On Sunday 6th December I was awoken by a ping on my phone. When I looked it was the NHS COVID app. I’d received messages before from the app telling me that all was well and that it was continuing to do its job. This message was different… I was informed that I had been in contact with someone who had subsequently tested positive for the virus and that I should self-isolate for 14 days. For a few moments I pondered the situation. The app is anonymous so I could just ignore it… but that wouldn’t be the best thing to do. In fact it would be the wrong thing to do. So I resolved to stay at home. Somewhat of a pain on several levels, not least the inconvenience of having to, well, stay at home (although living as I do in the countryside, I didn’t see any harm in going for a wander down the valley on a couple of occasions) and that I had to cancel about £1,000 of supply teaching work for which I had already been booked. Not a great start to the month…
On the positive side of things, my newly extended Christmas break would allow me to crack on and finish the editing of the film about ‘The Great British Cycle Tour’. I’ve mentioned this in the previous two posts. Now I not just had the equipment – my upgraded Apple Mac was delivered last week – but the time in which to get the job done. The new computer is wonderful. It has this new Apple M1 chip and whereas my previous Mac would struggle editing films in Final Cut Pro X to the point where I thought the cooling fan might provoke take-off, the powerful new chip cuts through the editing process with the ease of Franz Klammer on a ski slope and at a similar speed. (That reference is probably a bit dated and shows my age. I’ve just checked and he is 67 for goodness sake…)
In recent months I’ve tried to embrace all things Apple and have, for example, moved all my data to the iCloud from Google Drive, figured out how the calendar works across different devices and started using Apple’s Numbers and Pages programmes in preference to Google Docs and Microsoft Office. So far so good and, as long as Apple Inc. doesn’t go down the pan anytime soon (in 2020 even that wouldn’t come as a surprise…), I should be OK. While I’m singing the praises of Apple incidentally – and for balance I’m about to stick the knife into them big time – can I just say that the new keyboard, compared to the horrible keyboard on the previous Mac is just sublime. Next time you are in the Apple Store give it a try.
Anyway, to the point. My shift to a full-blown Apple slave involved me buying an Apple Watch earlier in the year. Again, I’m impressed, far more than I thought I might be. When the new M1 Mac arrived last week I noticed that there was a function that allowed the computer to be unlocked by the phone yet for some reason, try as I might, I couldn’t manage to pair the two together. I had been offered an online tutorial with the new Mac so I booked a slot and a few days ago had a conversation with Jim in Ireland. I mentioned the pairing issue and he couldn’t really help me out so I was passed to Aurora. She was equally befuddled so the matter was elevated to David, a senior engineer at Apple. 🍎 (Emojis are part of the ‘Touch Bar’ on the keyboard, sorry…). At this point I just started following endless instructions which involved signing in and out of iCloud on the Mac and various other devices, pairing and unpairing the watch from my phone etc… The online tutorial – scheduled to last just 30 minutes – finished after about 2 hours with the problem – admittedly a very first world one – unresolved. It wasn’t the greatest of losses in the great scheme of things.
A little later, I returned to the Mac to continue with a bit of video editing only to discover that the file in which I had saved the Final Cut Pro (FCP) X library, the original video, maps (as discussed in previous posts) etc… had disappeared. I had specifically placed it in a file called ‘NOSYNC.tmp’ as by doing so, it would be excluded from being uploaded to the iCloud. This automatic uploading of data from your Mac to the iCloud can be a bit of a pain if you just want to work on a document before saving to the ether or have a file that consists of large files that are already saved elsewhere (or so you think…) such as videos. It was nowhere to be seen on the desktop. I searched the hard drive and did locate the FCP library file in an archived iCloud file (which itself was taking up masses of data) but all the original videos, images etc… had been deleted from the entire computer. Despite several days of looking, they were nowhere to be found.
They’ve gone! I called Apple for help but to no avail. Whatever the combined efforts of David and Aurora (and perhaps even Jim) had been during my tutorial, they had managed to delete most of the source files of my video. I was rather peeved to say the least, especially when you bear in mind that this only happened because of my desire to solve the ‘first world’ problem of my Apple Watch not unlocking my Mac automatically leaving me to type in a four-digit code. All that editing work, down the swanny!
The saving grace was that I still had the library and I am now in the process of relinking all the references back to the original video, which all needed to be downloaded from the iCloud again. Except, that is, the video taken not with my iPhone but the Canon XA-40 camera which I have lost. I had spent a beautiful afternoon cycling along the coast of south-east Scotland in late July and sat down on the cliff to film the nesting birds at St. Abb’s National Nature Reserve. It had been edited into a beautiful sequence in the film but has now gone forever… In Edinburgh, I had wandered the city using the XA-40 and again, all the original video and the editing has gone. Thanks a bunch Apple. Something that either David or Aurora did (in fairness, it was unlikely to be Jim as we just chatted about the issue rather than try to address it) managed to delete my desktop file. No apology was given. Perhaps that’s company policy so as to avoid legal culpability. Perhaps it was my error for not keeping a back-up copy of the video…
I still think I should be able to finish editing the video by the end of the month, but it won’t be what it could have been. Those maps! Gone… I’m hoping to recycle the version I uploaded to YouTube but no more green screen mixing of map and video.
To cheer myself up I have been looking towards 2021 and Japan. If you remember, the planned trip had to be cancelled in 2020 thanks to the virus. I’m determined that this endeavour – unlike my video footage – won’t be deleted forever and have started to look at rebooking for July and August of next year.
There are lots of COVID-related warnings on the booking site for ANA so I won’t be buying any tickets to travel out to Japan anytime yet. I lost most of the money I spent on flights last year; I’ll be a little more prudent this time around. I’m also thinking of extending the time out there to two months. More time to explore. And note the bit in the middle of the booking information above: “Travel using other methods of transportation”. For me that would of course be by bicycle but after my experiences in the Dales back in October when I forced myself not to chase the destinations, I think a more relaxed approach would enhance any trip, combined even with a few train rides. Japan 2021 might just be back on. Unless COVID-19 has other plans. Here’s a video that I did manage to make about a year ago without Apple intervening to delete anything but which now needs updating …