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Things that got replaced by the Internet

Once again a blog post about the internet.  you know, it was not long ago when we had a lot of other things that used to do, very poorly.  Things that the internet does very well.  On the internet they call it disruptive, which of course was co-opted by suits and is now business speak (If your boss is a business hipster he or she will be able to use it in several sentences without breaking a sweat).  So here is a list of things the internet replaced.

The Library:

You remember the Library, It’s that idea that since people can’t copy books easily we will house a bunch of books and lend them to friends.  These days that would be called piracy, but that’s a different issue.  The biggest reason we have libraries in the US is because people that got obscenely rich in their business life decided that they should probably give back or else God will invent a new level of Hell just for them.

 Andrew Carnegie being chief of them made a bunch of houses full of books for all people to borrow a book and read it and bring it back.  I’m sure he felt much better about his overall pursuit of wealth.  Well these days it seems like most of the information you want is just available on the internet gratis.  Between piracy and actual online libraries, it seems like the regular library is just a place where you can access the internet.


I love how the news is now so much more about people saying what they saw instead of Journalism students getting paid for their degrees.  People want news and they go online to their favorite one or two websites that tend to agree with their own world view and whatever news is printed there is the news.  Fox lies?  sure they do.  Why not?  People aren’t looking for objectivity anymore, they are looking for people on their side.

Private Investigators:

Ah those lovable old PI’s.  Sam Spade, Magnum, Inch High.  All of these folks would go and find people track down dead beats and shake down the local toughs on your behalf.  Now days you can find out nearly anything you want to on someone just using the internet.  Those few people that aren’t on the internet somehow?  Yeah, they are visible because they AREN’T on the internet.  PI’s I’m sure are alive and well but I’m guessing they are using the internet, and probably sites that you could use yourself.

Phone calls:

Wait, we use cell phones, right?  yeah, that’s true enough, but many phone calls are placed through the same internet that serves you great applications like skype and chat voice.  If you are going international you are probably using skype.  Ya know who the first users of skype were?  George Jettson and Jane his wife.  Yep.  Video phones were being used and I remember Jane even had a made up face mask that she would use on the video phone when she was called too early in the morning.  Seems like a pretty good idea.

Local Access Cable:

Back in the 80’s when cable TV companies started becoming a thing because some people couldn’t get their antenna high enough to get the local TV stations, another idea started coming to the fore.  Local Access or public tv.  Not public tv like PBS, but public like just some guy that gets free time on a particular channel to put up nearly anything they feel like.  Well now thanks to our friendly internet that’s called YouTube and anyone can put up nearly anything.  It’s even easier.

Your Doctor:

Surely you are kidding Shayan, the internet isn’t replacing your doctor, right?  Well no, but how many people go to the internet first when they notice that green rash on their left forearm along with a mysterious 11th finger?  All of them.  Not only that, but you can order a lot of the same tests that your local super expensive clinic will run on you, for your own use.  You might have to buy in bulk but you can administer your own strep test just as easily as the clinic.  So maybe I’m stretching it a bit, but still a lot of the low end maladies are taken care of on line.


I remember driving across the country from city to city.  You’d get the map from the car rental place and then you would drive to the city you were aiming for.  It was kind of a skill to have the general direction and be able to find your way to your next destination with only a few stops along the way.  Fancy people would buy a regional Rand McNally road map.  It would contain all the information you needed to get through the streets to your destination.  After a

After a while we got maps on compact disc and we made itineraries based on them.  They were amazing.  you would actually see where your home address was and it would print out instructions for you.  This made a transition to the WEB.  Finally it ended up on the cell phone which uses the Internet.  I think the only map people use anymore are the big directories at the mall.

The Mall:

I remember that everyone would go to the mall to buy nearly everything they needed that wasn’t groceries.  It was great!  Even some people took first job was at the mall.  some of them were the weekend janitor.  Which basically meant while my friends were hanging out at the mall, I was cleaning up after them.   Well now thanks to the internet, you do most of your shopping online.  No more going anywhere, the stuff you want comes to you.  Sure people still go to the store, but more for convenience than anything else.

Know it all’s:

There was a time when the guy with a great memory was really something.  Seems like that guy knew everything.  Well now that guy is the internet.   His name is Google.  That google guy knows nearly everything.  In fact, if you look up “box of my stuff” (not many people do) You’ll see my blog quite possibly still at the top of the list and a few other references to boxes.  If you don’t know what Google is, you are some kind of strange Luddite and I have no idea how you are reading this blog.


You would think that the postal service is no longer necessary.  Not so!  Every Christmas, the Postal service roars back into existence.  No longer just a shill for junk and the IRS.  Every year the USPS gets on it’s knees and thanks it’s maker that Christmas cards are still best sent in meat space and not on that uncaring area called the Internet.  E-mail.  As far as the post office is concerned; the E stands for Eviscerating.  You can go to and email them from there if you want to offer your condolences.


Time was, you wanted to make a wager, you had to do it in a legal establishment where gambling was legal.  This was LasVegas or later Atlantic City.  Later, casinos sprung up everywhere except Hawaii and Utah, because Native Americans realized that they can probably take money just as easy as states do.  Well now the internet is fighting a war to be the new place to gamble.  Your own home.  If you are a compulsive gambler, how scary is this?  On the other hand if you found gambling a diversion and a destination. You will still tend to want to go on a road trip for the spectacle.  But if you are looking for some action, it’s just a keystroke away.

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