Soul of a New Machine

Nostalgia is my middle name, and for the past years I’ve been looking for the reason behind this claim: everything used to be much better.

Growing up, we had a colour tv at home. My parents had a betamax video player and an 8mm reel projector. Fast forward time. In the past 2 decades I’ve owned: betamax, 8mm, vhs, vcd, svcd, dvd, bluray, crt, lcd, tft, 2400 bps, 14400 bps, 28800 bps, 57600 bps, 10mbit, apple2, amiga, 8086, 286, 386, 486sx, dx2, pentium pro and list goes on.

I enjoyed my 14k4 modem more than the 10mbit of today. Surely it wouldn’t play any YouTube videos (barely evenĀ ansimations), and would most likely take 25 minutes to load a Facebook page, but how about this — constraint made me browse no more than 3 sites at the same time, I would seriously consider before downloading anything, and words had meaning: I would read, rather than skim around, see the images and skip to the middle of the video just because there’s no time, I must do more more more!

I still consider my Sankyo 8mm projector as the best piece of equipment I ever owned. Films rare had any audio, and that would also be mono. Considering the loud noise of the rotating gears, you couldn’t hear anything even if you wanted to!

So why all of this? The never-ending flame war between audiophiles. Are audio tapes really better than cds? Here’s my take.

When I asked around, the term “soul” came up often. Wikipedia’s definition is so broad that I wonder it’s definable. My opinion on this subject is that inanimate objects seem to have soul when they degrade in time, as their owners.

Oxygen wrinkles my skin; my 8mm reels desaturate for the very same reason. Audio cassettes, floppy disks, vinyl records, kodak film, they all grow old, they all evolve, change, die. Maybe that’s the `soul’ ingredient — these things aren’t forever.

Optical medias, MP3s, digital video, these are immortal. They are plastic, not real, they are like the soda bottles that you throw away and hope they will decay in the new 10,000 years (give or take). Take a moment to sit back and contemplate on the subject for a while. I will stop right here and give you some space, I’m not here for long either :)

Photo by streetpreacher

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