“You’re too young to be nostalgic,” he said, heading for the door. “The past only looks good when you can’t see for shit. Later, dude.” He shrugged on his jacket and loped down the hallway and out the door. Jack sat down in the chair and felt it automatically adjust to her preset configuration — a little lower, a little straighter and a whole lot softer. She settled in, taking out the second half of her breakfast bar and having a bite. The clock on the lower right corner of her display read 15:58 UTC.
• • •
Jack took a sip of her now cold coffee, made a face and put her cup down on the small ledge they called a desk. She unfocussed her eyes and logged into the Bellis system. Her vision was filled with an image which had essentially not changed since the technological bronze age — a rectangle with little pictures representing files and programs, a horizontal menu system and a yes and no interface. The desktop. Jack’s nemesis.
Jack hated the desktop interface like some people hate liver. She had gotten into security the old-fashioned way — by subverting it for fun and profit. As a kid she liked to crack into other kids’ systems, playing pranks and leaving messages. It was mostly harmless stuff, but she quickly realized that there were better ways to do almost everything. Once the Direct Connection became more common and monitors, mice and physical keyboards became obsolete, Jack expected a radical change in the way people interacted with their systems. But, no. They just emulated a WindowIconMousePointer system, drawing the desktop on the cornea rather than the screen. The lack of vision pissed her off.
She had configured her personal system to run with a home brew three dimensional interactive interface, but she was required to use the Bellis system at work. It caused her almost physical pain, but she turned on her “keyboard” by throwing a small switch on the side of her desk. A physical switch. She really hated that. A tiny laser light show started on her desk, showing the image of her custom keyboard layout. At least they let her use her own keyboard layout. She tapped away, sensors on her desk picking up her movements and converting those motions to wireless input into her system.
She called up the mail system and paged through a bunch of garbage from the social committee and some messages from management about new business lines and appropriate branding imagery. Deleted. Jack opened up the systems viewer and watched the logs scroll by for a few minutes. She found the image calming and had been known to spot problems in their early stages just by having a feeling that the logs looked funny. They were looking fine today, so she opened up another window and started reading the news.
According to what she saw, there didn’t appear to be a whole lot going on in the security world. Jack subscribed to all the usual trade feeds, the internal Bellis Security feed and she regularly visited a few outlaw cracker boards using an identity she first developed before she chose the right side of the law. Truth be told, she liked to keep her hand in on the lighter fun stuff and also figured that it didn’t hurt to see what the other side was up to. Not that there really was an other side anymore.
Sure, code jockeys were still writing clever tools to break into systems and do a whole host of interesting things when they were in there. But ever since Everlock came on board, hardly any foreign bodies lived long enough to do any damage. It was like DDT for computer viruses. The end of an era.