iPod Nostalgia (2003 - 2007) - Or, feeling growing pains at 25.
I feel like I need to get some thoughts out there...
I'm in my mid-20s. And somebody recently posted something on YouTube about how 1990's music is now considered "old music." Two days later, I noticed that kids today are referring to older generation iPod Touches are "old iPods." Not even a mention of the previous models (now dubbed the "Classic"). This, to me, has been one of the points that have made me realize that times are "a' changing." I feel like people around my age are a part of the last generation that can remember a time before the internet really took over the world. In modern history, there's the world before the internet and then the world after it, and they are two very distinct epochs of time. We're the last generation who can read a real map, write in script, and understand how to use a cassette player. And for some of us, remember how to load a manual typewriter. Soon enough, analog clocks will be as dead as Roman numerals. We were lucky enough to learn time-tested life skills before they all became replaced with smartphones and laptops. The first inkling this was coming to an end was during my three year stint at the airport in Boston. Thirteen-year-olds would come up to the counter without having signed their passports. And when I asked them to sign, they could not provide even a facsimile of a signature-- they wrote in block. Messy block print.
I don't want to seem like an old fogey-- I realize time progresses, and the world is changing. But it did get me nostalgic for 2004, 2005. When I was looking up videos on the iPod Mini or older "Classic" models (I hate having to call it the Classic-- it will always be the iPod and then the iPod Touch to me), I realized that most of the videos were about the iPod Touch. And even if you look up "Old iPod," it's just videos about the 1st or 2nd generation iPod Touch. And that kids today don't even call it the iPod Touch very often. Rather, simply, just the iPod. And then, in these videos, they smash the iPods with hammers and wrenches. I didn't realize how much time had passed between the absolute height of the iPod (Classic) and then the rise of the game-changing iOS paradigm. A full 10 years. One decade. It feels like two weeks ago.
This isn't the first time I've had similar feelings. While I was very aware of the decline of the cassette, I didn't realize they stopped selling them new in record stores sometime around college in 2007. It actually shocked me when I didn't see a cassette stand or at least a bargin bin. This is how I feel about the iPod. And then I got really, really sad.
When you look back to 2005, back when there was the iPod, iPod Mini, iPod Shuffle, and soon the iPod Nano, what do you remember? Does it bring back incredible memories for you? I had a plethora of mp3 players around this time, including the iPod+HP 4th Gen (B/W), the iPod Shuffle 1st Gen, and later the iPod Nano 3rd Gen. In high school, I remember distinctly hating iPods based on their price, preferring iRiver, Xclef, and Creative. But I still have very potent memories of this time, some good and some bad:
- Loading up the iPod and fighting with the cable. I was on Windows at the time, and it was a nightmare. When I got my G4 Mac Mini and starting syncing with iTunes in OSX, it was like my whole world got much brighter.
- Making skins for the iPod using those printable stickers.
- Hacking the firmware with iPod Wizard to change the fonts and symbols. And downloading theme packs.
- Testing out iPod Linux and Rockbox, and being disappointed with the former firmware's horrible battery life.
- Hating having to get the damn iPod+HP replaced like five times because it was Apple's worst iPod ever. Total POS.
- Falling in love with my 3rd Gen Nano. I remember my brother bought it for me after he saw I was rocking this embarrassing, broken iRiver from 2003 with a missing faceplate. I had to put the player in "preview mode" (remember that?) until I found the song I wanted and then quickly put it back on normal play mode. I was in college, and I commuted into Boston every week. And because I didn't live in the dorm, my parents gave me like $10 a day to get some lunch between classes. I used to starve myself all day and go down to the record store to get new music to put on the iPod. Really strong memories of this.
But even with the bad memories, I'm still considering buying a cheap iPod Mini to... keep the faith, as Billy Joel once put it when referring to his 45s. I associate the iPod with Björk's Medulla; The Police's Greatest Hits; rediscovering Duran Duran and Tears for Fears; Alanis Morissette's So-Called Chaos and Under Rug Swept. A really exciting time in consumer technology before everything became about "the cloud," the NSA, and Facebook and Google's data mining.
So I'm asking you guys. Do you have memories of the iPod Golden Era, or are you glad it's over? And what are some songs you associate with your old (real) iPod?