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For All Nails #50: Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair
San Francisco, California, USM
7 June 1973
"Well, I will admit it's a nice color. It catches the
setting sunlight -- almost the same color as my flower..."
Anna reached up again to touch the dark red-orange hibiscus
flower pinned by her ear. Bobby had bought it on impulse
from an about-to-close shop a few minutes before.
"Yeah, they kept that from the old four-lane version. But
you still don't like it?"
"Oh, the _bridge_ is fine -- it's just the idea of a twelve-lane
_locopista_  going through the middle of a city."
"The old road was a parking lot, between the commuters from
San Rafael and Sonoma and all the truck traffic to and from
Alaska . The food has to get into the city somehow, and you're
not going to cross the _Puerta Dorada_  with a railroad, not
and get any big ships through it."
"Spoken like an engineer. You could put the north-south truck
traffic over there, and supply the city across the Bay or up
from San Jose." She gestured vaguely east toward Contra Costa and
Spinoza , where the evening lights were beginning to sparkle on
the mansions climbing the foothills, and then south behind them.
"So you don't tear apart the middle of the city! Look around
you. This neighbourhood is the only piece of original San
Francisco to survive the earthquake _and_ the Japanese, and you
lost a third of it when that road went through." Actually, Anna
thought, the _Viejo_ was a lot like the French Quarter back home --
Spanish architecture from the days of the Trans-Oceanic War.
"Have you ever heard of the 'Defenders of the _Viejo_'? Mostly
little old ladies -- the toughest pressure group in the city,
trying to keep new building and new parking lots out of here.
You could join -- hey, you're a member of the bar now, you could
work for them!"
"Maybe I should -- I still can't believe I can practice here, at
least once they get the exam graded. No clerkship, no ten years
of politicking, just prove that you know the Basic Statute and
you're in. Have I told you lately how much I love your country,
The bar exam was the official reason for the night out in Town,
not that they needed much of a reason now that term was over. Since
the Basic Statute of the State of California was William Theodore's 
elegant codification of all the case law she'd sweated over for
four years at UNO Law, distilled down to a mere forty pages (or one
soundtape full of strange noises on the Box, she reflected), it hadn't
taken her long to master it. She supposed some of her fellow PMU
law students might have some nervous moments waiting for their grade,
but she certainly wouldn't.
"Love the legal system, hate the city planning, I guess it comes
out even eventually. So there's no twelve-lane highway through New
"Just a river and some rail yards, but the _Vieux Carre_ is left
alone like a city should be. Spanish houses, Spanish moss, Italian
food, you'll love it, don't worry."
"And I get to see it in two weeks, along with all of your side of
the DiMaggios. Do you think they'll approve of me?"
"Let's see, handsome, successful, smart, handsome, nominally Catholic,
witty, handsome, friend of the family already, what's not to like?
Did I mention that you're handsome?"
"How about 'Mexican'?"
"Oh, Bobby, half our family is as Mexican as you are now, at least as
Mexican as our half is North American. Besides, relations now are as good
as they've been in years."
Moctezuma and Monaghan had held a summit meeting in Tampa last month,
and the Mexican president had signed on to the "Atomic-Free Caribbean"
initiative. Perhaps not a big concession when Mexico had no Bombs to
station there, but the gesture was encouraging. More importantly, he
had helped arrange the exchange of most of the prisoners from Boricua.
There were reports of progress with the remaining four hundred "suspected
war criminals", too, until one of the Boricuan negotiators got himself
shot. Political murder was getting more common in the Jeffersonist
Republic of Boricua all the time -- it seemed to be shaping up as a fight
between the orthodox hard-liners and those who wanted an accomodation with
the "betrayers of the Revolution" in the USM.
"Hard to believe it was just last year you were stuck here for a month,
not that I was complaining about it. Do you think it would have been as
hard for us to get through last summer if we'd only gone out a couple of
"Oh, that's silly. What happens, happens, and there's no use speculating
about how it might have gone differently. But I wasn't going to forget
you, Bobby, not even after that first dinner. Speaking of dinner, where
are we going tonight?"
"For something I bet they don't have even in New Orleans, a new Fukienese
place near the Presidio. If that's all right..."
"In your city, you pick the restaurant -- I'll wait til we're in New
Orleans. And then I guess you'd better pick in Burlington..."
"Well, there aren't as many choices there, but it's a good food city.
I hear there's a lot more ethnic places opening up there now to go with
the Tory  and the French. And there's always been good Jewish food
there too. You'll like it, I think, though I couldn't see living there
-- we both seem to be big-city people."
"And warm weather people, too, don't forget. I know you have to go there
a lot, but let's try to keep it to the summer if we can."
"Summer or fall -- you'd like the leaves. Actually, I wanted to ask you --
do you know yet how much weight a CNA patent carries here?"
"The quick answer is none. You thinking of stealing ideas from GC?"
"Well, it's more a matter of my own ideas that I've sold GC the CNA rights
to. You know the Box is basically a GC-1, right?"
The Box sat on a table in Anna's apartment. It was considerably bigger
than her radiocooker and weighed nearly a hundred pounds, which though
impractical was a big improvement on the family-icebox-sized original GC-1.
(It had also doubled Anna's electric bill -- no big deal in the USM but a
deterrent to any buyers paying CNA energy prices. Its heat output had been
convenient on spring evenings, but was now starting to be a nuisance as
well.) The important thing about the Box was not the "calculating engine",
though, but what was attached to it: a soundtape player, a telecopier, a
fingerwriter keyboard, and a vitavision screen .
