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Writer's Block: Gone with the wind

What three things do you think will become obsolete in the next ten years, and why?

The television. Or at least television programming. Well, okay, maybe that will take more than ten years, but who watches television anymore? If you miss a program, you watch it online. If you can't do that for free, then you download it. If you can't do that, you blow it off because there is so much online content available with which to entertain yourself. So, yeah, television as we know it.

Oh, three things...um...landline phones and single-purpose mobile devices (ie, cell phones that are just cell phones).


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 16th, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
Number 3 is pretty much already here. My mom is a wee bit of a Luddite, so she's still using her Nokia from about 8 years ago because we can't find her a newer phone that is only a phone and not also a camera or a web browser or a GPS or...

I would clarify "landlines" to state only those in private sector... three of my siblings don't keep landlines, since they and their spouses have cell phones. Businesses will still use landlines for many more years to come, though some larger companies ARE beginning to switch to VoIP to save on costs of calls between cross-country offices.

As for the TV part... yup. My roomie and I don't even have a TV. The only show I watch right now is "Glee", and I catch it on Hulu the day after it airs... she watches only "The Office", and does the same.

Edited at 2010-04-16 04:05 pm (UTC)
Apr. 16th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
Honestly, if hubby wasn't around, I wouldn't notice if someone stole our TV. I do use it occasionally to watch DVDs, but I'm actually far more likely to watch one on my computer or my portable DVD player. Just easier than the big thing.

And agreed on the last two. I was in a hurry and had to come up with two more...but your clarifications are important. I haven't had a private landline in three years, and while I thought I liked my phone to be only a phone, I was wrong. I love my modern-day multi-tool!
Apr. 17th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
PS-I got your LOLCat, BTW. Cute!
Apr. 17th, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
I thought you'd like that one :D
Apr. 17th, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)
Indeed, though I loved this one, too.


It's Thundercat all the way!
Apr. 16th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
Here's a thought for consideration. How do you define ‘obsolete’? I think all three of those things will fall to a fraction of their current usage levels, but I would reserve the term 'obsolete' for something that is virtually unused, and most of all, unsupported – as in, even someone who wants to continue using the technology can't do so, because there's no-one to fix it when it breaks down.

Countering this are a couple of things:

People are tired of change, and many are becoming more resistant.

If enough people resist a change, a small market is created to serve these people. As long as we have entrepreneurs, there will be people who will step up to meet that market.

This is why horses aren't obsolete technology. They're still useful in some circumstances, desirable in others; and accordingly farriers have not disappeared, although they're now specialists instead of someone you must have in every village.

So, getting back to your #2 and #3.

Landlines won't vanish unless and until mobile phone technology becomes more reliable and cheaper than all landlines, even in rural areas, even for the poor, even for businesses. Till then, plenty of people will continue to use them. I don't expect to see a significant tilt there for at least 20-30 years – not until today's 20somethings have reached the age where they're dominating the part of the world in which business decisions are made. (In other words, when they move from a bunch of sheeplike consumers to the position of the shepherd.)

As for #3: single-use mobile phones are becoming a specialised item, but that segment of users is digging in harder. I expect those users will eventually age out of existence, but as long as there are enough of them to form a viable market niche, there will be a product made for them to buy. As that niche ages, I would expect the product to be aimed more and more at ease of use and comfort, since adding bells and whistles will be the wrong approach.

Personally, I’m very fond of my phone that just makes phone calls. I already have a camera for taking photos, and my eyes aren’t up to browsing on a tiny screen. Then too, thre are a lot of blind phone users – they aren’t going to care what you can see on your phone.

On the other hand, I quite agree with your #1. TV programming as we know it is driven by huge numbers; and the current trends pushing it out are going to support the breakup into niches – which is what I think runs counter to the other two.

ETA: *looks at length of dissertation*

Edited at 2010-04-16 09:58 pm (UTC)
Apr. 17th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
Too true on most of the stuff in the beginning. Like I said, I was in a rush and just randomly threw the last two in there. I agree there are qualifications there.

