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.)

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

  1. When my apartment was broken into, I lost my ipod. I hadn’t really thought how much of my music was only on itunes or that my cd’s were packed away, never to be used again. I lost about 1/4 of my music collection by losing something the size of a deck of playing cards.
    Still, I loved having an ipod. I’m 27 so I remember carrying a walkman around, or a discman, & worrying about losing tapes/cds. I’m a big fan of cell phones-I do not miss using a roatary phone or teaching my parents how to program the answering machine.
    My absolute favorite technology, which I’ve been hooked on since high school, is instant message services. I use g’chat & aim as my main form of communication & it’s fantastic.

  2. The ‘oh crap’ moment for me was about a week or two ago when I was watching a movie on my iphone. I’ve had the thing for about a month or so at that point and for some reason it sparked the memory of my first laptop, an IBM PC Convertible. The thing had a dot-matrix screen that you could fit a small nail through the lines between the dots without touching the dots. Had two 3.5″ drives, no battery and ran Basic and MSDOS. Now, i’m watching a movie on a device about 1000x smaller and 1000000x more powerful. My daughter has no idea what life was like with only 20 or so cable channels, no internet and the best graphics seen were either from an ATARI or ANSI on BBS sites.
    You know, I kinda miss the simplicity of those days. I always feel too connected now.
    -Cabe

  3. I’m 20, I still remember using floppy disc, the sound of a modem connecting, and continue to blow on my original nintendo games to get them to work. I remember making mix tapes instead of playlists and cds. I remember having a walkman, both tape and cd, until half way through high school. Now, my ipod has died, and I realize how integral having an ipod or even a walkman was to my everyday life, and miss it terribly. I remember my first Mac, I remember the first time i went on the internet and how simplistic it was, I don’t even know how I ever found things before Google.

  4. It’s kind of strange, ya know? I remember sitting at a friends house watching Star Wars on Laser Disc and I thought, “Can technology get better than this?” I remember being in awe of movies like Tron. Technology is a wondrous thing, isn’t it?
    My first computer was a Commodore Vic 20. 5K of RAM! Next I had a Commodore 64 with 64K! Every step I took, I kept telling myself, “How can this get better?” Now the average person can own a computer that has the ability to produce realistic 3D animation or record an album that is as good as any major studio. At the age of 35, I feel rather lucky to have lived through such great leaps in technology. I think we tend to have a better appreciation towards what we can create with these machines.

  5. I feel that way all the time when reading Gizmodo or Geeks Are Sexy. “I remember when…” Kids today don’t know how easy they have it, but it makes me wonder what they will be looking at in 20 years when they say “Kidd today don’t know how easy they have it.” And I don’t think you kept Cindy Crawford in your room when you were 15. As for the palm of your hand…Oh crap, I bet that just triggered the company network filters. Here comes the IT guy. Oh wait, I am the IT guy. And I’m not even breathing hard!

  6. Another 20-year-old here. I totally remember dial-up modems and floppy disks and cassettes and VHS. I remember my first cell phone (and actually still use it!), my first mp3 player (my brother still uses it!), our family’s first PC (have a new one now, but the old one still works!), my first Mac, my first iPod, and (believe it or not) even our first microwave and our first TV that had a channel changer! I can’t wait to tell my [hypothetical] future kids about how, when I was born, cell [er, sat] phones were the size of suitcases and computers were the size of school busses; how we only had four channels on TV growing up and how yes, we really did have to rewind our movies after watching them; how we needed to look up information in paper encyclopedias and “google” referred to 10^100. Yup, technology is changing, and I think it’s awesome that my generation is keeping up with it.

  7. this reminds me of just a few months ago when i found a functional public rotary dial phone on campus. it seemed so out of place today that i actually took a picture of it and made a phone call on it just to prove to myself that it really worked.
    my children have no clue why we “dial” telephones when they all have buttons (or touch sensitive screens with pictures of buttons). they have never even seen vinyl (it’s in a closet, maybe someday i’ll show them my beatles picture album if they are good). video tapes are those things that take up space in the dvd cabinet (han shot first!). at least they sing along with queen and rush, so they aren’t complete heathens.
    yeah, i am frequently amazed at the things my digital native children take for granted as a natural part of the universe that just didn’t exist when i was their age. of course, when i was their age i was allowed to wander the neighborhood alone for hours and was even a latch key kid in my single digit years. so, they have lost something in the trade-off.

