It wasn’t too many years ago that portable music for me meant carrying around a personal CD player.
That CD player sat neatly in the back pocket of my cycling jerseys and each day I’d cycle off to work with a CD in the player and another CD in another pocket for the ride home. That would give me a choice of about 20 songs each day.
How things change.
Pauline gave me an orange 8GB iPod Nano for Christmas, replacing my aging 4GB iPod Mini. It’s so incredibly small and light that it feels as if it weighs nothing.
Instead of the daily choice of 20 songs that I used to have on the old CD player, I currently have 1 581 songs loaded to the iPod with room for several more albums. I’m also subscribed to a couple of podcasts. With the extra room now available I’m wondering what other podcasts I might add to the list.
The new iPod also has a colour screen and I spent a bit of time last night loading lots of album covers to iTunes. I can now scroll through the album art on the screen to choose my music. I haven’t yet downloaded any videos or photos to the iPod but that’s something else I can do.
I’m sure it’s not just me who gets blown away at how fast technology changes. What new technology boggles your mind?
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The iPhone was finally released in Australia yesterday.
As I made my way through our local shopping centre I noticed the long lines at the Telstra and the Optus shops. The shops had put up those retractable tape barriers that form those mazes that we all love so much at airports. Shoppers were corralled into dedicated iPhone shopping queues. People were determined to get their iPhone and they were prepared to kiss their day goodbye as they waited in line. They needed an iPhone.
Have you ever wondered how it is that things that weren’t even thought of not so long ago have become essential? The iPhone wasn’t even available in Australia a couple of days ago but yesterday it became something that thousands of people couldn’t live without. I only recently had to get a new phone because my old one broke. I got a reasonably basic one but it’s still got more fruit than I’ll ever really need. A mobile phone is a luxury anyway but all I really need is something to make and receive calls as well as sending the occasional text message.
Sure, we progress, and I certainly wouldn’t like to go back to days without electricity, running water and many of the others things we now take for granted, but I wonder if we get things a little out of proportion when it comes to what we consider as the basics of life. Are we confusing what is essential with things that are simply helpful or even luxuries?
Don’t get me wrong, there are certain toys that I’m happy to have. I listen to my iPod Mini everyday. I’ll admit that some people think it’s archaic, seeing as it’s one of the first 4 GB iPod Minis that was available. I think I bought mine only a short while before they stopped making them. I’ve got all kinds of bits and pieces that I don’t really ‘need’ but hopefully I’m keeping them in some kind of perspective. I don’t want to give up all the ‘stuff’ that living in Australia can offer, but on the other hand I don’t want to forget how fortunate I am to have access to so much wealth.
I know that by the simple fact that I’m now sitting and tapping away at this old computer with its staggering 1.2 GHz processor and 512 MB RAM, I have greater technology at my fingertips than the vast majority of the world’s population. In fact, knowing that I can walk a few steps from where I am right now, turn on a tap and pour a glass of drinkable water, puts me at a huge advantage over millions of people on this planet.
If you’re going to rush out and grab an iPhone, I hope you enjoy it and that it does what you need … er … want it to do. New technology is fascinating and I’m sure you’re going to get a lot of pleasure from your new purchase. I simply hope that you realise how incredibly fortunate you are to be able to spend more than what many other people in the world would earn in an entire year on your shiny new gadget.
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