My grandfather used to have a metronome that all his daughters used for their music lessons. That was over fifty years ago. My oldest aunt is in her early 80s now. They are still able to hold a tune but no one expects them to be perfect - at their age they are allowed liberties that they were not as students of music. My generation of the family dabbled in music very casually.
None of us have the fifteen plus years of classical music training that my aunts had. My grandfather's clarinet, metronome, harmonium and tabla are out in some attic gathering dust. Our children are a little bit more involved in music than we were - maybe our youthful lapses have made us more cognizant of what we missed out on and makes us push the kids a little harder than our parents pushed us.
Recently, J told me that she needed a metronome - her piano teacher has one that looks like a cat sitting on its haunches. J has something like that in mind. The days have been busy and the metronome never made it to my shopping list. Yet each time I hear her missing a beat, I make a mental note about the metronome. Yesterday was such a day and I realized I should look for an app instead - it would save me a shopping trip. And sure enough there was an app for it.
So J now has a very functional metronome but as the Techcrunch article notes it is "So efficient and functional. So depressing". It does the job but has none of the personality of the bow-tied kitten keeping time in Ms M's class. It is a sign of the times we live in. I decided it was too much trouble to go to a store and chat with the owner about metronomes, learn something new about them and find one that J would love to use for years. It was much easier to get what I wanted in return for a few clicks while cooking dinner. Unlike my grandfather's metronome that is gathering dust in an attic, mine will end up in an electronic recycle bin and without any memories entwined with it.