Cyclical Media Cycles- I-Pods and Digital Evolution

A classmate mentioned that after surveying his undergrad group about what methods they preferred for learning things/technology use, it still came back to pens and paper for taking notes. I want the ability to take notes on digital textbooks and then having my notes keyword cross-referenced across or against any parameter that I want to choose. It seems so obvious and simple, and there may “be an app for that,” but I have yet to come across it.

My more-recent media history from undergrad years starts out with walking around campus with a portable CD player before iPods. Yes, there was life before iPods. I got extremely dirty looks. Considering the volume level that I played my music, it probably makes sense if I created noise pollution. I was not listening to anything profane or otherwise offensive, but people gave me disparaging looks as if I was a rebel at an incredibly conservative university. Since I am one of the most conservative people I know in my values, in my methods of speech, dress, and similar, this was actually quite fun. To me, it was just a joke. Something a little different when otherwise I was invisibly mainstream.

And then, I left school for around 3 years for work and religious reasons, and when I got back, the whole world changed. Carrying a CD player by then was passe as the everyone embraced credit-card sized boxes with little white ear buds. After following the sheep demographic and buying a 2nd generation Shuffle, I noticed how much I did not use it. I had to remind myself to use it. It was more about the status of being seen with those ear buds than about the music. To this day, I have never bought music on I-Tunes. I have ripped a number of my personal CDs for work out purposes, but I do not listen to an iPod when walking outside of a gym now. This city requires concentration to stay alive. Work requires full attention, school does also. The only time I need music otherwise is for driving where I like hearing local radio, cleaning, or in-house physical labor. For parties and activities, I throw on Pandora.

The iPad is one of many cyclical features in sound evolution, whether scratched on phonographs, wax cylinders, records, 8-track tapes, smaller tapes, CDs, iPods, or anything else to come, all have initial distrust before early adoption and wide-spread mass popular intake. Then it comes to noise overload, and my need for stillness and peaceful surroundings when not in the middle of transport. When you want to pay attention and relish every moment, music may help or harm. The media that presents this perspective changes, but the cycles remain.


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