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13-Year-Old Trades iPod For a Walkman For a Week

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the don't-tell-him-about-records dept.

Music 354

BBC Magazine convinced 13-year-old Scott Campbell to trade in his iPod for a Walkman for a week and see what he thought. Scott thinks the iPod wins when it comes to sound quality, color, weight, and the shuffle feature. The Walkman, however, offers two headphone sockets, making it much easier to listen to music with a friend. My favorite part of the review is, "It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equalizer, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette."

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Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (4, Insightful)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518495)

About giving him an 8 track cartridge tape ?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereo_8 [wikipedia.org]

At least, there is only one side to those. I still remember listening to Pink Floyd "The dark side of the moon" and "Echoes" while cruising in my car. Even today, when I listen to it on more modern media, I still remember where the sound track would cut for a few seconds in the middle of a song in order to allow the player to change tracks. They did a fade-out in the middle of a song in order to make it sound more appropriated... ;-)

8-tracks came before 4 track mini-cassette :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini_Cassette [wikipedia.org]

For those who don't know 8 tracks, the tape is arranged in a endless loop so it was impossible to rewind the tape ;-))) I still have an 8 track recorder in the basement somewhere, I used to record my own tapes ;-)

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (4, Funny)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518539)

Always fun convincing people they needed to rewind an 8 track.

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (1)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519191)

only take you about 3 hours to find a song on the damn things. My dad had one. I finally gave up and copied all his worth listening to music to cassette. It only had fast forward, and there was no way of knowing which track the song should be on.

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28519265)

Nevermind rewinding tapes, how about DVDs [kf6nvr.net] ?

Or Four-Track Tapes... (1)

ausoleil (322752) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518611)

Originally invented in 1956, four-track was ignored due to marketing concerns but was briefly resurrected in the late 1960s as "the next big thing." When I was a little younger than this kid, I received a "Hipster" Four-Track tape player -- same thing as an eight track, but with a cassette-sized tape in a smaller form factor. I got one tape with it -- The Gentrys. I've long since lost that tape deck and the single tape it had, but I suppose it would be worth a wee bit of money were it in working condition.

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518625)

I had a friend with an 8 track player in his Gremlin in High School. In 1994. It was not a chick magnet.

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (2, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519875)

I had a friend with an 8 track player in his Gremlin

Yeah, the guy who mutilated the gremlins in the movie got chicks too.

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (4, Funny)

swb (14022) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518671)

I hated the cut in the middle of songs, although I don't remember any "good" songs being cut, usually it was mid-album lamers that got cut.

The upside to 8 track was the infinite play capability; critical for those 1970s pot smoking sessions when everyone got too mellow to get up and change the music. Of course this was also the downside, waking up at 4 AM to switch off the Nth playthrough of "Led Zeppelin IV".

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519433)

> I hated the cut in the middle of songs, although I don't remember any "good" songs being cut,
> usually it was mid-album lamers that got cut.

It did not happen often with top of the chart hits playing on the radio, usually 2 to 4 minutes long songs. It only occurred with non radio suitable albums with pretty long songs, sometimes songs that took the whole side of an LP record (33 rpm).

Technically, the challenge was to split a 2 side LP in 4 equal parts. Otherwise, if one of these 4 parts was considerably shorter than the other ones, you would have to wait much longer before the player switched tracks after the fade-out or the end of the song and that music would start to play again...

When recording my own tapes, I wouldn't bother about that, I would just record straight trough, which meant that I lost a few seconds of data while the tape was going over that metallic stripe that caused the player to switch tracks ;-)

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (1)

grondu (239962) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519579)

On the 8 track of the Allman Brothers Idewild South, they padded the last "program" so there wasn't so much empty space by repeating the section of "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" from the drum break until the end.

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (1)

default luser (529332) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519869)

I hated the cut in the middle of songs, although I don't remember any "good" songs being cut, usually it was mid-album lamers that got cut.

One glaring example I remember: on Billy Joel's "52nd Street" 8-track, they cut "Zanzibar" in-half because it's too long for one track (5:13). It fades out during Freddie Hubbard's excellent trumpet solo.

I am so thankful that 8-tracks quickly lost to cassette tapes, so I really never had to deal with them. Even though cassette tapes sucked, they were genuinely portable, and at least you didn't have to split tracks not intended for radio.

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (3, Funny)

nolife (233813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518745)

Not only were you listening to "Money" on Track 2 but you could probably also faintly here "Speak to Me" on track 1 at the same time through the bleed through.

