Monthly Archives: December 2013

Jazzin’ it up

As regular readers will know, I’m a grade 6 saxophonist. I don’t claim to be any good, but there’s nothing I like better than chilling out playing the alto sax (usually to an audience of one: me).

I recently started with a new music teacher when my previous one had to give up unexpectedly. I was rather disappointed as I’d got on really well with that teacher and with her expert guidance had passed my Grade 6 in July 2013. It was with some apprehension, therefore, that I had my first lesson with my new teacher in November.

I’ve only had 3 lessons so far with him, but have to say I’m really enjoying it. We’re tackling some different things to the work I did with all my previous teachers and this includes a move into jazz improvisation. This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I first picked up a sax in 2008. It’s quite daunting and I have a great deal to learn but I know it’s going to be great fun and I’m loving it already!

In other sax news, I’ve been asked to play again this Christmas for the family. It’s very short notice as I was only asked yesterday so with just 2 days to dust off the Christmas sheet music I’ll have some serious practising to do before Christmas Day. Yikes!

Latest Mac news

It’s been nearly 4 weeks since I last posted so here’s a quick update on what’s been happening in the world of tech. I’ll post longer waffle when I have a bit more time as I have things to talk about both tech and non-tech related.

Laptop
First off, the MacBook Pro. After less than a week of using it, I noticed a noise coming from the left hand command key. As the machine is so quiet, it quickly became rather annoying so I spoke to Apple Support.

First of all they suggested that I take it to an Apple Store or Apple Premium Reseller for a free repair. When I contacted Solutions Inc. in Bournemouth they said that as I’d had it for less than a week I should get Apple to replace it.

I spoke to someone in Apple UK and they arranged for UPS to pick up my laptop and a replacement to be sent to me. That was on November 28th.

The next day, I awoke to discover that Black Friday had arrived in the UK (it’s normally a US event following Thanksgiving) and the MacBook Pro was discounted by £81. So after speaking to Apple again I cancelled the replacement laptop and re-ordered it, thus saving myself a bit of cash.

The new MacBook Pro arrived about a week later and this one works perfectly! With the magic of Time Machine (located my NAS) I was able to set up the laptop exactly as the previous one had been just prior to sending it back. Nice.

Mac Pro
The final part of my 2013 equipment upgrade is the new Mac Pro which finally went on sale this morning. At the time of writing, the machine has already slipped to February shipping so Apple aren’t able to keep up with the initial demand. Not surprising, really, as the new machine is not only a radically different design but it’s also the first Mac for many years to be assembled in the USA.

I’ve opted for a 6-core CPU with 512GB of PCIe storage and the dual D300 cards (many video Pros are opting for the D700’s but for me the D300 will be just fine). I’ve kept the base 12GB of RAM as Apple’s RAM prices are somewhat higher than third party options. There’s a free RAM slot but the technical guys at Apple couldn’t tell me if I can put an 8GB stick in there or if I have to match the other 3 slots (which have 4GB each). I’d imagine that keeping the RAM the same in each slot would be a good idea, but I may bide my time with 12GB (which is a little low, but manageable) and wait couple of months and then throw out all the RAM and replace it with 2x 16GB sticks (which costs £270 plus VAT, considerably cheaper than Apple’s £400 price tag for upgrading to the same amount of RAM).

My ship date is January but the lady I spoke to in Apple Business couldn’t say when in January. I’m going to plan on it being late January and try to arrange my workflow for still using my ancient Mac Pro 1,1 under Lion. However, I’m not panicking about it because I have the MacBook Pro now to fall back on in an emergency!

Happy Days!