25 September 2013

706

Currently still at twenty-something percent, Arthur Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey quite surprisingly turns out to be easily readable and dynamic. It fills a few gaps that I missed from the (amazing yet exhausting) movie.

While the evolution process (safe the monolith) is neatly explained and the mechanical technology is too optimistic even twelve years after the professed 2001, it seems like the interweb was still beyond grasp back then.
...he would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship's information circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one he would conjure up the world's major electronic papers; he knew the codes of the more important ones by heart, and had no need to consult the list on the back of his pad. Switching to the display unit's short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he quickly searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him.

Each had its own two-digit reference; when he punched that, the postage-stamp-sized rectangle would expand until it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort. When he had finished, he would flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for detailed examination.
About a decade later, Douglas Adams still hadn't got it right.
...a device that looked rather like a largish electronic calculator. This had about a hundred tiny flat press buttons and a screen about four inches square on which any one of a million "pages" could be summoned at a moment's notice. It looked insanely complicated, and this was one of the reasons why the snug plastic cover it fitted into had the words DON'T PANIC printed on it in large friendly latters.

Ach well...


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