madnomad.com dispatches aperture poste restante etcetera

Thank you, Dad.
By Gregg - 11 May, 1999

Page 1 of 3

We had it all together, or so we thought. Maintaining this site from the road is an experiment. We´re not carrying a computer, and thus are relying on the web-based publishing system we developed, and on access via internet cafes along the way.

For images, we´re carrying a digital video camera capable of saving stills to standard floppy disks. Once the images are on floppy, they can be published to the site using the web-based publishing system. The final challenges in developing this system were overcome only in the last two weeks before we departed San Francisco.

The first real test came in New York and all went well... Okay, okay, you may have noticed a few bugs on the site, but the publishing system itself works like a charm.

But a chain is only as good as its weakest link. And this chain has hardware links as well as the soft kind.

During our first few days in Madrid, we didn´t have an occasion to publish. By our first weekend in Spain, we were in Barcelona and Evelyn had written a couple of dispatches for the site. Periodically, we had been shooting stills with the video camera and during one afternoon siesta back in our room, we sat down to select some images and save them to disk. Unlike our room in Madrid, this one had an electrical outlet. (Our international camera is rather wordly—it runs anything from 110-240V so we don´t need a transformer, just the standard collection of adapters.)

So we plugged the thing in and fired it up. Out in the field, audio, video and stills are recorded to mini-DV tape. A slim and reasonably light-weight floppy disk drive ships with the camera and it is this that would allow us to get images off of the tape and onto a computer. And it is this that whirred endlessly in a fultile attempt to read floppy disks as we sat looking at it in dismay. It had been damaged in transit from New York to Madrid. Or so we deduced.

We had seen a shop on La Rambla in Barcelona—near our room in the Barri Gothic—that carried Sony video cameras and decided we´d start there. But it was late enough Saturday that they were closed and wouldn´t re-open until Monday morning. So we did our best to put the issue out of our minds and set out for the internet cafe to publish our words without accompanying images. That was when we ran into the anarchists trashing banks (see earlier dispatch). Eventually we reached the internet cafe but it was closed.



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