Ergonomics

IMAG2369-w1920-h1400I’m using a new “clicker” on TV and it’s been driving me crazy. It’s all a matter of ergonomics. It looks so simple. Just three buttons. Right?

The unit is meant to be held with the single button on top. It’s the only one used on-the-air. The other two are only used during setup.

I’ve hit the two setup buttons by mistake recently. It throws everything out of whack!

I can see why now, but it wasn’t that obvious. In order to press the top button, my finger must cross the buttons on the bottom. If they were recessed this wouldn’t be a problem.

They’re not.

As of tomorrow the single button will be on the bottom. Problem solved, I hope.

Dinner With Eddie

I’m in Palm Desert this evening, at the TV station. I drove in from Orange County earlier today. No sooner had I sat down than I got a text message from Eddie Ackerman.

Let’s grab dinner this week.

This week became this night. We went to Five Guys near the station.

Eddie’s a former New Yorker, like me… from Flushing, like me. He lives in Palm Springs now and loves it. How could you not?

I remember meeting Eddie the first time back in the late 70s or early 80s. He was working for Compact Video. They were a large video production company.

Eddie took me around. I wasn’t yet in TV. Everything he showed was dazzling.

In a control room full of monitors a guy was editing a concert. As the tapes played, he punched the show on a switcher. Every once-in-a-while he’d hit a shot he didn’t like, rewind the tapes and pick it up from there.

Close to 40 years later I remember how impressed I was. It’s a day vividly etched in my mind.

Companies like Compact don’t exist anymore. Million dollar plus control rooms aren’t needed. TV can be done on the cheap from nearly anywhere with quality not imagined back then.

Nothing ever stays the same. Certainly not Eddie and me!

Friends, Food, Fun

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We’ve been trying to see Sara Welch since we’ve been in California. That’s around a year-and-a-half of cancelled plans and conflicting schedules. Sara and I worked together at WTNH. Now she’s a reporter at KTLA in Los Angeles.

Finally. Today!

Sara and her husband Bob came for brunch. We also invited Soumada Smith, my weather center cohort at KMIR and a former co-worker of Sara’s at KTLA, and her husband, Jason.

We don’t need an excuse for my Irvine cousins. They were invited too.

It was a great time made even better by Helaine’s catering. She’s been cooking, baking and prepping for the last few days. Damn, she’s good!

Special bonus: I’ll have tasty and fattening leftovers for the next few days.

Why did we wait all this time?

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Who Said I’d Be Bored?

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I’m forecasting the weather for the Coachella Valley at KMIR. The physics of weather are the same, but there are different tools to use.

Satellite imagery is a lot more important here. Anything coming from the Pacific is out of radar range nearly all the way to the coast.

I’ve been looking at a plume of moisture from north of Hawaii curving up the Pacific then back down the West Coast. It’s the big weekend weather maker for SoCal. The only way to see it is from the bird.

Saturday, while it’s raining in LA and San Diego, there will be partly cloudy skies over Palm Springs with a few sprinkles. We are protected by steep mountains, some over 11,000 feet tall.

On Sunday the moisture heads in from the south. No protection there! That’s when we get the bulk of our rain.

Some computer models show around an inch of rain in Palm Springs by Monday morning. That’s a lot in a place that floods easily. I spent time tonight explaining ‘washes’ to the tourists and snowbirds watching.

On top of the rain we’ve got wind for Saturday and as much as a foot and a half of snow in some mountain locations.

Who said I’d be bored forecasting here?

The Data Guzzler

Internet Tools

I wrote a few days ago about the realization I was the IT guy around here. Now I see how much data is actually moving through. It’s scary.

Under my cable provider’s biggest Internet package I’m allotted 400 Gb of data a month. I’ve used 326 Gb so far, including one day I blew through 79 Gb, with a week to go.

I need the bandwidth! It’s worth ponying up for additional service if I really have to. I’ve been told, “Don’t worry.” There is a cap, but it’s not enforced.

Video from my studio is encoded at 10 Mbps. It’s the HD+ mode. Overkill? It seems the right way to go, even though it’s burning through 4.5 Gb of data every hour.

Beyond that I get dozens and dozens of maps, most produced as data comes in. They’re sent to me as movies which can be run through my control room. Movie files are large. Some are hundreds of megabytes. At the moment maps are taking more bandwidth than live video!

Originally I was pulling them in 24/7. I’ve just backed off, cutting the flow by at least 75% (and still having everything available on demand).

As much as I thought I knew about my studio project, there’s some stuff you just can’t understand until operations begin.

Bill O’Reilly And The Truth

It’s not like O’Reilly made this stuff up out of whole cloth. He almost did those things he’s claimed… almost.

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Trip To Riverside

We have been transformed. More and more we are losing our individual identity. It’s the price we pay for our more efficient economy. Local businesses struggle to compete.

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Rain Shade Is Major

Locales have individual climatic quirks like baseball parks have ground rules. The Coachella Valley, where the vast majority of our viewers live, is a protected valley. We are flanked by mountains. We get “rain shade.” Real term. I didn’t make it up.

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Now I’m The IT Guy

When I started my studio project I had no idea I’d become “the IT guy.” Everything is digital. Nothing is analog… except me. The good news is I like this stuff, but this is way deeper in than I’ve ever been. I’ve got servers and a bunch of other single purpose computers, like my switcher […]

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Tonight’s Tech Experience

I have a piece of gear at home. It’s a special data modem for a project I’m working on. It comes from Canada. I called tech support tonight. Bucharest, Romania. Actually it was a cool experience. The tech was knowledgeable and didn’t seem rushed. He was used to dealing with techies. He knew my equipment. […]

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