Some food for thought.

April 23, 2012

Relaxing by Cardenyabba Lagoon, Kilcowera Station, Outback Australia.

Relaxing by Cardenyabba Lagoon, Kilcowera Station, Outback Australia.

I appropriated the following from Westprints’ newsletter “The Friday Five”  which I heartily recomend to anyone interested in the Outback, travelling Australia and the history of our great land.

9 Things That Will Disappear In Our Lifetime. 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  Cheque. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. Television.      Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. 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.
  1. 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 be able to disappear at any moment in a big “Poof?” Will most of the  things in our lives be disposable and whimsical?
  1. 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.
  1. All we  will have left that can’t be changed are Memories. And then probably   Alzheimer’s will take that away from you too!

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It looks like a brand new world when you read all that together, I reckon.  A few years ago I reread George Orwell’s 1984 and to my mind we’re all happily marching right into that type of scenario, clutching our smart phones, tablets and GPS’s to our high vis shirts and trying to stay ahead of the pack, the mortgage, the credit card debt etc.

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