I am an explorer, I like to explore the Sahara Desert. To do this I require a certain type of vehicle, an overlander. There is no other type of vehicle available which can achieve this purpose as well as an overlander, there are times when your life may depend on choosing one of these vehicles. On the other hand most of my friends think exploring in the Sahara Desert is a mind numbingly boring waste of life, I appreciate this view, it is very likely that I am never going to earn money from it or even that I will become very good at it as I only get the chance to do it rarely. This is fine with me as likewise I have very little interest in driving fast in a sports car around town or on the country roads. I realise that it is somewhat block headed of me to say that as I have never actually properly driven a sports car like a Ferrari very fast, I have never actually even sat in one, although I have been driven reasonably fast in other cars, what makes me sure that I won’t like it is having read about and heard from a number of highly enthusiastic friends, business colleagues and technologically well respected industry members why it is so amazing to drive really fast in a fantastic car I feel like I am aware of the advantages and none of them come close to what is really important to me, exploring the Sahara. I imagine it is like normal driving but much much better, but my passion (as bad at it as I believe myself to be) is exploring in the desert and as the only vehicles really capable of doing that in any realistic way is an overlander that is what I accept I must use, I don’t particularly care for the manufacturers of these vehicles although I give them a thumbs up for being the only ones to identify with my passion and provide the means for me to enjoy it. In conclusion unless a Ferrari becomes capable of exploring the Sahara Desert, no matter what else it can do, including transforming into a rocket and taking me to the moon which I would certainly be amazed at, I still would have very little interest in it aside from enjoying hearing the stories of why my friends are having the time of their lives blasting around town knowing they are in the ultimate machine and feeling a little sorry for my inability to appreciate that so much that I give up my little niche pass time that most people in their right minds would spend any time on.
Boring version or really iOS vs Android
I am still in amazement that 2 years on from when what I would call “fairly serious music production” apps became available (possibly before) on iOS I am able to play with sounds, play my portable midi keyboard and sometimes even make a little music at a comparable quality (for my skill level) for a fraction of what it costs on a laptop or desktop using apps from unheard of indie (often solo) developers.
My favourite DAW is Nanostudio, I get excited every time I load it, within a day of learning to use it I was making music just as easily and at the same quality as I ever had in Cubase or Reason. Once I started down this path I very quickly lost all interest in the developments of the desktop world, I used to be obsessed with all the latest hardware and OS improvements, I longed for the day I could happily use Linux to do everything I needed easily but in the meantime I really enjoyed OSX and looked forward to the updates. Now I don’t even care about iOS updates very much, I am happy with my 4S, had no interest in the iPhone 5 or the iPad mini as neither would improve on my current situation in terms of speed or screen as all apps I use currently work without issue. The only thing am interested in is apps, I have a huge watchlist of all the apps recommended by the iOS music production twitter community and I am looking forward to it everytime there is speculation on a new app to be released, by far the biggest thing this year was Audiobus (although Cubasis was good it was not a force multiplier). The excitement around Audiobus for the whole of last year was immense, and yeah I understand it is first version but it has worked fantastically for me so far, met my expectations even with the community fuelled hype. I love that it was made by Michael Tyson while he toured Europe in their motorhom called Nettle (and Sebastion who made the amazing Soundprism). This means far more to me than any Apple keynote or Google launch party.
I don’t love Apple but I love that Apple really made this sort of thing possible, I don’t remember software development and the distrubtion (and possiblity to earn reaosnable money) being this accessible since the 80’s. Because Apple were the ones that rekindled this era I give them their dues, but there are many things I dislike about Apple and the iOS / Mac platform, most notably is the instability I seem to have always experienced, starting from when I used an iMac at uni in the graphics labs. I had always been a hardcore PC do it yourself overclock it till it explodes, Apple are over priced and rubbish, no games hardly any software person but I still had an interest in trying out thing I hadn’t used before just didn’t see any need to go out and buy one when I could get fantastic powered PC’s for very little money, starting from my 486 I clocked up to 100mhz then on to a Celeron 350a to 450 mhz, stick in a decent graphics card and games were great. I used the Mac just to learn Photoshop and found it to crash surprisingly often, this was the opposite to what I had ever heard from Mac users so figured it was likely a blip on an otherwise stable platform but still wasn’t at all interested in buying one.
