Mat-deMat #2

Rod G. Bogart

I just got a CD rom drive for my Mac. Now we can finally play with "Grandma
and Me" (which [little one] got for Christmas over a year ago). I like the Living
Book idea, but they did do one stupid thing. There is no way to disable the
keyboard. So my little guy keeps hitting the spacebar and returning us to
the Options page.

FICTION (continued):
My neighbor just got his Mat-demat system upgraded. It is truly
amazing. He called me to come see it work. I was standing on the
porch, and the door opened. I could see his arm holding the doorknob,
but at his elbow there was a bright white disk. I walked in. The arm
closed the door. The disk was white on both sides, but had an arm on
only one side. The arm retreated into the disk, and the disk
disappeared. From behind me I heard Dave say, "Pretty cool, huh? I'm
upstairs in the den." I turned around to see Dave's head sticking out
of one of those disks. Dave said, "Walk through that." He nodded
towards a white rectangle that had just appeared. I got ready for the
usual De-Mat weirdness and stepped through the 'door'. I was in the
den. With no rematerialization latency. Dave was sitting in front of
me with no head. Then the white disk on his neck travelled up,
revealing Dave grinning like a fool. The disk vanished.

"You want one, don't you?" He had me there. If I could reach into
the fridge to get a beer, without getting out of my chair, I'd be a
happy man. And no latency. I'm tired of rematerializing with my foot
in the dog food dish. This new product looks perfect. "How long have
you had it? What kind of limits are there? What's it cost?" Dave
still had the silly grin. "I knew you'd dig it. It cost me nothing."
No way. "My cousin works at the place that makes them, and brought me
this one yesterday. Normally the system provides up to eight active
ports without paying for expansion plates. This one only does four,
'cause one of the plates was damaged in manufacture. But the rest
works great."

He had a ball in his left had, which he tossed to me. "With your left
thumb, press the green panel. At the same time concentrate on your
right hand. It's easier if you look at your hand." I did what he
said, and a port appeared just beyond my fingers. "Good. Now this is
the tricky part. You have to hold the green panel with your thumb,
and use your index finger to tap the red button." I messed it up the
first time. My thumb slipped, and the port vanished. I got it the
second time, and a 3D map of Dave's house appeared beyond my left
hand. Cool. "Now move the ball. It moves that little disk out in
the map. When you get it where you want, tap the red button again."
I moved the map disk until it was in the upstairs den. When I tapped
the button, a disk appeared over the couch. I looked at Dave with the
question on face. He grinned the affirmative. I stuck my right hand
through the disk, and there it was! Just floating over the couch. I
reached down and touched the leather. Wow. Remote control. Just
then, my thumb slipped off the green panel. The disks sort of went
'snap' and were gone. My arm was back at its normal length. But it
felt kinda funny, like that feeling you get in your stomach on a
rollercoaster. "Whoa! Watch out for that. If you're holding on to
something, it'll get ripped out of your grasp."

For the next few hours, I ran around Dave's without getting up. I
have got to get one of these.