A varied and sometimes erratic record of what I'm learning inside and outside of the classroom

Saturday, December 4, 2010

An Exercise in Problem-Solving (and Patience!)

If only sleep was in the foreseeable future... Photo credit:

jpockele on flickr

 
 






You know how when something is difficult/stressful someone will often quip that "it builds character?" Well, I am building character all over the place with our Mormon Message project. I have wished ruefully that things would just cooperate, the stars would align, the universe would turn in our favor, and we could work happily along on our project and everything would go smoothly. But alas, no rest for the weary.



Problem: Final Cut Pro (the video editing program we're using) labeled multiple files with the same name as they were transferring from our video camera, and because the program references the files to run the video, it is critical that it reads the right one, and it wasn't because different files had the same name.
Solution: The TA (technical assistant?) showed us how to correct the problem by manually matching the files with the correct name.

Problem: Our video files (120 GB!) were so big that they in combination with another person's files clogged the hard drive of the computer so much that it couldn't even start up this morning. Joy.
Solution: We accessed and deleted a few of our unnecessary video clips from the hard drive via the network from another computer, freeing up enough space to allow the computer to start up again.

Problem: We reserved different computers over the course of the day, and someone came in and needed to use the computer we were on because she had reserved it after us and needed to access that particular hard drive because it had her files on it.
Solution: We needed to transfer our files to our other reserved computer via a hard drive.

Problem: We didn't know if the hard drive we were using would be Mac compatible. Turns out it was, but it took some finagling.

Problem: The files would take THREE HOURS to download, and the other girl needed to use the computer now.
Solution: She could use the other computer that we had reserved.

Problem: She couldn't find the hard drive that her files were saved on, and therefore needed to use the one we were on after all.
Solution: We could pull up our files from that computer on another computer via the network and work on that one instead.

Problem: With our programs running and the other girl's programs running on the same hard drive, it would make work for us really slow, and possibly damage our data.
Solution: We're going to finish downloading the files onto the hard drive via the network (because we need to do that anyway) and then just go from there.


In summary, the day looks like this:
Problem...
Problem...
Problem...
 More Problems...
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Not really. The AAAAAAH part, anyway, though I've gotten close.

It's not just the actual video editing that takes a long time on projects like these--in fact, I'm beginning to think that that's the easy part. The real time consumer is ironing out all the kinks and unforeseen problems that arise  over the course of the entire project.

I think times like these do build character; when everyone is tired/hungry/under massive amounts of pressure on a big project you learn a lot about them. Will they crack? Will tempers flare? Will they go home and go on a caramel binge like Gus does on that one episode of Psych? Or will they do their best to smile and just carry on? I have to admit that when my stress rises to peak levels it squeezes out in tear form. Happily, that hasn't happened, and I don't think it will.  I have some great group members who are willing to work hard to get this project done. Plus, writing this post has helped--I've always found writing rather cathartic. Well, sometimes life (and big projects!) knock you around a little bit, and you've just gotta roll with the punches. So on we roll.
Speaking of which, I need to quit writing and get back to work.

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