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28519189)

you could probably also faintly here "Speak to Me" on track 1 at the same time

That was just 'the lunatic in your head' that you were hearing.

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519775)

This was due to head misalignment, it also occurs with 4 track mini-cassette but it is harder to recognize the interfering song because it is then played backwards ;-)

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520001)

Yes, this caused me in my impressionably teenage years to become very suspicious of faint lyrics in some tracks - until the penny dropped and I understood what was happening. Now Tool-Sober just doesn't sound the same without faintly hearing the B-side in reverse! I must fire up Audacity and create a special mix of it just for me :)

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (1)

NickyGotz22 (1427691) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519305)

How do i mod a comment as "OLD AS F*CK"?

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (2, Funny)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519853)

Be careful, we are the Asgards. We have been around for much longer than you can humanly imagine and we have already experienced all of what you are experiencing now ;-))

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (2)

NickyGotz22 (1427691) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520049)

For the funny Stargate reference ill rescind my previously snarky comment. And i for one welcome our new geriatric overlords with their wondrous 8-track devices

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28519649)

They did a fade-out in the middle of a song in order to make it sound more appropriated... ;-)

I think you may have misappropriated the letter "D".

This message brought to you by the alphabetical accounting society, founded by Anonymous Cowardon.

Re:Hehe he ain't seen nothing yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28520123)

Appropriated? Perhaps you mean appropriate? Even so, a better word would have perhaps been natural or normal.

On the plus side... (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518523)

Sony's audio cassette devices didn't manage to contain any rootkits...

Re:On the plus side... (1, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518553)

And you didn't need iTunes to put music on it.

Re:On the plus side... (3, Informative)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518945)

You don't need iTunes to put music on an iPod, either.

Re:On the plus side... (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519815)

Don't try to confuse oneirophrenos with the facts, can't you see he's made up his mind?

Re:On the plus side... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519857)

No. Suggest putting your own copy of some recording
on your own portable device and some nutter will come
out of the woodwork to claim that you are "breaking
the law".

Back in the day, some of us did it vinyl -> cassette.

Re:On the plus side... (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520111)

Yes, my friend. Back in the day it was the only way - you'd buy albums on vinyl for quality, and throw them down to cassette for the car, whose gyrations made LP playback somewhat difficult. You had to remember to tip-toe around the stereo while dubbing so the needle wouldn't jump on the job. Mind you, imperfections like that on your cassette often gave a giggle as long as they weren't right in the middle of one of your favourite parts.

Re:On the plus side... (4, Informative)

Yosho (135835) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518955)

I'm not quite sure what your point is. You [kde.org] don't [exaile.org] need [mlipod.com] iTunes [foobar2000.org] to [mgtek.com] put [banshee-project.org] music [gtkpod.org] on [gnome.org] your [ephpod.com] iPod [wikipedia.org] , either.

And on the minus side... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28519771)

I've had no problems getting older iPods to work with gtkpod [gtkpod.org] , but 6G and have cryptographic hashes [boingboing.net] that still haven't been reverse-engineered yet.

Re:And on the minus side... (1)

jbuk (1581659) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520317)

On the contrary. I could sync my 6G 80GB classic with Foobar2000 perfectly. I could probably sync my shiny new 6.5G 120GB classic too, but I haven't tried.

Re:On the plus side... (4, Funny)

binkzz (779594) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519897)

Really?

Could you suggest a program I could use instead of iTunes?

Re:On the plus side... (0, Redundant)

tyrione (134248) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520217)

He did. Several of them in fact.

Re:On the plus side... (1)

sofar (317980) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520227)

gtkpod or various other implementations all work great. me and my wife use them with various ipods.

Epic (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28518565)

FAIL!

Gotta love them cassettes.. (5, Funny)

powerslave12r (1389937) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518573)

The sound of, say, Metallica's Garage Inc on tape is way better than on mp3. Cassettes are beautiful. They are durable, unlike CD/DVDs, and I have 25 year old cassettes that still work. They are hardware, tangible mechanical form of music. And there's just something about it that no CD/DVD/MP3s can match. And then there's the cover art sitting on an actual cover. Man I miss those days.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (5, Funny)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518619)

And there's just something about it that no CD/DVD/MP3s can match.

Like the ability to get wrapped around the heads in a crappy/broken player? ;-)

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (2, Informative)

dotgain (630123) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519935)

You're thinking of helical-scan tapes like VHS, even then it would only happen if the tape or head somehow got sticky. These decks have dew sensors to stop them from operating if build up on the spinning head drum is likely.

