Someone recently said to me that they were making up a cassette of tracks to listen to while on the train. This made me feel all nostalgic as making compilation tapes is something many of us did twenty years ago. I had no idea that people were still out there using cassettes. I guess while many of us are immersed in our own particular technology bubble there’s a whole world out there getting on quite nicely without technology thank you very much.
I feel almost naked without at least a mobile phone. And I can’t remember the last time I went on the train without a laptop. A few albums, podcasts, email etc can quickly see off a two or three hour train journey for me. I can’t even remember when I last used a tape recorder. I’d feel really restricted now if I was stuck with a couple of C90s listening to the same songs in the same order and not being able to skip back and forward, and read the artist and title of every track. Many people now have large music collections stored on large hard drives so they can hear any track in a couple of seconds. I’d quite like to be able to get to that point with movies and TV series which I have on DVD, although that tmay take a bit longer to set up.
Anyway, if the tapes are meeting your mobile music requirements, take no notice of me. This is the bloke who has had more gadgets than hot dinners. But I wouldn’t go back, especially not to a time witout Internet access.
It is difficult to dispute the assertion that access to the internet is one of the most significant developments to empower people who are blind since Braille itself. Many of us love being able to shop and bank online and read news and sports results on the day it’s all published, and browse TV listings, and film reviews, and encyclopaedias, oh the list goes on. But to have a good slice of human knowledge and experience instantly available at one’s fingertips makes many of the connected blind feel all liberated and independent. Sure, there is a lot of pap online too. The trick is to become proficient at filtering out the dross and focus in on whatever it is you’re seeking.
Although, however clever we think we are, it is important to remind our selvs that technology and the skills to use it are only in the hands of a small minority. Hopefully that will not always be the case.