Recently, Carmi Levi posted an article about how printed newspapers are soon going to become a thing of the past. Sadly, having grown up in New York City, and buying the Sunday New York Times for my dad at the local corner store might some day be a memory I will someday, years from now, share with disbelieving children who may grow up in a world where newspapers no longer exist.
Since the advent of the digital era, whose catalyst was the Internet, I’ve seen a lot of things disappear. Several years ago, cassette tapes began to fade as CD’s became easier to manufacture and more popular. Along with it, all the things I used growing up like floppy disks, VCR tapes, blank cassette tapes, and all the now retro devices used to play them.
Recently, Polaroid film was discontinued. It came as a hard blow for me to learn that my years of taking artistic-looking instant pictures were now numbered. I should have seen it coming when I couldn’t find a new Polaroid Instant Camera for purchase anywhere.
I predicted that due to the popularity and increasingly better technology of digital cameras would soon put the film processing industry out of business, I didn’t think it would come to pass as quickly as it did. The other day I was at a Tops Supermarket somewhere in Western New York State, and noticed a sign that stated that film processing had been terminated.
I fear that many of the now retro things I enjoyed will soon be a thing of the past as technology improves. Sure, technology has helped us to be more responsible with the environment, but it has also taken away many of the things I grew to love.
Hand-written or typed letters in the mail which took a few days to arrive have been replaced with instant E-Mail on the Internet. Going to the music store to purchase an album has been replaced with MP3’s which can be purchased and downloaded instantly. Storing word processing files on a floppy disk has been replaced with ultra-fast flash memory drives, which are so massive that 10 years ago nobody even dreamed of such massive amounts of storage.
Recording your favorite TV shows with your VCR has been replaced with electronic recording devices and sites like YouTube. Even recording everyday conversations and daily life now has a digital alternative, with MP3 players that can now record in real-time, and digital cameras that don’t make us wait to get the prints back from the photo-finisher. Radio shows are now being replaced with podcasts. And saddest of all, outdoor sports have now been replaced with video games.
I hope for the sake of my sanity that newspapers stay around for awhile. Being without newspapers would be like taking away the one non-digital form of media I still remember from my childhood. Magazines are next, by the way; or at least that’s my prediction as the Internet developers now have an electronic version of them in the works.