Monday, June 27, 2011

Apple's Final Cut Pro X a new leap forward?

I must be the last peson to actually upgrade to Final Cut Pro 7! I bought my copy at the beginning of last week and by the end it was history but for once I am not worried in fact I am just so pleased I managed to buy it.

I love video editing. If you want to experience absolute power video editing is the job for you. Many tyrants of the world could have amused themselves with Final Cut Pro instead of fighting unnecessary wars. As an artist I just love having total control of my work and to some extent other people's. Even if the artist doesn't produce the goods on the day one can always work around and of course if I am the artist I can go back and 'do it agan'. The fear of having to get it right first time has gone and for artists of my age we all had 'to get it right first time' as video editing was unknown.

About three months ago I decided to upgrade my computer so I could do advanced video work. I love playing with effects and for that you need a powerful computer. As bad luck would have it I had to buy the first off the line MacBook Pro and it continually froze. This is the problem with being an early adopter. It went back and I had to wait until all the bugs had flown.

In the meantime I was stuck with iMovie 11 which is the editing programme that Apple thinks is appropriate for beginners. It was a 'nightmare'. Nine weeks of horror  and I can edit video . I did manage one short YouTube with considerable difficulty. The YouTube above although a spoof was vey near the mark so shock horror last week Apple threw out the tried, true and loved Final Cut Pro 7 in favour of an upgraded iMove 11!!!!!

The trouble with developers is that although they 'develop' the product most of them will never have to use it! I have a head start as I actually have the bones of iMovie 11 but most editors will find it clunky. OK the rendering times will be reduced but they could have done that in the old Final Cut 7 and 'shock horror two' you can't bring your old FCP 7 projects into the new FCPX!

Sometimes new isn't worth the effort. Apple just wants to make money and who can blame them. Will I buy it? Well yes eventually I think but not now.

When something works why not fix it instead of throwing it out for an untried method.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

When is a Camera not a Camera?

Here is an image of the fabulous Sony NEX VG 10E camcorder/DSLR camera. This camera has revolutionized filming for many independent producers because it gives us the opportunity to achieve 'depth of field' focus that used to be the province of the big boys who had the deep pockets to be able to afford these desirable things.

The camera above is not cheap but within range and for me the time had come to sadly say good bye to tape camcorders and join the HD digital brigade. Sometime progress can in fact be a step backwards. Video tape is still very, very useful especially in the realms of archiving. Tape lasts for years, hard drives give up at around four years old and have to be replaced. One of mine gave out last week!

As you know I am a 'mature' person. Most of my age have difficulty sending an email so being able to video edit at all is beyond them. Because of my preference for tape I have put off the change till the last minute and even now I shall use tape to save hours on rendering. My younger peers can't get their heds around this.

In the Sony shop I checked to see if the camera was compatible with Final Cut Pro. It was I saw it a happen so full of confidence I plugged my camera into the application and .........nothing! Could I get it to work? I had a list of choices as long as my arm. When this happens there is nobody to help. I tried the Sony Store and they did try but the person I wanted was 'not there today' so I had to go for the big boss.

Eventually I got the message. Silly me! I had thought the camera was a 'camera'. I mean it looks like a 'camera' and takes pictures like a 'camera' but it seems when talking to a computer this is an external hard drive! No why couldn't I work that out! I felt soooo stupid. Sadlly the boss who was sooo nice left me to it with advice to look at the specification page in the hand book, Now where did I put that?

On studying the File List I saw underneath 'Log & Capture' which is what I used in the past was a 'Log & transfer'. A click on this and Bingo problem solved. Images loaded up in a trice. Quicker than tape BUT it takes hours to sort them out. Hours in fact! With tape you just skim over and forget!

Still the HD images are splendid and that is the way I have to comply. Why couldn't somebody just have told me that!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Romance of the Postage Stamp

Most valuable stamp collection to go under the hammer expected to fetch £20 million

Sir Humphrey Cripps was one of life’s hoarders. When he died in 2000, his sons found an old shoebox in the back of his wardrobe containing thousands of train tickets – one for every rail journey he had ever made. Telegraph

Ah the romance of the postage stamp. I bought a collection once for a few pounds and the dealer told me one day I could spend thousands of pounds for one stamp. He was right! I have bought an entire collection for one stamp.

You can feel history! The history of the perforating machine alone reads like a novel. The beauty of a New Zealand Full Face Queen. A tiny Rembrandt and just a beautiful and valuable.

