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1. 8-track tapes on the internet? Are you kidding?




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This article is from the 8-track Tapes FAQ, by Malcolm Riviera malco@interpath.com with numerous contributions by others.

1. 8-track tapes on the internet? Are you kidding?

Up until the creation of this group on April 28, 1995, the only
resources for those curious about the continuous-loop cartridge format
called 8-track tape were stuck with a list of Beatles 8-tracks and a
few home page mentions of music collections. There was nothing that
we could use. No definitive representation of American pop culture in
the past 20 years would be complete without at least some mention of
the ever-present 8-track tape. It's like people are ashamed to admit
they ever bought one.

Well, as someone I know likes to say, it's not a CONTRADICTION, it's a
PARADOX. What possible place could clunky old mechanical has-been
8-tracks have on the fast-paced, up-to-the-minute high tech
Information Superhighway? I'm glad you asked. Well, I guess the
first point worth making is that the Internet is really not all that
much more modern than the 8-track. If you know your cyber history,
you'll recall that the Internet emerged out of Arpanet, which was born
in 1969, when 8-tracks themselves were still very young. Doubtless
many a Defense Department computer scientist enjoyed those twin
pillars of technological progress - email and endless-loop
cartridges. While the sudden popularity of the 'net could scarcely be
missed by anyone, perhaps you were not so aware that the 1990's also
ushered in an 8-track renaissance. 8-tracks were rarely considered or
discussed in the late 1980's except as a cruel joke, but the turn of
the decade brought an accelerating interest in 'tracking which
continues to this day. There is a fanzine, a feature-length movie,
lots of attention from the mainstream media and even several brand-new
independent releases available on 8-track. Countless numbers of
8-track fans worldwide have "come out of the closet" and let their
8-track interests be known. Many more have been introduced for the
first time to the wonders of the endless loop. The Internet provides
the means for these people to get together, as it does for so many
other groups. But what about the rest of you, the ones who are
reading this in amused or horrified silence? Well, 8-tracks have
something to say to every computer user and most particularly to
everyone who uses the Internet. Have you ever wanted to throw your
computer out the window or against a wall? Have you ever been
confounded by the sheer number and variety of things that can go wrong
with your machine? Ever spent hours trying to tell if the problem was
in the hardware or the software? Then you have something in common
with the 8-track hobbyist. Imagine a product for which the only
manuals available are old and increasingly hard to get. Imagine if
every possible technical support number stopped answering the phone
years ago. What, you say you don't have to imagine, that I have just
described the plight of the computer user as well as the 8-tracker?
My point exactly. Some 8-trackers are making a statement with which
computer users cannot help but sympathize. What more eloquent protest
against the forces which make consumer goods obsolete before they even
go to market than buying your technology in thrift stores?

If you get nothing else out of a.c.8-t-t but the realization that there
is more than one way of looking at the world, then you have gotten the
point.

 

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