Carroll Dale Short

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Nowadays, Everybody's Talking at Me

By Dale Short

“I like my home to smell fresh all the time, because you never know when somebody will drop by...”

“Why not add some spice to your game plan this weekend?”

“Meal time is family time!”

“Thanks for shopping with us today. Be sure to check out our daily specials!”

Everybody's talking at me. I don't hear a word they're saying. Only the echoes of my mind.

OK, not true. I really DO hear what they're saying, and that's what gets on my nerves, because there are no “real” people there, only their recorded voices.

I don't know what marketing genius came up with the concept of motion-activated audio/video displays that suddenly come to life and talk to you when you walk past them, but I'm not a big fan, so far.

Not to judge.

For years, I made advertising audios and videos for a living. But at least folks had to willingly turn on their radio or TV to hear/see them. It's not like they were ambushed out of the blue while they're, say, looking for the special Tension Headache Formula on the aspirin aisle, or trying to pump $10 worth of gas into their car's tank before their hands succumb to frostbite.

“Intrusive” is the first word that comes to mind.

On the plus side, it's good to know that in these trying economic times there are producers, directors, videographers, etc., out there making a living by creating this new stuff. Though it's clear we aren't in Kansas any more.

VERTICAL television monitors? What's up with that? I wouldn't know how to make a vertical video if you held a horizontal gun to my head.

It's taken me longer to learn the fine points of the new video software than it did to get through college, and that's saying a lot. I remember the days when the ability to make a toaster grow wings and fly across one's tiny computer screen was the ultimate in high-tech.

I remember the days when the act of “rendering” a video—converting it frame-by-frame from the editing version to a high-resolution version—was so slow that you could take a long lunch while a 30-second TV spot was rendering itself inside the computer. If you had a longer video, it could take overnight.

I remember the days when...

But, enough of that.

The good side of the technology getting so much better and cheaper, so fast, is that I can sit at my desk and edit a video of cable-TV quality without renting a professional studio to do so, with their $100,000 or more in equipment. There's nothing that cramps one's visual creativity like being billed $150 an hour while you're deciding on stuff.

Either this intrusive-media phase will pass, or else I'll get used to it. It's taken me until now to get used to a parked car's horn beeping when somebody presses their remote button. I no longer jump into the air and use questionable language when this happens.

For now, if being ambushed by ads while shopping gets too nerve-wracking, I can at least come home and watch a good movie.

One with an “off” switch.

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