Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Saying goodbye to the Walkman

Saying goodbye to the Walkman
by rick olivares

Remember that classic new wave song, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles? Yes, the synth duo of Trevor Horn and Geoffrey Horn eventually joined British prog-rockers Yes so they sort of qualify as a one-hit wonder that was common in the 1980s.

Perhaps the most interesting bit of trivia about that song was it was the first ever music video played in MTV.

But did video really kill the radio star? Maybe it weakened radio but it’s still around.

What really did go the way of the dinosaur is the Walkman? The iPod Generation might raise an eyebrow at the term but the Sony Walkman was the biggest thing back then.

Last October 25, Sony announced that they had finally ceased production of the Walkman of which over 220 million have been sold since July 1979. Some might argue that the correct date that should appear on the Walkman’s tombstone is October 23, 2001 when Apple released the first iPod.

And digital technology sure is Yes, I did own a Walkman and eventually a Discman. As soon as digital technology became all the rage, you can be sure that the Discman, Laserdisc player, mini-components, compact disc, video compact disc, and digital video disc were on its extinction agenda.

I held on to my Discman until I bought my first iPod in 2003 and it has been a staple of my music listening habits since. But the one concession I have and will not make is the compact disc. Music purists will talk about how different the sound quality is on vinyl records and honestly, that is so debatable. However, the one thing I missed was those huge sleeves with all the liner notes and lyrics. The sleeves did make their way to the compact disc although in a smaller and compatible form and size. I for one, truly appreciate their compactness because it does make for more room inside my closet. Or at least it did until my CD collection multiplied into the thousands (I currently own over 3,000 CDs all of which are original since I do not buy pirated ones) and now I need another closet to store and display them.

Funny. My dad often kids me that what I need is a small-sized record store to display my collection.

When I travel and shop, you can be sure that there are a couple of stores where I will make a visit – a book store and a music store.

Books. There’s another one that is said that will disappear.

That’s another traditional item where I will never make concessions. A friend of mine recently lent me a disc of some documents that I need to use for posting somewhere but I really dislike reading long documents on digital file. I still prefer the hard copy. And that goes all the way to my books. I will never own a Kindle or anything of that sort.

I’m not sure my kids can say the same about hard copy books because I believe that the traditional way of reading has become a lost art.

The computer alone has destroyed my once flawless penmanship. I got so used to tapping the keyboard that when I sign my name on check encashments, I have oft to re-sign them a couple of times since I am no longer used to writing with a pen.

When I cover sporting events and jot down notes, I take a few extra seconds to jot down my thoughts because more often than not I do not understand what I scribble onto my notepad.

About two years ago, a writer from the New York Times got in touch with me to commend me about an article that I wrote about the Super Bowl. I took the opportunity to ask him if there was a way to write for the world’s greatest newspaper. He said that the printed page was going to soon go out of business and that online was the wave of the future.

That one I embrace wholeheartedly and have taken advantage of with my blogs and other social networking tools but I still purchase newspapers once in a while.

The world and the tools we use to go about our daily lives is changing at a dizzying pace that it almost seems ridiculous cost-wise or practicality-wise. I appreciate the benefits but unlike Andy in Toy Story 3, I am not letting go of some of my toys (for the big boys).

I may be older but some things – my books, my compact discs, my DVDs, magazines, and whatnot – will always be a part of my life and me.

Except for that sainted and late lamented Walkman.

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