Monday, May 08, 2006

A Hero at Work: the Encoding Monkey

My recent post dealing with the classic "three monkeys aphorism" suggested something to one of this blogg's astute readers, whose comment alludes to two kinds of hard-working primates - encoding monkeys and trunk monkeys.

However, while I am familiar with both types, this allusion may unfortunately leave some other readers outside, looking in.

At present I have no data on any of the trunk monkeys, but the encoding monkey positions came to an abrupt end last year, in a transition I mentioned at that time...

But I do have a snapshot of one of these hard-working encoding monkeys, and just to clarify the discussion, I present it here.

The Encoding Monkey At Work: See Spot. Bad Spot. Bad.

In the above photograph we see our hard-working primate friend in the regulation green shirt, sitting in front of an encoding station at ... uh ... a certain company that no longer exists. His job is to take video tapes (the professional kind) which contain "spots" - that is, the 30-second-long advertising commercials made for television - and encode them. Encoding is the process of converting such spots to a digital form. It is, as I wrote elsewhere,
Encoding has got to be one of the most boring, mind-numbing tasks ever invented ... Two or three or ten slightly different versions of the same inane actors mouthing nonsensical praises of a useless product - or some shady business - or another dozen glorifications of "preowned" vehicles...
Attention had to be paid to ensure that these spots didn't contain something illicit, and certain technical elements of the spot had to be checked: various video and audio levels had to be within acceptable limits, and other things. Once the spot was encoded, I had to send it to the sites needing it - according to Subsidiarity, and that's why I'm working on that book! Ahem. I mean my software sent it out... (If you've ever seen "Tron" you'd understand.) The wrench seen in the foreground was used to pry recalcitrant tapes out from a stubborn VTR; it was NOT used in any monkey tricks.

Actually the monkeys had a lot of fun there, and provided some much-needed humor for the human employees.

(Note: the monkey shown in the above photograph is now employed as a special assistant at a different company. I see him infrequently, but he's happy to be on day shift again.)


At 08 May, 2006 15:39, Blogger rhapsody said...

There weren't any encoding monki harmed during the making of this posting-

were there, Doctor Thursday?


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