Help me choose a charity to benefit for my Spring Tour!
For all of my tours I choose a non-profit organization to which I donate a percentage of my sales on the road. This time around, I want to hear from you! What organizations do you love that work towards a greater good? I’ll be taking your suggestions, and then putting them up for a final vote next month!
Music on Catfish TONIGHT!
Tonight’s episode of Catfish on MTV will feature several songs from the album The Blossoms of Armageddon! It starts in just 2 hours, at 11PM ET! I’m gonna watch it friends, and you should too!
Upgrading My Live Setup - Part 3: The Belly of the Beast
I have to admit, I was nervous about opening up my new computer and tinkering with the parts. The one upgrade I’d decided to make was to swap the factory hard drive for a solid state hard drive. The installation was going to be relatively simple. The MacBook Pro user guide even includes a section that shows you how to install a new hard drive. I’d never done it before though, and part of me was a little worried about “breaking the seal” of a fresh new computer. But I put my fears aside, watched a couple tutorial videos, laid out all my tools, and set to work.
The metal “unibody” MacBook Pros require you to take off the entire back panel of the computer to put in or take out any components, so I flipped it over, took out the screws, and pulled off the panel. I guess it was pretty much what i’d expected, although no magic Apple fairies flew out. It was just a lot of green and black plastic, wires, and silver solder. Once the panel was off, getting the hard drive out and swapping for the new one was easy as pie. There were just a few screws to switch out and a cable to plug in to the new hard drive. Once it was snug in the cradle, I put the panel back. I had a hard time getting one of the screws back in, but eventually it worked and it looked good as new.
When I wipe clean and set up my live computer from scratch, It takes a while for me to reinstall all of the software and drivers, program some macros, and re-configure all of the appropriate settings. I spent a couple hours getting everything set up and started testing my songs. It couldn’t have worked better. The little glitches that had started to creep up with my old computer were gone. The songs that had been hitting the limits of my setup worked without a hitch. Everything was as smooth as could be. And it’s probably just my imagination, but I could swear it all sounded clearer than before.
My dad came into town last night, and I gave him his new “Macster.” I had wiped it clean, re-imaged the hard drive, and got it set up like it was brand new. I put together a little guide on the basics of OSX and some of my favorite tricks, and gave him a little introduction. I was so excited to give it to him that I almost forgot to say goodbye. Tonight I’ll be performing at the Lion’s Lair in Denver. It will be my first show ever without that little black Macbook, and it’s a little sad. My dad jokingly said he’d bring him to the show so he could watch, I’m happy to see it go to a new, music-making home, and I’m excited for the new doors that are open to me with my new setup. And I’m happy to say that Abi named my new computer for me. She said it instantly when I mentioned naming him. “Albert,” she said.
“Albert?” I asked.
“Yeah, as in Einstein. Because it’s really smart.”
She was right.
Upgrading My Live Setup - Part 2: Apples to Apples
Like I said, I’m a spreadsheet guy. Especially when it comes to making important decisions. So when I decided that I needed to do something to improve my live performance setup, I knew that a spreadsheet was the way to go. I included several different options and I laid out columns for all the information on each option, including risks, benefits, and costs. I even developed a little point system to help me figure out which option was going to give me the most benefit with the lowest risk, and would be the most cost-effective.
Here’s a portion of what the spreadsheet looks like:
After poring over this for several days, I decided that the best option was to buy a certified refurbished Macbook Pro from Apple and put a new, solid state hard drive in it. I would then test that too see if I might need an additional, second internal hard drive specifically for audio recording. It would require me to do a little bit of installation work, but I would end up with something that would be much faster and much more efficient. For me, faster and more efficient means I can do more with my set and worry less. Those are both a pretty big deal for me.
When you order something new for your most favorite life activity, you might get as excited as I do when you’re waiting for it. I checked my shipment tracking several times a day, and on the day when the computer was to arrive, last Thursday, I found myself checking the window every time I heard a big diesel powered truck roll down the street. I love computers not so much for the magic of how they work, but because they are the tool that allows me to do the thing I love most. That being so, I love opening a new Apple computer. I love the way it’s meticulously packaged, and how friendly it feels. Most of all I love the smell. I want to keep them in their original box forever just so they never lose that smell. So, needless to say, I was pretty dang excited to open the box and see my new best friend when it finally arrived.
It looks pretty similar to my old one. The design hasn’t changed too drastically aside from moving to a metal body. The insides, though, are a new breed of beast, and I cannot wait to install my new parts along with my software, hook everything up, and test this bad boy out.
My dad has named my old computer that I’m giving him the Macster, partially in memory, I think, of our family’s late beloved Jack Russell Terrier. I think this new guy is going to need a name too…