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Revisionist History...

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Bill Davis
Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 3:20:50 am

I'm still on a lot of press release lists from my reporter days. So I've been watching the minor flury of PR pitches going out about this being the 25th Anniversary of Premiere Pro pre-NAB.

Had to laugh as I read the initial copy at how studiously they've avoided the inconvenience that the original program was basically single handedly written by Randy Ubillos before he went to Apple to build FCP into the powerhouse it would become.

Doubt there's a lick of Randy's original code left in the program. But still, it must a bit awkward to do a huge birthday celebration - and not be able to mention the guy that created it in the first place.

Oh well.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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andy patterson
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 5:11:46 am

[Bill Davis] "Had to laugh as I read the initial copy at how studiously they've avoided the inconvenience that the original program was basically single handedly written by Randy Ubillos before he went to Apple to build FCP into the powerhouse it would become."

Randy went to Apple?

Didn't Randy work for Macromedia when he developed KeyGrip? Didn't Apple buy KeyGrip from Macromedia and rename it FCP?

[Bill Davis] "Doubt there's a lick of Randy's original code left in the program. But still, it must a bit awkward to do a huge birthday celebration - and not be able to mention the guy that created it in the first place."

Why couldn't they mention Randy? Didn't Wes Plate once work for Adobe? Does he now work for Apple? I think it depends on what Adobe wants to do. I am not sure if mentioning Randy would have much meaning for people 40 years old or younger.

Would it be important for the 25th anniversary of FCP for Apple to mention FCP was bought from Macromedia by Apple?


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Tom Sefton
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 10:16:51 am

http://alex4d.com/notes/item/back-to-1-0-randy-ubillos-interview

Wrote first 3-4 versions of premiere himself and then left to join macromedia. Macromedia took an age to release their first video product that he was building and in the meantime Apple bought them, which meant his work went into producing final cut.

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Steve Connor
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 10:24:14 am

[Bill Davis] "Had to laugh as I read the initial copy at how studiously they've avoided the inconvenience that the original program was basically single handedly written by Randy Ubillos before he went to Apple to build FCP into the powerhouse it would become.
"


Certainly it's a bit rude to not mention Randy but I'm not sure you could call it revisionist as they haven't tried to change or refocus the history of PPro.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 12:34:58 pm

I doubt there was any overt effort to not mention him. After all, I didn't see any mention of anyone else from Adobe other than customers. If you look at Adobe's blog posts, like from Bill Roberts, his bio clearly mentions his past position at Avid.

However, the simpler truth is probably that most of the folks on the PR side are probably young enough to not even know who Randy is. Any yes, the app was largely rewritten after Randy's version 4 and then modified a couple of times again.

Ironically, if you look at the individuals inside Apple and Adobe, and who is related to whom, those folks are all a lot closer than most people think.

Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Oliver Peters
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 1:07:54 pm

For the editing history buffs, I would highly recommend John Buck's ebooks:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/timeline-digital-1/id612514761?mt=11

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/timeline-analog-1/id787720231?mt=11

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/timeline-analog-4/id986252378?mt=11

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Tim Wilson
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 2:24:31 pm
Last Edited By Tim Wilson on Mar 15, 2017 at 2:49:06 pm

John has also posted excerpts along the way, including an AMAZING retelling of the origin's of Apple's acquisition of Keygrip in Steve Jobs' thwarted efforts to license Adobe Premiere!

Jobs had new consumer Macs in development that would use Firewire I/O for the first time. He knew that the technology would make for a paradigm shift in desktop editing so he decided to ship a video editing application with the new computers.

Jobs approached Adobe Systems, and asked them to create a consumer version of Premiere that Apple could bundle with the unreleased Mac code-named Kihei. With Apple’s future still uncertain, and Premiere sales growing on the Wintel platform, Adobe said no.


Feel free to insert your own punchline about the relative merits of 1997-vintage Premiere for pros vs. consumers here.

