4.123 a/v, Link, fopal

Monday 04/03/2023

Went for the standard walk, all ok. Soon after it was time to set up for an event. This was a “first Monday book talk”, a series of talks featuring Channing House, or maybe just local, published authors to talk about their books. The speaker was Peter, talking about the story of his early years growing up in Budapest under first the Nazis and then the Soviets (Painted Pebbles).

Gigi, who is now producing this series, had agreed that it would continue to be, as it has always been for nearly a decade, an auditorium event, no Zoom. (Well, in early 2020 at the start of the pandemic, it was zoom-only.) So I was looking forward to an easy setup, just a couple of mics and put Peter’s slides on the projector. But there had been strong requests from certain people that they were shut-ins and wanted to see it, so at least do a recording. So I had to set up to record it as well, video and sound.

And it all came off very well indeed. Or so I thought, until later in the day I went to transfer the .mov file to where Lennie could upload it to Vimeo and publicize it. Then I discovered that the one-hour recording massed sixty gigabytes. What? A gig a minute for a 1080p video? That’s about 500 times more data than I’d expect. Then I discovered that the Mac Finder has an “encoding” function. So I “encoded” the video and the result was a more reasonable 4.5GB file. I don’t understand but that’s ok.

Anyway after lunch, off to FOPAL. For this 3-mile run down Middlefield, I thought I would try the brand new Palo Alto local transport service, Palo Alto Link. It’s basically a copy of Lyft, run by the City, and operating only within the Palo Alto city limits. I installed the app and summoned a ride, which came very quickly. But then it started to go wrong. First off, I discovered that it wasn’t a simple ride but a ride-share deal where the driver gets directed to pick up other people and drop them off, on the way to your destination. And it went quite far out of what should have been my route to pick someone up. Then the driver, following his app’s directions, headed out into the boonies of Palo Alto, west of San Antonio road, and said “here we are.” But I am quite sure I put in the correct destination. It just invented a completely random other destination. He was very apologetic and drove me to the mile and a half to the right place.

At FOPAL I found ten boxes, so I spent a couple hours processing half of them. I’ll go back tomorrow. Then it was time to summon another Link to go home. But the app gave me an error message and kept saying, so sorry, please retry. So I called a Lyft instead, $13 instead of free. Plus, that driver was completely unfamiliar with Palo Alto and as far as I could tell, the rules of the road. So not a great experience. Nothing daunted, I’ll give Link one more try tomorrow, although at the planned price of $1 for a senior ride, for that run is only just cheaper than using my own car.

This was Mixer Monday, when at dinner you take a random table number from a hat when you go into the dining room, and I ended up with a very congenial random group. One of whom is a Texan with relatives still in Austin, and may be able to hook me up with a place to stay for the 2024 eclipse. More on that another time.

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