It was late last year. Husbo did the unthinkable. In a momentary lapse in concentration he agreed to Apple’s enticing El Capitan OS proposition. And why wouldn’t he? Promises of increased productivity with split screens and a more intuitive Spotlight search. Pinned swipes and notes checklists—oh my. It sounded fan-bloody-tastic. Until I loaded up the ol’ DAW to record an urgent voice over.
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‘Ummm … driver not found … Driver not found? DRIVER NOT FOUND!!!’
Probs the three most devastating words for a voice actor. Well that and ‘must quit dairy’.
Unfortunately it’s only too common for software and hardware issues to pop up when updating operating systems. And gear you bought specifically because ‘oh yes that is 100% compatible with your current operating system sir/madam’ has no guarantee accompanying the next iteration.
With the Windows 10 Anniversary update roll out underway and the new macOS Sierra slated for October or November, it’s a good idea to do a bit of research before upgrading. And by ‘research’, I mean learn from my mistake.
Lucky for voice over and production peeps, the folks over at Sweetwater are on the ball with this stuff and post regularly updated info on their website for Mac and Windows. Very handy for checking on compatibility of your existing gear before you hit ‘update now’ and worth checking back in on when upgrading your gear.
However, with the El Cap update already complete, checking this resource only confirmed my worst fear—incompatible. No good for relationships or drivers. As pending VO script stared up at me, panic set in.
Lucky for me, I was up-sold the Time Capsule (highly recommend) which allowed me to groundhog back to the previous day of OS joy. Mind you, the process did render the computer out of action for quite a few hours.
But I was back baby! VO recorded, edited and distributed. Phewy phew phew.
Short-term fix however. Rolling back meant I was stuck in OS limbo until either the hardware became compatible or I bought a shiny new preamp. Having an OS that is oh, so last year is fine for a while but there is the risk of impacting the performance of other software and the system in general.
So with new OS’ peddling their wares all over the www, here’s my top 5 ways to protect your biz from update hell.
1. Hold up—as exciting as a new OS is (I get it and I’m no where near early adopter status) wait at least a few days after launch so issues can be identified (and hopefully rectified).
2. Check up—check websites that sell the gear you use to see if they have any intel on how your stuff will work once you upgrade. As mentioned, Sweetwater are a fab resource. Follow OS discussions on Twitter or in online forums. If there are dramas, you can bet people will be discussing them.
3. Update in down time—when you do decide to update, do it over holidays or weekends and when you have no major deadlines looming. It might even be worth adding a bit of fat to your lead times as a ‘just in case’.
4. Back up—scope out a back up studio (check out the genius voiceoverstudiofinder.com) or borrow compatible hardware from colleagues. And—as much as I am generally opposed to hoarding—it can be worth keeping old hardware that is still in working order as a bit of a fail-safe.
5. Read up—Future-proof your hardware and software purchases (as much as you can) by selecting brands that are known to support the platform you use. Do your research before purchasing new gear.
OK, one more time, with feeling. And informative icons.