  8. Dude, I’m almost 50. I remember watching the moon landing on our black and white TV! Stuff like GPS (without which I would be literally lost) is nearly magic to me. 26 years ago my future husband told me that in twenty years everyone would have a computer in their house; my answer was “whatever for?” and here I am practically needing intervention for internet addiction. My grandkid, due mid-spring, will take stuff like that totally for granted. Weird.

  9. A couple months back I was looking for my spare iPod cable during band practice with my drummer at the time who is 17. From the bottom of the drawer I pulled out a 5.25 floppy that had my diary on it from back in my BBS days. “What’s that?” he asked. “It’s my old diary I think” I said and then looked at him. He looked very, very confused. I then realized he wasn’t asking what was on the floppy, he had no idea what a 5.25 floppy was. I felt every bit of my 36 years sneak up behind me, smack me in the face and say “wake up, you’re old.”
    I love my iPod and now my iPhone… which i plug into my 1990 BMWs stock radio with a cassette adapter.

  10. I’m turning 25 in a week and I’m continually amazed at technology, which is why it’s one of my top interests.
    My first computer was a Packard Bell running Windows 3.1 and one of the earlier versions of AOL, complete with the modem screeching; I printed to a dot matrix printer. I had a first gen Game Boy when they were still expensive and a Walkman that my parents shelled out big bucks for. I still even have some DOS games on floppy disks, like Hugo 3: Jungle of Doom and Wolfenstein 3D.
    Hell, I remember when arcades were still cool.
    On the one hand, I miss those days. On the other, it’s incredibly awesome to see how far we’ve progressed in just a few decades.

  11. My current computer is a slight anachronism, in that it sports a 5.25 inch floppy drive, and two SID chips… and can use old Atari joysticks as game controllers.
    http://coyoteseven.livejournal.com/128535.html
    And I say that my computer is old now, but not because of those things (More like, it’s an Athlon XP 3200+ CPU and “only” two gigs of RAM). Quite often when people brag about the stuff they got in their computers, I’ll mention the floppy drive and the SID chips… and that pretty much shuts them up. :D

  12. I’m sure every generation goes through stuff like this…
    My 6yr old daughter thought the tv was broken when she couldn’t fast forward through the commercials (she was watching live tv, not something on her tivo (yes, my 6yr old has her own Tivo)).
    I remember the first time the dumb terminal at our house (connected to the acoustic coupler modem) started printing text faster than you could read it…that was something like 400 baud.
    My dad bought TWO pocket calculators that did trig functions when they came out for $400 EACH. Before that, he used slide rules (which I now own).
    My grandmother would talk about the first time she saw a car.

  13. I still own a MiniDisc player, plus The Bends, OK Computer and Kid A, “13″ by Blur, and Dig Your Own Hole by the Chemical Brothers, and My Beauty by Kevin Rowland on MiniDisc, beat THAT

  14. Wil, i remember the invention of the microwave, i saw the first moon landing, when john glenn went into space, lp’s, 45′s, 8 tracks, color tv’s, star trek original series, ;), beta tapes, rca video disc’s, the first supersonic passenger flight concord, paris to new york., cell phones, drip coffee makers, i could go on and on but the thing that amazes me the most is that my great grand mother was born at the end of the 19th century 1890′s and lived till 1976.. can you just imagine the changes that she saw…

