I pulled my RCA Lyra out of my safe with a hunch.
"At the very least," I thought, "the memory card should still work."
After plugging the Compact Flash card into my reader, Windows chimed to let me know the device was recognized and the drive was ready.
There they were, the last seven MP3s I put on the player ages ago—June 14, 2004, according to the last-modified dates:
- "Better Than This" by Jenn Hartmann
- "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" by Lauryn Hill
- "Frontin'" by Pharrell
- "God of Wine" by Third Eye Blind
- "How's It Going to Be" by Third Eye Blind
- "I Admit (The Boob Song)" by Jenn Hartmann
- "Losing a Whole Year" by Third Eye Blind
I expected to cringe when I opened the drive, but no. Nothing embarrassing. Hell, I still listen to all of those songs today.
Staring at the player, I thought there was no way, it's 20 years old, it can't work. But after putting two fresh batteries in it, the LCD display flashed the Windows Media Player logo before showing the available tracks.
I grabbed a spare aux cord from one of my box o' cables and connected it to my temperamental Bluetooth speaker, pressed play, and there was Pharrell letting me know he that he didn't want to sound full of himself or rude.
The buttons still work, too, though the screen's backlight seems to have given up, and the volume dial insists on lowering no matter which direction I pushed.
But it worked.
It didn't tell me that the device was disabled because RCA retired the product.
It woke up and played the songs on the card.