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Computers = Trucks?

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Andrew Richards
Computers = Trucks?
on May 25, 2012 at 7:07:31 pm

John Lilly, former Mozilla CEO, on where all this computer stuff is going. Anyone familiar with my posts around here will rightly surmise that I tend to agree with his sentiment.

Feel free to draw any parallels you want with the NLE situation. Or not.

Best,
Andy


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Gary Huff
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 25, 2012 at 7:10:46 pm

I agree with the idea here, but just to round this off at the pass before certain individuals pick up on it and try to use it as some sort of proof of their "forward-thinkingness":

I picked up a phrase some time ago that I think applies: “The next big thing is always beneath contempt.”

does not automatically mean that FCPX is going to become the standard within the next couple of years. Sometimes, things simply stay contemptible.

Carry on.


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Brian Mulligan
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 25, 2012 at 7:14:54 pm

OK. Get me a computer that is "Like a ROCK." or "Built Ford Tough" - Let others run a computer that's like a Prius.

Brian Mulligan
Senior Editor - Autodesk Smoke
WTHR-TV Indianapolis,IN, USA
Twitter: @bkmeditor


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Andrew Richards
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 25, 2012 at 7:23:30 pm

[Brian Mulligan] "OK. Get me a computer that is "Like a ROCK." or "Built Ford Tough" - Let others run a computer that's like a Prius."

My read on the "Truck" analogy is more along the lines of a commercial vehicle than a light pickup. People drive F-150s as if they were cars all the time. Nobody has a box truck as a daily driver. When I imagine the trucks in Jobs' D8 analogy, I think of these:

Totally configurable, commercial grade, can be flexible or specialized, but not something you'll drive out to dinner. If the iPad is a compact car, laptops are the light pickup trucks.

Best,
Andy


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 25, 2012 at 9:45:17 pm

[Andrew Richards] " Nobody has a box truck as a daily driver."

My daily driver from 88 to 95.


Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Andrew Richards
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 25, 2012 at 10:07:07 pm

What make/model is that?

Best,
Andy


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 26, 2012 at 12:09:59 am

It's a '68 Parcel Delivery van. Grumman made the aluminum body, and it's on a Ford 1 ton commercial chassis.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Andrew Richards
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 26, 2012 at 1:02:45 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "It's a '68 Parcel Delivery van. Grumman made the aluminum body, and it's on a Ford 1 ton commercial chassis."

Cool ride, but hardly a common one. Do/did you know anyone else tooling around in three-decades-old light commercial vehicles as daily drivers? It's got to be really rare. Like millions to one ratio rare. Easily rare enough that I stand by my generalization.

Best,
Andy


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 26, 2012 at 11:29:44 pm

[Andrew Richards] "Do/did you know anyone else tooling around in three-decades-old light commercial vehicles as daily drivers?"

I guess it depends on the crowd you run with, or your point of reference. Owning stuff like this is mostly 'blue collar', and media production really isn't. People tend to notice the familiar, and disregard the unfamiliar. I've met quite a few people that have vintage commercial trucks and drive them regularly. Mostly small business owners that are gearheads writing off a hobby by using the truck for advertizing. Might be a regional thing due to our lax regulations or lack of rust. I still see a lot of street rods, muscle cars, old jeeps and rovers, and military trucks and other old and 'impracticable' rides driven regularly. But get out from the Southwest region, and these are a rare sight. I only did it back in the day when I worked on a swing shift, was younger, and had a nice straight shot on the highway to the station to save wear and tear on my other cars. Without power steering, brakes, etc and a stiff clutch makes it pretty tough to drive in heavy traffic. Now the Grumman is just a shiny motorcycle hauler.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Chris Harlan
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 26, 2012 at 1:31:54 am

Now THAT is cool. And, with the price of gas where it is, my idea of an overpriced status symbol.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 25, 2012 at 8:26:59 pm

[Brian Mulligan] " Let others run a computer that's like a Prius."

So you DIDN'T like those NAB iMacs? ;)


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Brian Mulligan
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 25, 2012 at 9:21:47 pm

Prius = iPad or iPhone.

Brian Mulligan
Senior Editor - Autodesk Smoke
WTHR-TV Indianapolis,IN, USA
Twitter: @bkmeditor


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Scott Sheriff
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 25, 2012 at 9:48:03 pm

[Brian Mulligan] "Prius = iPad or iPhone."

