Walkman v. iPod

Remember the Sony Walkman? Of course you do, because we're all of a... certain age (remember when the term "growing up in the 80s" didn't sound old?).

Those that were born in the 90s and later don't have much appreciation for the technology at their fingertips. Which is why I read 13 year old Scott Campbell's walkman encounter with tears of laughter in my eyes (Also? Because my children have described records as "really big CDs." Because when Madeline, who's 5, came across a box of tapes, she asked, "What are these? Wait--they play music, like an ipod?" Because my mother, who still has a ton of VHS tapes, told the kids she had to rewind one of them, they promptly asked, "What's rewind?")

It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.

I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down 'rewind' and releasing it randomly
Another notable feature that the iPod has and the Walkman doesn't is "shuffle", where the player selects random tracks to play. Its a function that, on the face of it, the Walkman lacks. But I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down "rewind" and releasing it randomly - effective, if a little laboured.

I told my dad about my clever idea. His words of warning brought home the difference between the portable music players of today, which don't have moving parts, and the mechanical playback of old. In his words, "Walkmans eat tapes".

The rest of the article is well worth the read, if only to reminisce about life before the ipod. I remember tapes very fondly--I had boxes and boxes of them. Before my Walkman (which evolved with technology--I did have a Discman in college), I had a bright red Panasonic tape player I would carry with me everywhere (my parents probably invested in the Walkman for their sanity, I'm sure the Reflex--rewind--the Reflex--rewind--the Reflex--etc. got really, really old after a while).

No comments: