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Friday, December 26, 2008

The Famine Of 2009

By Stranded Wind
November 27, 2008

Last week I received a very concerned call from South Dakota farmer and agronomist Bryan Lutter.  “Neal, we’re out of propane!” I figured this was personal distress he and his family farm over three square miles of land and I know this has been a tough year for many people. He promptly corrected my misconception when I tried to console him. “No, everybody is out, all three grain elevators, we can’t get fuel for the bins, and we’re coming in real wet this year.”

There are equally dramatic issues due to the bankruptcy of Verasun and the apparent insolvency of the nation’s largest private crop insurance program. Payments that would have come in June or July of a normal year are still not dispersed at the end of November and this has grim implications for next year’s crop.

I started digging into the details and unless I’m badly mistaken people are going to be starving in 2009 over causes and conditions being set down right now. It’s a complex, interlocking issue, and I hope I’ve done a good job explaining it below the fold ...

(I just submitted my personal story and a vision for the nation at change dot gov - you can see my vision for this problem HERE)

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Posted by Elvis on 12/26/08 •
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas 2008 Blues

Unemployment claims highest since ‘82

Number of Americans filing for state unemployment benefits rises to a 26-year high of 586,000, according to Labor Department.

By Kenneth Musante
CNN Money
December 24, 2008

The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits rose to a 26-year high last week, according to a government report released Wednesday.

The Labor Department said that initial filings for state jobless benefits rose to 586,000 for the week ended Dec. 20. That was an increase of 30,000 from the 556,000 revised figure for the prior week, and up from a recent high of 575,000 claims reported earlier this month.

Wednesday’s report revealed the highest number of jobless claims since Nov. 27, 1982 when initial filings hit 612,000.

This week, the report was released a day early due to the Christmas holiday on Thursday.

Economists were expecting jobless claims to rise to only 558,000, according to a poll by Briefing.com.

Over the past four weeks, new unemployment claims have risen to an average of 558,000 a week, up 13,750 from the revised moving average of 544,250 reported last week.

The four-week moving average is designed to smooth out some of the week-by-week fluctuations in initial claims statistics, and give a broader view of the U.S. job market.

The number of people continuing to collect unemployment declined to 4.37 million in the week ended Dec. 13, the most recent data available. The measure was a decrease of 17,000 from the preceding week’s revised level of 4.39 million.

Over the previous four weeks the number of people on unemployment averaged 4.32 million a week, the government said.

The number of new jobless claims rose the most in Oklahoma, rising by 1,590, the Labor Department said.

North Carolina saw jobless claims fall the most, by 20,526, due to fewer layoffs in the construction, manufacturing and materials industries.

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Posted by Elvis on 12/24/08 •
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The Worst Interview Mistakes To Avoid

By Ross Macpherson, Resume Writer & Career Success Coach
Awesome Interviews

I have something important to remind you… The interview, not the resume, determines who gets the job!

So many people treat the interview as if it will take care of itself, and therefore they make the same critical errors. The fact is that far more interviews are LOST than won, so I want to show you the 5 biggest mistakes to avoid. Follow this advice and you’re already ahead of the game.

1. Not preparing properly

Too many people I coach, those that aren’t getting any job offers, are walking in to their interviews ill-equipped and ill-prepared to make a great impression. Good preparation means doing intelligent and thoughtful research so that you know what you need to know about the company, knowing yourself and what you specifically can offer to this company in this role, and practicing to the point that you can handle virtually any question they throw at you.

2. Not thinking “strategically”

Many people are under the mistaken impression that it’s up to the interviewer to figure out if you’re the best candidate. This is not true. It’s your job to prove that you are the best candidate. Your goal is to make certain that they hear how qualified you are by the end of the interview

Most people just hope an interview goes well, but if you want to succeed in an interview you have to think strategically. An interview is a competition - there’s only one winner, and you need to think “What do I need to do and say in this interview to be the best candidate? What do they need to hear to select me?” Instead of hoping you win, think strategically and plan to win!

