Going...Gone (list 2)

Here yet is another list of things that have either become already obsolete or will soon become in the next few years (as sourced from different lists published online).

VCRs/VHS TAPES: In 2005, the Washington Post penned an obituary of sorts for the VHS tape, writing, "VHS -- the beloved videotape format that bravely won the war against Betamax and charmed millions of Americans by allowing them to enjoy mindless Hollywood entertainment without leaving their homes -- has died at the age of 29. It passed away peacefully after a long illness caused by chronic technological insignificance and a lack of director's commentary tracks."


TRAVEL AGENTS: The proliferation of sites like Kayak, Orbitz, Travelocity, and Hipmunk, which have empowered consumers to find their own fares and easily book their own flights. The days of recruiting a travel agent to book flights, find hotels, and organize tours are on their way out--and already gone for many.

THE SEPARATION OF WORK AND HOME: Our way of working has changed drastically this decade. These days, we no longer have to be in the office or even near a computer to be at work or in touch. With smartphones that are ever-more ubiquitous and ever-smarter, along with ultra-light laptops and WiFi in planes, trains, and automobiles, we can reply to our colleagues on the go and are accessible anywhere.

FORGETTING: "The web means the end of forgetting," wrote the New York Times earlier this year. "The Internet records everything and forgets nothing." Indeed, increasingly there's a digital copy of everything we do: the emails we send, the phone calls we make, the places we go, the pictures we take, the opinions we write.

BOOKSTORES: The last decade has brought bad news for bookstore-browsing bookworms. The rise of online retailers like Amazon, which offers bargain-basement prices on books and other items, and the increasing popularity of ebooks has put pressure on bookstores and put many of them out of business.

WATCHES: While wristwatches are certainly still a style statement and/or status symbol for many, they've increasingly been replaced by cellphones, laptops, and other gadgets, which tell time and eliminate the need for an extra accessory.

PHONE SEX VIA 1-900 NUMBERS: Over the last ten years, the Internet has proved a boon to the porn industry--while also providing a plethora of free XXX content--and even as the web has disrupted the adult industry's business model, it has also opened up new frontiers, such as adult video chats on webcams that provide a more "intimate" experience than 1-900 numbers.

MAPS: GPS devices keep getting cheaper, smaller, and more portable. We have GPS in our cars and on our phones. We use mobile maps for everything from cross-country trips to tracking down restaurants, and employ services like Google Maps and Mapquest to give us customized routes. Asking for directions, carrying around paper maps, and even getting lost are all increasingly obsolete.

CALLING: Text messaging, BlackBerry Messaging, Instant Messaging, Tweeting, Facebook messaging, and emailing have taken over communication and opened up new avenues for getting in touch. The popularity of text messaging is gradually edging out calling (and even talking face to face).

NEWSPAPER CLASSIFIEDS: The days are gone when you have to buy a bunch of newsprint just to see what's for sale.

DIAL-UP INTERNET: While not everyone is on broadband, it won't be long before dial-up Internet goes the way of the plug-in phone.

ENCYCLOPEDIAS: Users have traded Britannicas on the bookshelf for the collaboratively-built, online-only Wikipedia.

CDs: First records, then 8-track, then cassette, then CDs -- replacing your music collection used to be an expensive pastime. Now it's cheap(er) and as close as the nearest Internet connection.

WIRED PHONES: While many still rely on landlines--especially in areas where cellphone service is spotty--users are increasingly unplugging.

FILM & FILM CAMERAS: Digital cameras--on phones, point-and-shoots, or computers--are capturing memories, instantly and cheaply, in place of film cameras.

YELLOW PAGES & ADDRESS BOOKS: There was a time when "let your fingers do the walking" meant opening a phone book -- not typing in a search query. Phone books, address books, and the Yellow Pages have been made obsolete, their information transferred from paper onto smartphones, and the web.

CATALOGS: Earlier this decade, "spam" came through the mail slot, not into your inbox. Times have changed.

FAX MACHINES: Can you say "scan," ".pdf" and "email?"

WIRES: Wireless internet, wireless updating, wireless downloads, wireless charging, wireless headphones: Although wires are still around (for now!), they're well on their way to being a thing of the past.

HAND-WRITTEN LETTERS: For that matter, hand-written anything. Love letters, thank you notes, and invitations have gone being hand-written to typed, and from the mailbox to the inbox. When was the last time you wrote cursive? In fact, do you even know what the word "cursive" means?

BOOKS, MAGAZINES & NEWSPAPERS: Like video tape, words written on dead trees are on their way out. Sure, there may be books -- but for those born today, stores that exist solely to sell them will be as numerous as record stores are now.

ONE PICTURE TO A FRAME: Such a waste of wall/counter/desk space to have a separate frame around each picture. Eight gigabytes of pictures and/or video in a digital frame encompassing every person you've ever met and everything you've ever done -- now, that's efficient. Especially compared to what we used to do: put our friends and relatives together in a room and force them to watch what we called a "slide show" or "home movies."

TALKING TO ONE PERSON AT A TIME: Remember when it was rude to be with one person while talking to another on the phone? Kids born today will just assume that you're supposed to use texting to maintain contact with five or six other people while pretending to pay attention to the person you happen to be physically next to.

RETIREMENT PLANS: Yes, Johnny, there was a time when all you had to do was work at the same place for 20 years and they'd send you a check every month for as long as you lived. In fact, some companies would even pay your medical bills, too!

MOVIE RENTAL STORES: You actually got in your car and drove someplace just to rent a movie?

LONG DISTANCE: Thanks to the Internet, the days of paying more to talk to somebody in the next city, state, or even country are limited.

FORGOTTEN FRIENDS: Remember when an old friend would bring up someone you went to high school with, and you'd say, "Oh yeah, I forgot about them!" The next generation will automatically be in touch with everyone they've ever known even slightly via Facebook.

FORGOTTEN ANYTHING ELSE: Kids born this year will never know what it was like to stand in a bar and incessantly argue the unknowable. Today the world's collective knowledge is on the computer in your pocket or purse. And since you have it with you at all times, why bother remembering anything?

THE EVENING NEWS: The news is on 24/7. And if you're not home to watch it, that's OK -- it's on the smartphone in your pocket.

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