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Internet connection or no internet connection?

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Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:32 pm

I have mostly run my music computers isolated from the internet. It would be useful, now I use cloud storage and suchlike, to have an internet connection on the Studio Mac Pro but I'm slightly reluctant to do so. I'm managing fine without and have a MBP around so I can download stuff and email/dropbox files to people. What are the pros and cons of connecting your music computer to the internet?
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby Dave B » Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:51 pm

So the whole 'no internet' thing is a hangover from the old days of dial up computing. People would have a modem attached to their computer and suddenly find it under attack or exposing itself due to sloppy coding. So it was recommended that studio machines should be offline.

The moment we all went to routers, that kind of went out of the window - your router has a firewall, you OS will have a firewall and the apps running are now a helluva lot more security conscious. The bigger issue is software that wastes CPU time by constantly checking external systems and potentially blocking whilst it does that - but even that is less of an issue.

If you're on Windows, on a network, and you have some sort of anti-virus running - and are sensible about the sites you visit - then you should be ok. If you are on macOS or Linux, it's slightly safer as there are less (not none - less) than windows.
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:26 pm

The biggest issue is resisting the temptation to pop over to SOS or Youtube when you should be finishing your latest opus.
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby Luke W » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:33 pm

I find it really useful for updates, sending files without transferring between machines etc.

I've got my studio machine set up so that the WiFi takes priority over the Cat V connection (bit strange I know, but bear with me...) I use the Cat V connection to connect to a router/switch that is offline and only for the studio, which allows me to use my iPad for control apps, connect to NAS drives for backups etc. The WiFi is set up to connect to the general home network, which is connected to the internet.

I work with the WiFi switched off and so the machine is connected to the studio network, and if I want to download an update, send a file, check emails or any other online jobby, I switch on the WiFi, and knock it back off again when I'm done. I've found this gives me the best of both worlds.

The home network router is in the same room as well so it's only marginally slower downloading/uploading than a cabled connection anyway, even downloading large updates/libraries is quick enough to not feel the need to reach for any cables, but I'm lucky enough to have a fast connection available...
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby scw » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:47 pm

I have always had my music PC (windows) connected to the internet and never had any issues. As said above, it makes updates easier and I am connected to a home network with backup configured on a Synology diskstation. I know it has its detractors, but I've used McAfee for decades now without issue. You must configure the updates to manual to avoid it slowing the DAW at the wrong moment. There are plenty of AV programmes out there to choose from but I'd definitely recommend using one if on a PC. I'm not sure if that advice applies as much to Mac users.
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby ManFromGlass » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:55 pm

My Mac tower is hardwired to the router. I use Little Snitch to turn off the Mac programs that are going online constantly to do who knows what. (gamed, itunes, google software update and a few others) I turn them back on when I need them. I try to keep abreast of programs that mine ones contacts and search for other info that is none of their business but it’s hard to keep up with that.
I assume the better hackers already have my vital information and that is the price of having a machine connected to the internet. As US law has forced Apple to insert a back door into their OS a non-programmer like me can only cross my fingers and take these small measures which could be totally useless. Am I paranoid or a realist? No idea but I’d rather be writing music than spending time researching how to keep personal data safe.
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby desmond » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:22 pm

scw wrote:I'm not sure if that advice applies as much to Mac users.

No, A/V just exposes an extra layer of potential vulnerabilities and is pretty unnecessary on the Mac platform.

ManFromGlass wrote:As US law has forced Apple to insert a back door into their OS a non-programmer like me can only cross my fingers

Your source for this fact you state? :headbang:
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby DC-Choppah » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:38 pm

Pros: Keeps your computer up to date
Can use web-based collaboration tools built into various platforms
Can bounce to the cloud or import files from the cloud for collaboration
Access to unlimited VSTs
Streaming audio apps
Access to your DAW updates

Cons: Sometimes a process that uses the network will interrupt your music production
Lack of music focus - You start playing games, surfing etc..
Network drivers can sometimes be the source of audio problems
Automatic OS updates might cause audio problems
If you turn the internet connection off, processes will look for the network and
interfere with music production.

I think all of the cons can be fixed if you configure your system properly. And the Pros are obviously pretty essential.
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:42 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:As US law has forced Apple to insert a back door into their OS a non-programmer like me can only cross my fingers and take these small measures which could be totally useless. Am I paranoid or a realist?

