Come Back Fighting

For some reason when I was younger my English skills and hand-writing weren’t as good as they should have been, or at least I was led to believe that was the case. In the early years of Middle School I had an English Teacher called Mrs Hall. She was known for being fairly strict but I quite liked her no-nonsense approach to teaching.

I didn’t like the way she used to force a pen in to my right hand when I’ve always been left-handed. By force I mean quite literally, I was ‘stupid’ for being left-handed. I was told that my English skills were so bad that I would never amount to anything. I wasn’t the only one in the class who was treated that way, there was a small group of us who would be talked down to because of the way we were.

Thinking back, I can’t remember why I had a hard time with those skills in particular. I can remember from a young age that I used to write and draw. When it came to a point in our school year where we were being taught about poetry, again, I was told that I was stupid because I would never be able to do what the rest of the class were doing.

I was made in a certain way and being shunned was not ‘my way‘. Having been given some homework to write poetry during the school holidays I wrote something which came from within. I didn’t want to show anyone at first just in case their response was the same as Mrs Hall’s.

I was spending a couple of days with my Dad during the holidays and typed up the piece of poetry I’d written on his computer and printed it out on his HP Deskjet 500 (remember those?!). He asked to see it and quickly told me to print off a copy for him.

The holidays finished, I went back to school and handed in my piece of work. I was proud of what I’d done, it was just a few lines of poetry but those words on that piece of A4 came from my heart. It was graded mediocre at best. I wasn’t heartbroken, I’d come to expect the same every time I handed in something to be marked.

Months later, I found out that the paper copy which my Dad had asked for had actually been sent by him in to a poetry competition which I knew nothing about. The competition was ran by the Daily Mail and the competition winners and runner ups would have their poetry published in a book.

My piece of poetry got through for my age category to the final and came second. My words, which apparently I was too stupid to write, came second in a national competition and were published in a book called ‘Voices on the Wind’.

I couldn’t wait to go into school and tell Mrs Hall that it had happened and show her the letter of proof. I’d expected a happy reaction, and all I got was her telling me that her prize student in the class should have been the one entering into competitions. But, you know, that’s ok as my words are in a book on a shelf somewhere. I’ve never stopped having the same reaction when people say I can’t do something, I always come back fighting and so should you.

News Report from 1981 about the Internet

We often forget about what the internet was like before our time. Here it is in all its glory in a news report from 1981. 2 years before I was born they talk about how it will change in the future. It changed everyones lives.

Import .mov files in to iMovie

Trying to import .mov files in to iMovie doesn’t always work first time round as I’ve just found out. I was ready to start editing the Industry Conference videos, went to import the .mov files in to iMovie and they were greyed out.

I could swear I’d important .mov files in to iMovie before without any problems, so double checked with some older video I’d imported and I was right. They had worked fine. After doing some much required googling I found that most .mov files do in fact import into iMovie just fine. There are however a small few which can’t for specific reasons and Tim Johnson answered the reasons better than I could myself;

In iMovie 11 (current version) click FILE/IMPORT/MOVIES… and navigate to your .mov file. iMovie will import it.

It is important to realize that MOV is a container, not a codec. iMovie will only import codecs that it can edit.  For example, iMovie cannot edit DIVX, so if your MOV file contains DIVX, iMovie will not import it. Codecs that iMovie can handle include AVCHD, h.264, Motion JPEG, Apple Animation, Apple Intermediate Codec, DV, HDV, etc. 

The audio codec must also be compatible with iMovie. AAC and AIFF work well.

Further, iMovie cannot edit MOV files with extra tracks such as closed caption tracks, chapter tracks, tween tracks, manual advance tracks, and the like.
If your MOV file contains these, you can delete these tracks using Apple’s QuickTime Pro.

If the MOV file contains extra tracks, or contains a video or audio codec that iMovie cannot edit, the MOV file will be grayed out and not selectable in the import dialog box.

You can determine which codecs and tracks your MOV file contains by opening the file in QuickTime Player (or QuickTime Pro) and clicking WINDOW/INSPECTOR (or Command-I). The codec information will be listed next to the word FORMAT in the inspector.

The above explains the problems I was facing. The new videos I had to import for Industry Conference were filled with codec’s not normal within iMovie. This incurred a slight bit of panic that I’d have to have the files resent to me (about 600gb worth) I found that it wasn’t so bad.

