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Comments on Monday 17 January 2005:
On Saturday night I wanted to blog a complaint about how the world is insufficiently convenient. That on the internet you can get any piece of information you want in moments, but if you want to get a pad of paper (which I did at the time) you have to wait for shops to open. But, irony of ironies, Livejournal was down at the time, so I couldn't blog about it. Well, I could, since my blog is separate from Livejournal, but it would have missed the larger part of my readership, and what's the point in complaining if you don't have as many people listening as possible?

Anyway, there was me being typically unproductive, and I decided a nice block-pad or small thick notepad would be handy since, while my mindset wasn't conducive to programming, it would have been happy to do some designing, and designing on small many-leafed paper seems more likely to lead to eventual productivity because being able to tear off and throw away bits of plan would be nice. And this potential step towards productivity was foiled at the first by the unavailability of appropriate open shops for an appalling 30 hours or more.

Which brings to mind the question "why don't we have shopping delivery tubes or matter transporters yet?" Aren't we living in the future? These things were supposed to be here by the year 2000, if not replicators. At the very least we should have automated shops so that stuff can be purchased at any time. We've had vending machines for 20 years, can't we have bigger vending machines, in long rows, thus offering more products? Or shops with RFID tags in the items, and lots of cameras, and, I don't know, barcodes on our necks, so there don't have to be any checkout people, we can just go into the shop, take what we want, scan ourselves at the checkout to pay, and go home. I wanted block-pad paper on Saturday night, damn it. I have it now, but I don't want to use it now, I wanted to use it then. What good are you, technology? Advance! And butter my toast for me too, you lazy bastard. [06:03]

Dragonseye
Technology with ability to run a store is a scary thought. As it is I have cursed myself for being as addicted to my computer as I am I don't need automated shops aswell. But, however, I do know the feeling of having every bloody shop in town closed right at the moment when I need them to be open (which isn't often). But hey I guess we really need to damn Murphy's law for this problem, you know the one that staes that: everthing that can go wrong, will. I don't exactly appreciate this law but it seems to love me. I would really like that matter transporter though (no more airfare!) I would never have to go out in public again I could stay alone with my mind forever. Ah if only it wasn't just a dream. As for that pad of paper, you would never have to remember anything if you didn't wish to. What a brilliant idea!!

Dragonseye
Well hey here we go you didn't get to blog a complaint on Saturday but you get to blog it now.

RavenBlack
But I still don't have the scribblings on the paper that I would have had if I could have got the paper on Saturday night. Indeed, I didn't really want to complain - that was second choice after "getting what I want".

Dragonseye
Yes well if plan A doesn't work plan B does always seem to have a better ring to it. And in some other universe (I read your multiverse theory which of couse I find very possible and actually believe it or not logical)you did get that pad of paper and still have those "scribblings". But I don't see what it was that was so important that you had to record somewhere (and seeing as how you said that LiveJournal was down paper was the best option) you never really said what it was (just like me to point out what you didn't say, eh? although you wouldn't really know that but oh well).

RavenBlack
I did say. Designing.

Dragonseye
Oh yes you did. Well once again excuse my moment of stupidity as I am tired and can't go to bed for I am wired on caffiene (brilliant idea for novel and a bag of chocolate covered espresso beans makes one very jumpy for quite awhile). Besides who wants to sleep during the best part of the day 5:11 am (where I am at least).

RavenBlack
That's the end of the best part of the day. Hm, I wonder if I have any chocolate-covered coffee beans left.

James
You wouldn't need a barcode in your neck, just an RFID tag of your own. Then you and all your purchases would get picked up by the scanner leaving the store and presto, checkoutless shopping and the end of shoplifting.

Well, except for folks who will do cheat the system and do things like reverse pickpocket people into paying for their stuff. Or confuse the system by leaving at the same time as someone else. Or develop a jammer. Or hack the data and spoof their tag so it gets billed to some poor schmuck in Helsinki.

James

Digi
Chocolate-covered coffee beans are the best thing ever.

Dragonseye
Yes chocolate cover espresso beans are very good.

And, James, if it ever comes down to automated stores I will be forced to cheat the system for I am quite fond of shoplifting.

Dragonseye
I'm also quite fond of the idea of no people to deal with at check out though so hmmm what a conflict. But the government already sees us as nameless,faceless, numbers anyway why do we need to have more people see us as such.

Dragonseye
I still really enjoy the idea of that matter transporter that way not only would I keep away from the RFID tags but I wouldn't even have to deal with going out to get what I needed. I could stay inside and feed my pet raven (yes I do actually have a raven believe it or not) for the rest of eternity OH JOY!

RavenBlack
"why do we need to have more people see us as such."

We don't. Shops being run by cameras and RFID tags wouldn't involve people seeing us as numbers, it would involve *machinery* seeing us as numbers.

Dragonseye
Point taken. Still why should numbers be the only by which we're indentified? I just don't see the point we are humans (or so I was tought to believe) and we are more than any numbers could ever describe, seeing as how numbers really don't explain much.

Dragonseye
way* excuse my poor typing skill

Dragonseye
And another thing I don't want machinery seeing me as a number either machinery can't be trusted.

Vincent Povirk
What multiverse theory is this?

Sorry, I got here late.

