For more than three years now I've been lugging around an old cassette recorder, which was the recorder of the staff writer before me and whoever else before her. I don't know how old the recorder is but it's probably younger than I think, and yet everytime I bring it out during an interview I can't help feeling those "Did you come from the 80s?" thought bubbles flying my way.
I find nothing wrong with this recorder--it has actually done a good job for me, except for those times when I accidentally tape over a bit I have yet to transcribe or goof up with the pause switch so that I leave the interview having recorded nothing at all. Old tech it may be, but apparently I am stoneage enough to still be confounded by such a simple "featureless" contraption.
It's so funny how fast technology updates itself--imagine, that gadget you just bought last year is suddenly an antique this year! I really noticed this when, just some weeks ago, a friend of mine borrowed my point and shoot and brushed her finger over the screen several times. Finally, in exasperation, she asked, "It's not touch screen?"
Updating technology is good--actually, just today I finally replaced that apparition from the 80s; I now have a nifty little recording device I can use in interviews, although I have yet to find out if it's up to par with its old-tech counterpart--but to be so obsessed with the new that "coolness" trumps "usefulness," perhaps one could afford to slow down a bit to figure out what is really essential.
In time, recorders like my old one shall be called "charming" and people will hunt them down in shelves stacked with turntables and TVs with knobs. But until then (that is to say, while it still works and while they still sell batteries for it) anyone caught holding such a charming little object may just as well enjoy looking like she lives under a rock (and really, my techie motto is "as long as it works")--at least no one will expect you to know how to fix office machinery that go berserk.