SATURDAY, OCT 31, 2015
Eric Lee, A-SOCIATED PRESS
TOPICS: NEAR FUTURE, FROM THE WIRES, LIKELY STORY, HISTORY, INTERNET
TUCSON (A-P) — The internet, though it had once appeared to survive only as a high-speed intranet for the elites, had survived the Caliphate Days as the Ham-net radio-based system. Page requests, text-based with few pictures, could be requested and within a day or two received from somewhere on the planet. Bandwidth was limited, but information was mainly held on local servers and shared via thumb drive within the community. The community library requested needed info, unavailable locally, over the Ham-net and the info cameth via the ether. Thus were the would-be knowers informed. The idea of burning bandwidth by watching Netfix or Porn became emblematic of the high-lifers sense of entitlement.
People were connected via their community intranet, a local wi-fi system with a connection to the global Ham-net and non-orbiting satellite Info Ether for sending and receiving txt messages. Each village had its tower and citizens could request info by txt in bulk, including movies and video clips, from the library and upon passing through the village square, insert their thumb drive in the Library Kiosk and receive a week or more of material to explore and consider on their smartbook. Each citizen received infopons that limited their use of available Info Ether bandwidth. Most used their alloted infopons for recreational material or gifted them to a more scholarly relative. Those whose interests were scholarly could be alloted more bandwidth per merit. Transmitting a book was equivalent to less than 2 seconds of video, so readers were never without material to consider and flourished. Thumb drives were the medium of entertainment and all had enough to view. Some video clips went viral, spreading by thumb drive.
Some individuals were comparative over-achievers and earned perpons that could be used to set up a hotspot which involved an antennae pointed at a community tower. Their antennae transmitted a premium wi-fi signal for their use, but also connected their neighbors to the community intranet at no cost to them. Premium users did not experience delays when using the intranet as their signal was alloted preference if a neighbor was using their wi-fi. The neighbors' connection would be throttled back when the premium user was using the connection, so those who could and wished to spend perpons did so and their neighbors had free, if somewhat more limited by a few seconds, access to the intranet. When possible, such as late night, premium users could receive requested info over wi-fi without waiting to visit the Library Kiosk. The cost in perpons for premium intranet was adjusted so that about a quarter of the population were willing to serve as neighborhood intranet providers. Premium users, when not at home, also benefited from nearly ever present hotspots. Access to info had been preserved at great effort by the techno-scholars and was a human right, freely provided.
The ground-based Ham-net was still used for emergency communication at night as the Ham-net could be powered by batteries or bio-fuel generators. During the day there were always solar wi-fi satellites carried by hydrogen blimp above the troposphere where it was always sunny. The solar array also served as wings for controlled descent. If repairs were needed the balloon was deflated to trail behind as the array glided back to a repair station. Solar powered electrolysis refilled the balloon (slowly) for relaunch. Some of the solar satellite's power was used to turn water vapor into hydrogen to maintain the blimp. As there were no batteries aboard, all non-emergency Info Ether traffic was by day. It was a low power world by Growther standards, but all had power enough and info enough. It was by universal custom that all Library Kiosks were in the form of public sculpture celebrating the exploits of the anonymous techno-scholars, the legendary ITs of yore, who had saved civilization. The thumb drive ports were at the Techo-scholars' finger tips.