Confessions of a Dell Experimentalist (Part 1 of 2)
The fine folks at Intel have a clever plan for world domination: they figured that some of the new computers they’re making are so useful for the creative crowd, all they had to do was put machines in the hands of a few good artists who would go to town on them, then said artists would embrace the new technology, overthrow the government and—wait, that's not right. They're not trying to take over the world, they're just trying to enable and empower creators. Did I mention that they decided I should be one of the artists to try out their newest technology? Did I also mention that they have really excellent taste?
Not long ago, I met with a few Intel employees along with a handful of other artistic Angelenos. I was told about their current lineup of devices, and everyone was exceedingly friendly. There was also a demonstration from Justin Lassen, a musician with an impressive resume who has worked on a lot of widely-used music applications (if you’ve used any Apple loops in GarageBand, there’s a good chance you’ve heard something he’s had a hand in creating). Later I started following him on Twitter, so I think we're best friends now! (Unless he winds up reading this and finds that last sentence unbearably creepy, which is entirely possible.)
My new (best) friends at Intel wanted me to do what I do—that is, make music and blog posts and such—on the Dell XPS 27” all-in-one. I’m familiar with all-in-ones, but this one had a few key differences from the computers I've used before, most prominently a touchscreen.
I cleared an area on my desk by haphazardly pushing all my drawing supplies on the floor and set up the Dell as a makeshift second workstation next to my existing computer setup, making for an incredibly impressive-looking photo:
Then I got straight to work. A few quick thoughts off the bat:
- The screen is huge, super hi-res and beautiful. I was initially unsure of the touchscreen aspect, but I have to admit it’s not only handy, it’s incredibly natural-feeling. We’ve all been using phones and tablets enough to be used to touch interfaces, so it’s an easy transition. There’s a wireless mouse, but I found myself touching the screen far more often, and could even see myself accidentally touching a non-touchscreen if I got really used to this computer. One handy thing is that you can use the mouse and your finger if you need to alternately click on different areas of the screen without giving yourself carpel tunnel.
- Windows 8 is a huge improvement over previous versions I’ve personally used, though it's been a while since I really spent time with the operating system.
- The screen position is easily adjustable (it can go nearly flat), which can come in handy for many things: working in Photoshop or using it like a real mixing board, for example.
They also set me up with StageLight, which is like the Windows version of GarageBand, although they’re very different in a lot of ways. I immediately began fooling around with it and threw down this gem of a track in about 30 minutes, which I call “Dell The Funky Computersapien.” Get it?? It’s a Dell!
I see you’re not amused. This track, however, is mildly amusing:
But one-minute novelty tracks are not what I am here for, so I immediately started on a "real" song. You’ll get to hear the results in my next post. For now, here are a couple more pictures!
#spon: I am in a partnership with Intel. Through this partnership I gain access to content, product, or other forms of value.
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