A somewhat old dog

June 14, 2009

Today is Mark Carlson’s birthday — Happy 57th, Mark! He is six months older than I, so Mark gets to go through the experience before I do. As I expected, the not-divisible-by-five years are less notable. We agreed that reaching 50 was monumental, and now, we both see 60 not too far away. I don’t ever regret getting old (if “regret” is the right word). I am enjoying the aging process. Although I overheard a conversation the other day at physical therapy that sounded like my own recent visit to my doctor:

“I know it sounds weird, but I prepared a list of issues I wanted to bring to my doctor’s attention. I keep a list so I don’t forget. But then I looked at the long list and realized this was what aging has in store for me. Oy!”

I’m having physical therapy for a sore hip. I just had a tumor taken off my knuckle and still have four hideous stitches in my finger. Besides that, I seem to be ok — not bad for a 56 year old.

Yesterday, the new Amazon Kindle arrived. I’m just about done reading the introduction of how the thing works and what it can do. I love the ability to change the font size. I find I read so much faster at the size that works for me. I realized that I don’t miss the physical act of turning a page. Pressing the “next page” button works fine, and I don’t foresee any hand troubles for Kindle users, trouble common to users of gaming devices. The screen is not backlit, rather, reflective — like a piece of paper. I find I’m I like it quite a lot. Yes, I love actual books, but I think once I get used to it, I’ll be happy to say farewell to books as “things.” I’m starting by stopping my subscription to the LA Times, as paper, and subscribing as a Kindle user.

The day before, I bought the new Palm Pre from my local Radio Shack store. (Most of you may know: I composed the ringtones for the device.) In that my two thumbs, nearly cover the entire keyboard, I was skeptical about whether I could use it. I am using the center of my thumbnails, and this works amazingly well. I can’t type lying in bed yet as I could with the iPhone, but I’m practicing.

The operating system is the best there is in terms of hand-held devices. The iPhone seems like a Mac Plus in comparison. I have loved my iPhone, and am happy to see so many people finally realizing what a great company Apple is, and buying iPods and iPhones and Mac Books etc. But I am enjoying the Pre so much more. Yes, the iPhone has a ton of apps that make it a terrific platform, but I imagine that it’s only a matter of time before there will be an equal number of apps for the Pre.

I’m starting to hear my ringtones out in the world now. So cool! Although it was odd to be awoken this morning to two of Daniel’s Pres going off at the same time, each with a different ringtone. They blended perfectly! If you haven’t heard the default ringtone, Sprint included it in recent video they made. Check it out.

Mark and I are turning into Jefferson and Adams — great friends who have some major differences of opinions. The only pertinent disagreement we have at the moment is our preference in music notation programs: I love Sibelius, he loves Finale. I tease him and say that he just doesn’t want to learn a new set if commands and that learning new software is just too hard. He counters and says he just doesn’t like the user interface nor the look of Sibelius. We just have to agree to disagree. But it’s clear that Mark is the old dog in that he is 57 now, and I am a somewhat old dog, who, at 56, is still up for learning new tricks. 😉

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad Wood June 15, 2009 at 7:40 pm

Mark’s birthday is the 13th.

Mark Carlson June 20, 2009 at 8:36 am

Thanks for the birthday wishes! I was just thinking about how Roger and I have now known each other for 28 years. Since we were 28-29 years old when we met, that means we have known each other for half of our lives at this point!

I am staying at Roger’s and Daniel’s house right now, as my house has been unlivable for a few days at this particular stage of the remodeling process. So it is fun to be reading Roger’s blog entries while I hear him walking around upstairs.

About Sibelius vs. Finale, I actually think that Sibelius does look better on the printed page, though Finale has made great strides in catching up there. I just find Finale easier and faster for me to use, and more flexible. I will never forget how, using Sibelius, it took me about an hour to create expanding beams (through a painstaking and painful process called “nested triplets,” if I remember right), a process which literally would have taken about 10 seconds on Finale. Ugh!

In my composition class last year, the 12 of us in the room divided equally between Finale and Sibelius users. So it became a running joke that when a Sibelius user was projecting his/her score onscreen and having some trouble, the Finale people would say, “Well, if you only had Finale, that would be so easy to fix!” And when a Finale person had his/her score onscreen and had a problem, the Sibelius chorus would chant, “If you only had Sibelius…”

sibeliusblog June 26, 2009 at 3:59 am

Mark, I just wanted to leave a note to let you know that expanding (or “feathered” as we call them) beams in Sibelius can be created even quicker than in Finale as of Sibelius 6: there are new buttons on the Keypad for accel. beams and rit. beams that mean you can create them in a moment, certainly faster than 10 seconds!

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