Cablecast: Cleaning Up

After 2-1/2 years of planning, 3 months of preparation and 10 days of work, we are finally done in Cablecast.  Above, you can see Mike Sosnowski, my ward councilor, at the Salem Senior Recognition Days opening ceremonies, which aired for the first time on the new equipment, and the first program ever played off a hard drive at SATV.

I’m happy to reach this point, but it wasn’t always fun getting there.  One theme that comes up again and again in my work is the dramatic differences between broadcasting and IT.

I have been an IT professional for over 20 years and associated with SATV for nearly 15;  I have enough experience with video equipment to consider myself a broadcast engineer in my own right.

For example, computer people take for granted that they can take any video or image file and play it back on anything.  In the broadcast world, that is often an extra-cost option.  When we got our Inscriber broadcast graphics machine, we wanted to play video clips on it. 

That was an extra cost on the license.  Much extra cost.  But we needed the same capabilities on that machine that our avid video-producing members take for granted in the real world.

On our current project, we found that our  otherwise excellent Tightrope SX4 video server doesn’t work the way we expected;  I thought users—staff members like Dave Gauthier who book programs on our schedule—would use a Youtube-like interface.  Why not?

But we have to do what seems like old-school file transfers circa Windows or Unix in 1995.  It’s the most stressful thing in IT and elsewhere to use a new piece of equipment and find out your mental model of it is off.  Way off.

We got a few programs encoded on it and life is good.  I got a reminder of just how much we need networking and how much we take it for granted":

Our old 8 port Dell Gigabit network switch.  It’s already full.  We need a new switch and very likely a managed switch like our backbone switch that feeds the whole facility.

On a happier note, our two UPSs run a lot cooler than before:

Finally, one last photo.  I photograph almost every image on both my blogs, so I never have any self-portraits.

Thanks to Dave Gauthier, Patrick Kennedy, Sal Russo, Ted, Dennis Dutra, Leo Jodoin and everyone in the SATV community who helped out on this project and read my blog.

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