Obsolete Things

Bill Gates says Yellow Pages will soon be obsolete. He predicts within a few years no one under the age of 50 will use the yellow pages. Last week a stack of Yellow Pages phone books were delivered to the front lobby of my condo. They are still sitting there. I don’t know if anyone has picked one up. I know I haven’t. Who uses the yellow pages anymore?When you need to find a phone number you look it up on the internet. An article in the Winnipeg Free Press in March of 2010 reports that paper phone directories will soon be a thing of the past in Manitoba. 

Walking by all those soon to be obsolete phone books in the lobby every day got me thinking about other things that are becoming obsolete.

Pennies will eventually be obsolete in Canada. The CBC reported that on May 4 Canada’s last penny was minted. No more will be made. It was costing more to make each penny than they were actually worth. The government will save $11 million a year by no longer producing them. People can continue using pennies but eventually they will disappear. 

Cookbooks are becoming obsolete.  I’ve kept a few for sentimental reasons because they remind me of people and places that were important to me, but I rarely use them anymore. If I want a recipe for something I look it up on the internet, where I can often find dozens of recipes for the same dish and can then pick the one I like best or I think is the healthiest. The interesting thing is that our grandmothers didn’t use cook books either. They had all the recipes in their heads. 

Video tapes are obsolete. I still have some; recordings of high school musicals in which my children had roles and a video that accompanied a curriculum I wrote. I found a store the other day that records your video tapes onto discs for you and I need to take mine there to be reformatted so I can throw out my video tapes. 

We still have some maps around the house but with the purchase of our GPS in January we don’t need paper road maps anymore to figure out the best way to travel to various destinations.  The ability to look up locations we want to walk to in Winnipeg online and then print up a map of our route with our computer printer means we really don’t use purchased road maps anymore. I suspect road maps are on their way to becoming obsolete. 

We still use our land line telephone but I’m told they are on their way to oblivion as well. Apparently in college residences those land line phones in the hallways are already obsolete. 25% of American households had already abandoned land lines in 2009 according to The Economist and that rate was expected to double by 2012. Apparently by 2025 no one will have a land line. 

My husband wishes the paper copy of his Sport Illustrated magazine was obsolete. He saved Sports Illustrated issues for 35 years  thinking someday he might go back and read them again. During a house move three years ago he got rid of them all and decided to ‘go green’ and order the magazine online and have it delivered to his I-pad. He was dismayed when Sports Illustrated not only sent him each issue electronically but also sent him a hard copy by ‘snail mail’. Many people think print magazines won’t become totally obsolete but this writer thinks bloggers will eventually run them out of business. 

You do have to use some caution however before discarding things you think will become obsolete. We had packed up all our old long-playing records to give away thinking they were obsolete. However our son who is a professional musician rescued them before we got rid of them. He told us records are enjoying a revival because of their authentic sound. Many recording artists are releasing their new albums in both CD and LP form. Obsolete things can make a comeback. 

What next? Perhaps I should go through our house again– this time taking pictures of all the things that weren’t even invented ten years ago and now are common place. I wonder how many of them will be obsolete in another decade?

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