Sunday, 28 June 2009

Taking things for granted... OR... I wish I had a UPS...


Its a lazy Sunday morning and the sun is out... only its not a lazy morning (I'm working) and the Sun is blazing. So much so that its taken out the power in our street... 3 times so far and its not even midday yet.

I'm in the middle of writing the soundtrack for Simon Tate's feature length film "The Point of Regret" and have already lost work in 2 of the three mini-blackouts.

"Autosave!" I hear you cry in unison... well its on but its set to every 10 minutes so it doesnt interfere too much with the creative flow, anything less and it becomes a pain as it introduces a brief stutter into the proceedings. Not something I can tolerate whilst playing live instruments like a guitar, because you can guarantee that the moment it does hiccup, it'll be the perfect take I wanted.

So now I have a dilema... here are my options:
  1. Continue working bravely on and potentially losing work every so often
  2. Change the autosave setting to be more frequent (but then what about disk caching in the OS... hmm)
  3. Go out and buy a UPS for around £100 but really I need an air con unit too as me and my computer are melting in the heat, so that'll be £200-ish
  4. Throw in the towel for today, go out in the sun and go clean my now "green" quick-up pool whilst quaffing a few gallons of cold lager
I never thought I'd seriously consider buying a UPS but the same kind of thing happened a few times last year in the heatwave. So maybe this is a sign of future things to come and I should "embrace change" and get my ass into gear to find a solution.

As I move into the more professional end of being a working composer it's amazing how many things I've taken for granted that previously I would have "just lived with", power is one of them. The reason for this is simple... as an amateur you can tolerate the little (and not so little) hiccups as you dont have a deadline and a whole film crew waiting on your talented outputs.

The experience has made me question a few things about my working methods, like:
  • backing up my song data, which I do, but probably not as seriously or frequently as I should
  • recovering from a disaster... how long would it take me in reality to rebuild my computer(s)? I have over 110,000+ (120GB) worth of samples alone, not including virtual instrument libraries (VSL, Opus II, Kontakt, Tonehammer etc)
  • can I find all of the disks with my original installations on (probably but I may need to hunt out a few from the hundreds of disks I have stored)
  • I'm writing this faster (and saving a little more often) than I normally would in case the power goes again... and I'm sure I will be working quicker during the rest of today in my composition and recording, for a similar reason. I'm fairly sure quality won't suffer as I can write and produce very quickly, so maybe I could increase my workflow speed in general?
So maybe the whole thing has been of some use as I've stood back and learned from the experience.

I'll have to cling onto that thought so that the next time the man comes to read the meter, I don't share my frustration with him, my mains supply and some jumper cables :-)


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