Steve then turned his attention to building the app in-house with alumni from NeXT when the the Macromedia opportunity came along the following year. That story also had a number of twists along the way, not least of which is that a large part of its development team worked in Windows -- which is indeed the platform I saw Final Cut demoed on at NAB 1998, in a word-of-mouth-only basement corner behind some pipe-and-curtain walls. Final Cut was dual-platform, they assured us, but being demoed on Windows because there were no Macs powerful enough to support its full performance. 😎 Specifically, the show-stopper, real time dissolves. 😅

And indeed, my beta disk for Final Cut (yes, I still have it) ran on WINDOWS (listed first) as well as Mac.*



I do also have my Macromedia Final Cut t-shirt, which I've never posted a picture of before. I'll post it after I take a picture of it on my next good hair day, I promise.

Buck spoke with many of the principals at length along the way for his book, and has some great stories about their hesitancy to come to Apple, which had by no means established that it could even stay in business. (Indeed, 5 years later, Apple stock was still in the single digits.)

Final Cut’s product manager, Tim Myers recalls: We were pretty unsure about whether a move to Apple at that time was going to be a good thing or a bad thing. It certainly wasn’t in its second wave of success, far from it and it was very questionable whether they were going to be able to pull it off. And a lot of us were thinking if Apple is struggling just selling computers right now why would they want to support and sell an editing product?


Much more here, and of course in the books, which I also highly recommend....but certainly one aspect of revisionist history is that acquiring Final Cut had ANYTHING to do with Avid, when in fact it had NOTHING to do with Avid and selling high-end Macs, and much more to do with Apple's failed attempt to coax Adobe into developing a consumer edition of Premiere to help sell iMacs!

THAT thread of the story does indeed bear its fruit as Randy invested so much effort into iMovie, and the extent to which FCPX is in fact not too far off iMovie Pro in the sense of fulfilling the vision Steve had of video editing on the Mac from the beginning, and why I think Steve was so gleeful about slamming a shovel into the head of the zombieware that FCP Legacy had become the second he possibly could.


*Also not much discussed anymore is how close Final Cut came to being absorbed as the front end for what became Media 100's Windows-only 844/x.

This notion was incredibly frustrating to those of us in the Mac-only Media 100 community, who'd have preferred M100 to be keeping their eye on the ball for 100% of their current customer base, and buying this software Keygrip that we'd been hearing about for their MAC front end.

M100's perspective was that their current Mac front end was just dandy (and in some ways, certainly was -- there's something about its simplicity that has yet to be replicated in as satisfying a way by anyone) -- but the company wanted to a) show off their hardware technology on machines more powerful than Apple was willing to make, and b) hedge their bets against Apple going under altogether.

The irony of course being that what finally sent Media 100 into the wilderness to wander before Boris Yamnitsky brought it home was the mad rush of Media 100's Mac customer base virtually 100% into Final Cut Pro! THAT was the migration that fueled its growth, NOT a migration from Avid that never happened in any broad way. It only took a few years for the Media 100 user base to BECOME the FCP customer base, which is why the supposed "Cold Mountain moment" was irrelevant for anyone but a handful of pundits -- a million Media 100 customers had already made the move, and the rest of the heart of FCP's base had never for an instant considered Avid (nor for that matter Media 100) as an option. Their roots were sunk directly into FCP from the beginning.

But I gotta tell ya, we were biting our nails following along with the rumors of a bidding war between Apple to run it as their software on Mac (of course) vs. Media 100 to run it on Windows...while we were half-praying for a miracle and hoping that somehow it would wind up as the new Media 100 on Mac....which, again, in practice, it pretty much did.


====

Edit 1: You can buy John's book on all the usual ebook platforms, but go for the iPad versions. John told me that he's done a lot of "beauty" work there that other platforms don't really support. (I believe him: I'm a hardcore Kindle guy, but man o man, Amazon's typesetting is AWFUL, and of course my Kindle Paperwhite doesn't do pix at all.)

Also, John updates these all the time, so your purchase will only grow in value. 😅

====

Edit 2: Stand by for our EXCLUSIVE excerpts from Timeline Analog 4: 1989-1991 for the origins of Premiere as Reel Time, and Timeline Analog 5: 1991-1996, including never-before-published interviews detailing the earliest days of Premiere's transition from postage-stamp proof-of-concept to actual broadcast video editing. You're going to be FLOORED by what you read.

While you're waiting, you should just go ahead and download these two volumes, though. At $2.99 each, a bargain. 😎


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Steve Connor
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 4:28:07 pm

[Tim Wilson] "I do also have my Macromedia Final Cut t-shirt, which I've never posted a picture of before. I'll post it after I take a picture of it on my next good hair day, I promise."

