To my immense delight, I found out last week that every Avid editing suite comes, as a matter of security, with a programmable key called a dongle. The function of the dongle is to prevent unauthorized rogue editors from sneaking into the building and layering in an aftereffect or converting a cut to a dissolve (
Sheer incompetence Rogue editors prowling the streets are a huge problem in the production industry). The other function of the dongle is to make me laugh whenever I see one of our editors walking the hallways with a dongle attached to a band on his wrist.
Sometimes a dongle goes wrong and the Avid suite refuses to do so much as turn its head and cough. What causes dongle wrongness? Cosmic rays? Viruses in the works introduced by rogue editors? The unhealthy influences of HAL, Edgar, Proteus IV or maybe Skynet? Spindling? The truth is, we don't know what sends a dongle off the rails. But when it happens, you have to send the dongle back to the manufacturers to have it reprogrammed. To reprogram a dongle is to bless it. Therefore it is permissible and even encouraged to phone up Avid corporate headquarters in Massachussetts (978 640 6789, if you're really determined to follow through) and say "Bless my Avid Dongle, sirs, for it has gone wrong". Make sure you can produce the wrong dongle when asked, though. And don't forget the 'sirs' when you phone up.