3. Not starting strong

Here’s the fact - it takes 3 minutes for the interviewer to make his/her first impression. Starting strong means greeting the interviewer with confidence, being personable, conducting yourself professionally, and nailing the first couple questions (in my opinion, “Tell me about yourself” is often the most important question they ask, and one of the most important questions you need to know how to answer well).

4. Not being able to “articulate” your value

Knowing your specific value to this company in this role is a big part of your preparation, but being able to then articulate this value in a clear, professional, and intelligent manner is just as important. It boils down to just good communications skills, and there are two ways to improve your communication skills in an interview: 1) practice or 2) get the help of a professional interview coach, and then practice some more.

5. Not putting their mind at ease

With most job opportunities there may be at least one qualification that you don’t have - maybe its lack of industry experience, lack of a degree or specific accreditation they’ve asked for, lack of enough experience in a certain skill, it could be anything.

In interviews, many people are screened out for something they lack rather than the other way around. So they need to believe that if you don’t have it, you can learn it quickly, or you’ll get it, or you have another skill that makes up for it. Don’t give them the opportunity to make a big deal out of something you lack—put their mind at ease, find an answer that eliminates their concern, and then they’ll select you based on what you can offer rather than eliminate you for something you can’t.

Remember, a superior resume is valuable because it gets you the interview—but superior interviewing skills will get you the job! Improve your interviewing skills, learn the best practices and strategies to succeed, and you will consistently get the offers you want.

Ross Macpherson is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and Career Success Coach with over 12 years of experience in career development and training. Ross is described as “one of the best resume writers anywhere ... period,” his work can be found in 9 leading “how to” career books and industry publications including Awesome Interviews: Advanced Strategies to Ace any Interview and Get the Job Offer! The only program available dedicated to teaching you advanced interviewing techniques. To learn more, go to AwesomeInterviews.com .

What if you could make your phone ring with employers you chose asking to interview you? Wouldn’t it be great to find jobs that never make it to the newspaper or online? Would you like to have nearly ZERO competition from other job hunters when you interview? Now you can!

If you want a fantastic job in the next 30 days, we recommend using JobsByFax. Select your desired company types, industry and locality, and JobsByFax will fax your resume directly to 1000’s of hiring managers matching your criteria. You won’t get lost in email. In fact, it’s proven that faxing 1000 resumes to the right hiring managers can yield from 10 to 50 quality responses! Find out more at JobsByFax.

Strategies to ace any interview and get the job!

The truth is, there are specific strategies, tips, and tricks to make a great impression and ace any interview. Most of us know the basics to interviewing, but what are the advanced strategies, the advanced tips and tricks that make the difference between being the one they pick or not.

Ross Macpherson, a top career expert who works with senior executives across North America, has put together a program called “Awesome Interviews: Advanced Strategies to Ace Any Interview and Get the Job Offer”. This program contains over 2 hours of advanced interview techniques along with a 50+ page workbook, articles, FAQs, and is the only program of its kind that tackles only the advanced strategies that get people job offers.

Posted by Elvis on 12/24/08 •
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Boomers Bad Rap

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Baby Boomers out, “Cuspers” In.

By Marian Salzma
December 24, 2008

Rarely has there been a year when so many things went out of style in such a short time: not just investment bankers, gas-guzzling vehicles, corporate jets, conspicuous consumption and political polarization, but also a whole generation.

After strutting and tub-thumping and preening their way across the high ground of politics, media, culture and finance for 30 years, baby boomers have gone from top dogs to scapegoats in barely a year.

As baby boomers lose their authority and appeal, generational power is shifting one notch down: to cuspers (born roughly 1954-1965), who arrived in style in 2008 with their first truly major figure, Barack Obama (born 1961).

George W. Bush, born in 1946 at the start of the postwar baby boom for which his generation is named, will leave office with the lowest approval ratings since Richard Nixon was president. As Thomas Friedman has written, Bush epitomizes what’s now seen as “The Greediest Generation.”

Who’s to blame for the economy going into serious decline?