I'd be happy if I could actually FIT into any of my T-shirts from the 1990s!


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 4:48:57 pm

While it covers more than just editing, I would have to add "Droidmaker: George Lucas And the Digital Revolution" to the 'must read' list. Amazing book about a pretty small group of guys that fathered everything from digital VFX to NLEs to 3D animation.

https://www.amazon.com/Droidmaker-George-Lucas-Digital-Revolution/dp/093740...


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Bill Davis
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 5:05:13 pm
Last Edited By Bill Davis on Mar 15, 2017 at 5:10:34 pm

Just want to re-boot the original point.

The guy who CREATED the program
Isn't mentioned in the 25th Anniversary marketing push.

Lots of ways to spin irony in the corporate playbook - this is a pretty solid one.


(By the way, just in case somebody believes I'm shilling for a friend, I've actually NEVER met Mr. Ubillos. Even tho much of my professional life is based on products he created, the closest I've ever been to him is 15 feet away watching him speak to an audience. My own fault. I could have introduced myself at a point or two, but just never did. Oh well.)

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 5:10:54 pm

[Bill Davis] "The guy who CREATED the program isn't mentioned in the 25th Anniversary marketing push."

That doesn't seem surprising at all. Neither are any of the other developers mentioned. So far, the only actual reference to anyone from Adobe that I've seen is a quote from Dave Helmly in one of their blogs. Dave is still at Adobe, but came in from CoSA.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 5:19:46 pm

[Oliver Peters] "[Bill Davis] "The guy who CREATED the program isn't mentioned in the 25th Anniversary marketing push."

That doesn't seem surprising at all. Neither are any of the other developers mentioned. So far, the only actual reference to anyone from Adobe that I've seen is a quote from Dave Helmly in one of their blogs. Dave is still at Adobe, but came in from CoSA.

- Oliver"


Well I suppose "being still at Adobe" is a bigger deal than actually creating the original program...

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Bill Davis
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 5:25:55 pm

Doubling down here, but this just pisses me off.

I just can't imagine how I'd feel if (in a community of CONTENT CREATORS, no Less) - I'd created something that generated an industry - and on the 25th anniversary of said creation - I found myself essentially ERASED from the corporate history.

I make small, shitty corporate videos. Yet I STILL remember how pissed I was decades ago when I saw somebody at NAB in a discussion I witnessed, claiming that a piece of work I had created - was THEIR work, not mine.

I can't fathom how I'd feel if instead of a stupid one-off video - it was a huge worldwide commercial force.

Wow.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 5:34:24 pm

[Bill Davis] "Yet I STILL remember how pissed I was decades ago when I saw somebody at NAB in a discussion I witnessed, claiming that a piece of work I had created - was THEIR work, not mine."

But no one is making such a claim here. The company brought out a product developed by an employee. Done deal.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Steve Connor
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 6:03:02 pm

[Bill Davis] "I make small, shitty corporate videos. Yet I STILL remember how pissed I was decades ago when I saw somebody at NAB in a discussion I witnessed, claiming that a piece of work I had created - was THEIR work, not mine.
"


Not the same thing surely? If you make a film for a client then it's their film, if you make something while employed by a company then it's theirs surely.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 8:20:16 pm

[Bill Davis] "I make small, shitty corporate videos. Yet I STILL remember how pissed I was decades ago when I saw somebody at NAB in a discussion I witnessed, claiming that a piece of work I had created - was THEIR work, not mine."

You mean another production company took credit for your work, or the client you did the work for referred to it as 'theirs' w/o specifying that you were the vender that actually did the work? The former would piss me off too, but the latter, while maybe rude if you are standing right there and the client doesn't credit you, is what it is.


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Bill Davis
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 16, 2017 at 5:22:41 am

The former.
If the company commissions the work and pays for it it's theirs, period.
I get that. Totally.
This was different. My work for my client being shown in a context that implied it was somebody else's effort.

But that's just "work" - people taking credit for the work others have actually done happens all the time.

