Wednesday, October 31, 2012

9 things that will disappear in our lifetime

Stan Arendts sent this along, something forwarded to him from one of his old shipmates.  If you do the Google you will find several references to this list, the one sounding most original being on a Yahoo Group, where it has pictures to match.  Click here for that link, but you can read it here, and either way consider the consequences.

You're probably well along to converting on some of these, like the Post Office.  In today's mail, for example, I received one missive of any importance, and 10 separate political ads.  Must be an election going on.  I did send a letter yesterday, the purpose of which I can't recall, but with new software I am even able to fax or email signed documents that are acceptable legally.  So why do we have a post office other than for the mass mailings of catalogues and politicians?  And fax machines - remember when they were important?

Cheques?  Banks can't make much money on selling their checks any longer because they're so cheap at Walmart and other online places, so Deluxe Checks from nearby Roseville, once the premier source for banks, may even be out of business today.  So I checked just now to see how many checks I have written in the past 2 months - 12.  Six of them were for fundraisers for the schools, and most of the rest of them could have been handled by bill-pay but sometimes it's easiest to just write the stupid check.

For banks to handle the checks they need to have accounts with money, because that's where they make their money, and their deposit competition these days is on every street corner, all with lower costs and service that's just as good except for the cute teller who isn't working there.  So in lieu of making money on checks, they're charging you fees wherever they can, like Closing Fees on a mortgage.

On Item 3, personally I prefer the printed newspaper although while on vacation the e-version is convenient; however most of the books I read, Item 4, are on a Kindle or iPad.

I could go on as to my personal idiosyncrasies, but jump to #9, the privacy issue, that is paramount.  Yes, my house is on the Google Street View, though I never saw the goofy Google Camera Car come through, and yours probably is as well.  But that's not as scary as the report I saw last night from the PBS Frontline, in which both political parties are revealed to be scanning your computer with cookies to find out all your tastes, then deliver ads for you that are designed to trip your personal trigger.

They know where you are and they are coming for you!!!   Now read the rest, the original report . . .

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

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 Cheque
Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with cheque by 2018. It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process cheques. Plastic cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the cheque. 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.

4. The Book
You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I 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. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! Once yo u 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 no charge against your minutes

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 "catalogue items," meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit. To explore this fascinating and disturbing topic further, check out the book, "Appetite for Self-Destruction" by Steve Knopper, and the video documentary, "Before the Music Dies."

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 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, 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 device. That's the good news. But, will you actually own any of this "stuff" or will it all b e 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. "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

All we will have left that can't be changed are "Memories".....
And then probably Alzheimer's will that away from you, too.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, nine things that will disapear: #1 The Post Office. It is true that basically all that is in our mail is junk mail and bills. But we still get birthday cards although those can now be sent via email. #2 Checks. I rarely use checks. Most of my bills are paid online and also I use credit cards when shopping. I don't even have my checkbook along. #3 Newspaper. I go online to read the Globe Gazette, but still get the Northwood Anchor and the Osage Press via mail. #4 The Book. I have an e-reader. I tried a "real" book last week and went back to my e-reader. It has a lighted background and I don't need a lamp on. #5 The landline phone. I never answer it. Very few of the messages are actual calls, mostly political and telemarketers.
    #6 Music. I still use CD's, but my music comes from ITunes. #7 Television. I watch QVC and HGTV and "Dancing with the Stars." Otherwise I watch movies on DVD's or Netflix. Skipping to #9 Privacy. I just got an email this morning from Walmart suggesting things that I can order online based on my former purchases. Wow! These purchases were charged on my credit on my trips to Walmart. They know what I purchasedd!!
    Yes, the world is changing.


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