How Time Flies
May 2019 Dellville AZ
Casey’s rubber-soled sandals squeaked as she walked down the faux marble stairs of the luxurious DellVille Renaissance Center. She always enjoyed technology-mediated social interactions like tonight’s experiment with community Climate Change.
The 2017 CumuLinker Reformation was showing new ways to communicate through responsible use of the private data accumulated by Google and other social mafia platforms. Gone was surveillance-based selling personal data to advertisers while further enriching the weary billionaires who now entrusted that data to innovators from the People’s Internet Movement.
CumuLinker also promised to calm the mood of the country. Its C-a-l-m model for interchanging personal profiles felt like a kindly third party introduction agent. However, inadvertent cruelty using a child’s photo during a Life Replayed panorama at her recent 50th college reunion required more algorithmic ethical training. 2019 was turning out to be a year of serious experimentation with both technology and policy lessons learned during the 25 years since the Dawn of Web Time. Tonight’s event would evaluate how well the CumuLinker Cloud could advance discussions among ranchers, retirees, and science-interested citizens in a region facing drought.
Although never much of a crafts hobbyist, Casey was enamored with how her electronics wearable vest could express enthusiasm for ocean preservation and smart water management. That appareled, dubbed a Whisperer, also provided reception from the CumuLinker Cloud that would then be transmitted via synthetic speech hearables to encourage attendees to slow down, absorb CumuLinker’s pre-approve informal personal introductions and both position statement on the night’s issues. “Listen, Learn, Link” was the guide.
Casey appreciated this communication process that overcame her shyness and tendency to show that chip on her shoulder. She now had more time to think during and after a C-a-l-m introduction to someone from an unfamiliar culture or different perspective. No longer did acquaintances just move on to a more cheerful or wealthy or socially compatible attendee. CumuLinker wisely used personal information it had accumulated from email and web searches and video selection. C-a-l-m worked for Casey Hawke.
Tonight she was all geared up to exercise her Whisperer prowess with computational strategies she had developed since discovering the logic-based language that drove CumuLinker. Her algorithm would skip via the CumuLinker Cloud around the room to acquire hobby data from other Whisperers. New links would later connect sections of the DellVille Social Graph residing on her home computer. This data trove might replenish those retirement funds she’d lost in the 2018 Great Trickster’s Tariff Wars.
tonight’s meeting held additional adventure. A new Whisperer attachment had just arrived on a 30-day trial. The Body Reader promised to help her overcome shyness and social anxiety by nudging her toward compatible conversation partners, as reckoned by CumuLinker. She might not leave this meetup alone.
A welcoming registration screen and greeter desk blocked the entry:
May 8, 2019 6 p.m.
- DellVille XSM EXtreme Social Media in Progress!!!
- Today’s topic is “YOUR WATERY WORLD”.
- Welcome y’all from CumuLinker Universe and the former Kingdoms of FaceLook, TitterVille, Blog World, and Beta-bits!
- Forget your worries and party like it’s 2015.
A Greeter wearing an over-sized cowboy hat asked her to sign a gaily printed rule sheet.
“Oh, gag, so old school!” she muttered, smiling at a young dude wearing a lime green Polo shirt bearing the CumuLinker Universe emblem with its quiet, thoughtful, generic human face. Peering at the small print, she complied.
- You own your Whisperer. CumuLinker protects your data as you’ve stipulated in your C-a-l-m conditions and the Climate Change meeting approved topics.
- Social media profile start those conversations you really want. No more going home to Google an acquaintance. Calendars and contacts will be loaded onto your Whisperer with this event’s data.
- Virtual reality glasses, watches, BodyReaders are permitted, but please do NOT record audio or video.
The greeter captured her Whisperer images for CumuLinker’s gallery. Casey’s Baja Danzante Island self patch scene stood out well on her jean Whisperer vest over a white sweater. The texture and aqua hues signaled affinity with ocean adventures among the islands of the slowly rising Sea of Cortez. Pods of dolphins leaped whenever that elegant chip on her shoulder exchanged profiles with a Whisperer conversation partner through their hearables. CumuLinker went into ice-breaking mode by finding two attendees from a recent Baja Expeditions cruise. Explaining how to animate their seals and spouting blue whale image Whisper patches gained her two new photo friends and a Baja Adventures invitation.
Casey moved on to the climate change policy discussion corner of the room. A sash bearing number 35 draped on her back. The number signified daily residential water consumption goals for the community according to Climate Survival Special Interest Group. Members circulated among other interest clusters to promote their cause and gather feedback on their scary climate situation. Two consecutive snowless winters generated many debates on flushing frequency and irrigation rights. Decreased influx of retirees threatened DellVille’s City Council if real estate rumors turned nasty. Money always trumped science.
She observed how CumuLinker C-a-l-m was generating information flow. Brief snippets of position statements and online tweets were exchanged through hearables. “I agree fully!” or “Do you really believe that?” often followed a position exchange. CumuLinker sprinkled each claim with intriguing facts to keep arguments impersonal. Unfortunately, some conversations degraded into old style sniping among those suffering from Trickster Derangement Syndrome. CumuLinker would gather good feedback through these first encounters among ranchers and retirees from around the nation.
