showing happy young consumers
Tuesday, February 17 2004
There's a benefit bash for the Catskill Animal Sanctuary tomorrow in Manhattan, and Gretchen and I will be there. Against various obstacles, I've been adding stuff to the CAS website and putting together a slideshow that will play during the "cocktail event."
The biggest challenge was the slideshow, because it needed to somehow work on a specific DVD player, one whose capabilities could not be ascertained. So I burned a handful of CDs, trying each out on our DVD player to see if they'd at least work on that model. In the process I learned a few things. Our DVD player can look at a CD only if it is finalized, but it can't make any sense of .AVI files. It can display a slideshow from a CD containing .JPGs, but if the files are really large (as these were), they're painted onto the screen a little too slowly.
What I really needed to do was burn a DVD of a slideshow animation I'd made in Flash. I just assumed I didn't have any software that could produce a DVD on my DVD burner, so I tried downloading various applications using KaZaA Lite, but all of them sucked.
I found Super DVD Creator particularly aggravating. Its interface is decorated with a huge unnecessary anime character and its buttons are obvious ripoffs of MSN and AOL logos, things that wouldn't matter so much if it worked. But it doesn't. You set it to do something and it claims to be doing it, but never actually achieves anything.
The solution to my problem was right under my nose the whole time. It was MyDVD, a program on one of the CDs that came with my DVD burner. Once you wade through the annoying consumer-oriented setup wizard, it's not half bad.
Speaking of things that are annoyingly consumer-oriented, have you noticed the escalating trend of showing happy young consumers from highly-unusual angles in marketing publications? The first time I saw this trend in action was back at CollegeClub.com, when Jen (the art director with the perpetually-bloodshot eyes who was dating the CEO and thus had to work 18 hour days) started taking pictures of photogenic colleagues from up above on a stairway. Their heads would be all big and their bodies would shrink away towards a vanishing point located on the floor somewhere near their toes. If they were promoting a product, sometimes they'd hold it up so that it was the biggest thing in the picture. The MyDVD has a number of such disturbing homunculi in its setup wizards, and you can see them in many places on the web, particularly sites geared to teenagers and young adults.
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