Equality or Revenge?

Posted: 10th February 2017 by Cheap in Feminism, Philosophy

If you stand for equality for women, then you are a feminist.

If you just want revenge, then you’re not.

This simple phrase fell out of my mouth when explaining to someone my views on feminism and what’s giving them a bad name.  “To hear her talk, she doesn’t really want equality for women, she just wants revenge.”  The word “revenge” really sums up the problem with feminism.

Women turn to feminism because they have suffered from gender inequality.  They experience a variety of emotions because of this suffering: hurt, low self-esteem, confusion, doubt, bitterness, and occasionally anger.  Intentionally or not, feminists encourage each other to channel all of this into anger.  Theoretically, this anger can be used constructively, motivation to work for change rather than accept the status quo.

Of course, feminists are just people.  It is easy to be angry.  It is not so easy to be constructive.  There is no internal policing among feminists to ensure that their message remains positive.  As a result, there is much negativity coming out of the mouths of feminists.  Most of it, even.

Hence, there are a lot of women who call themselves feminists, and who think they are fighting for equality, but whose words and actions are actually not.  Instead, they are expressing anger at men.  Demonizing men.  Even making threats of what they will do to men, which often includes violence.  None of this is about equality.  It is about revenge.  Technically, it is hate speech.

  • The “good” titanium plated scissors I was using for cutting fabric were not shaped well for trimming the seam allowance on flat felled seams.  Since I expect to be doing quite a few of those, I looked at the store for a better pair.  I splurged and bought a small pair of knife edge dressmaker’s shears made by Gingher.  Wow!  The difference is night and day.  They cut through fabric like butter, and they operate very smoothly.  I will plan to get a larger pair, and those older scissors can move to my desk drawer for cutting paper.  They also make a nice set of knife edge thread snips.  The ones I have by Fiskars cut very roughly, and their design does nothing to keep the blades together, which means they frequently fail to cut the thread.
  • I just replaced both of the strut/spring/mount assemblies in the front of my car.  This has solved the groaning noise that occurred in the front whenever I would drive across the curb at the end of my driveway, though now I can hear the back doing it a little still.  I’ll get those later.  While I was in there, I noticed one of the CV boots was cracked and spewing grease around in the wheel well, so I replaced the CV axle on that side.  After that, the alignment was so bad that I could hear the tires squealing while simply driving straight, and it was a bit of a battle to keep the car moving in a straight line.  However, I’m finished replacing steering and suspension components in the front, so I had an alignment done and bought some new tires.  I splurged for Michelin Defender tires, not because I think the car is worth it, but because I don’t want to experience unnecessary traction problems in snow or rain.  I took the car to Dobbs for both of these things, and they tried to screw me with some outrageously high add-on fee to do the alignment right.  I declined, and now I have an in-spec but not ideal alignment.  I need to look into ways I can do my own alignment measurements.
  • I need to start making more of an effort about my appearance when I go to the auto parts store.  The manager there is rather cute, and also maybe kind of close to my age.
  • After the car repairs were complete, I tried a sewing technique for the first time called machine darning on a hole in my work pants.  One of the presser feet that came with the assortment I bought is for darning and freehand embroidery.  Singer has a nice video tutorial for each presser foot they sell.  I now have a nice red patch on my blue jeans where the hole used to be.
  • I have started watching The OA, and it really is quite good.  From the people who have raved about it, I was expecting something emotionally intense.  Instead, what’s good about it, aside from the mystery, is the realism that is depicted.  Real people with real life challenges connecting together in a way that is directly applicable to real life.  In that sense, it is inspiring.
  • I have purchased a Zoom F4 digital recorder.  This is the first really great, purpose-built audio recorder I’ve owned for filmmaking.  The H4n is a huge step up from the audio capabilities of any DSLR, but it is nevertheless a cheap consumer recorder made for musicians, with a clunky user-interface, mediocre preamps, and a form-factor that is awkward for filmmaking.  The Roland R-26 was a significant improvement in quality and user-interface, but still in the awkward form-factor.  The F4 has very high quality preamps, has tons of great features specifically tailored for filmmaking, and it’s in the traditional form-factor used in the field by professional film sound recordists.  And it seems really rugged.  All this for a very reasonable price.  I wish Zoom had made this years ago.  I am quite eager to use it on a film project.
  • Kim Harrison’s The Turn arrived today.  I shall be starting it just as soon as I post this.

