NAPO - CEPA - Reading Type - Text 2


      Have you seen young people wearing headphones while walking, exercising, riding buses or trains, or relaxing on campuses, in shopping malls, or at parks? They are listening to music on one of the most popular inventions of the past 30 years: the personal audio system, or as it is commonly called, the Walkman.

     Millions of people own these small, portable stereos, but few know how the systems were developed. It all started in the 1970’s when German inventor Andreas Pavel had an idea for a stereo that could be clipped to a belt or handbag, and play sound through headphones. He called it the ‘Stereobelt.’ By 1977 he had made some prototypes, but the idea never reached the market. About the same time, an American skier took a car stereo cassette tape player, powered it with batteries, and put it in a padded pack. He enjoyed music while racing down the ski runs with the player strapped to his chest. This invention was named ‘Astraltunes.’ It was popular with skiers, but did not become widely known.

      In 1979, the Sony Company of Japan used these two concepts to develop a portable cassette player called the ‘Walkman.’ The Walkman quickly became very popular, especially with young people. People enjoyed being able to listen to music anytime, anywhere. This became a social phenomenon, and many other companies started making portable stereos.

      As new music media were developed, new types of players became popular. Sony introduced the Discman portable CD player in 1984, and the MiniDisc CD player in 1992. By 1998, advances in computer software led to the invention of a music file called the MP3. These files could be played on a computer, or loaded onto a small memory stick. The sticks held many songs and plugged into a portable player. The memory stick player had no moving parts, and there was no need to carry CDs.

      Since then, several companies have developed portable MP3 players that worked with new computer CD ROM technology and the Internet. These players load music files directly into their memories; no sticks or CDs are needed. They hold hundreds of songs and are very convenient to use. They can also be built into a mobile phone or palm-top computer. Today, the convenience of the MP3 player has made listening to music anytime, anywhere, more popular than ever.


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