Sunday, September 2, 2012

Computers - ARGH! - Lessons for Life

It's been a while since I posted anything on my blog but it's not because I have run out of things to say. I have an older Gateway laptop (circa 2008, the P-7811FX) that has served me well and it developed a serious problem: the display would intermittently stop working.

Computers are an essential part of life for many of us, myself included, and with the passing of this old friend, I have retired its function to that of a streaming video device on my home entertainment system (I watch web videos from it via the HDMI port). It had a very nice 17" display and the Sony Vaio (a VPCSE2EFX) with which I replaced it only has a 15" wide screen.

But as I settle into the new machine, I have learned to adjust as we all do with new technology and devices we add to our habitual collection of stuff.  I wanted to revive the gateway but it needed a $200 display and there were a few things I did not like about it: it ran hot and the keyboard was not very good.  So...out with the old and in with the new.

I must say that typing speed is greatly improved with this model and my hands stay cooler for a lot longer time.  The text is tinier but the full HD display does offer a few nice features that most laptops available today do not.

Shortly after moving into the laptop, my tried and true Network Storage server started giving me a few problems reporting disk errors but recovering from them nicely.  While still operating, I have ordered a replacement for this old friend also, so out with the 0.5TB Buffalo Pro Duo (the LS-W1TGL-R1) and in with the 4.0TB Seagate Black Armor (NAS 220) that should arrive Wednesday and occupy yet more of my time in assuring backups.

The lessons here are that everything fails sooner or later and when they do your life gets complicated if nothing else.  things that were easy and familiar now become a struggle and changes or special measures are needed during the period of adjustment.  The keyboard on the Sony is different from the Gateway and typing although easier requires retraining my brain to where special purpose keys such as the END key are located.  (Wonder why they switched the location of the CTRL and FUNC keys?)

I appreciate the newness of change but the transition of adjustment is a drag. It takes a lot of time to get things "the way they were" but what this really means is that I need to rebuild things so that I can use them as I wish.  This is what I want to point out about audio: we get used to things the way they are and when we introduce change, we react.

Say for example you buy a new preamp.  After listening to your old preamp for ump-de-ump years, you pretty well know its strengths and its weaknesses.  When the new piece of gear is inserted to the system, you immediately react to how different it sounds.  There is a moment when you realize that things are no longer "the way they were" and part of you wants to go back to the way it was.  It is natural for people to do this but what happens from here is an interesting observation of human behavior.

There is a period of adjustment when you scrutinize everything about the new system component and compare it religiously to your acoustic memory of the old component.  This process may go on for weeks and finally you begin to notice the big difference: it does this but it no longer does that.  So when this realization materializes, you are faced with the really big decision: do you go back or live with the faults of the new component?

The choice is yours but whatever you choose will be another interesting study in your own behavior.  Several factors usually tug at such a big decision, such as price, sex appeal (is it better looking than the old component), of course its assets, and other similar reasons.  How yo weigh these factors is the interesting part.  Watching my mind decide is fascinating to me and puts me in touch with the many different aspects of my humanity.  For with this observation and reflection I become a better person who really knows who I am.

One of the things I enjoy - besides listening to new music - is knowing who I really am.  I understand a lot and I realize that my mind is what makes most of my choices. But there is another part of my being - a part that hides behind my eyes and observes reality as one would while playing a video game.  This is the part with which I am fascinated.  This is who I really am and the one that never ceases to amaze me.

Easterners meditate to get in touch with this part of your being but I find that I fall asleep trying to calm my self-talk.  So I look for other ways tot do this and such observations - internal reflections and taking pause to analyze my own behavior - is another way of doing so.

My suggestion is this: when you make a change to your system, plan to observe your own behavior and try to understand more about who you really are.  There are "eyes" behind the eyes and there are other parts of you that you may not realize.  Bringing everyone to the forefront and understanding what roles they play in your consciousness can bring even greater appreciation to this joyous hobby.  Listening from all of these part sof your being can change the way you listen to music and allow you to appreciate nuances and details that you never knew were there.

So take a deep breath and slow yourself down.  Appreciate the new piece of gear for what it is and then appreciate yourself for who you really are.

Yours for higher fidelity,
Philip Rastocny

I do not use ads in this blog to help support my efforts. If you like what you are reading, please remember to reciprocate, My newest title is called Where, oh Where did the Star of Bethlehem Go? It’s an astronomer’s look at what this celestial object may have been, who the "Wise Men" were, and where they came from. Written in an investigative journalism style, it targets one star that has never been considered before and builds a solid case for its candidacy.

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