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Practical Techie: Obsolete tech we must say goodbye to forever in ’21

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Cybernauts want to forget 2020 as fast as possible, yet as we enter the second decade of the 21st Century, it’s also time to say goodbye to technologies that will not be around for long.  

Soon to be gone with the thankless 2020 are devices and tech that was necessary for our work routine, daily living or even entertainment, but are no longer practical.

OBSOLETE — The fax machine has its days numbered. New tech such as email systems, mobile scanning applications, instant messages on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram, have put the machine into disuse.

Another technology falling into rigor mortis is long distance telephone calls. Applications like WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype, Meet and Streamyard.com all but totally buried so-called long distance telephony. And it is that the internet has shrunk the terrestrial globe in a very virtual way by satellite telecommunications.

BIOMETRY — We will also have to say goodbye soon to keys that open mechanical locks. The toothed keys are yet to be thrown away, but they are fast replaced by electronic sensors integrated into home door locks.

In fact, there are already biometric locks in industrial companies, military hospitals, universities, prisons and commercial banks. They read the fingerprints, the face or the retina of the users and open secret doors, vaults, cabinets and files.

PARKING — Another device on the verge of disappearance is the parking meter with coins. This will bring joy to many. But it is not that we will stop paying to park. It is that there will be more and more electronic integration of garage and street parking spaces to the digital cloud. At the very least, the new technology will prevent us from forgetting to toss in extra loose change, because electronic meters work with digital payment and will also remind us via our mobile phone when the time is coming up to recharge the meter. Remotely.

REARVIEWS — An additional candidate for the antique dealer will be the rear view mirror on vehicles. 360-degree video cameras will replace them in even the lowest model priced car.

It’s interesting to note that reverse parking cameras were first featured in Buick’s Centurion concept car in 1956. But the technology didn’t trickle down to mainstream cars until 2000, when Nissan introduced its luxury Infiniti Q45. Since then, all cars have at least a wide angle cam.

While you’re at it, also say bye soon to your driver’s license. They will be replaced by electronic magnetic devices like in credit cards and travel passports.

SONICS — The world of personal electronic files will be gone, or rather, migrate to the cloud with cryptic keywords and digital conducts that now protect data against intruders and hackers.

Instead of secret words, personal files will be accessed by looking at the device. As with biometric locks, the machine will recognize us as an authorized user, it will say good morning and we will access our files. And let’s all hope cybercriminals find it difficult to clone our physical features.

Another accessory already on the landfill are cord headphones. Also, there will soon be no more drawers or purses with tangled headphones. Bluetooth technology has taken care of cutting the cables. Apple Airpods. In 2019 set the road to death for any connected hearing devices.

VIRTUALS — By the middle of this century there will be no metal mailboxes on the streets or in houses, and no postal service to fill them. All mail will be virtual- or drone-delivered. The TV remote control will go away. Commands will be by spoken instructions.

Injection and tattoo needles will go down the drain of the past replaced by laser rays. Oral medications and vaccines will be also be laser infusion. And joy! In two decades, the waiting lines in medical offices, government and service companies will disappear. No more queues, no more fights with the abusers who sneak in. Cues will be managed electronically. That is truly a promising future.

WALLETS — No one soon will fear losing their wallet as by 2025 exchanging money will be electronic. Again, Apple Pay and Apple Wallet set the course for the future.

In no time, our finances, bank accounts, credit cards, gift cards, identity documents, health cards, everything will be stored in the digital cloud. Cash registers are out, replaced slowly by ATM systems.

Say goodbye to any coin-operated public telephone booth still around. Most are disconnected or vandalized. And speaking of coins, copper pennies are already out. The last one was made in 1982 because the metal is too expensive on today’s markets. They are all zinc now with a very thin copper plating, practically worthless.

No more pennies for our thoughts.

Author Details
Author Rafael Matos is a veteran journalist, a professor of digital narratives and university mentor. He may be contacted at cccrafael@gmail.com.
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