|| - 02.20.2007
|Technology: MUSIC TO MY EARS?
The world is changing fast! Trying to keep up with the frantic pace in the world of technology is quite an overwhelming challenge. Especially for me.
I used to enjoy opening new stuff, and figuring out what to plug in and how to configure all the features. But at some point, I think my brain decided to take a permanent nap when it comes to anything technological—and I have forever crossed the line from ‘arrogant self-sufficiency’ to helpless begging. (Can ANYONE set up for me the new toy I just bought, and save me the hours and stress of figuring it out by myself? Please?)
Forget calling technical support. Once you finally get through all the ‘press this number’ menus, and actually talk to a real person, you can hardly understand their techie jargon, not to mention their accents. (So many U.S. companies now out-service their technical phone support to companies in other countries, and apparently I ALWAYS get the customer service agent who hasn’t quite mastered the English language yet!)
My solution? I call a kid. A high school student works great, or even a college student. Heck, sometimes my 11-year-old neighbor knows more than I do about using high tech stuff! I’m fine with that. Really.
Ok, I’ll take a deep breath now and calm down. Now that I’ve ranted about technology, that ominous storm cloud that hovers over me wherever I go, even in my own house, I have to acknowledge a silver lining.
Even though I can’t figure technology out on my own, once I LEARN how to use it, I can be very happy with the results. And I have to admit, I AM severely dependent on the internet. Internet banking, online shopping at REI and Barnes and Noble, not to mention the new CHRISRICE.COM ONLINE STORE (wow, did you notice that subtle product placement scheme?), podcasts, iTunes, e-mail overload, MySpace…oh dear, I really AM seriously dependent on the internet.
So, yes, I sure benefit from all this high-tech stuff, once I get used to it. And only a few weeks ago, I crossed another milestone in my use of technology in my life.
I incorporated high-tech into something I’ve been doing for 30 years without the help of technology!
What have I been doing for 30 years?
It’s a new age…I officially declare this “The Age of High-Tech Songwriting.” The wave of the future is crashing on our shores as I write. (That’s a little dramatic, I know, but remember, I’m slow.)
First of all, let me say that, fortunately, some companies, such as Apple, are constantly aware of my personal challenges with new stuff, (not to mention how many times I can use a comma in the first half of a sentence) so they are making their technology much more Chris-Rice-friendly, for which I am eternally grateful! They care about ME.
And because of that care, I easily set up and learned how to do iChat and video chat (which has been around for many years for those more adept at it than I), and introduced high-tech into songwriting.
“High-Tech, meet my friend, Songwriting.”
“Songwriting, this is High-Tech.”
“The pleasure’s mine.”
Here’s how it happened.
One night, using Apple’s user-friendly services, I was busy chatting with a buddy using iChat. His name is John Paul Lam, another songwriter I met not too long ago.
In the conversation, I flippantly remarked how crazy it would be to co-write a song sometime without actually getting together. We wouldn't even have to leave our homes. Just use iChat, or better yet iSight (for video chatting).
Now, I was only half-serious, because I’m not much of a co-writer. Usually write by myself. I’ve only co-written three or four songs over the years.
Of course, it was already after midnight when I made the suggestion, which is another reason I was only half-serious.
Good idea? Why not now? John Paul easily convinced me to give it a try. We turned on our cameras, he picked up his portable keyboard, and I ran downstairs and got a guitar.
When I got back to my computer, I was convinced we would only last about 20 minutes at this, because we were already both pretty sleepy. Yeah, I was thinking at least we could get started, and someday, if the idea was any good, we could finish it and have something fun to talk about: “Remember that time we wrote a song over iSight? That was AWESOME!”
I set our camera shots side by side at the top of my screen, and opened a Text Edit page to type the lyrics as we came up with them. Yeah, this is a new day (night) in songwriting for the Rice-man.
So, without being in the same room, from 10 miles apart, John Paul and I could see and hear each other, and actually write a song! In fact, we could have done this from two thousand miles away if we needed to! I love technology! (Wait, what did I just say?...um…)
Well, when 4 a.m. rolled around, (and I have the screenshots to prove it) John Paul and I were still writing…YAWNING…but still writing!
I have a question. Do we have to list iChat as one of the co-writers? Who owns his publishing?
There’s even a line in the song that gives a nod to iSight: “…a simple bridge to bring you face to face.” Clever, huh!
It's a song about writing a song. Or maybe it's a song about a conversation with a girl. You decide. The opening line of the song is, "So, how 'bout this for an opening line / 'Girl, you look beautiful tonight.' "
The song is called, “Keep It Simple.” Good advice for either writing a song or having a conversation.
"Keep It Simple." Ironic title, when technology is hardly ‘simple’ to me, most of the time.
Oh yeah, and if you look really close at the screenshot below, you'll see that I'm so new at this chat thing that I only have three buddies in my Buddy List. Embarrassing! (But keep in mind I have 18,237 friends on MySpace...close, personal friends! So I can't be that much of a loser.)
As for having only three buddies in my Buddy List? I'm just keeping it simple. For now.