Hardware workflow has translated to software workflow, where leads and cables increasingly give way to virtual connections, and we are in the early days of optimizing user interfaces as, back there then, there were too many thin curly leads, strain protectors were multifarious and a gamble, and we had to remember to turn volumes down before plugging jacks in.
I bring to mind the work of Belden through to Vanne Damme, and the research and development done by Neutrik. A commitment to innovation in effectiveness, efficiency and elegance brought about cables, the reliability and bendability of which we could not have dreamed, connectors which solve the 'insert-bang' problem, and the right angle xlr connector which can be rotated around the pins during assembly to give the user choice as to 'which way up' it will be.
Mark's example above, highlights the negative consequences of lack of component-level optimization or fine-tuning in hardware. In software, user interface is the territory for virtual ergonomics as, for example, the guitar body was territory for physical. Thank you Leo Fender who shaved that angle at the rear of the Strat.
Critical path analysis is a systematic attention to detail of workflow in order to achieve and exceed production criteria: seeking to develop open access to control parameters for the user interface, so that user definitions and macros can function through key commands and mouse behaviour, is as natural and worthy an endeavour as the MIDI development of similar transparency at the level of note-parameters meeting assignable controllers at the input end of the chain; It is the endeavour to shorten the path between creative impulse and product.
However, in the creating of music, there are those who laugh at those 'obsessives' who 'know' that the last 5% of work put into a song is what makes the difference between IN and NOT in focus. Could there be some kind of 'Close enough for rock'nroll' attitude which bleeds into thoughts about the equipment and its use? Some, as has been suggested before, lack of experience of the depth of the program, and ignorance of what's needed in the fast lanes of creativity and professionalism?
We may find amusement in the geeky tweakers. They sometimes seem to be on the verge of holding public demonstrations, for the right of menus to have a choice of BOTH 'simple click then click chosen item' as well as 'click-hold then unclick over chosen item'. Neutrik's R and D Manager might have scoffed "Look, Tinkerbell, we make Cable and Connectors ... let the buggers remember to turn their OWN volumes down before pugging in." We cannot 'see' the basis of their intensity and commitment. This is because THEY are seeing a GAP, an ABSENCE. We see nothing, but they see the image of what should have been there to begin with, and they wipe our green phlegm from their eyes as they labour, pilloried beneath the weight of our scorn, to make that future real.
A man who gave a significant part of his life in answer to the battle cry "Too much zipping and unzipping," invented Velcro and, this future made real, we accept without comment. He is the giant on whose shoulders someone else noticed a Gap in the Universe, and went on to topple the world-dominance of tongue-and-tooth hard plastic cable ties.
I will not conceal my own shame. 1984, it was, I reviled one Charles Forbes whose suggestion for rewiring the components of my music gear I ignored. I wore out shoe leather and left, fluttering and dying behind me, a trail of hemorrhaged creative moments. But back then, if I'd told myself that one day I would be helpless without my Mackie Big Knob, I'd have just laughed.
But how many 'Why didn't I think of/appreciate that at the time' moments have we been given by those who lived their lives as if the world revolved around one click of the mouse? How big were those court cases around protecting 'One Click Ordering' for online transactions? "Toggle Hide/Unhide Inspector" deserved a national holiday with brass band parades. For itself, it earned its Kudos. For it's being the precursor, however, to numerous "Toggle Hide/Unhide" buttons in the mixer, it earns Immortality.
We are musicians, and one click at a time, we build music, and music builds the world.
And this building is about the SUM of all the one-clicks, the vision which recognizes this, and the attitude which honours this by making each one count.
The Gypsy King
Music - out of date
i7930, OCZ Vertex2, Raptors, RME Multiface 2, 12gigRam, C5, Photoshop CS5, Unreal Tournament.