Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Coming changes in our lives

Editor’s note: This was sent by a friend. I don’t know its origination, but it provides food for thought.

Coming changes in our Lives
Most of it is good, some of what's going on is scary.

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 Check.    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. 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.  Plans are already in the works with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to expand the Wall street News model for paid subscription  services.
4. The Book.  The IPad and similar devices are in response to your comments that 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 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 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 like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates simply self-destruction. Over 40% of the music purchased today is "catalogue items," meaning traditional music  that the public is familiar with ie. 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, in fact using Apple TV Netflix has unlimited movies for $8.00 a month. Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds. I 's almost good riddance and about time for the cable companies like Cox and Warner Cable to be put out of business and 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 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 gone forever. 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. We have reached a point in our history where supposedly private companies like Face Book are able to have people voluntarily provide unlimited amounts of private and detailed information about their lives making the job of foreign governments, local and Federal Police agencies easy access to obtain information on people all over the world. Mark Zukerberg and the people at Face book have the full backing of the NSA and other Federal Agencies like the FBI and CIA , Facebook and other similar sites have given US and Global police unlimited agencies access to more information about people that only countries like Russia and China had in the past.  The privacy Genie is out of the box and we will never get it back in again.  All we will have that can't be changed are our memories and that soon will change.  

1 comment:

Charlie said...

YUP, food for thought, although many of these have occurred in the past for many of us.
just for fun, here is an actual life of a 62 year old white male raised in Darke County, then working and travelling around the USA and the world.
1- USPS, what for?? financial transactions are readily electronic, no need for paper bills or payments. most items sent through the mail cost less to buy than to ship, not very efficient financially, for any of us.
2- checks, hate em', more paper, to manufacture, transport, use, copy, store, transport ......... all to do a simple financial transaction, takes a few key strokes on a computer or I Phone, or other smart device. By the way this applies to cash also, dirty stuff, loaded with bacteria, costs we taxpayers more to make than the face value of most coins, and some paper (thinks the new $100 bill fiasco).
3- Newspapers, I still love em' , BUT having a very hard time getting delivery to my home. Have cancelled the DDN due to service issues, am likely to do same with USAToday (have not received any on the print date since the switch from USPS to carrier delivery). an ..... I find the internet news and search tools much easier and cleaner to use and read.
4- Books, our home includes hundreds, so many that I maintain an inventory, yup, you guessed it, on the computer. Take up a large closet, I am currently looking in to electronic devices, primary reasons - storage space, ease of access/finding what I desire to read, and flexibility. Yes, I read a lot, 8-12 books weekly, about 1/3 new for enlightenment, and 2/3 rereads for entertainment.
5- Land Line Telephone - have not had one for years, truly do not see any use for such. Of course, CenturyLink gives me a hard time for using the DSL service without a land line, their problem.
6- Music, with all the reading material, with all the people in our world, we could use a lot less musical noise. Not the classical entertainment and church and special use of music, but all the mindless folks walking and driving with plugs in their ears, music pulsing in their bodies, with little attention paid to where they are or who is around them.
7- Television, cut the broadcast/cable/satellite services out of our lives a few years ago, missed very little. In fact, for the truly good TV shows, rent the full season videos, watch them in a few evenins, no commercials, no missed episodes, etc. Use the internet, use NETFLIX, etc. Try it, you will like it. Unless you are just addicted to any thing and everything displayed on a screen. I call it 'noise' in your life, helps one to avoid life (see comments on music).
8- "Things", this is a tough one. Having enjoyed a certain amount of financial success, we have a certain amount of "things". In fact, the certain amount includes stuff not used for months and years. A weak area in my life, working on reduction of stuff. GOODWILL has received many, many, truckloads from us the last five years, and have a few more to go. Honest folks, "things" are an anchor in life, not a benefit. Gotta pay for them, then get a bigger house/apartment/garage/barn/ec to store them. Certainly a vicious cycle.
9- Privacy, I suggest the idea of privacy in the past is more a figment of our imagination, than reality. Others have always known all about us, and regularly shared (remember the old party line phones, you think those conversations were 'private'?). Yup, technology makes it less difficult to track and maintain, but you know, if you live a good life, and do only acts you are proud of, privacy is no big deal. Having worked in global industry for more than 40 years, I learned one lesson - conduct your life as if you are watched around the clock, do NOT speak/write/email/type/communicate in any way, any message, of which you are not proud to let your mother read about it on the front page of the news paper (or electronic version of same).

Just a few of my thought food.
Thanks for the article Bob.