Yes, all three are overpriced status symbols.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Chris Harlan
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 25, 2012 at 11:37:11 pm

The Prius is an overpriced status symbol? I don't know about that. It starts around 24 or 25 grand, and if you live where I live, where gas is usually a buck a gallon or more over the national average, and if you drive as much as I do--around 22--24,000 miles a year, the Prius begins to seem pretty darn budget oriented. 45-50 mpg sounds pretty good to me.

http://gasbuddy.com/gb_gastemperaturemap.aspx

I have a hybrid--a little Honda CRZ--that lets me gad about up and down the coast, and back and forth to the mountains, without me going broke. Around here overpriced status symbols generally begin at 70 grand plus, have lots of cylinders, and shout "Price of gas? That's just something I don't even need to think about."


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David C Jones
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 26, 2012 at 4:38:03 am

I have to agree, the Prius is not a good analogy: not overpriced and not a status symbol. I think the VOLT would be more along those lines, at this point, anyway.

If anything, the ipad will come around to being more like a computer in years to come ie: faster, (maybe) more in/outputs, larger versions for professionals. And cloud technology will do away with any need for storage drives. They just need to get that holographic keyboard thing to become reality, too :)

Dave J


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James Culbertson
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 26, 2012 at 7:52:16 pm

>>"Prius = iPad or iPhone."

Having driven a Prius since 2006, I would equate the Prius with a MacBookPro.

>Yes, all three are overpriced status symbols

I suppose any car over $20,000 or so is an overpriced status symbol. That said,...

I thought the same of the Prius, until I test drove one. Very comfortable and well designed; no abnormal maintenance issues in six years. There is a premium over an equivalent non-hybrid Toyota. But with the price of gasoline the way it has been I paid that premium off long ago.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 26, 2012 at 12:52:11 am

[Brian Mulligan] "Prius = iPad or iPhone."

Got ya!


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Glen Hurd
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 26, 2012 at 12:10:13 pm

As for "the next big thing is always beneath contempt," let's not forget the way Jobs said the Segway would be as big a deal as the PC (in spite of his disgust for its overall appearance when he first saw the prototype). Remember the rumors flying before the release of Ginger. It would be awesome, it would be amazing, even an announced cure for cancer (if there was one) would have to wait on the day the Segway was announced. Heck. If the Segway had been announced at NAB, it probably would have disrupted whatever was going on there too. But last I checked, it's still a somewhat contemptible piece of mall-cop gear, unless you need to play polo, and find horses just a little too complicated and old fashioned.

Most people will recognize that you can make a better living with a truck than with a compact, if you can find the work that needs that truck.

I can imagine, before long, we'll be editing for laser projectors with holographic projection using content acquired from 3 laser-scanned sources and 6 synced cameras, using computers that can reconstruct geometry and texture the live action in realtime for a 180 degree holographic display.

I doubt the systems used to help assemble that content will be pitched based on your ability to "create on the go." Whatever that's for . . .


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Andrew Richards
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 26, 2012 at 1:33:35 pm

[Glen Hurd] "Most people will recognize that you can make a better living with a truck than with a compact, if you can find the work that needs that truck."

Well yeah, that's the whole point of the analogy. Work is the case where you need a truck. The last time PCs were used predominantly for work, DOS was the dominant OS. The PCs as Trucks analogy holds that the vast majority of PC use cases for the vast majority of PC users can readily be tackled on an iPad. Specialized work requires a conventional PC just as the UPS guy or the tow truck guy drives a specialized vehicle.

[Glen Hurd] "I can imagine, before long, we'll be editing for laser projectors with holographic projection using content acquired from 3 laser-scanned sources and 6 synced cameras, using computers that can reconstruct geometry and texture the live action in realtime for a 180 degree holographic display. "

Yes, the tiny handful of people crating the bleeding edge of entertainment media (or doing aerodynamic simulations, or designing skyscrapers, or creating blockbuster video games, or decoding a genome, or capturing an MRI) will need powerful, bleeding edge, specialized computers that the average joe would find ridiculously overspec'd and overpriced for their web browsing, Facebooking, tweeting, photo tweaking and sharing, email sending, and blog (or forum) posting. Just like today.

Best,
Andy


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Bill Davis
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 26, 2012 at 5:37:28 pm

[Andrew Richards] "[Glen Hurd] "Most people will recognize that you can make a better living with a truck than with a compact, if you can find the work that needs that truck."

Well yeah, that's the whole point of the analogy. Work is the case where you need a truck. The last time PCs were used predominantly for work, DOS was the dominant OS. The PCs as Trucks analogy holds that the vast... "



In the world's larger reality, the "better living" is far more likely to be made those not in trucks or compacts at all, but in chauffeured limos. So this analogy starts out broken, IMO.

And wasn't eliminating the need for "trucks" one of whole points of Job's vision of migrating IP sales onto the App store? You only need trucks if you have boxes, cases of boxes, pallets of cases, and truckloads of pallets to shuffle.

