A random post about random accumulation

For some reason, I woke up in the middle of the night wondering about this:

  • How many CD players do you have in your house/do you own?
  • How many FM radios do you have in your house/do you own?

Those are four questions, not two. Let me add definitions:

  • CD player: Device capable of playing a CDAD “Red Book” audio disc. (Thus includes PC CD drives, DVD drives, Blu-ray drives.)
  • FM radio: Device capable of receiving broadcast FM and making it audible in some form.

The second actually hit me first, because I was thinking “it’s odd that we don’t have a radio in our house”–then, when I did a quick mental inventory, came up with what I *think* is the answer(s): Five in the house, seven that we own.

Huh? Well, there’s a crank-powered emergency radio. That’s one. (That is: It has a hand crank for real emergencies, also a little LED flashlight. We don’t listen to cranks on it, unless you count the Tappit Brothers.) But there’s also a boombox in the garage. That’s two. (And it plays CDs as well.) Oh, but I also got a silly little radio as a premium with a magazine subscription–it’s tiny and tinny, but it works. That’s three.

Four and five? The 8GB Sansa Fuze that I use as an MP3 player these days has a great FM tuner–but then, so does the 2GB Sansa Express that I used to use, even though that one was clumsy to use.

Six and seven, probably obvious (and also constitute CD players two and three): Car radios.

Only noteworthy because I think most folks would regard us as having very little in the way of consumer electronics. One TV (technically, zero TVs at the moment), no iAnythings, a little tiny stereo system…oops, wait:

Make that six and eight. The Denon stereo (with a malfunctioning CD door) also includes an FM tuner. I’d forgotten that, since we never used it. And that’s a fourth CD player, even if it’s barely functional.

This is surprisingly difficult. Now, what about CD players. I think I count eight and ten, of which five are DVD-capable. (TEN optical drives in this low-tech household? Good Gaia!)

Besides the four already mentioned, there are DVD burners in each of our budget notebook computers (#5 and #6, also DVD #1 and #2). I had a neat little $15 CD portable that I used before getting a Sansa (#7). Because we love the Denon’s sound and fixing the door would cost $200, we’re using a cheap Sony DVD player as a CD front-end (try finding a non-DVD CD player that has a track display and costs less than $1,000…), so that’s #8 (and DVD #3). Oh, and the freebie DVD player we got during a Safeway post-remodeling grand opening and have been using as our only DVD player for a couple of years (#9, and DVD #4). And the big luxury–the $129 Blu-ray player we just picked up to go with the TV that will shortly replace our 13-year-old TV (which has been Freecycled to another household, not junked).

That’s us–and this really is a low-tech household…no teenagers, no DVR, no second TV in the bedroom, third in the kitchen, fourth in the…whatever.

How about you? Can you even count the number of optical drives you own? The number of FM tuners? (And now Big Media thinks your cell phone should have a mandatory FM tuner, ‘cuz, you know, otherwise there’s no way for you to listen to the radio…)

No big moral here. Just an oddity: Things do accumulate. Remember when household lasers were rare and expensive devices? Maybe not; most readers may not be that old.

Enough procrastination. Back to the OA project.

4 Responses to “A random post about random accumulation”

  1. Seth Finkelstein Says:

    Hmm … I tossed all the CD-only drives years ago, except for one real CD-*player* (which, oddly enough, is the only drive I actually use to play music CD’s). Counting spare DVD drives I’ve accumulated, and old computers in the closet, it’s got to be at least ten also.

    Technology’s great. I wish there was more support for the sort of pro-technology social criticism I wanted to do.

  2. bibliotecaria Says:

    Hmm, let me see, well, for one person I have:
    one radio/CD player that is my alarm clock
    one truly ancient radio/tape player that hasn’t been used in years
    one radio/CD player in the car
    one stereo with radio/DVD/CD player
    one laptop with DVD/CD player
    one work-provided desktop with DVD/CD player
    and oh, I almost forgot, one DVD/CD drive that is currently unusable because I am cannibalizing it to go into another desktop computer

    So that’s: three radios, seven CD players, one tape player.

    I hadn’t actually counted it up that way, but I don’t really think of it as that big an accumulation because I don’t use all of them.

    I do think that I am going to get one of those emergency ones; it’s been on my list for a while.

  3. walt Says:

    I don’t think any of these are particularly *big* accumulations, but it’s notable just how much of this stuff does find its way into our homes. Hmm. And I’d forgotten the tower PC “backup unit” in the garage, which has two CD drives (one of them a DVD drive). I think I’ll stop counting while I’m behind.

  4. ash966 Says:

    I had to look back in the Closet of Forgotten Tech, but I still have an old tape Walkman with a radio that I could theoretically listen to in an emergency. I technically have AM/FM on my receiver, but in practice reception is so poor* (at least for stations I have any interest in) that all my “radio” listening is on my computer, my Apple TV or my iPod (not that I listen to Shoutcast on it at home, but I could).

    For CD drives, I have my Macpro, my old G4, the external CD burner that went with the G4, an old CD Walkman, and the Samsung Blu-Ray.

    I wonder how many people have stand-alone CD players these days. I only had one for a year or so. Are there CDphilic audiophiles who consider DVD players and Blu-rays inferior for audio playback? Or do they buy SACD players instead?

    *19 concrete-walled units + high bluff above a river=death to over-the-air signals, apparently.


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