Portable Music & Bluetooth Earbuds

I belong to the generation that experienced the first generation of Walkmans back in the 1970s. They were big, clunky, could only take the 30 min. cassettes and no auto-reverse. Good grief! But they were a joy to have, in spite of the unsightly headphones. Nevertheless, it was the coolest thing to grace the earth, stereo sound on wheels! OK, my age is showing and some of you reading this were not even an idea in your mother’s womb yet!

Then came the next generation of the Walkmans that could take the 60 and 90min cassettes with auto-reverse. Oh joy! Mixed tape afficionados, myself included, were in seventh heaven. We no longer had to rely on little transistor radios or carry around the heavy boom boxes. The greatest revolution of the music industry came with the advent of the music CDs, which inevitable unshered in the portable CD players, that could be hooked up to larger music systems, PCs, and external speakers. I remember certain years in India and Manila when that was all we had in the house because it satisfied our needs. Why invest in an entire stackable music system when a CD Walkman sufficed?

The birth of the MP3 players and iPods marked the death of the CD Walkmans and of course the deeper burial of the cassettes. I didn’t bother making the jump to the iPod anymore, but my daughter was born into this era, so it was not an alien concept altogether, since I was the DJ up to a certain point, and of course the researcher for the various podcasts for the interminably long cross-continental flights or road trips. So when Apple announced the discontinuation of the iPods in May of this year, I really felt my age. Has it truly been 21 years already since these little wonders took the portable music world by storm?

Throughout the years, the pesky earphones with their cords never left us – until the bluetooth earphones came about, that is. Good Lord what a time to be alive! No more cords getting tangled up in our bags, backpacks or belts, or even worse, left at home! I resisted transitioning to BT technology for the longest time, especially for portable music on my iPhone, for security purposes, fear of getting hacked. Alas, the frustration of finding compatible earphones with cords for the newer iPhones was stronger than my fear of getting hacked. However, I refuse to pay for the highend pricey Apple earpods. There are some excellent no-name devices out there that do the job just as well, especially when the only time I need them is during the long commute to work or walking around the city. I have yet to jump on the bandwagon for the smartwatches, which I personally think are on overkill, especially for people like yours truly who need reading glasses for everything anyway.

Bluetooth earphones are great, until they decide to connect to someone else’s device by mistake. Yesterday morning I popped the earphones into my ear, but when I played my music, I had a cartoon playing in one earphone and my piano music out of the other. At first I thought it was someone’s phone what was blasting through the train without earphones of their own, but I quickly realised that my goofy BT pods had decided to be unintelligent and connect to two different devices. I had no idea this was even possible! It reminded me of another antiquated concept of the 70ss – the shared telephone lines or party lines as they were called. When you lifeted the phone to make a call, instead of hearing the familiar dial tone, there was alread an ongoing conversation being carried out by the other “owners” of the phone line. Those of you in the Philippines will remember having to butt in and saying “Hello Party Line, I need to make a call, please hang up” – and lucky you if they actually did! Anyway, I was very glad that it was just cartoons I accidentally hacked into!

I must leave you now, as I am off to my Wednesday breakfast rendezvous!

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