How to Meet a Great Guy

Posted: 6th February 2017 by Cheap in Humor, Men and Women

Step 1. Learn how to stop wasting so much time on guys who aren’t great.

Step 2. Use your newly freed up time to meet more people.

Step 3. When you do finally find a great guy, sabotage his relationship.

Accepting the Faults in a Democracy

Posted: 29th January 2017 by Cheap in Philosophy, Politics

My first experience managing others was at a small, rapidly growing tech company.  My job became too much for one person to do, and some people were hired to assist me.  They were smart guys, and I spent some time training them.  However, the first months weren’t very productive because I was reluctant to assign them tasks.  The primary reason?  I believed I would perform those tasks correctly, but the new guys would inevitably make mistakes.  Mistakes that would affect our customers and damage the company’s reputation.  It was at this point that I was given the most important management advice I’ve ever received: to delegate responsibilities to others, I must accept that they will make mistakes.  And indeed they did: they made mistakes, they learned from those mistakes, and life went on.  Though the mistakes could have been more serious than they were, the risk was acceptable to the company because the need for productivity was more important than the need for perfection.

So it is with democracy.  The whole point of democracy is that not everyone agrees about the choices the nation must make.  In a democratic republic, such as the United States, not everyone agrees who should be trusted to make those choices.  At any point in time within a democracy, there are a set of issues which do not have broad, majority consensus.  Due to the way the two-party “system” in the United States works, there are many such issues, and the adherents to each position are about evenly split.  What this means is that, over any period of time, about half of the choices made on contentious issues will be wrong (“wrong” being from the point of view of whoever is complaining about it).  This is inherent in the nature of democracy: wrong choices will be made.  (In fact, this is inherent in the nature of any form of government, the only difference being that outside of democracy, you and your opinion don’t matter.)  Through the democratic process, the nation will make mistakes.  The nation might learn from those mistakes.  Life will probably go on.  (Admittedly, the magnitude of the mistakes could have life-ending consequences, such as global thermonuclear war.)  However, these risks are acceptable to the nation because the need for unity and freedom* is more important than the need for perfection.

During these troubling times, I feel that it is important to take a step back and look at the big picture, rather than to engage in hysteria about the direction this nation is suddenly going.  Yes, a slew of wrong (from my perspective) decisions are being enacted.  Yes, they are serious, and the consequences will be significant and often irreversible.  However, part of living in a democratic society is accepting both the mistakes and the consequences.  Accepting.  Yes, resist through the political and legal process, but at the end of the day, when all options have been exhausted, accept the outcome.  (Though, the end of the day is not today.  If the planet survives Trump’s presidency, however long it lasts, there will be opportunity for change.)  Because this is the democracy we live in.

From this perspective, it is fair to say to those suffering hysteria that they are being “sore losers”.  The phrase is inadequate, because in a game there are no real consequences, while in national politics there are.  However, if you are going to participate in democracy — and by voting, you are implying consent to democracy as a form of rule — then you should accept the outcome of that process, just as you would expect others to accept it if the outcome had been different.

(* I hesitate to use the word “freedom” here because the word has multiple meanings, but most people seem to be unaware of the distinctions.  (One of my pet peeves is when someone says, “it’s a free country,” because the country is free in only one sense, and the person saying it is almost always attempting to convey a different sense that is not true.)  Here I mean freedom from tyranny and unrepresented rule.)

