I wonder…

Author unknown, as far as I know…

But worth thinking about

Ten Things That Will 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.

Right now Amazon and UPS are bailing them out.

  1. The Check

Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with check 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.

  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.  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.

  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.  All the cell phone companies will let you call customers using the same cell provider for no charge against your minutes.

Tried to get a POTS line when I moved, no longer available… sigh

  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  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. 

  1. Television Revenues

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. 

  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? 

Not blued steel and wood things…

  1. Joined Handwriting (Cursive Writing)

Already gone in some schools who no longer teach “joined handwriting” because nearly everything is done now on computers or keyboards of some type (pun not intended)

  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 and again.

All we will have left that which can’t be changed…….are our “Memories”.

Logic is dead.

Excellence is punished.

Mediocrity is rewarded.

And dependency is to be revered.

This is present-day North America. When crooks rob banks they go to prison, when they rob the taxpayer they get re-elected.


I wonder… — 37 Comments

  1. Interesting post. For myself the physical book is something I’ll always keep, don’t have to worry about breaking it if it drops. Still frequent the library, it’s an excuse to get out and about since those visits have been something I’ve done since elementary school.

  2. Wife teaches 8th grade English and Reading. She tells me the majority of her students come to her class not knowing how to do cursive writing. NOT ON MY WATCH – she teaches them how to do it and they leave knowing that skill. Knowing how to print only is creepy sez she. :^)

    When Mom died last year, we gave up the land line to her home. She had that number since 1967 when she and Dad built the house. The callers were mainly people she communicated with, my brother is cell phone only contact. So why pay the extra bill.

    • I was taught to draw joined-up lettering, but we never had to read it. And in the fifty years since, I’ve never had any need for it.

      Cursive was an artefact of the technology of the day – quill or nib pins that drooled ink if they stopped moving. They’re no longer in common use. I’m also sadly deficient in being able to chisel words into stone tablets, something else most people no longer have a use for.

  3. My youngest grandson (now 14) was never taught cursive. We listen to 70’s music and have introduced the grandsons to it as well. We rarely answer the land line as most calls are robo calls. I haven’t been inside a bank for over 1 year. We haven’t bought a hard cover book in several years. Cancelled the newspaper years ago. I would not miss the post office.

  4. There is a serious law quake in the making over the ownership of electronic media. The purveyors seem to think they have it locked down, but I suspect they are whistling past the graveyard. The ‘principle of first sale’ has a long history (as these things go). I suspect it isn’t quite as dead as Amazon might like to think.

    Also; too goddamned may good books are not available as eBooks, and I suspect he same is true of musical recordings.

  5. While it’s difficult, if not impossible, to argue with points made by many of those comments above, I also suspect that many will hang onto whatever physical assets they can. And the bedrock principle of backing up everything onto a physical hard drive remains a core tenet of modern computing … or at least it should.

    • *Corporate* backups are rarer than you’d think… I walked into my first sysadmin job back in the mid-’90s to find that the company, a healthcare management firm which had over 500 employees at 35 locations, had no backups. Zip. Nada.

      Not only did they not have backups, I had to make a presentation to upper management to justify less than a thousand bucks for a tape drive… they finally approved the purchase, shaking their heads in annoyance. It was a total waste of money; they’d never had the server crap out before, so obviously it was *never* going to happen, and this new hire maybe wasn’t what they’d hoped for…

      Down at the level of home computers, I’ve found backups to be so rare as to be essentially nonexistent. Not only that, most people simply accept the loss of everything when they replace a computer or phone, which is why they’re so thrilled to put stuff in “the cloud.” If the host goes away… well, it was good while it lasted.

      At the other extreme, I leave you the example of G. Harry Stine, who I knew slightly near the end of his life. He had lost most of a novel once when he had a disk crash. After that, he backed every chapter up to a separate floppy disk as well as the hard disk. He got into the habit of saving his work every few minutes.

      One day I got a call from a mutual friend; Harry had passed away at his desk while working. His wife swore the monitor still had the dialog box up, testifying Harry’s last act had been to save his work to Drive B:…

  6. All of our founding documents are written in cursive. And you’re sure that text version hasn’t been “edited”? How can you tell?

    We still have a land line as backup. Yes, robocalls. Still, if the power goes out, that will still work. I do need to get one of those solar USB chargers.

    • Actually, some of them *are*; notably the Second Amendment, where they creatively change the punctuation.

  7. The check: I still use checks to pay some of my bills. I am not comfortable letting everyone I do business with having direct access to my accounts.

    The Newspaper: I dropped my last newspaper subscription over twenty years ago. Those liberal assholes can kiss mine. If every single one of them went bankrupt tomorrow, I wouldn’t care.

