My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Monday, December 2

Big Brother

I’ve been gone for a while, taking time out to play with my new toy, the iPad mini. So much to discover, so much to learn, so much to practice. I just can’t believe how complex this thing is. All you Smart phoners already know what these little gadgets can do—access the internet, get breaking news and weather reports, go on Facebook, watch popular YouTube stuff, watch movies and tv series episodes, get weather, financial trends, medical news, and all the porn one could ever desire. Well, I can do all that on my computer but I never thought I could do it on this tiny device. I tried using the on-screen keyboard for writing e-mails, but it was way too slow a process. So I went to the Apple store in our nearby Arrowhead Mall. Mobs of people there, all scrambling for the latest Apple stuff. I wandered, found the rack of keyboards, found an ultrathin keyboard for the iPad mini, tackled one of the very busy Apple nerds to see if this was what I needed. “Oh, sure,” he said. “That’ll work.” I said, “Okay, I’d like to buy it.” “Okay,” he said. “Let me get a sales clerk to check you out.” He handed me off to Carl and his seeing-eye dog Claire Bear, a friendly black lab who was content to be under the counter while his master took care of holiday shoppers. Carl scanned my purchase with his magic wand, then swiped my credit card on a small black device that looked like a cell phone. He asked me for my name and address and my e-mail address. I just had to ask him how he was entering all that info into his sales log without being able to see the keys. He gave me a Stevie Wonder smile and pointed to the ear bud in his ear. “The machine tells me when I pass my stylus over the keys which ones to hit.” Just plain magic, a blind man leading a blind shopper through a sale. I thanked him and hurried out with my booty, eager to get home and try it out. The technological advances, especially those in electronics, have been so sudden and so dramatic that I find myself speculating about the near and distant future. The exponential curve for such advance has become so steep, I think it may simply tip over and fall backwards. I envision a time when science may be able to install a small computer into a contact lens allowing a person to see what’s in front of him and also be able to speech-activate a retinal mini-computer. Or maybe they could simply implant it in the front of the brain. Instead of that bottle in front of me or the frontal lobotomy, a frontal computer. I see a time in our near future when electric autos will drive us to our destinations without our having to drive them. I see houses taking care of themselves without human intervention. I remember Ray Bradbury’s story from 1950, “There Will Come Soft Rains,” in which a house simply died after a nuclear war, with no one to instruct it. These houses of the future will be able to clean themselves, heat and cool themselves, turn lights on and off, play music low or loud, remind us of appointments and schedules, cook for us, do our laundry. All we’ll do is occupy them. Oh, wait, we already have such houses. I see a time when movies and tv shows will no longer need live actors, but will simply use computer processing to digitize characters and settings. Oh, wait, we can already do that. I see the demise of shopping areas, replaced by huge warehouses that take internet orders and deliver them to our doorsteps by tiny delivery drones. Oh, wait, I just saw where Amazon already has such planned for the very near future.

Meanwhile, as we become ever more able to film and save nearly every location and every person in those locations, we will lose any privacy we may have once had. Is this scenario for the future good or bad? I have no idea. But I’m sure Big Brother knows.
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