Answering Arthur’s Rhetorical Questions

So, I caught the remake of Arthur on a cable movie channel the other day. I’m absolutely NOT a fan of Russell Brand and was quite upset to hear that they were remaking the movie originally. While it was never high art or anything, the original Arthur is a bit of a classic and good for some laughs, mainly at the manic performance of Dudley Moore as the namesake loveable drunk – a performance that has set the standard for a generation of actors “acting drunk.”

Still, I adore Helen Mirren (Can I *be* her when I grow up?) and figured it was worth a watch on a boring afternoon.  I’m so glad I watched it, if for no other reason, for the following scene:

As a Pro-AV Systems Integrator for the majority of my professional career, I shall attempt to answer Arthur’s rhetorical questions, at least as they apply to our industry:

Systems Integration Professional… Would anyone do it as an amateur?

Sadly, Arthur, yes. We see this everyday in our industry. Sometimes it’s a trunk slammer or industry newb who just hasn’t (or won’t) dedicate the time and energy to getting much-needed training and certifications to become a Professional.  Sometimes it’s the DIY master – the guy who is somewhat handy, has hooked up his home TV or stereo and figures he can do anything. And sometimes it’s a related trade who has some of our skill-set and a big ego, assuming that there is NOTHING we do that they can’t.  Suffice to say, yes, there are amateur Systems Integrators and they do take work from Systems Integration Professionals at times. On the bright side, they also CREATE work for us other times, because once they screw something up or get it semi-functional, they have to call in the Systems Integration Professionals to fix it or finish it.

Would anyone approach Systems Integration as a hobby, for fun on a Saturday afternoon, instead of flying a kite?

Absolutely – though very often these Systems Integration hobbyists are also Systems Integration Professionals.  I mean, c’mon… you *know* you’ve got your own rack, or control system, or tricked-out, cobbled together home theatre at home! I know for certain that Mr. AVDawn is always tinkering. We have a touch panel control system running our house, cobbled together from salvage parts, eBay acquisitions and sheer stubbornness. Whenever we find some particularly brilliant new bit of tech, it’s only a matter of time until some aspect of that makes its way into our house.  Our friends in the industry tend to have similar stories.  Granted, these home-hobby systems are generally ugly.  Our home rack is ATROCIOUS, but that’s the shoemaker’s shoeless kids theory… We save the good work for AT work and just fiddle about at home. Even still, few Systems Integration Professionals manage to resist bringing at least SOME of their work home, for personal use, on a Saturday afternoon, instead of flying a kite!

Who is integrating systems for their own amusement?

Asked and answered, my good fellow!  Pretty much everyone in the AV Systems Integration field also integrates for fun at home… as well as many at home DIY guys, IT professionals and electricians, and almost any guy between the ages of, say 15 and death… And yes, that’s pretty intentionally sexist right there.  After all, guys have some genetic component or primal instinct to tinker – be it with car engines, AV or electrical systems, household plumbing and so on.  Yes, there are a growing number of us ladies in the industry, but on the main, we aren’t the tinkerers, putterers and hobby-geeks. Still, some of us geek out just as badly as the fellas do… and it is amusing.

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