I've lived with some sort of online communication for more than a decade now. Back then, at my former job in San Jose, CA, I needed to be in daily touch with my colleagues in Hong Kong, where I had also worked. We had a clunky modem setup that, however imperfect, freed us from the tyranny of trans-Pacific calls at strange hours and the cumbersome fax machine — a machine that, just a few short years earlier, seemed the last word in modern telecommunications.
E-mail changed all that. For this month's “Five questions” (page 26) I was able to chat with Dubai without leaving my keyboard. It's no substitute for meeting people face-to-face, or talking important issues over the phone. Editorially, however, it's invaluable for increasing our reach, and it's much better than struggling to reach sources via their cell phones from our office. How I hate cell phones — I understand their utility in daily business, but it's very difficult to carry on a complex conversation through their static, reverb, and echo, and I don't own one (anyone who has an interest in reaching me has ample opportunity to do so through more civilized modes).
What got me started on all this was Ellen Lampert-Gréaux's piece this month about the web, itself written in part via e-mail correspondence. Communicating with people was one thing, but buying lighting gear is quite another. Wall Street may have fallen out of love with the dot economy, but for shows on a budget (like The Peking Acrobats; see page 54) the web is a vital resource for finding reasonably priced equipment. I welcome success — and horror — stories about working the web for fixtures and accessories; send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you haven't visited lightingdimensions.com recently, you're in for a surprise. Our site is now part of IndustryClick, an initiative by our parent company, Primedia, to build comprehensive industry communities online. You'll find breaking news and online exclusives, and the text content of issues back to April 1997. It's still in progress, but I like the Search function, which I've used to pull up older stories for information (and you can, too).
A word about our NAB-friendly cover this month, highlighting John Calhoun's excellent piece about location lighting for top TV shows (page 28). We planned a full-bleed illustration, but word came in from Jersey that Tony liked it the way it is. No e-mail, no cell phone call, just … word. And what Tony wants, Tony gets.