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What Happened?

Major Announcements Leave Heads Spinning By Stephen Schleicher
I dont know about you but my head is still spinning after all the excitement of the last couple of weeks. Microsoft, discreet, Media 100, HP, Compaq, big news that can leave one scrambling to check their portfolio, their hardware, and maybe even their own job. A wild ride for sure, are you ready for more?

How does discreet cleaner* sound to you? Two weeks ago the news came out of the sky like a Western Kansas twister, as Media 100 sold the entire Cleaner collection to raise the needed capital for their Pegasus NLE system. Unfortunately the deal didnt include the anticipated Cleaner XL, but in light of ever increasing processor speeds, it isnt much of a loss for us or for discreet, unless you happened to be one of those people that ordered early? sorry about that. In some of my recent travelings and conversations with television and video professionals it is interesting to hear these pros talk about Cleaner like it is some magical tool allowing them to repurpose their content for web use. I guess in a sense it is, as it allows anyone from schools, to small businesses, and growing dot-coms to compress for streaming without having to fork over a ton of money to do it. So how does discreet cleaner* sound? Sounds good to me, I know Ill be able to get an upgrade or tech support, and to borrow a phrase, I can keep on streaming.

Of the two big stories last week, the first was the HP/Compaq merger. I guess it shouldnt be that big of a surprise, PC sales have been slumping for quite some time. While this might seem to be great news for Mac users, computer sales are down industry wide. There could actually be several reasons for this, the most obvious being the slowdown of the economy causing people to not purchase techie gear on a whim. Of course with a slow economy investors are cautious when it comes to high-tech investments which has resulted in hundreds and thousands of layoffs in the computer industry. The HP/Compaq deal was something that was bound to happen sooner or later, but what fate awaits other computer retailers? And how will it affect what sits under the hood of our uber-computers. I for one hope that this merger does not lead to shoddy (or should I say shoddier) computers that wont be able to support the needs of growing animation and Internet pros.

By far the biggest news was the Federal Government dropping their antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft. The reasons stated were changes in the industry, which caused the government to rethink their case. Well duh? most people saw those changes and brought them up during the initial court proceedings. But it does make one wonder why they waited until now to pull out. As one person in the office pointed out, ?I guess with all those billions, Microsoft can buy their way out of anything. While it may seem funny at first, it does make one stop and wonder, could it really happen? Bill Gates does have close to $90 billion sitting around, and with the economy, national budget, and social security in crisis, dropping a couple billion in the pockets of Washington brass all of a sudden doesnt sound too far fetched. For whatever reason they decided to drop the case, I guess we can look forward to more years of multiple operating systems, tighter integration of the MSOS with all of our other applications, and well have the pleasure of dropping more of our hard earned dollars for bug fixes.

All of these events have happened for a reason. Recent changes in the industry have caused companies to cut back, find other means of raising money, or by praying that the government will find some reason not to declare their company a monopoly. Regardless of what is happening with these big companies, it is sure to have an impact in our everyday lives, and while the talk around the water cooler will still revolve around money, jobs and the latest gossip of who is doing what with whom, the impact of these announcements over the last couple of weeks will sure to be in the back of all of our minds.

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Stephen Schleicher has crossed the country several times over the last couple of years going from Kansas to Atlanta , Georgia, and Southern California. In his time traveling, he has worked as an editor, graphic designer, videographer, director, and producer on a variety of video productions ranging from small internal pieces, to large multimedia
corporate events.

Currently, Stephen shares his knowledge with students at Fort Hays State University who are studying media and web development in the Information Networking and Telecommunications department. When he is not shaping the minds of university students, Stephen continues to work on video and independent projects for State and local agencies and organizations as well as his own ongoing works.

He is also a regular contributor to Digital Producer, Creative Mac, Digital Webcast, Digital Animators, and the DV Format websites, part of the Digital Media Online network of communities (www.digitalmedianet.com), where he writes about the latest technologies, and gives tips and tricks on everything from Adobe After Effects, to Appleā??s Final Cut Pro, LightWave 3D, to shooting and lighting video.

He has a Masters Degree in Communication from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. As a forward thinker, he wrote his Thesis on how Information Islands and e-commerce would play a major role in keeping smaller communities alive. This of course was when 28.8 dialup was king and people hadnā??t even invented the word e-commerce.

And, he spends what little free time he has biking, reading, traveling around the country, and contemplating the future of digital video and its impact on our culture. You can reach him at [email protected]

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