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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Device - fiction

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - Arthur C. Clarke

So prophetic and true this statement is; and I know it first hand.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Little Dinosaurs

Carefully stalking her prey she tilts her head from side to side gauging the distance.
Her fast and powerful legs propel her across the landscape to intercept her meal in mid flight.
One quick crunch and the prey is finished; turned into a nutritious and tasty snack.

Satisfied, for the moment, she turns her head to see he sisters as they patrol the field looking for tasty morsels of their own.

A delicious bounty is discovered and they all run for their share before the others consume the whole in its entirety; their wings providing just enough lift to increase their speed and make their bounds hint at flight without ever achieving it.

Their calls shatter the silence of the afternoon as they revel in tearing the newfound food apart and continue with their personal entertainment.

The stalking and hunting continues for the duration of the afternoon and the pack returns to their nest for the evening.

The farmer counts her hens as she closes up the pen for the evening. "Good night, my little dinosaurs, good night."

Friday, January 2, 2015

Mandatory Phones

My life changed when I reached ten years old; that's when my parents split.
The next few years brought a variety of changes including the injection of the man who is, and has been for the past 20 years, my second father.

This man owned one of the first mobile phones in the area I grew up in. It was a bulky bag phone that had almost no talk time in the battery capacity and even less in the service plan.
By today's terms it was complete garbage.

But it was a phone IN HIS CAR!

I recall a variety of conversations about this including one in which we discussed calling the car in front of us because they had the telltale cellular phone antenna on the roof of their vehicle and the resulting realization that there was (and still is) no directory of cell phone users; especially not one that cross-references the cars into which the phones are in (now this is a moot point because they are not permanently installed in the cars).

The most intriguing conversation I recall happening brought out a shortcoming in my young vocabulary.

We were driving along and I was contemplating the reality of the phone in the car and the reality of how much the usage of phones was changing as cordless phones were becoming more reasonably price for homes and as long distance phone charges were becoming cheaper and cheaper. Extra functions, like call waiting, were being added and were reasonably priced.

It occurred to me, at that moment, that there would be a future in which the mobile phone was a major part of everyone's life.
"I think, in the future, mobile phones will be much smaller and be mandatory." I said.

The rebuttal was immediate. Mobile phones would NEVER mandatory; no law would be passed to force people to have them.

I outlined that that is not what I meant. I described that they would be so incredibly useful that everyone would have one for their own convenience because they would be small enough and cheap enough to replace, or, at least, supplement, the home phone.

My prediction was met with less forceful rebuttal than my use of the word "mandatory" but it came with a "well, this phone is not nearly as useful as I thought it would be. I wish I had never bought it."

The word I was trying to use is "ubiquitous," but I had never seen, nor heard, that word before so I could not use it. I went on to describe the very nature of the word and how I think things will play out for a bit longer before I realized that neither other party in the car cared, nor even believed what I was saying COULD be true.

Approximately seven years later I acquired my first cell phone. It was a Motorola Startac.
Approximately two years later I converted to ONLY having a mobile phone (banks had trouble with this concept for an additional two years or so).
Approximately four years after that I was handed a phone for work. It was required that I have one and that I keep it on me while at work. It was, in essence, MANDATORY for me to have that phone.

A couple years later the cell phone penetration rate in the U.K. exceeded 100% and in the U.S. it has approached it meaning that, statistically speaking, there is more than one cell phone for every adult in the country.

So, without even realizing that I was misusing the word in my prediction both my intended prediction and my accidental prediction based on the misuse of a word also came true.

Years later I predicted that the PADD from Star Trek would become a reality in my lifetime. That, too, was laughed at by people I know. But, at this point, I can say I was right on that, too.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Surveillance - fiction

The very first time two sentient species encountered each other the same process has been used.