Tech that I do # 1


Cover photo from “The Cult of Mac” by Leander Kahney

I’m not much of a fanboy, really, of anything.  For me it’s hard to get excited about a gizmo.  Have I gotten excited about gizmos?  Sure.  Deep down I’m as much of a propeller-head as the next guy about some things, but being more Luddite than adopter of the bleeding edge, I tend to temper my tech to things I can use for some logical purpose.  Usually.

For instance, many years ago when I wanted to have a convenient way to wire myself up for music on the road while motorcycle touring, I hunted around a bit and did a little research and bought myself a pair of Etymotic ER-4 earphones.  I still use them today when riding.  They have two handy attributes for me.  One, they act as earplugs and seal out the wind noise to help save my hearing.  Two, the parts of the phones that sit outside my ears are small enough that they don’t interfere with putting on or taking off a full face helmet and aren’t irritating while inside the helmet.  They’re comfortable enough to wear all day long and as a really great bonus, they sound terrific.  I like them so much I’ve given them as gifts from time to time.

In the realm of personal computers, I’ve always “just been a PC guy.”  My mom and dad have been Apple people since my dad picked up one of the first Apple II machines back in 1979-ish.  Some may remember that one – the green text screen and the dual 5.25″ floppy drives that you could add, that most everyone sat on top of the machine’s case.  But over the years with every office I’ve ever worked in being completely DOS-IBM-Windows based, it’s just the technology that I ended up adopting at home as well.  The machines did what I needed them to and the kind that I used to buy were dirt cheap as well.

Then, almost three years ago, I started doing professional video editing for a web-based classroom project I’ve been working on with some colleagues.  I knew going in to that project that my good ol’ Dell Windows laptop wasn’t going to cut it for speed and ease of use to crank out hundreds of clips with effects, stabilization, etc, etc, etc.  So for that project, I bought myself a small 17″ MacBook Pro with a solid state drive and edited that entire project – hundreds of clips worth thousands of hours of editing with Final Cut Pro, as well as work in Photoshop, Audition, Premier, Illustrator, Motion 5 and a seemingly unending series of video file converters.  Meanwhile, for doing routine work like AutoCAD and my taxes and basic word processing and the like, I still had the good ol’ Dell laptop sitting in my home office.

But a funny thing happened over the course of the last few years as I continued to work on the video project.  I found myself using the MacBook more and more.  First it was just checking GMail and doing a little web surfing.  The MacBook was small and light and lasted a good long time on a charge with that SSD inside.  Eventually, I started doing almost all of my work on that machine and for video editing started connecting it to a big external HDMI monitor.

Finally, I decided it was time to replace the good ol’ Dell laptop (which I’d never bothered to upgrade from Windows XP, by the way) with a new machine.

My mom says I’ve now come over to the Light Side …..

As a Christmas present to myself this year, I bought myself a brand new iMac.  27″ 5K retina display.  1 TB Fusion drive.  The screaming quad processor. The works.

I’m still no fanboy.  I was cursing the machine just the other day when it decided to just stop communicating with the wireless mouse for no apparent reason – the irrational part of my brain really wanting the track pad on the good ol’ Dell laptop (or the MAcbook for that matter).  But the iMac really is quite nice.  Not a week after I’d set it up and transferred the sum total of my MacBook in to it, I was assigned a new quickie editing project and immediately found myself loving the size and clarity of the display and the speed of the machine overall.   Photoshop, Lightroom, Audition and the other Adobe tools I use are simply killer when run on this machine.  Best of all, I got a screamin’ deal on it between the sale Best Buy was running and the points I had sitting on my Amex Blue card – all tolled, I saved close to $1,700 plus on the machine.

I did fire up the good ol’ Dell laptop a few days ago.  Just long enough to copy my most recent Turbo-Tax files off of it on to my NAS so I can do this year’s taxes on the iMac.

Tech marches rapidly along.  I catch up a little bit every once in a while.