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posted by janrinok on Monday August 08 2016, @11:25PM   Printer-friendly

Published in 1965, the title of this book hasn't aged well but fits into a formerly popular meme. This fictional book is set in a future where one conglomerate, The Joymaker Corporation, runs a network of speech recognition cell phones, rapid delivery services, job boards, restaurants, healthcare and other services. Indeed, it is fairly much an amalgamation of all of the biggest contemporary tech and Internet companies plus many of the foreseeable innovations expected within the next five years or so.

The protagonist, Charles Forrester, is transported from the present to this future in a manner very much like Buck Rogers: frozen for 500 years and then revived. (This plot point is largely irrelevant with the exception that few of us may have to be frozen or wait that long to see it happen.) Forrester struggles in a world of unknown unknowns where apartments are rented by the day and collaborative multicast media makes shared nicknames ubiquitous. He can ask his Joymaker anything but he just doesn't know what to ask.

The service industry is largely filled with life-like androids which all interface with The Joymaker Corporation. If you so desire, you can do your banking via your waitress or do your job hunting via your nurse. Indeed, when a fad or emergency occurs, androids may be deployed with incorrect uniforms. "We are all alike, Man Forrester," says one waitress from the very middle of the uncanny valley. In some regards, the outright psychopathy of Westworld is a welcome alternative to this economically-efficient dystopia which covers the economics of cryogenics, employment, psychological suitability thereof, leisure, success, destitution and alienation.

[Continues...]

However, it is The Joymaker Corporation and its devices are of prominent interest to any techie. My interest was spurred by an excerpt expanded from Wikipedia:

The remote-access computer transponder called the "joymaker" is your most valuable single possession in your new life. If you can imagine a combination of telephone, credit card, alarm clock, pocket bar, reference library, and full-time secretary, you will have sketched some of the functions provided by your joymaker.

Essentially, it is a transponder connecting you with the central computing facilities of the city in which you reside on a shared-time, self-programming basis. "Shared-time" means that many other joymakers use the same central computer - in Shoggo, something like ten million of them. If you go to another city your joymaker will continue to serve you, but it must be reset to a new frequency and pulse-code. This will be done automatically when you travel by public transportation. However, if you use private means, or if for any reason you spend any time in the agricultural areas, you must notify the joymaker of your intentions. It will inform you of any steps you must take.

"Self-programming" means that the programmed software includes procedures for translating most normal variations of voice, idiom, accent, and other variable modalities into a computer-oriented sim-script and thence into the mathematical expressions on which the computers operate. As long as your personal joymaker is within reception range of your voice, you may communicate via other shared-time transponders if you wish. Appropriate modulation will be established automatically. However, do not attempt to use another individual's joymaker when yours is not within range. Proper conditioning cannot be assured.

If you purchase this book, it would be pertinent to ask that you do not purchase it from a union-busting, tax-dodging, rights-abusing real-life Joymaker Corporation (or one of its branded subsidaries) for reasons which are adequately explained in the book itself.


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  • (Score: 5, Touché) by TrumpetPower! on Monday August 08 2016, @11:54PM

    by TrumpetPower! (590) <ben@trumpetpower.com> on Monday August 08 2016, @11:54PM (#385551) Homepage

    How on Earth can you give such an extensive summary of a book and not even once mention its author?

    b&

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    • (Score: 5, Funny) by SubiculumHammer on Tuesday August 09 2016, @12:31AM

      by SubiculumHammer (5191) on Tuesday August 09 2016, @12:31AM (#385561)

      Because an author named Pole writing a story named Pussy is too much to be believed?

      :)

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09 2016, @04:17PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09 2016, @04:17PM (#385818)

        "The fog comes in on little cat feet" -- pussyfooting in action

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09 2016, @12:04AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09 2016, @12:04AM (#385554)
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Webweasel on Tuesday August 09 2016, @01:08PM

      by Webweasel (567) on Tuesday August 09 2016, @01:08PM (#385744) Homepage Journal

      Great, now I have to switch ISP:

      Access to the websites listed on this page has been blocked pursuant to orders of the high court.

      More information can be found at www.ukispcourtorders.co.uk

      --
      Priyom.org Number stations, Russian Military radio. "You are a bad, bad man. Do you have any other virtues?"-Runaway1956
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09 2016, @08:32PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09 2016, @08:32PM (#385941)

        Destroy them. Kill them all.

  • (Score: 2) by Dunbal on Tuesday August 09 2016, @12:31AM

    by Dunbal (3515) on Tuesday August 09 2016, @12:31AM (#385562)

    Life-like androids are everywhere and yet they still need humans to work?

  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Tuesday August 09 2016, @01:20AM

    by frojack (1554) on Tuesday August 09 2016, @01:20AM (#385579) Journal

    Seems to cover all the bases. We should be able to toss that into any patent fight.

    Now where do I find the filler neck for the pocket bar on my android?

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    • (Score: 2) by Scruffy Beard 2 on Tuesday August 09 2016, @02:23AM

      by Scruffy Beard 2 (6030) on Tuesday August 09 2016, @02:23AM (#385595)

      I think it depends on how detailed the depiction is. I heard that a fictional account of a water-bed was considered prior-art because calculations on floor loading [techrepublic.com] were included.

    • (Score: 2) by mrchew1982 on Tuesday August 09 2016, @02:20PM

      by mrchew1982 (3565) on Tuesday August 09 2016, @02:20PM (#385760)

      For whatever reason, I interpreted "pocket bar" as 'slide rule'...or pocket calculator. Although I can't find anything to back up that modern translation. Finding old slang and archaic phrases is not Google's strong suit.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09 2016, @05:11AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 09 2016, @05:11AM (#385636)

    Author Pohl died in 2013 or so and this means most of us will not see the book in public domain during our lives if we go by the modern rule... but the historical copyright term rules are quite complex so it's not at all clear when this book will be free. E.g. http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm [cornell.edu]

    Find this book in a library https://www.worldcat.org/title/age-of-the-pussyfoot/oclc/1938650#borrow [worldcat.org] (requires javascript.... sigh)

  • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Tuesday August 09 2016, @09:42PM

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Tuesday August 09 2016, @09:42PM (#385983) Homepage Journal

    Reviewing a fifty year old book written by a guy that died three years ago? How about reviewing one by someone who's still breathing? Preferably someone we haven't heard of? Or even a well-known young guy like Doctorow?

    --
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    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Wednesday August 10 2016, @01:27AM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Wednesday August 10 2016, @01:27AM (#386059) Journal

      Or even a fellow by the name of mcgrew.

      Sample Text

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      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10 2016, @01:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10 2016, @01:53PM (#386254)
      What's that old saw? "If you don't like the submitted stories, you're free to..." eh, something or other.
  • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Wednesday August 10 2016, @02:06PM

    by JeanCroix (573) on Wednesday August 10 2016, @02:06PM (#386261)

    If you purchase this book, it would be pertinent to ask that you do not purchase it from a union-busting, tax-dodging, rights-abusing real-life Joymaker Corporation...

    Wait, wait, wait. Stallman.org of all places wants me to enable scripts when I go there?