4 track audio actually wrap around the capstan and pinch-roller, the tape is only 'dragged over' the head, meaning crap on the head can scratch the tape surface, but there's not really any way for it to tangle there. Any sticky crap on the capstan/rollers would cause the tape to adhere to the, and any problem with the take-up reel (like too much dirt in the cassette) would cause slack to build up after the rollers, which would go for quite some time before being detected in shoddier tape decks. A good tape deck will notice the take-up reel not "taking-up", and shut down. Autoreverse decks seemed to be the worst for chewing in my experience. Auto cassette decks were also quite bad, it's hard to clean them with anything other than a cleaning cassette - I always preferred the manual approach of running the tape deck while rubbing the moving parts with clean paper soaked in isopropyl.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (2, Funny)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519943)

Like the ability to get wrapped around the heads in a crappy/broken player? ;-)

Not to advocate cassettes, but at least they didn't get scratched in stupid CD trays that eject and retract at all the wrong times, like when you're halfway through changing the CD and rebooting. Then you try to rescue the CD from being scratched as it's jammed halfway into the closing tray, only to have the tray try to eat your fingers too.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520209)

And the top-loading CDs were no better - with the added benefit of damaging themselves as well as your CDs. Boy am I glad that medium is finally dead (to me at least), I don't even install OSs from CD/DVD (where possible), they're just too unreliable. Reliably unreliable, in fact.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

dfxm (1586027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518649)

If you are into cover art, then you better start collecting vinyl records. Too bad there is not skip protection on turntables!

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

FiveDozenWhales (1360717) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519471)

It's called anti-skate [wikipedia.org]

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520243)

I thought it was called getting inebriated, lying back, and enjoying the music. As long as I wasn't creating local earthquakes, I had no problems. I'm clumsy though, now and then I'd bash my hand into the kit while reaching for something else - Brrrrccchhhh! - but my bad.

Surely you are trolling. (3, Insightful)

jwietelmann (1220240) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518685)

I guess they're durable as long as you don't listen to them much. The mere act of playing a cassette degrades it. And then there's the sound quality issue. Comparing cassettes favorably to mp3 is one thing, but to CD/DVD? Seriously?

Re:Surely you are trolling. (4, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519049)

Worse, the mere act of not using a cassette degrades it. Not even vinyl can say that. It just degrades in an analog way that will leave the tape technically playable for a long time. But it also starts with signficantly worse quality than either CDs or vinyl and goes downhill from there.

I can understand the nostalgic property of vinyl to a certain degree, but longing for cassettes is just pathetic.

Re:Surely you are trolling. (2, Insightful)

powerslave12r (1389937) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519083)

Here we branch out into technically superior and characteristically superior. I liken it to an old car. All those posting here about head being coated (which can be cleaned real easily, the joy of listening after that exercise!) and cassettes needing re-spooling or degrading with use need to look at it this way. All these very things make an album on cassette a thing. Not a song that can be copied in no time and you never getting to feel it.

You can argue that mp3s appeal to the ear only as opposed to cassettes (or even vinyl for that matter) that appeal to the ears, eyes, touch and if you're weird like me, then even taste and smell.

Of course, you have your cover flow, but how can that compare to a piece of paper with art printed on it.

And btw, stop using "Troll" so loosely. Not everything you disagree with is trolling.

Re:Surely you are trolling. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519679)

I liken it to an old car.

An old car, properly maintained and serviced, works like new. A cassette can never say the same as no amount of head cleaning will prevent or undo the degradation that occurs over time whether used or not. Even the highest quality cassettes (the only kind I'd buy) are on a slow curve to uselessness.

You can argue that mp3s appeal to the ear only as opposed to cassettes (or even vinyl for that matter) that appeal to the ears, eyes, touch and if you're weird like me, then even taste and smell.

A cassette is present to those senses, but to say they appeal means you are very much a weirdo. They're clunky, fragile, and a poor design undercut only by even more inferior tape formats. My tactile senses are activated when I take the cassette out, my auditory senses are activated when I hear the spools clank around inside the cheap plastic package, and my visual senses engaged as I look to ensure that the tape itself did not get caught in the playing device. This is anything but appealing.

Of course, you have your cover flow, but how can that compare to a piece of paper with art printed on it.

