Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Watching the World Become Obsessed with Gizmos

The buzz these days seems to be whether a Samsung Galaxy product (phone or tab) are better than a Apple product (iPad or iPhone).

From my boyfriend to teachers at my school it seems no one really knows which one is better. It's as if this has become the most important decision of their life. 

When did this all begin? When did we start obsessing over hand-held electronic goods? Well, I believe I was witness to the birth of this phenomenon due to being a teenager during the take off of portable music devices.
It all started with this: The Walkman
One made a collection of music and taped onto their cassettes then popped it in one of these things and went on their way. It was a bulky and battery eating machine. I actually remember the pleasure and pain I got from using the rewind and fast-forward buttons. Soon people traded tapes at school and made them for their loved ones. It became a part of the list of items your parents took away when you were bad.

Then technology pushed itself and tapes gave way to CD's, which naturally made the Walkman upgrade.
I can distinctly remember when my best friend took this out of her back pack, while we were riding on the school bus. I was excited and curious, wondering how it managed to rewind and fast-forward.

Making tapes for it (or CDs) become more of a challenge, as it required a computer with CD burning capabilities. This was the early 90's and not many folks had personal computers yet. I was raised on those old Apples and the Oregon Trail at school. But this was the time to buy CD's and build up your collection. Indeed, one's backpack was probably more full of CD's than books. If not in their cases then in a fancy book that resembled a photo album.
Because music came out in a smaller compact format and with a booklet to make it more special it became collectible. Sure people collected records but the CD made it portable. Going over to a friend's house meant taking your CD collection with you and sharing what you have. This was also a time when music started to really separate itself into genres, such as Rap, Rock and Pop. Thanks to MTV (when they use to show music videos) one could now feel like they were a part of their music like never before. The musical artist became more of a star and a sensation. All the more reason to collect CD's and be a participant in a certain type of genre.

For me I fell into rock music, listening to Nirvana and then the Smashing Pumpkins and whatever followed that. I would immediately stand up for the genre and put down Rap at a drop of the dime.

As time moved on the portable CD player tried to become fancier. By having digital displays and promising to not skip when being used actively. Then someone figured out how to rip a tune off a CD and make it into an Mp3.

The next thing you know music and other media were going digital. Downloading or sharing music became the next big thing.

Corporations tried to fight this new wave of technology from stealing their profits, but in the end just turned it into a service. The program iTunes sold music for just .99 cents a pop. 
Then came the iPod.
Around this time (2001) I wasn't really into gadgets and gizmos. Instead I was starting what would be my 7 year college path.

It wasn't until I was living in Berkeley and had my first credit card that I decided to get an iPod. 
It could hold video, pictures and music but boy did the battery die fast. However, I found myself engulfed in the experience of having so much music on one (well designed) thing. 

The iPod advanced to different shapes, sizes and functions. Just before I came to Korea I got the iPod touch and that is where I am now. 

I believe it is this sensational beginning of putting music into a small hand-held player that started the whole digital gizmo craze.

Here we are today where people can get a phone that checks the weather, calculates their calorie intake and you can even blow into and play a digital whistle with. 

Yet I have to say do we really need these gizmos? Especially since a new one just keeps coming and coming. I can see the use for them on the helpful-for-life-survival type of way.But why do some people want to have it all? Yet that is the whole point I guess. 

As for me I guess I am waiting for the oddly impossible time when we stop using cars and go back to horses. Wooden cell phones, anyone?


  1. And before the Walkman, there was this.

    My captcha, appropriately enough, is bling!

  2. I guess you don't watch "Survivor," as the wooden Blackberry has been around for several years now.

  3. no mention of marilyn manson?

    didn't we just have a conversation about ipods & how excited u r re: getting ur new one!

    i think ur caught up in all this as much as anyone!

  4. Hi! Yea I am a little caught up but I am not worried over the Galaxy or the iPhone. I know I wanted the new iPod and have been waiting 3 years for it...so you know.


  5. Oh! I need to find that wooden blackberry. Actually I wonder if people make wooden cases for our electronic devices...maybe not as safe as plastic but much more fun.


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