The Tyranny of Technology


from state of the art to paperweight…..

We are moving.

We bought an apartment upstairs in the same building, and Monday is moving day.

This being Manhattan, we are also doing a great deal of work on the new apartment, and instead of moving out, we are going to try and work around and live with the workers. (We’ll see how this goes). Most planned construction work in this city take twice as long as promised.

But in perparation for the move, we have started to box up our stuff. Some goes upstairs with us, the vast majority goes into storage until the work is done.

As we were packing, Lisa said to me, “what do you want to do with the CDs”?

Like everyone else, we have a large CD collection, but faced with them I suddenly realized I have not played a CD in two years. Not that we don’t listen to music, but for the past two years, since the first iPod (and now 3 iPod generations later), we have not only not purchased a CD; I don’t think we have listened to one.

Pictured above is my Bang and Olufsen Beomaster 9000. It is a lovely machine. State of the are when I bought it. I realize that I have also not used it in two years either. You slide your hand over the right hand side and a door silently opens up for CDs. Never use ’em. Slide your hand over the left hand side and the cassette tape door opens. Cassette tape.

Music and radio I now get on my computer. All the time. I listen to NPR every morning. I like the Santa Monica station. Online also. iTunes for music.

Tower Records, a bastion of my youth has gone out of business. It’s the web.

Today, the San Francisco Chronicle announced they were laying off 100 staffers. It is a wonderful paper. Neil Henry, writing in the paper, blames it on the web. He is right. Advertising was the lifeblood of newspapers. Places like Craigslist began to drain it away. And newspapers are very physical things – to get the paper to you one must cut down trees, make paper, pour ink, run presses, physically transport the papers in trucks and vans to your door.

That costs money.

And the paper can only come once a day.

The web is free. It delivers to the entire planet for free every day. Each morning I read The NY Times, The Guardian, and The Daily Mail online. No paper. The web is going to destroy newspapers. Who could have imagined it? William Randolph Hearst driven to bankruptcy.

This is the irresistable force of technology.

You cannot stop it.

It is the most powerful force on earth.

Web 1.0 was about moving around print.

Ten years after the web began to move print, the chickens are coming home to roost. Newspapers are starting to drop like flies. They will continue to do so, unless they can move fast enough to radically reinvent themselves. Maybe they can, maybe they can’t.

Web 2.o is about video.

What happens to newspapers now is going to happen to Television stations and networks and movie theaters and blockbuster in the next decade.

You can count on it.

The march of technology is irresistable.

There are those with very secure jobs now in those fields who cannot believe this is going to happen. A decade ago, you might have had the same conversation with a reporter or editor who worked for The Chronicle, or The New York Times, or the LA Times… or Time Magazine.

Change or die.

The television stations can watch the newspapers now as they start to go through their death throes and scramble to re-invent themsevles and try to survive. They will look askance, but they will find it hard to believe that the web is coming for them next.

It is.

And institutions that once seemed rock solid find themselves in tatters.

Anyone want a B&O Beomaster 9000?


17 responses to “The Tyranny of Technology

  1. It’s an uncertain time for many who have become steadfast in the old way of doing things. It’s difficult to change – it puts us outside of our comfort zone. But this shift that is occurring is a necessary thing to go through.

  2. i just hope that Bubble 2.0 doesn’t burst before we make the complete move.

  3. After reading all the back and forth here since I found this site, I’d restrained myself to cautious optimism and support of the VJ paradigm.

    Then I found:

    while poking around on another site. The idea is so logical that when you couple it with the current discussions, I just don’t see how things are going to unfold any other way.

    It might be worth re-watching if you haven’t seen it in a while.

    I’d ask for that B and O because it’s so pretty, but when I lived in San Francisco I had a buddy that worked at Next Computer (the ill-fated Steve Jobs venture) who gave me 4 Next Cubes – they were gorgeous (I even got one to boot up)! I was thinking about making a coffee table with them. But the wife objected, so they lie in a landfill somewhere down in Silicon Valley.

    Maybe that thing could be converted into a nice jewelry box? It sure is pretty.

  4. Keep that B&O box, it is a thing of beauty. I wish I had kept my first Mac 512K. Today it would be a tangible reminder of the change we are all caught up in and which a few, like you, help us to make sense of.

  5. The web will change television. It already has and that transformation will continue.

    Since much of the web is free at present, the level of quality is what you would expect for “free”. You get what you pay for.

    The only sites which get the highest return hit rates are those run by traditional news outlets. That’s because they can afford to produce the needed quality.

