Things our Children will never see (probably)

The times are a-changin’ and we have no choice but to roll with the punches. With the advancement of civilization and technology it is only natural that we discard uneccessary aspects of our lives that have been either replaced or improved. It is my only regret that when it comes to matters of taste the world is at the mercy of tweens. I hope I die before they take over the world, if not I’ll blow my brains out.

Without any further ado here are the list of things our children will never see (except in a museum):

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, UPS, and (LBC) 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.”

It’s gotten so bad that most children born after the turn of the century or even in the late 90’s don’t know how to write a letter, not to mention the different kinds and parts etc. An hour is like an eternity to them let alone the few days needed for a letter to be delivered. Which is a real shame because the Manila Post Office is a really nice building if you ever pass it. I just hope they put it to good use after “snail mail” officially dies.

2. The Cheque

“Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with cheque by 2018. 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. 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.”

Which is a real kick in the nuts to me personally because I hate the hassle of the ATM lines. I chose not to transfer from cheque to ATM simply because the line is shorter because everyone has an ATM.

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. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.”

Again, a personal kick in the jowls for me. I’ll give you three guesses where I work.

4. 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.”

I disagree and don’t think the book will going the way of the CD, at least not as fast. For one thing, the data difference and digestion between the two is different. CD’s carry an average range of ten to fifteen songs per album, covering non-stop music play of half a day at most. Books (novels) have pages of at least 300, covering a digestion period of three days if you’re a fast reader and neglect sleep.

The second is the availability of the devices used to appreciate the material. Itunes only became possible because of the Ipod and its various incarnations. In the case of the book however, the only device currently capable of replicating the reading experience is the tablet and for the e-book to become practical enough to threaten the existence of the paperback the tablet must first become much more practical as well.

The last thing is management. Unlike the cut-throat sharks prevalent in record labels during the MTV and CD eras the book industry is relatively benign as long as the subject is worth the trouble of publishing.

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.”

Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the texting capital of the world. In fact, the C and D social classes are practical enough to already opt out of using landlines and just go for cellphones for each family member. It’s cheap if you know where to buy and if you manipulate the right promo you can fully maximize every peso you use on unlimited texts and calls. You can actually see the desperation in companies like PLDT who are trying to salvage the land line by providing it alongside internet service as a set.

Note: the word salvage in the preceding sentence is used in the American definition of the word and not the colloquial opposite.

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 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.””

Proof of this is the re-emergence of Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Kylie Minouge etc. I’m not saying the last three examples are bad, it’s just stating a point that new artists can’t afford to push out on their own because their literally being robbed right and left and the only ones that can afford to be creative are the established artists who have already profited from past works.

The only way anyone new can get in is if they void themselves of all intellectual thought in composing their songs and merely echo the popular bubblegum inanities that are prevalent in the largest sub-culture audience they want to sell to. Examples of these are the idiot pop stylings of Justn Bieber and Rebecca Black

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 (Amen to that!). Cable rates are skyrocketing and commercials run about every 4 minutes and 30 seconds (Speak the truth!). 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.”

As much as I agree on the degeneration on the quality of entertainment presented in television I don’t think the television will disappear from our lives completely. The argument presented is merely a toss up between television and computer internet. The question is simply how you want to put those two things together (because that is the natural next step). As already stated Netflix has put television within the internet (a local version of this is I want tv). However, Sony has already started marketing its opposing cousin, the internet within television. So it becomes a battle of opposing preferences that are equally viable much like the battle between HD DVD and Blu-ray. Only time will tell who the eventual winner will be.

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.”

As I’ve said before, the proposed cloud service is a very dangerous thing to ponder on. Think SkyNet. Yes I’m not kidding. Self-aware robots link together to destroy all humanity. The big issue really isn’t if you actually own the stuff or if it could all disappear in a big “poof” but private documents may be used against you. This service is a breeding ground for hackers, identity thieves, blackmailers, and terrorists. Ok, I may sound paranoid and insane but there should have been someone saying the same thing when the world decided to go nuclear, and maybe Chernobyl wouldn’t have happened.

9. 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 (especially if the cloud service pushes through). There are cameras on the street (not here they aren’t or else it would be one really long porn movie), 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.”

Yeah, our kids might as well just read about this in fairy tales. The only privacy humanity will ever get after maybe fifty years down the road will be after a nuclear holocaust or living in a cave.

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