dalliard.net

He didn't get where he is today by stealing somebody else's catchphrase.

C30, C60, C74 Go

A few weeks ago I heard an announcement that was something of a surprise, the statement that the MP3 was dead. Whilst I've no doubt that people will still continue to use it for a good while to come, this adds another format to the dead-list, along with cassettes, vinyl*, CD, minidisc, DCC, 8-track and wax cylinder.

Whilst I'll confess I've bought the odd digital download, I still like to have the physical media to add to my collection. My 600+ CD collection continues to grow and I routinely trawl Discogs for other second-hand discs to add to my shelves. I can't see that changing for foreseeable future.

With the death of these formats, there's something else that's been lost along the way - the mixtape.

In my teenage years, the mixtape was one of those things that we all did for our friends and loved ones. Back in the height of the cassette format, I remember many attempts to put together the perfect mix of music on a C60 or C90 (C120s weren't such great quality and used to snap quite easily). The challenge of putting together a mix that used up every second on a side of a C60 was a fun one. Unfortunately in the world of streaming services this just doesn't seem to work in the same way. There's something quite tangible and personal about making your own tape to give to somebody else.

I will confess, however, that I still like to make a slightly-more-modern day equivalent of the mixtape - using minidisc.

Minidisc was a format that was declared dead by Sony back in 2013, although in some areas it's still alive and kicking. Some recording studios continue to use the format and it's still popular in journalism, which is why they still get a good price on sites such as eBay. A standard recordable minidisc contains 74 minutes of music and seems nicely reminiscent of C60/C90 cassettes, albeit with some funky editing facilities. A physical time constraint still remains and time is still required to record the contents.

I bought my minidisc recorder back in 2001 and it's still going strong. My machine, an MZ-R700, is still by modern standards a relatively small device. It nicely fits in the pocket, runs for days on a single AA battery and can record up to five hours on a single disc (although the quality isn't great at that level). I've also got a tiny plug-in microphone, which is ideal if you want to discretely record and make your own bootleg gigs - and blank, new discs can still be bought. Sound dead? No, not really.

As you can see below, it still has its uses - such as recording your vinyl to a format that you can listen to elsewhere….



I have no doubt that the MP3 format will continue to be used for many years to come. Whilst I buy the odd AAC/MP4 track from iTunes, I'm a luddite at heart and still like having some form of physical media to collect - and should iTunes/Amazon/Spotify/whoever go to the wall one day, I'll still have something to show for it. Ultimately, though, I'm convinced that there's no such thing as a dead music format. I'll still rip and burn CDs, I'll still use the MP3 format and I'll still make up my own mix-tape minidiscs. The technology sector is a fickle one and there's already a successor to the current MP4/AAC format on the horizon. Are we going to bin our old iTunes downloads and buy this new format instead in a few years time? I hope not.

Don't believe what the industry tells you. A music format is only dead when you stop using it.

* - Yes, yes, I know vinyl isn't totally dead - but it's definitely "niche".
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History

Today I was doing my backups, as all good I.T. people do. As I waded through the many years of crap I keep on my hard-drives, I noticed that I still have most of the data associated with the previous sites I administered. My first (still available on the web if you know where to look) was about the Acorn Computer demoscene. My second was dedicated to my love of travel and the spotting of ladies who wear black and white.

Yes, that's right - nuns. Who doesn't love a nun?

So, in an effort to fill in the gaps in my internet history I've decided to republish Nunspotting, which now exists on its own subdomain. Please don't take it too seriously, but instead look on it as a period in the history of the internet where things were pretty good. Broadband lines were starting to become commonplace, Web 2.0 wasn't really a thing and people didn't continually take photos of their lunch. Happy times.

I used Nunspotting as a way to record my travels around the world, as well as photograph those wonderful ladies of the cloth. Bear in mind that there's probably all sorts of broken links, inaccuracies and cruft within this site, but back in those days nobody really cared. Enjoy.
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Not Dead Yet

Yes, I am still alive. Yes, it has been a busy few months and yes, I shan't leave it so long next time. Here's a quick summary of what I've been up to…. Read More...
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0 Words

I resolve not to have any resolutions. Read More...
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