The short and easy answer is greedy boomers. This is the generation that knew better than their cautious, fuddy-duddy parents, the generation that protested, that had ideals and marched to the beat of defiant music: “Street Fighting Man,” “We Want the World and We Want It Now,” “Hope I Die Before I Get Old.”

It’s the generation that pursued pleasure, proclaimed “I can have it all” and refused to grow old—“50 is the new 30,” etc.

And now, after years of taking credit for changing the world, baby boomers are taking the rap for the reversal of fortune that’s shaking the world.

Whatever history may decide, today’s commentators and pundits of all ages have decided that boomers, the dominant cohort in many developed countries, are guilty. And whether they’re really to blame, what counts is that they look like they are. Their profile fits.

Like a big-name Hollywood director who’s lived on the edge too long, caused one too many scandals and made one too many turkeys, suddenly the boomers are the generation no one wants to be associated with.

Cuspers, the age cohort that have been living in the shadow of the boomers, now have even more reasons to stake out their own separate identity and values.

It’s taken a long time for this rising demographic to be recognized as a distinct generation in its own right. They’ve been called “late boomers” because they missed the formative boomer experiences of the ‘60s, such as civil rights and anti-war protests.

They’ve been called tweeners or cuspers because they straddle the divide between Boomers and Gen X. American social commentator Jonathan Pontell has worked hard to establish their identity as Generation Jones.

There’s still debate about whether cuspers are even a generation apart from boomers and where the generational boundaries lie. But those arguments miss the key point, which is that Americans want change.

In Obama, they see the hopeful prospect of a new generation taking over. And in these dark days, they’re hoping against hope that his generation can usher in new, better values to guide the nation. His victory has been portrayed as the end of Vietnam War politics and the 1960s “culture wars.”

About half those Obama named to major posts in the new administration are also cuspers including the proposed energy czar, education secretary, treasury secretary and U.N. ambassador. Cuspers may have another poster child if Caroline Kennedy, born in 1957, is named to the New York Senate seat that Hillary Clinton is expected to vacate.

Obama himself has made clear he thinks in terms of generational difference.

He has spoken of carrying on the work of the “Moses generation”—the Martin Luther King Jr. generation—whose successors he has referred to as the “Joshua generation.” His activists rallied under the banner of Generation Obama, and his campaign’s ability to mobilize the youth vote proved decisive in his victory.

Whether we call them cuspers, Generation Jones or Generation Obama, there are enigmas and paradoxes within this generation and its fans. They respond to Biblical imagery, but they’re not dogmatic in their faith.

They value traditional notions of family but see men and women as equals in parenting. They go back to older American values—civility, community, responsibility—yet keenly embrace technology and use the Internet naturally.

In fact, embracing digital technology is one of the telling dividers between boomers and cuspers. It’s no coincidence that leading-edge Cuspers such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Tim-Berners Lee, all born in 1955, helped create the digital universe cuspers and younger generations now inhabit as a matter of course.

It’s also telling that Gates and wife, Melinda, another cusper, are the parents of philanthro-capitalism.

For marketers and brand specialists, cuspers are a fast-emerging challenger brand that’s fascinating to watch as it defines itself and attracts fans.

Brand attributes once seen as disadvantages—living in the shadow of boomers, a lack of major formative experiences, no “heroic” narrative—have turned out to be advantages as the boomer brand loses its sheen. The cusper brand can define itself by what it’s not: greedy, selfish, confrontational, hung up on past battles.

The cusper generation is as much an ideal as it is a demographic group, and that appeal extends well beyond the birth years that define it. Watch out for tweets (messages on the Twitter platform) that proclaim “Ich bin ein cusper.”

Marian Salzman is chief marketing officer and a partner at Porter Novelli Worldwide and is co-author of “The Future of Men” and “Next Now.” She was named among the “top five trendspotters” by VNU in 2004 and has been credited with popularizing the term “metrosexuality.” She blogs at HERE.

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Why Baby Boomer Bashing Is All the Rage for Republicans These Days
Ageism is on the rise in GOP talking points.

