Lou Ottens, the Dutch inventor of the cassette tape, died on March 6 at age 94, Philips said.
A structural engineer who trained at the prestigious Technical University in Delft, the Netherlands, he joined Philips in 1952 and was head of the Dutch company’s product development department when he began work on an alternative for existing tape recorders with their cumbersome large spools of tape.
His goal was simple — make tapes and their players far more portable and easier to use.
Photo: AP 照片：美聯社
“During the development of the cassette tape, in the early 1960s, he had a wooden block made that fit exactly in his coat pocket,” said Olga Coolen, director of the Philips Museum in the southern Netherlands city of Eindhoven. “This was how big the first compact cassette was to be, making it a lot handier than the bulky tape recorders in use at the time.” The final product created in 1962 later turned into a worldwide hit, with more than 100 billion cassettes sold, many to music fans who would record their own compilations direct from the radio. Its popularity waned with the development of the compact disc, an invention Ottens also helped create as supervisor of a development team, Philips said.
The cassette tape’s success stemmed from its simplicity, Ottens said in an interview published by the Philips Museum.
“It was a breakthrough because it was foolproof,” he said, adding that players and recorders could also run on batteries, making them very user-friendly and, ultimately, portable.
Taiwan’s national drink, pearl milk tea, has taken the world by storm in recent years, and it is the addition of tapioca balls — also known variously as “pearls,” “boba” and “bubbles” — that creates the beverage’s unique flavor and textural experience. However, foreign media are reporting that logistical delays have caused both Taiwan-produced tapioca balls and tapioca powder from Thailand to be stuck inside shipping containers as the shipments await customs approval. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the global shipping industry, goods and commodities shipped from Asia, including Taiwan and Thailand, have become held up at
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