Fast forward several years, I was happily set up with 4 screens (one of them my hdtv) being powered by 3 PC’s each running a different OS, Ubuntu, Leopard (hacktintosh) and Windows XP and 7. I enjoyed learning about OSX from the hackintosh and increasingly I realised that the amount of decent and low priced Mac software had increased considerably. I was happy messing around with Linux as I had done for years but never managing to be able to swap to it entirely as much as I wanted to leave the painful world of Windows behind. I also owned a Tytn 2 Windows smartphone, a Blackberry and an ipod Touch as I had been fascinated by the iPhone but at the time the original was too basic in comparison to the Tytn 2 but more of my customers were getting them and so I wanted to know enough to set it up. It didn’t take me long to see how much more enjoyable the ipod was to use, particularly for surfing and as the rate of apps to be released seemed to be increasing almost exponentially I very soon wanted to dump everything else and move over to the soon to be released iphone 3g which I decided was now on par hardware wise and light years ahead software wise to everything else available. My gf moved in around this time and it turned out she was a very serious web app developer who had moved from Linux over to Mac OSX, I had not realised until now that so many devs liked the OS due to its Unix like (Darwin BSD) base but well polished exterior. As I learned more about this world and I had gradually been able to replace all my Windows apps with Mac ones on the Hackintosh I decided to get the iPhone 3g and get a Macbook Pro. I very quickly lost all interest in Windows and have not yet been back, I also lost interest in providing PC support and decided to focus on website development. I had such a good time using my MBP and my 3g and I didn’t see any need to upgrade either so I missed out the 3gs and the iphone 4, but I was fascinated when the iPad was released as it seemed very likely that if it was as powerful as the 3gs / 4 but with 1024 768 screen res the apps could be designed to be much more powerful while retaining ease of use with the interface. I eagerly watched the real user reports on twitter from the US and I bought one soon after it was released in the UK, from there it just got better and better, this was when I realised that the music production apps that were coming out for it were so good, they seemed to be rivaling desktop ones at what seemed like a fairly early stage, I still had memories of the Tytn2 which seemed horrific to me now.
That pretty much brings us up to date, I have an ipad 3 but as everything I want to use on it still works just fine I didn’t care much for the 4, at some point when the apps I really want don’t run well I will consider replacing it, or if it dies like my ipad 1 did. My 4s is the same, everything still seems to run very nicely, the battery life is fairly awful but it tends to last through the day so I can cope with that. I now have a Macbook Air after a design flaw in the Nvidia GPU of my MBP caused it to die, Apple offered my 15% discount on a new machine which wasn’t totally unreasonable considering I had bought the MBP on ebay. I love my MBA at the moment, it is a low spec one and still most things (aside from intensive games) run astoundingly fast mostly due to the decent ssd and very capable i5 with fast ram. As games are so great for iOS (and many on Android) I use that as my gaming machine with a very occasional go on my Windows desktop if I want to play EVE Online, a few times a year.
So there is pretty much nothing that I have been excited about aside from the progression of music production and gaming on mobile devices as all the other improvement only seem to offer minor improvements to my life and it seems very much not worth the effort and expensive of buying all the apps I already own which will work pretty much the same or worse just to gain a few minor improvements to the general use. The way I have seen it for a long time, if the OS gets out of my way and lets me do what I want in an app then that is mostly all I am concerned about.
I will very likely never be very good at music production but at least I am able to make music now that I am partially satisfied with and allows me to game on enough that I almost never use my windows machine for anything and pretty much just use my laptop for work, it seems very much like everything else has hit a reasonably high diminishing returns plateau. I am locked into Apples ecosystem, but am I blinded to it and missing out on a paradise just around the corner or am I doing ok using for what I think it is good at and just not getting too emotional when Apple fail again at delivering their hype, just like almost every other big tech company out there?