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Nanowrimo Excerpts

November 9, 2012

Today is going to be a busy work day and a busy Nanowrimo day so I’m not going to write much.  Instead, here are some exceprts from the stuff I’m working on.


Back story for my current one, called Business Cards:

  The life expectancy of a paper business card once it left the hand of its owner was about twenty minutes.

  Generally a person who received a paper business card never looked at it even once after receiving it.
  The marketers and the people who habitually handed out the doomed business cards watched carefully as computers left the desktop and moved into the pockets of their customers, and they realized that if they wanted to continue to communicate with their clients they needed to stop taking up pocket space, which was now already taken, and move into electronic space.
  The first smart cards had a bar code on them that pocket computers would scan and be taken to a web page or to download an app, but this required too much trust from the customer and when the novelty wore off these smart cards had an even shorter pocket life than a standard business card.
  The second generation of smart cards skipped the need for pocket computers to scan or do anything but be in close proximity to the physical card, where the card would force the computer to automatically install the app.  There was a brief war between marketers and anti virus software makers before a law was passed making such tactics illegal.  Marketers had already read the mood of their customers and knew that it was a bad idea anyway.
  That left marketers with a difficult decision.  They knew that nothing they did worked, but the people who handed out the cards still wanted something they could give their customers.  So they developed the memetic card.  The ‘card’ could be shaped like just about anything – a plush toy, a model of the product being marketed, anything really.  And underneath the exterior was a small but powerful computer, smart enough to listen for an opening, and careful enough to not be annoying.
  This worked pretty well.  Customers would sit the fuzzy green frog on their desk and when they complained about the copy machine jamming again for the sixth time the frog would say, “Excuse me dear sir or ma’am, I can help you fix the problem.”
  When overworked and understaffed IT departments saw the potential uses for these cards, they saw them as a cheap extension of the helpdesk and encouraged the marketers to go farther, and give the little things actual intelligence.  Once accepted by the IT professionals, they quickly moved from being a marketing gimmic to an important part of a companies technology strategy.
  The little cards could keep an inventory of things like pens and paper clips, the supply of copy paper, or a computer’s upgrade status, and when things got low they could be given permission to automatically order replacements or install upgrades.  They could even perform tech support for common problems.
  People liked the cards because they no longer had to wait for the overworked, understaffed IT departments to help them with simple problems.  They could just ask the fuzzy green frog on their desk the easiest way to fix a formatting problem in their spreadsheet, and the frog could give them a list of ideas, and if those ideas didn’t work it could recommend an upgraded product that might do a better job if the customer was interested.
  The customer was often interested.
  The cards pushed sales up through the roof.
  Everyone was happy.
I know that stuff doesn’t sound very exciting, but it’s not something that is going to be included in the story except as maybe an oblique reference.
Speaking of Oblique… I probably need to just make a different post about the word Oblique.  I’ve been using it a lot lately and it’s all Brian Eno’s fault.
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