Bob Bestler

Goodbye desktop computer, paper maps and cassette tapes: 21st century, here I come

I mentioned to a computer salesman the other day that I still had a flip phone and could no more use a smart phone than I could fly to the moon. Something like that.

He responded that I needed to join the 21st century and assured me that I soon would.

I didn’t understand — until I read a long list of things that will soon be obsolete. Many of them, I am told, will be replaced by a smart phone app.

A lot of the things are already gone or well on their way to gone.

Have you seen a pay phone lately, the one Superman uses to change? How about an actual key for your hotel room? Still to come: Apps to start your car and to lock up your home.

Are you still getting groceries in a plastic bag? Prepare thyself for a return to paper.

My wife and I are still holding on to a few things that are on their way out.

In a world of laptops, I still cling to a desktop computer. It’s big and clunky and takes up as much room on my desktop as a small Volvo. It’ll be going soon.

And my wife still drives a manual shift car, a Fiat 500, because, she says, only a stick shift feels like a car. I drive it, too. How much of a dinosaur are we? MoneyTalksNews website says only 3.5 percent of the cars sold in the United States are stick shift. Maybe instead of a dinosaur, we’ll soon be driving a collector’s item.

In the process of recent downsizing, I carried all my cassette tapes and VCR tapes and player to Goodwill. Now I’m told I’ll soon be taking my CDs and DVRs. I won’t need the CDs because I will get all the music I want on my swell new smart phone; DVDs are no longer needed because of Amazon and Hulu and Netflix, among others. Blockbuster can tell you all about it.

Cursive, we are told, is on the way out; some schools no longer teach it, but that raises a question: How will our great-grandchildren read our letters?

Speaking of letters, the Postal Service says that between 2011 and 2016 it removed 12,000 blue free-standing mailboxes. Makes sense: Who uses snail mail anyway?

This one’s hard to believe, but apparently shopping malls also may be going the way of the dinosaur as online shopping continues to explode. There’s a cultural shift here, as well, says MoneyTalks: “Malls as a hangout have given way to a more 21st century gathering spot: the coffee house.” Starbucks, anyone?

Fax machines are giving way to electronic transmissions of documents and landline phones are giving way to cellphones. Is it a surprise that more than half of American homes (ours included) rely only on cellphones?

With a smart phone, there’s no longer a need to buy a calculator. Kids don’t have to know math. Just ask Amazon Echo.

Anyone still using paper maps (yes, that would be me) can soon kiss them goodbye. All maps will be on your GPS machine. Well, it saves trees.

And the next time you order checks, don’t order too many. Some stores no longer take checks, and, besides, a swipe of the debit card can tell you instantly where your checking account stands.

Paper boarding passes, theater tickets and even your TV remote control? There’s an app that replaces them all.

So, yes, it appears I’ll be getting a smart phone sooner rather than later. Either that or spend my remaining days in a cave.

Contact Bob Bestler at bestler6@tds.net.

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