Seven things that will be replaced soon


WEB DESK: Technology has been diversifying and replacing everything around us. Nearly 10 years back, there was a time when we had huge collections of cassettes then, CDs, then DVDs but now the trend has completely changed.

Eliminating the settled trend is not that easy or so quick or so complete, but emerging technologies and changing practices are sounding the death signal for other familiar items.

Check out these seven that we’ll be saying goodbye too soon.

The Plow

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Few things are as symbolic of farming as the moldboard plow, but the truth is, the practice of “turning the soil” is dying off.

Modern farmers have little use for it. It provides a deep tillage that turns up too much soil, encouraging erosion because the plow leaves no plant material on the surface to stop wind and rain water from carrying the soil away. It also requires a huge amount of diesel fuel to plow, compared with other tillage methods, cutting into farmers’ profits. The final straw: It releases more carbon dioxide into the air than other tillage methods.

College Textbooks

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Digital texts figure to yield more bang for the buck than today’s textbooks. Interactive software will test younger pupils’ mastery of basic skills such as arithmetic and create customized lesson plans based on their responses. Older students will be able to take digital notes and even simulate chemistry experiments when bricks-and-mortar labs aren’t handy.

By the end of this decade, digital formats for tablets and e-readers will displace physical books for assigned reading on college campuses, The Kiplinger Letter is forecasting.

The Clutch Pedal

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Every year it seems that an additional car model loses the manual transmission option. Even the Ford F-150 pickup truck can’t be purchased with a stick anymore.

The decline of the manual transmission (in the U.S.) has been decades in the making. Automatics are getting more efficient, with up to nine gear ratios, allowing engines to run at the lowest, most economical speeds.

Among high-performance cars, such as Porsches, “automated” manual shifts are taking hold. They do away with the clutch pedal and use electronics to control shifting instead. The result: Shifting is faster than even for the most talented clutch-and-stick jockey. Plus, the costs on these are coming down.

 Mail Collection Box

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First-class mail volume is plummeting, down 55% from 2004 to 2013. So, around the country, the U.S. Postal Service has been cutting back on those iconic blue collection boxes. The number has fallen by more than half since the mid 1980s. Since it costs time and fuel for mail carriers to stop by each one, the USPS monitors usage and pulls out boxes that don’t see enough traffic.

The Incandescent Light bulb

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The traditional incandescent light bulb that traces its roots back to Thomas Edison is definitely on its way out. As of January 1, 2014, the manufacture and importation of 40- to 100-watt incandescent bulbs became illegal in the U.S.

The lighting industry has moved forward with compact fluorescents, LEDs, halogen bulbs and other technologies.

Your Privacy

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If you are online, you better assume that you already have no privacy and act accordingly. Every mouse click and keystroke is tracked, logged and potentially analyzed and eventually used by Web site product managers, marketers, hackers and others. To use most services, users have to opt-in to lengthy terms and conditions that allow their data to be crunched by all sorts of actors.

The list of tracking devices is set to boom, as sensors are added to appliances, lights, locks, HVAC systems and even trash cans. Other innovations: Using Wi-Fi signals, for instance, to track movements, from where you’re driving or walking down to your heartbeat. Retailers will use the technology to track in minute detail how folks walk around a store and reach for products.

Most of us already carry around an always-on tracking device for which we usually pay good money—a smart phone. Your phone is loaded up with sensors and GPS data, and will soon collect lots of health data, too.

Dial-Up Internet

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According to a study from the Pew Foundation, only 3% of U.S. households went online via a dial-up connection in 2013. Thirteen years before that, only 3% had broadband (Today, 70% have home broadband).

Massive federal spending on broadband initiatives, passed during the last recession to encourage economic recovery, has helped considerably.

 

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