When machines die

Paul Riekert laments his dead iPod.



It was a bit sudden. I knew it had to happen sooner or later, but that didn’t make it less annoying. After twelve years of faithful service, my iPod (a 2004 fourth-generation 20GB ) has died.

A bit dramatic?

It was my main music player outside of the studio – in the car, every room in the house, while travelling, and so on. It looks like a wood-burning steam engine by today’s standards: limited storage, no bluetooth or wi-fi, no colour screen, no movies or artwork – just music. In retrospect, that was the charm: it was a music player in its pure form, designed and used for that purpose only.

Is it absurd, the sense of loss we sometimes feel when a machine dies? Perhaps it is just misplaced affinity. They are just machines, after all. But they are designed by humans, with many human characteristics built into them. One such quality we share with machines is an expiry date.