Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ready or Not!


(reprinted and adapted from a friend's email)

1. The Post Office.
They are in deep financial trouble. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive.

2. Banks.
Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with checks by 2018. 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, and in turn, the post office, the corner bank, the clerks at the counter.

3. The Newspaper.
The younger generation simply doesn't read the newspaper. 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. Aren't you downloading music from iTunes for half the price of CD's?. 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.

5. The Land Line Telephone.
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.
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 like to hear it. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalog 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.
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 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. 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.


(Thanks, Erna, for sharing these thoughts with us!)


Anonymous said...

I don't think the older generations are ready, my husband is 61 and has no intention at all of ever learning to use the computer. I think it is quite sad to think that ebooks will take over actual paper pages. And it's also a worrying thought for the post offices. Very interesting and thought provoking post.

CJ xx

Diana said...

Very thought provoking.

So it's not just me, on the tv thing. I stopped watching a while back because I literally can't find anything in 100+ channels to watch. We're about to cancel our cable (hubby finally on board).

Lots to digest here...I don't want to give up books:-(

Arkansas Patti said...

I am over 70 and love a lot of the new stuff. I adore being able to carry 150 tunes in my hand and can plug them into my car with ease.
I adore Kindle and the whole ebook thing. Prior to Kindle, I only read what ever the library offered and bought nothing. Now, while I do get tons of free books, I have also spent more this year on ebooks than I have in the past 10 years on hard copies. I have 91 books stored, to be read, and they only take up a tiny bit of space on my night stand.
Also think the electronic feature of ebooks will win over youngsters to the world of the written word. Kids do love to push buttons.
Most things I agree with you, these two, I am just delighted someone invented.

Eleonora said...

I just found out an interesting statistic. In 2010 sales of Kindle e-books outnumbered sales of hardcover books for the first time ever. The numbers are 180 e-books for every 100 hardcover books...
I agree that e-books are the new frontier.

I for one am not ready, however, since I can't dog-ear a screen. But I'll have to get up to speed sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

My daughter and I don't miss television! We love our new iPod. I'm sorry about the post office and loss of privacy. An interesting list. Thanks for the post!
Ann Best, Long Journey Home

Marion said...

Most of these are sad to me. Especially the demise of books. I have a Kindle and honestly, I don't like it very much and only use it to read free, classic downloads. Amazon charges around $10 or $12 for a Kindle book now and new hardbacks are about $14.00 So their pricing forces me to keep buying hardback books for my growing collection. If books DO become obsolete, I may become wealthy due to my huge book collection. :-) I have books from the 1800's to the present and they're my treasures.

I love getting mail, especially on Saturday and I send out lots of snail mail. I sincerely hope they don't stop Saturday delivery any time soon.

Many people I know have never owned, nor used a computer or any of the modern electronic media. I don't bank online. I hope the online-only banking thing never happens. It just seems crazy as it will force poor, older people on fixed incomes to buy computers and learn a technology. That's just insane!!

I'm thinking of giving up my cell phone and keeping my home phone. I seldom use my ancient cell phone and it's not worth $45 per month to me. My home line is only $22 per month.

Great, informative, but sad post. Thanks for sharing. ~Marion

Life As I Know It said...

Scary, isn't it?

I'm resisting the e-books for as long as possible, though!

vicki archer said...

I fret for books....but I do believe that nothing will replace the feel of good paper between our fingers...xv

ellen abbott said...

It's just the nature of change. Most that stuff replaced a predecessor anyway. I rarely use the postal service except for receiving bills and sending out payments. I do still write checks but do have one of those cards, just don't use it yet. I quit reading the newspaper a couple of years ago because it was just all bad news anyway about things I can't possibly affect. I will miss books though. Gave up our land line a year ago. Can't afford to go to concerts and lost track of new music when I quit listening to the radio when radio became all about the DJ personality and not music. Don't watch TV, haven't for years. Guess I'll start saving my stuff on disc instead of just on my hard drive. Privacy? What's that? It's been 1984 for a long time now. People just don't know it.

Onward into the fog!

Eva Gallant said...

It's overwhelming. I wonder sometimes what my parents would make of today's world, and what my grandchildren will live to see at my age.

potsoc said...

At 63, I had never touched a computer, would not do without it today. The tide will ebb and flow wether we agree or not. So let's be alert, up to date and ready to keep on learning new stuff.
It makes me sad when people claim to be too old to learn new tricks. Our little grey cells are forever ready to adapt to anything...if only we let them adapt.

Nancy said...

I've been worrying about the lack of privacy for some time. I recently purchased an I-Pad for travel and said no to all of the GPS inserts like Google. Google doesn't need to know where I am all of the time. I feel bad about the post office and land lines. I hate to talk on the cell phone, especially because of the emf. As for television - if they didn't have so many commercials people might watch it. But who wants to be constantly bombarded with sales pitches, when you just want to enjoy a movie? When are they going to see that we've changed? Yes, we do occasionally purchase things, but for most of us buying unending stuff is a thing of the past. We're over it.

