Thorn: Today I’m going to explain how the Network and telecrystals work! . . . as soon as I’ve used the Network to look up the explanation.
The Network consists of an interconnected set of data-storing and communication crystals. They come in lots of sizes — the most common are small, personal handhelds.
Data crystal: only holds information
Telecrystal: sends information along long-distance connections
Smartcrystal: does anything you can install an application spell to do
Your personal Network identification is your callsign. Six-digit ID, two-digit country code. This standard was set just under a century ago. Before that, every country had its own system.
My callsign is CE-#4C689C.
A single crystal can have multiple callsigns. When I was a kid, before handhelds got common, our telecrystal at home had three — a private one for each of my moms, and a general one.
Clover: Okay, kiddo, now you can take and send messages from #593E2D!
Thorn: Two basic ways of sharing information: you can send it directly to people, or you can save it on your crystal and mark it “general access.”
I’m not sending vacation photos to everyone in my family . . . but if my niece ever wants to look them up, they’re accessible!
Thorn: The big innovation in the Network within my lifetime is the Cloud. In spite of the light fluffy name, it’s just made up of more crystals. Big crystals. Really, REALLY big crystals.
A public Cloud megacrystal is divided into facets. Anybody can sign up for one. Then you use it to store way more data than a handheld would be able to hold, and the data can be made searchable and viewable to anyone who checks the megacrystal’s callsign, without sharing your own callsign or real-world identity. Since the Cloud makes it so much easier to meet and keep up with people, it’s also called “the social Network.”
I usually talk to people via callsigns, but I have facets on a few social Network crystals. How about you, Leif?
Leif: All I have is the general callsign for Embassy servants. It’s SN-#8F3A31. Will you remember? I can write it down.