Saturday, December 8, 2012

Skewed Slightly to the Left: On and On it Goes

[Originally posted at Slacktivist (page 4).]

"Insurgents just took control of printing presses," Loretta said.
"What kind of presses?" Verna asked.
Verna turned her attention from Loretta to who she had been talking to over Loretta's system, "We just got a paper, no idea how long we'll hold it for.  I want every asset in every warzone to write up an article now and have it submitted here.
"Got it?" Pause.  "Good."
Verna turned to Loretta, "May I use your people?"
Verna burst onto the main floor of New Hope, "I need everyone with any experience in print, I don't care if it was books, magazines or your high school newspaper.  Anyone who just wanted to write a scathing article about how Nicolae is the Antichrist... I'm not checking credentials.
"We have a paper and we're in a hurry."
"Alice?"  Loretta asked.
"Working," she said, her attention focused on Bruce's laptop.  "The encryption is heavy, the encryption is good.  He wasn't using this for the Sunday school schedule."
"We got a paper."
"Yay us," Alice said.  Her voice was fairly flat, she was too caught up in what she was doing to show emotion, but Loretta could tell she was happy.
"Good luck with the computer."
"Good luck with the paper."
"Do you think the street would have become impassible before or after she passed this way?" Jane asked.
"I don't know," Cameron said, his voice defeated.  The fact that Chloe could very well be dead had finally hit him.  They hadn't seen much in the way of survivors, just deserted streets and their own voices echoing back when they called, "Chloe!" again and again.
"Cameron," Jane said loudly, hoping to break him out of his down state, "this matters.
"If the street was passable when she made it here she would have taken it, meaning we have to try to get back to this street, if it wasn't she'd have been forced to take an entirely different route.  If we can't figure this out we'll be looking in the wrong place."
"I know," Cameron said.
Jane started looking through the debris, and said, "Tell me about her."
"You've met her."
"But I'm not her husband.  Tell me about her through your eyes."
"What are you doing?" Cameron asked as Jane fiddled with a dead arm.
"Looking for a broken watch.  If we can find a broken watch-"
"We can assume the watch broke at about the same time the street became impassible."
"Exactly.  Now tell me about her."
Cameron joined Jane in searching, "She's stubborn as a mule, assuming mules are as stubborn as people say.  She likes retellings of Homer that aren't retellings so much as obvious homage, Joyce's Ulysses, Walcott's Omeros." Cameron's voice lifted slightly as he spoke, "Whenever she meets someone with glasses she insists on trading glasses with them briefly to compare their vision.  When she stops laughing there's always one last laugh that doesn't seem to fit but comes out anyway..."


  1. *Redcrow tries to come up with a comment more meaningful than "I like it", gives up, presses imaginary "like" button once again.*

    But do people still wear watches? I don't have anything against watches, I just thought cellphones took their place long ago. Don't remember the last time I've seen anyone wearing a watch.


  2. A lot fewer than before but yes, people still wear watches.

    The good news for Cameron and Jane is that digital watches seem to have gone back out of style so if they find one it's likely to be mechanical (hands frozen in place when it stopped) instead of digital (blankness).

    For myself, I still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea. (But they're supposed to go on your wrist, not inside your phone.)

    (I might be willing to consider a phone inserted in a watch, but something that is a phone first is just wrong. Even if these days they're just glorified digital pocket watches with supercomputers in them that occasionally make calls.)

  3. I'd quite like a soft-watch - a nice high-resolution display that I could set up to have the specific face and functions I wanted. But all the ones I've seen so far are (a) expensive and (b) tied to proprietary platforms.

    When I was working at Essen Spiel in October, the only people I saw wearing watches were in their forties and older - and not too many of them.

    I confess that when I read the first three lines my first reaction was "They still print newspapers?".

    1. I confess that when I read the first three lines my first reaction was "They still print newspapers?".

      I saw a documentary on something or other and this person was talking about how people reacted to learning his job. He worked in a factory that made records and CDs.

      It used to be, "They still make records?" but then it became, "They still make CDs?"


      Anyway, yes they do. And like cash they have the upside of leaving no electronic trail for Nicolae to follow. (That said, how much do you want to bet that one world currency is electronic?)

    2. Heh, you don't need electronic-only currency to spy on people. You just put an RFID tag in each coin and bill, and track them across every legitimate point of sale.

      And of course the whole barcodes on the forehead or left hand thing. Though personally I'd use QR codes, better redundancy and a Godless open standard rather than proper money-grubbing proprietary like Data Matrix.