#378: “Kick it Kevin, do something Kevin!”

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RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#378: “Kick it Kevin, do something Kevin!”*

If you’re like me, then you absolutely hate it when a piece of your valued technology goes on the fritz.  It happens frequently enough.  Something stops working, and you try to get it functioning again.  For men at least, our first reaction is usually to give the malfunctioning piece of tech a good whack.  You might give it a swift kick, cross fingers, and sometimes that’s all it takes!  Kick it, and it’s suddenly back to life.  A loose connection, perhaps.  Or maybe there’s something mystical about the art of kicking something to make it work again.  Whatever the case may be, fixing one of our modern tech items by ourselves is becoming increasingly more difficult today.  Certainly, a kick rarely works anymore.  All of us will have to replace at least one tech item in our households this year.  Be it your audio device, stereo component, TV, gaming system, computer, or even just your microwave, everything we buy today has a built-in short-term lifespan.

When I was working at the Record Store, it seemed that at least two of our seven CD players were always broken at all times.  When the main store player broke, we’d swap it out with one of the customer listening station players.  Disc players don’t seem durable anymore.  Yet somehow I still own my mom’s original 5 disc CD changer from 1991 (a Sony about the size of a battleship), and it’s the most reliable player in my home.  It’s probably also the oldest piece of tech in the house.  That old Sony keeps on ticking, no kicking required.  Every once in a while it needs a good cleaning, but then it’s good to go once more.

Here’s another interesting fact about my Sony.  It’ll play anything.  Be it a DualDisc or an old cheap Canadian independent CD from the early 90’s, it can play it.  Neither my PC nor laptop will play those things without an annoying amount of artificial digital noise.  My 24 year old Sony will.

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That one CD player aside, everything else here seems to constantly be on the verge of collapse!  I had to buy a new blu-ray player last spring.  The old one refused to boot up anymore.  The original wasn’t a cheap player: I paid almost $500 for it, in 2010!  I was beyond upset when I had to replace it (with a $120 Samsung from Walmart) but the new player has all sorts of bells and whistles built in that the old one didn’t!  The ability to play Netflix, Youtube, or video files off a flash drive were all new to me when I bought it; the old player couldn’t do those things.  (I almost feel like I should have waited before making the switch to Blu.)

More than just the Blu-ray player, everything else here busts eventually.  Both Jen and I have owned Hipstreet brand mp3 players that broke within mere weeks.  I had to replace my car stereo two years ago (I drive a 2010).  Speaking of car stereos, two weekss ago my left door side speaker started cutting in and out!  The following week, it died altogether.  I gave it several good solid boot kicks, but it did not help and I had to have it fixed to the tune of $200.  A similar problem happened in my old Plymouth Sundance.  The left door speaker blew but the car was on its last legs and it wasn’t worth spending money on.  T-Rev came over one night to help me pry the door panel off; we were hoping it was just a wire that came loose.  We never figured it out, but we did damage the door panel in the process.  I never want to pry off another door panel.

Let’s not even talk about computers!  I’ve had to replace more power supplies, fans, cards, routers, monitors…hell, just last week, one of the ethernet ports on my router died.  No idea why, it’s just one of those things that happens, isn’t it?  The nice thing though, about being forced to replace something like that, is that you are almost certain to be upgrading every time.  Since the technology becomes fancier over the years, if you blow a hard drive you’ll most likely be replacing it with a bigger and faster one.

Faster, sleeker, tricked out…technology keeps getting more exciting, but more disposable.  When I was a kid, it didn’t seem that way.  Each family had a VCR…that was their VCR.  They didn’t go and buy a new and better one every two years.  Each kid had a ghetto blaster.  That was their ghetto blaster…it was expected to last many years.  If it broke, you fixed it or got it fixed.  That’s how it went.  Today, we go buy a new one, and pay a recyling fee to throw out the old.  Seems to me like it’s not the technology that’s broken, it’s this disposable culture we live in.

* The title refers to an on-stage meltdown by the band Extreme last year. Their own technology went sour and they were having sound issues all night. Nuno walked off stage…Pat walked off stage…leaving singer Gary Cherone and drummer Kevin Figueiredo up there trying to play “Get the Funk Out” by themselves. After Cherone begging “Kick it Kevin, do something Kevin!” the drummer too left the stage, leaving everyone in puzzlement.

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28 comments

  1. They don’t make them like they used to that’s for sure but I thought I was the only one who modern technology didn’t like. I am convinced that all mechanical items are secretly programmed to go wrong should they come into my possession.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The hubs and I just talked about when we replaced our computers this morning, when my gaming PC wouldn’t boot up and had to do a system restore. JUST THIS MORNING!! K was like, “Well your PC is two years old…” Not built to last? No kidding.

    I’ve had nothing but bad luck with CD players. My Sony 3-CD carousel that I got for my B-day in 1994 didn’t last for 3 months before I had to return it to Sony for repairs (disc reading errors) – three times! It never worked right. I still use the solid speakers that came with the system, but the CD player hasn’t worked for ever. Let’s not even discuss my experience with walkmans!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man, tape players were the worst! My Sanyo and later on my Panasonic were always in the shops for repairs, like once a year, and it wasn’t cheap. They charged you $40 just to clean the heads and spindles.

