Thursday, February 07, 2008

From the no-man's-land of the format wars

About nine and a half years ago, a sixteen-year-old gadget boy in Weymouth made a simple mistake. Given the already near-complete shift of the music industry from the cassette tape to the Philips compact disc, and the superior portability and resilience of the Sony MiniDisc format, this boy decided that it was obvious the world was going to adopt this format. So our protagonist went out and bought a MZ-R35 walkman. Three years later, and although the writing was by now on the wall for the storage format, he added an MD-M3 to his collection.

I now believe I own all five pre-recorded MiniDisc albums ever made (though I don't remember when I bought Hours by Bowie, and can only think that I bought Recurring Dream because at the time I fancied a girl who liked Crowded House), and have swathes of my vinyl and tape collection "backed up" to recordable MDs. But the rest of the world forgot to catch up with me! Where are the Hi-MD drives built in to laptops? Even Sony don't offer that... Come to that, why do we still put up with crappy scratchable CDs? iPods may be a damn sight more convenient than my MD walkman is, but the bandwidth of an amazon package containing MiniDiscs is still far higher than the connection between my laptop and iTunes.

I still intend to find the required cable and port the rest of my LPs to the format though, as MDs are definitely more portable and resilient than is vinyl. And I haven't actually listened to Bauhaus' 1979-1983 in years.

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