By Susan Zakin
Alternet

July 12, 2013

“The average Republican primary voter is deceased,” Frank Luntz, Fox News commentator and GOP uber-pollster, said in February.

His advice for wooing younger voters? “Don’t give them terminology they don;t understand. Its about communicating a simple phrase, three words: I get it.”

Luntz was sharing his prescription for dumbing down political rhetoric with outlier tea party candidate Allen West on a new website called NEXT GENERATION TV, but as The New York Times reported June 29, GOP stalwarts are taking his advice, COURTING MILLENIALS, the 80 million potential voters born from about 1980 to 2000, mostly by cracking wise about Democrats of a certain age. Electing Hillary Clinton would be like going back in time, Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s campaign strategist, told reporters: She’s been around since the 70s. Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell compared the 2016 Democratic field to a rerun of “The Golden Girls.”

The nasty edge of Republican rhetoric isn’t new, but Luntz, a master of the zeitgeist, is exploiting fears that run deeper than election strategy. Ironically, thrice-married serial cheater Newt Gingrich introduced the backlash against baby boomers, rallying conservatives against counterculture permissiveness in the 1990s. But boomer bashing has taken on a new character. With the future looking bleaker all the time, Americans are externalizing their fears. Trashing people over 40 - or worse, 50 - is not only socially acceptable, but a form of self-protection.

Don’t fret: It’s not you whose tech skills are outdated, or whose liberal arts education makes you dead weight in The New New Economy. It’s those pathetic former hipsters who followed their bliss instead of covering their asses. Job discrimination against boomers is rampant, from the help wanted ads that tell you not to apply if you don’t want to use Dropbox to the kiss-off phrase delivered to one of my friends: “Sorry, but were looking for some leadership from the millennials.”

Leadership? Be careful what you wish for. This is the generation of Mark Zuckerberg and Edward Snowden. Zuckerberg’s embarrassing forays into politics have revealed the ruthlessly self-serving mentality we hoped was the inaccurate part of the film “The Social Network.” Snowden is, in many ways, the more interesting face of his generation. According to research by the dean of Washington, D.C., political analysts, Charlie Cook (born in 1953), millennials are distinguished by a lack of faith, not only in government, but in social institutions in general.

Not exactly news to anyone who has struck up a conversation while quaffing a microbrew at his or her local watering hole. Here in Montgomery County, Md., where I’ve been spending considerable time this year, every man under the age of 30 seems to be calling himself a libertarian. Yet Maryland is one of the most reliably progressive states in the U.S. and with an ordinance requiring stores to charge an extra five cents for every shopping bag, in terms of policy, if not ambience, Montgomery County is the Berkeley of the east.

To paraphrase Harper’s columnist Thomas Frank, whose 2004 book “Whats the Matter With Kansas?” explained why Americans were voting against their own interests (its culture, stupid), what’s the matter with Montgomery County? Why are millennials falling for the tired rhetoric of the tea party and Kentuckys other senator, Rand Paul?

It’s corruption, stupid. Like the majority of 60s radicals, who came from liberal families, millennials feel betrayed by their parents’ generation. Instead of placing the blame on the doorsteps of K Street lobbyists, many see government as the problem.

Government has obviously become a place where opportunistic people go to get rich,Ӕ said a 32-year-old Internet entrepreneur. Most millennials know only Bill Clinton, who seemed kind of cool until it turned out he was a shill for corporations and the banking lobby, and Bush, who was unabashedly awful as we all know. Then thereӒs Obama, who seemed great until he turned out to be a lying, spying, bailer-out who gets all his advice from the same lobbyists he promised over and over will not work in my White House.ђ

That disenchantment is emerging in voting numbers. In 2008, Barack Obama won the 18-29 vote by 34 points. But in 2012, as disappointment with his performance rose, Obama’s edge among these voters dropped to 23 percent. The erosion of support wasnt lost on Republicans. Like Latinos, the millennials are considered up for grabs in 2016.

