I suffer from “early adopter syndrome”. When new technology comes out, I’m one of the first in line to buy. So I get shoddy stuff at 3 times the price that anyone else pays. I have a CD/CDR/MP3 player which I bought in 1999. I paid, I seem to recall, $150 for it. It has no concept of directories (albums) on the CD. It doesn’t always correctly handle CD-Rs. And it doesn’t read any ID3 tags, so you can’t easily navigate through a disk, particularly if it has hundreds of files on it.
This weekend I got a CD/CDR/MP3 player. It indexes the disk at startup, and you can navigate by album and by song. It reads directory names and song names, either from the file name, or from the ID3 tags. And it buffers the song. So if you’re listening to MP3s, rather than a “real” CD, the disk hardly ever even spins. It spins up long enough to read in the file, and then it stops spinning. This means that it has almost infinite shock resistence, and so you don’t get skips when you hit bumps. It appears to buffer about 2 minutes of audio, so you have to be on a pretty rough road to outlast that. This device cost $29.
I had similar experiences with wireless networking and digital cameras and scanners. My only consolation is that I got to enjoy all of these things for at least 2 or 3 years more than “normal” people.