As compact discs die off, so does a piece of me


A Yamaha CD-555 with the CD carosel stopped. Photo:  Leo-setä/Flickr
A Yamaha CD-555 with the CD carousel stopped. Photo: Leo-setä/Flickr

I stood in the doorway, still teary-eyed from goodbyes with my parents. There, before me, sat the first lesson of my freshman year in college.

Peter Otto had a blond mohawk and twirled a shiny butterfly knife. He had already adorned his side of the room with posters of his favorite bands: The Meatmen, Dead Kennedys and Siouxsie and the Banshees.

“I guess I’m your roommate,” I said and he pointed to the lower bunk. I was chubby, an Eagle Scout and a mama’s boy. But I had one cool card I could play — a boombox that played compact discs, a relatively new music format.

But with only two CDs — a synth-pop album by Kenny Loggins and the debut record from Bruce Hornsby & the Range — there would be no cool, not then anyway. Otto wound up being the best roommate I ever had during two college tours. Some of his music made it into my CD collection, which accelerated in the fall of 1985, but I doubt he ever took to Loggins.

Nearly 30 years later, I keep reading stories that eulogize the CD, report plummeting album sales and lay out how the music industry is now taking its product directly to customers through social media, streaming services or direct downloads from a group’s website.

Siri Goes Bing And Time Capsules Get Better On Our Newest CultCast



This time on The CultCast: Microsoft disses Siri but becomes her go-to search; Apple TV gets better with new apps; new Airport routers get even better; Anchorman 2 gets classier; we answer your Facebook questions; we pitch our favorite tech and apps on an all new Faves N Raves; and… WHEW! Just press play already.

All that and more on this week’s CultCast! Stream or download new and past episodes on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing now on iTunes, or hit play below and may the shwartz be with you.

Show notes up next.

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