At some point an internet grows up and changes everything, and you can make billions in a system where "trucks" are barely incidental to the process.

We're discussing video production here. And increasingly there is no physical "thing" being sold in our industry any more. We all know we're selling customized arrangements of bits and bytes and that's all.

And it's indisputable that as the power to manipulate those bits and bites migrates from computers in rooms, to computers on desktops, to computers in hands - the game will continue to change.

I appreciate that many, many of the readers here absolutely require a "big iron" strategy to compete at the level that differentiates them.

But to ignore the fact that the rising tide of technology is making it possible for more and players to chip away at the worlds "video to-do list" - while using less and less expensive tools to do it - is to ignore a trend that's both clear and unstoppable.

I'll say it again, access to tools and/or specialized information are less and less a differentiator of anything these days. The tools are readily accessible, the knowledge available on your iPad if you're interested in looking for it.

I suspect the differentiators between "video content vendors" will less and less be the experience and knowledge of how to push the buttons - thats getting more automated and easier to do every year.

So what will remain? Probably just experience figuring out how to use any and every tool you can wield to provide solutions to the needs of your clients and customers.

That and perhaps early spotting of trends amidst constant change are perhaps going to be the key games in the modern era.

(And why we're all spending time hanging out here, basically!)

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Walter Soyka
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 28, 2012 at 5:44:51 pm

[Bill Davis] "But to ignore the fact that the rising tide of technology is making it possible for more and players to chip away at the worlds "video to-do list" - while using less and less expensive tools to do it - is to ignore a trend that's both clear and unstoppable. I'll say it again, access to tools and/or specialized information are less and less a differentiator of anything these days. The tools are readily accessible, the knowledge available on your iPad if you're interested in looking for it."

Bill, I mostly agree with what you're saying here, and I think that anyone in this business ignores the trend you're pointing out at their peril.

I'd like to expand on your point as it relates to the high end.

For the sake of conversation, I'll define the high end not in terms of production values, as a relatively simple production can have amazing production value, but in terms of production requirements.

I think that video production more or less used to look like a bell curve. There was a lot in the big, fat middle, and relatively little on the low and high ends. Today, I think that video production looks like a front-heavy well curve: the big fat middle has been squeezed out to the ends, with a very high bias toward the lower end. I think of if like squeezing a tube of toothpaste from the middle -- you might push a bit more into the back of the tube, but most of the toothpaste is going to spill out the front.

Today, the low end of production doesn't even know what more there is to know. The middle has easy and inexpensive access to the tools and training they need to produce really good work, but they are increasingly pushed toward the lower end of the pricing spectrum. The high end still exist, still has relatively big budgets, and is still very difficult to get into. It still requires years of experience and accumulated knowledge, highly specialized tools, and the aptitude to create new techniques to achieve visuals that were previously impossible.

I think that most of us here are in the middle somewhere. If my analysis here is right, and we are all going to get pushed up- or down-market, I think we should each figure out where we can compete better and work to position ourselves on the right side of the divide.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Bill Davis
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 28, 2012 at 7:00:43 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I think that most of us here are in the middle somewhere. If my analysis here is right, and we are all going to get pushed up- or down-market, I think we should each figure out where we can compete better and work to position ourselves on the right side of the divide."

Once again Walter, I agree with your analysis nearly completely.

The only add-on though I'd drop in is that inevitably, the best and brightest of the group that initially gets squeezed into the low end, will - sooner or later - by dint of effort, connections or pure serendipity - jump the divide and into seats at the high end. Driving out the current players. And as that happens, the experienced pros have to figure out what to do next.

And so it goes.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Walter Soyka
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:54:54 pm

[Bill Davis] "The only add-on though I'd drop in is that inevitably, the best and brightest of the group that initially gets squeezed into the low end, will - sooner or later - by dint of effort, connections or pure serendipity - jump the divide and into seats at the high end. Driving out the current players. And as that happens, the experienced pros have to figure out what to do next."

Hi Bill -- sorry for the lengthy delay in responding. I wanted to come back to this point for a moment.

My concern is that the vanishing middle eliminates the path for growth. The more the middle disappears, the greater the gap between the low and high ends, and the harder it is to make that quantum leap. When the bell curve turns into a well curve, the middle you used to be able to grow up through becomes a chasm you have to cross over.

Look at the knowledge-doubling curve [link]. It's almost scary. The knowledge required to be at the absolute forefront of computer graphics twenty years ago is now the baseline for working in the high end.

You've pointed out the same phenomenon in management. During the downturn, companies left and right cored out middle management. How do the lower levels make the jump from entry level up to senior management?