  15. Yeah, I think it’s always been this way with people, feeling that kids have it easier and, along with that, not as good as we did when we were kids because of the joys we feel they miss out on as a result.
    It goes beyond technology, though. Life has a feel to it at any given point in time. Those of you in your late 30s or early 40s, think about how life felt in the mid- to late-’70s. Think about how things looked and how they felt. What the general mood was of your life. How you felt when you’d go outside on a summer day to play with your friends. How it felt the first time you set foot in an arcade. How it was to stand in line waiting to see “Empire Strikes Back.”
    Even the very feel of life back then, the mood of it all, was so different than it is today. Special things were few and far between, and many people would strive to attain or experience those things. Today, there may be 20 stories a day about incredible advances in technology or other aspects of science.
    The pace at which things are advancing definitely takes away from the specialness of any of those things. And life is slicker now, all shiny and glossy and filled with smooth, touchscreeny goodness. Nothing bad about any of that, but do kids today have those special moments the same way we did?
    Video games were an entirely new form of entertainment. When will kids today get to experience that kind of birth the way we did, or will they ever?
    What’s most interesting to me about it all is the question of the relationship between man and technology and how it affects us as not only a culture (a global culture?) but as a species?
    I really feel like we’re meant to explore and discover things. Now that technology gives us new ways to be entertained and new ways to escape into other worlds on an almost daily basis, through video games, intereactive entertainment and increasingly-realistic movies and TV, when will the next big technological and scientific leaps occur that will allow us to do those things for real, by finally leaving this world and exploring and discovering new ones?
    The kids who finally experience that, if and when it happens? Well, just imagine the version of this discussion they’ll have when they’re our age.

  16. I remember working in a portrait studio in 1992, and the owner (who had actually been a rocket scientist before opening the studio) told me all about the new technology of digital cameras, and how someday studios will be able to take pictures of clients and preview them on a screen instantly, and how much paper it would save to only print the pictures the clients wanted.
    It’s amazing how time flies.

  17. I remember hearing my first bit of digital music. It was around 1990, and a friend of mine had 10 seconds of a Led Zeppelin song that took up two sides of a 5 1/4″ floppy and about 5 minutes to load on my Commodore C64. But it was the coolest thing ever, because is was music! Without having a tape or record! Wowie!

  18. I remember playing records, then 8 track tapes, and then cassette tapes. I remember the first video games that came out, I remember using 8 inch and 5 inch floppy disks, etc. etc. etc….. The changes in our life time have been nothing short of amazing!!!! I love most of the changes, but feel that some of them have done a disservice to our children.
    When I was growing up, my brother and I would leave the house in the morning and usually not be home until the sun was setting that evening. One of our favorite games to play as youngsters was “Star Trek.” When the weather was good we were out on our bikes exploring “new worlds” we had just discovered. When the weather did not permit us to be outside playing, the attic in the house we grew up in became the bridge of the Star Trek Enterprise. I remember those days fondly.
    My children grew up in a world where video games, computers, and online gaming is common, and even though I would send them out to play and encourage them to use their imaginations, many times they would end up at their friends house playing video games or watching TV. I think that is a shame, they missed out on a lot of the wonderful things that kids are supposed to be doing. On the other hand, our children have got advantages and opportunities that many of us never dreamed of. It is a wonderful scary world we live in.
    On a personal note Wil, I just finished reading your book “Just a Geek” and it was great, I was loath to put it down, but things have to get done. Needless to say, reading the book lead me to your website. For the record, Star Trek TNG was always a family favorite in my house hold, my late husband Ed and I never missed it, and we taped every episode. Ed who passed away 3 months ago from Brain Tumor, was an elementary school teacher and he was very fond of the Wesley Crusher character, (in a teacher sort of way, not in a creepy man sort of way) and I believe that next to Data, Wes was one of Ed’s favorite characters; he liked how the character was developed and how Wesley went on to become a Traveler.
    Great site, look forward to reading more by you!
    Sandy

  19. I used to joke that thanks to small technology I could easily carry over $1000 worth of gadgets in my purse (IPOD, PDA, Phone)…lol now most people just have ONE gadget for all those. I am so used to my technology that when I had to deal with my daughter’s shuffle I was in SHOCK that I couldn’t “pick” the songs by sight. I was like, how is that possible…then I was hit with a memory of listening to a tape and realizing that there was no shuffle, no “who am I listening to” (if it was a mix tape a friend made)….I’m getting too used to the luxury of it all.

  20. Nah mate, if we employ the rock, paper, scissors method of outmoded and useless formats, MiniDisc beats vinyl. Vinyl, naturally, smothers Elcaset, which in turn trumps MiniDisc. Actually, vinyl shouldn’t be on that list at all, as it is still useful. Should be, SACD?

  21. I’m sure there’s a footnote in one of the Flashman books, one of the Frontiers ones? Flashman and the Redskins, perhaps? And MacDonald Fraser makes the point that a young child riding with his parents into the West could easily have lived to see Hollywood get built and watch them make movies about that very subject.