Oh yeah, and cassettes are crap for visual art. Vinyl is at least a better medium for art than the CD on both the case and the disc itself; cassettes are much worse in both respects.

Re:Surely you are trolling. (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520075)

A cassette lasts longer than a CD-R.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (4, Funny)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518705)

And there's just something about it that no CD/DVD/MP3s can match.

Hmm. In a pinch, audio cassettes can do double-duty as impromptu teething devices for your toddler, and still play music afterwards. Is that it?

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519117)

Heh, apparently, I was really into Janis Joplin as a baby. I ate not one, but two of her 8 tracks.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518707)

Cassette tapes obviously aren't as vulnerable to scratching, but I don't know if "durable" is a word I would use. I spent many a tedious hour winding a tape back onto the spool after having a tape player spew it out everywhere, being careful not to crease it at any point, else it might catch in another player's mechanism and either unwind again or just break. The sound quality also noticeably degraded after the tape was played several times, and reproductions were incredibly lossy. And God help you if you left one in a hot car.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518885)

They were also vulnerable to a bad master tape during manufacturing. The only pre-recorded cassette tape I bought back in the day had a dropout in the music. I took it back and exchanged it for another copy. The replacement had a dropout in the same place. (And yes, it was a different tape, I know they didn't just hand the same tape back to me.)

I ended up getting about a dozen LPs back in the early '80s (two or three of them Wierd Al), then stopped because CD would obviously take over.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

mdf356 (774923) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519401)

I got so used to the dropout in my copy of "... and Justice for All" that when I finally got it on CD years later it sounded weird to me for a long time.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520249)

A CD in a hot car could also have problems, especially if the CD is a recordable disk. If the tape deck eats a tape, it only affects a small part of the tape, if needed you can cut and splice it. On the other hand, if a CD is scratched the result may be anywhere from unnoticeable to a skip to an unplayable disk. It would be quite hard for a tape player to make the whole tape unusable (short of a malfunctioning erase circuit).

And cassettes are durable. Once somebody (not me) stepped on a cassette that I really liked. The shell was obviuosly broken, but I moved the tape to another shell and i can listen to the music even today. Step on a CD and then fix it :)

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28518741)


Eh?
I've got a mangled *origional* audio tape of the Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy that proves you wrong :-)

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28518827)

And did you never lose a tape from having its innards spill out?

get off your own lawn!

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28518875)

Yes, they are very durable, as long as you don't leave them somewhere hot, like, say, in a car

And any audio differences between CDs/DVDs and cassette tapes are due purely to mixing differences, not the recording medium. With higher SNR, an order of magnitude greater dynamic range, virtual total isolation between channels, and flat frequency response across the human frequency range, any audio engineer worth his salt could mix an album to sound identical on CD as it does on cassette (by reproducing the deficiencies of the cassette medium digitally in the CD mix). Of course, no one would intentionally choose to increase the background noise, impart channel crosstalk and bleedthrough between L and R channels, add IMD and THD (distortion), and add wow and flutter to a digitally clean CD mix.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

xwizbt (513040) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518919)

You're right - of course no one would intentionally choose to increase the background noise, impart channel crosstalk and bleedthrough between L and R channels, add IMD and THD (distortion), and add wow and flutter to a digitally clean CD mix. They don't *need* to.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520275)

On the other hand, modern CDs are so compressed that you do not need any NR to record them to a cassette. This is not a deficiency with the CD as a medium, just the mastering.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519007)

...About the only benefit cassette tapes really had/have is the ability to play them in older cars that were too old to have CD players. Plus, durable? Someone hasn't ever lost a tape due to a bad player and made the tape look like a slightly less artistic version of this (http://www.walyou.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/jimi-hendrix-casette-tape-art2.jpg).

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519223)

Heh.. Your post reminds me of all the people nostalgic about Vinyl. They said/say the exact same thing about tapes. It's interesting how some members of each generation seems to fall in love with the FORMAT of the music.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (0)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519519)

The sound of, say, Metallica's Garage Inc on tape is way better than on mp3

Do a tape rip then. Problem solved. There's even programs out there to simulate the sound of tape players.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (1)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519549)

The sound of, say, Metallica's Garage Inc on tape is way better than on mp3. Cassettes are beautiful. They are durable, unlike CD/DVDs, and I have 25 year old cassettes that still work. They are hardware, tangible mechanical form of music. And there's just something about it that no CD/DVD/MP3s can match. And then there's the cover art sitting on an actual cover. Man I miss those days.

