Termination: Teeing Off About the Latest Technology
Teeing off about the latest technology.
I’ve had this problem since my late teens and it’s kind of embarrassing that in the decades following – yes, decades – I’ve never really been able to do anything about it. It involves a certain lack of length and a rather alarming bend to the left. Lately, against my better judgement, I began perusing the internet for possible solutions and although it’s something you’d expect in this day and age I was still staggered, in fact truly amazed, at the number of websites, Facebook pages and online stores dedicated to the subject.
Golf is, after all, only a game – albeit one that originated sometime in the mid-1400s. Feel free to imagine Mel Gibson wearing a striped face and a kilt, hurling his putter into the water hazard in rage, screaming, “They won’t take away our handicap!” I guess too it shouldn’t be so surprising, given the game’s popularity, that it commands so much internet real estate, but still…
I’ve always been something of a weekend hacker (a bit like Julian Assange these days) and golfers like myself are allowed to assume a kind of immunity from our failings. We’re not taking the whole thing that seriously, right? We laugh joyously at tee-off drives that barely pass the Ladies’ Tee or slice at right angles across two adjoining fairways. It’s all fun… Fun, fun, fun.
However, in the interests of oiling the ever-increasing creaks in my bones and stretching muscles quietly planning for retirement behind my back – literally – I’ve started pursuing the dimpled ball on a more regular basis and discovered that I’ve never improved at playing golf over 30 years, which is quite an achievement in itself.
IMPROVEMENT: IN THE BAG
On a whim, sneaking away from my wife and avoiding a hospital visit to my mother-in-law, I wandered into a professional golf shop to innocently enquire as to whether investing in new technology might solve some problems. It took a mere 12 minutes to see me loading a new (well, second-hand, but new for me) set of golf clubs into the boot of the car. Each club is the equivalent of an F/A-18 fighter-bomber on a stick. The fairway drivers alone were developed by NASA on its days off. Or at least this is what the chap in the shop assured me.
So instead of taking the effort to improve my skills on the course, I bought some.
It’s a common approach to solving issues and, not surprisingly, not one the AV manufacturing industry is going to discourage any time soon. Still, it’s a fine line between equipment and software not being able to do something – and the operator not being able to make that equipment or software do it, which is different. The easy answer is to buy something that will do it for you and take the middle man (that’s you) out of the equation. Like software with a zillion presets and hardware with one-button settings that do all the thinking for you.
Just last night I was helping a friend decipher her new PA system. She had barely a clue how it all worked but that didn’t matter because there were contour buttons on the speakers to make the sound perfect and DSP inside the mixing desk for anything else – and she already had PA hire bookings including herself as an operator. Frightening.
SLICE OF THE ACTION
My wake-up call was playing with the new Pro Tools 11. Pro Tools software has had a serious overhaul and PT11 rated an in-depth investigation of even its familiar, long-established functions and as always, comparisons with its latest competitors. As I dug around inside the various DAW innards it was an interesting reminder of just how much we don’t know about the gear and software some of us use every day. I know I’m not alone here. Menus we never access, features we’ve never used – and very likely ones that are really useful since the manufacturers and developers have given these things a lot more thought than we have. That mixing console last night had me stumped too, and I’ve been using these things almost as long as I’ve been playing golf (badly). Explaining some signal routing, it occurred to me the process didn’t make sense with regards to how I imagined the routing could be applied… Ah, I won’t go into it here. Fortunately my friend was too confused about everything to notice I was confused about something. Reputation intact.
So the moral of this story (as usual, you can hear the editor’s sigh of relief that there actually is a moral) is that before we consider investing in new technology to fix a problem or lack of functionality, we should always determine whether we’re attempting to solve that problem or somehow avoid it – or maybe bypass it is a better word. Because the latter will always come back to bite you. I don’t want to discourage buying new gear at all. I’m only suggesting make sure you have a full understanding of the failings of the old gear and that the primary fault isn’t yours truly. At worst, you’ll have a better idea of what you need new or at least, which expert to ask.
Like that bloke in the golf shop. Has he solved my problems? Technically, yes. I now slice the ball 30 metres further into the bush.