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Monday, May 10, 2010

Ready or Not Here Comes Big Technology Changes


I received the following email from a friend, titled “A Coming Change—a Good Must Read.” I thought it was referring to a book, but as I scrolled down the email, I began to read a document that outlined many of the technology changes that are occurring in the world, which have a significant impact on our lives. No author was credited for this document. The points listed aren’t new to me and probably not new to most of you who are reading this blog. However, there are those who are totally asleep or oblivion to the changes taking place right under their noses. We have to sound the alarm. Wake up the sleepers. At this point it is not about whether the technology changes are good or bad, but about awareness. Below is a reprint of the email, please share this blog and have discussions about the changes. Changes are coming. Awareness is one of the keys to being fully present in the future world.
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.



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