Linds said...

I think it is a wildy exciting time - even my 85 year old Mum uses the computer with ease, and I am just a little behind on the eBooks thing, but just because I am saving up for one!

Technological advance is one thing, but the demise of things like the post office, landline etc, is really sad for those who are unable to afford computers, like some of the elderly.

And the one thing I really hate about all of the wonderful advances is the isolation of people. With a computer, you don't walk to the shop or the post office, have a chat with others in the line, check up on friends etc. With that computer, you can do it all remotely from home. And I think the loss of community will be the worst result possible.

Good things / bad things. But exciting none the less!

Maggie May said...

It is so depressing, don't you think!
Seems like all interaction with people will be thrown out the window and we will all be sitting alone in front of our computers...... whatever they will be like by then.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Brian Miller said...

its a brave new world...and perhaps a tad scary in some regards...i am stockpiling paperbacks so i can touch and smell them...smiles.

Hope said...

interesting post!
thank you

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi LakeViewer .. interesting to see it all set out like that - certainly times are changing .. and the small shops etc ..are struggling - yet they're coming back ..

We do have some good tv here .. but I only have basic BBC, IV & Channel 4 .. nothing fancy. We have good radio too ... World Service ..

I'd also be worried if we lost all our researchers ..

Thanks - Hilary

lakeviewer said...

In my life time these things were daily activities:

1. growing food
2. tending animals
3. butchering, dressing same
4. sewing
5. knitting
6. laundering
7. repairing cars, appliances
8. cooking three meals or more
9. preserving food, canning
10.building toys, decorations
11. counting and making change
12. tending to the old and the infirm at home
13. writing long letters

What did I leave out?

yaya said...

I love packages in the mail...letters that are handwritten...standing in line at the post office sending packages and chatting with whom ever is standing next to me...I love the smell, feel and excitement of reading a real book...but I love having a cell phone when I'm alone driving at night or long distances...I love my GPS when I'm lost...I love my computer and blogging friends...I love internet can have TV though.

sallylwess said...

Some of my favorite things are disappearing...

pink dogwood said...

some of you mentioned loss of community - look at the wonderful community we have created here in the blogland.

Rob-bear said...

I, of course, work to subvert the dominant order at every turn. I guess Bears are like that.

1, 3. I get mail through the Canadian postal service. That includes — GASP — magazines! And the local newspaper! With articles I can cut up and file. (Old journalistic habits die hard.) I even mail occasional letters.

2. I hate the lack of service from banks today.

4. I read real books. Real books with real paper. From the library (another endangered institution, unless libraries can work out deal with Kindle).

5. Actually, not ALL cell phone companies are that generous, letting you call people for free with the same provider.

6. I buy CDs. Occasionally. Sadly, a lot of today's music is just noise. The last CD I bought, I think, was Loreena McKinnett's The Visit. How old is that?

7. I rarely watch television. It's a mental wasteland. I'd rather read, or write a letter (even an electronic letter) to a friend (like this one). Or, better still, go out for tea.

8. The number of things I own are getting fewer and fewer. The computers I have a just new enough to barely keep up with technological change.

9. And as Julian Assange of Wikileaks has shown us so clearly, there is no such thing as privacy any more. Big Brother has got us! With the help of Google, and other nefarious agents.

And I sleep at night (health problems notwithstanding — though maybe it's because of the medication). I could be scared out of my mind for the sake of my grandchildren, but that hasn't happened, yet.

An insightful list, Rosaria.

Rob-bear said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
becky at abbeystyle said...

Grim news...I'll be hiding out at the library, fondling all the old books and looking at the pictures in the children's sections.

PurestGreen said...

This was really interesting. I don't think I will ever tire of books, although I have pretty much done away with CDs. It used to be so important to own "the latest" album, but now it is all about the latest gadget. Music nowadays all seems to be so fly-by-night. One day you're in, the next day you're not.
I don't know what I would do without my computer, but I do miss reading. I miss the slow goodness of books.
I am going to keep this post on favourites because I know it will have me thinking for some time. Thanks!

Dawn said...

What a thought provoking post!
It is sad when I see change happening....and it isn't what I am used to. I cannot comprehend not holding a "real live book" in my hand and turning the pages.
It all seems sad....Not liking many of these changes.
What is even more that in time, there will be new things that we accept and get used to...and forget the other things....
I don't want these changes!

RNSANE said...

You've given us all so much food for thought. Some of the things you've mentioned, I wouldn't even miss - others I would fight to keep as long as I still breathe!! I seldom watch tv anymore and I rarely read a book unless it's an unabridged audio CD. I'm never in my car without one. I would die without my computer, though.

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

As soon as I get to retire and have time...I am going to learn how to use everything my new laptop can fact, a friend who is helping me upgrade everything was just telling me about the 'cloud servers' and how it's the safest place to store photos instead of picasa (google) or Flickr (yahoo)...more food for thought.