    The Book: I have a Kindle and have quite an eBook collection. I still prefer a printed book to the electronic version.

    Television: The same as newspapers. There are still a few interesting things to see on the screen, but most of it is dreck. One of the most popular shows on TV nowadays is “Big Bang Theory”, but I can’t stand to be in the same room where it is playing. (I can actually feel the intelligence being sucked out of the room.)

    The land-line: I have two, one for my home office and one for the house. My wife and I also have cell phones. Here’s the kicker. We live in a rural area and our house is in a cellular “dead zone”. So, without a land line we wouldn’t have phone service at all at our home. We are not the only people like this. Indeed, there are more than you think. Not everyone lives in a big metro area.

    The Cloud: NO, just no. I am not trusting my personal data to some impersonal “cloud” corporation. I don’t care how convenient it may or may not be. Hard drives are cheap, a lot cheaper than a “cloud” service. Nuff said.

    • There is Linux. There is BSD. There are others, if not so common. And there is now even a voice-control setup (alas, I forget the name.. *mutter*) one can run that runs purely locally.

      Centralization is great for control.
      Decentralization is for liberty.

    • > check

      A canceled check is a legal document, with standing all the way back to English Common Law. Electronic transfers are usually accepted by courts, but if challenged, there’d be a lot of lawyer time if one was contested.

      Ever read the fine print on your banking or credit card accounts? I have…

      • Ah, I just remembered a “legal document” example. Back in… must’ve been the 1980s, Federal Express announced a service called “Zap Mail.” It was, stripped of all the marketing hype, a FAX service. (remember, “the internet” as most people think of it didn’t exist then) They’d pick up your documents, send a high resolution FAX to the office nearest the recipient, and the truck would deliver the FAX. The original document was shredded or incinerated.

        The service didn’t last long; their main customers were lawyers, who found that the courts did not consider faxes to be “original documents”, no matter what Feral Exess’s marketing people called them. Fedex’s lawyers asserted that they had “chain of custody” from picking up the originals to delivering the FAXes, and that the FAX was, therefore, the same as the original. The courts didn’t agree, and that was the end of that ill-advised business plan…

        I know a lot of business decisions are made because one or two people either persuade others to see things their way or they have the power to steamroll any objections, but at a company that size, I would have expected a Board-level buy-in to open what was basically a whole new service line. In my experience the overlap between corporate management and lawyers or accountants approaches 100%… did they all sleep through their Contract Law classes?!

  8. The loss of privacy inherent in “targeted advertising” has a serious flaw.

    I have been getting a zillion ads for plasma cutters over the last few days, probably because I researched them BEFORE I BOUGHT ONE.

    There is little point is showing me those ads NOW.

    I suppose I should take comfort that Google knows that I searched for plasma cutters, but doesn’t yet know that I bought one.

    Having the the ads start after I search for something is annoying, but if they were to stop after purchase it would be scary.

    • Google probably *does* know, but the vendors didn’t pay for that information…

  9. One thing I like about a physical book is I know it’s not been edited since the last time I opened it.

    I’ve already experienced losing something on the cloud I paid for because the service no longer exists.

    It was just a game, but it’s gone.

    • If it’s in “the cloud” it only exists when the telephone backbone – land lines! – are up, and you’ve purchased service. And you have to be somewhere where adequate bandwidth is available, which is mostly cities and along major highways.

      Some people seem to be astonished when they find out there’s no cellular service in *most* the country. Landline coverage is much better, but that’s usually because it’s required by local law.

  10. We have kept our land line for hurricane season. Cell phone towers, and cell phones are often out during the weeks or month without power, or they are overwhelmed.

  11. We are in a metro area and cell service is spotty inside the house. Cell coverage is way oversold.

    Cloud, no. I use it for temporary storage for transfers and the like on occasion. However I’ve been around long enough to remember what happened to people who used geocities and what they lost as well.

    Books, in all forms are good, real ones of substance are worth keeping.

    Post office/USmail is still a good bargain. I’ve had the other two destroy and loose stuff and then claim “not my fault”.

    POTs, long gone but available, maybe for while longer.

    Newspaper, still good for the birds cage, wrapping fish,
    and sundry uses after reading. Starts a good fire too.


    • Here in the PDR-Maryland, it’s the reverse. Post Orfice loses things regularly, and doesn’t care.

  12. All- Thanks for the comments. Rev- Dead on the money! ALWAYS backup. I still have a couple of hundred real books, and it’s funny how many people come over and go digging through and pick up a real book, then sit and read… 🙂

    Posted from my iPhone.

    • There is (was?) a brewpub/restaurant in Raleigh. They had the walls paneled in bookshelves. You placed your order, then browsed for something to read while you waited instead of having blaring TVs or unwanted “music” on a PA system. You could read through your meal, and then take the book home. If you brought it back, fine. If not, that was okay too.

