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Matt Ridley is the author of provocative books on evolution, genetics and society. His books have sold over a million copies, been translated into thirty languages, and have won several awards.

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More for less

Progress in portable music

Russ Roberts, over at Cafe Hayek, has this lovely hymn to progress:

In 1979, Sony introduced the Walkman, the first portable music player. It weighed 14 ounces and cost $200. It could play a cassette that could hold about 90 minutes of music. It was a little bigger than a cassette. It was pretty ugly.

A new nano from Apple was announced yesterday. It weighs less than an ounce. The 8GB model is $149. It holds about 60 hours of music. It is smaller than a matchbook. It is very beautiful.

So it is cheaper (even without accounting for inflation), weighs 1/15th as much, and holds about 40 times more music of higher quality. I can't get over how beautiful it is.

What strikes me about this kind of story is how invisible it is. Even among thos of us old enough to remember the Walkman's launch, not enough people know the facts about how much more we can get for how much less. I might start collecting them (the stories).