At £19.95 for 64MB...
...I'd expect a battery compartment, a USB socket and "tape-head interface thingy" allowing it to be put in a real tape player for both playback and recording!
But alas no; it's just expensive packaging.
Relive music piracy the way it used to be done, back in the days when even Shawn Fanning was a glint in someone's eye*, let alone his original Napster app and the P2P world it spawned. Yes, we're talking cassette tapes and a 21st Century take on this format of yesteryear. USB Mix Tape USB Mix Tape: relive the 80s... the 80s …
Well, 64MB is a bit disappointing in this day and age. Especially given that a certain department store where I live was offering 4GB drives (of roughly the same size and shape, you could swap 'em over) for about the same price around christmastime... to be honest, I know you can get USB and internal cassette tape decks for your PC (from the same place, Firebox) but I'm just waiting for a USB VHS deck to come out so I can finally copy away my wife's massive collection of old videotapes and destroy the stupid things. I'm just glad I convinced her not to buy DVDs - a few short years and they're already superceded by newer formats, and I'm sure by 2010 it'll be hard drive tech all the way. She wanted a DVD-burning digital box but I told her "no" and now we have a 160GB USB job. Shame she wouldn't get the networked one...
Sorry, I'm rambling. I'd better anonymise myself.
Wasn't there an actual tape cassette drive available for PCs a while back? It looked like an in-car tape machine and slotted into a CD/DVD slot.
It's the Plusdeck 2C, and Firebox itself sells them - probably dead handy for people who want to experience hardcore 8-bit computer emulation.
It'd be better if it could play MP3s off the USB stick on a cassette player, using the same sort of magnetic transducer as those thingies you used to be able to get to use your personal CD player on the car cassette deck.
Taking the concept further, it could respond to Rew and FF to skip to the previous/next track.
I might pay £20 for that, given that my car still has a cassette player in it.
I have a Plusdeck 2c and very good it is, I'm part way through ripping my 800+ cassette collection to MP3.
I was very disappointed when I read the article, from the headline I was hoping that PlusDeck were actually releasing the USB external version of their drive that they've been promising for a couple of years.
I bought a 4Gb USB drive for £6 (including shipping from Hong Kong) just before Christmas, which makes this, um... over 200 times more expensive, by my quick mental calculations.
That said, it looks like something I could probably "be inspired by" when left alone with an old TDK C90 and a Dremel. So it's good "inspiration".
Anyway, this is better - a SD card reader for your tape deck, for £30. Spend an extra tenner on a 1Gb SD card (or higher capacity if you look around) and for the price of two of these 64Mb things you have sixteen times the space and an adaptor that actually does something kinda meaningful...
Not all stuff can be found on P2P. The reason a lot of people want this (and a VHS version, as per earlier post) is that it's not just Hollywood stuff - it's home compositions, original material, unique or long-lost material, and personal material such as presentations, dialogue, event recordings, etc. There are many good reasons to save stuff where the only copy in existence is a (cassette/VHS) tape. Admittedly mainstream music isn't one of them.
"£80-£100 is a bit steep to convert old hissy tapes. Surely most titles can be found on usenet or P2P these days?"
One word. Johnpeel. I bet there are loads of old John Peel shows lurking on cassette tape out there, and I would love to hear them.
Doubly so, because in the case of John Peel a lot of the songs really aren't available by other means - bands so obscure they make the Ponderosa Glee Boys and Trixie's Big Red Motorbike look like Girls At Our Best! or The Chefs.
"Me too" about this being terrible value for money. I like the idea of mimicking the sticker art of 'famous cassette brands of the 80s' although they manage to lose this one selling point be not allowing people to choose their favorite. Gahh! Idiots.
No, if we're talking devices on the mp3/USB/cassette axis, it has to be something like this:
It has sensors to detect the direction and speed of the spindles, so it even responds to FF and RW!
For a minute it looked like something you could stuff a USB stick into so you could play your MP3s on the car stereo (I'm too cheap to replace mine with something modern). But its just a case. Surely it would be more cost effective to get an old cassette, cut out a stick sized hole in it and hand it over?
I still have cassettes and a deck (a dual one, no less). I don't listen to them very often but every time I do listen to a tape it gets digitized. (I do the same thing with old video tapes, they get recorded onto DVD as I watch them.)
BTW. Saw a "Disney / Mickey Mouse" stick in the store a couple of days ago. A tiny thing, barely larger than the USB plug, it came with a cartoon head stuck on it and a tiny wristband (obviously meant for 10 and under). It was a gigabyte. Makes one wonder what our elementary school kids are into that needs a gig of storage.....
I know this stupid product is more newsworthy than the actual usb tapedeck the title of the article suggests, but there's one thing they could have done with this device for proper nostalgia. Have two USB plugs on the device and make one half of the storage available to one plug and the other half available to the other plug so that you have to turn it over half way through a song.
Scene: meeting of Senior management at Firebox.com.
attending are Senior manager 1 (SM1) Senior manager 2 (SM2) and senior manager 3 (SM3)
SM1 I got a great deal from the Chinese on 6,000,000 64M USB memory sticks. however none of our customers seem interested in them and we cannot sell them for love nor money.
SM2 this reminds me of when I bought up 6,000,000 Blank cassettes in 1994 because they were going cheap at the time - I think we still have them out the back of the warehouse.
SM3 hmmm whipped cream...... love.... unsellable memory sticks.... Cassettes..... money....
I have an idea!
how about we &^@# and *(@(Y@$( and )@#*^%%^.
SM1 and SM2 (together) thats disgusting!
SM2 but you have given me an even better idea! only without the whipped cream this time.....
and so another brilliant marketing scheme was born.....
This thing looks as though all it is is a cassette-shaped case for a USB stick. How dull. What would be really useful for those of us who are technologically backward is a cassette-shapped MP3 player that one could push into a cassette player (e.g. in a car stereo) and play tunez. If such a gizmo had a detachable USB stick, so much the better.
There, I've said it. Now, if someone tries to patent one this ought to scuttle it. Remember, you head it here first.
i can maybe see the point of laying out for an in car converter assuming it's to be used in a classic car where a recent mp3 enabled stereo could look out of place but;
Why lay out on a usb external cassette drive just for music transfer. There are stacks of cheap cassette players to be snapped up for a couple of quid, a lead from it's audio out socket to the soundcard line in on your PC will do the job nicely. At that point you can work out the saving youve made and give some of that amount to charity- better than just pissing it up the wall for no body's benefit except the harware vendors.
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