What I mean by that is the old, grainy black-and-white footage enabled us to distance ourselves psychologically from the events unfolding before us. Sure, we knew that it actually happened, and that those were real people in those images – but it seemed a different reality, filled with folks not like us at all. "WWII in HD" erases that distance. Suddenly the faces on those soldiers waiting on the decks of transport ships are not only visible, but indistinguishable from the clerk at Starbucks or the Fed Ex driver. The shattered bodies on the volcanic sand of Iwo Jima aren't just misshapen forms and piles of torn clothing, but gaping wounds, smeared blood and swollen faces. And if that little shivering child on Saipan always broke your heart, it explodes it now. These aren't just soldiers and civilians fighting and dying in another age . . .they are here and now.
As you might imagine, if you know my family history, the episodes on the 8th Air Force were of particular interest to me. I never forget that my sons and I are only in this world because of two men: Paul Campbell, pilot of the B-17 'Badland Bat' on which my father was bombardier; and James H. Howard, the P-51 ace and Medal of Honor winner, who single-handedly fought off 20 German fighters and saved the 401st Bomb Group. But the documentary library of 8th Air Force footage is, with the exception of "Memphis Belle", both slim and – not surprising, given the conditions in which they were filmed – murky and jerky.
But watching "WWII in HD" I found myself, for the first time, searching faces for a glimpse of my 23-year-old father, scanning wing markings for the familiar Triangle S, even looking for my dad's name on mission blackboards. I was immersed in the Second World War in a way I had never been before.
When we think of the power of technology, it is usually its ability to bring us something brand new that we've never seen before. But sometimes, and no less important, technology – as it does with "WWII in HD" -- performs the miracle of taking something familiar and bring it back to life.
I never thought I'd see the day, but are Microsoft's TV commercials actually eclipsing Apple's these days?
First it was the latest installment of the once-clever, but now-tiresome, series of PC versus Mac series – you know, the one with the cool, but smarmy, Mac guy and the hapless, goofy PC nerd? After the first couple of years, I found myself cheering for the PC character if only out of the natural human urge to root for the underdog.
But in the latest segment, Mr. PC doesn't need my pity. I'm sure you've seen it: PC announces that the new Windows 7 is trouble-free and fixes all of the problems earlier versions of Windows. He then morphs back through time, representing each of those earlier generations of Windows by appearing in the clothing style of the era, always making the same claim.
Now, let's all agree that the suck factor in Windows has always been greater than in the Apple OS, in some generations more than others – trust me; I'm writing this on Vista.