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Friday, 11 May 2012

Thank You and Goodbye

I just wanted to point out that it's interesting that most of the following items discuss below involve words - written, spoken, and sung. Ways of sending, recording, transmitting and storing words may change and disappear, but words are essential for life. Whether these changes are good or bad depends in part on how we adapt to them. But, ready or not, here they come.

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. eg Google Drive, Dropbox, SugarSync. 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 me 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. Surely we remember how important physical touch is.

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 email/favourite/ads will change to reflect those habits. "They" will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again. 

Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers or iPads. And they're playing games on iPhones 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, let's see how long reality TV shows can keep the rating coming. 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 or IPTV.

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 or they bundle it with their broadband. 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. I say go Naked DSL !!!

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."

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. Kindle is Awesome !!!

The Newspaper
This new generation simply doesn't read the newspaper any more but Dad still insist on subscribing to a daily delivered print edition, I told him that may go just like the ice-cream van, milk man, bakery delivery truck ... 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 to develop a model for paid subscription services. 

The Post Office
Can you imagine a world without the post office. They are deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. I guess that is why local postage keep increasing yearly. Probably relying on shopping on-line eg, eBay has somehow push Fed Ex and UPS to wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of  my daily mail is either junk mail or bills, and we are encourage to consider the environment hence we opt for email delivery nowadays.

The Cheque
It costs the financial system billions of dollars a year to process cheques. Credit cards and online transactions will lead to the eventual demise of the cheque. I vaguely remember my cheque book, I reckon it is still sitting deep in the drawers.
Yup I have to agree, all these things are slowly disappearing in my lifetime. All we will have left that can't be changed are "Memories". And then probably Alzheimer will take that away from you too! How ironic ...


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