Daddy what is a flash light?

Outta this world though: I'm so sci-fi
And I don't sit still I keep it moving like a drive-by - Drake

In the past couple of years there has been a common theme in the media. Atricles about how software is eating the world and the software revolution. Being smack in the middle of it often makes me lose actual perspective of the transformation going on around us.

Yesterday there was a blackout (NEPA did their thing) and it was 9pm at night and dark. Without thinking I picked up my phone, turned on the flash light and then proceeded to switch our electricity source to the generator. Sitting back down at my desk, it hit me that many years ago we used to have an actual flash light or torch as it is popularly called in Nigeria. Hell we even had candles and lanterns. All replaced now by my phone. This reminded me of a game I used to play with a friend of mine during every apple keynote. The game was called "How many startups did apple kill today?". We would sit down, watch the keynote and see how many recent companies apple had rendered useless by making their core product part of an apple one and giving it for free.

So I wondered, how many physical devices like the flash light has the smart phone killed in the mainstream and relegated to niche high end products for professionals. Here are just a few devices that I found to be fading out of mainstream memory.

  • MP3 player - I think runners may be the only people that go out of thier way to buy an MP3 player.

  • Calculator - This used to be a household item that you can now only find in an academic setting.

  • Camcorder - I don't even know the last time I saw this. Considering Bentley and Apple are making commercials with the iPhone. I think there is no place for a non professional video recording device anymore.

  • GPS - I used to have one of those. The commercial grade GPS devices sold by Tom Tom and Garmin.

  • Camera - This is an on going battle but we all know where it is heading. I think professional photographers will always use a camera (in the original sense of the device), but that would be it.

It is going to be interesting to watch things evolve over time and see what devices get entirely forgotten. The rise of software in recent years has caused a massacre of old technology, it has increased the technology churn rate exponentially. Many devices that were once stand alone can now be merged into one since computers are getting more powerful and smaller at the same time.