Monday, January 10, 2011

5. Videos on Portable Devices

I am currently writing this at 34,000 feet about halfway down the eastern seaboard, on my way to Walt Disney World. A few moments ago I was pondering what my next article was going to be about, and it was literally staring me in the face. I was watching a Travel Channel Disney World special on my iPad and it hit me. I am on an airplane enjoying a great documentary about the vacation kingdom. I would say that this is a pretty good example of modern technology helping me get my Disney World fix!

It doesn't seem that long ago that when we wanted to watch something of interest, we'd have to look it up in the TV guide and make sure that we were home at exactly the right time to turn it on. Then we would inevitably get a phone call or mom would put dinner on the table, and we'd miss some or most of our show. Then this great new invention came out called a VCR. We were very lucky to have one of the first, back in the early 80s. Now we could tape a show and have the luxury of watching it at a later time. Of course if you had a computer science degree you could actually "program" the VCR to start recording at a specific time. In my family, I was considered brilliant because I actually got the little digital display to stop blinking 12:00....12:00....12:00. You get the picture!

The next great invention, sometime around the millennium, was the DVR or digital video recorder. This amazing box actually allowed you to easily record tv programs without having to use a video tape. I still don't know where it keeps all of these hours of video so I just chalk it up to magic. But, there was still one fundamental problem......you had to be HOME to watch these recordings!

This leads me back to row 22, seat F. What has happened over the past decade that allows me to watch whatever I want, whenever I want to watch it, from an airplane? The Apple company went from a second rate computer manufacturer to creating a whole new technological world with their iMacs, iPods, iPhones and their newest marvel, the iPad. Although many other companies now use similar technology, Apple was truly the innovator and the overwhelming industry leader. When we talk of any portable media device we almost always say iPod (Apple's trademark), even if it isn't made by Apple. This is akin to how most of us say Kleenex when referring to any brand of facial tissue.

Getting back to my Travel Channel Disney World special, I'd like to quickly describe how I got this video from my home in CT to my lap next to the emergency exit on AirTran flight 1079. First, I stuck the DVD into the side of my iMac and copied it to the computer using a free program called "Handbrake." I then used iTunes to transfer it to my iPad, iPhone and my son's iPod Touch and voila, it is now a show that I can watch anywhere I may be. Incidentally, my son and wife are three rows behind me (not a great job of selecting seats!) and he is watching something Disney related on his iPod.

Ok, we are about to land in Orlando. I'm going to try (as hard as it might be) to actually "experience" Walt Disney World World for the next week without staring at a portable device. However, I look forward to watching my home videos on my iPhone and iPad when we get back!

Have a Disneyriffic day and remember to keep moving forward. See ya real soon!

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