I'm not a fan of Apple as a company, but on this matter I think they are in the clear.

https://www.apple.com/uk/privacy/govern ... -requests/

Apple has never created a backdoor or master key to any of our products or services. We have also never allowed any government direct access to Apple servers. And we never will.

https://www.apple.com/legal/transparency/

I think there may have been some misunderstanding resulting from the big fight that Apple had with the US government a couple of years ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FBI%E2%80 ... on_dispute - It is true that Apple were ordered to assist in the unlocking of the device, but they refused and while it was being argued over, the FBI had it done by a '3rd party' and the order to Apple was rescinded.
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby ef37a » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:05 pm

Since Wireless is often a bother in music computers, go for an Ethernet connection which you can keep unplugged until you need it. You can even buy RJ45 outlets with a keyswitch.

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=WADSW ... 0074248865

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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby The Elf » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:11 pm

All of my audio PCs are connected permanently. It's never been an issue for me.

I also rely heavily on a couple of Synology NAS arrays for backup, sample access and such. Without connectivity I'd be hobbled.
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:59 pm

I think, on balance there are enough reasons for not connecting the studio computer to the network/internet to justify keeping it isolated. Mostly the reduction in distractions and potential for interruptions. Of the pros, backing up, updating and transferring files only the last has any significance and I'll continue to do that via USB drive for now. I can have 3 drives in the Mac Pro in addition to the working SSD, I will sort out a proper backup regime one day, it's a little 'ad-hoc' at present (but nowhere near as 'ad-hoc' as my recording procedures) but a couple of extra 1TB HDDs will keep my backup needs well cared for.

Thanks chaps :thumbup:
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:00 pm

Both my serious music production computers are off the internet and I disable network connections on my laptop if I'm doing any serious recording. I really can't afford any glitches and running latency monitoring software shows that the network is causing the occasional high latency spike on the laptop. The other two computers are still running Windows XP so they're better kept isolated nowadays.

I exchange data between them using large memory sticks and Syncback software.
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby Watchmaker » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:06 pm

I have a similar approach to James in that I disconnect from the webs on my primary studio iMac when actually recording. I only use this computer for studio work and often have a laptop nearby to keep me entertained while the talent faffs about (j/k).

When I'm not actually writing to .wav files I'm a lot less paranoid about background processes spiking my CPU or something and usually have the web connected. I find streaming reference material from Tidal for invaluable as I can get high quality playback, not .mp3's.
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:12 pm

Sigh! I've only got one computer... sigh! :cry:
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby ManFromGlass » Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:51 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:
ManFromGlass wrote:As US law has forced Apple to insert a back door into their OS a non-programmer like me can only cross my fingers and take these small measures which could be totally useless. Am I paranoid or a realist?

I think there may have been some misunderstanding resulting from the big fight that Apple had with the US government a couple of years ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FBI%E2%80 ... on_dispute - It is true that Apple were ordered to assist in the unlocking of the device, but they refused and while it was being argued over, the FBI had it done by a '3rd party' and the order to Apple was rescinded.

Misunderstanding? You are too kind, more like a seniors moment! :smirk:
But I still have a nagging memory about a US back door law I read about somewhere. I’ll see what I can dig up.
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby James Perrett » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:10 am

Mike Stranks wrote:Sigh! I've only got one computer... sigh! :cry:

I'll bet you've not kept the same one for 15 years though! My oldest one is nearly 15 years old while my newest one is around 7 years old and bought secondhand.
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby ef37a » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:42 am

"If you turn the internet connection off, processes will look for the network and
interfere with music production."

So how do you prevent that DC? Would "airplane mode" do it?

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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:29 am

My oldest is my Studio computer, a 2008 Mac Pro (bought from my Vfx mate a few years ago for around 10% of it's new cost) and I have a spare bought even cheaper that I refer to as the 'Office computer'. I have ended up with two MBPs a 2011 I bought new and a 2012 bought used when the other died (but is now repaired). I suppose I should sell at least one of them but I'm not good at selling stuff :(
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Re: Internet connection or no internet connection?

Postby CS70 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:38 am

ef37a wrote:"If you turn the internet connection off, processes will look for the network and
interfere with music production."

So how do you prevent that DC? Would "airplane mode" do it?

Dave.

Nothing to worry. If there’s no network interface, processes will look as they are coded to do, but the system knows it’s moot so will return control immediately - the amount of time used is negligible, and orders of magnitude smalller than if there is an active network interface.
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