Last week at work I made the leap from my thirty-year-old tape cassette recorder to a digital voice recorder. What took me so long, right? The thing was, my cassette recorder worked just fine. I bought it for my first job as a reporter when I was in college (for the Minnesota Daily – best college newspaper in the nation! Smile.)
I bought it at a Radio Shack store on campus for $40, which was a lot for a poor college student. My trusty Panasonic has captured the voices of so many people – I can’t even begin to count them: wolf researchers, medical researchers, the MN law team that represented the government of India in the Bhopal poison gas lawsuit, tall ship captains, animal behaviorists, state legislators, water scientists, and guys who just wanted to sell fitness equipment.
What prompted my foray into this century’s technology was the need for a digital sound file for a project I’m working on. I suppose I could have figured out how to do that with my cassette recorder, but it seemed like it was time to switch. Besides, cassette tapes are getting hard to find and the digital recorder is so small and easy to carry around.
I admit – it took me several tries to get up enough energy to read the instructions (yes, I actually did that) and to make the switch. The recorder sat on my desk for about a week with several aborted attempts before I got serious about figuring it out. I suppose that’s a function of age. Young people seem to absorb new technology by osmosis. For us oldsters, it takes the right mood and amount of energy. We’ve updated so many things in our lives, we run out of steam and enthusiasm – at least I do.
But I’m excited to imagine how many interesting people this digital recorder will have in its files, and hopefully, I won’t have to upgrade again in this respect during the rest of my career. But the way things are going, I’m sure there will be some other form of technology that will require a similar effort.