I was cleaning my closet recently and I came across a record my sister gave me in the late 70's. It was the B-52's High Fidelity. I haven't listened to a record in over 25 years, but I keep it just in case it's worth a lot of money some day. (That's basically my retirement plan.) Owning a vinyl record these days reminded me how technology has changed over the years.
I'm all for technology, but I can't believe how fast it keeps changing. Just the other day I was thinking about the improvements that have taken place in my life because of the Internet. Every industry had been impacted by it. Here is a list of some industries that the Internet has changed or even killed.
1. Travel agencies- When was the last time you went to a travel agent's office to find out airfare prices on a vacation? About 5 years ago I tried getting some Hawaii brochures, but I couldn't find a travel agent that had anything more that the same computer access I did. I guess they still exist, but most people make online travel reservations themselves now.
2. CD Stores- Yesterday someone mentioned the name "Sam Goody" and I realized I haven't heard that name for over 10 years. Few people buy hard copies of their music these days at a physical music store. Today most people download music files thanks to I-tunes, Amazon, and other providers.
3. The post office- We still use the post office in to in order to send cards or gifts, but unless you have an official formal letter you are sending to a friend, most people wouldn't imagine writing a letter, paying for a stamp, and then waiting several days for it to arrive.
4. Encyclopedias- These used to be the ultimate source of knowledge. Most kids today have never used them. Why flip through every topic from Pathology to Purification when you can just Google Pentagon and get millions of links? They may be old school, but I still like encyclopedias.
5. Newspapers- Newspaper subscriptions have fallen across the board. I heard that the Wall Street Journal was one of the few papers that wasn't losing subscribers. It's getting harder to get people to pay for a newspaper that gets your fingers dirty that you have to throw away after, when you can access the same information online.
6. Video Rentals- Blockbuster and Hollywood have been dismantled by Netflix and Red Box along with other providers of streaming entertainment via the Internet. Ten years ago, standing in line for 20 minutes at the video store on Friday night was a normal activity. I just can't imagine doing that now.
7. TV news casts- It used to be that when you wanted to hear the news, get a weather forecast, or sports score, you'd have to turn on your TV at 6:00 or 10:00 p.m. and then watch a half of news until they finally addressed what ever it was you were trying to find out.
8. The Patience Industry- We have gotten spoiled with instant information and services. It seems our attention levels are now diminished and we are disgusted when we have to wait for anything. Much of this problem is our fault as a society, but most of the blame lies with Al Gore for inventing the Internet in the first place.
Maybe sometime in a technology nostalgia post I can address bringing back the old school fax machines that used curly thermal paper or loud screechy computer modems.