What does it mean to have your data in digital form?
Over the weekend, my first audio CD player (born 1985) went to the recyclers/electronic waste disposal people. I used it from 1985 to about 1999, and attempted to give it a second life at the family cabin. The persistent failure of the mechanism that opens and closes the disk tray killed it (despite one successful repair attempt). So it went bye-bye.
Why is this event worthy of note here on this site? My audio CDs are good only if there’s a device that will play them. The end-of-life of an early CD Audio player stands as a signpost: It’s a marker of the time that’s transpired since the format was invented, the popularity of that format, and a warning of the risks we take when we store our stuff on Audio CD disk media.
I took a break from tax prep to research and purchase a solid-state digital recorder (and a microphone and some cables). I had narrowed my choice down, but at the last minute, I veered in another direction and bought a digital recorder with a 20 GB hard disk.
Throughout that long afternoon of research, I felt as though I was EveryShopper, caught in the tug of war between the eminently reasonable “Just tell me what I need to get!” and the ever-hateful “Well, it depends on what you want to do.” (ever-hateful, but correct, dangit!) As I weighed this feature and that aspect, I thought, “Ah! I’ll write an article about making this decision and put it on the website.”
But once I began scribbling the permutations of feature A versus feature R that were a part of my decision-making, I realized that I would first need to write about portable recorders in general. No. Wait a second. While we’re getting into first-things-first, I think I’d best define “analog” and “digital” and get that out of the way. (Plus, I’m thinking I’ll probably need to create a glossary for this site.) I’ve spent the last couple of years researching audio matters. I find myself wishing it were simpler than it is. I hope that this attempt at explanation succeeds at making it a bit more straightforward. So here’s Purchase Decision, part 1: Analog and Digital.