Tuesday, October 26, 2010

End of an (Technology) Era...

I read in yesterday’s news that Sony has ceased production of their once popular ‘Walkman’ cassette player. Like most people who grew up in the 80’s, I had one. It was white with purple buttons and served me well. It never wore out, so I ended up selling it in a garage sale.

Fast forward twenty years or so and the I-Pod has replaced the Walkman as the compact music player of choice. My almost ten year old niece may or may not have ever seen a Walkman, but she’s going to get an I-Pod touch for Christmas, which (as most people know) is about two thirds the size of a Walkman, but much slimmer and sleeker, and sexier to be completely honest. I am almost jealous, but know that I could have one if I really wanted to.

Thinking back to what I had (gadget-wise) when I was her age, it’s almost laughable. When I was nine years old I got my first tape recorder for Christmas, a 12” x 5” one or two pound monstrosity that I absolutely fell in love with and carried everywhere. To General Electric’s credit the tape recorder was so well-made that it’s still fully functioning today, over thirty years later.

I also had a 110 camera that was a ninth birthday present if I remember correctly. It was a great starter camera because not only was it literally point and shoot, it had film cartridges. There’s nothing easier than drop-in loading.

A co-worker of the same age said she once had a clock radio that she was really excited about. Another co-worker said he had an 8 track player with a radio (it was round and orange) and a Mattel handheld football game (red lights were the football players).

If you go back even further to our parent’s day, among the things they had were: transistor radios, reel-to-reel players, 8 track tape players and phonographs (which go back even further to the days when they were called Victrolas).

It’s interesting to imagine what technology our children’s children will have someday as things gradually get smaller and more powerful.

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