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11 May, 2006

Live for today

Last night, my sister told me that though she was considering buying a mp3 player, she probably won't, as such devices mightn't catch-on, and/or might be superceded by some other technology.  Seriously.

I think she's wrong, of course. How can anyone doubt that mp3 players have 'caught-on' already? I know surgeons can be a little other-worldly, locked away in their theatres, but c'mon!
Secondly, even if some other format does replace .mp3 eventually, I'm confident that it'll be digital rather than something physical like a disc, tape or card. Whatever the software format, it'll need a storage medium and playback interface... such as a repurposed mp3 player.

More fundamentally, I'm puzzled by her 'wait-and-see' attitude. It's a little like delaying buying a VCR in the 1980s because DVDs would replace them in the 1990s. Why not buy now, and enjoy a player while it lasts? It's unlikely to become totally obsolete within its reasonable mechanical lifetime anyway, so this is a non-issue.

Then again, I suppose a mp3 player would be a considerable financial investment for someone on a surgeon's salary. Yeah, right.


I know a bloke with a cupboard full of Betamax videos and I have a minidisk player in the drawer.

Posted by kaz at May 11, 2006 04:02 PM

Point taken about Betamax vs. VHS, but I think the mp3 player market is fairly stable now, and there's little likelihood of the format being outcompeted by something else in the near future.

MiniDisc: yes, but it was okay while it lasted, wasn't it?
One can't delay and delay committing to one format in case something else comes along, then, when it does, delay buying that until it too is superceded that'd mean never hearing any music at all! ;)

The big difference is that the very concept of obsolescence may be obsolete now.
Tapes, LPs and MiniDiscs can be digitised and saved as .wav, with copies being transferred to .mp3 or whatever digital format comes next. Modern players are free of vinyl discs, magnetic tapes, etc., so it's less likely that one would end up with a collection of unplayable albums.

Posted by NRT at May 11, 2006 06:18 PM
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