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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Right Place Wrong Time

Digital Technology
Speaking in Poker Terms, at some point in time we have to get comfortable with the hand that we have been dealt.  In this instance I am referring to the many advances in digital technology that keeps progressing by leaps and bounds especially in the area of audio and video.  I still remember the time when we had no choice but to listen to the car radio at whatever reception we could get and be happy with it.
Can you imagine life without recorded music? Probably not.  By the time I got to where I had a real interest in music and the recorded medium, the 45 rpm vinyl records were in.  I still got to play the 33 1/3 rpm, and 78 rpm vinyl records, but not with my father’s permission.  I used to own and operate 3 music stores in Washington State in the early to mid-70’s, a very inconvenient time for music store owners.
Some very popular music would hit the charts, and I would have to maintain inventory in 45 rpm, and long play vinyl, 8 track, and cassette.  All product would eventually sell but it seems that customers were always asking for the one medium that had just sold out. I swear I had the supplier on speed dial, I was constantly placing special orders.
The arrival of the 8-track and Cassettes were a special joy, because now you could take your music along for a road trip.  No more being stuck with radio stations that you kept losing the frequency to.  You could take them to the beach, and you didn’t have to be overly careful with it, and that is why you didn’t always carry them in organizers.
The arrival of the CD was supposed to be the “Perfect Sound Forever,” wrong on two counts: early CDs sounded horrible (though noise free, an audio first); and if you didn't handle them reasonably well, they would (and still do) degrade. Many first generation CDs degraded all by themselves. They were more than difficult to play in any moving environment: portables and car players were for a long time expensive and less than successful, unlike the 8-tracks and cassettes they were replacing. The price of the CD’s when they first came out were cost prohibitive, and not all artists were releasing music on the CD at first.  An interesting note: there are no continued releases of recordings for 8-tracks or cassettes, but the LP has never gone out of production, with many new releases for the increasingly small audiophile market and lunatic fringe.
Between 1990's and today CDs reached their maximum saturation and became the easy to use medium they are known as today, they began to look clunky compared to the MP3 players.  Further progress has now brought the “Cloud” into play where I can access my music collection from anywhere with the use of a Smart Phone, computer or the magic of Blue Tooth technology.
So once again we need to accept the hand that we have been dealt, and enjoy the technology that we have all around us while we are here.  With the advent of “Google Glass,” and wrist watch computers, sooner or later we are going to miss out on the future of digital technology.  I must say that I am glad I won’t be here for the Blue Tooth Technology being imbedded into our heads and using the eardrum for a speaker (for internal use of course).  The best is yet to come….

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