I Just Want to Watch the Movie!

“Why is it so hard to just watch a movie?” I hear that a lot from otherwise happy folks who think that installing multimedia on their PCs and Macs means everything should work. But then it doesn’t – not even for SJ Mercury News reporters. Think the reason management brain-damaged the staff PCs is to keep them from watching rival SF Chronicle’s mp4 stash on company time?

As more and more of the industry turns to Internet video, making it difficult for reporters in the press to view it does climb the heights of absurdity. For example, a reporter friend of mine wanted to watch a few of the events videos on the Forum for Women Entrepreneur site with the possibility that he might be able to write a piece on women entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. And that is just grand with me too, since I’m one myself, so I was all ready to help. Actually, I didn’t think it would take much of my time, since lots of women and men have already viewed those little events videos. “It’s a no-brainer” I thought, as long as you have Quicktime 6 or an mp4 player.

So what happened when he tried to watch a simple mp4 video on a web site? In his own words, “You may be underestimating the decrepitude of the Mercury News’ IT and my own understanding thereof…” and hence a merry chase ensued. “After waiting 10 to 15 minutes while [it] downloaded, I clicked on it only to find ‘this document format is invalid or not supported.'” Frustrating! So why can’t our poor reporter watch an FWE vid? The answer may surprise you…

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