LL :: Volume 17 :: LR
|Fooling the Sum of the People|
...of tasty smells: Continues to orbit the Ninth and the Tenth north
of Lombardy Place, moving chaotically among the market stalls. No
surprises there. However, it's shifted towards the west end of the
market district at a steady three feet per day, and may soon be
outside the district entirely. Most of the westward vector drifts
forth from the all-night pastry friers running in Sorvven
neighborhood; more open each week, and their popularity is growing.
The Sun Necklace is a tasteful silvery thinwire ornament. It also
projects a low-power colorant field, whose color is
ultraviolet. That is, it filters the ultraviolet range without
affecting visible light at all -- the field is invisible to unassisted
sight. The field has about a one-foot radius, so the necklace tidily
prevents sunburn around the head and shoulders.
The developers are working on a "keep cool" version that deflects a part of the infrared range as well. However, they're having trouble keeping the bandpass tight -- low frequencies, you know -- so the field tends to appear as a visibly blueish haze from some angles. Keep an eye out.
|The Toy Farm|
Shadowdarts are the length of your hand, pleasantly dense, nicely
balanced... and dead blunt, and fletched crosswise for maximum air
resistance. You couldn't throw one farther than five feet if you were
a world-champion shot-tosser.
But each dart contains an accelerometer, and a field-projector tool. When the dart is tossed, it projects a low-precedence probe straight ahead, to the nearest solid object (up to half a mile). If the target point remains steady for a quarter-second -- long enough to verify that the dart was flying straight -- the tool builds a simple persistent colorant field on the target. You can set the dart to create a splash of color, a glowing stylized-explosion burst, or a three-dimensional image that looks like the dart itself, stuck into the target.
The target image only lasts a minute or so (much less for the glowing burst). But it's long enough for your kids to cheerfully feather the walls or the mailman with "darts", entirely harmlessly.
|Product Development Cycle|
Shoelaces that tie themselves.
Shoelaces that tie themselves ... to each other.
Shoelaces that tie themselves ... to other people.
Shoelaces that tie themselves ... to other people's shoelaces.
Shoelaces that untie themselves.
|Fads of the City|
Quite a few people around the City are joining in phone pools. They
set their telephones to send copies of their calls to a central
server, which occasionally forwards a recording of random phone call
to a random pool participant.
The participants say they enjoy the occasional slice-of-life interaction. (The pools stay small enough that you have a chance of hearing the same person every month or so.) They sometimes -- not always -- follow up a recorded message with an in-person call; many speak fondly of friendships begun this way. And the loss of privacy is not a great concern. "It is simply conducting more of one's life as if on the street, sitting in a cafe, in public Net conversation," says phone-pool habitue Sille Marlona. "A stranger overhearing is not to be feared."
|Life of the Mind|
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