I've sat in a hundred meetings where the manager who NEVER ONCE set foot on the shoot or at the edit and didn't contribute a single usefully note along the way suddenly starts using the phrase "hope you enjoyed OUR video.... " or worse "MY video lowered costs by..." completely ignoring the 3 staffers in the room that spent 100 hours over 10 days in the suite with me sweating bullets to get it right.

I expect that. Completely.

But this isnt just "work" in my opinion.

It's intellectual creation. Building on others work sure, but crafting something that hasn't existed before. On Premiere 1.0 and through a large part of 2.0 it was just Randy. Creating an NLE program from scratch. I heard Mr Ubillos tell the creation story in person. No real client, no real company sponsorship worth noting - just an idea and the desire to make something useful. A personal passion project that he had no assurances anyone would ever have any use for. When he showed it to Adobe, he hoped they might be interested, but the way he told us it was far from sure they cared at all.

Everything else that Premiere is today started from that. Maybe that's not worth mention in the world of Adobe as it sits today. But it's still the truth at least as I understand it.

Whether it makes it into the company celebration or not.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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andy patterson
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 16, 2017 at 7:35:00 pm

[Bill Davis] "Everything else that Premiere is today started from that. Maybe that's not worth mention in the world of Adobe as it sits today. But it's still the truth at least as I understand it."

Everything that Premiere Pro is today started from Randy?

As I stated background rendering was implemented by Fast Multimedia 10 years prior to the release of FCPX. GPU acceleration was implemented by Fast/Pinnacle about 7 years prior to FCPX. Did Randy Ubillos mention that at the FCPX keynote in 2011? Should it be mentioned everything FCPX is today is because of Fast/Pinnacle? Many of the NLE programmers have helped improve how we edit today. Even the programmers at Newtek and Canopus have helped. Newtek also had background rendering 10 years prior to FCPX. Having said that Adobe scrapped Randy's version of Premiere in 2003 when they released Premiere Pro 1.0. Who wrote Premiere Pro 1.0? I don't think Adobe ever mentioned that to the public. By the way Premiere Pro 1.0 is much better than Randy's version of Premiere. Having said that who implemented the Mercury Playback Engine? I don't think Adobe ever mentions that either. You don't seem upset that Adobe didn't mention those programmers. Having said that you are giving Randy Ubillos way to much credit by claiming everything Premiere Pro is today is because of Randy. That is very disrespectful to the current programmers of Premiere Pro CC. Randy did work on the early versions of Premiere Pro but that is where it ends. Randy cannot take credit for the Mercury Playback Engine nor can you give him credit for it. I know FCPX back in 2011 was announced as revolutionary, amazing and innovative. The problem is that many of the features of FCPX were already in other NLE prior to the launch of FCPX. I admit many FCPX users may not have been aware of that. Having said that FCPX is an interesting NLE but the trackless system was about the only major feature unique to FCPX.

I think you are confusing Premiere's Anniversary with the History of Randy Ubillos.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 17, 2017 at 4:40:53 pm

[Bill Davis] "Everything else that Premiere is today started from that. Maybe that's not worth mention in the world of Adobe as it sits today. But it's still the truth at least as I understand it."

Adobe didn't commission Premiere but they bought it outright so the end result is the same. It's not revisionist history, it's a company promoting their product as the company's product (as opposed to the individuals that worked on the product). It's no different that Apple never mentioning Ron Brinkmann or Nothing Real in press releases about Shake or Microsoft never mentioning PrimeSense in press releases about the first generation Kinect (MS didn't buy PrimeSense, but they licensed key tech them).

If Adobe was focusing on the individuals that made PPro and they never mentioned Randy then I would agree with you, but they are focusing on the product itself and the end users.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 17, 2017 at 4:51:04 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "...but they are focusing on the product itself and the end users."

To wit:



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andy patterson
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 9:31:12 pm

[Bill Davis] "I just can't imagine how I'd feel if (in a community of CONTENT CREATORS, no Less) - I'd created something that generated an industry - and on the 25th anniversary of said creation - I found myself essentially ERASED from the corporate history."

It is about Premiere not Randy. They are celebrating the product not programmer.

Should Apple on the 25th Anniversary of FCP talk about Randy working for Adobe and then later working for Macromedia? Is it about FCP or Randy's life?