    The web is no different than a sign in front of any business. It’s important, but the sign is not what brings customers back again and again. It’s the content.

    If you can’t produce quality content, it doesn’t matter what delivery form you use. Poor , inconsistent quality equals failure every time.

    It’s for that very reason so many web sites can not survive on their own. Even 5 Takes can’t be done without a real broadcast production behind it to write the checks.

  6. guess i’ll have to find a new character as an id.

    it’s great to be !dolized.

    i will take serious exception with my minime though; most broadcast sites are losing viewers to their web channels that is consistent with their loss of viewers at the tube. if they don’t care for your quality crap on tv they probably ain’t gonna like it online is my guess.

    pure plays are the ones that are adding users as they don’t have the dead weight to drag.

    best of luck with the “!” id, it has served me well.

  7. I don’t understand your angst.

    If one’s goal is to be a youtube contributor I don’t think paying for a class is going to increase viewer hits to what you post. Last I heard, no one makes money off of youtube except youtube. The goal is to do something which generates revenue for yourself so you can do those basics like feed and cloth yourself. Maybe even pay a light bill once in a while. Youtube and the other “one hit wonders” don’t work in that way. “Pure plays” that make money get their material, and revenue, by using their existing resources. They re purpose it to the web so it generates revenue and “eyes” which support their business. I’m always interested in finding a successful business model site (read generates revenue which pays salaries for the employees) which produces what you prefer to call “quality crap” that isn’t associated with an existing broadcast/production company.

    Both television and newspapers are able to do this though newspapers are finding it harder to do unless they partner themselves with area, existing broadcast outlets instead of trying to retrain their in-house still photographers in the art of shooting and editing a compelling quality product which draws return viewers.

    Keep in mind, just because someone throws out their typewriter and buys a computer to have the latest technology, doesn’t make them a best selling author with people who will pay them for their work.

  8. Mini-Me’s posts imply he is a victim – he has no control over the shift in how video is being created and he has to piss and moan about it instead of adapting to the inevitable.

    The National Press Photographers Association is currently running their seminar in Portland this week about transitioning print media shooters to video. The NPPA is a prestigious organization dedicated to furthering the art of visual journalism and I’m sure you would have something negative to say about them as well if it fit into your victim mentality Mini-Me.

    Adapt or perish…

  9. Of course I have no control. That is not a problem for me. I know how to do the job. That’s why I get paid to create content, whether it’s for broadcast or the web. You?

    The change does not cause me to be afraid. I am adapting just fine, thanks.

    Print photographers do need to make the transition to moving visuals. The days of still photography have been obviously dying for some time now. That is nothing new. There’s no need to send someone to snap frames when a still frame from a moving image captured at the best moment delivers the same product.

    I welcome any and all still photographers to the game. It will only make us all better. Competition is what always forces quality to the top in the long run.

    The NPPA is one of the dying organizations around. To point to it as some kind of leader in this area shows a lack of context to their existence in the world of media.

    The NPPA is and always has been dominated by still photographers. The television membership has always been treated as an unwanted step-child by the organization when it came to budget money and attention to the needs of the broadcast side. Now they are finally realizing their error and making efforts to change. They might succeed. Or they might not. The organization has, long ago, lost any relevance for myself since it is mired in contests and teaching those who are just beginning their efforts in shooting and editing video.

    You, Cliff, will fit right in. You can add it to your list of seminars and camps attended that you post on your resume. Education is good. What counts is then going on to actually be employed doing what you trained yourself for.

    Not kibitzing and avoiding the reality that those who can, “do” and those who can’t………

  10. b-roll or tvspy visitor alert!

  11. Now, everybody behave, or I’ll have to get all BetaMax on ya.

  12. I feel honored to have been attacked by so many aliases which all sound like the same person – not only attacking those who see differently that the GOB’s, but also attacking me personally.

    TDC is probably right.

    Jim – you got my back??? 😉

  13. Now who is playing the victim Cliff? You are too sensitive about your current situation. A paying job would give you the confidence you need. It will come. Doing what? That’s up to you.

  14. I went on over to the b-roll forums to lurk about and see what their beef is. Now they believe the Solo VJ paradigm is a cult!!! :-O

    Um – Ok – so now Michael is our unerring leader and we will drink the kool-aid on demand.

    These guys are too much…

  15. Mini-Me – You must think that I consider what you have to say about me as being important. You’re wrong.

  16. Excellent post by PF Bentley over at the B-roll forums.

    Makes for good reading

  17. Pingback: » The Solo VJ Paradigm Hits A Raw Nerve bluprojekt/Cliff Etzel - Video Journalist

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