Down With Power Audiobook!

L. Neil Smith's
Number 807, February 1, 2015

Americans Have Obeyed Their Last Gun Law

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Brave New World Indeed
by A.X. Perez

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

I was born into a world of black dial telephones. Party line meant you shared the line with your neighbors and had to wait your turn to make a call (not to mention any of them could pick up their phone and eavesdrop any of your conversations. I think this was a plot device in a couple of movies.) You could pay extra for a private line and long distance calls were relatively expensive. TV was black and white, and the sets were a major piece of furniture. Home computers weren't even science fiction. There were car phones for the very rich and fax machines were there for the police and news agencies to transmit photos.

Color TV became widespread in the Sixties and transistors shrank the TV. Party line disappeared. Touchpads began to replace dials. Cable TV increased the number of stations available in the late 60's/early 70's. Academia and the military invented the internet. The first home computers appeared in the middle and late seventies.

In the Early Eighties satellite TV began to be available to hobbyists (Network Feed and long distance phone service had gone through satellites since the Sixties). In the late Eighties and Early Nineties home computers began to become widespread, many were on the Internet, a trend that increased after the WWW protocols were worked out. Brick cell phones began to turn up.

By the late Nineties everyone was on the 'net, and basically it's become a race to make computers smaller and more powerful. Unlimited long distance service within CONUS is now standard for phones. Cell phones were shrinking until the advent of the smart phone.

Today we have tablet computers and smart phones that match L. Neil Smith's wildest predictions. Recently Cricket forced me to turn in my old flip phone for a low end smartphone. I get 1 gig of internet service for Forty bucks along with unlimited calls, including long distance, text, and photo messaging. I had to ask the sales rep to teach me how to answer the phone.

I won't even pretend to address advances in home printers.

Talk about Brave New Worlds. I feel like one of Columbus's sailors would if he had made it to the American Mainland, abducted by space aliens, taken to another planet, and transported to an alternate universe.

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