13-year-old trades iPod for Walkman, reports on mysterious ancient artifact

If you want to get an idea of just how fast technology moves, a brilliant piece from the BBC should help light the way. The setup is simple enough: 13-year-old Scott Campbell is given a Walkman and told by his dad that it was "the iPod of his day" -- and that's when the fun begins. Having never used or even seen the device, the young man proceeds to experience the kind of equilibrium-destroying confusion which we can only imagine the elderly first felt when attempting to set a VCR timer (you do remember what VCRs are, right?). We've collected a few of the choicest bits from the teen's observations, but we highly suggest you read the full article... you won't be sorry. Our favorite picks (direct quotes):

  • When I wore it walking down the street or going into shops, I got strange looks, a mixture of surprise and curiosity, that made me a little embarrassed.

  • It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.

  • I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down "rewind" and releasing it randomly - effective, if a little laboured.

  • When playing, it is clearly evident that the music sounds significantly different than when played on an MP3 player, mainly because of the hissy backtrack and odd warbly noises on the Walkman.

[Via Richard Lai]