Monday, November 19, 2012

The Shelter of Tradition - David Brin

"Slipping on the wraparound goggles, Mei Ling felt acutely aware of how long it had been since she and Bin moved out to the tidal flats and ruined shoreline of the Huangpo Estuary, where the world had only one “layer”—gritty-hardscrabble reality. That made her several tech-generations out of date. The ailectronics salesman had been helpful, patient . . . and a little too flirtatious . . . while tuning the unit to her rusty GIBAAR skills. It was difficult to rediscover the knack, even with his help. Like remembering how to walk after too long a convalescence in bed. Gaze. Interest. Blink. Allocate Attention. Repeat. The most basic way to vir, if you don’t have any of the other tools. She had no fingernail tappers. No clickers and scrollers, planted in the teeth. No subvocal pickups, to read the half-spoken words shaped by throat and mouth. Not even an old-fashioned hand-keyboard or twiddler. And certainly none of the fancy-scary new cephalo sensors that would take commands straight off the brain. Without any of that, she had to make do. Choosing from a range of menus and command icons that the spectacles created across the inner surface of both lenses, seeming to float in front of the real-life street scene. By turning her gaze to look right at a search icon . . . and by actually being interested (which affected the dilation of her pupils and blood flow in the retina) . . . she caused that symbol to light up. There followed a well timed, one-two blink of the left eye then right . . ." 3.5 out of 5

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