  22. SACD – I’ve got those too! And some DVD-A kicking around as well. I listen to them occasionally, and quietly lament the utter failure of the industry to properly market and distribute multi-channel audio… I know, let’s make them cost 3 times as much as CDs, impose insane IP restrictions (what do you mean I can’t play the multi-channel stuff at full resolution over an optical cable?), and make licensing expensive enough to discourage most vendors from including the capability in their low-end units. But I digress… :)
    My vinyl would be a lot more useful to me if I still owned a turntable. But vinyl is indeed useful, albeit a heck of a lot less portable than the MiniDisc format. However, vinyl does hold the advantage of being playable on devices other than those manufactured by Sony!

  23. You sound like someone who would appreciate this.
    I have, on a DVD, a quadrophonic mix of Dark Side of the Moon.
    It’s as awesome as you’d expect.

  24. I remember the 5 1/4 disc that went in my families Tandy computer we got when I was six, and we still have tons of 3.5′s about. Zip disks were my favorite storage media for a long time, and I was not a happy camper when they went on the out.
    For a couple years in middle school I kept a walkman, and later a discman, hidden jammed in the bottom of my bookbag for bus trips to and from school. In highschool, I didnt have to hide it.
    I recall the tremendous letdown I got when the iPods first came out in 01. If I recall, I think the first gen was non Windows friendly. Next was the fact that most of my music was .wma anyway (forgot to switch formats when ripping), and there was a damning article about battery life in a paper somewhere. Needless to say, I became anti iPod from that point forward.
    However, I have been the proud owner of a Creative Zen Vision and Zen Touch for the past 5 or 6 years. Best purchases ever.
    I suppose I should mention that Im getting the iPod Touch with my tax refund money. So much for the anti iPod thing.

  25. Ah, the mythic Alan Parsons quad mix. I also have a copy (but thanks for the rec!), and it is indeed wonderful. A bit of bass bloat (the .1 channel is repeated in the mains), and the unavoidable tape hiss (as it was supposedly made from the tape masters), but nearly perfect…
    I’ve also got the SACD, which has a 5.1 mix done by James Guthrie. Sonicaly, it’s much cleaner (a couple decades of technological improvements will do that…), but for me the mix pales in comparison. Don’t get me wrong – if you’ve never heard DSoTM in surround, and you only have access to the SACD, I highly recommend the experience! Guthrie’s certainly a highly competent engineer and producer, and was hand selected by the band to do the mix. In fact, it made for a great Wizard of Oz / DSoTM screening, as it had just come out, so my audience wasn’t expecting the multi-channel… :)
    But I still have to sit back and wonder what Parsons could do with a multi track effort today. To this day I get chills at several points listening to the quad mix…

  26. Yeah, I’ve looked into turntables, but that’s a big bag of expense that I don’t really want to open up right now. I’d need a good table, needle, phono amp, etc…
    I’ve repurchased most of my vinyl on CD, so the temptation t go down that road is lessened… Though most of my Beatles CDs are the re-masters, and unfortunately don’t do the lads justice in comparison to the original mono…)

  27. I’m a few years older than you Wil, and I think you’re right. With the pace of technology throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries, I can’t see how any of us can’t feel we’re over that divide in some sense.

  28. You know, for all of my IPods and computers and DVDs and Blackberry’s – the moment that REALLY got me was the first time I saw one of those USB Photo Frames that plays your pictures.
    It was like …
    “NOW I am living in the future.”
    Funny the things that resonate, isn’t it?

  29. I have the SACD version of “Dark Side of The Moon” and when I first heard it I nearly lost my mind in the sound scape it created. It’s really amazing that “Dark Side” was recorded about when I was born. I sure don’t sound as good as that damn album.
    I wish they would release “Wish you were here” in SACD. A quadraphonic mix of “dark side” would be very interesting to hear though. The one you can buy that is SACD has a 5.1 mix and the high resolution stereo mix, all of which sound amazing.
    Michael

  30. I have this iGala frame that grabs all kinds of stuff wirelessly off the Internet.
    I’m subscribed to my brother’s Flick stream, and it still freaks me out (in the good way) when I catch a glimpse of a picture of the two of us out of the corner of my eye.