Man this is just wrong. Yes, tape has a higher fidelity than your standard 128 kbps mp3. But not for long. You'll lose most of the highs from ambient electromagnetic interference over the years, unless you store it in a lead box or something.

I wouldn't exactly call them durable either. You've never had a tape eaten by a bad deck? Or a little brother that decorated his room with the tape?

And cover art? It's smaller than a CD case!

Have you ever even heard of vinyl? Promo posters, bifold and trifold albums, bios, and similar band recommendations. I've got 80 year old 78's that still work (good enough) and 50 year 33's that still sound new.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28520025)

I am sure what powerslave12r meant to say is that cassettes have good longevity, since you can store them somewhere safe for years and they'll still play, as long as they're not stored somewhere unsafe such as hot cars or near magnets. Digital formats have a big longevity problem. Currently, the only digital formats that lasted for at least 25 years in that the data can still be accessed are CDs (barring the one cared poorly or the ones with manufacturing problems) and punch cards. Unfortunately for the sake of archiving, people are abandoning CDs and weren't into punch cards. In digital, you have constantly make backups because digital formats tend go obsolete fast (in terms of a few decades) and become unreadable one way or another (ADAM, 3m Digital, Imation SuperDisk, DASH, ProDigi, Iomega, Mitsubishi X80, X850, DBX Digital, ADAT, Soundstream JVC, Sony F1, DAT, bunch of old hard disks, and many more). If CDs are fully abandoned, then it's safe to forget about digital being a good archival format.

So yeah, cassettes have good longevity. Just crappy durability.

Re:Gotta love them cassettes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28520059)

I have 25 year old CDs that still work. I just played one over the weekend. CDs for sale are pressed, not burned.

And I though that switch.. (4, Funny)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518581)

..was there to make my C64 games load faster...

Re:And I though that switch.. (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519509)

..was there to make my C64 games load faster...

Whuh? I don't think any Datassette model had specific switch for metal tapes. Not even Load-It. If you wanted expensive storage, there was always the floppy drive. =)

And every C64 user probably knows this: Mysterious switches don't make stuff load faster, you need a tape/disk turbo for that. =)

Re:And I though that switch.. (2, Interesting)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520389)

ActionReplay with the fastload. Man was that good. Especially with the 1541 (3mins to 10 secs).

Low-slung... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28518667)

It comes with a handy belt clip screwed on to the back, yet the weight of the unit is enough to haul down a low-slung pair of combats.

Pull your pants up and wear a belt! You damn kids

Re:Low-slung... (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518815)

Seriously, these things were made for the '80s! Back then, you needed your friends to help you put on your pants because they were so tight! If you ate too much during the day, you would need the paramedics to cut you out of your pants at night! You could clip a brick of lead to your belt loop and your pants would remain firmly in place.

Re:Low-slung... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519051)

*jaw drops*

You had pants?

Re:Low-slung... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28519371)

I sported jams myself.

Re:Low-slung... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28519397)

80s? Americans are still like that today, it's just that the "pants" are 20 sizes bigger.

Re:Low-slung... (1, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519173)

That was my thought, are kids today really that spoiled rotten? I mean when I was a kid we got to choose between cassettes and records then later cassettes and CDs. But, I don't recall any of my friends ever speaking so derisively of the turntables.

Perhaps it's because I'm quite bright, but apart from the metal switch, I never had any of those questions when I first picked up a tape deck.

Re:Low-slung... (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519593)

Perhaps it's because I'm quite bright, but apart from the metal switch, I never had any of those questions when I first picked up a tape deck.

Maybe because tape decks were in common use when you were a kid, and you saw them being operated?

I'm not sure it's fair to call kids "spoiled rotten" because they see the superiority of current technology over what was in use years/decades before they were born. Kids may have a hard time imagining life without iPods and the Internet, but many young adults have a hard time imagining life before TVs and telephones were in every house. Many of us have a hard time imagining life without electricity, automobiles, or indoor plumbing. Insofar as this kid is spoiled, we're all spoiled.

Re:Low-slung... (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520019)

That was my thought, are kids today really that spoiled rotten? I mean when I was a kid we got to choose between cassettes and records then later cassettes and CDs. But, I don't recall any of my friends ever speaking so derisively of the turntables.

Perhaps it's because I'm quite bright, but apart from the metal switch, I never had any of those questions when I first picked up a tape deck.