      They bought books in lots from estate sales, used book store clearances, etc., so they cost very little. They didn’t care about topics or genres. The upside was, you could find some fascinating stuff that had been out of print for decades…

      They got my business when I was in town…

  13. Dedicated landlines from THE PHONE COMPANY may be dying, but various internet phones and cable phones have taken the lead. Part of why landlines are dying is the Phone Company being complete jerks and charging lots more than other technologies.

    Just wait till satphones become as cheap as cell phones. That will be a real revolution.

  14. I remember when the IT crowd where I worked promoted having EVERYTHING on the cloud, including all of our computer programs and services and files. Only to find out that anyone relying on such things were up the proverbial feces tributary once they got outside of wifi range of our servers or when the servers when down for any reason. The idea quickly and quietly died. It’s also hard to connect via your cell hot-spot when you have no cell service in an area.
    Reading for pleasure is quite a bit different than trying to read and having to reference back and forth to past pages for data and charts and such. Not very easy in the current electronic formats.

  15. Your point #8 ends with “Poof.” Has no one listened to what one little bang can do, I remember EMP. I think the Navy finally realized the same thing when they started putting charts back on ships and teaching Celestial Nav.
    Backing up to point 6 and music and the “industry” going down hill, we enjoy Southern Gospel MOST concerts are a max of $20 and many are “love offerings.” Virtually every artist has a “product table” at the event that they sell their CD’s (MANY are going to USB’s) and other things. Most of these CD’s are $15 or less and many times they have a package of 4 or more CD / DVD’s for $40 or less. A lot of these folks also have their own recording studios that give them complete control of their business. This might be the “business plan” for survival of the music industry.

  16. Print books, especially non-fiction, are going to be with us for a very long time. Not just SHTF times, but it is often easier to look up a reference in print than e-books, and skill-books (how-to, cookbooks) can be easier to manage in a kitchen or shop than e-books.

    Owning IP? It will vary. I like the freeware that I can own on my computer and use when I am off-line, and that I can upgrade if/when I want to and not until then. There’s a reason I do NOT use on-line file storage that I do not pay for, and yes, Alphabet, I am looking at you.

    We’re human. Music will be with us, one way or another, and many of us will buy the stuff we like, as well as going to live performances or watching videos.

    The SCOTUS said that the Constitution gives us a right to privacy. While that does not necessarily apply to the private sphere (insert eyeroll here) I would not be the least surprised to see more and more people finding ways to cheat aggregators, advertisers, and others.

    • When you think “free cloud”… think “Photobucket.”

      Even when you’re paying for it, it doesn’t stop a company from doing one of those computer-industry-standard “we can change your contract unilaterally to anything we want, neener-neener!” schticks, or simply going out of business.

      It’s not real unless it’s in local storage, and you have off-site backups.

  17. I’m with Roy on The Cloud. How can I trust it?
    Paper books: I really like them. I do have a Kindle, which is currently misplaced…

    • I like the saying, “There is no cloud, just OTHER people’s computers.”

  18. On item 1 you are probably right, dito on #2, #3 i hope not because it gives me much pleasure to read at breakfest, #4 I think that books in the printed form will be around a long time, it is just not the same on a screen, #5 is interesting because i work in that industry and the backbone of the cell system is a land connection between all the sites using the infructure of the land line, #6 and 7 you are dead on, #8 I already have a storage problem with all the iron and wood stuff, #9 mine looks like code anyway and #10 left the building with Elvis. Thanks for your thoughts, Russell

  19. Have you heard about the problem that Castalia House had with Amazon? The SJW’s infesting them got really creative and wiped the entire Kindle account from their Cloud, apparently. “Poof”, gone.

    Store everything on the web? Yeah, right…

  20. Industrially produced music in the US is essentially similar to the fiction peddled by New York publishing. That you see mostly crap and pablum from a New York publisher does not mean that crap and pablum are the whole of newly created fiction.

    Music producers are putting together stuff I like for video games, and for television shows in Japan.

  21. > the Post Office

    USPS makes a ton of money. But you’re dealing with the Federal equivalent of “Hollywood accounting”; the Post Office doesn’t get to keep all of the money it brings in.

  22. Will- Yep. Interesting… Kindles are still there.

    Bob- Agreed!

    TRX- There is that… sigh

  23. I have a landline mainly because it’s part of my cable package. The only person who ever calls us on it is my Mother in Law. Why does she do that? She’s 99 years old and for most of her life that was the only way, I guess.

    I also have a corded phone, too. That was for times when power went out and the cordless phones died. Now that I have a generator, that’s even less likely to happen.