"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Technology
August 10, 2010

Late Summer G.A.S.

G.A.S. or Gear Acquisition Syndrome is the misguided belief that buying new gear will solve your life problems.

Late summer is often a dissatisfying time of year. It’s got little to do with climate (actually, this has been a relatively pleasant summer here in Hong Kong). Rather, it’s about coming back from holidays to face the technical and practical frustrations of my working environment and the fast approaching end to the year. Invariably, I wind up wanting to update or replace equipment and software and not infrequently pining after a better approach to my work (and leisure).

Since 1999, August and September have been tied to restarts for me. Back when I at King’s College London, this meant the start of the academic year. Lately, it has often been tied to the start of courses with BerkleeMusic. Of course, it’s also the school term for my kid. Moreover, the moves to Delhi in 2003 and Hong Kong in 2006 both happened over June, so August and September meant unpacking and getting on with life in those years.

Photography G.A.S.

This year, September is all about travelling back to India, which has meant a full reassessment of my photography gear. While I could always find an excuse to buy a new lens, my current set of glass is solid. I had hoped that Nikon would release a new mid range DLSR (there are rumours of an impending updates to the D90 and D700 ranges), but nothing eventuated, so I will travel with my D50 and probably pick up a spare (cheap) secondhand D50 as a backup.*

It might sound crazy to some to stick with such an “old” camera (discontinued in 2006, 6.1 MegaPixel sensor), but I know my way around this piece of equipment very well. Any new camera would require some learning, especially as I shoot almost everything in manual mode. Moreover, being in India will be demanding and I’m not keen to learn on the fly in what, for me, be a farily emotional trip.

That said, I am picking up some graduated filters, from Singh-Ray, to help with sunrise and sunset photography as well as a pair of new camera bags from Clik Elite as well as a new strap from Black Rapid. And, of course, there’s the new MacBook Pro I mentioned last week.

Computer G.A.S.

My 2008 Mac Pro has turned out to be a great investment. I’m still running with 10GB and not feeling the need up upgrade that. However, the new Video Cards released this week by Apple (ATI 5770 and 5870) would be a welcome boost.

But, one thing that does keep me awake at night is backup. My frequent, but unsystematic approach means I have lost little data over the last five to six years, but I have a lot of dross stored on various drives. I still live with the horror of having my notebook stolen, soon after moving to London and losing six months of current work and scores of older archived files and essays.

So, I was captivated by Chase Jarvis’ recent video podcast on backup and workflow. Of course, this comes from someone who can afford to hire a full-time digital asset manager. Still, I could imagine implementing a smaller version of that (perhaps closer to the one David du Chemin demonstrates here), with some shiny new G Tech drives.

Unfortunately, the great looking and easy to navigate eStore for G-Tech won’t ship to Hong Kong. None of the local stores seem to have the G Safe in stock and none can promise to deliver the full range of other drives I want. I’ve emailed the regional Hitachi contact, but I’m not going to hold my breath on that score.

Don’t Forget Books And Music Tech

On the music side of things there are some nice new sound libraries out, especially Violence from Vir2 Violence and the Array Mbira from Sonic Couture . Also, the new Komplete package from Native Instruments looks like great value (especially as an upgrade from Kontakt), though with some much packed into it I might wait a few months for a space when I have more time.

The two books in the featured image are new titles that arrived on my desk this week. The first is Vision and Voice: Refining Your Vision in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom by David du Chemin. It’s a very solid, but not overly technical explanation of how to develop your photos in Adobe Lightroom. You’ll be hearing more abou this book in a few weeks. The second is Logic Pro 9 Advanced Music Production by David Dvorin and Robert Brock. This is the text for the advanced 301 Logic Pro certification exam and I can’t recommend it highly enough if you are serious about improving your Logic workflow.

Finally, you may be wondering what G.A.S. stands for. It’s musician-slang for “Gear Acquisition Syndrome,” which as you can probably tell, is a seasonal affliction for me.

* I wound up buying a D90.

Javier I. Sampedro 14 years ago

I am the kind of person who thinks that as long as the technology we have for our everyday use is enough, no need to upgrade everytime a new release comes up into the market. Though I admit, I enjoy gadgets and technology stuff.

Seems a good moment to upgrade some equipment for this coming trip and maybe consider new equipment for the near future, no? Hope you enjoy with the new purchases and make a good use from them, sure you will.

Foxlore 14 years ago

Have to say that I am in awe of the ‘Chase Jarvis’ solution. Of course it helps to have the financial backing for such a solution. For the small/independent artist I think their workflow is a good model, but the hardware setup (and manpower as you mention) is certainly cost prohibitive. Still, in terms of storage, I imagine that in a few years, having a cloud service do much of the backup / offsite work will be a more cost effective option for smaller ventures.

Fernando Gros 14 years ago

Javier – I love gadgets as well. But, right now there’s no reason for me to get an iPhone4 and an iPad would be a distraction. I want them, of course, but I’m talking myself out of buying them.

Fernando Gros 14 years ago

Paul – I agree that cloud backup is the way for offsite disaster backup. But, the limit now is internet connection speed for using cloud as the first stage of backup, or for archive storage. My internet connection is pretty good, but if I had to restore from a cloud server, it would still take a day.

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