Any organisation still using Windows XP should write down this date: April 8, 2014. After this point there will be no updates, no security fixes and no support. Office 2003 users will be in the same boat. To put that in perspective is it estimated that about 40% of desktops still use XP with Windows 7 finally passing them at 44%. Of those 40%, many have not considered their upgrade path as yet and while the OS will continue to work for a long time it will become more and more vulnerable. Hackers love XP as it is so well known to them and is often used as a springboard into organisational systems.
Does a 7-inch tablet really make sense? What can you do on one that you can't do with your smartphone? While the same argument could be made for larger tablet devices, a 10-inch tablet is significantly larger than the average smartphone.You can use a large tablet to display readable sheet music, for example, so on this question I am with old Apple: 10 inches are better than seven unless you don't have a smartphone.
If you want to make your own music you will need to get a few things. You need some way of getting audio and MIDI information into your computer, a digital audio workstation of some kind, a microphone, some cables, some creativity and a lot of time. As far as an input device goes, these days you don't need to spend a lot of money. After some research I recently purchased the Focusrite Saffire 6. It can handle two input devices at the same time, such as a vocal microphone and guitar, and has a MIDI in and out based on a USB 2.0 system. Focusrite has excellent preamps which were part of the selection criteria but you could do fine with say a Mackie equivalent.
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