Geek in Review: The Musical Future

My Geek in Review this month is all about how weird it is for me to have existed in the world before and after … well, here, let me just quote myself instead of trying to rephrase myself:

My kids have never seen a floppy disc, heard the sound of a modem connecting, blown into a NES cartridge in the futile hope of making it work, or looked up an address in a Thomas Guide. I have experienced all of these things, and though I’m grateful that I don’t have to deal with them in any meaningful way now, unless I want to, it’s odd to me that, at just 36 years-old, I straddle this tremendous and significant technological rubicon, while my children can barely see it in on the distant horizon behind them, as they speed away on their jet packs and rocket bikes. I mean, they hardly remember cassettes, let alone cassingles, and occasionally I will consider this fact and quietly weep for them, alone, while they play Call of Duty against some stranger on the other side of the world in real time.

I am totally aware of living in the future, but I really feel it when I pick up my iPod, because music has been that important to me my whole life, and I have this crystal clear memory of standing at a MacWorld around 1992 with Paul Montgomery and Tim Jenison (who were my bosses when I worked for NewTek) and Tim had this little slab of RAM that was about the size of a credit card.

“One day,” he said, “you’ll be able to put a whole album on something this size.”

I saw a lot of cool stuff from the future when I worked for NewTek, but the way Tim presented this thing to us — not like it was something awesome that could happen but that it was something awesome that would happen — made quite an impression on me. It was at that moment that I became truly aware of how rapidly the world was changing, and how lucky I was to be living in it.

I wasn’t mature enough to consider it then, but I wonder if people have felt the way I did throughout history, just for different reasons: mechanical flight, telegraphs, telephones, atomic energy and weapons, home computers, stuff like that…

I’m looking at my iPod shuffle right now, and it’s about 1/5 the size of that thing, and holds dozens of albums. My regular iPod Classic, next to it on the desk, holds about 8000 songs, about that many pictures, and everything I’ve ever written plus about 40 eBooks. I can put both iPods in one hand and take them anywhere I want.

Think about that: I can put everything I kept in my room when I was 15 into the palm of my hand or into my pocket.

Well, except Cindy Crawford, but I hear that science is working on that.


(Please note that Geek in Review is hosted at Suicide Girls. There’s nothing NSFW on the news page, but the site will trip filters and get you a visit from your company’s IT guy, who wants to know why you’re looking at the same site he was. Don’t complain to me; you have been warned.)

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Wil

I'm just this guy, you know?

53 thoughts on “Geek in Review: The Musical Future”

  1. Lol all these oldschool commments. I just leave my bookmark at wilwheaton.net. Oh, and I was just playing Rick Danger on my Atari 1040 ST. No, not an EMU. This one doesn’t even have the rca output. ;) But if proof is needed I’ll include pics of my STart mousepad and collection of disks.
    This will probably be lost in the comments but I have been trying to ask you FOREVER about what it was like to have both had special scenes with Ashley Judd and Sonia Braga.

  2. I’m 24. I remember using Prodigy and AOL 1.0 on a monochrome orange & black screened PC at my dad’s office. There was no mouse, you had to tab through the IMs. And when my dad yelled for me to get off after an hour because “The internet charges you by the minute!” it was off to play Hugo’s House of Horrors. *sigh* Those were the days.
    I just canceled my $80/mo digital cable last week after I found out about sites like hulu. I have one week left with my DVR and I’m afraid I may go into withdrawls without my 10 Discovery channels! It’s times like these that I wish I still had the attention span I did as a kid when I could just play with a stick in my driveway for 5 hours straight and be enthralled.

  3. i remember watching tomorrow’s world (British television) as a teenager when cds first came out. The bloke presenting the thing turned around and said, “There is no chance this will catch on.” I still have a vinyl of the sex pistols “Never mind the bollocks album.” I have them on my ipod too (sadly lol) but I still have all the records I listened to.

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