The Escapist Magazine
Issue 133
The devices that make life more interesting, and what we can do with them.
Editor's Note Letters to the Editor

"In geocaching parlance, people who don't geocache are called "muggles," a reference from the Harry Potter novels to people who don't use magic. It's an apt allusion. The ability to walk into the woods and, in a matter of minutes, find a capsule no larger than your thumb must involve magic. And if you ascribe to the Larry Niven's theory that advanced technology effectively is magic, then geocachers, tracking hidden objects using satellite locators, really are wizards."

Russ Pitts looks for tiny objects hidden in the woods, using only his wits, a sturdy pair of shoes and a GPS locator.

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"The increasing popularity of BlackBerries and other internet-capable smartphones herald the coming of the mythic all-in-one device that combines every gadget into one convenient, portable form. BlackBerries can send and receive email, play music, play video files, read Word and PDF documents, take voice memos, and provide maps with location pinpointed by built-in GPS. Oh, and they also make phone calls."

Hugo Torres phones home from the future of smartphones.

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"It's got to the point now where I feel naked without a phone, MP3 player, camera, PDA, flashlight, radio, wireless headset and a complete backup of my essential files, company accounts, music and a couple of series of Star Trek. This kit can be thinned down if it's just a trip to the shops for a pint of milk or a copy of What Technological Baggage Monthly, but any kind of extended excursion (being an hour or more away from the desk) requires a full personal network of electronic paraphernalia."

And all those gadgets need power. Spanner explains how he keeps his personal area network juiced, and how he hopes to in the future.

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"In Japan, loitering with a Nintendo DS is the mark of a productive citizen (one in six people in Japan own one) - I can barely get on a train without stumbling over a mess of high school kids battling Pokémon on their way to cram school. While it's well known that the DS can, with the right software, ward off dementia, count calories, help with cooking, function as a Korean and Japanese dictionary (with kanji recognition), teach yoga, browse the web, and all kinds of other things, the homebrew Nintendo DS scene is perhaps the most underrated aspect of the fastest-selling console of all time."

Pat Miller experiences life on the streets of Japan, homeless and wandering with a DS and little else.

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"As technology leaps forward every day, the doors to a completely immersive play experience fly open. While the Star Trek holodeck is probably a ways off, currently existing technology can get us pretty close. It's just a matter of whether or not the entertainment industry can make it affordable enough to be realistic. Then again, if you own a PS3, maybe you're already willing to drop exorbitant amounts of money on games."

Jon Sanderson wonders: Are we there yet?

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