Archive for July, 2009

My most meaningful portable music player.

July 6, 2009

Listening to music on the train today, I suddenly thought about an article by Woz on Gizmodo which he talked about the most meaningful gadgets in his life, one of which was the transistor radio, which gave him portable music that he could listen to all night long when he slept.

Even though it was superseded by the Walkman and iPod, the transistor radio was the one that gave him the real change in his life.
Then I thought to myself, which was mine?
I started listening to CDs when I was young, on my parents’ huge roundish boom box. I’ve never bothered with transistor radios as a child, the reception was too bad. That’s why I’ve always wanted a Discman, but my parents would never buy me one.
One day my dad gave in and got me a.. Walkman. Yes, when CDs were prolific in the market, he got me a walkman. Pathetic as hell, I would bug my mom to buy me empty tapes from the supermarket just so I could record my CDs on them to listen on the go, and even so she wouldn’t always buy them for me. I had like 3 or 4 tapes my whole life and I had to reuse them over and over again. Not only that, it was tedious as hell to dub, nearly impossible to change tracks and I could only listen to the same few songs over and over. I grew to hate the music I had.
I finally got a Discman, but that was not what I wanted. I only could buy 1 CD a year. CD-R drives were expensive. I got a portable FM tuner too. Trashy pop on 987. Then an MD player. Glorified Walkman. I was never satisfied with my portable music.
Then, just after I finished secondary school, Apple dropped the big A-bomb. The first fucking iPod. 4GB of space in the size of a deck of cards. And not to mention it was beautiful. I wanted it so fucking badly the only thing that stopped me was the price. It sold for about $950 when it first launched. That was 1 month of my salary when I was working part time. And, it needed a Mac, or the gay Musicmatch Jukebox for windows. I was so sad. I passed.
A while later, I went to poly. I was elated. Having a laptop was compulsory. Finally, a fully portable music player with a shit load of space! I could even choose what software to use! Who the heck needs an iPod? Then reality hit. My so-called ‘MP3 Player’ only had 1 hour of battery life. Realistically it would only run for about 30 minutes. Not to mention in year 1, power points were as scarce as bikini babes in a desert. So I took 30 minutes to haul my ass to school, and then I couldn’t use my laptop anymore until I found a power point. Not to mention it felt like I was carrying a volcano on my back. That did not last long.
About a year and 2 generations of iPods later, an old friend of mine struck me a deal. The first gen iPod. The one I fell in love with but had no damn money to buy. For $160. OMFG BUY. It was scratched as hell, and the battery lasted for no more than 2 minutes. I bought it anyway. My friend told me, “there is still warranty, I think you can still send it in.” I was so fucking glad I listened to him. I sent it in to Apple, and 2 weeks later, I got a brand, spanking new 1st gen iPod. BRAND NEW. That’s when it all started. Albums, songs, playlists, genres, swapped in and out at any time I wanted, in no time at all, over Firewire. It changed my life. It was exactly the way I wanted to listen to music. The battery lasted forever. And on top of that, it fit nicely in my pocket. For me, this was the most meaningful gadget in my life, EVER.
Needless to say, 7 years and 2 iPods later, I was on the train, today, still listening to an iPod, even though it’s just a program, while on MSN with my girlfriend. Much has advanced over the years – colour, video playback, internet capability.. But I’m still listening to music the same way I was 7 years ago on my 1st iPod, while being able to do so much more. If not for the very first iPod, all these would have not been.