pause button

Why the Stop button disappeared

Most people remember the stop button on your stereo system. Where did it go?

The purpose of the stop button was to disengage the play head on the magnetic reader, so that if you fast forwarded you wouldn’t scratch the tape.  When the CD came around, physical playheads were replaced by lasers, so it wasn’t needed – yet the stop button stayed around for a while.

Then the CD players had a stop for when the CD had to actually stop turning.  But now thats all digital.  Analog controls no longer have a function.

Now, most systems have a pause, play button instead.

If you change too fast, people get confused or disoriented.  But if you leave certain things around, they waste space. For example, I no longer remember what any of the “F” keys on the top of my keyboard do? What is F2, F8, F6 ? I have no clue.

Often, form follows function. But sometimes, legacy stays around for a bit.

Why do some legacy systems stay in place and others evolve? Just something to think about.