I think part of the reason you had little trouble was the contemporary "general knowledge" of the time. You learned tapes had double sides, because at the very least you saw an adult flip the tape around and there was usually writing on both sides. You saw it being used, you heard you parents (or whoever) talk about the device, etc. Even if you don't recall someone specifically stating "Now Sam, remember the tape has two sides so when you reach the end you need to flip it" you learned it from somewhere.

The kid is 13 - to put that in perspective he was only 10 in 2006, only 5 in 2001, and 3 in 2009. By the time he was old enough to fiddle with stuff the CD had pretty much long-surpassed the cassetteand I am not surprised that a kid born around that time was unfamiliar with the old cassette player. At this point portable cassette players were relics in your older brother's closet or in the drawer next to your parents' old photo albums. The only time he might have had frequent access to cassette players was the one in his car, and if his parents were well-off then perhaps not even then.

I can't blame the kid for not knowing these things, nor can I blame a young Java programmer scratching his head looking at COBOL code. However I do find it odd that a 13-year-old kid could write such a well worded report. Back in my day my grammar and writing skills were far better than they are today, but I don't recall writing like that at 13.

That was pretty metal (4, Funny)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518727)

As I listen to Dëthklok, I marvel at a radio that would have a Metal/normal equalizer preset.

That would be pretty metal.

Re:That was pretty metal (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520005)

The Sony Walkman which my parents got me in the mid 90s also had the awesome Metal tape switch. Too bad I wasn't into the genre at the time, I'm sure it would've amused my young self to no end. Still, it took me a while to figure out what it was for, since of course I did not RTFM.

Unfortunately it was snatched on one of the school trips, so while it's not cluttering up my drawer somewhere, I do still have the kit earbuds. From what I can remember about it, it was a model related to the WM-FX211 [walkmancentral.com] , though not this exact one. It had auto stop, Mega bass and all the other cool toys. I could even use it as a desktop clock by opening the tape door! Oh, and it was some sort of metallic gray color, which this model was apparently not available in.

Anyway, I'd certainly be willing to volunteer to use a walkman for a week. While the cheap knockoffs (or just older models?) tended to occasionally chew up the tape, I don't remember this ever happening with my Walkman while I was listening to Ace of Base and all the other cheesy 90s crap.

PS. Now that I think about it, I also had some AC/DC tapes for my Walkman, so it wasn't all that bad.

modern walkman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28518933)

I bought a modern sony "walkman" mp3 player over ipods and I am glad I did. It isn't as nice as using itunes to make playlists, but it is drag and drop simple. Plus the unit has an FM tuner which is a plus considering I take off on 5 hour bike rides and need weather updates(tornado alley here) The equalizer is not an apple preset list, so i can actually make it sound right on different little speaker set ups.

Oh yeah, 40 hour battery life playing mp3's. ipods don't do that

Boombox (4, Funny)

ei4anb (625481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28518963)

and for next week's assignment have him carry around a ghettoblaster [wikipedia.org] ;-)

Re:Boombox (1)

BrewDad (1153053) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519279)

I always smile when I see those "no radios" signs on buses and trains with the picture of a ghettoblaster. Good times. I owned the Toshiba in that picture, second row from the bottom.

Was that really written by a 13 year old? (5, Insightful)

RawJoe (712281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519035)

Either he writes well or I was an idiot when I was 13.

Re:Was that really written by a 13 year old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28519325)

He probably paid someone from the internet to write it for him. Apparently that's where all kids get their homeworks these days.

Re:Was that really written by a 13 year old? (1)

Critical Facilities (850111) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519491)

I was thinking the same thing. Take this gem from the article:

Its a function that, on the face of it, the Walkman lacks. But I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down "rewind" and releasing it randomly - effective, if a little laboured.

That is definitely one articulate 13 year old. Apparently the schools in Aberdeenshire [aberdeenshire.gov.uk] . are really good.

Re:Was that really written by a 13 year old? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28519705)

Except for the /inexcusable/ use of the en dash when the sentence calls for an em dash.

Re:Was that really written by a 13 year old? (4, Funny)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520273)

Not to mention the missing apostrophe! What an illiterate little fuck.

Re:Was that really written by a 13 year old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28519553)

Either he writes well or I was an idiot when I was 13.

I was beginning to think I was the only one that noticed that. This seems to me like one of those science fair projects done more by the parents than the kid.

How could you tell? (3, Funny)

jonaskoelker (922170) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519721)

I'd like to introduce to my friend, h|tler:

<h|tler> HOW THE FUCK CAN YOU TELL THAT I'M 13 BY LOOKING AT WHAT I'M WRITEING????????????????

