Friday, September 02, 2005

Massimo, Il Magnifico August 31, 2005

Everyone who has been reading our blog knows that we have had some technical problems with the computers. Bob has been tearing his hair out over the problem with his RAW images. The computer either did not recognize them or they would come up as little thumbnails, occasionally a full size version would be there but often not. He tried everything he could think of and we tried everyone we knew that we thought could help and got nowhere. We went to the local camera shops, he checked Nikon's and Apple's websites with no success, we tried asking for help from ExPats in Italy's forum and several people offered suggestions that we had already tried. It has also been a challenge just to find technical people here in Perugia who work on Macs and who know Photoshop AND Nikon! So, to say that it has been frustrating is an understatement. This has been the single most stressful part of being here - the technical problems with the computer and more than once I thought we should just throw the damn thing out and forget using digital images! But then of course I came to my senses, realizing we would not be able to communicate like we do and that the cost of film and processing for all the images we want to shoot would far exceed our budget!

And then we found the guys at All Media Services - Massimo (the Magnificent) and his partner Federico. We knew they existed and had even tried to tell them about our problem but their opening times and our visits to their shop never seemed to coincide! Businesses here do shut down between 1 and around 4 and theirs is no exception but it also seemed to us that their other hours were arbitrary. It turns out that they make house calls to businesses and are often out doing just that. It's a pretty long walk to their shop to get there and not find them in (which we did several times) so we would try to call them on the phone, and most of the time they didn't answer! But last week the stars were in alignment, we got them on the phone and ran over there immediately with our laptop, all the possible connections, Bob's cameras, our full size dictionary and a lot of hope in our hearts.

Massimo (the Magnificent) does not speak English. This was exciting for us, because we had to use our Italian and we actually were able to communicate with him all of the problems we had been having and he understood! He was adorable! He listened intently to us as we described all the things we had experienced and determined that the Photoshop program was corrupted and he reinstalled it, added an essential plug-in that was missing, then closed his eyes and stretched out his arms towards the computer, waving his hands and shushing us so we would not break his magic spell and voila! the computer worked like a charm. All our filters were there and the RAW images looked like they were going to be OK too. He made a few other moves and fixed a few things to make it all run more smoothly. At one point he lifted the keyboard to get to the "guts" and pulled out a RAM chip and exclaimed "CENTO VENTOTTO! (meaning a 128 RAM chip instead of the 512 chip which is what we had paid to have installed by the Apple store in Phoenix just before we left) to which Bob replied "CENTO VENTOTTO??" and Massimo responded "Sì! Cento Ventotto." For some reason we did not have what we thought we had, which we are sure contributed to our ongoing problems. Of course, Massimo fixed everything. He is Magnificent!

He was all finished by the time 1pm rolled around and just in time for the "riposo" and their closing time! We practically kissed his feet! He is ordering some more RAM for us and we will pay him for his services when it comes in. While we were there one of the other people in the office brought in some of these Italian cookies and they all got excited (these are called Ringos and they are just a packaged sandwich cookie, but clearly their favorites) that we decided when we go back we will bring a big box of them with us as our way of saying thanks. We asked him his name and he said "Massimo" and of course I couldn't resist saying "...il Magnifico" and he laughed but we knew he truly was!

The computer works great now and no more problems with the RAW images. Bob also figured out that one of the download settings was not correct so that helped too. I'm just delighted that he still has some hair left!

Buona sera,
Rosemary & Bob