Although the feeling of betrayal is understandable, there is something regressive and childlike about ascribing so much power to your parents. Viewing history through the lens of a generation has its limits. Idealists are always flawed, and every generation has its complement of hustlers, toadies and arrivistes. Historical forces larger than the individual determine winners and losers: in this case, globalization, technology, and America’s rise and fall as an imperial power.

What few millennials seem to realize is that libertarian hero Ronald Reagans “transformative” presidency began the decline of civil society in the U.S. Perhaps that’s too much history for an ahistorical generation. What Reagan, a farm boy turned Southern Californian, transformedӔ was the traditional anti-government bias of the American West into a social movement. By defunding schools, mental health services and health care, all the things that make people feel good about government, the Reagan administration laid the groundwork not only for todays disaffection with the rule of law, but, in a worst-case scenario, for a failed state.

And, yes, it is scary that Obama found this impressive. But it is hardly the work of the baby boomers, who, other than the egregious Peggy Noonan, roundly despised Reagan. It is also worth noting that the Republicans bashing Hillary ClintonҒs generation are hardly riding a skateboard to work. McConnell is 71, and Stevens, a Gatsby-like character who is cagey about details of his past, was born sometime around 1954. Luntz, a mere stripling, was born in 1962, at the tail end of the baby boom.

But its not surprising that both the Republicans and Hillary Clinton, who recently opened a Twitter account, are courting younger voters. The millennial generation is, in fact, the result of a second baby boom. Millennials are the second-largest age demographic group in the U.S. and share many of the boomerҒs dilemmas. By placing Americas current woes at the boomer doorstep, Luntz and the GOP (note: stands for Grand Old Party) are adopting the time-honored tactic of divide and conquer.

But Rand Paul libertarianism is merely the newest iteration of the cargo cult mentality described by Frank in “Whats the Matter With Kansas?” Cultural icons and politicians might talk about abortion and religion, Frank wrote, but their real agenda was smashing the welfare state, reducing the tax burden on corporations and the wealthy, and generally bringing Americas wealth distribution back to the 19th century. The great irony is that the backlash against government was a working-class movement that has done incalculable, historic harm to working-class people.

It’s understandable that if you grew up with Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck fulminating on your TV and you don’t read a lot, your historical perspective on big government might be lacking. But if there’s one thing the millennials understand, its that, in the words of baby boomer Cyndi Lauper, MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING. By the time the millennials grew out of diapers, the relative security of American life in the 1960s and 1970s had been replaced by burgeoning economic anxieties. More than half of millennials report feeling anxious, and 65 percent said their lives are full of uncertainty. In the unimaginable event that they retire, they’re not sanguine about pulling down those Social Security payments. Basically, one millennial wrote on the website JEZEBEL, they’re anticipating a future of living with their parents and managing a frozen banana stand.

The future is even bleaker for boomers. Older workers have seen the largest proportionate increase in unemployment in the recent economic downturn. They’re also the least likely to be rehired. A worker between 50 and 61 who has been unemployed for 17 months has only about a 9 percent CHANCE of FINDING A JOB in the next three months. In other words, if youre a boomer and you lose your job, you need to start a business - if you’re not too depressed.

Age discrimination isn’t just bad for boomers. Americans can claim Social Security at 62, if they’re willing to take a cut in payments. Between March 2008 and March 2013, 1.4 million more Americans opted for Social Security than expected, many of them people 62 and up who had given up on getting a job. If these early adopters were included in the unemployment statistics, the rate of joblessness in 2010 would have been 10.4, not 9.8, the highest rate since 1983.

With Social Security coffers taking a hit, there’s an obvious social cost to age discrimination. But Social Security isn’t enough for most people to live on, and if you claim it at 62, your benefits are sharply reduced. The long-term costs of boomer unemployment are almost unimaginable. By 2020, millions of people over 70 who haven’t saved the requisite $1 million plus will be hitting the skids. Thats not even taking into account the loss of human capital, combined with the personal misery - an entire class of energetic, knowledgeable, still-subversive baby boomers suddenly feeling like they’re in a bad remake of “Soylent Green.”

