Friday, December 7, 2012
Beating The System
The transition to 64bit Windows 8 in the studio was bitter-sweet. In many ways it was a great leap forward, both due to a way better memory-management, but also to a so far much improved stability and performance.
I expected pretty heavy problems, but initially it all went well, actually! Though I had to replace my trusty old but long since discontinued Matrox Parhelia APVe-card with a passive XFX HD 6570 (the Matrox card was also passive after ripping out (literary) the fan and build the cooling-system myself) and a Black Magic Intensity, the Lynx-cards and other drivers played along nicely! The much better OpenGL-processing capabilities of the AMD-card has been pure joy when playing back HD Quicktime movies when working in the DAW even!
There where no problem installing and running Nuendo 5.5, the new interface on Win8 wasn't very hard to get into, and most of my old plugins transfered well.
Except Altiverb and Dolby Media Meter. My two absolutely most expensive plugins in respect to what they do. Even trying to install the Dolby plugin screwed up my entire system, which is a shame as it quite frankly has one of my absolutely favorite limiters though perhaps a little CPU-greedy. Not to mention I bought it for a reason...
Audioease I know are developing their Altiverb 7 to the Windows platform right now, which as far as I know will be true 64bit, so I guess I just have to bear with it until it's released. I have other reverbs to use meanwhile, but I'm still annoyed. But after searching both the web and Dolby's webpage for about an hour I gave up and mailed them. I got a reply pretty fast I must say, but as I expected there was no 64bit installers, and no workaround so I at least could work with the 32bit version while waiting for a bona fide Win8-compatible version. Can't help but feeling somewhat cheated here...
All in all I must say I like the new system. At first I thought the Metro-interface was butt-ugly, but quite frankly I got used to it. I still think it was a pretty retarded and arrogant decision to ditch the Start-menu, I really liked that, but having the only programs I use on that computer right on the start-screen wasn't that bad, actually!
What does tick me off however is the integration of apps and cellular thinking. The apps are like cancer, you can ignore them, but unless you make some serious surgery (the task Manager and Kill Program) it will not go away. Microsoft also try to treat the monitors as touch-screens. Seriously, what the hell?? I want obvious buttons and key-commands, not a frigging mouse-pointer pretending to be a finger. The only finger I think is appropriate here would make Google pretty upset if I showed on picture...
I can see how they might wanna modernize things, and adding touch screen support is not a bad idea, but this is a computer, not a ******* cellphone! Most of the "improvements" seems more like a desperate try to ride on the iPhone and Android-wave, and has made thing a whole lot less intuitive.
Don't get me wrong, I do like my iPhone (after all, this movie is being recorded on it), but it's far less intuitive than my old Palm Pilots for example, which in turn was often (but not always) a little less intuitive than most regular computers. Too often important features are hidden within swipes, shakes, and delayed button-pressing that are far from obvious, making it very frustrating to work with. It worries me that standard computer-developers seems to adopt this kind of thinking. After all, it was originally developed because cellphones and PDAs have very small screens and very few physical buttons, not because it's a good way of handeling things...
Well, that aside I feel transferring to 64bit at this point was the right thing to do! The 3.56gb memory limit and 2gb program limit of WinXP was always a great source of frustration for me, working mostly with projects normally averaging around 500 tracks plus buses and Send Effects-tracks, never below 400, and processing to that. Over the years I've spent far more time finding workarounds for these limits than I should have to, and though I'm pretty proud over actually making it work and getting what we wanted despite the limitations, that's not something I will miss :-)
I finally found out you could quit apps with...Alt and F4 I think. Still think it's pretty arrogant to not including real exit-buttons to begin with, and that's not something I'll ever forgive them for as long as it remains that way, but at least there are a way.