Saturday, April 29, 2017

Thanks to the help of some awesome friends, the ongoing video "revamp" project continues forward. Six of my seven video releases (formally on DVD) have been successfully redone and are now digitized, ready for flash drive/instant download. The remaining video is complete save for the final chapter, a 2003 event that I had never digitized and hence, had not been able to even watch for almost a decade. My friend Blake Naftel, who is a seasoned professional in the video/radio/news world, has graciously helped me with this problem, digitally formatting my dinosaur VHSc masters. Once they arrive in Tejas, I'll be able to complete the final video. Mickey Ptak, my long time partner in crime, has reached out to me and offered his assistance in setting up my videos for instant download purchasing on my website. With it being the meat of the Spring storm season and him having a big vacation coming up in early May, we have scheduled that project to begin sometime during the Summer. And Tim Patterson, web developer guru, has been hooking me up with great hosting service to make it all live. I'm very fortunate in my friends, and I'm very thankful.

So, things over at Passion Twist are coming together steadily. It's been nice to get the website back to current and (as much as can be now) relevant once again. If you've browsed my site lately, you might've noticed the long, detailed chase summaries are gone. I felt bad nixing them because a lot of people over the years have expressed how much they enjoy them, but the reality is it was still not enough people to justify the time and effort involved in creating those summary pages. I dreaded doing them towards the end, something I had once gotten great pleasure from. I've always said, I appreciate it and am flattered whenever anyone compliments me on my work, but at the end of the day, everything I do is for me. And writing summaries just isn't in the cards anymore.

The summaries have been replaced by simple video captures of each tornado, linked inside that day's statistical display. It's easy to understand and maintain, and takes a fraction of the time. I've found that making it easier to keep my website/blog current makes it more likely I'll keep it current. I've though about adding other pages based around stats, but have yet to convince myself it's really worth the time. I doubt most people would be interested, and I kind of like some things remaining a mystery. Another thing I've been strongly considering getting rid of is my "links" page. Stand-alone websites are a bit of a novelty these days, and the fact is many chasers simply don't have them any longer. Even many chasers who are still active have either let them go to the cyber graveyard or simply no longer update them. I've had to trim my links page down considerably the past few years because of so many dead or broken links. Times change.

Speaking of times changing, I'm planning an upgrade to HD next year. But that's another blog.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bye bye DVDs

After over a decade of peddling those cumbersome, bulky DVDs, I've finally decided to dump the format and move forward into the 21st century. Not only will this move benefit both myself and the customer (easier for me to archive footage and create new videos in the future, plus a much lower sale price), it also allows me to end the nightmare of incorrectly used apostrophes. It has never, is not, nor will ever be "DVD's." The correct written form is "DVDs." Unless it's the highly-unlikely scenario of describing something about a DVD i.e., "the DVD's menu was both creative and easy to use..." an apostrophe is not needed. Plural does not automatically translate to possessive. They teach you that in 5th grade.

The new flash drive format I'll be implementing is stupid simple, cheap to produce, and takes away the stress of having to keep up with master tapes. Now I just have a bunch little plastic & metal sticks that, as long as you don't smash it with a hammer or static shock fry it, will last forever. That alone is a win, and makes the endeavor of redoing almost twenty years' worth of footage all over again completely worth it. I'm also planning (hoping) to offer instant downloads as well, although I will have to self-educate myself on the process, which could mean anywhere from a few months to never as far as making that a reality. I will of course post any updates to this situation.

But for now, it's chase season 2017, and I'm fully-focused on getting new tornadoes and videos.