I used to think desktop computers were upgradable, but it's not really true. Sure, you can bump the RAM and the disk easily, but by the time a new CPU is worth the bother, the socket and chipset have changed, so you need to buy a new motherboard. The new motherboard takes a different kind of RAM. The hard disk might still work if you're lucky (although you may find that the interface type has changed) but it's probably going to be the bottleneck in the new system so you probably want to upgrade it too.
The last time I upgraded a desktop, I kept the case and optical drive (which I replaced a bit later). I kept the hard disk, but added a second one and eventually stopped using the smaller one. After the next upgrade, I had enough parts to build a completely new desktop. If two upgrade cycles means that you've replaced every single part, then it's simpler and easier to just lengthen the upgrade cycles a bit and by a completely new system.
That the water would be so polluted by 2000 that we wouldn't have anything to drink.
I guess you missed the huge amount of regulation that has come in regarding pollution in waterways in the last 50 or so years then? Or do you think that this prediction would still have been wrong if factories had been allowed to keep dumping waste into rivers? In fact, maybe you should just try visiting some of the parts of India and China where they've managed to build an industrial base without such regulation and see how the water tastes. The entire point of making such predictions is so that we can avoid them happening.
So this is what Slashdot has become.
No, this is what Slashdot has always been. I started regularly reading Slashdot around 2000, and back then there were posts just like yours decrying the state of Slashdot today, pining for some golden age. And yet, looking at the archives, not much had changed.
There are also costs associated with taking cash. Having to store large amounts of cash, having to audit tills more often, having to transport it to the bank, increased security needed as a result of being a much more attractive burglary target, and so on. For large stores, these tend to be more than the cost of accepting cards (next time you're in a supermarket, imagine if every transaction was cash. Think about how much they'd have on the premises by the end of the working day.
The difference is that the costs of accepting cash don't scale linearly, whereas credit card fees do. For a small shop with a low turnover, cash is often a better deal, but for a large shop it isn't. I came across a paper a few years ago that compared the two and was quite surprised by how much handling cash costs even small businesses.
They don't hate you, but you're probably not their favourite customer. The most profitable people are the ones that have high income and poor impulse control, who will buy an expensive thing periodically and then take a few months (at 10+% interest) to pay it off.
The people who put through a lot of purchases and pay promptly are the next best - they're charging the merchant 1-3% of the total purchase price to lend you the money for a month, which is a pretty good interest rate for the lender. I put a load of work expenses on my card and so last time I had an issue with a fee that I disputed, my card company immediately and without quibble cancelled the fee and added a good-will payment to my card, because the fee was about 5% of the profit that they make on me in a year.
For some card companies, the people who massively overspend are a good long-term investment. They get a (relatively cheap) court judgement against these people, which requires them to pay back a small amount each month for a very long term. It generally works out to 5-10% annual interest, but pretty much guaranteed over a 10-25 year period. The risk is very low and they're a steady stream of income for an up-front capital investment. This is why you get a lot of card companies advertising to students and other low-income groups.