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Shuffling into the 21st century

Posted Feb. 13, 2009

When I was in middle school my mom bought me a Walkman that played the radio.

It does not sound very exciting, but I took that thing everywhere and I always had the headphones on my ears. There were no earbuds.

The Walkman came with a set of foam-covered ear pieces with a metal band between them.

My beloved Walkman lasted for a few years, but finally gave up after its third or fourth time being dropped into a body of water.

I remembered my Walkman as I walked into the Apple store in January with my gift card from Christmas in hand.

Two Apple Store employees were cheerfully helping customers in front of the display of iPod shuffles.

I was looking at the different iPod options when I saw the one I wanted. It was tiny and green and really cute.

I was so distracted that I had not noticed the Apple employee next to me offering his assistance.

When I came to my senses, I explained that I was considering buying an Apple shuffle with my gift card.

He asked me which color I wanted and he explained the features it provided.

Just a few minutes later, I was the proud owner of a new green iPod shuffle. I had arrived in the 21st century.

When I came home I showed everyone in the house my new technological toy and I went to work, choosing CDs from my CD binder that I wanted to use to add, music to my iPod.

Even though I was born in the mid-1980s, I was always a little behind the times when it came to music.

I grew up in a house that was filled with music.

Whether it was the Beach Boys on Saturday mornings when we were dusting the house or Glenn Miller’s band playing from the stereo system at night, there was always music.

But instead of a cassette player or CD player, we had a record player and a radio, at least for the early years of my childhood.

A cassette player was not present until I was well into elementary school and a CD player did not make a debut in our house until the late 1990s.

An iPod is a big step for me. Just this last week, I figured out how to put a podcast on my shuffle. I absolutely love my shuffle.

It is small and compact and affordable, not to mention more technologically advanced.

Though it lacks a screen to view every single song and podcast it contains, it holds a manageable amount of tracks, so I can find what I can play. It is extremely easy to use.

I love Apple products because they are user friendly and when I have a problem or a question I can go to a physical location and I do not have to call a phone number and listen to a recording.

And everyone I have encountered in the Apple Store is friendly, patient and knowledgeable.

With my new Shuffle, I can listen to my favorite music or an interesting podcast anywhere.

I especially enjoy using my iPod when I walk.

It is so much easier to take with me than a bulky portable CD player that skips whenever it gets bumped or moved.

With my shuffle, I feel as though I am finally catching up with the times.

But every now and then I feel nostalgic and when I look at my shiny green shuffle I remember my black plastic Walkman with the needle that always pointed a couple of stations to the left of what it was really playing.

Susan Acker, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at susan.acker@laverne.edu.