Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Key-bored

I had to come home today because my jaw was hurting too much and I'm going to the dentist again. I'm afraid I crashed out and had a most extraordinary dream. I really do not know where these come from, although I have been spending a lot of time on the computer lately.
I was in my office working on my laptop when a colleague came in and asked me if I could help her with her new computer which she couldn't seem to switch on. She showed me a small laptop which was closed and about a quarter the size of my own. When I opened it the screen was showing the keyboard and the computer was in the middle of a tutorial (spoken) on how to mark any of the keys with a question-mark. The keyboard was very colourful (as was my own) with different keys having different colours. I asked her if this was the first time she had tried to use it because it was giving an introductory tutorial about itself. She confirmed and asked why it seemed to be "alive" with me but "dead" with her. I said that it was because I was looking interested. Its camera has eye-tracking and if you seem distracted by something else it will, by default, go into standby. The problem is that it cannot differentiate between the user being distracted and being in a blind panic - which is what many people are with new technology.
Now the thing was that the pictures it was using were images of its own keyboard. If you moved the screen so that the camera couldn't see itself then it would stop. I demonstrated. But if you show it my keyboard, it would carry on. Again, I showed her.
"But," she said, "the images are so clear and diagrammatic - they don't look like live images at all. You can see the letters on the keys and everything."
I showed her that they were live because the letters on some of the keys on her computer were white, and black or dark blue on mine. It showed the difference according to the keyboard it was pointing at. I explained that the image technology gets rid of unnecessary detail and enhances important stuff so you get clear images. "If I look straight at the camera it will know that I want to see myself. See, it gets rid of unimportant detail - see no wrinkles! Now you have a look."
The lady looked at her laptop. She was a middle aged lady with an Islamic headscarf - Pakistani or Indian style. Sure enough, there were no wrinkles on her screen images. "Oo, now I really do love this thing!"
Now I am tapping away at my own, real-life, keyboard. It seems so boring and old-fashioned with its monochrome black keys and white lettering.
Oh what stuff are dreams made of?

Friday, 9 April 2010
From AF

I definitely like the dream, especially how the computer edits out wrinkles as irrelevant. You should make it into a story.  Quick, before it fades away.  Add it to your book.  I'm serious.