Friday, September 11, 2009

Technical Difficulties beyond a Luddite's Control

As it happens (so to speak), one can only count on so many bugs in any given system.

When we began setting this project up, the idea was to post things on a school-based network called (I think) cLc but it wasn't until a few days before school started that I discovered the cLc wasn't available at the high school. So we figured I'd just post anything I wanted to on my blog: material that can be used by both students and teachers.

I was told that students wouldn't have access to YouTube on their school computers because it can be so distracting (tell me about it). But if I posted them on my blog, that should make it easier. I wanted you to be able to see the music, in a way, that would help you familiarize yourself with what you'll be hearing live when these great musicians come in on the 16th to play for you. And also to give you some other things you can listen to just as examples.

Well, on Wednesday, I found out even the embedded videos from YouTube were caught in the security system and you couldn't view them. So I spent a few hours Thursday trying to figure out ways of getting those videos re-posted, downloading some software that refused to install and then discovering once I'd done what they'd told me to do (I think), it still wouldn't work.

Then some of the folks in the I.T. department figured out they could "unblock" some of the YouTube videos but not all (there are, like, 22 of them...). I suggested five that were really good for class viewing.

So check these out in the classroom:

The Octet's 3rd & 4th Movements (you'll hear it live)

The Magic World of Fingal's Cave (which has a video that takes on a tour of the cave and another that plays the piece Mendelssohn composed after he visited the cave 180 years ago)

The Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream (the overture is broken into two videos: I point out where in the timing you can hear certain themes that describe different characters in the play)

My apologies for the unexpected problems (this has become a learning experience for the teachers and myself, as well) and for the irony that we lost some time because I thought my e-mails had gone through when in fact most of them got caught in the school system's spam-filter :-\

My thanks to Ms. Lehmer and Mr. Applegate in I.T. for their help in getting around the glitches (I was calling it SnaFi which is kind of like wi-fi technology but with snafus) and also to Ms. Robbins, Mr. Askey and Ms. Botel for their additional support in all this.

And my thanks also to all the teachers and the students who are bravely going into this project and hopefully discovering something about some music that's been around for a long time, long before this technology I've been having trouble with ever existed...

- Dick Strawser (a.k.a. Dr. Dick, Luddite)