(From http://bash.org/?14207 [bash.org] )

The slashdot filter had me remove a bunch of question marks. Yes, there are even more in the original.

Re:Was that really written by a 13 year old? (4, Insightful)

moose_hp (179683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520081)

My favorite part is:

Furthermore, there were a number of buttons protruding from the top and sides of this device to provide functions such as "rewinding" and "fast-forwarding" (remember those?), which added even more bulk.

Emphasis mine.

That part sounded more like a nostalgic review rather than from someone who see the functionality for the first time.

Different kind of iPod/Walkman switch (-1, Offtopic)

moonbender (547943) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519079)

I switched from an aging iPod mini to a Sony S638F "walkman", more or less the Sony high-end equivalent of an iPod nano 8GB. I'm not happy. I bought it because the sound quality is superior to the Apple players, and I'm willing to believe that it is. However, the interface is just awful. The scroll wheel is an incredibly awesome interface for things like changing the volume and particularly for skipping withing songs/audio lectures/podcasts. But even apart from that, Sony made so many stupid interface mistakes which are inexcusable for a premium product that's not really cheaper than an iPod.

For instance, there is no sleep timer. There is a clock, which can be accessed cumbersomely and which "pops up" every 10 seconds or so, which means if you want the time all you got to do is take out the player... and stare at it for an average of 5 seconds; what a joke. Apart from that, there is no way to make any use of the clock. You can't use it to wake up at a specific time, you can't use it to shutdown at a certain time, not even "in X minutes". Another thing is that iPods pause when you remove the headphones. Even when locked, you can get your iPod to shut down simply by yanking out the headphones. The Sony player doesn't do this, AND it doesn't have a sleep timer, which means if I fall asleep listening to music chances are it's still running when I wake up, with 20% of the battery gone.

And there are so many more annoyances. For instance, the player has a 4-way control on the front (and an additional 2 way control for volume on the side). In the main playback mode, in other words in the mode people are spending 90% of their time in, the up/down action of the 4-way control is basically useless. You can use it to navigate the library, but not in a very useful way, and certainly not in a way that's important enough to waste a central part of the user interface on.

More? Ok. To find out how long the currently playing song is you have to press OPTION, scroll down 5 times to the "Detailed Informa..." entry, open it and then it displays a pop-up with the song length.

Ah, memories! (1)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519207)

I bought a Walkman in Munich in 1981 when I was a tourist and the device was still relatively new. It was so cool! The first versions looked so well made!

Nowadays, the thing's junk compared to my Sansa player, but my memory takes me back to when it was the single coolest single thing I owned.!

not so naive (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519365)

I remember when the walkman and similar cassettes came out. I did not know what the metal/normal switch was for, and I was more than 13. It did not seem that long until the auto reverse feature was common. I wonder how many people in the 90's, who never grew up with albums, really understood that there were two tracks, or sides, on a tape.

Here are the two reasons I liked my first MP3 player better than a tape or cd player. First, even on my primitive player, which I used from a time before the iPod existed until the Minis came out, it was nice to carry hours of music around without having to carry a my 30 tape case, not to mention the player that was huge by comparison. Second, battery life was much better. I would easily go through a set of batteries every day or so on a CD player. The MP3 player was closer to a week.

I would say the sound is a mater of personal taste. A walkman though a good pair of headphones is likely better than an iPod, depending if the tape was original or a rip. I wonder if music is not mastered differently for electronic playback. I wonder if people have not grown increasingly impatient about content delivery, and a tape playback is simply not efficient enough to be enjoyable. Back in the day we might have had to wait 20 minutes for the next Michael Jackson video to roll around in the MTV queue(kid, MTV stands for Music TV,and they once played videos all the time. It was cool.) Now just get on youtube and get whatever videos you want, without having to sit through damn Tears for Fears mashes.(no offense to the few that liked Tears for Fears videos). And believe me, not matter what your parents say, much more time was wasted watching the primeval cable stations than anyone could waste on the Internet, without the real benifits of the internet.

RTFM? (2, Insightful)

PFritz21 (766949) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519403)

I didn't read the article yet, but did the reporter give the kid a manual for operating the Walkman? If so, the kid could have resolved some of those issues by reading it. If not, then I understand his confusion. CD's have been the standard for physical media since the early 90's, and manufacturers probably stop making cassette tapes for new albums when he was 3 or 4. CD's are, after all, one-sided.

