A Sony walkman described by a 21st century kid
This account by a brit teenager of how he used a Sony Walkman from back in the days is highly intriguing. The kid tells his story and compare it to the ipod. Some excerpts I enjoyed:
"My dad had told me it was the iPod of its day. (...) Throughout my week using the Walkman, I came to realise that I have very little knowledge of technology from the past. I made a number of naive mistakes, but I also learned a lot about the grandfather of the MP3 Player. (...) It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette (...) Another notable feature that the iPod has and the Walkman doesn't is "shuffle", where the player selects random tracks to play. Its a function that, on the face of it, the Walkman lacks. But I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down "rewind" and releasing it randomly - effective, if a little laboured. (...) This is the function that matters most. To make the music play, you push the large play button. It engages with a satisfying clunk, unlike the finger tip tap for the iPod."
Why do I blog this? this is both fun and inspiring as it is always curious to see how the naive usage of previous devices is described (especially in conjunction with the use of new artifacts). Of course, beyond the fun read, it's interesting because it allows to grasp todays' users perception of certain features and affordances. The need to have a reference ("the iPod of its day") and the understanding of switches and button is shows how mental model are shaped by previous usage of technologies.