Sunday, May 6, 2012

One Small Step for Man

Speak into the Microphone

Geek Alert: A microphone (colloquially called a mic or mike) is an acoustic-to-electric transducer or sensor that converts sound into an electrical signal. Microphones are used in many applications such as telephones, tape recorders, karaoke systems, hearing aids, motion picture production, live and recorded audio engineering, FRS radios, megaphones, in radio and television broadcasting and in computers for recording voice,speech recognition, VoIP, and for non-acoustic purposes such as ultrasonic checking or knock sensors. Most microphones today use electromagnetic induction (dynamic microphone), capacitance change (condenser microphone), piezoelectric generation, or light modulation to produce an electrical voltage signal from mechanical vibration. 

What would the world be like, without the invention of the microphone? No radio, no movies, no television, no telephone. No YouTube videos, no rock concerts, Nothing could be recorded, nothing could be duplicated, shared or transmitted.  What would life be like on earth, if overnight all of the microphones on the planet would disappear?

Remember this: “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”.  There would be no need to invent the microphone, if the content - the message - the words, music or sound - was not worthy of amplification.  The musician who creates art, forced the microphone to be invented.  The professor who has something to say, the politician who gives a speech to change the world, these were the motivation for the invention.  “One Small Step for Man” would have still been a giant leap for mankind - I am sure that the astronaut would have still taken those steps on the moon in 1969 even without a microphone recording his words. But would we remember? JFK, Martin Luther King..... what if there were no microphones in their day? And what if there WAS a microphone working and recording the words of the Gettysburg Address?

We live in the age of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter. Anyone can write a book, a blog, an email.  Anyone can transmit a thought, an image, a belief around the world in seconds, and it can be scaled - it can reach millions of people in seconds. The “microphone” changed the world - or did it?

Remember, if you can’t sing, you don’t need a better microphone, you need singing lessons. If your jokes are not funny in person, they probably won’t be funny on the Internet, either. How do you send a handshake over the Internet?  How do you send a hug to a neighbor in need? You can donate money via PayPal to a worthy cause, but it is not the same as showing up in person.

By the way, the “real” quote was “One small step for a man - one giant leap for mankind”. The microphone cut out (for just a fraction of a second) and the true famous quote was born. I like the mistake better, don’t you?

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