Image result for LifetimeAmericans have proven that they can adapt to changing needs and situations time and time again – but technology is moving so swiftly that it can upset our sense of stability. Human beings do need certain ‘anchors’ in their lives so we’d best find it internally with our virtues of self-reliance. Citizen-Soldiers should cultivate their self-reliance and maintain vigilance in terms of trends – some good, some bad. Some services and tech devices will simply disappear like these:
1. Newspapers and Magazines – The iPod Generation does not read newspapers. Major studios stopped their full page $100,000 Sunday movie advertising years ago because the 18-34 year old moviegoers wouldn’t see the ads. That started a major downturn in their advertising revenues. In addition, classified ads were a considerable income earner for local papers – now turned upside down with local bulletin boards and the popular Craigs List. Newsweek magazine saw such a precipitous drop of revenue – 38 percent – that the mag was sold for $1.00 and an assumption of its liabilities. Online subscription models compete with not only widely available free content but the users experience of a free internet.
2. Landline Phones – The ubiquitous cell phone first meant that “Hey, I can work from anywhere and they won’t know.” It meant freedom. Now it means, “Hey, they can find me anywhere.” Many countries skipped the hardwired model and jumped right into explosive growth. Between 1999 through 2004, mobile subscribers in Africa jumped to 76.8 million, from 7.5 million. Competition among cell phone carriers created efficiencies and lower entry points. While many people in Africa survive on subsistence living, they are connected with cellphones. Mobility in America also means that the home phone is on its last legs – unless through an internet system. If you do have a landline connection with an old non-portable phone, then even with the electricity down, you can get a dial tone and make a call – provided their system is still working. That’s a standby earthquake survival idea.
3. The U.S. Post Office – They just announced that, due to declining revenues, the USPS can’t afford to contribute to its own pension plan. Junk mail is what keeps them going – and that won’t survive in this Depressed Economy. The long term prospects are nil against FedEx, UPS, and just plain email. I don’t really receive bills in the mail anymore and most people pay their bills online.
4. Television – The TV networks are scrambling to catch eyeballs. Hence the rise of specialty cable shows which cater to a specific audience like “Sopranos”, “Sons of Anarchy”, etc., But even these cable shows, like the popular “Mad Men”, have become inconsistent to viewers who will readily move on in a media saturated world. “Mad Men” is going on a year hiatus due to contract negotiations. The TV Cable subscription model at $90 a month versus the Netflix $10 a month streaming model is highly disruptive to companies revenue streams. And as consumer tighten their financial belts, they’ll look elsewhere on YouTube and other channels for cheaper entertainment rather than ‘must see now’ entertainment.
5. Books – I hate the demise of books but its accelerating between Kindle, iPads, etc, and other Android based and Blackberry based systems. An eBook has the benefit of lower costs for both updating and publishing. You can buy cheaper versions of the same book vs the hard copy. In addition, the virtual access of a book on a computer, phone, iPad, etc., dovetails with a higher mobile market. It’s just cheaper and easier to buy and store electronically. Of course, when the electricity goes off in an emergency or worse, then that paperback is mighty valuable.
6. Music & Software – If you want to know about the changes of the music industry, then you go to iTunes and read “The Long Tail” which detailed changing viewer habits. Software is also moving in this direction where you download and use. Some software will be available only online on an as used basis. The Mobile Computing market is going to grow and, I believe, become much bigger than the Desktop computing market. A mobile computing Tablet is like an extended mobile phone in many ways. We saw mobile phone growth that connected the world and will see it again with mobile tablet apps and access.
7. Privacy – Privacy is certain eroding. As police departments struggle with financial deficits due to incompetent legislators mishandling of revenues and more, law enforcement will rely on cameras. Private companies will add cameras to fight a commensurate rise in crime. London has a massive network of 10,000 surveillance cameras. Major American cities to follow. Add in the everpresent cellphone cameras. With your cell phone, the GPS system tells the phone company where you are to provide you with your requested cell phone app services like local restaurants, gas stations and more. And then your financial transactions with credit cards nail down your place, time and purchase – adding to your profile. Getting off the grid will become more and more difficult.
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