The Joys of Being a Computer Guy Tech Head

While I am to a large extent a bit of a fan boy for the Mac and Apple products I am realistic enough to know that there will still be problems that need to be solved. It is the nature of the beast, things need to be sorted out and organised, workarounds have to be found.

  • Where you have thousands of lines of code in an application there are going to be bugs.
  • Where you have applications coming from different creators that have to work together there will be mismatches and conflicts.
  • Then there are the occasional disparate hardware problems that arise although obviously there are going to be fewer such problems by using Apple products.
  • Then you will have the coming together of hardware and software which again can lead to conflicts or difficulties due to the complexity of both the beasts.

Taking forever to sort out my Drobo

Where hardware/software is impacting upon me at the moment, is that I have a problem that has been ongoing for a couple of weeks with my Drobo. The Drobo is a network attached storage device (NAS) in which I have four hard drives. It is a proprietary solution which allows for some redundancy of the hard drives, one of the hard drives may fail and yet I will still not lose any of my data. Lose two at the same time and yes I would be stuffed. It is a good system, but a question that you have to ask when you’re working with a drive of such a large capacity, is how do you backup all of what you have on a Drobo. The answer to that has to be either a very large hard drive or another Drobo. With the size of the drives that I have at present, I could buy a single drive which would take the place of the Drobo and in fact it would be cost-effective to do that. If I was to change some of the 1 TB drives that are still in some of the Drobo slots, to larger sized drives, then I might have to do do some other magic with it in order to keep my data safe. I did think that I was close to having all of the files backed up of the Drobo, except on checking again I found another folder of video clips that I needed to copy across to the back up disk.

Another problem I have had recently, as recent as this morning, is that my Amadeus Pro application somehow got corrupted during an upgrade and I have to re-download a new application file. I think this came about because of an automatic application upgrade occurred. I think I will start to download upgrades manually in future.

I want the new, fast and shiny

A perennial problem for us computer guys is that there is always new, shiny and sexy devices that we can buy, in order to add to, or upgrade our computing experience. I am using a 27 inch iMac and to the side of it I have a 19 inch non-widescreen monitor. I have got so used to having so many applications open, that at times I really feel the need for having a larger extra screen to add to my system. A 24 inch widescreen monitor would be just lovely. Better still would be to have two of them, one for either side of the main computer screen. I might need to get a larger desk to accommodate all of that.

On top of that, Apple keep upgrading their computers and although this iMac is fairly new, there is a new one which does look even nicer. If I had the money I would be tempted to sell the one that I have now, to upgrade to the updated model. The reason why this would be so nice would be the fact that I would be able to increase the size of the hard drive within the computer and I would also make sure that I had an SSD as part of the system. The SSD would be to have a blistering speed for the operating system and then for the data of certain most used applications such as Final Cut Pro X. The bulk of the data could then be spread across the larger mechanical hard drive. I can’t actually do much with the iMac that I have at present, because I have the insurance of AppleCare. Otherwise I would be very likely to open it up and put in a new hard drive and the extra solid-state device. It is a good plan though, for when the AppleCare is finished at the end of three years, to make upgrades then and to a large extent, effectively have a new computer. Without a doubt with the upgraded hardware it would feel like a new computer. Shame to have to wait though. Getting a Thunderbolt drive adapter and an SSD might be an alternative plan that will speed things up significantly. The prices of the Thunderbolt devices are starting to become more reasonable.

The iPad and the iPad mini

I am a big fan of the iPad. It took me a while to really get into iPad usage, but now it follows me all around the house. I have even started to take the device with me when I leave the house, thank goodness for the man bag. I am very tempted though, for the sake of mobility to have an iPad mini. Being lighter and smaller it will be therefore easier to carry around. When buying a new one I will most definitely buy one with at least 32 GB of storage and possibly one that includes the mobile connectivity of a Sim card slot. I did suggest to my wife that she might like to have an iPad mini, but she declared that she would prefer to have something with an even larger screen. This does go against what she has said before about having something smaller and lighter for easier carrying.

Photography for geeks

I have a really good camera in the Canon 600D, but I find myself lusting after the Panasonic GH3. This is because the Panasonic has the ability to be controlled from an iPad application. The Panasonic is better than the Canon for shooting video, despite having a smaller image sensor. Although the latest version of the Panasonic has grown in size slightly, it should still be smaller and lighter than the Canon. It seems that portability is becoming more important to me generally. I also need to get my hands upon a good, fast wide-angle lens for shooting the type of video that I want to shoot. So I would buy the 20 mm pancake lens that they have available, to go alongside the super telephoto that is great for general-purpose photography.

It’s not easy being a geek and a nerd when you have no money

So as you can see there are always new things that are desirable in the realm of technology. It is a damn shame that the cost of it is sometimes quite prohibitive and that most times it is necessary to make priorities. Maybe sometimes that is a good thing, as by the time you have saved up some more cash for the next electronic toy or goodie, there is something new out replacing what you were saving for.

What we have to remember is, is to have some good fun with the technology that we do have in our possession and work out the best ways to take good and proper advantage of that tech. I just love to find out ways that I can add more automation by using application such as Keyboard Maestro, Hazel with a sprinkling of AppleScript and maybe even a bit of Automator. It is great fun being able to set up something that creates an interaction between separate applications that works so fast that it would have the head spinning of somebody who is not a tech guy.