Weekend Reading List (2.25.12): Technology Past and Present

This week we cover fades that didn’t survive the test of time, futurist predictions that did come true, and the mother of the MP3 going back in time to record her voice on some very old technology.

Technology from the past that didn’t survive

Technology predictions that became true

Sure, it’s fun to post old pages of mid-century science magazines and make fun of the predictions that never came true—flying cars! Weather control!

Boing Boing: A futurist prediction that came true

Music Technology: Wax Cylinders and MP3 files

Music recording technology has come a long way since the wax cylinders of Thomas Edison. In a fitting tribute Susan Vega records Tom’s Diner on a wax cylinder at the Edison Historical National Park. It’s fitting because Susan Vega is the mother of the MP3 file format. The song Tom’s Diner by Suzanne Vega was the first song used by Karlheinz Brandenburg to develop the MP3. Brandenburg adopted the song for testing purposes, listening to it again and again each time refining the scheme, making sure it (the MP3 compression) did not adversely affect the subtlety of Vega’s voice. Suzanne Vega Steps Back In Time, Records “Tom’s Diner” On Wax Cylinder at Thomas Edison’s Laboratory


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