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Spicy Ideas: True Confessions of a Gear-Aholic

i. Um, I’m kind of new at this.

But here goes.

I’m Jose. This is my first time at Video Gear Anonymous. It’s been 3 days since I bought my last piece of gear.

It all started so innocently. "It’s just an upgrade to QuickTime Pro," I told myself. At least I did the green thing and downloaded it instead of shipping myself a deceptively large box containing a disc I would never use. The software upgrades led to encoding software and editing suites. Come on, there is only so much you can do with iMovie and Windows Movie Maker. I need these things for my job. How am I supposed to write relevant, interesting articles without the latest tools at my disposal?

The slippery slope continued with online tools as well. I mean everyone needs a Flickr Pro account, right? It’s not just for the photos; I use the video tool as well. And at some point I am sure I have mentioned that in an article. So it’s a tax write-off. You just don’t understand what it’s like trying to load up videos online. The paid upgrade to my TubeMogul account looks delicious. And I know I could upload 500 videos a month to seven different free video sites. That’s what I do!

But then it turned ugly. The software and web apps just weren’t doing it for me. I started in on the hardware.

If I am going to be uploading video then why can’t I just bypass all that editing stuff? It felt good to buy that Eye-Fi wireless SD card. But after my videos were uploaded so effortlessly, right from the camera over my Wi-Fi network, I just felt empty inside. They don’t call it "hard"ware for nothing. But that empty feeling would be gone soon because I found a new HD video camera to ease my pain. While everybody else was on the easy stuff like the Flip Mino HD, Kodak Zi8, or Sanyo Xacti, I had to "experiment" with something wilder. The Aiptek Action-HD GVS with 1080p and external microphone input was too hard to resist. It’s so small, it fits in my pocket and it shoots 60 frames per second with H.264 encoding in .MOV format right onto an SD card. DOT M…O…V format! Do you know how awesome that it is? And it was less than $200! I only ordered one.

Irrational fears drove me to do strange things. The TSA would not give me a straight answer on tripods in my carry-on so I bought a monopod. It has a cushion handle and doubles as a hiking stick. I may have problems, but I abhor a unitasker.

Oh no, my hard drive crashed. I need another one to back up with Time Machine on the Airport network at the house. The only thing worse than not having toys—uhhh, I mean tools—to record with is not having reliable backups for all those gigabytes of video. The fears eventually led to even worse problems.

I was stashing gear around the office.

My wife didn’t need to know that I got that new ART USB microphone preamp; besides, I had to have it. After all, I couldn’t use my old Focusrite pre-amp because my new MacBook Pro uses a different FireWire plug. Did I forget to mention my new MacBook Pro? Oops. Of course I had to get it after my faithful MacBook of 3 years died in a tragic hard drive accident. I know that I had the hard drive replaced and it is now my "backup" laptop (when my wife isn’t using it). But I still sweat at night thinking about what would happen if another drive went down. "Relax, I’ll order another 1 Terabyte external drive in the morning," I tell myself. "I think I saw one on TigerDirect with free shipping."

Then my world came crashing down.

I couldn’t hide the credit card bill and PayPal statements from my CFO, and boy was she upset. I was told that I had to prove the ROI on my purchases. Was I really using that shiny new toy—errr, I mean tool—for work? But it’s OK, I’m here now and I realize that I have a problem. That’s the first step, right? Well, thank you all for listening, and I hope I was honest enough. Now if you will excuse me, I just got a notification on my iPhone ... Hey everybody, Woot.com is having a video equipment Woot-Off! Hello ... Where did everybody go?Let’s just open the laptop. Glad they have a strong Wi-Fi signal here. Maybe I should just check and see what they are selling today. It doesn’t hurt to look.

Besides, I need to review something for next month’s article.