The internet and the tutorials available here are like management's Harvard Business Review. Great articles, and you can learn a lot, but you still need to match that with some hands-on experience to work at the highest levels.

The same argument is made in economics and politics about the middle class; an evaporating middle class lowers social and economic mobility.

We're in the Age of the Vanishing Middles (you read it here first!), and it's a serious threat to personal growth and professional development. The more we are aware that this is happening, and the more care we take in steering our careers at this pivotal time, the better positioned we can be for success.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Chris Harlan
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 26, 2012 at 8:13:49 pm

[Glen Hurd] "Remember the rumors flying before the release of Ginger. It would be awesome, it would be amazing, even an announced cure for cancer (if there was one) would have to wait on the day the Segway was announced. Heck. If the Segway had been announced at NAB, it probably would have disrupted whatever was going on there too. But last I checked, it's still a somewhat contemptible piece of mall-cop gear, "


Its funny. This brings back many memories. I was one of those people who knew what Ginger was because I was cutting video for the early promotion packets. The frenzied speculation about just what Ginger was was truly ridiculous, but you can't blame Dean Kamen for that. Its actually a very nifty device, and I think it would have had greater impact had history not intervened. Its the job I did not go into work on on Sept. 11, 2001. But that wasn't the actual event that derailed its introduction. That happened a week later, with the anthrax. Kamen had been in advanced negotiation with the US Postal Service to convert the on-foot postal delivery in number of east coast cities to Segway delivery. It was a huge contract. Billion plus. My understanding is that the cost of decontaminating the Postal delivery facilities after the Anthrax attacks directly killed the project. I was certainly out of work fairly quickly. Of course, I never had any direct knowledge of the actual negotiations, so I could be wrong, but I remember that being the understanding at the time amongst my co-workers out here in Calif. There weren't a lot of people we could discuss it with because of the mountainous NDAs. Ah, memories.


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Herb Sevush
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 26, 2012 at 6:35:13 pm

[Andrew Richards] " Anyone familiar with my posts around here will rightly surmise that I tend to agree with his sentiment."

Where can I get my Mac Pro 14 wheeler, and does this mean I will have to join the teamsters?

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Bernard Newnham
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 28, 2012 at 10:14:47 am

"and if you live where I live, where gas is usually a buck a gallon or more over the national average"

Just to not brighten up my life, I did the conversion from $4.18 per US Gallon (top price, apparently) to GBP per litre, and I get £0.70 per litre. Price here is £1.35 per litre - just over $8.00 per US gallon. Still, I suppose we do get the National Health.

B


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Nevin Styre
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 28, 2012 at 4:59:18 pm

I 100% agree with the tower has become more of a niche for people who either make money from them through creative/technical reasons like we do, or for enthusiast reasons like gaming. That doesn't mean the market is small, it's just a lot less average consumer oriented and more specific these days. I can count on 0 fingers the last time anyone of my friends/family talked about wanting to buy or actually buying a tower computer in the past 5-6 years. Computers are personal machines to them and not tools, for them a laptop or ipad is more than enough and makes more sense. A laptop/mobile device used to mean compromised speed compared to a tower, which is still technically true. But we've passed a crescendo where increased power means nothing to average daily tasks like browsing, multimedia, word processing. When that is what the machine is being used for the speed difference is negligible between a consumer quad/dual core with 4gb ram vs a dual octo core workstation with 32b ram.


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Bill Davis
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 28, 2012 at 9:48:33 pm

[Bernard Newnham] "Just to not brighten up my life, I did the conversion from $4.18 per US Gallon (top price, apparently) to GBP per litre, and I get £0.70 per litre. Price here is £1.35 per litre - just over $8.00 per US gallon. Still, I suppose we do get the National Health.

B
"


I spent a summer living in student/study in Bournmouth England after my senior year of High School - and I remember that then (4 decades ago) petrol was running about $4 a gallon when it was sitting at about $1.29/gal back here in Phoenix.

So I've always figured I just was enjoying "discount gas" for the large majority of my life.

Happiness is so often a matter of the establishing a functioning set of appropriate expectations and then enjoying it when you manage to exceed them!

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Computers = Trucks?
on May 29, 2012 at 4:09:30 am

[Bernard Newnham] "Just to not brighten up my life, I did the conversion from $4.18 per US Gallon (top price, apparently) to GBP per litre, and I get £0.70 per litre. Price here is £1.35 per litre - just over $8.00 per US gallon. Still, I suppose we do get the National Health."

And for the most part, a pretty decent public transportation system, or maybe that's my relative point of view.

And.....you have even frame rates, as well as double the voltage at any outlet.

...And tasty yet cheap street side samosa's that the fanciest curry houses over here sell for over double the price.


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