strumzilla

​A blog/journal about my life and the stuff I like. Popular subjects include music, guitars, gear, books, movies, video games, technology, humor.

Filtering by Tag: iMac

I'm (re)Macified...

Just about finished with the transition from WinPeaCe o' junk to iMac Pro. Two 2 TB SSDs to handle sample libraries and scratch disks with two 6 TB SATAs for archive and non performance sensitive storage. I finally managed to get all four monitors working and the external cd drive is ripping "Bad Music for Bad People" and "To Pimp a Butterfly" (no, I'm not abandoning rock, good music is good music) as I type. QOTSA reminded me of Bad Music, not sure why I didn't have that in my collection.  Now I can finally get back to some real, uninterrupted work. Not to worry, Ear Training for Live Performance is monopolizing all waking hours so new songs/videos for a few months at least.

I finally caved...

I just ordered my first new Mac since my 2013 MBP which was relegated to drum room duties a few years back. It had been chugging under the weight of multiple monitors and larger track counts for awhile.  Apple has creators wrapped around their fingers since they still imo provide the most stable and streamlined environment, especially for music and video. And they charge for that exclusivity. 

I’ve managed with a WinPC these last couple of years, enough to write all of the songs I’ve posted to date. It’s been a bumpy ride at times as I’ve had some major shutdowns and failures (all in the WinPC driver/software side) and recurring hiccups that regularly interrupt the creative process. It wasn't a new experience for me, as I've owned desktop PCs for over thirty years. I actually got my start on a TRS-80 Color computer, followed by an Apple IIe (which we never really knew how to use properly), an Amiga 500, and then finally a Gateway IBM 486.  I toiled under the pre plug n play environment for many years, so I'm not unaccustomed to making PCs work, I just grew really tired of it.

For me, the appeal of the Mac is that it just works. You turn it on and it's reliable like a television (pre smart tvs) or a refrigerator. You don't have to constantly struggle with driver updates, hardware conflicts, etc. I’ve had multiple Macs in the past, dating back to my first Mac Pro in 2007. With rare exception, they just perform. They don't unpredictably freeze up, crash, fail to boot, etc. like my WinPC still does on a recurring basis. When they die, they die horribly, but that’s typically after many years of steady service (and usually a few months after the AppleCare has run out). I'm willing to take the chance again just to have that Mac workflow environment, which is still my favorite by a long stretch.

So, with shaking hands (and spouse approval), I clicked the mouse and drained a considerable pile of ducats from the vault to order one of the new iMac Pros. I chose a mid tier option that I’m hoping will last at least four years and beyond. Mid tier in Apple terms is premium by any other company’s standard. By the time I feel compelled to upgrade again (inevitable in the computer world for the foreseeable future) we’ll hopefully have the house paid off and enjoy a bit more discretionary flexibility. Of course I paid for AppleCare this time so I'll be covered for any disasters at least for three years.  Depending on what's developed in that timeframe, I may still be happy with the its performance to keep going for a few more years beyond. 

It's not about having the fastest/newest computer, I've resisted Macs for many years now and went back to the desktop PC when they released those touchstrip MBP with very little incentive for the creative types. The iMac Pro is a step in the right direction and maybe the upcoming Mac Pros will be even more appealing, but I'm not willing to wait at least another year that could stretch to two based on how slowly they've trickled out updates to the pro level devices.  Having seen several reviews and demonstrations from creative professionals, I know the new iMac Pros are a content powerhouse and I look forward to just creating for a good long while. 

Everything breaks

at least in the realm of computers and electronics it seems. I have been a pretty stalwart advocate for Apple products, but in reality nearly all of my Apple computers have eventually suffered a major mechanical breakdown to render them unusable. The latest casualty is my 2009 iMac, for which I already had to replace the hard drive last summer (only to find out 2 months later Apple was recalling them). Now it's starting to flake out with graphic "anomalies" which render windows and icons completely black or scrambled and effectively unusable. A bit of online research revealed that other users with the same problem needed to have their logic boards replaced. In the Apple realm, I've learned that logic board replacement is usually about as cost effective as buying a new computer. I already suffered a logic board failure with my Mac Pro after its warranty ran out and that's what prompted the iMac purchase back in 2009. In fairness, the Mac Pro failure was because I tried to upgrade the RAM and accidentally didn't completely seat the ram in its socket before powering up the computer, and apparently this caused it to short circuit and fry the logic board. So that's two unusable Macs to add to my first mac laptop that I purchased in 2008 for my Afghanistan deployment that essentially died (would no longer power up) in 2011ish.  At that point I had bought a newer macbook pro, so the loss wasn't as significant. Still, in retrospect, we've had some pretty crappy luck with our Apple computers. But for some reason, I'm still motivated to buy a new one. I bought my first new Windows pc in many years (I think at least 5) back in 2012 because I was getting back into pc gaming. I learned that despite all the improvements over the years (Windows 7 was a definite leap ahead of Vista, which was the last OS I had been using), the windows experience still fell short of the simplicity and power of OSX.  I have been staying abreast of the Mac Pro update news, and they finally announced a completely new model this past June. I wasn't going to be as quick to upgrade until the iMac died, but not it seems I won't have a choice. I'll definitely pay extra for the applecare protection which is kind of a shitty requirement since these computers are not priced competitively to start with.