites that automatically download things into your computer: ‘drivers,’ ‘cookies,’ and who know what else. It looks like somewhere along the line I picked up some ActiveMovie drivers and others for streaming video through the Internet. They killed my compression board. I had just made the last payment on it, too. Monty, how could they do that?”

“Vince, I’m not here to solve your technical problems.”

“That’s just what the tech-support guy said!”

“You mean the manufacturer couldn’t help you?”

“For a while, the tech guys acted like there was something wrong with me. But after they had me remove the ActiveMovie drivers and reinstall the board three times and Windows twice, I knew they knew they have a problem. I think they need to upgrade their drivers, or their hardware, to immunize it against ActiveMovie, but they won’t say when that will happen. Meanwhile, my hard drive is bursting with a project I can’t finish, and I can’t view many Web sites correctly either. Vince curled into a ball quickly now, before Monty could stop him.

It looked hopeless. Monty had never seen Vince so traumatized since they first met. He felt Vince had stranded himself beyond Monty’s power to heal. Then he felt a small inspiration.

“Vince, you need a support group. Others going through this same tribulation could comfort you. They might not give you the technical solution you need, but they could provide understanding and moral support. You won’t feel so alone.”

“Whatever you say, Monty. So, can you help me find a support group for victims of codec-ActiveMovie-incompatibility trauma?”

“I’ll try, Vince. Maybe my friends at Videomaker can help.”

Dear Reader: Monty has asked me to ask you for help. Have you been traumatized by compression board-ActiveMovie conflicts? If so, write of your experience to Vince. Don’t be afraid to mention the specific products troubling you. I’m sure this will help Vince. When we publish the letters, they will help others too. Send your “Dear Vince” letters to him through my mail and e-mail addresses. I’ll take care that he receives every one.

Stephen Muratore is Videomaker‘s Editor in Chief.

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