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A few weeks ago, in support of a customer's new facilities, I tasked a satellite imaging platform to take a photograph of Dubbo, Australia, using an app on my iPhone. Placing the instruction took less than two minutes, the longest part of which was downloading the app. The processed image was downloaded to my device before close of business that same day.

Against a glowing surface, my hand describes a complex sigil, and orbital mechanisms leap into action on my whim.

Next up: pulling together the components for Karsus's Avatar






After reading your comment, I was curious what your photograph might have looked like and where Dubbo was. A moment later, I had selected, searched for, and been presented with images of and articles about Dubbo. I gave them a brief, bored glance and moved on.

This age of mundane wonders.

Don't worry, that happens when you drive through there as well.

Although doing the overnight camping option at the zoo there was a great experience.


I have found the facade of control that technology presents is easily punctured by a few days outside of cell range in rugged wilderness. Being alone in emergency situations also reveals our total lack of control over the whims of fate. Basically, when it comes to dealing with substantial, immediate personal problems technology is still pretty useless.

“Stories set in the Culture in which Things Went Wrong tended to start with humans losing or forgetting or deliberately leaving behind their terminal. It was a conventional opening, the equivalent of straying off the path in the wild woods in one age, or a car breaking down at night on a lonely road in another.”

—— Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games.


Reminds me of how modern horror movies mostly have to one of 1) be set before cell phones, 2) dispose of cell phones somehow, or 3) be in some way about cell phones.

Tangentially related, reminds me of how most scifi books and movies add all sorts of insane tech, yet leave out competent AI (in e.g. battle scenes, piloting vehicles, etc.) which would utterly obliterate anything human controlled.

In case you haven't, please read some Culture (referenced above)! It features an extremely plausible integration of very strong AI in the lives of mortals, and handwaves minimally.

The amount of lifesaving assistance available to the average person with a single phone call is staggering. Being outside of cellphone demonstrates the utility not futility is such assistance.

It’s not even limited to medical assistance. A friends floor collapsed and a single phone call made the difference between an unpleasant day and an agonizing death.


Out of curiosity, what platform is that?

Possibly the spymesat app. If you create an account and log in, apparently you can select satellites and task it to take images for anywhere between $500 to $3300.

That is indeed the app I used. Full answer of which orbital platform once my current aircraft has landed.

> pulling together the components for Karsus's Avatar

I'll get the Tarrasque.


In some ways, this has happened for decades with satellite telecom relays.

Still super cool though! :)!




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