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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Brave New World?

The first e-mail I read this morning made me stop short on the way to the studio. Why paint today? Painting is primitive," I thought. What do you think after reading this? Then I'll tell you what I think.


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


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've 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 are simply self-destructing.

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 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.

8. 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.

9. 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 the ads to your PC, 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

I didn't wake up this morning thinking I had to save anything. I just got up, put on my shorts, came downstairs for coffee and opened my e-mail where I found an e-mail saying a Brave New World is coming my way.
What a bummer. I really like books and bookstores and hard copy photographs on real Kodak paper that don't bleed if you spill water on them and telephones with size that don't cramp your hand or stick in your ear. And I definitely like watching movies and TV programs on the big screens. I do not shlep my eight pound laptop around with me. I don't shlep a Kindle. I thought the Ipad was weighty too even though the folks at the Apple Store were all remarking, "Light isn't it." It isn't. It's one more gadget to clink around in a backpack.

I don't want to be wired when I go out and about. I don't want to be a technomule saddled up with heavy-metal gadgets. I just want my purse that weighs one point three pounds fully loaded, (sunglasses, lipstick, credit cards, tissue, cash, business cards, pills, what else do you need), that doesn't cause neck or shoulder injuries that will send me to the orthopedic surgeon. I do want to leave my house to go shopping. I like touchy, feely in the stores and doing business with friendly merchants who know me by name and what I like. I like that I don't have to recharge them regularly with electricity.

What a minute. What was I thinking? No need to panic. Technology powered by electricity that's powered in most cases by burning coal (fossil fuel); Oil (oye veh); natural gas (of which the US has more than enough to free us from our Mideast dependency) or nuclear reactors--the towers everybody wants in their town. Seems there's more to do before we're swallowed up into a giant net cloud.


  1. Its sad and scary... I remember telling my gf (who works in banking) that I would never pay my bills online.. Well, I ate my words.. I pay everything online... Our major paper has downsized and I heard is having problems staying afloat since u can read it online... It would be nice to get rid of the 3rd world outsourcing customer service people... My thoughts on them are not so nice.. But the blame goes to the big corporations that want to pay cheap.. When will they learn, that you get what u pay for?

  2. This is a very intense post. Never fear my dear things are going to change starting tomorrow. Welcome June 1st like a birthday. I will for sure miss the "book" I love books, this Kindle and Nook thing is so depressing. I've heard so much talk of book burnings. Who am i to talk i rip books up and glue them into Art. Mabe thats the only way we can "remember" them.

  3. Our newspaper is struggling too. And that's sad. There's nothing we like better than reading the paper while curled up in our lounge chairs with no threat of stiff necks from hunching or legs falling asleep from the weight of the laptop. I love books. I like to underline and write in the margins. I like the feel of the paper. I like my IPod, but it's not one of the gadgets I include in my purse. I try to remember my phone when I go out, but I'm successful only about fifty percent of the time. I'm not that crazy about phones in the first place--and the only reason I got a Blackberry is to text my grandkids, which I seldom remember to do. But as I said, all of this technology depends on electricity which depends on fuels like coal, water, oil, natural gas and atomic energy. We want to keep using our gadgets, expanding the use of our gadgets and enlarging the purses we're shlepping about, we better give a thought or two to the supply of those energy sources.

  4. Hi, I'm Ann from the UK. Love your post...we have the same issues here. As for Blackberry, I always thought you could eat them...then found it's a gadget thing! and still don't understand it. Sometimes I want to scream HELP - everything is techo. Ah..they call it progress, then the Internet connection goes for some inexplicable reason and we are lost and I end up feeling completely frustrated that this little machine I sit in front of is not waking up and giving me the world at my finger tips!....and here I am writing to you via technology, and have joined your Followers list - look forward to reading more, many regards, ann.

  5. Thanks Ann for following. I thought Blackberries were for eating too till my grandkids didn't answer my e-mails or call me back because they only text. Of course, I needed a phone suitable for texting. I got the Blackberry and so did my husband who uses his phone all the time but was having difficulty with the Blackberry--so much difficulty, he got mad at me for suggesting we buy one because it had a nice size texting pad. My son said, don't worry mom, he'll get it; the learning curve on a Blackberry is about three months. Well doesn't that make life a lot easier! And so the clock ticks.