14 Nov 2009

When a DVD isn't a DVD?

Well I tell you - I work among a strange crowd. Hold it right dey. Dat information is classified. However, I can tell you how mad they are without telling you many particulars about what I dabble in.

Right - so we're gathered in a posh office around a large glass-top table to discuss a certain 'instrument' that would measure progress. It's like a questionnaire. Now, they needed to create a learning and information package. So, one rather middle-aged looking person - pot-belly, bald, with fat hanging on all sides of the face - reveals what's supposed to be a bright idea. It's to create a DVD. Yup DVD. So I respond that creating a DVD to train and inform is fraught with certain problems:
  1. Costs in production and reproduction.
  2. They get lost.
  3. It's difficult to track who's actually using them (or not).
  4. Difficult to audit learning outcomes
  5. Illegal reproduction.
So while I'm saying that, Mr Pot Belly is making some anxious body language to my oblique left. I realise he's gonna cut in, so I punctuate my delivery above with a quick 'Hold on a sec .. [Mr Pot Belly]' - and I continue. I say to the group that all the above problems of a DVD can be solved by an online self-paced learning package streamed on our intranet. And then.. I'm picking up some nods from around the room.. and Mr Pot Belly then says, "Oh that's what I meant.. I probably got the terminology wrong". So I'm like totally confused thinking to myself, 'How dee ass streaming a SCORM-based learning package could possibly be a DVD'. So I say, what does DVD mean and they [the group] go, "What you were suggesting". Like huh!?

Confused - and after the meeting I go around the place randomly asking people (who had nothing to do with the meeting), "What comes to mind when I say the word DVD?". All look at me like if I'm mad! And I must admit, I thought I was going mad - and trying desperately to regain my sanity. After all how dee F* could I not know what a DVD is? Luckily - all - after some hesitation, told me 'A disk thingy that you push into a machine'. Like pheewww!! Relief - I'm back in the world of sanity.

Lessons? Possibly:
  1. A group may well create an insanity to adopt a good idea and to cover their own incompetence.
  2. People may not be embarassed or show embarassment about talking utter shyte at meetings.
  3. Madness may be a cover for embarassment, that they cannot show.
  4. Madness may well be part of a group and not resident in a single individual.
  5. Madness in the group may cause other individuals to feel mad - when it has nothing to do with 'the individual'.
  6. People create a logic on the fly to justify their beliefs, ideas and values.
But no - the above for Doubting Thomas's and over-conformers, was not merely a matter of interpretation. I call a spade a spade as much as I call a DVD a DVD! And though it's possible to mimick electronic content via both streaming and hardware-based methods, a DVD is not streaming media. Yeah and ah know you can rip DVD's into electronic files (ISO's, AVI's, Flash etc) and stream. Daize not the point.

It doh matter, the concept of a DVD to most people out dey in dee world, is a disk of some kind - a physical object. When I go into the video rental shop and arks for a DVD dey hand me a disk. Yeah - ah know online video rentals say can stream movies by pay-per-view. Dat is still not a DVD. A DVD will remain to most average people a t'ing dat you chook (aka push) into a machine. I eh mad and I eh budging.