The end of 2009 brings one of those arbitrary milestones that marks the end of a decade, which prompts some of us to look back at the last ten years to see how far we've come and how much has changed. Yes, this is yet another one of those lists.
Here is a list of things we did in 1999 that we either don't do today or at least do much less today. Not surprisingly, things have changed quite a bit.
1. Buy Music on CD's
In 1999, Napster was just getting popular. And while it didn't survive long under the collective weight of litigation by the music industry, it was a harbinger of the death for the recorded CD. Two years later in 2001, Apple introduced the iPod, the first real commercially successful digital music player and the iTunes music store helped to transform the music business and shake it to its core. These days, the movie business is dealing with the same kind of transformation with the DVD business evaporating before their eyes.
2. Write Checks
Do you remember the last time you wrote a honest hand-written check? OK, a few people still use these things, probably more for personal transactions than anything. But in the last ten years, we've gone from using checks a lot to using debit cards
for most of our transactions. With new services like Square
, paper checks are only going to become rarer in the coming years.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/umdrums/ / CC BY-SA 2.0
3. Use Fax Machines
It's hard to imagine anyone using a fax machine for much of anything now. The rare occasion you might need to fax something you're likely dealing with legal documents that need to have a signature. But even digital signatures on PDF's have made this sort of rare.
4. Use Paper Maps
GPS's and online maps have made paper maps obsolete. In 1999 civilian GPS's were rare, expensive and not very accurate. Mostly because of a military technological embargo that was lifted in 2000. Today, cars are sold with cheap accurate GPS's as a standard option. Even smart phones have GPS built in. If your car doesn't have one you can buy one for less than $100. If you don't want to dole out the hundred bucks you can just print out directions for a trip from any number of online map services.