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Thorn Explains: The Network

Thorn Explains: The Network published on 10 Comments on Thorn Explains: The Network

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!

Hyacinth: Mmhmm.

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.

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No country in your universe has more than 16 million people? (Well, 16777216). How big problem would be when they find out they need to upgrade to their IPv6 equivalent?

Do banks exchange money over smart crystals or it’s not considered safe enough?

They’re not hex, they use the full alphabet! I just picked a couple that map to hex color codes for the entertainment value. Assuming they managed to get at least 26 letter​ characters into the international standard, plus 10 digits, that gives over 2.1 billion codes per country, which is more than enough.

Money gets exchanged over crystals all the time. They’re at least as secure as the average online transaction.

“over 2.1 billion codes per country, which is more than enough” … tell that to Chinese.

So, not much? 🙂

So, there are crystals bigger than personal ones but smaller than public cloud crystals used as servers?

It’s weird because in our universe, social networks are not really using that big computers. Nothing in the list of top 500 supercomputers is used for social networks – it’s used for science and military, mostly.

It may help to know that this world only has about 3 billion people total. (There’s significantly less habitable land than our Earth has…)

The top 500 supercomputers are ranked by processing power, right? Not something like hard drive space…or physical size, for that matter. Compare something like Amazon’s cloud-computing services — the individual servers they’re hosted on aren’t especially fast or massive, but there are at least 1.5 million of them. Facebook had 180K in 2012, so it must be running several hundred thousand by now. Imagine one megacrystal = one server farm.

And yes, magitech crystals come in a whole range of sizes. If you look at some of the background scenery you can see rooftop crystals, at least the size of a large microwave. Their functions include security system, data relay, and power cell.

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