When I were a lad…

This isn’t a ‘things ain’t want they used to be’ kind of ponder.

Far from it.

Anyone who knows me even reasonably well will know that I’m a big fan of technology and gadgets; and it was upon sorting out my portable music into a state of anally-retentive organisedness that I started thinking about all things technological.  It’s pretty amazing how things have changed in my relatively short time on the planet on the consumer technology front.

The first computer we had was a Spectrum 48k when I would’ve been about 9 or 10; something like that.  It wasn’t an integral part of life, more an interesting diversion.  I can remember when I first encountered a video tape, thinking it was most peculiar.  Indeed, when my Granny first got a Microwave which we had assumed was a television in the kitchen – how decadent that seemed!

And so, as I was arranging my music into portability, I noted a few stats down – 2171 songs, lasting 5.7 days currently sit on my iPhone.  They’re all labelled up properly with id3 tags and album artwork, and I was thinking that if you rolled back 20 years or so, how much effort you’d need to go to without the Internet, a device like an iPhone and a laptop with iTunes to compile a reasonably-sized music collection for portability.

Well, you could’ve just about had a cassette-based walkman I suppose.  Now assuming you had 12″ vinyl or tapes of the music you wanted, or – and I remember doing this – perhaps you tape the songs you like from the radio – you could’ve made a stack of tapes to carry with you to accompany a walkman.  Let’s be generous and assume you are using C90 tapes that lasted an hour and a half – to have 5.7 days of music you’d need not only your bulky Walkman, but you’d need an amazing 91 tapes.  It’s hardly portable is it.

Also Lord help you if you wanted to find a specific song; you would have had to meticulously written the track listings on the tape inlays and memorised some kind of order; and then undergone a series of rewinding and fastforwarding to find the song in question.  And shuffling is pretty much out of the question.  So how amazing is it the leaps and bounds we’ve come on in just those two short decades?  It is bloody phenominal when you think about it like that, and that’s not even starting to scratch the surface of the ability to stream media over the airwaves etc.

I can’t wait to see what insanely advanced gadgets we have in the next 20 years!

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