Bobby's student Esteban Cupertino thought that everybody in the world
needed a calculator in their home. He'd built the Box to prove that,
and they'd loaned it to Anna to see whether a non-technical person could
do anything interesting with it. She'd first used it to index her
collection of sounddisks, and written a CISP  script to sort her 62
disks into different categories. It worked fine, but once she acquired
three more disks the index would no longer fit into the "scratchpaper" of
the calculating engine and her script would no longer work. Perhaps by
then she and Bobby would have merged disk collections anyway -- when exactly
in the relationship were you supposed to do that, anyway?
She had rigged up the tape with the Basic Statute on it so that a script
could fairly quickly find any particular section or numbered paragraph. In
principle, it could also find any particular word, but this was incredibly
slow as it had to wind the tape to each little place to check whether the
word was there . Finally, she had the notes for her book stored as
more funny noises on a couple of soundtapes, though she worked primarily
with the traditional pads of paper and the file cards.
Overall the Box was of some use to a law student (a lawyer, she corrected)
whose boyfriend had taught her CISP (even if that student's boyfriend
hadn't _designed_ CISP). It had a long way to go before the general public
would be very interested. Bobby sometimes went on about how the bigger and
faster machines in the future would be able to hold an entire legal library
for her. She'd tried to explain that finding the right case was a lot more
complicated than just finding particular words. You could find every case
that contained the word "banana", yes, but you needed a law library to find
the case that was _like your case_ in the legal sense. If your client had
assaulted someone with a banana, the machine would find you a case about
banana price controls, but not the one where the defendent was charged with
assault with a mango ...
"So you think GC might sue you for stealing the design of the GC-1?"
"Well, they stole _that_ from Kramer anyway and Steve and I changed it
around a good bit. The problem is the work Belanger and I put in on
the GC-2 when I was a student, the new instruction set that works better
with CISP. I know CISP itself is mine, but can we build a _doppelganger_
of a GC-2 and sell it in the CNA, or the USM, or both?"
"Hmm... if they have a USM-based subsidiary --"
"They do, IBM-Mexico, though it doesn't build hardware --"
"Okay, that firm could apply for USM patents on anything that GC built
in the CNA. You could fight the patent, but if they got it they could
enjoin you from using their techniques for ten years ."
"Right. The smart thing is if _you're_ the GC's USM-based subsidiary."
"Give them part ownership?"
"Right. You said yourself that GC thinks that practical small calculators
are decades away. They don't want to put any time or money into them
themselves, so why should they mind if you do? Give them five per cent of
Pomona Calculators in exchange for all the licensing you need. If you
fail they don't lose anything, if you succeed they get some of the money
and a whole new market for their chips, right?"
"Say, you ever thought of being chief counsel for a struggling young
"I was thinking more about being on the board of directors..."
 Limited-access divided highway, called "highway" in the CNA (except
"locopiste" in Quebec).
 Recall that FANTL Alaska includes OTL Oregon, Washington, Idaho,
Yukon, and BC.
 The Golden Gate, named that in OTL by Fremont (who was also responsible
for the references to the German geographer Humboldt across the western
USA). I am presuming the name was an obvious enough choice to be made
by someone else. Sobel has made it canon that the city, as in OTL,
took its name from the Presidio of San Francisco rather than the
village of Yerba Buena, as in OTL. The islands of Yerba Buena and
Alcatraz in the Bay had their OTL names by 1772.
 OTL Richmond and Berkeley. There is a university in the latter but
it is much smaller than PMU and regularly loses to them in football.
 The USM Constitution required each state to codify the English common
law by statute. William Theodore, an officer with Jackson before
retiring to California, did a particularly nice job of this for his
state. He is the hero of Anna's book-in-progress, _Common Sense:
Jackson's Vision and the Law in the USM_, based on her studies at
PMU under the Mercator Scholarship (see #22).
 Tory cooking is traditional 18th-century New England stuff, called
"American" or "Colonial" in OTL. Burlington has culinary influences
from Montreal and NYC/Brooklyn as well as the more recent ones. I
wonder whether there is an equivalent of the excellent OTL sushi bar
Sakura, described at
 Isn't ATL technical language fun? There is little reason to expect
many technical terms to be the same as in OTL, and Sobel gives many
examples of changes. In this paragraph, we have respectively the OTL
microwave oven, refrigerator, central processor, audio (magnetic) tape
recorder, fax machine, typewriter, and television. Sound recordings
are both on read-only "disks" (referred to in #27, details unspecified
so far) and read-write soundtapes. Steve has designed a peripheral
to use the latter as secondary storage for a computer. The vitavision
screen acts as a "glass TTY" -- it can only put letters into fixed
locations. The keyboard/screen interaction is not yet very conducive
to writing at the screen as in OTL...
 Champlain Instruction Script Protocol, comparable to OTL ALGOL-60,
invented by Bobby in 1970-71.
 OTL search engines find words by precomputing a hashed "signature"
of a document that records roughly which words are in it. This won't
fly on a machine with so little RAM, to say the least. (A "page" of
the Box's soundtape secondary storage is 2K six-bit letters, enough to
fill the vitascreen once. Like an OTL-1960 PDP-1, the Box has 4K 18-bit
words (six pages) of RAM.
 Presumably there is no John Cleese to teach the appropriate self-defense
techniques against such attacks...
 USM law, as opposed to seventeen years in the OTL USA.