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ATPM 18.05
May 2012





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On a Clear Day, You Can See the Hollywood Sign

by Mike Shields,

First and Last

I’m sure you’ve read my Steve Jobs retrospective, therefore, I’ll try not to repeat myself here, however, you’ve been warned. Having said that, I’ll start the same story in a different place, and maybe give you some new information. Simply because this may be the first thing you ever read from me, and I’ll want you to continue reading my missives in the future.

A Web search on my name may or may not come up with things that I’ve written or created, simply because there are other Mike Shieldses out there. I could say back before there was an Internet, however, we know that year to truly be 1966, and I didn’t make my monumentous decision until 1975. To wit: to pursue a career in computers, and telling them what to do and how to do it. I was a chess player at the time, and I got interested in computer chess, and this was around the time David Levy was attempting to win some sort of Turing challenge. I even wrote a few programs myself, but could never figure out a good scoring algorithm. As chess is a game of perfect information, like checkers, and more simply tic-tac-toe, it is possible to solve. Who knew brute force was a good thing? I did. But I’ll write about that elsewhere another time.

That’s right, I’m older than I look. At least, in the caricature that was created for me in 1997 by an artist we had creating covers here at the time. I still use it as my Twitter avatar. It’s all part of the hide-in-plain-sight theory. That goes something like this: most people know Bruce Wayne is Batman by now, but no one says anything because he’s Batman. Or they’re in deep denial, and have fallen for the ruse. Bruce has convinced himself that this works, and it will continue to work until it doesn’t work.

On Facebook, I use my real picture, simply because my daughter said she wouldn’t friend me otherwise; therefore, if you must know what I look like, you can find me there as well. I’m on LinkedIn, too, because my need to continue to find gainful employment on more than an occasional basis exists.

For some reason, I have the tune of The Long and Winding Road going through my head right now. That may be because I’ve buried the lead. I’ll let you decide. Of course, this is an opinion column, and the rules of journalism are necessarily different than the rules of, There Are No Rules.

To get first time readers caught up, I started writing for ATPM with issue 2.02 and was also given an editor position, as that’s what was done 16 years ago. I was a Mac tech at the once and former Hughes Aircraft at the time, so, I wrote about what I hoped were funny incidents that I came across while servicing the Macs there. The first columns were titled, Did You Check the Plug? simply because that’s what was decided by RD Novo, for those of you who remember him.

Shortly thereafter, I decided to don the superhero guise of MacMan, and we rebranded, I guess would be the right word, the column MacMan to the Rescue. This continued for awhile, until I realized that my true calling was reporting on advances in technology related to The Mac, and The Hollywood Industry. Which as you know, should not be confused with The Business.

The convergence of technology and Hollywood continues today, to the point of where my experience has given me a unique perspective. Just like everybody else. It was then I retitled the column, On A Clear Day, You Can See The Hollywood Sign. I’m going to have my graphic designer daughter create a new logo for me at some point, as I wish to continue in this vein elsewhere.

That’s right, this will be the last issue of ATPM that you may read, even if it is your first issue. However, that doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped writing. The various links provided above will lead you to various other sites that I write for on more than an occasional basis, as I did here over the last few years. Writing on an occasional basis, that is.

I’m not going to say that I’ll miss the monthly deadlines, simply because when I was almost hitting them, I sort of ignored them entirely. Some would tell you that having a deadline is a good thing, simply because you can’t do everything at once and get it done unless you’ve set a finite goal. This will make sense to some of you. Others will tell you that great artwork is never finished, it is only abandoned. My YouTube channel will prove this one out at some point.

Others will tell you that you should be writing everyday. (Or is it every day? I never got those two straight.) Still others tell you that you should write only when you have something to say. Well, I fall somewhere in between, simply because I have to carve out a living somehow, and the things I write about may or may not get me hired to shoot your next movie, TV show, or more likely, YouTube video.

A list would seem appropriate here. Most of my time is spent at the site at the top of it, as that’s my ministry site (donations gladly accepted and encouraged). And I’ve already provided some of the links above, however, they’ll appear here, too. Simply because I hear SEO exists.

I also have a Posterous, Tumblr, and even a Typepad blog; however, I usually only use those to repost or retweet others’ content. Fair warning, I’ve been known to tweet more than average, simply because I believe Twitter at its base to be a global chatroom. Others will tell you different, and they’d be wrong. Or right. Twitter is what it is, and that may be different for you. Follow me if you’d like. I may or may not follow you back, simply because that’s my rule.

On LinkedIn, I have over a thousand connections that have yet to get me anything resembling permanent employment, however, as an independent filmmaker who acts occasionally, that’s not a goal. Unless of course one of you is willing to offer me a studio deal. It’s more likely that you need a creative consultant, and my rates are reasonable. Unless you need an actor, at which point I work for scale plus ten, which is also somewhat affordable, depending on what your project is.

So, if you’ve read this far, and I hope that you have, I can finally admit I have more than three readers. It was a joke that I wrote a long time ago, that I liked and kept. I probably will continue to do so on most of the sites above. But not here, as you know, this is the last published issue of ATPM. Therefore, I’ll sign off with a somewhat unusual disclaimer that you may or may not have seen before.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

That’s my story. Hope you enjoyed it.™

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