13 Year Old Swaps an iPod for a Walkman

What better way to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Sony’s iconic Walkman than to ask a teenager for some feedback on the device?

The BBC couldn’t think of one, and neither can I.

I like to imagine that the experience was similar to an archaeologist rediscovering how a recently excavated artifact was employed thousands of years ago. But I’m well aware that it must have been different for 13-year-old Scott Campbell, who co-edits his own news Web site. For one, teenage impatience must have stood in the place where I fantasize scientific curiosity should have been.

“My dad had told me it was the iPod of its day,” Campbell wrote. “He had told me it was big, but I hadn’t realized he meant that big. It was the size of a small book.”

Sure enough, people on the street noticed the antique clinging from his belt with amusement and friends on his school bus were quick to come up with some witty remark.

Campbell went on to criticize the portable cassette player’s size, appearance, functionality and the “hissy backtrack and odd warbly noises.”

Even when he discovered the cassette had more music on the other side (it took him three days), Campbell was still disappointed it could only hold a small fraction of what an iPod can.

“Did my dad … really ever think this was a credible piece of technology?”

Original BBC article: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8117619.stm

I fired this e-mail off to the little guy:

It took you three days to figure out that an audio cassette has two sides? Kid, you would have never survived in my generation.
Rotary phones, only three TV channels, manual typewriters, vinyl record albums, reel to reel tapes, and no personal computers. The technology you enjoy was accomplished by your Dad’s “Walkman” generation, and helped make the leap to iPods possible. Technology has made people your age dependent and incapable of the hard work it takes to create new inventions. The work has already been done for you. How do you think you were able to get your own webpage? The current crop of 13 years olds didn’t have a thing to do with the progression of computer programming. Before you make condescending statements like “”Did my dad … really ever think this was a credible piece of technology?”, we’ll see what kind of contribution your generation leaves behind.

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