Freshly Squeezed OpEd: Workflow Ramifications

Feb 23, 2015 | OpEd | 3 comments

As I’ve mentioned in many recent posts, I have moved twice over the last two years. Which results in a lot of packing and unpacking.
Seeing as I’ve been writing reviews, podcasting, opining and such about third party Apple hardware and software over the past decade or so, not only have I gained a plethora of information, I have also amassed an incredible amount of booty.
For my reviews, I have a collection of software (which can easily be deleted or archived). But what of the hardware? Some of it I give to friends and user groups, personally use or just place it in an empty corner on my desk, chest of drawers, the closet, etc., once I obtain the next latest and greatest.
As a packrat by nature, piles tend to grow rather quickly.
As I’m of the wave of Mac media that arrived around the NYC Macworld days, I’ve had a good number of years to cultivate this collection. And every time that I pack or unpack, I have to sift through all of this. The question becomes: Am I using an item in my current workflow, will I use it in a future workflow or can it be repurposed?
One example. I have a degree in film. When I graduated, we were producing projects with 3/4″ videotape (or if you were lucky enough, Betamax). I also have been a musician all of my life.
At the time, my ex-wife was working at a law office on a PC. A computer? I never played with one. Could it possibly benefit me? Something in the back of my head kept telling me that this was something that I had to get involved in. And as we were both attending college at the time, we were entitled to a student discount on a new computer.
Even though my ex worked on a PC by night, she was intrigued by Apple’s approach to interfacing with the machine. Being a neophyte and learning that Apple’s UI was icon based (no typing commands – YIPPEE!), we purchased one.
First, there was enough power that I was able to start create basic music on my SE30, allowing me to overcome my limitation of playing chords on my guitar. Incredible!
Then as Apple started creating more powerful units, I was able to start dabbling in video. Incredibility cubed!
Then as the technology continually progressed further in power and versatility, I started amassing hardware and software upgrades, which resulted in ever expanding piles. As I feel guilty creating trash, nothing would EVER be tossed. There in lies the problem.
As for the software, other than making sure that all the apps played together nicely, the programs weren’t much of a problem. But when I started to mess with video AND music, then the hardware pile doubled. Then trebled. Camera mounts, tripods, keyboards, shotgun mics, LED lighting, lenses for use with my iPhone 4S. And as podcasting was burgeoning, there came mixing boards, stands, condenser mics, headsets and on and on.
Jump to 2015. I’m sitting at my desk writing this op-ed on a MacBook Air. I have an iPad Mini Retina next to me and an iPhone 5C in my pocket. And of course a printer, a flatbed scanner (really old school) and several external drives.
Now this is where my workflow comes into the equation. I no longer produce a podcast, as everyone and their brother does. So, what to do with my condenser mics? Repurpose. I just hooked up with a former bandmate. A condenser mic works great with Garageband. Now, when he wants me to work on a melody or some lyrics, I can easily record his scratch track of the song. One piece utilized.
But then there’s another situation. I lived above a coffeeshop, where I spent most of my waking hours. When doing a review, I would test the hardware or software on my heavy iron up in the studio apartment. I would then draw my conclusions, type my impressions and notes on a text document, which would then be uploaded to Evernote.
Next, it was down to the cafe to meet with friends and have some lunch. Afterwards, I would download my notes from the Cloud to my iPad. With all my information at hand, I could sit down and write my review. And when the review was complete, I could watch my beloved NYYankees on MLB.TV using the same iPad.
But now, where I live, my workflow is entirely different. My iPad is used mainly as a timer to remind me to take a regular break from my endeavors. Or it’s great for reading ebooks. But I don’t even use it in conjunction with my AppleTV. My iPhone 5C is so much handier for that purpose.
So, what to do with all of these electronic leftovers? The majority of equipment has become outdated, so interest is minimal. And I can’t pass this stuff on to my daughter. She’s now in her mid-twenties and works at a major CGI house. Now she runs circles around me when it comes to computers. That closes that door.
Because of the workflow change, this also now begs the question as to whether I really need an iPad. Should I sell it, take the money and stash it away for a new laptop? Or do I even need a laptop anymore? Should I go with a MacMini and a monitor?
And if I make these moves, could some project possibly come up in the future where I could repurpose pieces of the collection and save a buck or two? Or will the technology have been surpassed in leaps and bounds? (The answer: Of course it will.)
I know that this is truly a #firstworldproblem. But still – what to do, what to do.
I’d love to hear of any solutions that you may have arrived at when faced with the same problems. Do you take the loss or have you found a creative solution. Please share any comments.
Now, back to more agonizing over the trivial.
©2015 Frank Petrie


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