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Solfe
2013-Jan-07, 01:16 AM
Can anyone come up with real life technology that would not make good science fiction?

One thing that springs to mind are the 1990's internet appliances. Sure, they fetched the email, but they tied up your phone line at the same time.

Jens
2013-Jan-07, 01:47 AM
I doubt that nail clippers would make good science fiction, but who knows.

Hal37214
2013-Jan-07, 01:41 PM
The beer widget (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widget_(beer)).

KaiYeves
2013-Jan-07, 03:35 PM
I doubt that nail clippers would make good science fiction, but who knows.
Hmmm... Maybe an alien with somewhat-humanlike hands (humanlike enough to be able to work a nail clipper) is captured and tied up in a human bathroom and their only hope of escape is to laboriously attempt to cut through the ropes, using a mysterious human artifact they found on the counter but have no idea of the proper use of?

Swift
2013-Jan-07, 03:51 PM
Various SF stories have predicted things like cell phones (communicators in Star Trek, Dick Tracy's wrist radios and even wrist TVs). But I don't recall any SF predicting "ring tones", nor do I recall any SF related to "texting".

And how about Twitter?

Nicolas
2013-Jan-07, 04:11 PM
Star Trek almost predicted Twitter.

Deanna Troi: I know how you must feel
Twitter: I must know how you feel

Ara Pacis
2013-Jan-08, 09:21 PM
Various SF stories have predicted things like cell phones (communicators in Star Trek, Dick Tracy's wrist radios and even wrist TVs). But I don't recall any SF predicting "ring tones", nor do I recall any SF related to "texting".

And how about Twitter?

Didn't 2010 predict a text message from the monolith's to leave Europa alone?

SkepticJ
2013-Jan-11, 06:15 AM
Didn't 2010 predict a text message from the monolith's to leave Europa alone?

History beat Clarke by about 130 years with that one: teletype.

Van Rijn
2013-Jan-11, 09:44 AM
Various SF stories have predicted things like cell phones (communicators in Star Trek, Dick Tracy's wrist radios and even wrist TVs). But I don't recall any SF predicting "ring tones", nor do I recall any SF related to "texting".


Ringtone: There's the Our Man Flint (1966) ringtone, which is VERY distinctive (you might also recognize it from the relatively recent Austin Powers movies, where it was borrowed).

http://crackberry.com/ringtone/unknown-11

Texting: I wouldn't say texting itself would be so big a deal, but I can't imagine a science fiction story introducing a pocket communicator/camera/supercomputer ("super" by up to '70s standards) just used for text messages or playing Angry Birds. Or, for that matter, just to call to pick up a pizza. I could see a smartphone in a story about a science fiction story spy using the gadget to save the world, or in a cyberpunk story.


And how about Twitter?

Yeah, I still don't really understand the point of Twitter.

novaderrik
2013-Jan-11, 11:26 AM
how about a box that is hooked to a dish mounted on the roof that you use to watch 1/2 hour long commercials beamed down from a satellite in geosynchronous orbit in the middle of the night on a 50+ inch LED tv?
and you have to PAY for the privilege of watching those 1/2 hour long commercials?

Paul Beardsley
2013-Jan-11, 01:48 PM
But I don't recall any SF predicting "ring tones"

In Bob Shaw's very short novel The Two-Timers (1968), the phone rings. The wife says, "Who is that?" The husband replies, "I don't know, I didn't recognise the tone." (Quoted from memory.)

However, this was sarcasm rather than anticipation.

SeanF
2013-Jan-11, 04:06 PM
Texting: I wouldn't say texting itself would be so big a deal, but I can't imagine a science fiction story introducing a pocket communicator/camera/supercomputer ("super" by up to '70s standards) just used for text messages or playing Angry Birds. Or, for that matter, just to call to pick up a pizza. I could see a smartphone in a story about a science fiction story spy using the gadget to save the world, or in a cyberpunk story.
There's a meme going around the Internet right now that goes something like:

"If a person from the 1950s were to be transported through time to today, what would be the most difficult thing to explain to them?"

And the answer is:

"I carry a device in my pocket which has access to the entire combined knowledge of the human race. I use it to look at pictures of cats and argue with strangers."

NEOWatcher
2013-Jan-11, 06:25 PM
In Bob Shaw's very short novel The Two-Timers (1968), the phone rings. The wife says, "Who is that?" The husband replies, "I don't know, I didn't recognise the tone." (Quoted from memory.)
However, this was sarcasm rather than anticipation.
I think I've heard that one in several instances as joking in movies or something possibly before 1968.

But; the funny thing is, when the telephone first started, the operators did have the ability to change the ringtone when they connected to the phone. So; ringtones are in some way native to phone technology.

In fact wasn't the original ringtone a voice calling for Watson? ;)

Chuck
2013-Jan-11, 09:34 PM
Stuff like Teflon, WD-40, Formula 409, and super glue are great but probably wouldn't have impressed science fiction readers. They're useful but not exciting.

swampyankee
2013-Jan-11, 10:19 PM
Many important technologies: municipal water and sewage systems, indoor plumbing, weaving, knitting, threaded fasteners ... all the bits of technology we never think about.

JustAFriend
2013-Jan-12, 08:30 PM
Stuff like Teflon, WD-40, Formula 409, and super glue are great but probably wouldn't have impressed science fiction readers. They're useful but not exciting.

Well there was the one good Star Trek: Enterprise episode where T'Pol's grandmother crash-landed on Earth in the 1950s and sold Velcro to fund a local kid's college fund.
(yes I know Velcro preceded the time of that episode, but it was one of their few good ones...)

Trebuchet
2013-Jan-12, 09:38 PM
Internet connected refrigerators and washing machines. Not such a hot idea in real life either.

DonM435
2013-Jan-13, 04:48 AM
In Bob Shaw's very short novel The Two-Timers (1968), the phone rings. The wife says, "Who is that?" The husband replies, "I don't know, I didn't recognise the tone." (Quoted from memory.)

However, this was sarcasm rather than anticipation.

In the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Kevin McCarthy phones the police for help, but learns that The Enemy is in charge because they know who's calling despite his not having identified himself verbally. Modern kids wouldn't understand that, what with Caller ID and all that.

[Edit: Or maybe that was Donald Sutherland in the remake. Advanced telephone options were still limited in the mid 1970s.]

Jeff Root
2013-Jan-13, 05:59 AM
I vaguely recall that up until about the time I was born,
phones in some areas would be rung different numbers
of times to indicate which party on a party line the call
was for, not who it was from. That might be how the
phone worked that June Lockhart was always talking on
in her kitchen, on 'Lassie'.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

KaiYeves
2013-Jan-14, 01:19 AM
In the 1956 Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Kevin McCarthy phones the police for help, but learns that The Enemy is in charge because they know who's calling despite his not having identified himself verbally. Modern kids wouldn't understand that, what with Caller ID and all that.
"Squidward, the robots are running the Navy!"

Solfe
2013-Jan-14, 04:08 AM
Pagers* seemed like a good idea when I was 19; now, not so much.

*I was never a doctor, lawyer, firefighter or anything that would require an immediate response despite what my employers though of me.