How you can import .mov files in to iMovie

It is easier than it may seem although it might cost you just a little bit of money to do so. There are a couple of apps that you can use to convert your .mov media which won’t import in to iMovie into .mp4 files which you can use.

Firstly there is the Bigasoft iMovie Converter for Mac which you can download a trial of and use to convert a small file to see how it works before purchasing a licence.

Secondly there is the iSkysoft Video Converter for Mac app which you can also download a trial of and use to convert a file, however, they create a watermark over the demo’d conversion.

I downloaded both demo’s and opened them up, Bigasoft was visually displeasing on the eye and looked older than iSkysoft. Quickly navigated through the conversion process on iSkysoft and converted one of the smaller videos which wouldn’t import in to iMovie hoping that no quality would be lost nor the audio out of sync. Everything was perfect.

So the way to import .mov files in to iMovie if they’re greyed out is simply convert them first with iSkysoft. They’ll convert in to .mp4 files which you can then import edit, export and upload to where you want them to be.

Information Overload and Re-learning

My name is Gavin Elliott and I have an information problem. At the very least it’s a challenge, a personal challenge which I think many others have.

There is so much information and knowledge being shared that I find it incredibly difficult to keep up. Here’s a breakdown of what excites me;

  • The Web
  • Design
  • Coding
  • Business
  • History
  • Geography
  • News from all countries
  • Technology
  • Movies
  • TV Series (Vikings, Game of Thrones etc etc)
  • Business (General)
  • Finance (General)

As it currently stands there are;

  • 9046 unread items in Reeder
  • 8000+ items in Instapaper
  • 1 Book I’m currently reading yet not finished
  • 20+ Books yet to be read on my bookshelf
  • 37+ notifications on Quora
  • 100+ items on Quora I want to read and keep up with
  • 2 current items on Branch I keep an eye on
  • 200+ Bookmarked links I would like to read
  • 30+ new links per day shared on Twitter which I would like to read

The Information Problem

I love to consume data and knowledge. Most would call it an obsessive compulsive disorder which all control has been lost. I try my hardest until I open up that next article and start to read. My love of knowledge is in fact making things worse, for every item I think I’ve read and consumed I bookmark or add another three at least.

The Honesty

If I’m being absolutely honest with myself there are two underlying things which I need to come to terms with.

  1. I *thought* I needed to know as much about my interests as humanly possible, not just a little bit of them I thought I needed to know everything in its entirety.
  2. I *thought* consuming as much data/knowledge as possible would make me more knowledgeable about those subject matters.

After some time I believe both of them are completely flawed.

Trying to know so much about everything has stopped me from learning about specific areas of the things I really enjoy and can apply directly to my work/life. I seem to have floundered a bit in my practical ability. As an example, I’ve had various roles over the last few years which have restricted me from doing the things I really love. For instance, I used to find doing markup (HTML & CSS) therapeutic. I could sit for hours playing a game of chess with code to make everything work together.

I found myself in a position where a lot of my workload had to be in other areas which were more important (at the time) than doing markup. I tried to continue doing it in my spare time on my own little projects but it was taken out of my day to day role. Instead I’d bookmark and read as many articles as I could, listening carefully to talks and monitoring code snippets. Herein lies the problem. I thought I could learn theory without the practical. I can still piece together some solid markup, my confidence in actually doing so however is lower than it has ever been.

It is clear that I have a lot of interests and trying to learn about them all in their entirety has squandered the chance to practically implement what I’ve learned. Maybe thinking that we should learn everything is utterly delusional, maybe we’re just not supposed take everything in.

I’m only 50% of where I want to be

I’m months away from hitting my 30th birthday and I’m only 50% of where I want to be professionally. Granted I want to learn and share and think there is immense value in doing so but the conclusion is that I can’t learn things and talk about them without implementing them.

So, I’ve decided I’m going to go back to school, or at least I’m going to re-learn those things I miss the most through a practical means and forget about trying to take in all the information I can get my hands on. I’ll only be reading/learning about those things which will directly affect what I am doing practically.

In doing so I’m hoping my confidence issue will disappear and I’ll be back to my normal self. Through controlled data consumption I want to learn more, practice more and share more and this is the start.