Peeling Tom?

This time he's not peeping but peeling; down to the bone. And, there's two of 'em. What am I on about? The other day my 2016 TomTom satnav stopped recognizing my location. I could still input destinations. Getting me there simply stopped because the device didn't know where it presently was to properly route my trip. Time to replace it. Eight years of service for a ~€300 mini appliance was good form. I was happy so would stay on brand. Time had simply moved on. First, virtually all modern cars come with a built-in nav display. Two, everyone else uses GoogleMaps on their smartphone. As it turned out, Ireland's two main electronics franchises no longer sell any satnavs though dashcams remain popular items so happily stocked. Halfords, our local everything-car resource, had exactly one bottom-of-the-pile discontinued satnav model in store and couldn't order in the bigger versions. Had their vendor account gone cold? Off to Amazon.de it was where my 7-inch TomTom replacement model was in inventory and deliverable within 4 days. As much as I prefer to support local sellers, sometimes they just don't play ball when hurling stones isn't good enough. The latest TomTom models also recognize our Irish Eircode which identifies individual dwellings to well exceed an ordinary zipcode. Just enter a destination's 7-digit Eircode, no city/village, street or house number needed.

Today's rambling isn't about archaic Celtic games though. It's a brief reminder how new tech can render old tech obsolete. DVD players are hanging on. Just so, the vast majority streams Netflix to need no lasers or spinning discs. Laserdiscs long ago joined the dodo as did VHS tape whilst the actual bird is booked for a genetically engineered comeback. Who still remembers floppy discs? Classic watches remain a living anachronism when most people check time on their always-sync'd far more accurate smartphone. Cash remains in circulation. So do portemonnaies. Yet smartphone apps already own a big chunk of transactions as do bank cards to reduce the use of paper money. Analogue radio? Landline telephones? Who could foresee that a pandemic would nearly wipe out movie theatres? Some airlines, car-rental companies, hotels and pubs barely made it through. Others in the hospitality trade had to shut down. What will the global landscape look like in 2050? At the rapid rate of tech development, environmental changes and the rise of AI, I couldn't even begin to visualize potential disruptors. But looking back from there to today could well seem very quaint; if I was still around to see it…