Thursday evening, as my friend and I drove to the theater to see an opening night 12am screening of “The Simpson’s Movie,” we were forced into an unusual technological corner.
Usually, all the music in my buddy’s car is supplied via his iPod — on which resides an overwhelming list of thousands of songs. But with his iPod somewhat broken (at least, it only supplies sound to the left channel), we opted to dig out his old Sony minidisc player for our traveling music.
As much as his specific model of minidisc player has too-small buttons for my hands, there was something very nice about using it. There is a real connection with older technology that seems lacking with today’s all digital counterparts. Something about holding a disc in your hand, and hearing the mechanical parts whir and click as they load up and eject your music is just satisfying.
But there’s more to it than that. Older technology, like minidisc players, and to an even greater extent compact disc players (which I still use almost exclusively for music that I’m listening to away from my computer), cause you to form stronger connections with the music itself. Not being able to jump around to just your favorite songs by your favorite artists whenever the mood strikes forces you to listen to music you might otherwise skip.
With the iPod, I find myself skipping to a new artist and track after nearly every song, or listening to only pre-made playlists of just my favorites. With my CD player, on the other hand, I more often listen to albums the way the artists intended, start to finish. This sort of connection with the music is encouraged by an older breed of technology and seems to me to be discouraged by newer technologies that put convenience and control over art.
It was enjoyable to discover old music and old technology, still very capable despite having lost its sheen, on the ride up to the theater. And upon reflection, I think that the added connection with both hardware and music that I believe my antiquated CD player gives me, is one of the main reasons why I haven’t owned an MP3 player since I gave away my Rio 600 to a friend back in 2000.
Is there any old technology that you refuse to give up? Why? Am I crazy not to give in and upgrade to an MP3 player? Share your thoughts in the comments below.