Kid swaps iPod for 30 year old Walkman


"It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. ... I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down "rewind" and releasing it randomly - effective, if a little laboured."

Photo: WhineAndDine 

Published by Rob Beschizza

Follow Rob @beschizza on Twitter.

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  1. “I’m relieved that the majority of technological advancement happened before I was born, as I can’t imagine having to use such basic equipment every day.”

    Ha! Kid, wait till your own children say this to you someday. There are a bunch of qualities to the MP3 player that are all set to become antiquated:

    – MP3 compression. A hack to get around poor storage capacities at the price of sound quality.

    – Headphones. Haven’t changed in principle since long before the walkman. The wires get tangled and caught on things. Sound quality with simple earbuds is terrible. Give me a wireless cochlear implant!

    – Capacity – that they have one at all. They have to be loaded up with content and then run in “offline” mode. Just let me play the music I own from the cloud!

    – You can’t load an MP3 on to a player without involving a computer. Even a cassette could be purchased and popped in to a walkman no problem. And DRM?! Are you kidding me??

  2. And radio! I can’t listen to the ball game while I’m out for a walk on my ipod touch, yet I could do this a generation ago with my Walkman.

  3. I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.

  4. Am I the only one who refuses to believe that a child of 13 doesn’t know that a tape has two sides? I mean my younger brother is 13 and wouldn’t come across any of the problems in this “article”. I just spoke to him and at this very moment he is spending the first day of the summer holidays (much like the boy in the article, we are in Scotland) fiddling with wii homebrew channel, twilight hack, bannerbomb and doing some complicated setup thingy to get round some sound problem in ScummVM (when we were 13, Monkey Island was still on floppy discs, eh?). Wouldn’t it be fair to say that this kid would’ve had these problems back in the era of the walkman anyway? Actually come to think of it my three year old niece knows to turn cassettes over (I’m not joking, she really does) and her mother (my sister) isn’t the most technologically minded person in the world. Is the problem here actually that they’ve chosen some spoiled brat to review the thing? (I also don’t remember anybody using the words “cumbersome” and “impromptu” when I was 13 but I’ll let that one go)

  5. Life was so much SIMPLER then…

    Sure you had hiss to deal with, but you also had only to buy some blank cassettes and hang out at the guy-who-has-the–dual-deck’s house to get what your buddies had. 😉


  6. @ANNOYINGMOUSE: I can believe that a 13 year old wouldn’t know that tapes have two sides. My 10 year old has, as far as I know, never played a cassette tape. Without instruction it would probably take him a while to figure out the concept of flipping the tape. We do have a couple movies with double-sided disks, but that’s the only two-sided storage he’s ever used.

  7. @AnnoyingMouse: Actually, I wrote like that when I was 13. It’s pretty easy when you’ve got a thesaurus; his style is just a little too stilted and careful, which is an easy giveaway. It helps too if you read actual novels, which generally have a higher level of reading difficulty than text messages.

    I’m guessing you didn’t read many things by your 13-year-old peers … so how often did you *use* words you learnt in a classroom or from a book in spoken conversation? The difference between most people’s written and oral vocabularies is enormous.

  8. annoyingmouse: not only would it not be obvious to anyone who hadn’t grown up with vinyl records, it would have been superfluous if he’d had a Walkman that autoreversed.

  9. I encountered an old 8-track player when I was twelve, and I don’t know how many weeks it took me to realize it could be set to play other tracks (I’d heard the phrase ‘8-track’ but I’d never seen one).

  10. If this kid’s not being a smartass, he’s an oblivious mouth breather and should just marry his sister or a donkey or something.

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