Author Topic: Gotta Have It - a historical perspective  (Read 5400 times)

Offline Sheriff Roland

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Gotta Have It - a historical perspective
« on: April 15, 2013, 05:23:47 pm »
With apologies to Gil for 'borrowing' his thread title ... I've been ruminating about the changes in our 'needs' as the past century (more or less) has evolved.

Think of it ... music, images, communication, home appliances, relationships, work, play, entertainment ...

Tools to make our lives better in the past 100 years (or so). Things that have made all of us major consumers and the paths that were taken to where we are now.

I think I'm going to enjoy putting these thoughts into words.

Stay tuned...
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Gotta Have It - a historical perspective
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2013, 05:34:59 pm »
We use to write letters (and to some extent we still do, but)

We've had to send telegraphs (it was faster).

We've had to have a telephone, even if they were party lines.

Then there were the private phones,

and the bedroom or kitchen extention,

then the wireless phone,

the cell phone (that only weighed 8 pounds)

that was gradually miniaturised (gotta have the latest, don't we)

not to mention the free long distance packages.

But at the same time we learned to send e-mails - really inexpensive and more ecological(?)

And of course, lest we forget the more recent Skype.

What's next? 3D Skype? like they have in Star Wars.

I'm sure we'll have to have that too.

to be continued tomorrow...
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Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Gotta Have It - a historical perspective
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2013, 01:21:11 pm »
Music recording was invented only about 125 years ago.

People who could afford it had a piano and until the mid 1950's more sheet music were being sold than actual recordings.

Before the advent of the radio, song sheets were 'pushed' by employees of stores who sang the new songs in order to have people buy the music sheets. And, of course there were the reviews - or as we call them today, musicals or vaudeville acts.

But recordings on cylinders were being sold (around 1900 - mostly just marching band music, novelty and spoken words recordings). And you had to have the players (Victrola?) for them.

Eventually the vinyl disc was introduced, playing at a 78rpm speed. They didn't allow for anything more than about 4 minutes of recording on each side of the platters.

There were even player pianos, but that was a whole different industry, and not very common.

Then the 33rpm records came to be - or as we know them today as albums allowing for around 20 minutes per side.

At about the same time, for the very wealthy, the personal recorder was available (see The King's Speech) but they were not exactly a commonly owned item - not was it's successor, the reel to reel (my dad owned one of those. not great quality but it did record sound - mostly just people talking).

In the meantime, the boomer generation arrived and required a new format - the 45rpm.

And Stereo - and even Quadraphonic sound.

As we matured, the 'album' took on a more prominent gotta-have-it item, so the 8 track and audio cassettes were also must have items - for the on-the-go car driving/music listening crowd.

Quality of sound was important, so woofers and twitters (and all those other speakers in between) and high definition amplifiers were sold to go with the latest high quality turntable or audio cassette players (remember 'Is it live - or is it Memorex?'). In those days, the biggest speakers (mine were 1 metre high) meant higher quality.

Then came the boom box,

the Walkman ...

the CD, supposedly for quality ...

the mp3 for miniaturization,

the I-pod and all the subsequent personal music devices.

Anyone out there still own an 8 track or 2 (I do).

Or audio cassettes (you try and buy a cassette player lately? - I have - it wasn't easy - and the sound from that boom box is/was awful).

Pop music over time? - that's for another post ...
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Gotta Have It - a historical perspective
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2013, 01:33:10 pm »
Anyone out there still own an 8 track or 2 (I do).

My family always seems to be about one step behind technology. About the time I was finishing high school/starting college, my parents bought me what was then considered to be a compact stereo system. In those days they were making them and selling them with either cassette player-recorders or 8-track player-recorders built into the system. I chose the 8-track.  ::)  I recorded quite a few record albums, usually light classical music, onto 8-track tapes (in those days you could buy blank 8-track tapes), usually recording right over the track change.

My dad still has that stereo system, and some of my 8-track tapes, but it's been years since the player was last used. I would be surprised if it still works.
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Offline brianr

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Re: Gotta Have It - a historical perspective
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2013, 03:05:25 pm »
I grew up with 78's and remember when 45's came along. LPs were great. I only sold my collection when I moved to NZ in 2010. I did bring my reel to reel player over with me (checked it worked) and the tapes I made from radio in the 60's. I have a few cassettes but the only player I now own is my clock/radio/cassette player by my bed, not sure if the cassettes still work. I have a small CD player which I moved into my bedroom about 3 months ago but have not got round to plugging it in. Last July I bought a DVD recorder (along with the digital TV, our area goes to digital only at the end of this month) which plays cds and is in my lounge room. I find it annoying, as I have to turn the TV on in order to play CDs, then when the CD finishes the TV starts up. I have looked at buying a new CD player for the lounge room but would like a multi disc player (as I tend to put a disc in, then wander off and forget about it. ) However they do not seem to be available in the main shops, will have to go to a specialist.
Not sure what an 8 track is, have no interest in owning an ipod or mp3 player. I have never used the CD player in my car (bought 3 years ago). There was one in my previous car but never used it either. Ocaasionally on a long trip when the radio gets out of range I think I should learn something about working it. The last thing I would ever do is walk around with ear plugs. I like to be aware of what is going on around me. Guess I am showing my age.

Offline Sheriff Roland

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Re: Gotta Have It - a historical perspective
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2013, 07:31:15 am »
When we were kids we played with our siblings and our cousins and neighbourhood friends (though in my case it was mostly the first two, cause there were lots of 'em).

We played make believe, which included cowboys & Indians, a reflection of what we watched (& enjoyed watching) at the movies and on television. Generations preceding ours did not have television but movie houses have been around for more than 100 years and those have reflected American culture and values ...

Somewhere in my lifetime the injustice perpetrated towards Indians was recognised and parents stop letting their kids play with guns (though water pistols continued to be acceptable for quite a long time).

Somewhere in my lifetime people grew up admitting that not all things American were worth importing in their way of life. We did not have to be like them. We started defining ourselves as not-Americans.

Thus we did not continue to be involved in American war ventures post Korea. And the games the new generations played did not involve guns and the belittling of others to make us feel superior lessened.

But the 'new' game of pong lived on right there next to the board games and the card games.

Then other electronic games, 'safe'  space invader type games gradually replaced the even more benign pinball games.

These became more and more elaborate ... and more & more violent. Shoot 'em up was back "In".

Ever try and find a computer game these days that doesn't involve elaborately gun shooting scenarios? Not an easy task.

It really is surprising in this internationalizing social media world that there hasn't been more 'Wakos' or 'Columbines' exported to the rest of the western world.

And do kids still play with other kids? Or are they on their own, without even siblings to play make believe with? Are today's (and tomorrow's kids) really better off than we were?
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