When FCXP launched many FCPX user thought Apple invented GPU acceleration and background rendering. It was Fast/Pinnacle that did it first. At the keynote for FCPX Apple certainly did not mention they were implementing old technology into FCPX that was introduced by Fast Multimedia over ten years prior to the launch of FCPX. Do you feel as though Apple should have made mention of that at the FCPX keynote? Should all companies have to give credit where credit is due? If not why is it so important for Adobe to mention Randy Ubillos? I am not sure if Avid or even Autodesk make mention of the programmers on their products anniversaries. Would you be upset if Avid opted not to list the programmers on the 30th anniversary of Media Composer? I would not mind if Adobe mentioned Randy Ubillos but they don't have to.


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Herb Sevush
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 5:23:00 pm

[Andrew Kimery] " I would have to add "Droidmaker: George Lucas And the Digital Revolution" to the 'must read' list."

Great book, a great look at the history of digital film making. And you'll learn why HAL was singing "Daisy, Daisy" in Kubrick's 2001.

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


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Tom Sefton
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 9:42:42 pm

Enormous thanks for suggesting this book - downloaded and I'm well into it now, and engrossed. It's fantastic, in the same vein as easy riders raging bulls and down and dirty pictures.

Co-owner at Pollen Studio
http://www.pollenstudio.co.uk


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Doug Suiter
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 15, 2017 at 8:35:26 pm

The picture is gold! Would you mind if I reposted it?

DOUG SUITER: FCPTalent
Find Production and Post Production Talent, Free.
web: http://www.fcptalent.com
twitter: @FCPTalent


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James Culbertson
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 18, 2017 at 5:19:21 am
Last Edited By James Culbertson on Mar 18, 2017 at 5:20:18 am

[Oliver Peters] "the app was largely rewritten after Randy's version 4 and then modified a couple of times again."

The original version Premiere 4 (actually 4.2.1) was pretty stable (at least with a Truevision Targa card). I was trying to use v5 and got so frustrated I ran out and bought the original FCP 1.0 two weeks after it was released. Never looked back. Premiere 5 was so bad they eventually borrowed one of the original After Effects developers to try to salvage it. Might be why I wasn't as bothered by the FCPX roll out. People understandably mistrusted Apple, but it doesn't hold a candle to the decade long Premiere debacle. Adobe is just lucky few people remember all that.


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Bill Davis
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 18, 2017 at 5:38:43 pm

I just think it's fair to say that there wouldn't have BEEN a Premiere to revise and refine if Randy hadn't written the original.

Somewhere after version 2 - the BRAND took on it's corporate personhood (Romney-speak) and that's still it's identity today.

That either matters to building a brand or it does not. If it does, and the resources that Premiere 1-4 generated hadn't been available to foster what has become today's Premier - then the landscape would be different.

That's all I'm trying to point out.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Michael Phillips
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 19, 2017 at 3:20:18 pm

I don't think it's a big issue as the marketing is the brand, not the individual(s). I can somewhat relate to this; Avid can refer to Academy Award winning Media Composer, but both awards (the plaque and the statue) were for Avid FILM Composer and was originally awarded to 6 people of which I was one. Nowhere in Avid's marketing are those names every brought up despite my name being on the 24frame patents and the original award. It is what it is. I am proud of my accomplishments, but I am more interested in innovating for the next one than living in the past. That is far more motivating.


Michael


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Charlie Austin
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 22, 2017 at 4:50:23 am

Who cares. Seriously.

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~I still need to play Track Tetris sometimes. An old game that you can never win~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~


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Chris Harlan
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 22, 2017 at 5:19:41 am

[Charlie Austin] "Who cares. Seriously."

Its like getting peeved because NASA doesn't mention Werner Von Braun every time they PR a shuttle launch.


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Charlie Austin
Re: Revisionist History...
on Mar 22, 2017 at 5:35:50 am

[Chris Harlan] "Its like getting peeved because NASA doesn't mention Werner Von Braun every time they PR a shuttle launch."

Hey, you're right!! {writes congressman...}

Hope all's well!

-------------------------------------------------------------

~ My FCPX Babbling blog ~
~"It is a poor craftsman who blames his tools."~
~I still need to play Track Tetris sometimes. An old game that you can never win~
~"The function you just attempted is not yet implemented"~


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