Studio stasis

For now I’m just going to stick with my 2016 MacBook Pro, and I bought a 27" 4K monitor for it to alleviate the display-size issue.

It’s a little slow and a little janky but a lot of my music stuff still doesn’t work right on M1 anyway, and in particular Native Instruments is taking their sweet time to update everything to be M1-compatible. Also, I could theoretically use my PreSonus FireStudio with the hacked driver, although it looks like that’ll probably stop working in macOS 12 and I can’t use it with my ADAT preamp anyway, so the only advantage to it is I could put my Scarlett 18i8 back in my office, which is a pretty low priority now.

(I suppose I could also make an aggregate interface of the FireStudio with the 18i8+ADAT, but I already have 14 functional inputs as it is and I barely ever use more than 5 of them at a time. 22 is definitely overkill.)

If I get desperate for an upgrade I suppose I could get a current 27" iMac but that doesn’t feel particularly necessary right now (and it also feels like a waste since Apple will stop supporting it sooner rather than later; I went through the exact same thing with the PowerMac G5 that I bought literally two weeks before they announced the Intel transition).

I also need to give both Reaper and Bitwig another shot because both of them seem like they’d be able to mostly replace Logic for me at this point, and I’m sick of being wedded to macOS. (But right now is not the time for me to learn a new DAW. Or maybe it’s the perfect time. I dunno.)

Or maybe I should see what the pre-trashcan Mac Pros are going for. The 12-core model would still be a pretty decent upgrade from the 2016 MacBook pro, and also has the advantage of having upgradeable SATA storage, plus PCIe slots that could theoretically take an NVMe adapter. On the minus side, no Thunderbolt 3 (not that I’d need it) and I’d also be stuck on macOS 10.14 without some sketchy patching. But it looks like they’re going for under $400 (shipping included), all the same.

Or there’s always Hackintosh.

But nah I’ll wait, the old MacBook Pro is fine for now.

New Mac mini

Today I wasn’t expecting to get a lot of work done due to my brain still feeling like it’s been through a juicer, and also because my new Mac mini arrived today. So I got to go through the drudgery of reinstalling everything while also seeing the news of the world exploding around me! Hooray!

Anyway, just some random setup notes.

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Caution regarding file synchronization and macOS

Last night a couple of my projects got messed up by a bad interaction between Nextcloud and the macOS auto-save mechanism. In particular, I was working on a couple of projects that were stored in Nextcloud, and due to the way that they both work, macOS kept on seeing Nextcloud as having changed the files, so it would save out a backup copy, and then Nextcloud would see macOS as having changed the files, so it would issue a sync. At one point things got out of sync and led to a bunch of conflicts, which then in turn resulted in things getting into a very weird state where many of the files were just plain not syncing, and others were replaced with older versions.

I think to complicate matters, one of the projects may have also been open on my machine at home, judging by how the Logic project file had been spammed/overwritten with backup versions that reflected the project state before I left home, so while all my recordings were still present, they weren’t on my timeline at all. Nope, I just managed (after a lot of finagling) to get my VPN back home working, and Logic wasn’t open at all. This was purely a problem with sync between my laptop and the server, with no remote meddling taking place.

Fortunately they were just rough recordings that I was planning on replacing anyway, but if I’d lost some actual work I’d have been rather upset.

Presumably this would happen with any filesystem-based sync mechanism (such as Dropbox or Google Drive). So, if you’re going to work on bundle-style projects from apps which use macOS version management (such as Logic, Final Cut Pro, and probably a bunch of others), it’s best to move or copy them outside of your sync folder when you work on them, and only move/copy them back in when you want the saved version to actually synchronize to your other computers.