What is not Taught about Pre-Nazi History

Posted: 29th January 2017 by Cheap in History, Philosophy, Racism

Concerning the Holocaust, the phrase “never forget, never again” is frequently thrown around.  The idea is that knowledge of the past can help us prevent repeating the same mistakes.  However, I wonder if we are remembering the wrong part of that history.  Particularly, the historical circumstances that led us to the Holocaust.  I wonder this now because we are seeing a resurgence in Nazi rhetoric, and it seems that few people recognize the danger.

Also, one of the weaknesses in the way history is taught is that it focuses on fulcrum points.  A leader came to power.  An important event took place.  Economic conditions existed.  What is not recorded in history books is the behavior of individuals.  The thoughts and opinions of regular people and their resulting behavior.  This seems relevant now because Trump isn’t causing all of this.  A huge swath of the American people are causing or allowing it.  To an unknown extent, Nazism wasn’t caused by Hitler.  It was an attitude or mood that Hitler rode to power and then harnessed.  Widespread racism was an enabling factor of Hitler and his programs, just as it is today with Trump and his.

One thing that history does not teach us is how to avoid or counteract racism.  What can be done about it?  Racism is bad, m’kay?  Unfortunately, though we’ve been teaching that message for generations, it hasn’t gotten through.  In WWII, it took half the world’s military power to stop it, at great cost.

Janowow!

Posted: 28th January 2017 by Cheap in Fiction, Firearms, Sewing
Tags: , , , , ,
  • This month, I have finished watching the last of Star Trek: Enterprise, The Newsroom, and Penny Dreadful, as well as the latest season of Sherlock.  In the case of both The Newsroom and Sherlock, the first two seasons were excellent, and then they began to be disappointing.  The later seasons of Sherlock in particular have just been capitalizing on our love for the characters, jumping the shark a bit with story situations, and almost completely neglecting mystery.  Also, television writers should be forbidden to write nostalgia episodes.  Penny Dreadful was decent entertainment, but it became clear that it was sending all the wrong messages.
  • I have started going through Star Trek: The Original Series.  I had previously been of the belief that I have seen most of the episodes, given that the re-runs were constantly in syndication while I was growing up.  However, the first few episodes were all new to me.  I’ve started to see episodes I recognize, but they are still fairly new to me, I guess because I was too young to really understand them.  Once I get through ST:TOS, my knowledge of Star Trek canon will be more or less complete — just in time for Discovery to begin in May.
  • In addition to that, I am still working through Elementary.
  • I have heard great things about The OA, and I’ve added it to my queue.  Now that I’m down to two series, I should go ahead and start on it.
  •  I was thinking about getting a small Android tablet to dedicate as a testing platform, a 7″ Samsung Tab A.  When I looked in late December, I was surprised to see how inexpensive they were, $60 if I recall correctly.  I should have bought one then, because that was evidently a temporary price for Christmas.  When I went looking after Christmas, the same model was $100, then later $130, and now it is $150.  I’ve finally broken down and ordered a $40 Android tablet from some no-name manufacturer.  I guess I’ll see how good or bad it is.
  • I didn’t pay to watch Suicide Squad in the theaters because of how bad the reviews were.  I’m glad I didn’t.  It was really bad.  It was bad because they didn’t invest in character development.  How can you, when you have to introduce half a dozen major characters all at once?  Well, apparently one way is to spend the first twenty minutes of the film reciting the dossier of each character.  It didn’t work.  There was some character development as the action progressed, but it was too late.  It was especially too late for the Joker, who isn’t really involved in the action.  Consequently, his melodramatic mania and anguish was not felt by the audience, and instead it just came across as cheap.  It wasn’t a problem with anyone’s acting; it was simply the poor story structure.
  • I have purchased a Ruger SP101, the 4.2 inch model in .357 Magnum.  This seems to be the best gun to carry while backpacking.  It is light enough that I won’t mind the weight, substantial enough to shoot straight, and powerful enough to provide protection from black bears or people.  It is stainless steel, so it can stand up to the elements.
  • I’ve been doing some good stuff with the sewing machine.  I bought a full-size set of flannel sheets, ripped the fitted sheet apart, and made a custom-fit set for my hide-a-bed.  I also took the last pair of lounge pants that fit me, ripped them apart, made a pattern from it, and have made a new pair.  Now that I’ve made it work, I can make several pairs from the pattern.  I’ve also learned a number of new techniques in the process, such as finishing seam edges with overcast stitches and working with elastic.  Oh, and I got some custom-made labels to put into clothing I make.
  • I bought a cast-iron pan.  A modern one with an enamel finish on the outside.  It really does work better than the old Lodge frying pan I tried decades ago, undoubtedly because it comes pre-seasoned.  That said, I attempted to season it a little more, and I followed some bad instructions online.  There may have been a fire.  Surprisingly, it looks like the seasoning is still intact, assuming I can scrub the rest of the residue that the burnt oil left behind.  I am going to have to spend some time learning how to cook differently with this thing.
  • The election suddenly makes sense to me.  I now realize that we are living in an alternate universe, one in which Donald Trump is the President of the United States.

