So why did I choose to name all of this…. stuff, MrPowerScripts? The youtube channel, the blog, the podcast. Everything is MrPowerscripts. The reality is that I fucked up, and I haven’t been a massive fan of it for a long time. I lacked the foresight to see that it would grow into more… stuff. I had to pick something unless I wanted some long-ass garbled string as my youtube URL. Subscribe to my channel youtube.com/sdfJIOfdsafhHJdshafo yeah, okay. But the fact it was a video platform had a considerable influence on why I chose this name instead of something cool like Tech Warriors, or Scriptiverse. Hmmm, I guess It could have been a lot worse. I shouldn’t be allowed to name anything. But it was inspired by someone else who made educational videos.
See, there was this time before the internet. It was fucking terrible. I lived years of my life without access to all the world’s knowledge. If you wanted to know some weird facts about a random building in Italy, you had to read it in a book, know someone from Italy, or go to Italy. Which is all fine and dandy unless you’re a fucking five-year-old. Or however old I was. Do you know what it’s like looking through an encyclopedia as a child? They’re thick and wordy. Are you a visual learner? Get fucked kiddo. There were no random youtube videos by vacationers with six views about some obscure building in the middle fuck all nowhere, Italy.
And that’s if you were lucky enough to have an encyclopedia set full of random info. Look up how much those big encyclopedia sets used to cost. Hell, they’re still like $800 on Amazon. They would sell them on TV at odd hours, and you would have to pay with installments of $19.99 a month for the rest of your damn life. I’m not even exaggerating people on major publications have written happily about the demise of one of the major brands of the day Encyclopedia Britanica. TL;DR Massive paperweights, and not as cool as Mr. cool dude in their advertisements leads us to think.
Okay, okay, the world’s knowledge wasn’t just within those overpriced organic bricks, but wow, I hated those things. I needed a moment for some retro-hate. I was so excited to find an article bashing them! There is something far far better that served as a crucial role in information exchange. Libraries!
The library was AMAZING, and an endless supply of information was available. They were always changing as new books came and went. I have the best memories of hanging out at libraries. I would spend hours poking through books looking for the ones I wanted to read late into the night. I sometimes left with my backpack full.
If I was lucky, I could find excellent illustrations in books about really complicated stuff that I wanted to learn. And being more of a visual learner, understanding advanced or sophisticated ideas through reading was a challenge. Reading comprehension is a fundamental skill, and thankfully I had access to an infinite number of books to keep me curious and challenged at a young age. But my brain is probably a bit broken because I found television programs with graphics and animations accelerated my understanding of the subject matter much faster. Books I love you, but sometimes video is better. A picture can be worth a thousand words and good luck fitting a thousand words into a concise paragraph with neat transitions and sound effects. Maybe I just like powerpoints?
Educational science programs made the “hard” stuff seem more straightforward and did so in an entertaining way. Television shows I grew up with like “Bill Nye the Science Guy” and” Beakmans World” exploded in popularity during the ’90s. They were so popular we had days in school where we watched episodes to give students an overview of subjects before covering them more in-depth using the book materials. Video-based education was a booming segment in visual media throughout the decade, growing along with the internet. And these faces happened to pop up in the right place at the right now. But there was someone making science education videos waaaaay before Bill and Beakman brought their quirky personalities to the TV screens. Someone who was pretty much the complete opposite of them. Mr. Wizard
Mr. Wizard had two science educations shows. One from 1951-1965 (71-72) in black & white called “Watch Mr. Wizard.” And he later returned to TV with a second show called “Mr. Wizards World” that ran from 1983-1990. Very original name, Mr. Beakman. Mr. Wizard was there teaching simple science concepts on TV with real examples that you could watch while having someone talk through the explanation with you. Like you had a personal teacher that you could pause and rewind. I remember watching the show in passing at a very young age. I didn’t know how scheduled worked at the time. I don’t even think there was a TV channel for schedules at the time. You had to buy a TV guide at the grocery store. I realize now kids are going to have no fucking clue what any of that means, and I’m starting to realize just how barbaric the ’90s were.
Anyway, It would happen to be on TV sometimes, and I was lucky to catch it playing. And the thing I loved most about it is that I clearly remember understanding that this stuff was REAL. You could mix things and make them explode! He was always lighting things on fire, and I generally found that to be incredibly cool at the time. I was not the brightest lightbulb. He regularly taught us that the materials in the world we live in interact with each other in neat ways, and we have tools and techniques to detect and measure it all. Well, not all of it. Still a whole lot of “hmm, that’s fucky” when it comes to the sciences. But through the persistence of experimentation and iteration, we discover new things that make us go “hmm, that’s fucky”. And then sometimes, penicillin, because “whoops.” The world is magical.
So as I was trying to figure out a name for this new youtube channel that I needed to name, I thought of the first video educator that I encountered. Someone I’ll never meet, but who had a significant impact in sparking my curiosity about the world and sharing it in a fun, simple, and engaging way in a time where access to information was limited compared to today. The channel was only going to be about Powershell scripts at the time, and so MrPowerScripts became the channel name.
I always remembered him as a bit of a hard-nosed teacher, and it was funny to find the video below of Mr. Wizard being a jerk while trying to help kids learn. That… explains a lot now that I think about it.