Posted by: guinness222 | October 30, 2008

“An Audio—what? Cassette? What is that?”

   Yes friends, another ugly road sign letting you know you are getting closer to entry in the AARP Hall of Fame,….an Audio Cassette! And as Groucho (Marx) would have said, “I got a million of ’em”.

   Long ago children when technology began marching forward, sometime after the unsavory Marie Antoinette thing, a small rectangular plastic “box” unit or “case” about 4 1/4″ by 2 1/2″ which opened much like a small book revealed a usually opaque removable plastic unit with two equidistant holes offset from  the middle with “sprocket” like gears with a little 3/4″ x 1/2″ clear “window through which you could see “little reels” of a 1/4″ “electromagnetic tape”. the concept was simple enough the “tape” was recorded upon and the entire unit was placed into a “Cassette Tape Recorder/Player” (“By Jove Watson, what a smart little concept,..ha, ha,.. those inventive bloody Yanks!”) The “player Unit” usually had a row of small, finger tip size, rectangular “buttons” which when pushed would cause the sprocket like gears to rotate, hence either going “forward” or “playing” the music/vocal ” recorded on the tape, through these tiny little speakers, albeit with background noise, a “hissing” sound from the tape, and other sundry sounds. Pushing a second button would “re-wind” the tape to an earlier passage. There was an “eject” button which would, obviously release the cassette unit and dis engage the magnetic “heads” reading/playing the audio-tape, a “Fast-Forward” button, and usually a “Record” button as well . As a Safety measure to prevent recording over the existing tape there were two pre-cautions, rendering them almost “idiot proof”. First you had to push both the “record” and “Play” buttons simultaneously to record, AND there were two little “holes” on the cassette unit, that if blocked would also prevent recording over the tape. There,….now aren’t you happy? But here’s the problem;

        Technology moved rapidly forward after that. The “be all and end all” of automobiles had a combination AM/FM Radio/Cassette Player in them. It was all the rage. Sony devised a little unit which clipped on your belt, etc. powered by batteries which also played the units through little headphones (today read: “ear buds”) which because it was a portable way to go exercise with your very own music was aptly named a “Walkman” (Obviously an older  pre-historic unit as  the political correctness of our world today, versus thirty five years ago, would make it a “Sony Walk Person”.)

        The next step forward was the “CD”, which means,…ah,….OK, I’m an old fart! I don’t know what “CD” stands for, so take away my osteoporosis pills for a week. But that was a much better device and medium as it was all digital and sort of “buried” in the plastic so it was hard to damage, and would not really wear out. Hell every computer has them now, (ERROR Will Robinson! That’s correct Fact Checker, my new Dell mini (9″ x 5″ does not,…sorry 😦 ) Well MOST computers have them and once again Sony developed a portable unit, used the same name, WALKMAN, and caused many “waist blisters” on exercisers needlessly.

      But alas we’ve moved to the new age of technology, the “MP3” player (Again old fart showing ignorance, BUT does “MP” mean “Music Player”? and I suppose the 3 is the third experimental version that actually worked) Anyway it’s the “bee’s knee’s”, and the “cat’s ass”, or “all the rage” today, hell I have one, my wife has one,and we love them. I won’t bore you with detailed information on them other to say they are little computers with even littler hard drives we can use over and over and over and change the content etc. DAMN they are great. Aptly know by their inventor/marketer name, regardless of brand size or color as “i-pods”, but I digress, back to the point of this blog.

       What the hell do I do with all my old cassettes?  I really would like to put them all on CD’s as i have some GREAT stuff that is flat not available on CD’s or MP3’s, but pasteing the two or three miles of tape onto a “CD” , I mean wow, that’s a shitload of Scotch tape, and I haven’t really got the right way figured out to tape it yet as #1 and #2 Cassette CD’s have gummed up my bloody CD player to a “fare thee well”. There must be another way! I tried placing the cassette on the little tray where the CD’s go, but it wasn’t a pretty picture, when I closed the little tray the computer ate the cassette, the gnawing, crunching, and viciousness of the computer was unreal, I guess it may have a soul after all, and it was apparently very hungry a well. I called Dell, Hewlett Packard, Gateway, and even Apple (Did you know they all use “foreigners” to answer thier calls? Man, they gotta teach them English, cause I haven’t got a clue what they were saying!) When I did get someone who could understand English, a little bit anyway, I asked if they had an audio cassette player option I could get on a computer if I ordered a new one from them.  THEY STARTED LAUGHING!!! They just ain’t got any manners! Here I am with a problem and they are laughing at me. I know there is a “fix” for my situation, it just requires a little thought.

        Hell the Car Dealer told me last weekend all they make anymore for cars are AM/FM/Satellite/CD/MP3 units. (I liked him, so I told him about the junk yard up in Milton ,Florida where I go and rip out one of the perfectly good Audio Cassette Player/AM/FM radios out of an old ’65 Dodge or ’67 Chevy, and just how easy it is to go home, rip out that fancy new fangled  AM/FM/Satellite/CD/MP3 thingy unit from the new car and with a little bit of “tinkering”, some duct tape, and Superglue, I can get that old Cassette Player unit in there no problem. Had to pull out that new “GPS” thingy in the dash as well, what a waste of money!! You want to know where you are, look out the damn window and read a damn signs! If that doesnt work stop at a MacDonalds and ask,…most of them speak English! (And why aren’t they putting clocks in the dashboard any more? That must be a new wrinkle too. I’m wondering just how good this “progress” stuff really is,…you know?)

     So why do I want to find a way to put my audio cassettes onto CD’s or to a computer hard drive? Easy, I got some stuff not available anywhere else I want to save. An hour long interview with Robert Ludlam, the Bourne Supremecy author who died in ’05, about his whole career and how he came up with his ideas, etc. PRICELESS! An hour and a half long oral history of the Sinking of the Titanic, recorded years and decades ago recording the actual voices and stories of the people who were on the Titanic! Various motivational and meditational tapes I’ve collected and love over the years, and ton’s more. Got any ideas, anyone ever try any of these software deals to record them to your computer from a cassette and then burn to a CD? One last thing, When an audio cassette tape breaks, there is no repairing it, plus it usually winds around everything and you have to trash it.

     I can live with the new technology, but damn it I want to keep some of the old classics you will never get or see on CD,….that I already have.

     “And now back to you in the studio Bob.”

     “Thanks Mr. Guinness, I guess you really are hung up on your old audio cassette things, …well to each his own.”

     “Ah Bob,……eat shit and die!”




  1. SHould be easy to do, once you know how 😉
    Time consuming but not hard.

    My advice would be to ask your tech guy when he comes over to get you set up (you’ll be upgrading and whatever now you have the company, right?).
    He’d be able to say “Go down to Mel’s Cable Shop and get one of these things. Plug it in here, and you’re all set.”

    Should be EZPZ dude – time consuming.

  2. Ha! I am a complete trendwhore when it comes to constantly evolving music, but I hang on to the old as well.

    I buy and have records, I still have all of my old audio cassettes that I listen to regularly, I’m a fan of CD’s and buy new ones regularly and I love my itunes and ipod.

    Itunes never gives you delightful scratchiness of a record.

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