Thursday, February 5, 2015

Obsolete technology

Technology and I go back a long way.  In my teens in the '50s I even had and used a wind-up gramophone.  The spring had a habit of breaking, unfortunately.  After that I rotated the records with my finger. It was my introduction to music of various sorts but the record I particularly remember was "Florrie Forde's Old Time Medley" -- songs from about a century ago.  I inherited a store of old 78rpm records from my grandfather.

Florrie Forde was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1876. She sang there until she was noticed by an Englishman who took her back to England with him. In England she became a hit in the music halls and made over 700 recordings on Edison records and wax cylinders.

By some miracle there is a video of her online singing exactly the songs I remember: The Lassie from Lancashire; Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?; Down at the Old Bull and Bush etc.  I think they would still have a broad appeal today.  See here

But the technology I want to talk about at the moment is VHS video recordings.  I used VCRs just about from the outset, starting with a very clever (too clever) Phillips system that kept breaking down.  So I soon moved to VHS machines.  They broke down eventually too so I must have owned about half a dozen of them over the years.  I still have two.

And I have a large number of tapes for them -- most of which have something worth keeping on them.  But I have about 6 tapes which would have been my "float", with nothing worth keeping on them.  And since high definition TV came to Australia there is nothing now which I can use my old tapes for.  Should I throw them out?  I am fairly slow to throw things out so I have another idea.

There must be other people like me who have kept some tapes that they particularly liked. So, because I have two VCRs, I could copy other people's tapes onto my "float" tapes and thus get a use out of them.  So if anybody reading this does have such tapes and would be willing to lend them to me I would be appreciative.  I am particularly after history programs, opera and ballet.

My bedside audio-visual setup, with VCR mounted at eye-level on a rather swish shelf

Its not terribly obvious from the picture above but my sound system includes twin tapedecks for audio cassettes.  How obsolete can you get?

A larger version of the picture is here

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