Suddenly her Quantified Life BodyReader system sensed a similar awareness across the room. Its actuators gradually nudged her toward a smiling tall gent matching the Canadian snow bird rumored to be attending lifelong learning classes. She couldn’t believe the possible co-incidence after over 30 years. Could that really be Gavin Hunter? She’d delay their conversation until her ulterior mission was accomplished.
Casey used a bathroom break to review her new persona as a “Computational Snoop for Hire” despite her disgust at her first client. She needed some suspicious conversation to report regarding that never-ending murder escapade of the despicable Stockbroker. This social occasion looked like a quick and easy $1000 for new informants before his Imminent sentencing. Grisly trial testimony had analyzed plausibility of a golf club as the brutal murder weapon. The client — hoped that some local golfer could be fingered as a suspect leading to yet another re-trial. He was desperate.
Her Whisperer’s spanning algorithm drew an on-the-fly mental diagram of links among golfers with the client’s family and their business network. She scanned the room for talkative targets. Amy and Bill from the neighborhood Association were showing off their new golf swings. They waved her into their conversation and admired her Whisperer dolphin animation. She soon exposed her ignorance of modern golf equipment as she related how her early teenage golf clubs were beat up woods and irons and, “well, she wondered if clubs changed enough to withstand any battering of a clumsy duffer like her?”.
“Sure,” quipped Bill, “the right muscles and aim by somebody like big strong Paul over there and a 3 wood could really tear apart an object at his feet.”
“Ouch,” Casey winced, innocently, “like that murder dominating the newspaper.”
Bill had a strained look on his face as he ducked off for another drink. He suggested Amy tell that interloper where to get beginner golf lessons. Casey thanked them for the golf tips then backed out of the now unfriendly group. Animosity between Bill and Paul might be a clue to invoice. And, why were they at a climate change meeting anyway?
Snooping completed, Casey drew into herself. Thirty-five years? Half-a-lifetime separated? should she approach Gavin as former colleague? or equally shy acquaintance? forgiven lover? fellow lifelong learner? possible aging companion?
His reclining hairline and sun-wrinkled face confused her. His hair, unlike hers, was not yet all white. She recalled a pale, overworked,lab director tied to budgets and publications as his company fought for new business. Then the Whisperer alerted her that direct conversation should be facing him for lip reading due to hearing loss. She’d never experienced a re-kindled relationship and now 35 years were slipping into insignificance.
Her Body Reader clicked. CumuLinker paired her Whisperer with Gavin’s then dropped names of companies and places from the 1980s ‘Massachusetts Miracle’ period when their paths had crossed. Both smiled at memories of conversations among developers and students at receptions in the splendidly remodeled educational institution where the Software Engineering profession bloomed. Their relationship had begun along the river that named a colonial locale nestled among mini-computer company laboratories.
CumuLinker read a short bio of each to the other. Gavin’s profile alluded to the demise of his environmental corporate workplace then his professional descent into Nova Scotia coastal protection bureaucracy and later published novels about animal communities. Casey assumed that her Whisperer profile simultaneously updated him on her software consulting career after obtaining her Masters degree from this prestigious Institute. CumuLinker collected snippets from web page searches for the institution’s glorious contributions before its benefactor’s demise. these sentimentally confirm Casey and Gavin factual identities and fond feelings for that short relationship.
After a pause, as their eyes locked on each other, each Whisperer replayed their sunset tour around the Isle of Shoals. This tidbit that only they would know had been buried in the memoirs Casey mailed to herself for archiving when she signed up for gmail.
The Danzante leaping dolphins on her Whisperer were now behaving like tadpoles. Or, maybe, those images arose from the last tick of her biological clock.
The Cassandra in Casey held another warning. Gavin slouched some from her memory of his 6’4″ frame. The Vocabulary Analyzer packaged with her BodyReader promised a decade of mental acuity for herself and this target. She wondered how she appeared to Gavin and his own Body Reader. Casey fell the warmth flowing from those blue eyes that often closed when his shyness took over. Half a lifetime had slipped away to reopen the senses of that magical year in their over-worked lives.
“Whew, serendipity is on my side,” Casey mused. She began to deactivate Whisperer controls. A tug on one decorative wire disabled Whisperer monitoring. Twisting the wearable’s Blue Tooth plug turned off its BodyReader communications. Flicking its bright center button stopped her programmed conversation managers. Changing from invisible to sparkling aqua, her hearables’ dropped like graceful straps onto her white V-necked sweater, freeing body and mind from CumuLinker.
Casey’s fingers gently touched Gavin’s sleeved arm. They acknowledged each other with shy smiles. He patted the #35 scarf draped over the Whisperer on her shoulder.
“How about a walk to the pond?” Casey whispered, looking directly up.
“Walden?” he chuckled, “or Tyngsboro?”. And more memories flooded back.