October 23, 2013

You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin...

by Chris Randall

Spent an entertaining morning sniping at the Apple Mavericks announcement yesterday. Right up until the point where Craig Federighi said "Free. Today." Once I got done wiping the orange juice off my MacBook Pro, I settled in for the usual nightmare.

Now, to be clear, I in no way _want_ to upgrade OS X. Ever. But the nature of Audio Damage's product line makes it so I have to, the second it comes out. So as soon as a new version of OS X is available, it's off to the salt mines for me. I strongly suggest (and not for the last time in this post) that you absolutely do not follow my lead.

First things first: there is no reason whatsoever to upgrade to Mavericks. Aside from all the memory compression fapping (which doesn't affect us, not being idle users of memory) and pipeline this and yadda-yadda that, there is nothing in Mavericks that will improve your songwriting skills or make your DAW run better. At all. Just don't bother. What you get, for all intents and purposes, are tabbed finder windows (which don't work as well as TotalFinder's do) an update to Calendar, and a mediocre mapping app. If an hours-long update process to get some kind of shitty tabbed finder windows is how you want to spend your time, knock yourself out. Otherwise, don't do it. Not today.

Since you're gonna ignore my advice and do it anyhow, here's what I've discovered so far:

All Audio Damage plug-ins, both 32- and 64-bit, swallow the update seamlessly. They are, as best we can tell, unaffected by Mavericks, which doesn't touch the folders they live in.

I did cursory checks of some other plug-ins. I had a couple crashes with Maschine when trying to load kits. Other NI stuff seems fine. I'm personally having some issues with FXpansion plugs, but I don't know if this is me or Mavericks or what. Studio One Two crashes on instance. Plogue Bidule seems to work fine. Max/MSP 6 (and M4L) require a Java update, but otherwise work fine.

So, spotty, basically. If you want to dick around with crashes and strange performance, and some plugs not working, by all means, update. If you have a show coming up, or are in the middle of a project, and you update, you're stupid, and I don't want to be your friend. You deserve all the problems you're having.


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Oct.23.2013 @ 12:11 PM
@klemen -- there's no show-stopping reason to upgrade to windows 8. From what I've read on the internet it's better optimized for performance and has some bug fixes relative to Windows 7. Might also have better native support for new tech like USB3. But if you're happy using Windows 7, I can't think what I use that you're missing.

And doing the upgrade does fux0r some of your software registrations, particularly anything by IK Multimedia, which are relatively annoying to re-license. I'm very close to having to beg them to reset my license counters, just from various upgrades/hardware changes on my studio box.

Oct.23.2013 @ 12:39 PM
Thanks, I guess I'll upgrade just before W9 comes out then (if for nothing else, just to keep my stuff working).

I do use some IK stuff and hope they fix their authorization system. I've never had any problem with Gforce or AudioDamage stuff, glad to say.

...and back to Chris...

Oct.23.2013 @ 12:44 PM

Agreed, Win 8 is a mixed bag. I largely had no problem adopting it, despite being happy with 7. The Tile apps, as mentioned, do suck though.

The little 8.1 improvements I actually like for my desktop PC are that I can boot straight to the desktop and I can use the desktop background for the tiled Metro window so it looks more like a cohesive experience. Very small, superficial improvements.

They changed the tile color for non-Metro apps to be some amalgamation of what they determine the primary icon color to be. So, it may analyze an icon and determine it has lots of orange in it, so it will choose the standard orange color for that tile. For my tile screen, this results in a rather horrid array of colors. Adobe Illustrator, for example, has been designated to have this awful orange color, which doesn't really match up with the orange in the original icon. Yuck. I guess I'd rather stick with the same blah non-color for all non-Metro apps. Sadly you cannot turn it off. I get that they tried to make my tiles more colorful, but this is an awful design approach. Why not let me make my own tiles?

Also, adding the "Start" button back without an option to get rid of it is equally lame. I like keyboard shortcuts, I don't need the superfluous icon on my toolbar. They also have added some tips to help new users who were no doubt perplexed when using Windows 8 for the first time. I think this is good in general, but it seems bugged. Since I use a Wacom tablet for Photoshop work, it assumes I can swipe. No can do, my tablet does not support swiping or gestures. There appears to be no way to get rid of the largish "tip" window telling me to swipe, I can't click and close it. I have to unplug my tablet and it goes away immediately. As soon as I plug it in, it's back. The tip window covers up a few inches of my screen, so it's annoying.

Oh, and launching the Event Viewer results in a crash because it can't find some log file. I can still view other logs but it seems largely unhappy.

I'm surprised with all of the issues with 8.1, feels like it needed some more polish before release. Since the things I actually like are pretty small things, it seems like going back to 8.0 might be what I need to do.

Oct.23.2013 @ 12:47 PM
Klemen - The major difference between Windows 7 and Windows 8 desktop is that Win8 is tweaked to take advantage of SSDs much better. Remember, SSDs weren't really a thing when Win7 launched. There are some other relatively minor performance tweaks here and there, but that's the big one. If you are just running platter drives, Win7 is fine. If you are running an SSD as you primary drive, Win8 is the easy choice.

Oct.23.2013 @ 2:07 PM
thanks for the heads up on mavericks CR.

Oct.23.2013 @ 3:38 PM
Adam Schabtach
Personally I like Windows 8 a bit better than Windows 7. The Metro/Start screen is an abomination, though; I don't use it at all and haven't for months. Thanks to this freeware addition: link [www.classicshell.ne...] I boot straight to the Desktop (which 8.1 can but 8.0 can't) and have a Start menu that's as good as, or better than, the one in Windows 7. (With much fanfare, 8.1 restored the Start item on the taskbar. All it does is take you to the useless Start screen. I don't know why they bothered.)

Once at the Desktop, I think some of the newer features (e.g. changes to the explorer windows) make it nicer for day-to-day use than Win 7. I can't say much about its performance, other than that it seems to start up faster than 7.

I am, as I type, updating my secondary PC to 8.1. If that doesn't go horribly awry, I'll do my music PC and my main PC.


Oct.23.2013 @ 5:14 PM
Duke Fame
What's the take on major OS X upgrades? For example, 10.7 to 10.9. Does the "upgrade" option really work, or is a clean reinstall necessary? Because a clean reinstall on my music-making computers would suck to the point of, uh, thanks but no thanks. Ain't broke, don't fix.

Oct.23.2013 @ 8:19 PM
Chris Randall
I've never done a clean re-install to upgrade on OS X. I have a couple times on Windows, but as you say, that's so un-fun on a music computer as to be basically quixotic.

This OS X install I'm writing on started life as a 10.4 install on the very first Intel iMac. It has been upgraded to current, and migrated across 6 computers, without ill results.


Oct.24.2013 @ 2:43 AM
Had a disappointment with a not too old DELL laptop which runs Windows 8 Pro with no problems. The upgrade assistant said the 8.1 update requires a new BIOS, which doesn't seem to be a priority for DELL to provide. I wonder if that's something to do with 8.1 being a pro version and some deep security setting that only the NSA understands?

Oct.24.2013 @ 3:21 AM
@darklordjames - yeah, my system drive is a SSD drive (120GB, rather full ATM).

@Chris - I'd prefer to do clean install by all means, but all the registrations (IK and Sibelius being the main offenders) and Komplete 9 Ultimate + extra libraries if needed...yay, I'll probably wait some more. Although I'm not in the middle of anything important right now, so...


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