Member Discussion

Should Greenhorns Care About The Way Things Were And How We'all Got Here?

I've been reading this book CCTV:From Light to Pixels by that cctv guru Vlado Damjanovski. It's a dandy of a read, if you don't have it, get it!

But one thing though that Mr. D does over and over is to go way back in time to start his lesson - and I mean way back! For example when teaching CCTV cameras he starts with them glass tube cameras, for a good five pages! By which time you have forgotten the transistor was ever even invented.

He apologies, sorta, after these nostalgic flashbacks, saying something like "it's really good for newcomers to understand the history of technology, it pays off in the end."

Y'all think so? Maybe the time be better spent on learning about 4K technology than the relics like how long the NTSC line blanking period is. (10.7 us) And if we should go back, how far do you gotta go? Bell?, Edison?, even Lindgren?*

Ask that next whippersnapper tech to replace a vacuum tube for y'all. When he opens up the Shop-Vac, don't hide the sound of all the air in your body escaping at once...

* :)

All things being equal more knowledge is better, but all knowledge is not equally better.

We tend to overvalue old timer knowledge because it boosts our self-esteem. And displaying it often works to compensate for our lack of newbie facts. But its probably not more important, because although its nice to know the history of f-stops, you don't see me learning how to develop film in a dark room...

I have found that across multiple technology platforms, understanding where things came from helps you better understand why we are "here" and not "there". Many times decisions made long ago (good or bad) are still part of modern products and processes.

For example, the 30fps spec for "live" video on TV came from the level of the technology at the time. People really had no idea how many fps would be "enough", but the best they could do at the time was essentially to get to 1/2 of the powerline frequency (60hz). Today we still have people that insist 30fps is some magic number that differentiaites "legal" video from stuff that would be "thrown out of court" and so forth. 30fps is simply the legacy of "slow" tubes.

Knowing all the background of stuff doesn't always change what's possible today, but it helps you put things in context and many times helps you help your customer understand what is important, or possible, and what is not.

^^^ This is a very good post.

When I was in college, a former NASA director spoke at a dinner and told us how the width of a donkey's rear influenced the design of the Space Shuttle. It was a long speech, but it here's the summary:

  1. Shuttle needed xxxxx pounds of fuel to complete it's mission.
  2. The ship needed two rocket boosters to lift all that weight into orbit.
  3. It needed two, because one giant booster was too big to fit on a train flatcar during transport to Florida.
  4. The size of a flatcar is determined by the width of the train track in the USA.
  5. The width of the train track was sized so that wagon factories (already producing wagons pulled by two mules yoked side by side) could adapt to make train cars without substantial retooling.
  6. Therefore: Shuttle design was significantly influenced by donkeys.

Now, I have no idea how true that is, and it could just be a stupid anecdotal tall tale, but it illustrates the value in thinking about how constraints and context affect designs.

Good example, sir! But how much context is enough? Here's one of Vlad's graphs on how 30 fps came to be. His full explanation includes mains, slow tubes, interlacing and phosphorous persistence to name a few....

But how much context is enough?

That is really hard to know in advance, and it might also depend on the student and how/where they might need to apply the foundation knowledge. When you have something this is kind of a generic teaching tool it may be a little more broad than if you're just trying to put together a specific training agenda for people selling cameras in a specifc area, or people developing VMS platforms for a certain vertical.

It might be enough to skim through that section and remember that it exists should you need to come back to it at some future time.

Vlad Damjanovski hmmm..? Sounds vaguely Eastern European. Or even more vaguely Russian. Thats cool with me, if im right in the first place.

Vlad is your countrymen, from Serbia.

Countrymen? Hint to me that maybe you also Serbian? -vich is/can be Serb! Like that most famous Serbian-American, Rod Blagojevich (currently in disgrace), who will definitely be in US for next ten years at a time, minimum, so there is an opening for a very special Serb to fill up his voided shadow. (if you are ethincallay challenging type.)

Wonder why Vlado in Australia for so long time? Climate changed? Visa expended? Penal Export?. I know somebody who knows somebody well, if he need string puller, least I could do.