An old friend recently sent me a troubling email listing “Ten things that will disappear in our lifetime.” I hope the anonymous author of that email is wrong on all 10 items.
Here’s the author’s list: (1) the Post Office, (2) written checks, (3) print newspapers, (4) real books, (5) land-line telephones, (6) music as we know it, (7) cable and network TV, (8) the “things” we own — photos, music, documents, etc., (9) cursive handwriting, and (10) privacy. Well, where to start?
Let’s start with written checks. I will never sign up for online banking. Never. I feel even more strongly about newspapers. I might be a member of the last newspaper generation, but I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t read the morning papers with my first cup of coffee. I think community newspapers such as the Appeal have a promising future in the media market, and some owners understand that it’s wise to invest in their newsrooms. For example, home-delivery circulation of the Orange County Register in California increased significantly after new owners hired more than 100 reporters. And now that Jeff Bezos of Amazon has purchased the venerable Washington Post, we should see some interesting innovations in the print edition of that national newspaper.
Although I own a Kindle, most of the books I read are actual books rather than cyberbooks from outer space. There’s something reassuring about holding a book. Next, I’m not ready to give up my land-line telephone. I own a cellphone but almost never turn it on. Why would I want to be “in touch” 24 hours a day? That might interfere with my daily nap time.
My cursive writing is unreadable (I print everything), so why am I commenting on this subject? Because my twin 9-year-old grandsons, Duncan and Vincent, send me handwritten, illustrated letters in cursive writing. For an older first-time grandpa, it doesn’t get much better than that. You can have your Facebook and your Skype; I’ll opt for handwritten letters.
As for cable and network TV, you can watch your favorite programs on your iPad or tablet or smartphone, or whatever electronic gadget you own, but I want to watch news and sports on my big-screen TV seated comfortably in my recliner with beer and animal crackers close at hand. Go ahead and laugh, but that’s how I do it. You do it your way.
Finally, I reject the idea that the right of privacy will disappear during my lifetime. While some people may think it’s a good idea to post the most intimate details of their personal lives online, many others (including your favorite Appeal columnist) think that’s a terrible idea. As you already know, I don’t care what your cat had for breakfast; please spare me the gory details. But seriously, the more personal information you post online, the better chance there is that someone will hack into your computer and steal your identity, or target you for a scam. Unfortunately, children are often targeted by pedophiles posing as online “friends,” and seniors are particularly vulnerable to online scammers.
We frequently hear about clueless seniors who send money to “grandchildren” who are allegedly stranded in Europe. Most scammers locate their intended victims online. Moral of the story: Don’t tell people more than they need to know about your personal life, and guard your privacy. You’ll be glad you did.
Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, is a card-carrying technophobe.