  31. If you haven’t seen it, you may like the VH1 Classic Albums episode where they do Dark Side of the Moon. Alan Parsons actually sits down at a board and mixes some of the songs, live, from the masters.
    Un-fucking-real.

  32. Okay, I totally avoided saying it … but could that BE anymore Star Trek?!?!?
    I like living in a Science Fiction novel … and I think we’re the lucky generation … because my parents WANTED to live in Heinlein novel … but are now too old to really enjoy it … too many ellipses indicates many, dreamy random thoughts …

  33. I actually have that DVD and you are right, it’s Un-Fucking-real. I love the parts where David Gilmour is playing over top of the original stuff, that blew my mind cause it was like perfect. Or when David broke out the old equipment and showed you how they created the sounds on the album, truly a must for the die hard Pink Floyd fan.
    The VH1 classic album of The Who’s “Who’s Next” was un-fucking-real also if you haven’t seen it. Townsend is a real arrogant fucking prick, but the show is still good; if you like that album.
    Michael

  34. Yeah, those two are my favorites of the entire Classic Albums series.
    And how awesome was it when Waters showed how he made the loop for Money?

  35. The fact that simple, commonplace implements of culture like phone booths have all but vanished sometimes freaks me the f*&k out if I stop to expend some brain cells on the thought. I remember phone booths everywhere. Watch any TV show or movie from the last century and somebody’s bound to be stepping out of one of the damn things. Roy Batty even walked out of one in freaking Blade Runner for chrissakes! And that movie was supposed to be some sort of sci-fi template for a future yet to come, man!! No one save Clark Kent (and he’s fictional) perhaps really misses the filthy things these days. It’s just wild to me that those once-ubiquitous cultural mainstays are all but extinct now. There are probably plenty of other things from my youthful years, like the already mentioned 5.25″ floppy disks, one could point to and proclaim extinct. Somewhere along the way, culture sure did shift on me.
    Just go to any mall in America and watch the kiddies trundle by tapping merrily away on their cellphones or personal electronic devices. Some groups of teens hardly even seem to physically interact or socialize with their corporeal companions sitting right next to them because they are all too busy texting or tweeting to virtual representations of friends elsewhere. The future shapes itself right in front of my eyes whenever I go out in public now. Sometimes I stand in awe of it all while other times I’m simply left less than satisfied or downright disappointed.
    I turn 38 this year but it doesn’t even seem possible that such advances have happened in that relatively short span. It is mindblowing to think that I’ve lived through the entire evolution of video gaming entertainment. I can remember playing games at friends’ houses on Colecovision and Intellivision systems and thinking then that the future had arrived. Who didn’t think to themselves at the time, while playing Summer and Winter Olympics, Karateka or Ghostbusters on the Commodore 64, how life or technology could get any better or cooler than that moment? To think back on how enthralled my young self and friends were at the dawn of console gaming, playing games like Pitfall, River Raid or Star Raiders then look ahead to the present day at the sort of experiences I have with my Xbox 360 console, it is almost inconceivable that the two are inextricably linked somewhere along the line. That technological evolution occurred in my lifetime! It’s like reading about a Tyrannosaurus Rex in a science textbook, or seeing the bones of one in a museum, then looking out of the window at the fat crow fighing over some fast food garbage carelessly tossed on the ground with his avian amigos and imagining how the two creatures could somehow be evolutionarily linked. It can truly give me pause sometimes to think of all the technological and cultural advancements that have occurred in my relatively brief time on the planet.
    Not too long ago I had to explain myself on a music messageboard when I happened to mention cardboard CD longboxes that new compact discs used to come packaged in. At first I thought the younger posters were joking when they had no idea what I was talking about. Then the realization dawned that some things I experienced may have no context in the current cultural landscape. Just as I have no cultural reference point for the use of a chamberpot or a telegraph machine, phone booths and video rewinders will probably become discarded relics to future generations, only appearing in pop culture period recreations of life in the late 20th century, ancient and abandoned cultural curiosities.
    My sister recently gave me some old family photographs she found in one of her old photo albums (remember those!). In one of the photos, my barely-teen self is seen sitting in the airport, decked out in my Ocean Pacific boardshorts and Town & Country t-shirt, waiting to board what was then my first big-boy airplane flight to visit relatives in Texas. On my lap in the photo sits a peculiar metallic object the size of oh say an old school lunchbox (remember those!) but flattened in height, with large clunky looking buttons and wires coming out of it. I stared at it for awhile, wracking my brains trying to think of what it was. Finally, it came to me: that was my brother’s old Walkman!
    It was indeed one of the original early Sony Walkman models my brother had gotten at some point in the early to mid-1980s and had passed on to me to take on the family trip. Decades from now perhaps I may look upon that antique Walkman in my old faded photograph in a way similar to how I might currently inspect an artifact visible in a Civil War-era daguerreotype photograph if I saw it today. On one hand that thought chills me to the core, on the other it seems rather fascinating.
    Even in my own personal experience culture has moved on so significantly that I can barely recognize the things that were quite important to me at various times in my life.

