With the release of Snow Leopard a few months ago and the recent release of Windows 7 there have been a lot people dealing with glitchy software. When you use your computer for your Worship service every week you really can’t afford that. Glitchy software means people get very frustrated with their equipment and too often people will take the opportunity to remind you that, “This is why you shouldn’t use computers in Worship”, or “Music was better before computers and Auto-tune”! Granted.. could modern music exist today were it not for computers, and auto-tune?
(Well we at least know T-pain wouldn’t exist were it not for Auto Tune.. But then again neither would “Auto-tune the News” and the phrase “Shawty”.. and I don’t think I could live in a world where those didn’t exist!)
So in this post we will take a look at a few simple steps to make sure your Music Software is running smoothly, and hopefully help to restore the crucial relationship between people and their machines!
Hold off on OS Updates
Whenever a new Operating System is released, more often then not the newest version has some “drool” worthy features. You may see things that would make your life so much easier, or features you feel you just can’t live without (even though you’ve made it this far without them!) But if you use your Computer in your worship service, or use it to make a living, graphic designer, music producer, musician, etc.. You should wait. Apple and Microsoft will often release updates within a few weeks of their new OS’s to fix minor bugs in the software. And after a few weeks/months you’ll be able to see how its working out for everyone else. Check out online forums, blogs, and google like its going out of style to see if people using the software/setup your using are having issues. Chances are after a little bit of time you should be good to upgrade to your new OS. The company that makes your software will at some point put out a public release saying our software is or isn’t compatible so wait until you hear from them, after all they know the software the best. Often times they will even release a update to the software to make it compatible with the new OS’s..which leads us to our next point.
Make sure your software is up to date
You know that there has been a recent OS upgrade or release when your computer is full of software versions that are numbered 126.96.36.199.5, and 188.8.131.52. The fact of the matter is that when a new OS is released software companies test their software with that OS to see if it is compatible. More often than not the software may have a small bug, and in some cases may be completely incompatible with the new OS. That is where software updates come into play. There are different versions of software ie. Pro tools 7 or Pro tools 8, Live 7, Live 8, but there are also upgrades to those “versions” of software. Typically an upgrade doesn’t add a new feature but it helps deal with compatibility issues, either with other software or hardware. So you may upgrade your OS to Snow Leopard but if your not running the most recent update then chances are there will be issues.
Plus if your one of the guys thats still chugging away on a version of software thats 2 or 3 versions old, i.e. running Live 5 or Live 6, it’s time to upgrade! Often times after a few OS’s later your software may or may not work. Software companies seek to solve this problem, and save you money by allowing you to upgrade for a cheaper price. You don’t have to go out and spend the full price for the new version, you’ll be able to get it for cheaper. It’s important to remember though that no matter how good your software is, if your computer can’t keep up then its of no use….
Make sure your Computer meets the system requirements
Have you ever heard anyone complain about how the new version of “software X” crashes their computer all the time, and they can’t even run two tracks at the same time without the computer freezing? They take the time to remind everyone “This is why Software X sucks and is so much worse then Software Y”. We’ll if you ask them what computer they are running the software on, they tell you that it’s a 7 year old PC running windows 98. DUH! Make sure your computer meets and in most cases exceeds the minimum system requirements for the software. Make sure your processor(s) are fast enough and that you have enough RAM, and your hard drive is big enough and fast enough.
You don’t have to upgrade your computer everytime a new model comes out. As long as you keep your computer maintained, make sure software’s up to date, make sure they are no bugs, wipe the hard drive a few times, etc.. Your computer will last and shouldn’t have any issues. In most cases you can upgrade the RAM, and buy an External Harddrive that will make things run alot smoother. Most people would rather spend a 200 bucks to make their current computer work then spend 1,000 on a new one! Remember your setup is more than just software its hardware too…
Make sure your drivers are up to date
If your running music software then your probably also using some sort of a Interface that allows you to plug multiple things into your computer and get multiple outs of your computer, while giving you a cleaner and better sound. Some people have MIDI keyboards or control surfaces that they use also. It’s important to remember that upgrading to a new OS may render your hardware unusable if your not running the most up to date drivers. In the same way its important to monitor your Software companies website to make sure you’ve got the most up to date software, you need to do the same with your Interfaces and Control Surfaces and MIDI keyboards. But.. how many of issues with software are just simply User Error?…
Make sure you KNOW your software
This is probably the most important piece of keeping your software running smoothly, but the one that most people don’t think about. About 98% of all computer/software issues are User Error. If you tell your software to do something, most of the time (if it’s well-written, stable) software it will do what you tell it to. Make sure you know your Software’s Manual, and read up or watch absolutely anything you can on your software. You’ll find out new techniques on how to use it, and you’ll learn wheter the way your using it is the absolutely best. Oh.. and you know that one thing that irritates you about your software always “messing up”, well in most cases you’ll find a fix.. Give it a try..
So.. try these steps and take part in helping to restore a healty relationship with our computers!