Why I Don’t Call Myself a Feminist

Posted: 22nd January 2017 by Cheap in Feminism
Tags: ,

I hesitate to talk about feminism today, so soon after the the highly successful and affirming Women’s March that took place yesterday.  However, I just stumbled across this quote from Louise Brealey (who I admire greatly as an actor and am beginning to respect as a person), and I realized that I have an answer now.  As in, I used to be rather confused about this, but now I am not so much.  A change that is directly attributable to writing about it here.

“I’d like every man who doesn’t call himself a feminist to explain to the women in his life why he doesn’t believe in equality for women.”

After reading that, the following conversation occurred in my head:

Do you believe in equality for women?
Yes.
Then does that make you a feminist?
Sure.
So then do you call yourself a feminist?
No.
Why not?

The key difference here is being a feminist versus calling yourself a feminist.

So why don’t I call myself a feminist?  The short answer is that I cannot endorse the feminist movement as a whole.  Specifically, the significant amount of anti-male hate speech contained within that movement.  I won’t rehash the difference between the way feminists view their movement and the way outsiders do, but certainly there is one.  This is the problem with any assertion that equates feminism with support for gender equality.  I wrote about this when Emma Watson said it.  Feminism is not a belief.  It is a movement, and as movements go, this one is particularly rife with behaviors that should be an embarrassment to that movement.  When you say “feminist” to someone who is not one, the meaning that comes across is not “equality for women”.  The word is a label for all of the things collectively that people do and have done, say and have said in the name of feminism.  And that image is not an admirable one.

My solidarity with feminists is limited to the positive beliefs, actions, and aspirations of the movement.  To speak of myself as a feminist is to identify with the movement as a whole, not simply the one core belief of equality.  Though equality may be the root of feminism, the movement bears much fruit that is the opposite of equality.  And I do not want to be an accessory to the hate that comes forth from the feminist movement.

Which is not to say that I do not support my feminist friends or the movement in general.  I struggle sometimes, and it requires a thick skin.  However, I realize that people are not perfect.  It is not easy to unravel the difference between support for gender equality and opposition to those who perpetuate inequality.  Every woman I know has suffered countless acts of oppression, and often trauma or even violence.  Certainly it is natural to react with anger and even the desire to do harm.  While I do not agree with the harm, I try to be patient and see beyond it.  The core of their intentions are right, and I can support that.

The Penny Dreadful Crowd

Posted: 1st January 2017 by Cheap in Fiction, Philosophy

(or, relatively well-off first-world people borrowing trouble from others because their own suffering is insufficient to justify how sorry they want to feel for themselves.)

The Danse Macabre, as ritualized by so-called goths, was once described to me as, “mourning death.”  Not any particular person’s death, but simply the existence of death as a fact of life (no irony intended).  Most goths at the time were teenagers or immature twenty-somethingers, most of whom didn’t even known anyone who had died.  Goth culture was often criticized as having no substance and being merely a fashion identity.  Indeed, looking back, I can see that most goths probably dressed that way so they could feel they were sharing in whatever fantasy world they had imagined after reading so many Anne Bishop novels (the characters of which also engaging in ridiculous amounts of self-pity).