Marginalizing baby boomers is a bad idea for millennials, too. Why? To quote Luntz: “We get it. We know what’s the matter with Kansas. We understand that leaning in won’t help women - or anybody. You need us. Any idiot can use the file hosting service Dropbox; its about what you put into Dropbox. And, not that it matters, except it kind of does, we’re as hip as you are. Or hipper.” (The same friend passed over with the borderline actionable phrase about millennial leadership sang karaoke in England with Annie Lennox, who told him he should have stuck with rock nђ roll instead of becoming an executive director.)

As scholar Martin Jones defined it, “paraphrasing post-colonialist intellectual Edward Said, othering consists of emphasizing the perceived weaknesses of marginalized groups as a way of stressing the alleged strength of those in positions of power.” If millennials buy into Luntzs talking points, they won’t be rebelling - they’ll be toadying to power.

Whats surprising, given their history of political activism, is how few baby boomers are willing to speak out publicly about the discrimination theyҒre facing. There are several reasons. Boomers who have managed to hang onto their jobs are only starting to become aware of the situation, as, one by one, they or their friends face the terrifying prospect of permanent unemployment, or piecing together part-time work without security or benefits.

For the others, it’s simply fear. Millennial gripes that boomers have sucked up all the good jobs aren’t wrong. But many of us became artists or mountain climbers or ran music stores. Were facing the same middle-of-the-night terrors as millennials, only we may not get another chance. We could have saved ourselves if only we had bowed down to The Man. Now, even if weҒre willing to sell out, its probably too late.

For many boomers who followed that proverbial bliss (damn you, Joseph Campbell!) the future is too terrifying to contemplate. Since the recession, median wealth for people 55 to 74 declined by approximately 15 percent. More than 23 million Americans over 60 are now considered economically insecure, and the OLDER AMERICANS ACT, which provides job training, preventive health care, transportation, meals and protection from financial exploitation, just got smacked down by sequestration, with $40 million slashed from meal programs alone. Medicare costs are certain to rise as a result of these cutbacks, making it a wider target for tea party Republicans.

Nobody over 50 wants to TALK ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING because it will hurt their chances of getting a job. Along with that practical, if craven, fear is self-delusion straight out of Sunset Boulevard. After a lifetime of hard work in aerobics class (and now Pilates), boomers have aged better than our parents. Because our whole identity rested on the idea that we were rebels, perhaps we might be forgiven the illusion that were forever young.

We’re not alone. My friends daughter, who is 13, tells us that she’ll never get old because shell have plastic surgery just like Kim Kardashian. I suspect that many millennials share her delusion, and ours, if only because getting older is too scary to think about.

Could it be that we all have something in common?

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Posted by Elvis on 12/24/08 •
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

InfoWorld’s 10 Things That Won’t Survive The Recession

Tight times, and budgets, will hasten the end for some things

By Mike Elgan
InfoWorld
December 23, 2008

The government says we’ve been in a recession for the past year. Experts say it’ll be at least another year before it’s over. And everybody says it’s the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Nice sound bite. What does that mean?

Who knows? We can be sure that this downturn will differ totally from the Depression, and also different from the many recessions we’ve suffered every decade or every other decade since the ‘30s. I’m not an economist or a historian, but it seems to me that this recession will be something unprecedented.

One reason is that that there was no Internet or mobile technology in the 1930s. That means individual people and companies have very low-cost, high-efficiency alternatives for doing a wide range of activities. That will accelerate the demise of those things fated to be replaced anyway.

Here are 10 things that I believe won’t survive the recession.

1. Free tech support

The practice still employed by some companies of paying humans to answer phones and solve technical problems with hardware or software purchased for consumers will become a thing of the past. PCs, laptops, and hardware peripherals, as well as application software—these categories will be purchased like airline tickets, with price becoming the sole criteria for many buyers. In order to compete on price, companies who now offer real tech support will replace it with message boards (users helping users), wikis, wizards, software-based troubleshooting tools, and other unsatisfying alternatives.

