My MacCentral compadres — Jim, Peter, and Brad — have often kidded me about the misadventures I frequently experience as a roving reporter. I’ve been robbed (San Francisco), lost (Paris), had equipment failures (just about every show) — but Macworld Tokyo 2001 tops ’em all.
Here’s the deal: I’m scrunched up in my tiny hotel room, sick, sometimes feverish, and trying to cover the expo. I either have a severe sinus infection (most likely) or the world’s most agonizing head cold. In the mornings I drag myself out of bed, dope myself up with legal drugs (Claritin, Ibuprofen, etc.), do the expo coverage, then collapse at night. Getting my work accomplished is made doubly difficult by a TERRIBLE Internet connection. 21 kbps is a dream; think 16 to 19.
Plus, when I finally collapse into my bed, there’s nothing to watch on television. The regular Japanese programming holds no appeal for me. I tried the pay channels, hoping to catch some classic films such as “The Seven Samurai.” Instead, my choices were Asian pornography and “Miami Vice” reruns.
Thank goodness I have a thick book (“Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Stories”) and the first season of “X-Files” on DVD. The book’s short stories are generally superb, and I’m enjoying the early adventures of Sculley and Mulder before the mythos got too complicated. By the way, what the heck ever happened to Mulder’s sister? I’ve seen all the episodes concerning her, and I’m still confused.
Anyway, the final straw that’s almost broken this camel’s back is the impossible task of getting Macworld Expo 2001 photos to you, my dear readers. It’s not that I haven’t taken dozens and dozens of pics, but I’ve run into “technical difficulties.”
I’ve snapped lots of shots with my Epson 3030 Zoom digital camera. And I sat down Thursday afternoon to transfer them to my PowerBook via my VST Tri-Media reader. I inserted the 16MB SmartMedia card into the reader and was promptly told it was “unreadable” and was given the choice to eject or initialize it. I ejected, tried again, got the same results.
I reinstalled the VST software, deleted the original Preferences file, rebooted, and tried once more. Same thing. Repeated the process. Ditto. Frustrated, I initialized the card, eliminating 48 photos in the process. But at least my Mac now recognized the SmartMedia card.
I inserted the card into my Epson camera — and it didn’t recognize it. At that point, I gave up for the day.
Friday, I bought a new SmartMedia card at the expo, took another 48 pictures, went back to my hotel room — and found the same problem. By now I was more than slightly irritated. Was the problem with the camera or the Tri-Media Reader? I want back to the expo and tried to get some help from the Epson and VST folks at their booths. Between their broken English and my non-existent Japanese, nothing was accomplished.
My blood boiling, I bought a DuLime SmartMedia and CompactFlash card reader/writer. It was a Japanese brand, but I figured I could make it work. I rushed back to my hotel room, installed the software on my PowerBook, and was relieved to find that the drive seemed to work.
And then I inserted the SmartMedia card — and was told by my PowerBook that it was unrecognizable and did I want to eject or initialize.
I sobbed uncontrollably for a few hours and came up with my alternative plan. I took my Sony digital camcorder and snapped still shots with it. The photos were saved on a Memory Stick. And although there were companies displaying Memory Stick readers for the Mac at the expo, were any of them for sale? No, of course not. Did any of the expo vendors have any for sale? Are you kidding?! That would ruin my streak.
Persistence being my middle name, I proceeded to transfer the still shots to the mini DV tape in the camera and get them onto my PowerBook via a FireWire connection and iMovie 2.
I realize that any photos you see aren’t of the highest quality. But it’s the best I can do. And if you complain, I’ll have to hurt you.
Now excuse me. My sick body is going to collapse and watch some more “X-Files.”