Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Disappearing In This Lifetime?

Change is inevitable in life. Among the things that's constantly changing is Technology. It changes at the speed of light, or so it seems. It is near impossible to have the most up-to-date technology in your home or office, no matter how hard you try. On the other hand, it is not in our best interest to keep limping along with that old gadget. Somehow we need to step up and learn to adjust and learn them . .

Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them.  But, ready or not, here they come.

9 Things That Will Probably Disappear In Our Lifetime....

1.   The  Post Office.   Get ready to imagine a world without the post office.   They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term.  Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive.  Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills. 

2.   The Check. Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. My personal experience attest to this fact. I can only remember one time I used my checkbook. I forgot my wallet in the house where all my bank cards are kept. I had to pay my groceries with my check. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process checks.  Plastic cards and  online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the check.  This plays right into the death of the post office.  If you never paid your bills by mail and never received them by mail,  the post office would absolutely go out of business.

3.   The Newspaper .   The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper.  They certainly don't subscribe to a daily delivered print edition.  That may go the way of the milkman and the laundry man.  As for reading the paper online, get  ready to pay for it.  The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance.  They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.  (Madison's Capitol Times and Seattle's Post Intellegencer are already on models onl

4.  The Book.   We say we will never give up the physical book that we hold in our hand and turn the literal pages.  You probably said the same thing about downloading music from i Tunes.  I thought I wanted my hard copy CD  but quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music.  The same thing will happen with books.  I have a Kindle DX and I can browse a book online and even read a preview chapter before  I buy.  And the price is less than half that of a real book.  And think of the  convenience!  Once you start flicking your fingers on the screen instead of the book, you find that you are lost in the story, can't wait to see what happens next, and you forget that you're holding a gadget instead of a book.

5.   The Land Line Telephone.   Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don't need it anymore.  Most people keep it simply because they've always had it.  But you are paying double charges for that extra  service.  All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for minimal or no charge against your minutes and you get unlimited text for free. I haven't had a landline since 2005.

6.   Music.   This is one of the saddest parts of the change story.  The music industry is dying a slow death.  Not just because of illegal downloading; It's the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it.  Greed and  corruption is the problem.  The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing.  Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalog items,"  meaning traditional music that the public knows older established artists.  This is also true on the live concert circuit. 

7.   Television.   Revenues to the networks are down dramatically.  Not just because of the economy.  People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers.  And they're spending time playing games and doing lots of  other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV.  Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator.  Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds.  I say good riddance to most of it.  It's time for the cable companies to be put out of our misery.  Let the people choose what they want to watch online and through Netflix. 

8.   The "Things" That You Own.   Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future.  They may simply reside in "the cloud."  Today your computer has a hard drive and you store your pictures, music, movies, and documents.  Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be.  But all of that is changing.   Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest "cloud services."  That means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system.  So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet.  If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud.  If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud.  And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider.  In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld Internet capable device.  That's the good news.  But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big "Poof?"  Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical?  It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert. 

9.   Privacy.   If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy.  That's gone.  It's been gone for a long time anyway.  There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone.  But you can be sure that 24/7, "They" know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View.  If you buy something, your habit is put into a  zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits.  And "They" will try to get you to buy something else.  Again and again. 

All we will have that can't be changed are Memories. ( In my case, even these are fading). 

For some of you, this will simply elicit a shrug of the shoulders.  You are among the fortunate ones leading the charge to change.  For the rest, usually the older ones, this is not only upsetting but traumatic to contemplate.  As a non-worrier I once knew used to say, "In five years will it matter?"


Timelesslady said...

Really great post...especially number 9, and the freaky thing is I found this blog exactly how you are lamenting lack of privacy in number 9...because I like to browse blogs of people who have like interests in common with my own profile this case it was the movie "A Walk Iin the Clouds." Something to think about...I'm in my 50's and sometimes I can't believe how much has changed in just ten years...a bit scary. And yes, our town just put a red light camera at a busy intersection...Yikes!

Amie said...

I think because of these very fast changes that are taking place, the part of our lives that we have most concern is our privacy. The moment we put our information in the cyberspace, we don't really have a way in controlling how it is being shared by these companies asking our information every time we make business with them.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts..

John Watson said...

nice Blog...Great to know...
garmin 40 gps is an excellent discovery of its kind!!

Amie said...

@John Watson, thank you, I agree. It is my favorite gadget that I carry anywhere I go...

Anonymous said...

Very interesting read. Nobody really knows where we're heading. I'm really excited to see though.

Things don't really disappear. I think they just take on a different form much like a caterpillar that is bound to undergo metamorphosis only to become a beautiful butterfly.

This entry was very insightful. It made me ponder upon things. Thanks for sharing.

Amie said...

@akosiisko...You're welcome and thank you. You have a very nice insight. Comparing it to the metamorphosis of a butterfly is a very positive perspective of embracing these many changes that our world is going through.