Old Acquaintance Not Forgot

Well, it’s now a brand new year, but some things never change. As always, the arrival of a new year serves as a catalyst for people everywhere to change their ways: lose a few pounds, take that French conversation class, wake up earlier, add your favorite resolution here. What should I resolve to do in 2007?

I just read about a new device soon to hit the market called an Espresso that is able to electronically store 2.5 million books and to print and bind any of them in less than seven minutes. According to a feature on the device in the Observer that was appropriately published on New Year’s Eve (just in time for the still exorbitant machine to factor into a few people’s fantasy-land resolutions), the Espresso should be able to reproduce every book ever published within the next five years.

So I guess it’s time for me to throw out my entire library and free up several walls. However, I’m already way behind purging the walls of other things I should have emptied in previous resolution cycles. I still haven’t thrown away my CD collection which the pundits told me last year was worthless. They remain faced off against an even larger wall of, egads, LPs, objects which those same pundits hope you no longer remember. The latest New York Times trend piece about the death of albums began with the following sentence: “WHEN was the last time you listened to an album without interruption and from beginning to end?” In my case it was actually about 14 hours ago.

It’s hard for me to imagine treating the things that mean the most to me so ephemerally as to not be able to focus on them for extended periods of time or, even worse, to shuffle them randomly at will. But that’s merely an aesthetic argument; there’s an important access issue as well. I learned a valuable lesson in technology over the weekend: the entire memory of my PalmPilot got erased—all my addresses, appointments, information lists, drafts of writings, etc. Luckily all the data was backed up on my office computer and now everything seems to be back to normal.

I’ve spent more than a quarter-century amassing books and recordings in my home, which is a much longer input time than the shelf-life of most current technologies. So, the books and recordings stay; in fact, I think I’ll head over to a record store right now. But now I plan to back up my PalmPilot data on a daily basis to more than one computer.

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2 thoughts on “Old Acquaintance Not Forgot

  1. jdescherer

    A record player (what some recent undergrad students whom I’ve met refer to as ‘that needle thing’) should be required equipment for the music student on a budget. While many people I know have been giving away their record collections, I’ve managed to accumulate a diverse listening library of standard repertoire, rock albums, rare world music, etc. for pennies.

    Yes, everytime I move, I curse my LPs under my breath, as boxed up, they now can nearly fill the 8′ bed of my pickup truck, and are certainly not light, but when I need to listen to something for an audition, for inspiration, or just for fun, I know where to find it.

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  2. cbustard

    The reason needle-in-groove recordings will never go away is that defective ones (at least not-too-egregiously defective ones) can still be played.
    Minor physical damage turns CDs into coasters and cassettes into doorstops. Corrupted sound files are unplayable, and may be unrecoverable.
    Be careful, though, about directing younger folks to “record players.” They’ll think you mean one of those Chinese knockoffs of vintage phonographs. The stylus tracking weight on those units is 4 grams, which will chew up a vinyl disc rapidly.
    For component turntables that allow tracking-weight adjustment and receivers configured for turntables (most aren’t anymore), you enter the “high end” audio market and pay accordingly.

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