Sometimes I wish I were a bit more technically minded. Not like one of those blokes who buys What Lawn Mower? magazine and talks for hours in the pub about specifications and torque values - because then I'd have no friends - rather just mildly interested in how technical stuff works. I'm not, I'm afraid.
This is a problem when it comes to buying musical equipment. Right now, I need a bit of simple recording kit and, since I know zero about such things, it seems I've got two options: investigate on the interweb or ask somebody who knows.
The problem with the former is that there'll be so much contradictory advice and general obfuscation online that my eyes will inevitably begin to swivel on their own axis and I'll eventually be found by a neighbour who hadn't seen me for days rocking in the corner of the bathroom, dribbling from the corner of my mouth chunnering on about direct inputs and sound cards and software compatibility and other such things that nobody in their tight mind should ever care about.
The second possibility is to ask someone who knows. This is a social nightmare. On the one hand, you'll be genuinely grateful for any pertinent advice that this person might offer, but, on the other, it's certain to be hidden amid an excess of wholly unnecessary information as the chap in question seizes the opportunity to unburden himself of all he's ever learned about everything that nobody else has ever been remotely interested in. Somehow you'll have to to glean the two genuinely useful bits of information from the tsunami of data and technical specifications that will hit you like a plague of locusts, while all the time simultaneously smiling and nodding and buying him beer, the ingredients of which he'll also want to discuss as a side issue.
There is, however, a third option which, although terribly old-fashioned, might just do the trick. Tomorrow, I'll walk into a music shop and ask the person behind the counter about recording stuff. Their principal aim will be to impart the most relevant information in the shortest time possible in order to make the sale. With any luck they'll believe me when I say that I'm not going to listen intently and then leg it home in order to get the same thing online for twenty euros less.
Wow! Buying things in shops - you, never know, it might just catch on.