I’m going to the NAMM show this year, for the first time in almost 20 years. I’ve been saying 12 (when I last moved from Carpinteria, and its comfortable, less-than-8-hour drive to Anaheim), but doing the math it’s been 20, as I didn’t attend NAMM any of the years I lived here last, either. Craziness. In case you’re confused, NAMM stands for “National Association of Music Merchants”, and is *the* biggest music conference of each year. To be looking back at 2 decades of avoiding NAMM as a constantly-working musician is, frankly, a bit strange to me. Maybe even a bit embarrassing, honestly.
While making coffee and preparing for our Sunday this morning and absent-mindedly tap/swiping my way through my email inbox on my iPad, I realized that my regular routines these days are almost diametrically-opposed to how they were just a year ago. In a nutshell, I haven’t ‘sat down at a keyboard’ in almost 6 months now, at least at home. I have three laptops – only one of which sees any action and it’s when I fire it up – like a desktop machine – each day at work, and then put it to sleep when I leave. Only rarely is it undocked for meetings in favor of the aforementioned iPad, and even those moments are further apart and fewer than ever before.
What’s changed? Unconscious simplification. I never intended an iPad to be my main computing device, but by nature of it’s rather innocuous and carry-friendly footprint it’s weaseled its way into my life quite definitively. Although there’s still professional recording, video editing and a handful of tasks that still need the extra beef of a full-blown computer, even those tasks – up to a certain point – have become manageable on a tablet today, and what was hopeful curiosity a year ago has become convenient reliability in recent weeks.
My old arguments against a tablet-based life usually revolved around power (the processors and display weren’t beefy enough for real work) and a mix of ergonomics and efficiency (virtual keyboards, to be frank, just never work as well or allow you to work as fast as real keys on a real alphabetic or musical keyboard, not to mention all the reasonably-good audio interfaces aren’t generally compatible with iOS devices).
What made the difference?