Techno Cowboy
Tuesday, 16 June 2009 01:42

I have been referred to as a techno cowboy on numerous occasions. If someone has a computer issue, I'm usually Tier-1 or Tier-2 Tech Support. As most of the calls are from the Rodeo Community, it makes me giggle as I try to cowboy-ize my prognosis, "ya'll gotta slap the mouse a few times..."

As I travel immensely, I am glued to my Blackberry (though I hate the Blackberry Storm...it's still my tool for success). To assist my 24/7 IV to the World Wide Web, I also have an AirCard so I can cruise the information super highway while I'm on the highway (not literally...that's what the Blackberry is for).

Though I studied and worked in AM and FM Radio, I am an addict of XM Satellite Radio, so much so that I have a portable one that I can wear like an iPod (new-fangled Walkman...haha), which also docks (hooks up with a click) into my Truck and beside my desk.

 

laptops laptops at TLC Quarter Horses

When it comes to "Announcing Rodeos", this is where I truly use technology to the advantage. I utilize a three-computer system for a show.

  • Laptop 1: Main Music - Intro song, Ride Song
  • Laptop 2: Sound Effects - Instant Sound Effects for events
  • Laptop 3: Statistics - Contestant/Stock Databases and up-to-the-second Go-Round and Aggregate calculations and rankings, Buck-off percentages and more

And I have a multitude of Wireless Mics, Wireless Monitors, Processors, Mixers...on top of CD Players, and so much more. This is way farther than when I started...CD Players with Remote Starts on the Mixers, which gives a lot of the same sound (intro-ride), but with minimal headaches. I'll never forget the time a windstorm blew the next CD I needed across an asphalt racetrack....eeeee.

When it comes to my website, I have it set-up now to automatically populate pics, updates, etc. from Twitter, which also updates my Facebook and my MySpace. My micro-blogs, created on my Blackberry and powered by Twitter hit 3 places in seconds, truly exposing the world to the insanity that I call my life.

What's amazing about this is that I've only been on the Internet for 12 years. My first email address was the one assigned by my college...and I needed a ton of help to figure out who/what/how that was all about.

When it comes to regular life, I look at all the technology around us...like the remote door lock on a truck, Personal Video Recorders recording television while you watch another channel (as opposed to running a VCR and watching the program...simultaneously...), high speed internet, my cordless iron, and so much more.

The thing that really opened my eyes to how far technology has advanced and been applied was when I went to see the Broadway Show Dirty Dancing. I remember sitting there, holding onto the $85 ticket and looking at the stage with a weak Glo-ball projection of the Dirty Dancing Logo. Then when the show started, it was an Event Production Manager's dream...High Definition Screens on motorized tracks made set changes instant...the screen would open up in the centre while the sides would transition into the new back drop. The stage was motorized with a round treadmill which also could be split in half, with parts moving up and down, becoming a swimming pool with diving board....while people rotated around the pool and it moved in the opposite direction. Then it would go flat, set pieces would be placed on the rotating treadmill, and a door popped up out of the centre. I couldn't concentrate on the show...I was just blown away. The last show I saw was in Stratford during my High School Days, and there they simply rolled out boxes and trees for "levels".

I also had a real appreciation for Technology at a Rodeo recently when the rain pounded sideways and I had to close all but one Laptop (music one), and rely on paper and my brain to calculate and commentate (and SFX)...which would have been fine except the paper got drenched in about 35 seconds. I wish we had pictures of me trying to straighten out the sponge-like material, attempting to decipher the black ink that had all run together.

I've become to really appreciate it, and am no longer just going to take this space-age stuff for granted.

To summarize, I leave you with one of my favourite guests on the Satellite Radio show that I couldn't live without, the Opie and Anthony Show; this is Louis C.K. from an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien (the old one...) When I first heard this, it really connected with what I've been throwing down...haha