2. Wi-Fi you have to pay for

Everyone is going to share the cost of public Wi-Fi because the penny-pinching public will gravitate to places that offer “free” Wi-Fi. Companies that charge extra for Wi-Fi will see their iPhone, BlackBerry, and netbook-toting customers—i.e., everybody—taking business elsewhere. The only place you’ll pay for Wi-Fi will be on an airplane.

3. Landline phones

Digital phone bundles for homes (where TV, home networking, and landline phone service are offered in a total package) will keep the landline idea alive for a while, but as millions of households drop their cable TV services and as consumers look to cut all needless costs, the trend toward dropping landline service in favor of cell phone service only will accelerate until it’s totally mainstream, and only grandma still has a landline phone.

4. Movie rental stores

The idea of retail stores where you drive there, pick a movie, stand in line, and drive home with it will become a quaint relic of the new fin de siecle (look it up!). The new old way to get movies will be discs by mail, and the new, new way will be downloading.

5. Web 2.0 companies without a business plan

The era when Web-based companies could emerge and grow on venture capital, collecting eyeballs and members at a rapid clip and deferring the business plan until later are dead and gone. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Twitter. Sand Hill Road-style venture capital is shrinking toward nothing, and investors in general will be hard to come by. Those few remaining investors will want to see real, solid business plans before the first dollar is wired to any startup’s bank.

6. Most companies in Silicon Valley

Tech company failures and mergers will leave the industry with a low two-digit percentage (maybe 25 percent) of the total number of companies now in existence. Like the automobile industry, which had more than 200 car makers in the 1920s and emerged from the Depression with just a few, Silicon Valley is in for some serious contraction. The difference is that the auto industry ended up with the Big Three, whereas the number of tech companies will grow dramatically again during the next boom.

7. Palm Inc.

Elevation Partners, which has among its principals U2 lead singer Bono, pumped a whopping $100 million into the failing Palm Inc. this week.

The idea is to give the company time to release its forthcoming Nova operating system, which will take the cell phone world by storm and give Apple a run for its money. It would have been far more efficient, however, to just flush that money down the toilet. With the iPhone setting the handset interface agenda, BlackBerry maker RIM kicking butt in the businesses market, and Google stirring up trouble with its Android platform, this is no time for a clueless company like Palm to be introducing a new operating system. By this time next year, Palm will be gone. And so might Elevation Partners.

8. Yahoo

Yahoo is another company that can’t seem to do anything right. Or, at least, can’t compete with Google. Yahoo will be acquired by someone, and its brand will become an empty shell—used for some inane set of services but appreciated only by armchair historians (joining the ranks of Netscape, Napster, and Commodore).

9. Half of all retail stores

Many retail STORES are obsolete and will be replaced by online competitors. Entire malls will become ghost towns. By this time next year, most video game stores, book stores and toy stores—as well as many other categories—will simply vanish. Amazon.com will grow and grow.

10. Satellite radio

I’m sorry, Howard Stern. It’s over. The newly merged Sirius XM Radio simply cannot sustain its losses. The company is already deeply in debt and would need to dramatically increase subscribers over the next six months in order to meet its debt obligations. Unfortunately, new car sales, where a huge percentage of satellite radios are sold, are in the gutter and stand-alone subscriptions are way down.

Change is hard. But efficiency is good. While boom years gives us radical innovation and improve consumer choice, recessions help us focus on what’s really important and accelerate the demise of technologies and companies that are already obsolete.

So say good-bye to these 10 things, and say hello (eventually) to a new economy, a new boom and a new way of doing things.

Mike Elgan writes about technology and global tech culture. He blogs about the technology needs, desires and successes of mobile warriors in his Computerworld blog, The World Is My Office. Contact Mike at mike.elgan at elgan.com, follow him on Twitter or his blog, The Raw Feed. Computerworld is an InfoWorld affiliate.

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Posted by Elvis on 12/23/08 •
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