I am a technophile and I love the evolution of technology. My one regret is that I won’t be able to enjoy the technological advances of the next two hundred years, unless I can come back as a ghost (which I fully intend to do to haunt every one of you, dear readers).
I thought I would write a couple of posts about how technology has changed in my lifetime just to impress upon you how wonderful technology is.
I will start with music.
When I was a kid, my parents owned a contraption called a radiogram, which looked something like this:
Basically it was a cupboard containing a radio, a record player and space to store LP’s and singles. If you are under 30 then I think I need to explain what an LP is; basically it is a vinyl record that you played at 33⅓ revolutions per minute on the record player and music came out of the speakers. It stood for Long Play and there was music on both sides.
The alternative was a single that you played at 45 revolutions per minute but in this case there was only one song per side.
My grandparents lived next door and they actually owned records that you played at 78 revolutions per minute, on a wind up contraption like this:
Over the next ten or so years, these contraptions were replaced by music centres with Dolby Stereo. My dad, also a technophile, had absolutely no idea what Dolby Stereo meant, but he wanted it. He ended up with something like this:
And as technology improved, he upgraded, allowing me to have his cast offs. Music centres had one thing that made life far more enjoyable – cassette tape players. You could record off the radio onto cassette tapes or borrow LP’s off your mates to tape them for yourself at a fraction of the price.
This was good for many reasons. First of all, I hated vinyl records. Many people, even today, are fans of vinyl and my theory is that they are simply purists – or people who do not understand or trust modern technology. I for one am glad that vinyl is on its way out.
First, vinyl records are easy to scratch, effectively ruining them. Second, if you put them near to a source of heat, they warp. In both cases, they become unplayable:
If you lent them to a mate, they would invariably come back in a far worse state.
Although tapes were better and more robust, even they could be damaged. I have had many a machine, be it a music centre or Walkman that has spontaneously decided to become a cannibal and eat my tape:
For me, the greatest invention was the Compact Disc and they were invented at exactly the right time in the 1980’s. Back then, I was just beginning to be able to save money – and was therefore able to spend lots of money on music.
So I did.
I bought loads of CD’s and over the years my collection has exploded. I currently own hundreds of them. and they are in all stashed away in a cupboard in our spare room, banished by Mrs PM, who thinks I am a hoarder and is desperate for me to get rid of them.
No bloody chance!
CD’s were indestructible, although people claim they degrade over time. My CDs from the 1980’s still sound as clear as they always did.
But now, just like vinyl, they are an endangered species. All of my music is stored on a tiny little device that you may have heard of, called an iPod, which can store an obscene amount of music. If I trebled my CD collection I would still be able to accommodate it on this tiny little device.
Even better, all of my music is backed up to my desk top computer and I am able to play my entire collection randomly through a couple of tiny speakers with the same quality (if not better) than the hi-fi I had in the 1980’s.
Better still I can compile statistics about my listening habits, genres, song lengths, album ratings etc.
I am not really a statistics geek but if I were I could tell you that:
The longest song I own is Octavarium by Dream Theater which comes in at a magnificent 24 minutes.
The shortest song is Convict by Queensÿrche at 9 seconds.
In recent weeks the song I have played most is Drive Home by Steven Wilson.
I have 6546 songs which would take me 20.6 days to listen to if I were to play them consecutively.
Now while I have embraced the latest technology, I have stopped short of walking right to the edge. You see, I still share something with my old dad who like to store his LP’s in a cupboard in his radiogram; I want to physically own my CDs. I want the actual CD with the booklet, with the lyrics, the album cover and all of the other bumph that comes with it.
I know I can download any song I want from the internet and copy it to my iPod, my desktop computer, my phone, my laptop, my tablet and my memory stick as well as backing it up on my backup disk stowed safely away upstairs.
But I can also rip my CD and do exactly the same – and I have a physical disc to tell me that this is mine – this is my album and you can’t have it.
In that way, I am a little old fashioned.
Over to you, dear reader:
Are you a lover of vinyl?
Do you prefer CD’s?
Are you riding the tide of technology and downloading everything?