7 APRIL 2012 :: MY DIGITAL LIFE
I've always been a techie. I've always integrated useful technology with various aspects of my life. In the 90's I had a Sony Mini Disc player because the disc's were much easier to carry around than CD's, you couldn't scratch them, and it never "skipped" if you had it in your pocket while listening to music.
I brought a digital camera when they first came out so I could store photos on my laptop. This way I actually viewed them, rather than having shoeboxes full of developed film.
But iPads never appealed to me, I'd always thought an iPad was nothing but an expensive toy. Something that looked good but had no way of improving upon the technology I already owned.
I think a lot of this prejudice came from my background in print production and stock buying. I like paper, I like the look of it, the subtle texture and even the smell of paper.
When I read a novel I fold down the page to mark my place, the pages get worn, creased and sometimes faded. I carry a book with me wherever I go and the books themselves begin to look aged and well loved. The best ones I keep in bookshelves around my apartment, very occasionally loaned to friends who are made to promise their return.
I was always the same with diaries. I kept a paper diary, carrying it with me and referencing it whenever necessary. In December last year, after much thought and even debate with likeminded friends, I decided to buy a 'page a day' diary so I could put more information in it. I figured it would be more useful than my usual 'page per week' diary.
While in Munich I picked up a beautiful, leather bound, 2012 diary. It set me back 30 euros but I was happy to part with them, I thought this was going to make me much more efficient because it would hold so much more information.
How wrong I was, what the diary signified was the end of my analogue life and the transition to a digital one.
The 'page a day' diary experiment proved a complete disaster. It's all well and good having a whole page of information regarding the day at hand. But if you can't see what's going on over the course of a week, you end up being very, very ill prepared to tackle the week!
I was in New York in March and below is part of an email I sent two friends after finally cracking and picking up an iPad:
"I had been anti iPad from the moment they were released. I was adamant they are a toy and a waste of time. But, after the new diary debacle, I started thinking I may be cutting off my nose to spite my face. I borrowed one from the office for a couple of weeks and realised how useful they are.
I could not make a business case for needing one (they've already given me a PC and an Apple laptop, ipad on top of those seemed a stretch), but I made myself an excellent personal sales pitch.
I have set mine up in a fairly basic way. It will not work on cell networks, only on wifi networks. Also, I turned off the tracking device, I do not want Apple being able to track where I am! The way I see it, at the moment I take a novel, a diary, a notepad, and an ipod just about everywhere with me. When I go on holiday you can add a laptop to that list. Now with the ipad I only have to carry one thing. My shoulder is already thanking me for the lack of weight to carry."
My friends loved my ability to rationalise the purchase. It can be funny to see the skills you acquire after so much time spent working in Advertising Agencies.
I've now had the iPad for just under a month, and it's amazing the way you integrate it into your life and even your thought process. Last week I was trying to print out some notes from one my Stanford lectures. The photocopier was running at a tragically slow speed so I taped its display panel trying to find out what was wrong.
Immediately I found myself swiping my fingers across the tiny screen in an attempt to find the cause of the delay. It was only after two unsuccessful swipes that I remembered the photocopier was not an iPad, swiping my fingers across it will get me nowhere.
The defining moment of my new digital lifestyle came this morning. I was sitting up in bed, drinking coffee and flipping through the Djay app. It's exactly what you imagine it to be, two virtual turntables that you can nudge, tap and spin with your fingers. No, it's not as good as dragging out the dex and setting them up for a session. But it's convenient, that's the whole point.
One of my turntables is set up in the lounge room so I can listen to jazz and classical records, the other one is at the bottom of my closet. I don't even know where my mixer is. With Djay on the iPad, I can actually listen to and mix all of the old house tunes I ripped to my laptop years ago. Well, I say "mix" for the first few attempts that was using the term very, very loosely. That was until this morning, when I finally got my head around the software's interface and the subtle differences between virtual and physical turntables.
A cheeky smile spread across my face, listening to the opening lines of Placebo's haunting and melancholy vocal - Every you, every me layered seamlessly over the break beats of Melburn. I almost dropped the iPad in my rush to throw my hands in the air and groove away. It might be a digital life now, but it's still the simple things in life that make you smile.
It's a dangerous business going out your front door.
J. R. R. Tolkien