Wednesday, October 27, 2010

They Still Make Those?

Sony announced this week that it will stop making the Walkman. Uhh, they still make that? I have one of those, somewhere in my cluttered home office. Two, in fact; one is very basic, the other has a radio in it. Haven’t used them in years. I think I still have a few cassettes, also buried in the clutter.

The Walkman was revolutionary when first produced three decades ago. You could now take your music anywhere, untethered. Joggers used them, although I don’t know where they put the cassettes other than the one they were listening to. Is that a cassette in your pocket, or …. Anyway. Now we have the iPod, a smaller portable media device that can store a few thousand of your favorite songs with no external 12-songs-a-piece thing like cassettes or CDs to carry around.

Did you know they still made the Walkman? I didn’t until I read an online article about it.

That story listed a few other technological entities that you probably thought were gone …

Film. It’s hard to find but it does still exist.

Library Catalog Cards. I just have one word for that one … why? It’s all online and on hard drive.

Encyclopedias. They look good on a shelf but even a tactile guy like me prefers the internet or my college’s online digital resource center. Little know geeky fact: I have owned two sets of encyclopedia in my life time. I’d donate them to a museum if I still had them.

Floppy disks. You thought they were done, didn’t you? Me too. They hold 1.44 mb of data on each. That’s not even a whole song. I have some in a box of old ones next to this desk but I don’t own a computer that can use them.

Fax machines. If someone faxes me something at work, the message light on my phone lights up and I go to my computer to open the fax. Why didn’t they just email the thing?

Phone books. OK, really, when is the last time you used one to look up a number? But I still get one or two dropped at the end of my driveway every year. By the way, Verizon charges you extra to have your number NOT listed. Yes I still have one those soon-to-be outdated things called a home phone, but I just switched to Vonage. This is not a commercial, just a bit of reality. BTW2, if I only give you my home number and not my cell it’s because I don’t really want you to call me.

Typewriters. Yes, they still make them. Do you use one? Last time I used one was three or four years ago and I actually had to remember how to use it – align the paper and crap like that. I wonder of Staples still sells typewriter ribbons? I wonder if any of the college interns at work know what a typewriter ribbon is.

Phone booths. You mean I have to put a coin or two in that thing to call someone? And I can close this door and have a relatively private conversation? Hmmm, if you’re an inventor, here’s a free idea: cell phone privacy stations. Put rows of them on street corners, hotel lobbies and airport concourses. The user steps inside, closes the door, sits down and calls someone using their cell phone. The twenty people standing within a two hundred feet of them do not hear the conversation.

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