Saturday, July 3, 2010


Received in email under the question, "And what happens when the next solar flare wipes out the satellites?"

1984 has arrived!

This is awesome reading especially those of us who have seen the
changes in our life time. 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. They have met with
Apple, Amazon, and the major cell phone companies to develop a model
for paid subscription services.

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.

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're 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 would 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 "catalog 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."

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
all 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. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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. And "They" will try to
get you to buy something else. Again and again.

All we will have that can't be changed are Memories.


  1. I'm certain that these concerns have been made before. My grandfather was 105 when he passed away. He served in two world wars and saw a huge amount of change in his lifetime. People are people and whether the tech changes (better or worse) the material problems remain. It's all very illusory at best.

  2. If satellites are all we lose... A really good flare is forecast to burn out the electricity for 6 months or so.