RavenBlack
Names are just numbers with a slightly worse characters-per-data ratio, even though names are base-27. Is being identified by number worse than not being identified at all? That's how it is in most shops now.

Any information that might be stored about you can be stored as numbers.

Maxor
Would like to point out that the two places I know of that have widespread 24 hour shopping the US and Japan are widely reviled for their comercialism and lack of patience. Oddly enough there were also availible but less widely so in Germany and England I don't know about Australia but I have to imagine if you had gone to a 24 hour convience store/ petrol station you could have gotten such a pad though you would have had to hand over a fairly heavy surcharge.

There is also something of a minor problem with your fully automated shopping theory while technically feasible at least the rf id part to avoid check outs and the delivery.

maxor
Something similary is currently availible through internet shopping theres just a bit of a delivery delay. To many people however depend on being retail workers for their income therefore it is unlike that they will allow themselves to be automated completely out of workin in our life spans it will be a slowly declineing practice. Theres also the fact that many people don't interact well with modern equipment, and would much prefer to deal with other people. While it is fairly inconcevable for me to understand people that can't figure out basic point and click interfaces on modern digital devices I know that millions of such exist in the western develioed world not even considering devloping and third world countries. Raven if you were a for profit retailer would you spend large sums to automate your store and possibly dissatisfy large numbers of customers into the arms of your competitors or would you modernize slowly over a long time.

In the US among large retailers you are begining to see a slow shift to such automation. with self check out lines and home delivery or preordering. I see in about 10 years these being the methods prefered by the retailers and a small surcharge added for what are now considered basic services. Oddly enough all of the cashiers I know are fairly happy about this, though it will eventually mean the loss of their jobs. ( none of them plan on being lifetime cashiers though I strongly suspect that two will end up being. student jobs fun fun.) In europe from what I saw (never really lived there have spend a fair amount of time there as an american working tourist.) most of the stores are rather small to incorperate the gradual move to automation along side the current method I see them dying out slowly as home ordering slowly cuts down on their profits and the next generation fails to carry them on.

Maxor
Save for the matter transporters (and we can sort of do this though it's not practical yet http://travel.howstuffworks.com/teleportation2.htm ) what you describe can be done but society isn't willing to accept it yet, escecially in the malfunction prone forms that any newly widespread mechanical system will exibit, the human creature if not familiar with a device tends to break it. People tend to have minor problems with change and this is a fairly radical change, thats why things are in place yet.

RavenBlack
There is a 24-hour petrol station nearby, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't sell pads of paper. It's mostly foods, drinks, and consumables that are likely to be used in cars.

The "minor problem" with RFID is pointless nitpicking, since I was hardly outlining how a practical system would work. I thought I'd made that pretty clear by adding "barcodes on our necks or something".

If I were a for profit retailer I wouldn't spend large sums to automate my stores. The question isn't the right question to ask though. If I were a for profit retailer I would spend incremental sums to install and then improve automated services in locations where I don't have existing stores.

One related and weird store is Argos in the UK - the system there is essentially of the form an automated system would be, but with people manning every stage of it. Customers pick out items from a catalogue and write down the numbers of what they want, then they hand the piece of paper to a person who confirms the order, calculates the price, and sends the customer off with another piece of paper, which they hand to a cashier, who they pay. They are then given another piece of paper which they take to a counter to collect their order which has been (or is eventually) conveyor-belted into the room from the adjacent warehouse. The lack of any automation in this process is bizarre. Maybe it's improved since I was last there.

Dragonseye
I still like that matter transporter idea. I don't even like having to leave my home for what I want and I'm impaitent and can't wait for that delivery delay so ha!

Dragonseye
and as for the number identification thing I still say that I don't really enjoy being a number.

Dragonseye
Is this record amount of comments?

Just wondering.

Dragonseye
and to "Is being identified by a number worse than not being identified at all?" yes it would because I don't like to be identified anyway and being by a number is not how I would like to be identified if I absolutely must be.

Dragonseye
Ah but if we had security robots there would be something wrong with them like, they would have some bug that would make them catch every person whether they're shoplifting or not. I think that if we must have automated shops then the RFID tags would be the best way to go, not that technology wouldn't have some kind of bug in it, but it would be easier to clear up then having robot cops and going to jail every 2 weeks.

Mrdillo
Thank you for correcting my ideas flaws.

Mrdillo
I think "ideas" should be "ideas'". My grammer sucks if you need to know.

RavenBlack
Yes, and 'grammar'. Don't worry about it, nobody else corrects such things around here.

Nameless
On the subject of matter transporters which Dragonseye brought up. What about getting rid of the waste. If you transported it out you would risk losing a finger or something. I'm sure you could dispose of it through an incinerator or chute that sends the garbage to some underground trashcans in underground tunnels where trucks could pick it up.

Nameless
Underground trashcans, now I need to know what made that idea pop into my head. Its' in an underground tunnel, ofcourse its' an underground trashcan. DOH!

Dragonseye
Well I like matter transporters because the underground tubes would require for the country to build that and that means taxes go up and I already hate the IRS bastards.

Dragonseye
So matter transporters still kick ass!

~*white fox*~
If we had that advanced of technology i dont think i'd need a telehone or a mail box to get ahold of people to organize this bloody birthday of mine!
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