Do you miss the headphone jack? It’s going away and never coming back

If you’ve purchased a high-end smartphone recently, you’ve had to make due with a major design change: the elimination of the headphone jack.

Manufacturers–led by Apple, of course–want to get rid of those unsightly holes and force is to move to wireless headphones/earbuds.

How are we feeling about that? The march of progress or forced obsolescence? This article at Medium.com discusses the situation.

Sometime in the mid-2000s, I was a freelance web developer in Philadelphia with some pretty crappy health insurance. I started having occasional heart palpitations, like skipped heart beats. My doctor said it was probably not serious, but she could do tests to rule out very unlikely potential complications for about $1,000. That seemed pretty expensive to rent a portable EKG for a single day, so I googled around for some schematics. Turned out you could build a basic three-lead EKG with about $5 worth of Radio Shack parts (I no longer have the exact schematic, but something like this). I didn’t really understand what the circuit did, but I followed the directions and soldered it together on some protoboard, connected a 9V battery, and used three pennies as electrodes that I taped to my chest. I hooked the output of the device to my laptop’s line in and pressed ‘record’.

Audacity displayed the heartbeat signal live as it recorded. Sure enough, I was having pretty common/harmless Premature Ventricular Contractions.

Calling the 1/8th inch connectors you’d find on pretty much every piece of consumer electronics until recently “audio jacks” does them a disservice. It’s like calling your car a “grocery machine”. Headphone and microphone ports are, at their most basic, tools for reading and producing voltages precisely and rapidly over time.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Do you miss the headphone jack? It’s going away and never coming back

  • January 30, 2018 at 12:08 am
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    It’s shit and basically and excuse to sell peripherals (its profitability illustrated by a decade of Apple shenanigans). I just went through a phone upgrade and 1-lost FM 2- have to worry about about yet another shitty rechargeable battery operated device 3- no, i repeat no, wireless headphone sounds as good as a wired one – some of the 200+ CAD units sound as good as some wired 30 buck sets, even the supposedly premium ones, let’s not even start with the Boses/Monsters/Beats of the world 4- you can’t charge and listen simultaneously anymore, unless you buy some third party dongle (natch).

    -G.

    Reply

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