Teen angst has been a real thing among the last few generations, but few mature adults believe in it because it has no cause.  It seems that teenagers invent emotional pain for themselves simply because having such pain elevates them from ordinary to a status of having more depth and meaning uniqueness than would otherwise be true of an unremarkable middle class kid in America.

Most people grow out of this just as soon as life throws real problems their way.  When you work your ass off and you can’t pay your bills, afford health insurance, or pay off your student loans, and your car breaks down, and you have to go to the doctor, you tend to forget all about mourning death.  But some people don’t.  I don’t know, maybe they are immune to maturity.  Because even with all of that going on, they still need to feel less mundane about themselves.  So their high school music, dress, and claimed values cling to them like a stain.  They persist in their Victorian sensibilities (which have evolved into steampunk and comics by now), and they continue to think and behave like children into their thirties.

Enter Penny Dreadful, a wet dream for people who need to put on angst like a cloak.  19th century fashion?  Check.  Characters who endure extraordinary emotional suffering?  Check.  Vampires, werewolves, demonic possession, and people brought back from the dead?  Check.  Monsters who adore poetry and appreciate the beauty in life?  The show is a veritable menagerie of angsty characters who have good reason to be angsty.  They don’t do much, but they sure do feel bad and dress lovely.

In one scene, Vanessa Ives is asked by a stranger about her relationship with God and the church.  She chuckles and responds that she and God are lately not on such good terms.  This is a legitimate response from her: she has been the victim of demonic possession and psychic visitations, and she has sinned greatly.  However, her line of dialog is exactly the sort of thing you hear all the time from kids who have turned away from religion because God didn’t save them from their imaginary suffering.

Other unhealthy platitudes and attitudes are reinforced.  One pivotal statement is that the past cannot be escaped, “It’s who we are.”  Miss Ives continually withdraws within herself, refusing help from others, insisting that no one can help her, that she must go it alone.  It’s as if she is talking about depression rather than being hunted by witches.  She tells people that she is not like anyone else; her burden is uniquely terrible.

These characters are designed to resonate with this group of people.  The characters demonstrate the emotional pain that these people want to feel, and they justify it by having real (though supernatural and fictitious) causes behind their suffering.  They identify with the characters, yet at no point does it occur to them that their life is nothing like those of the characters, that their own troubles are the boring, ordinary sort, and that they have no business mourning the non-existent tribulations of their life.

Edit: I keep adding to this, and the structure of my thought has been lost to a flood of further epiphany.  I may have to re-write this post as, “What Penny Dreadful has taught me about teen angst.”  The more I think about it, the more this show seems to confirm that many teens feign dramatic emotional suffering because it makes them unique and brings them attention.  The show repeatedly reinforces the notion that emotional suffering will draw people to love you, care for you, and seek to save you even against your protests.  It reinforces the fallacy that your quiet anguish will not go unnoticed by those around you, that there is no need to cry for help, and that in the end your needs will be satisfied even if you resist help or fight it.

The most fascinating thing about Penny Dreadful is the question of whether it was written by someone with clinical depression, intensely low self-esteem, and suicidal tendencies, or if it was coldly calculated to appeal to such people.

I am also beginning to wonder how much Penny Dreadful will contribute to teen suicide over the next few years.  Not only does it promote unhealthy attitudes about safeguarding one’s emotional health, but it is clearly setting the central character on the path to suicide.  She is not just someone with difficulties.  She has been marked from birth for her struggle, specially singled out as a victim by powers beyond this world, destined and “meant” to suffer.  This is exactly how many people suffering from clinical depression feel, and it seems to those people that there is no way out but death.  Penny Dreadful seems to confirm that, yes, some people really are preordained to suffer, and there is no escaping it.

I am only beginning the second season, but I am making a prediction: at some point before the end of the second season, Miss Ives will attempt to take her own life, but the attempt will fail, and everyone else will rush to help her, and they will successfully defeat or stave off her enemy.