But when I first saw the question, television immediately sprang to mind. No ifs, ands, or buts. I was like "televsion!" and still stand by that.

That was my only answer at first, then I quickly added the other two in order to fully answer the question, but frankly they are not nearly so strong of answers IMHO.

Though I must confess finding a good farrier is hard (trust me, I worked on horses nearly exclusively for a few years) and in other news, you haven't lived until you've taken a drunk blind person to the bathroom when you're far less than sober yourself. (Oh, Amy...we will never, ever live that down.)
Apr. 17th, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)
Now that most people seem to have gotten high def TVs, they're coming out with 3D ones. People (not you, but lots of people! ;P) like seeing things on really big screens! I don't see TVs becoming obsolete anytime soon. :)

Also, I've never had a cell phone, and never plan to. I hate talking on the phone, so I'm not going to pay that much for something I'll hardly ever use.
Apr. 17th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC)
A television is just a broken computer. It can only do one thing. It causes us to consume, but not interact. This is boring. And yes, it will take more than ten years, but they are on their way out. Plenty of evidence for this, some of which is seen in your icon.
Apr. 17th, 2010 01:32 am (UTC)
But my TV is bigger than my computer monitor and I much more enjoy watching Dr. Horrible on DVD on my big ol' TV!

But I suppose eventually they'll make huge computer monitors so people can enjoy movies in a home theater system that doesn't technically involve a TV as we know them today?
Apr. 17th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
Exactly. Thus the "TV programming" wording. I know many people who have ditched their televisions in the past few years, and there are tons of blogs online about the phenomenon. You just don't need one anymore to watch anything.

Those of us who still have one but don't really watch much TV, like me, use it as a monitor only. My TV gets YouTube, Netflix, anything streaming, and can serve as a monitor for either the Mac or GeeBee (my desktop, which has a big enough monitor for most!). It's no longer a TV, and I don't see that changing.

I watch what I want when I want and it's all up to me, not the networks or the programming people. Things like that no longer matter. I heard someone recently call traditional TV "push TV," meaning that for ages it was forced upon us and we were told when to watch it, etc. Not so anymore. Now we run the show, so to speak.

And I don't see that trend reversing.

I, for one, would be perfectly happy to buy shows by the show and save on cable or whatever that way. I have many friends who do just that with iTunes or whatever. It's cheaper and more convenient and you then own the show forever. I see that becoming a trend more and more, as advertisers realize no one is watching the live TV feed.
Apr. 17th, 2010 01:53 am (UTC)
I have a Roku box (about the size of a Whitman's Sampler box) attached to my 40 inch TV. I can get Netflix and Amazon on Demand and MLB streaming wirelessly and other content from the internet is beginning to appear on that little box. I just wish Hulu would come to Roku. I would ditch my cable.

And as for phones, I would ditch the land line but the phone number has been in the family for 75 years and every one in town knows it. I also have high speed DSL from the phone company (I get a discount for having both with CenturyTel).

I do use my cell phone for most of my calls, I text a little bit and take a few pictures with it because it's handy in some situations.

Edited at 2010-04-17 02:02 am (UTC)
Apr. 17th, 2010 03:21 am (UTC)
I don't have a Roku box, but my TV does all that, too. It's new and they apparently do that. All internet ready and all that. We get YouTube, Netflix, and anything streaming.

I am the opposite of you with phones. No one gets my number. It is a highly guarded secret. If the town knew my number, I would get calls all night about the dog that ate some pizza or some such thing.
Apr. 17th, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC)
I can understand why you wouldn't want your phone number out and about but my land line number dates back to when you rang up the operator and told her the number! New residents in town though need to look it up and I have an answering machine to screen calls.

Few people know my cell phone number though.
Apr. 19th, 2010 02:28 am (UTC)
I understand. I'm equally protective of my email - or at least my "real" one. There are differing levels of contact info for different people, depending on who they are.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


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