Analog television, which we used to call just "television" before all this digital stuff landed on our doorsteps, is nearing extinction. In fact, the exact day of its demise has already been announced: 17 February 2009, after which all the old-style transmitters will be shut down and the spectrum space reallocated. (In the digital TV world, only channels 7 to 51 will still be in use; low-band VHF — channels 2 through 6 — and the upper section of the UHF band will be designated for non-TV use.) I have two television sets, one of which is capable of handling the digital signals on its own. What happens to the other one depends on what the cable company decides to do.

What's unusual about this, of course, is that official death date. Elsewhere, a lot of technologies and business models hang on despite being pretty much dead in the water. Just to name a few:

Long-distance telephone service.
Robert X. Cringely called this one six years ago: "Long distance, which inspired not only the Telecom Reform Act of 1996 but also the AT&T breakup of 1983, is today a business with almost no profit." Your wireless service doesn't care about long distance: you give it ten digits and it will connect you to anyone in the country without jumping through the LD hoop. Likewise with VoIP. But if you still have a landline, you're expected to sign up with not only your local telco but also with a long-distance carrier, or dial one of those 10-10 codes before each call outside your designated local-calling area, a designation which may or may not make sense. (My ex-wife reported that when she was a teenager working at Penn Square, it was a long-distance call to her home in Midwest City. Things have improved in central Oklahoma since then.) I pay $1 a month for access to LD I never use: I can always use the cell. The whole long-distance business is an anachronism, but still it hangs on.

Detroit's plethora of dealers.
In a nutshell, from the Detroit News:

The average Chevrolet dealer sells 583 cars a year. Ford dealers sell 631 vehicles a year on average, while Dodge dealers sell 375 on average, according to J.D. Power and Associates Power Information Network. All three are sharply down from previous years. By contrast, the average Toyota dealer sold 1,685 vehicles, while Honda dealers closed 1,289 sales on average last year.

While foreign automakers sell nearly half of all cars and trucks in the United States each year, they have far fewer dealers. Ford, GM and Chrysler deal