15 March 2011

...compact discs

I had a nice reminder of the beauty of simplicity at the weekend at my parent's surprise golden wedding celebration. A digital slide projector had been set up to carousel through collected photographic memories, and I was asked to get it working. I'd never touched one of these things before, and the guests of honour were arriving in minutes, but all I needed to do was plug in the memory stick full of JPGs, and ... oh dear - the menu system was rather maze-like. After some panicked button bashing, I was pointed to a neat little laminated A4 instruction sheet created, by the owner, to handle the most common scenario: this one (except showing diagrams and spreadsheets rather than snaps of marital bliss). Content aside, it worked a treat and I was thankful for the homemade quickstart guide as the photos rolled on.

A little later on, the slide show needed to be turned off for twenty minutes whilst the band played, so I was summoned. No quickstop guide this time, just more fiddling around with buttons, nested menu screens and the like. "I don't want to turn it off, I just want it to pause!"

Enter band member Pete. "Why don't you just put something in front of the lens?"

So with that, the problem was solved the good old fashioned analogue way, with a CD case propped up to 'hide' the projection.

It was a nice reminder how we don't always need to hunt for the solution if the simplest fix is at hand, regardless of the delivery method. I know I've been guilty of relying on mobile Google maps when a 'just ask' would suffice, or promising to email a hex number when a quick pen on paper note would be quicker. Technology's getting ever-more useful and (arguably) easier to use, but we should remember simplicity and sensibility when we're problem solving, just like I didn't, but wished I had.

Today we learned:
One day, CDs will be gone, and you can't prop up an MP3 in front of a slide show.