“It all started with a used computer keyboard,” wailed Vince Codak to his therapist. “Picked it up cheap. Plugged it into my computer and zap, fried the motherboard. ‘But OK,’ I figured. Since I now need to replace the danged thing anyway, I might as well get something that I can use with my computer for nonlinear video editing.
“I’d been reading about it. Nonlinear sounded so easy, ‘like cutting and pasting in a word processor’ is what they all said. ‘And the prices for the necessary gear are plummeting.’
“I read a bit more, first. All the nonlinear software seems to want a Pentium and the new digitizers prefer PCI. So I went out and got a Pentium processor on a PCI motherboard. Figured I’d plug all my current cards, drives and RAM into that, and cruise for a time while saving up for the next component.”
“Hmmm,” purred Monty the therapist. “Sounds like a rational course of action.”
“Rational course based on insufficient data,” snapped Vince. “Let me finish. First, I couldn’t use the RAM from the 386 in the new motherboard: wrong number of pins, wrong speed. Then I discovered I couldn’t use my old S-VGA card in the new motherboard. They were allergic to one another and wouldn’t give me a picture of anything but dancing white dots.
“Forget about cruising ’til my next purchase. I had it thrust upon me. RAM and S-VGA card coming right up! I walk with a limp today. That’s from kicking my PC right in the keester six months ago.” Vince began to perspire.
“Breath deeply three times and don’t think about hardware,” cautioned Monty, trying to bring his patient’s pulse rate down. “Feeling better? Continue.”
“Now the new S-VGA card starts a wrestling match with the sound card and CD-ROM drive. They’re fighting like kids over who gets to use IRQ 15. See these bald spots on the sides of my head? Hair grew there before I got the new motherboard. But OK, I got it all to work in only about a week.
“Life went back to normal for a while, and I almost forgot about the bad things that happen when I open my computer case. I knew I wasn’t ready for nonlinear yet, because I kept reading about how much storage space video takes up. But I worked and waited, and one day got myself a nice fat SCSI hard drive.
“Now you can’t just plug a nice fat SCSI drive into a motherboard, no sir. You need to get another card to control the SCSI drive. Another card!” Vince’s arms flailed. “With all the other stuff already in there I was expecting the world wrestling championships! The dealer says, ‘No, no Mr. Codak, you won’t have to worry about that any more. This is Plug ‘n Play!’
” He was right too. Didn’t have any IRQ wrestling. Instead it was wrong drivers for the SCSI driver! Windows 95 (that’s another story) wouldn’t recognize the little software drivers that come with the SCSI driver. Only took a week to get the drivers for the driver. Does this sound nuts? See these glasses? From reading too much fine print.”
“Easy Vince; you’re turning purple. Breath.”
“This is all past, really. I got over it. Didn’t know I still had strong feelings about it. But last week I put in a digitizer, and ugggh, errr, ahhhhh….”
“Vince? Vince! Breath, slooooowly. OK, unlock your jaw. Easy. OK, I’ll ask simple questions. You just nod if the answer is ‘yes.’
“Software incompatibility? 16-bit vs. 32-bit?”
“But Vince, those are to be expected. As adults, we learn to take life’s little obstacles in stride, and…”
“Black! My screen went black!”
“Your VGA screen went black? You can’t see anything at all on it? Nothing?”
Vince shakes his head vehemently.
“Well, that’s tough, Vince. Here’s what you do. Go right home and take everything out of your computer. Then put it all back together one board at a time.”
“Drink plenty of liquids and call me in the morning. There’s nothing like nonlinear editing for convenience and ease of use, once you get it. You’re just not quite there yet.”
Stephen Muratore is Videomaker‘s Editor in Chief.