January 12, 2008 by Colin
I may have mentioned this – my daughter is surfing our wi-fi at home using her new iPod Touch.
I am very jealous, and increasingly convinced that my childhood was a period of despair and deprivation.
Just like anyone who eagerly anticipated the x86 chipset.
Sure, I had a Casio calculator watch. And I had a transistor radio the size of a match book (with a single ear bud, much like an old man’s hearing aid).
A portable music player was never out of reach. That was an advantage we held over our parents’ generation.
But a device is always a reflection of existing technology – and contemporary society’s perception of innovation, utility and coolness.
That perception rapidly changes, to the point where cutting edge seems obsolete and burdensome.
When Grandmaster Flash first whipped out his ghetto blaster and showed it to the neighbourhood in The Message, the sheer size of the device was meant to impress and cower.
Back then, you chose a ghetto blaster based on its cassette replay features (two sided play, anyone?) and its speaker range. No – not the range of the speakers, but the range of sizes of speakers.
Of course you had to have speakers that pretended to mimic woofers and subwoofers. (They were the big speakers, usually at the back)
Key to the device was sharing the music – with everyone in a forty yard range. Music was to be shared, and maybe prompt some breaking.
That’s a big change from today, where portable music players are one more element in our defenses against our immediate neighbours, whether on the bus, at the mall, at the office or in the gym.
The glowing green Miami Vice suit was optional, though.
image from Taschen Books (and Sony as well)
[tags] stereo, D cell batteries, ghetto blaster, cassette tape [/tags]