Death of a DAP

My long-time companion and faithful friend of several years met an untimely end last night.  Through numerous iPods and higher capacity players, I always had my faithful red 512 mb Creative Labs Zen player.  Last night, after I cleared all the music to add more, it kept saying that it was full though nothing was on it.  I tried on all of our computers: No luck.  So, I have retired it.

Which means I need a new, cheap DAP.  Though I love and have owned and sold on eBay something like 15 iPods, I am hesitant to allow that to become my sole player.  My reasoning?  One day, I will start running again (soon, one hopes).  I intend to do said running (actually, walking is more realistic given my present condition) late at night.  Somehow, I am uncomfortable going out at night with a $300 gadget strapped to my arm.  For a while, my solution was the iPod Shuffle, but–like with everything I own seemingly–I opted to sell it on eBay.  Enter the Creative Stone.  This little guy is the equivalent of the shuffle in that there is no display.  The big difference: the price.  I just paid $29.99 for this at Circuit City (or as Jonah called it when he was a bit wee-er “Clown Town” because he thought I said “Circus City” and he remembered it as…you get it).  I am quite happy with it thus far.

All of this has me musing on music players and how our needs have changed in ten years.  In the mid-90s, I ran obsessively, usually 6 to 10 miles a day.  At that time, I was extremely content to use a trusty Sony Sports Walkman.  It fit perfectly in my hand.  Now, who can imagine exercising with such a gargantuan device?  And, carrying it?  Please, I need to invest more money in a armband or other device to secure it to my body?  Plus, when I ran, I would listen to one or two CDs on an audio tape.  I remember a six month period where all I listened to was one tape w/ Superchunk’s Here’s Where the Strings Come In on one side and Bruce Springsteen’s The Ghost of Tom Joad on the other (Remember sides?  Or, did that concept die w/ the CD).    I would flip it depending on my mood.  Now, we can’t possibly function with any device that holds less than the equivalent of 25 CDs and that is the bottom rung of storage.  I mock this, but looking into my iTunes account I see I have over 15,000 songs.  When will I ever have the time () to listen to them all.

So, I guess the point here, is just that our needs/desires seem to change markedly with technology.  It is not so much “necessity” that drives invention by the urge to improve upon existing limitations.  This point was made quite well w/ an abundance of great examples in Petrosi’s highly entertaining and informative The Evolution of Useful Things

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