每日跟讀#588: The Lure of Technologies Past
For a glimpse of what teenagers are into these days, all you have to do is visit Abbot Kinney Boulevard in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles. On weekend nights, the half-mile shopping drag is packed with style-conscious kids who traipse past coffee shops, ice cream parlors and boutiques, often while taking selfies.
Yet one of the most popular destinations for these teenagers is a white, single-story building with big pink letters on the roof that spell "Vnyl." The store sells vinyl records, and the kids who gather there are often in awe.
"I'd say half of the teens who hang out in my store have never seen a record player before," said Nick Alt, the founder of Vnyl. "They will walk up to the turntable, and they have no concept where to put the needle." But once they figure out that the needle goes into the outermost groove, those smartphone-toting teenagers are hooked.
As a reporter who has been covering technology for The New York Times for more than a decade,what I've come to realize is that while the new thing gets people excited, the old thing often doesn't go away. And if it does, it takes a very long time to meet its demise.
Just look at film cameras. You would think they have been vanquished from the planet, but millions of people still use them. In 2012, more than 35 million rolls of camera film were sold, compared with 20 million the year before.
And while Polaroid has filed for bankruptcy (twice) in the age of digital cameras, the company is making a resurgence (again). One of Polaroid's largest growing demographics, surprisingly, is teenagers who want a tangible photo but also don't want to wait.
Other types of physical media have also held on.
More than 571 million print books were sold in the United States in 2014. About 55 million newspapers still land on doorsteps every morning. As for those vinyl records, 13 million LPs were sold in 2014, the highest count in 25 years, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.
So why does old tech survive and, in some cases, undergo a revival? For some consumers, it's about familiarity (e.g., newspapers and print books), while for others, it's about nostalgia (e.g., record players and film cameras).
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/296624/web/
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