Letting kids teach themselves (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519421)

This is one more example of how kids, left to their own devices, can learn by doing.

I wouldn't try this with a gun or even a car, but for things that have a low risk of blowing up or hurting anyone this is a great way for kids to learn. Well, I say kids, a 13 year old is isn't exactly a kid but you get my point.

Minidisc (1)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519483)

I wonder if I'm the only one in the world that still uses Minidiscs. The way Sony handled the minidisc format is unsurprisingly idiotic, but the technology itself is very cool (Faraday effect/magneto-optical). They are also very durable, last a long time on batteries and have removable media which to some people is a feature rather than a bug. I don't use portable players much but when I do I still use my MZ-RH1 Hi-Md. But then again, I never, ever use the horrible SonicStage software that is necessary to access most of the best features of the device. I only use it to record vinyl and play it back, no computer involved. I also used to use it for recording live shows and other audio. The sound quality of the MZ-RH1's internal ADC-DAC is simply amazing...I would record a studio album with this device, and have no problem with sound quality. It's amazing, and depressing, because Sony is so stupid.

Re:Minidisc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28519737)

I agree I loved my Minidisc player.

The newest version held 1GB of music (although their software sucks - can't copy (digitally) off the Minidisc come on) and my Minidisc player lasts approximately 50 hours on a single AA battery.
I forgot to turn it off sometimes on a Friday after the ride home on the bus and Sunday night when preparing for Monday it could still be playing.

Re:Minidisc (1)

Anonymous Struct (660658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520297)

Man, I bought my wife a mini-disc player six years ago because I thought they were pretty cool. You could put a lot of music on a disc, and although it wasn't quite as big as an iPod, you could always just carry another disc or two because they were pretty small. I thought it was a great balance between size and expandability, and the player was pretty small and easy to carry around. The sound quality was great. I thought, 'I know she asked for an mp3 player, but this is even better than an mp3 player.'

It went over very badly. Live and learn, I guess.

But could he... (3, Funny)

ninjagin (631183) | more than 5 years ago | (#28519633)

... figure out a rotary-dial phone?

Re:But could he... (3, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520291)

I don't see why not. There's only one official way to use a rotary dial phone. Dialing by fiddling with the receiver "off hook" switch was a pain, and only for those cases where you had to make a call when somebody put one of those locks on the rotary dial.

It's not at all physically obvious why casette tapes should have "sides". The answer is in the physical property of the media. The speed with which the magnetized tape passes the head determines the strength of a signal. One of the trade offs of the technology is that higher speed and overall tape length. Having two sides to the tape allowed the overall tape length to remain manageable while doubling the capacity of the cartridge.

Likewise with the "metal" button. His guess was actually quite clever, and not too far off the mark. "Metal" here is a ridiculous piece of jargon; all tapes use metals or mixtures of different metal compounds bound to a plastic substrate. "Metal" tapes have a mixture with different recording and playback characteristics than the older iron oxide tapes. How the hell is anybody supposed to infer that from a label on a button?

Judging from the picture, they game him a beat up old tape player. It's no wonder it didn't sound so good. He was quite observant to note that some of the sound problems he heard were a result of weak batteries driving the motors, which might be worse on an old device. The quality of the tapes he used could also be an issue. Old, worn out tapes would sound bad, and new tapes that weren't recorded properly in the first place could have problems too.

Back in the day, a really good "walkman" type tape device with a decent set of portable earphones and a good quality tape could actually sound acceptably good. Maybe not audiophile quality, but then again you'd be taking your life in your hands to walk around with anything "audiophile quality" on conspicuous display. Even today people listen to their MP3 players using earbuds. I would say that a portable tape player with everything in tip-top shape and a pair of decent over the ear earphones would give an iPod with stock earbuds a run for its money in terms of sound.

Technical proficiency (1)

cwike (1481913) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520121)

It seems to me that the only thing proven on this exercise is that iPods are simpler to use than tapes only. I say this on the basis that I am only 2 years older, and if I questioned myself or many of my associates, almost 100% would know, and understand about settings and sides on cassette tapes. So the only other conclusion I can seem to draw is that a gap of 2 years was the time it took for tapes to vanish almost permanently.

...like with Olivia Wilde or Megan Fox (0, Troll)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28520145)

> "It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That
> was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on
> the Walkman for a genre-specific equalizer, but later I discovered that it was in
> fact used to switch between two different types of cassette."

Wait until he finds out his penis isn't really to give his hand something to do.

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