Talking Tech: Musings about mixtapes after the death of Lou Ottens, creator of the audio cassette

Mike Snider

When we heard the news about the death of Lou Ottens, the man who oversaw the creation of the audio cassette, it led us to reminisce about mixtapes.

And we weren't alone. Readers responded on social networks by posting photos of the tapes they still have and cherish, and sharing their stories about mixtapes in a Google doc – you can find it in the online story. 

Mixtapes were "part of the (literal) soundtrack of my life," posted Rick Green, the editor of the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif., and chief content officer of Sonoma Media Investments, on LinkedIn.

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Lou Ottens, who oversaw the creation of the compact cassette tape, when he was head of Philips Electronics' product development department, with the first audiocassette.

Gary Rabinovich responded to the query in our story and said he "made tapes for friends from the albums or tapes that I had and they wanted and they in turn did the same for me."

A mixtape maker after my own heart named Steve said his tapes were typically "All Things Zeppelin!" and he always liked the personalized liner notes and artwork.

Jennifer remembered, "I used to get mix tapes from boys that liked me when I was a teenager.  One of my exes used to make mix tapes and put my favorite songs on a few tapes."

Before digital playlists, mixtapes required careful planning and agility with a pause button.

And Torman Jahi told how he was "given a mixtape by DJ Tony D in 1982 who lived 2 doors down from me. He said, study this tape, and in 2 weeks I will give you 10 minutes on the turntables. Two weeks later would be the first time I ever touched two turntables, which is the instrument of Hip Hop culture."

Some of his classic '80s hip-hop mixtape staples: Eric B. and Rakim, "Paid in Full" with "Don't Believe the Hype" by Public Enemy, blended with artists such as Big Daddy Kane and Queen Latifah.

What else happened in Tech?

Netflix said it had a trial ongoing to verify users' accounts to crack down on password sharing among friends, and even strangers, as a way to prevent fraud. Select customers were asked to verify their account by text or email after choosing a profile.

When Apple updates iOS 14, in the next few weeks, iPhone and iPad users may face a decision about whether to let apps like Facebook continue collecting data to offer personalized ads across other sites and apps.

Roblox made a big splash when it began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Wait, what is Roblox? We have you covered

Game break

With Microsoft's $7.5 billion acquisition of Bethesda Softworks officially completed, the Xbox maker has added 20 games to its subscription service Game Pass. Among the arrivals: Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, and Doom.

Of course you are tired of the stay-at-home life. The gurus at The Washington Post's video game news section Launcher, offered five destinations within video games as getaway excursions

This week on Talking Tech

Among the topics on the Talking Tech podcast this week: Apple and Google making it easier to backup or move your iCloud photos to Google Photos, and the scoop on Netflix's fun new feature called Fast Laughs.

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.