Luddite: a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology: a small-minded Luddite resisting progress.
I try to stay current on technology and how it can benefit me. Before 2006 I had ripped all my audio CDs into digital files and while living in Thailand I gave those physical optical disks away. Why do I need them when I have all the quality and contents in one folder of one drive? Similarly I handled my DVDs of movies, ripping them to standalone computer files and discarding the disks. Years later, very recently, Apple Computer is once again leading the industry in eliminating optical drives from their computers; first they lead the charge to smaller hard-shelled floppy drives, then to optical drives, and finally to getting rid of these optical drives altogether declaring them irrelevant.
That makes me feel rather brilliant, as if leading the charge in the right direction well before the battle was known. Brilliant, forward looking, that’s me.
A few days ago a friend mentioned that I made her think of Mr. Holland’s Opus, as if I must know what that was all about. As it turned out I didn’t but I immediately went to Google and found a synopsis of a movie by the same name. It is about a man whose ambition was to write one memorable piece of music and in the meantime to make ends meet he became a music teacher. What he discovers accidentally is that his calling and true fulfillment in life was to teach music. If I may quote John Lennon, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” This movie sounds like an inspiring feel-good movie that does indeed strike a chord with me.
My initial search for this movie was to look for some sort of digital download, through iTunes, through piracy, whatever. All I was able to find was the purchase of a DVD on Amazon.com so that’s what I did. Yesterday the yellow cushioned envelope arrived and I opened it to make sure it was what I was expecting.
As I sat on the living-room couch, DVD in hand, I looked at my 55-inch wall-mount TV set. And then I looked at the DVD. Back and forth I looked until it dawned on me that there is no DVD player hooked up to that TV. My wife Cathy very much wanted to watch this movie with me.
It will play in my computer because I have an early 2009 Mac Pro with a built-in optical drive. I tried to rip this 1995 movie into a file I could move to a USB thumb drive and then plug into the TV but my software couldn’t handle it. First time, and I’ve ripped some heavily protected DVDs in my day (over 600). Granted I’m rusty, but there seems nothing I can do with it.
I seem to be undone, not by my avoidance of new technology but rather by my looking too far forward and embracing the future. When I buy software or content it is by downloading it. The last truly major software I purchased came in the mail contained on a one terabyte hard drive. I don’t play silly games with these tiny four-gig containers anymore, they are a waste of space and they are horribly slow.
Then it hit me. Buried in the back of a closet was a special device for burning VHS tapes to DVD. My parents had all their home movies converted from 8 mm to VHS tape a long time ago and I took on the chore of trying to burn those to DVD after which I intended to rip them to computer files. That recorder never really did the job but I dug it out and we just finished watching the movie a few minutes ago. It really was a made for me.
There’s something about teaching someone music one-on-one. As every piano is different than all the others and it takes time to learn to take advantage of its strengths and weaknesses, so a student also has their strengths and weaknesses. It is very much like the student is an instrument to play and you need to find that familiarity and inspiration with the student just like you have to find the common ground between yourself and a particular instrument. Once its all worked out it is a wonderful thing but it does take a lot of time and patience. Time well spent and an end unto itself.