David Carr

david carrI am immensely saddened by tonight’s loss of David Carr. No one understood media, especially new media, better than David Carr.

Like yesterday’s death of Bob Simon, David Carr died unexpectedly after a life of hair raising, death defying situations. He died in the New York Times newsroom. Carr had once careened through life as a hard core drug addict. His twins were born crack babies.

He was a loser who became a winner. David Carr was a hero to me. He was a grown-up who got it. He overcame it all at an age that’s the beginning of the end for most.

He was a Timesman–a shining example of why the New York Times is a treasure as much as a newspaper.

I never met David Carr, but this is still a personal loss to me. He touched me deeply. I am in shock at his death as I was in awe of his talent.

I Follow The Maps

gfs_namer_177_850_temp_mslp_precipAs a kid I loved maps. Even as an adult. For one pre-Internet birthday Helaine bought me a huge Rand McNally Atlas.

So detailed. So pretty. I spent hours staring at the world.

Today my job is all about the maps. A large portion of my day is spent staring at squiggly lines and hatched areas superimposed on maps by our weather models.

Stare over my shoulder, they look meaningless and abstract. To me the maps are telling a story. Sometimes the story is tough to find, but tonight everything is well defined.

The 850mb 0c line is the big deal. 850 mb corresponds to around 5,000 feet above sea level. I’m looking at the freeze line at 5,000 feet. It’s a good rain/snow indicator. When it plunges very far south it’s the sign of a major Arctic outbreak.

Next Thursday morning the 850 mb 0c line is just north of Lake Okeechobee in Florida. Yes, that’s REALLY far south.

California will miss this blast of cold, but just about everyone east of the Mississippi will feel it… in spades! It could be the coldest outbreak this winter.

It’s easy to just concentrate on my area of concern, but I always sneak a few peeks at the country as a whole. Yikes! It really is winter.

Jon Stewart And Brian Williams

williams-stewart

A real one-two punch today. Brian Williams suspended for six months, then Jon Stewart announcing he’s leaving The Daily Show. I’ll start with Stewart.

Shocked!

There was no way I saw this coming. It would be different if Rosewood, his directorial debut, had gotten rave reviews. He is walking away from the goose tha lays the golden egg!

Today Jon Stewart is a powerful political force. Attention from The Daily Show can swing public opinion.

He undoubtedly understands the powerful voice he commands doesn’t leave the show with him. Just ask Glenn Beck, Howard Stern or Oprah. They left over-the-air broadcasting for positions with less visibility and influence.

Fifteen years is a long time. Stewart, especially after the movie, doesn’t seem as passionate. There are more movie star interviews and fewer examples of Stewart as TVs only interviewer who actually read the book. Better to quit before that lack of drive becomes too obvious?

I will miss The Daily Show. It’s the only show I watch even if I can’t fast forward through the ads.

Selfishly, I’ll be sad.

Brian Williams situation is a little more complex. NBC says he’s suspended for six months without pay. He’s a union employee. Suspensions only happen like this if negotiated with Williams’ full agreement and everyone signs off.

I’ve never met Brian Williams, but I know folks who’ve worked with him. I’ve never heard a bad word–and I would have. He’s always been cited as the kind of guy you want in your newsroom.

We all fall victim to puffery. Everyone inflates their resume a little. This is more than most. Maybe it is an actionable offense?

However, Brian Williams deserves to have his transgressions weighed against the total of his professional life. There’s a little Geoff self pity in that last sentence.

Should Brian Williams’ penalty be a life sentence? I don’t think so, but not strongly enough that my opinion might not change over time.

Today’s outcome for both Jon Stewart and Brian Williams saddens me. And, in the end, shouldn’t it be all about the viewer?

I Love Video

Screenshot 2015-02-09 23.56

My friends are cruising the Irrawaddy River in Burma/Myanmar. Their ship is docked in Bagan, It is an exotic place.

I’m treated to photos and travelogues as they explore the world. I love it.

And then tonight, she called on Skype. I expected voice, but there she was on my screen from their cabin.

Unlocked cell phone. Burmese sim. Internet plan. It’s the third world in the Twenty First Century.

She proceed to take me on a tour of the ship.

We went up and down, through hallways and up stairs, into and out of parlors and dining rooms. She walked me down the gangway so I could see the ship itself.

“It’s my friend from California,” she said, while passing some perplexed shipmates.

They only cruise during daylight. The river is too dangerous after dark with many uncharted sand bars.

It is a shallow draft, flat bottom boat. It was built to cruise this fabled river.

What an absolutely cool call! We live in amazing times.

Back In Palm Springs

I made the drive to Palm Springs today. Another week of hotel living.

I know I’ve been here too long. As I went to check in, the desk clerk greeted me by name as I gave her a few old key cards to reprogram.

Things could be worse. It’s February and I’m living in a place where people flock in February. Even the president is coming here this weekend! It was 89 this afternoon. Gorgeous.

What I’m missing and what I need desperately is more concentrated play time with my new equipment. Does that sound strange? The best way to learn about new gear is to sit and play with it. Aimless playing works.

Soon. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying being here as best I can. Nice place. Great people.

Working On The Studio With The Larrys

It is finished. My studio is totally up and running. Today was lighting day! There were a few SoCal friends I thought of hitting up, but I asked Larry Fitzgerald first. Larry knows more about TV production than anyone I know. He was our production maven at Channel 8 in the ‘good old days.’ He […]

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Really Anthem? Really?

Not only isn’t using a stolen password a “very sophisticated attacked,” it’s not sophisticated at all. It’s the most common vector of entry for computer hacking. As far as I see, Anthem had no protection here at all.

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Dear Anthem: I Hate You

Let me cut to the chase. I don’t believe you. I don’t believe safeguarding my info was important to you.

Security doesn’t immediately add to profit.

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The Death Of A Disk Jockey… Of Disk Jockeys

I had lunch with Bob Hardt today. Bob’s the radio friend I wrote about a few weeks ago. Like all radio people we mourn its loss, because radio meant so much to us. I grew up thinking the disk jockeys I listened to were hot stuff. They were. Radio isn’t like that anymore. To a […]

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The Missing Piece

I discovered something this past weekend. A function I thought was included on my switcher is not! Workarounds are possible, but they would lessen the finished product. An engineer from NewTek, the company that makes my control room, suggested a device called Shout. He saw it at a trade show and was impressed. I watched […]

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