      And just THIS morning, my router acted up again, and Jen couldn’t get her laptop connected to the wifi. A laptop that, by the way, JUST came back from Acer yesterday after having its hard drive replaced!!!

      GHAHHH!!

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      1. We are on our third router in 8 years. This one seems solid so far. The last one we were restarting at least once a day. Routers can be bloody expensive, eh?

        The thing with laptops is, unless you’re an expert computer geek, you have to send it in to get anything replaced. At least with desktops, you could go into the guts of it to replace what’s broken yourself if you were comfortable doing that.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Giving Acer full credit, the laptop was back in our hands in six days, including transit time. So we’re happy with that service. But yeah you’re right. Over the years I’ve swapped out power supplies, fans, CD drives, and some cards. But that stuff isn’t so bad, it’s all modular. Where I am completely lost is on the software side of things. I’d love to get a fresh re-installment going on my PC but I frankly do not know how to do it.

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  3. I am surprised that you are still using that Sony cd player after all these years. What a nice mom you have, to just give you her player!!! It was expensive in it’s day too. Bought at Steve’s T.V. They only had the best.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Cool idea for a post!

    Knock on wood, I’ve been very lucky with my electronics, over the years. My biggest one was always computers, but then I bought a Mac and that all went away.

    My stereo for the longest time was a little Kenwood bookshelf unit that was tiny but mighty. I bought it when we lived in Montreal. When it died after ten years of hard service, it was sad. I kept the speakers though, they kick serious ass – if there’s an apocalypse, the survivors will be cockroaches, Coca Cola and those speakers. I replaced that stereo with an old Sony component stereo with amazing PSB speakers, the whole kit I bought off a guy on Kijiji for $150. It’s got dual cassete, 5CD carousel, amp and had a turntable too. My buddy Craig gave me a Rega turntable, so now I’m all set. My old Sony is same as yours – no issues.

    My guitar amps kick ass, I’ve dropped my cell phone a zillion times and it’s still ticking. My iPod Classic is still the bomb, and I’ve never had an external hard drive fail. I’ve still got a 500MB Time Capsule for my Mac from when they were the biggest capacity you could buy! Hell, I’ve even had my Timex Ironman wristwatch since I bought it at Consumers Distributing (remember them?) when I was in university, half a lifetime ago.

    The driver door speaker in our Subaru rattles with heavy bass, but it’s OK. Not really something I need to replace when there are so many other expenses.

    A lot of things are disposable, but I’ve been fairly lucky.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sounds you like you have had some pretty reliable tech in your years! Timex…that’s funny, as soon as you mentioned Timex I remembered back to my first computer. A Timex Sinclair 1000. It came with 2k of memory! You could buy an external memory pack to boost it to 16k, but that slowed the device down. You saved programs by recording them to an audio cassette.

      I used up my 2k memory when attempting to input my GI Joe collection.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timex_Sinclair_1000

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  5. THe Kick it Kevin advice would work with our school overhead projectors – when the red ‘lamp’ light is flashing, somehow unplugging, a firm slap to the side of the projector and replugging works!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man I wonder how much overhead projector technology has changed since I was in school. I imagine you probably have upgraded to a projector that you can USB into a computer by now? No more transparent overhead slides?

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        1. I have very weird memories of movies we had to watch in grade 6, 7, and 8 for religion class…there was one with this hippy in it that helps this kid. Or something. Then there was the one with the calypso music. And our teacher said, “the music is good but I do not approve of their lyrics that they use. They are not good. Don’t listen to the words.” Something to that effect. Maybe she thinks any musician with dreadlocks sings about reefer.

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        2. I have a buddy who is into collecting old laserdiscs, because for some films like Star Wars, some versions were only on laserdisc. He had a 6 disc (12 sided) set for Termintor 2. One of the many features was the script. If you fast-forwarded through the script, there was a firey animation of the Terminator’s face, flip card style. Laserdisc only.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. That sounds sensational!
          At a trivia night last week, I can’t believe I forgot the T2 Actor’s name (Robert Patrick) – I could totally picture his “have you seen this boy?” WW cameo!

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Oh my. Geoff. And he was in Wayne’s World!

          My fave sci-fi for Robert Patrick is actually not T2…nor is it the X-Files…it’s Fire in the Sky, the classic alien abduction story of Travis Walton. Damn I should review that baby. Just it scares me every time!

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        5. Well y’know you gotta remember they took liberties with the script, because Walton didn’t remember anything. So it’s more about his buddies, after he goes missing but before he’s found. They are immediately considered suspects in the disappearance of a human being. Then when he comes back they’re all accused of being crazy or conspirators trying to get 15 minutes of fame. Interesting movie for sure, with just enough chills.

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  6. Yup. Technology. I hate it. I generally wait until I have no other option to get something new and fancy. I haven’t converted to Blu Ray yet … don’t plan to anytime soon, but I have noticed that players are selling for a lot less. I have a record player that’s a bunch of years old and an iPod classic that my brother gave me when he ‘upgraded’. Still working perfectly. Though I’ll cry like a baby when they go die …

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