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Public Networks:

(from Tom’s stories: Red Sands of Revolution, The Way of the Leaving, NAS 842, Gentlemen’s Wager, Fall of the Faithful)

The Networks:

Each time there is a reference to the “Networks” in my stories, the reference has a larger meaning than the late 20th century standard. While the “Networks” used to refer to the national broadcast television networks (also sometimes stretched to include radio); in the future, the reference is beyond one-way broadcasts, beyond the single entity that was the World Wide Web for decades.

The Networks in the future sense evolved out of the cellular phone industry.  Once our phones morphed into internet and entertainment access devices, the phone networks (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and the smaller local offerings) evolved into interactive entertainment and communications networks.  As the competition for users grew, the pay per person service eventually disappeared.  The Networks gain their revenue by competing to offer the demographics who prefer their graphics and services while shopping, paying for virtual services, looking up businesses, networking opportunities, job searches and so much more.  People then had the freedom to access all of these new Networks through their personal Network Pads and at public access points built into virtually all imaginable surfaces.

Network Pads:

The generic term for a personal network access point. The size, shape and display comes in a wide variety.  Most people carry a future cross between an old-fashioned smart phone and tablet PC. Others have that access though their sunglasses and built into their clothing in some cases.

Public Network Access Points:

The tabletops, desktops, bar surfaces, park picnic tables, retaining walls, elevator doors, and even the backs of toilet stalls are all places you will find Network access touch screens.

Waitresses can display your bill on your table when they pick up your dishes and you can drag and drop that bill into your bank account that your bio signature would have accessed the moment you touched your bill.

Someone trying to call you. If you have a network pad in your pocket, it will flash a message on your tabletop or toilet stall wall; and though it is rude, some people do initiate a two-way talk with video even while still sitting on the toilet for personal business (thankfully most people still prefer to go outside before returning a call).

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