menu

Thirteen Year Old Grapples With “Ancient” Walkman

Thirteen Year Old Grapples With “Ancient” Walkman
Design
Sam Biddle
  • 29 june 2009

To observe the thirtieth birthday of the Sony Walkman, BBC News Magazine persuaded a thirteen year old iPod user—reared with the coddling comforts of touchscreens and 10,000 song playlists—to trade his player in for its stark ancestor. The piece is an interesting examination of not simply the obvious changes in industrial design and device function since the late 70s, but the ease with which we’ve taken these changes for granted.

Thirteen Year Old Grapples With "Ancient" Walkman

As the teen revisits (or more properly, visits for the first time) the dinosaur Walkman, his digital naïvety—the horror that the tape player would be without a shuffle function—is matched by a fascinating study of how people encounter and learn interact with their things; the boy devises an improvised “shuffle” function by holding down rewind and releasing it randomly. It’s worth noting that the teen’s first impressions of the Walkman, for all of the ways it is different from an iPod, are responses to its physicality: its largeness, its boxy form, its dull grey color.

Thirteen Year Old Grapples With "Ancient" Walkman

But despite looking like something from The Empire Strikes Back when compared to the svelte, resplendent iPod, the boy is able to find not charm in the design of the Walkman—as he is without nostalgia for the era of the cassette—but outright good function, noting the satisfying click of its physical interface and the humane thoughtfulness of its dual headphone jacks. The essay is mostly the expected combination of generational curiosity and “I can’t believe people used to use this!” bemusement, but there is poignancy in the respect the boy has for this strange box—a device he comes to refer to, with deference, as an “antique.”

[via Engadget, photos via nextartist]

Design
Trending

Get A Better Idea Of How You Are Wasting Your Time

Mobile
Work Today

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: The Desk Is Becoming An Ecosystem Of Satellite Workstations

Our Future of Work vision is an app that frees employees from the tyranny of a static desk

Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX on why employee fulfillment is a journey and not a destination

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Food Today

A Tiny Amount Of This Powder Could Block All The Bitterness In Food

A new substance made from mushrooms can bond with taste receptors on your tongue to overcome unpleasant flavors

Asia Today

Whimsical Dental Clinic Design Aims To Calm Patient Fears

Cheerful colors and a nod to the comforts of home are design elements tactfully aimed to help people relax

PURPLELIST EXPERTS

Nico Sell

Privacy, Trust, Communication

Mobile Today

Messenger Service Only Delivers You Updates Three Times A Day

Formal is a new app designed to help people ignore the constant stream of texts from their phone and focus on what's in front of them

Design Today

Movable Vacation House Constructed Using Concrete Boxes

The 4,000 square foot building is made up of modular frames so it can be relocated if needed due to coastline erosion

Design Today

Redesigned Electric Fan Collapses For Easy Storage

Conbox can be kept in pieces and packed away when not in use

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 25, 2016

Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Jo Godden, Founder of RubyMoon, discusses how brands can limit their environmental impact worldwide

PSFK Labs august 25, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Ai Today

LawyerBot Is Now Helping Homeless People Qualify For Government Housing

This robot helps people get out of parking tickets and provides free legal advice to those in need

Travel Today

This Head Hammock Promises The Best Sleep You’ll Ever Get While Traveling

NodPod holds your neck and back perpendicular, hopefully putting an end to sleepless and uncomfortable journeys

Culture august 26, 2016

London Telephone Box Repurposed As A Tiny Mobile Repair Shop

Tools and supplies to replace broken screens or damage are neatly stowed away in these micro-workrooms

Design august 26, 2016

Conceptual Sportswear Created Out Of Futuristic Condom Material

A Dutch fashion designer is experimenting with new methods and fabrics to make high performance clothing

Fashion august 26, 2016

Fashionable Tassel Will Ensure You Never Lose Your Valuables Again

The device is fashion meets connected tech, that will help you keep track of your belongings at all times

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Syndicated august 26, 2016

Would You Wear Wool Shoes To Save The Environment?

As demand for wool shoes grows, a number of US footwear brands are heading directly to the source: the sheep pastures of New Zealand

Sustainability august 26, 2016

Self-Healing Material Is Fashioned Out Of Squid Teeth

Penn State researchers have devised a new textile that uses organic proteins

No search results found.