Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sounds of the future....

I have long enjoyed tinkering with my audio facilities (as many, not least Anna, will atest) and they have moved though a dizzying series of iterations...

I've had reel-to-reel tape (courtesy or Unit One Productions) when they cost thousands, I had Napster when people thought it was a Horse tip service. I've had Tablet PC's controlling bastardised laptops full of MP3's and I now control iTunes via my iPhone, and listen to friends music collections via Simplify.

One of aforementioned friends put me onto a wonderful looking bit of kit today that has me reaching for the Piggy Bank (nationalised) with the kind of fervor only a devout Futurologist can muster.

Popcorn Hour A-110. It even SOUNDS like a 1950's prediction of the future. It is in fact, getting close to what true Home Entertainment serving was conceived for (you can read a full review by CNET here). Thanks Nick (he runs a very select consultancy between 6pm and 11pm most nights at The Crown, in Shirley, near Croydon) for the tip.

But my ponderings on the heritage of this rather smashing (albeit ugly) bit of tech, led me to this article reproduced from an Associated Press article in, you guessed it, 1950.

Its a fairly ubiquitous piece, at least as far as we imagine articles in the 50's talking about the year 2000 to be, but it has some amazing predictions (listen, I've read LOTS of old SciFi, they feature HoverCars and Time Travel, but never the banning of cigarettes in pubs).
It predicts correctly :

  • The 3G Mobile Telephone

  • Spy-in-the-sky Satellites

  • iMax Cinema

The incorrect ones are as you would expect, much more prevalent. They can be categorised many ways:

  • Ecologically naive - the population of the world will be 300 Million (currently estimated to be 6,700 Million) and the complete purification of the atmosphere

  • Technologically naive - The demise of Radio as an entertainment medium, and of course, Airplane/Car hybrids.

But the best is the one trying to foresee the continuing emasculation of woman-kind, and I quote:
"By the year 2000, She [modern women-kind) will be more than six feet tall, wear a size 11 shoe, have shoulders like a wrestler and muscles like a truck driver."
It all goes to show you, we are just amateurs at predicting what is round the corner, but while there continues to to be better and better ways of serving older and older music around my house, I'm glad we can keep guessing.

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