Edit (Spoiler): Okay, my prediction was wrong about everything but its core.  It didn’t happen until the end of the third season, she begged someone to kill her instead of suicide, and it was successful.

Smart Watches pt. 1

Posted: 29th December 2016 by Cheap in Hunting, Technology

Exploring Android development has sparked my interest in smart watches.  I see I have a lot to learn.

Until now, I have ignored the smart watch market.  This is mainly because I’ve stopped wearing a watch.  I used to wear one all the time, but I’ve noticed that they have become somewhat unfashionable.  Among the generation of people with whom I socialize, almost no one wears a watch.  Everyone has a phone that tells time, and that’s what people use.  Sure, digging in your pocket or searching for your phone is less convenient than simply turning your wrist.  However, wearing a watch today marks me out as some kind of geek or old person.

I do have a watch band for an iPod nano.  However, I’ve never worn that on a regular basis.  I’ve only used it when biking, and even then, I only bike with it when I have podcasts to which to listen, because the iPod lets me back up easily, while my MP3 headset does not.

However, I noticed that Android Studio has an option for creating an Android Wear app.  And I realized that I have a killer app I would like to develop.

I’m a hunter, and I’ve long wished for a hunting watch.  What’s a hunting watch?  Well, it doesn’t exist.  But if it did, a hunting watch would be a time piece with an alarm to notify the user about the beginning and end of shooting times.  In Missouri, and in many states, deer hunting is allowed between a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset.  Sunrise and sunset vary with the time of year and the latitude and longitude.  A device with a clock and a GPS can calculate it, and I use an app on my phone to do that.  Every day, I set or adjust an alarm on my phone.  And then in the morning and the evening, when I am trying to be silent and stealthy, I compulsively fumble with my phone to check the time.  It would be so much better to have all of this in a watch (or better yet, a carabiner clip).  As a timepiece, it would need to adjust to a very dim display that can be read in darkness without being a light source that calls the attention of game.

One thing I’ve learned is that I have to be careful to find out what OS the watch runs.  It’s not the same thing as what operating systems it is compatible with.

I was in the store looking at smart watches for the first time.  The Samsung watches are most prominently on display, and they currently have a piece of hardware that is absolutely gorgeous, the Samsung Gear S3 frontier.  It is a perfect balance of elegant sophistication and rugged manliness.  It has a great display and an excellent feel.  It has GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi, and if I wanted to pay for it, direct connectivity to the mobile data network.  I nearly bought one then and there, but I’m glad I did a little research on it first, because it doesn’t run Android.  It runs a completely different OS called Tizen.  Evidently, all the Samsung smart watches do.  Anything I learned about Android development would be completely useless for this watch.

I have not researched Tizen development extensively.  From what I gather, development is done in HTML5 and JavaScript.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Tizen apps are evidently web pages.  I am intrigued, but maybe not $350 worth, and not enough to delay my development path on Android.

Fortunately, there are genuine Android watches out there.  I just need to research them.

There were a few at the store.  One that caught my eye was the Nixon Mission.  It’s even more rugged and manly than the S3 frontier, designed for use during extreme sports like surfing and snowboarding.  It’s actually kind of obnoxiously huge, and the water resistance is excessive.  And it costs even more.  This is probably not the watch I will start with, but it’s nice to know that there is at least one example of something that will fulfill my needs.

My system monitoring UI app would also be great on a watch.  I will certainly have to make that happen.

Premiere Pro CS6 vs. CC 2017

Posted: 29th December 2016 by Cheap in Technology, Videography

Last month, I was forced* to upgrade my Adobe CS6 Production Premium to CC.  I have been fighting with it ever since.  If anyone asks me, it is a downgrade.

The most debilitating problem with Premiere Pro CC is that the new playback engine under CC didn’t like my video card.  Playback was extremely choppy, and even when paused, the wrong frame was usually displayed.  This wasn’t simply inconvenient; it was so bad and so unusable I couldn’t edit anything until I got this resolved.  I dropped a bunch of cash to buy a video card that the Mercury Playback Engine likes (an MSI NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti Gaming 6G†), and that has basically resolved the problem.  However, playback is still not quite as responsive as it was under CS6.

