Sunday, August 28, 2005

Thirty thousand tunes

Mama Squirrel is constantly amazed by the effects of technology on our culture.

Someone Mr. Fixit knows showed him her I-Pod this week, complaining that it wasn't working anymore. She wondered if maybe he could take a look at it, since he is good at electronics. Mr. Fixit looked at it briefly and said no, they aren't fixable. But you couldn't maybe take it apart and replace something? No, they're meant to be disposable. But there were thirty thousand songs on it! Sorry, nothing that we can do.

Thirty thousand songs. Mama Squirrel marvelled at that. How would you choose what to listen to? Mr. Fixit said that you'd just set the I-Pod to play them randomly. Mama Squirrel naively asked if that wasn't the same as just turning on the radio, then? Mr. Fixit said no, radio stations don't have that many songs on their play lists.

How long would it take you to listen to thirty thousand songs? If you listened to music ten hours a day and heard maybe twenty songs an hour, that would be two hundred songs a day, right? If you never had any repeats, it would take you 150 days to listen to all of them. Using the word "listen" in kind of a vague, background music sense, unless you were doing nothing else for those ten hours a day but listening to your thirty thousand songs.

We used to be satisfied with a small stack of albums or stash of tapes, bought one at a time in the basement at Woolco or whatever the comparable place was. When Mr. Fixit was much younger, he and his brother occasionally brought albums to their grandparents' house. The grandparents would scoff: "What you need to bring those here for? We have a record." (For some reason the boys weren't wildly excited by Lawrence Welk.) Times have changed...thirty thousand tunes. Actually thirty thousand tunes down the flusher because the I-Pod can't be fixed.

And that's life in 2005.

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