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Sounding Off

Begrudgingly Upgrading of Brighton...

When I entered the recording industry, tape was still the recording medium of choice and sequencers were still very much of the hardware variety. But, over the years I’ve embraced technology. I’ve fully enjoyed and appreciated the cutting edge and the evolving nature of recording technology and music making, and my process is far easier and more productive because of it.

I bought my first Apple computer in 2003, it was a G3 with a 20-inch Apple Cinema Display, I was so proud and I loved that blue beauty. I then progressed on to a G5 a few years later and then a 2008 Mac Pro, managing to keep the display and add a second one. Each upgrade has been expensive, troublesome and driven me to near madness. But my most recent upgrade to the large shiny 27-inch iMac has been my most painful yet. I thought I was a humble musician, not an Apple genius. This most recent upgrade has challenged my long-held mantra: accept the new.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like Apple and many of their products and I couldn’t do my job without them, but my moan is to do with the resistance to change and embracing new technology. This has come as a bit of a shock to me, as I thought I loved technology and wasn’t at all resistant to change. But it seems that when I have to stop work for a period of seven or nine days because my ‘old’ computer has become almost obsolete — because the connection peripherals are no longer supported by Apple, and therefore bring my upgrade almost to a standstill — I lose a large degree of sanity and the ability to ‘accept the new’.

Apple migration software is a great idea, in theory, but when you entertain the idea of copying all your old Mac hard-drive files across — especially knowing that part of the reason you’re upgrading is that you haven’t been the best housekeeper — it’s probably not the best idea to just copy everything over, wholesale. Not least because there’s a lot of stuff you just don’t use anymore. This might be software you’ve tried over the years and just forgotten about. It might be the extra application support files and preferences for software that you just didn’t bother to find and delete. Who knows? It’s a mess.

Maybe it’d be best to find all the original install discs and start from scratch but, oh yes, this iMac hasn’t got a DVD drive, so back to the Apple Store to spend another lump of cash. Then you’re told that: “This system doesn’t support power-PC software, please upgrade your software via the web site.” So another few hours of sourcing the company web site, then trawling through your old emails to find your login details, to access the user area to find your upgrade path and then, oh yes, more cash!

So back to Apple migration via my networked computers. It took eight hours and, still, half my preferences, none of my emails and only a few of my most used programs made it across! Then each of the four 500GB drives in my Mac Pro took seven to eight hours to copy their contents over to a new and expensive external USB 3 hard drive.

It starts to feel like the worst house move you’ve ever experienced. The new house is great: much bigger, brighter and easier to get into, and certainly more stylish. But, when you begin to go into the seemingly familiar rooms, like the kitchen, you soon realise that the toaster and the kettle didn’t make it across and you have to get the keys, travel back to the old house and try and find them and bring them. Then you realise that all the electrical connections in the new house are different to the old house and nothing works. But you like the kettle and the toaster and you don’t want to replace them, so you try and find an adapter to connect these appliances to your new house. So, yet again, out with the wallet...

I’ve had to go back to the old house so many times now and route around in all the nooks and crannies to find those files that just didn’t come across in the original move, I’m beginning to lose my infatuation with ‘the new’. You might even say I’ve been robbed raw by the new.

So I’m left thinking: “Accept the new, the new is good, but I really liked the old, too...”

About The Author

Tim Howarth is a Brighton-based composer and producer who’s still trying to come to terms with the fact that he doesn’t really use a real mixing desk any more.