Sunday, January 08, 2006

Bandwidth II

SELF-PROMOTING PROPAGANDA: Ignore at your leisure!

A few months ago, I talked about bandwidth , by means of complaining about AOL and dial-up access.

I had some goals:

If this all works out, my email addresses may change in the months to come. I can get rid of the QWEST landline (no loss!), and my AOL connection & email addresses on an unreliable, slow landline (net gain!), and do the computer things I really want to do at a lower cost to me by this time next year.

And I'll still be here next year, posting interesting RKBA and IPSC-related topics as well as this kind of really boring personal crap. But then I'll be able to offer digital MPG files of movies taken at IPSC matches, which includes Candid Camera moments that are worth the price of the ticket all by themselves.
Well, it's 'next year', and I am still here and I AM doing the same old boring stuff.

But I'm doing it faster.

Remember the Six Million Dollar Man?

"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him . . . we have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first bionic man. Steve Austin Jerry the Geek will be that man. Better than he was before, Stronger, Faster . . ."

Okay, so maybe I'm no Better but I'm sure-hell Faster and Stronger.

With my faster internet access, I can do more in less time. One of the problems I use to have (last June, when I was complaining about dial-up access) was that it took me all night to research a topic. I could do internet searches, but the results were so slow that following the links to real information could take all night. Sometimes I grew impatient, and was unwilling to continue my search for data which would either support or disprove my thesis. Consequently, some themes were never completed, and remain to this day in my DRAFT files.

On the other hand, it may be that further research would have revealed the story behind the story, and prevented me from proliferating fallacies. I am reminded most immediately about the story of a deputy sheriff who suffered injuries due to an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound which turned out to be not his fault at all. I characterized as "either the biggest liar, or the luckiest man I've ever heard of" or words to that effect. When the duputy contacted me later and explained the circumstances, I realized that I was misrepresenting him egrigiously and wrote a hasty retraction. Unfortunately, it may be that readers will remember the original canard and not the correction. My bad, entirely, and while it may be personally embarassing for ME, it created a situation which I can never make right. I hope never again to demean an innocent, and this tool (faster access to background material) may help me to realize this goal.

The written word can be cruel, and it matters not if the cruelty is unintended.


The faster internet access has also allowed me to take advantage of web hosting, which has resulted in protecting against broken links to photos (they're on MY web-host server, not somebody else's, so I know they won't disappear).

Thanks to my new best friend and web-host Brian B (whose name I can't spell, according to evidence in Front Sight Magazine), I have been able to store photos and videos of several IPSC matches, and provide them to you on a separate website (Jerry the Geek's Shooting Gallery). Brian was kind enough to install the software necessary to establish a photo gallery, and has been entirely supportive while I bloat his server hard-drives with, at last count, over 2GB of photo content. This photo gallery alone supported my efforts in achieving several goals:
  1. Promote Practical Pistol Competition by showing what IPSC matches look like, for the benefit of people who may be interested in joining but just aren't sure what the Sport is like;
  2. Promote participation of experienced competitors by demonstrating the high quality of stages and matches in the Columbia Cascade Section, using views of actual shooters in actual matches as an example;
  3. Improve training of new shooters, by showing not only the RIGHT way to shoot a stage, but often the WRONG way as an example of what to avoid. (Videos of my own shooting frequently provides the most embarassing examples of the "wrong way", but that's the price you pay when you decide to accept "full disclosure" as a standard. Fortunately, I'm not so committed that I won't edit out my worst stages.)
  4. Reinforce continued participation by experienced shooters by providing photos and videos of their match experiences when they are performing at their very best competitive level. I've been fortunate in that I have been able to include videos of stage winners in 'major matches' (within the Section) at their most glorious moments.
  5. Demonstrate stage designs, and target arrangements, which provide interesting Shooting Challenges that might be used in other matches.
  6. Amuse you and me by illustrating the funny little glitches which are part of the Sport.
Okay, so we're not talking about Steve Austin-level of improviement.

But we're getting a lot closer to being able to provide a valuable service to our readership, and as far as I'm concerned it's worth the expense, the temporary inconvenience, and the steep learning-curve to accomplish an improvement in content.

Besides, it's fun.

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