Category: Computers

Back Up Here, Back Up There, Back Up Your Data Everywhere

Unlike most of the computing public—whose crucial data consists of email, Word documents, and maybe an iPhoto or iTunes library—musicians and other digital artists can quickly accumulate multiple terabytes of MOVs and RAWs and WAVs. And with all that data comes great responsibility. Namely: What are you gonna do when your hard drives die? (And yes, they will die.) Luckily, surprisingly affordable solutions exist today that can turn “I’m hosed” into “no big deal”: All you have to do is pop in a new drive, restore over a lunch break, and resume where you left off.

A wise man once said, “Data doesn’t exist unless it’s on three drives, in two different locations.” Meaning, a single hard drive or a lone iCloud backup isn’t going to cut it for anything that’s valuable (or should I say invaluable?). I’ve tried many solutions over the years, always valuing simple, comprehensive, and frictionless solutions that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Here’s what’s worked for me.

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The New Mac Pro Looks Impressive, but Who’s Going to Buy It? or: Is This Thing Any Good for Musicians?

Peter Kirn susses out the new Mac Pro:

The US$2999 “entry-level” model is already a hefty machine, with 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor and 12GB of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory. (Now, admittedly, you’re likely to be happier with the pricing if you’re buying the US-assembled machine in North America; Europe, for instance, does appear to pay an additional premium beyond just VAT at 2.999€.)

If you have a bunch of PCI cards you’re happy with that you want to migrate, then the Mac Pro is a non-starter, it’s true. But if you were building a new studio machine and outboard rig, it’s clear that this is the machine to drool over.

I agree. If your entire workflow is based around a PCI based system, don’t buy one. But I personally don’t see the lack of slots as a deal breaker. Given the crazy amount of real-time processing this thing can perform on 4K video, I think the concept of offloading audio processing to dedicated processing chips (on PCI cards or otherwise), or needing to use PCI for multi-channel audio I/O, will seem awfully anachronistic a few years down the road. Things have been heading in the direction of native systems for years.

A big question remains: Will it be possible for audio applications to take advantage of the extra processing chips this new Mac Pro offers, namely the two very powerful GPUs included in every machine? And if it is possible, will the software makers decide to support it?

Pro Audio on a Hackintosh

It was 2009 and I desperately needed a new Mac. My G5 tower was showing its age and woefully underpowered, not to mention being officially phased out by Apple. After crunching the numbers, I concluded that if I were to buy a Mac Pro (sadly, audio and video pros are the last two holdouts who still need the extra horsepower and drive bays of a desktop tower), I was essentially buying a $1,250 computer in a $1,250 case. When my G5’s power supply failed, and I found out that replacing it would have cost almost exactly what the entire computer was worth, my mind was made up: Hac Pro or bust.

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