The Dynamics audio effect has been made obsolete.  I rely on this for most of the video I edit.  I just drag it onto the audio track, and the default settings are just what I want: a little compression and a little amplification that gives a subtle and consistent result, but a definite improvement.  When opening an old CS6 project, Premiere will complain that Dynamics no longer exists, and it will drop it from my project.  Fortunately, I found that it does still exist, under the Obsolete Audio Effects category.  For older projects, I’ll have to manually put the effect back in place.  There is a new replacement effect, called Dynamics Processing, but it is not the same.  The default settings evidently do nothing, and none of the presets are exactly like the old Dynamics effect.  Specifically, they are … well, dynamic.  The levels change during playback based on what was just played, which results in something that sounds awful, because it is inconsistent through the playback.  A boomy sound is followed by momentarily muted audio, and the fact that the timing differs between the left and right channels makes it very noticeable.  I suspect I can find a way to customize the settings to be more consistent, and then save that as a custom preset, but it is going to take some time.  Also, I may have damaged my hearing trying all the presets, because some of them are just dangerous.

The most offensive problem is that Adobe has dropped support for Encore, the DVD/Blu-ray authoring tool.  There is no replacement.  I realize that physical video media is on the way out, but it isn’t dead yet.  Many of my customers still ask for DVDs, and they aren’t swayed by my explanations of easier and better ways to access and play their video.  So I accommodate them, even though it’s more work for me.  What am I supposed to do now?  A quick search for answers has suggested that I can re-install and use Encore CS6 and use it with Premiere Pro CC.  However, my old work-flow will no longer work, because Dynamic Link doesn’t work between CS6 and CC.  So instead of letting Encore transcode a Premiere Pro sequence directly using the amount of compression that it calculates is necessary to fit the video on the disk, it appears that I will have to render an intermediate video file and import that into Encore.  I haven’t tried this yet, so I don’t know what frustration I will encounter.  Will I lose chapter markers set in Premiere?  Will I have to use a giant lossless format to avoid degradation due to double compression?  Will I spend hours of trial and error to get the compression right?

So far, I have not enjoyed a single “upgrade” benefit from CC.  There have been a handful of features I had heard about in CC that weren’t available to me in CS6, but now I don’t remember what any of them were.  There’s a cartoony new user-interface, and I get free and easy upgrades, but that’s all.  My experiences with Photoshop and Audition are basically unchanged.  I haven’t even cracked open After Effects or Illustrator yet, and frankly I dread doing so.  The bottom line is that Adobe comes out ahead, financially, and I’m the loser.

Update: Alright, I spoke too soon.  I have discovered a couple of improvements that are useful to me.  One is that many of the video effects have a built-in mechanism to create a shape mask for them.  Maybe this existed in CS6, but in CC, this is right there in the effect controls, and it is real obvious.  This greatly simplifies a task I frequently need to perform: obscuring a portion of the video with a mosaic or gaussian blur.  The other is rendering speed.  It is now rendering about 1.92 seconds of (5.5 Mb/s 720p) video per second, which is about a 75-100% improvement over my old render times.  This is actually not an improvement in CC, but my graphics card, because all those CUDA cores are being used to assist in the rendering.

(* I bought a new still camera, and Photoshop CS6 didn’t support it.  When I shoot stills, I shoot in RAW.  Every camera has specific variations that must be accounted for when processing RAW files.  Adobe has stopped providing updates for new cameras for the CS6 Camera Raw plugin.  Therefore, the only way to process RAW images from this camera in Photoshop was to upgrade to CC.)

(† I chose that graphics card for two reasons.  Most importantly, because of its silent, 0 RPM idle mode.  Quiet components are very important to me.  The other reason is because of the large number of CUDA cores.  I dabble in photorealistic 3D modeling, and I understand that CUDA cores are the workhorse for GPU accelerated rendering.  I guess a third reason is that I got a good deal on an open box item.)