  36. I’m 38 and know exactly what you are saying. My kids are 12 and 13.
    I feel saddened that they will never know or experience the subtle nuances to making a “mix” tape, spending countless hours in their rooms with there cassettes and LPs lying around them recording each and every song and having to listen to each and every song as you record them.
    They’ll never experience the wonder of creating a “program” on your school Commadore computers and saving them to cassette tape. Sitting through an actual slide show, complete with projector not on a laptop.
    They won’t every understand what a B side music track is, let alone play an 8 track.
    I still have my fathers reel to reel in my closet and still yearn for the time I could sit back and listen to his recording of the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s version of Tommy.
    The smell of cleaning an LP with the proper cleaning tools, or going to the local music store to buy a diamond head needle because you dropped the Record player arm a little to hard onto your Kiss Destroyer album. They will never know or appreciate REAL album art or the novelty of colored Vinyl.
    They’ll never freak out when you come back to your car and realize your favorite cassette was left sitting out on the passenger seat of your car in the summer and it’s all warped.
    They’ll never feel the sense of Geek pride at your Cassette collection of over 500 that you alphabetized and could tell which cassette was missing just by looking at the rack.
    Sometimes I think/know my kids have it better than I did growing up but somethings you just can replace with technology.
    I do agree carrying around all the music that took up (and still does) take up all that room in the palm of your hand is empowering and humbling at the same time.
    I tried to make my son understand that chasing a blip around my parents TV was just as fun as playing World of Warcraft now. Heck they can’t comprehend getting up and turning a dial to change channels.
    Thanks for this post it really made me really reflect on those things that made us who we are.
    Paul

  37. That was that part where Waters had that long totally exposed reel of tape and it was running the Cash Register sounds right? Yeah that was a great part of the show. It just goes to show you that at the heart of some of the greatest creative ideas of the last century, there was a simple explanation for most of it. I love when you find out something you loved so much and it turns out to be something totally creative and cool.
    I am going to pop that album in this morning and relax.
    Michael

  38. “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.”
    Wait.. how old are your kids? I thought they were in college now. I’m barely 25, and I suddenly feel really, really old..

  39. Ah…the sound of a modem connecting… AND a floppy disc! That’s what memories are made of!
    And yes… the sound of a music tape rewinding. In East Germany, they used to sell blank tapes that cost a third of the rent of a large apartment and smelled of vomit.
    How’s that for a bit of trivia?

  40. Wil,
    Is it strange that you mention this as I have the same revelation regarding technological advances and my son?
    I play records for him though, I can’t quite seem to get rid of my records…
    It’s rather strange that he knows almost as much about computers as I do…and he’s only four!
    –Lili

  41. Seriously Dude! 20 years old, and doing a “I remember when”. Let me pull my teeth out of the glass while I type a response.
    My senior year of high school was the last year you could earn a letter for your jacket in slide rule competition.
    Movies came on reels, and music on vinyl, 33 1/3, 45 and 75 rpms.
    I had an awesome portable hounds tooth portable record player that I would give anything to have back.
    The first music I purchased with my allowance was Captain Fantastic on 8 track. (nothing like a big click and pause to wait for a song to finish).
    ::clink go the teeth back in the glass, and pull up my walker to get back to bed::

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