I am not in Sir Humphrey's class of collector but I can understand the pleasure he must have had.

My most precious item is a letter written from Dachau concentration camp. Yes the prisoners were allowed to send letters asking for food and  money. It is moving especially the bit where it says no that correspondence and requests for visits  will be entered into. 
It is just a letter with a stamp but what a letter!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nick Clegg Promises Promises

Nick Clegg is the Leader of Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons. He is also and atheist married to  a Roman Catholic. He obviously loves his wife very much. So much in fact that in order to marry her in a Catholic Church and save her from  the excommunication that for her would ensue if they married in a Registry Office Nick Clegg will have had to promise the Vatican several things on oath. Nick Clegg must have done this as they married and now he has to keep his promises.

So what exactly has Nick Clegg promised? Well it sounds quite acceptable. He promised among other things  that all the children of this marriage would be brought up as Roman Catholics. That sounds reasonable. It is slightly embarrassing for a leader who is an atheist to have to send your  children to expensive faith schools  when the rest of your constituents have to make do with a state school but no doubt Nick Clegg feels that he has to keep his word and I feel he is right to do so.

So what has Nick Clegg signed his children up for? The sort of faith school his children will be attending, say the Oratory where Tony Blair's children went will give them a privileged education, strong discipline and an intense education and understanding of the Roman Catholic faith. RE may take up to an hour a day.

What's is wrong with that you may well ask? There are a billion Roman Catholics in the world who follow this belief system. That's true but many non believers have no idea just what being a Roman Catholic entails or what they believe so here from a paid up member of the Roman Catholic Church are a few fundamental beliefs that may surprise you.

To begin as a Roman Catholic I have to believe in all the dogmas of the church. No exceptions! I am not allowed to cherry pick or deviate. If I do I am excommunicated.

All Roman Catholics have to believe in a historical 'Adam & Eve', the first humans created by God the Father and their 'Original  Sin'. This 'Sin', eating of the 'tree of knowledge' damned the whole of mankind to eternal damnation. God the Father sent his only begotten son Jesus Christ to be sacrificed on the cross to save us from this 'Sin'. All humans have a 'Soul' that must be cleansed by Baptism and then kept in pristine condition. Mortal Sins condemn you to hell for all eternity. We know by DNA that a historical 'Adam & Eve' never existed. The Vatican knows this too but that makes no difference. I must believe that this 'Original Sin' was a real event and was committed.

The most important  Catholic belief is that during the mass  at the moment of consecration the bread and wine are turned into the body and blood of Jesus Christ which one receives during communion. I believe that I am eating the actual body and blood of Christ at this moment. It is as though while the wafer is in your mouth you actually have God within your body.  This is very powerful.

The Virgin birth is obligatory so is the bodily Assumption of the Virgin Mary into Heaven. This is not mentioned in the bible. I must believe that Mary bodily ascended into heaven. This was introduced in 1952 and must be believed on pain of excommunication.

The Pope is infallible. Once a doctrine such as the one above is defined by the Pope under certain conditions the doctrine stands for all time even if it is found to be incorrect. I must accept the Pope's decision in celestial matters.

Thanks to the 'Sin of  Eve' women will never be treated as equals. They will never be allowed to become priests. St Paul, whose doctrines are considered to be infallible made this quite clear. I have to accept that I am not equal to a man.

Theistic Evolution is permitted until the Pope defines the position. This says 'God did 'it' but we don't know how'! Belief in The Modern Scientific Theory of Evolution is not permissible at present probably because it casts serious doubt on the historical 'Adam & Eve' and their 'Original Sin' so for me science is compromised but I have to accept this.

Lastly I have to conform to the Vatican's sexual requirements. No abortion even for rape, no birth control and no protection for HIV Aids under any circumstances.

I experienced this type of faith education. No sex education at all and no science.I  have to believe in the face of overwhelming evidence and if I don't I go to hell. Again I must state if you are a Catholic this is what you must believe - no exceptions. Many Catholics find this hard and prefer not to discuss but just get on with it.

I could go on all day but this gives you an understanding of what Nick Clegg has signed his kids up for! Many parents do, mine did. My mother married in a Registry Office and for the rest of her life was barred communion. I married a Catholic in a Registry Office but at least he was a Catholic so I am not barred. I think! Don't quote me on that one. I probably am!

