Somethings Old, Something New: Brand Names, Song of the South, Vinyl LPs… and a Table-sized Tablet

userpic=recordAs I’ve gotten older, I’ve notice that things from my past are fascinating me more and more. Here are a few lunch-time stories about things from my past… plus one intriguing new thing just announced…

  • Brand Names. Over the weekend, the LA Times had an interesting story on businessfolk who are purchasing unused or abandoned brand names and bringing them back. They do this to play on the nostalgia we have for these itmes, or the recollection we have for their quality. This is especially true when the new products have no connection to the original company at all, and are in fact marketed to a more “value” audience. Even established brands do this — especially in the appliance arena where often storied brands that used to be quality have been retargeted to the lower tiers.
  • Song of the South. Inspiration for the Splash Mountain ride at Disneyland, and the source of a classic song (“Zip-a-dee-do-dah”), most folks have never seen “Song of the South”. This article from Slate looks at the movie through the eyes of a recent book, talking about how Disney miscalculated when he thought it would be a masterpiece for the ages. Should it be re-released, or is it unsalvagable?
  • Vinyl. An interesting article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on how the youth of today are rediscovering vinyl (LPs). They like having the tangible item, they like the cover art, and they think it sounds better (which I’ve never understood… to me, records and CDs sound the same, and records have the annoying crackles and skips). There’s also a market for old turntables, which are being refurbished. One problem, according to the article: some younger people don’t actually know how to use the players themselves. According to one record store owner,“About 10 percent of them come back with complaints. They’ll say, ‘It plays great, but I can’t hear it.’ They’re so young, they don’t know they need amplifiers and speakers, because they don’t have those for their iPods.” They also probably don’t realize that the equalization and amplification curve for phono output is different than for other devices.

And for the something new:

  • Coffee-Table Tablet Computing. This sounds fascinating, but I’m not sure of its practical use. According to the Las Vegas Sun, Levono is producing a 27″ coffee table tablet PC. It’s a 27-inch screen with the innards of a Windows 8 computer built into it, and it can stand up on a table. You can also lift it off the table, unhook the power cord and lay it flat for games of “Monopoly.” It’s big enough to fit four people around it, and the screen can respond to ten fingers touching it at the same time. The screen is the size of eight iPads stitched together, and it weighs 15 pounds. The Table PC will include plastic “strikers” for “Air Hockey,” and joysticks that attach to the screen with suction cups for other games, including multiplayer shooter “Raiding Company.” Cost: $1,699.