I stumbled across an online article today announcing the 10th birthday of the iPod (A gadget so cool no one could resist).  Reading something like this makes me feel old.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that a transistor radio was our only source of portable music, listened to via a single earpiece, no stereo back then, that looked more like an old fashioned hearing aid.  Haven’t we come a long way since then.

For me the Sony Walkman kickstarted the revolution that gave rise to the iPod.  I still remember getting my first one, a cheaper copy rather than the geniune article, enabling me to listen to my cassette collection.  In those days the equivalent of downloading music was to record your vinyl LP (long play) records onto blank tapes using your parents hi-fi. You could buy pre-recorded cassettes of course but I didn’t much care for these.  With a blank cassette you could also make tapes of your favourite songs as they were palayed on the radio, or make mixed tapes, probably the equivalent of a modern day playlist.

Then CD’s replaced vinly records (for most of us anyway) and portable CD players became available.  This represented a big increase in sound quality, more that Dolby Noise Reduction becoming standard in cassette players or tape decks as we used to call them.  But the portable CD never really grabbed my attention so I continued taping my growing CD collection and playing them on my car stereo.  But tapes were not user friendly and certainly not cool.

My memory fails me a little here and I don’t quite recall how or when I broke away from the old fashioned tape.  I do recall getting my first in car CD player in about 2004, with a stacker in the boot/trunk, that could take six cd’s.  I was on my way.  No more cassettes for me although looking at the timing now I was hardly an earlier adopter.

In 2006, still in my pre motorcycle days, on the purchase of a new car I got a cable to connect an iPod into the car’s stereo system thereby eliminating the need to carry CD’s.  For me the great advance of the iPod was just how much music could be stored on the device.  All of sudden it was possible to carry your entire music collection with you all the time.

I’m a little old fashioned though.  Even though my CD collection is now on various hard drives and portable devices, I still keep my old CD’s on display at home and continue to buy new music on CD.  I haven’t quite embraced the download and  still like the tangible qualities of the CD, but I suspect it won’t be too much longer before they go the way of the vinyl record.

These days an iPod Touch plays a big part of my motorcycle riding experiences, with all those hundreds CD’s from my collection available with the push of a few buttons from my left thumb and forefinger (see High End Tech).

So happy 10th birthday iPod.  You took a good idea and made it great.

So where to next? I can’t wait!