Next time you meet a Roman Catholic you will have some idea of what they actually believe and how it differs from reality. Six impossible things before breakfast is the order of the day and what's wrong with that?

Monday, June 6, 2011

D Day 6th June Trieste The D Day Dodgers

D-Day 6th of June means a lot to us British. For most it is a day of pride, the day that put the 'Great' back into Great Britain but for my father Major James Charles Hugh Miller it was not such a good memory for at the time he was  in Trieste having fought his way up through North Africa, Sicily, Italy via Monte Casino had ended up in Trieste a seaport in Northern Italy.

The 'Great British Public' felt that the those troops who were safely out of the way in Italy were not doing their bit and had it easy. The troops were known as the D.Day Dodgers  and were classed as cowards! My father really objected to this. He was so incensed that he carried around an envelope with the words of a song sung to 'Lillie Marlene' that said how the Italian troops felt. I found this airmail when he died in 1997 in his wallet.

Being a typical daughter I never bothered to find out what my father actually did during the war. I had a vague idea. I knew he was in the RASC and had risen from private to  Captain then Major and that was about it so it came as a surprise and a shock to find out.

My father Major Miller had saved just one dispatch and in 2000 I found it in among a collection of envelopes. I opened it and I read it. It was quite long but evidently his Superior Officer Major Storey had told my father to write out a complete history of his brigade. I learned in detail what my father had been doing during his war in Italy, basically building roads and repairing the trucks and lorries, usually just behind or in some cases in front of the front line. His description of Vesuvius erupting on the night the Allies had entered Naples was entertaining as the Allies thought it was the Germans who had found out and lit up the sky in defense . He also saved the US Army from blowing up the famous bridge in Florence but how was not mentioned. I have the photos of the event he took somewhere. It was also his job to bury the dead. I believe the dead horses were the worst. Evidently the Germans used a lot of horses!

It made fascinating reading. I was so proud of him and I wished now I had listened more closely to his war stories but at least I knew. To begin he had been in the fire brigade in London during the Blitz in the West End pulling people out of buildings. He once even directed the traffic in Oxford Circus and did such a good job he made the Times! He entered the army as a private and soon became officer material. Not surprising as my father had attended Glasgow Academy! The Eton of the North!

Then I looked at the date of the dispatches and I couldn't believe my eyes. This dispatch was written of D Day 6th of June 1944! Daddy had spent D Day writing his companies war record in Trieste and it must have hurt to know that he and his company was classed as a D Day Dodgers!

I was so proud of him! Still am! What a wonderful father!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ecoli Bacteria diarrhea and death

"The death toll from the E.Coli bacterium rose to 16 on Tuesday, with a woman in Sweden becoming the first outside Germany to die of the infection. The 50-year old had been taken ill after returning from a trip to Germany. Health professionals were braced for more deaths as EHEC poisoning, in the worst of cases, can lead to full-blown haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), a condition associated with bloody diarrhoea and kidney failure."  Telegraph
Severity of the illness varies considerably; it can be fatal, particularly to young children, the elderly or the immunocompromised. 

Don't I know it! In 2001 I contracted a 'bug' that nearly killed me! What is was I have no idea but I ended up with Clostridium Difficile which is gangrene of the stomach and eats you alive. Not only does it eat your stomach but it eats into your nervous system. In the old days before antibiotics this would be enough to kill you but Vancomycin, the drug of last resort, works or it did nine years ago. Vancomycin is very expensive and only used as a 'last resort'. Up till that moment the doctors thought I was malingering. Actually I was dying.

The problem is no one is supposed to live after this so the results of 'living' with an eaten up nervous system are not known. My nervous system went haywire and not helped by all the Benzodiazipin I was given in the pre meds to rule out cancer.

Stomach bugs are nasty. They kill and even if you live life will never be the same. I was told to live every day 'one day at a time'. The first three years were indescribable. I think I should rather have been dead. There was nothing anyone could do. Physically I was fine I just felt as if I was dying. I lost every friend I had as my behavior was 'strange'. Most of the time I was scared stiff and I had fits and appalling anger. I did this alone. I think that is why I survived.

This is how a stomach bug can 'get you' so take my advice wash your hands all the time especially after going to the loo.  Never eat any food that is uncovered. Only eat at restaurants that have a big turnover and then don't touch the salad or chicken hot or cold and never let a dog kiss your face. Even then you may get a bug.

Still I am nearly better and I am so pleased I lived! Thank goodness for science!