Rapid Obsolescence

My son is taking the Spanish AP exam tomorrow and told me on Sunday he needed a cassette tape recorder for the oral part of the exam -- not one of the mini dictation ones but the kind of cassettes you used to use in your car.

Talk about a ubiquitous technology that has all but disappeared in 10 years!  After a lot of looking, thank God for Amazon same day home delivery, I found one they could deliver in time today  (the item gets good reviews, though the most recent review was in 2002!)

Update: Per the comments, fortunately they are providing the tape.

  • http://myweeklycrime.wordpress.com Elliot

    Now try to find a typewriter.

  • Douglas2

    I hope you ordered cassettes at the same time.

  • aczarnowski

    They're probably also wondering why their BETAMAX formatted videos aren't selling...

  • http://sbvor.blogspot.com/ SBVOR

    Sounds fishy to me!

    Are you sure that junior didn't just locate some old Tupac tape that he wanted to play? They're all over EBay.

    Just kidding! I think...

  • marco73

    IIRC, there was an article just the other day that the last typewriter factory in the world was closing. It was in India, and built typewriters for government use. They still had a couple hundred brand new ones in the box.

  • morganovich

    wait until you see how useless your mp3 library is in 5 years.

  • Sam

    "mp3" (MPEG Layer 3 audio) has been around for about 20 years now (officially ratified in 1993, but essentially final draft was around for several years beforehand). It's likely to be playable for quite a long time more, even if some other audio coding becomes preferred.

  • http://tormenta.com/ FA Jones

    A lot of the talking books services for people with sight disabilities (both gov run and private ones) still use casette tapes. They have this wonderful property of storing state. When you take a tape from the player it remembers where you left off.

    That being said we just got our first digital player from the library of congress service. And it is USB based, I have not created a cable to see how the data is stored on the cartridge. But because it is not CD based my wife can use it as she typically has three or four books going at once and relies on the medium to remember how far she is on each book.

  • dave.s.

    You might have done just as well at Goodwill.

  • Craig

    They wouldn't let him use a digital voice recorder?

  • Smock Puppet

    That being said we just got our first digital player from the library of congress service. And it is USB based, I have not created a cable to see how the data is stored on the cartridge. But because it is not CD based my wife can use it as she typically has three or four books going at once and relies on the medium to remember how far she is on each book.

    This is entirely an artifact of poor player design and not one of necessity.

    MP3 players, like DVD players, and both things in hardware and software, tend to concentrate on gew-gaws and not much on utility and functionality.

    You could argue the same for a BOOK, since the bookmark you leave in it for six years will still be there, long after your NOOK has forgotten your placemark in the equivalent e-book.

    Of course, your nth generation NOOK will hold the entire Library of Congress in your hand, unlike that BOOK. And I say that as a person who *loves* books.

    There's always trade-offs in anything.

    The advantages of cassettes -- both audio and video -- are easily "removed" by proper design of next-gen digital players. The disadvantages, well, those, you're stuck with for eternity. It's one reason why the transition to digital media has been so rapid and near-absolute. Things get better on the total whole. It's how progress works.