WebCT (Web Control Technology) created a wireless interface every student, faculty member, and worker at the University could access at any time through a node implanted in his or her forehead upon joining. This node served a dual purpose; one to keep track of credit, and the other to access WebCT. Scanners in all of the eating facilities automatically deducted one meal credit from students entering and in the Brown Bookstore foreheads could be scanned to deduct the price of books from student accounts. The other, more exciting function was to connect all of the people in the Brown community in a neural network. Activation required just pressing one’s temples and whispering a password. Upon doing this, the node expanded into two disks connected by a rod held to the forehand by a thin but firm alloy articulating arm, which then lowered the disks in front of the user’s eyes.
WebCT’s innovative system allowed a user to access the network in two ways. The first was to control an avatar within a 3-D rendered representation of Brown University, and move and interact through sub aural voice commands and leaning one way or another to turn or walk. Seeing someone using WebCT in this way created a humorous effect, making it easy over the next fifty years to forget that odds were that that person bobbing around, whispering to himself was a cold-blooded murderer. The other, more traditional option available through WebCT was to interact with any number of windows projected onto the eye with just a keyboard and mouse. This system of information gathering and file generating closely resembled how people accessed what was known as “The Internet” through “Desktop and Laptop Computers” in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
WebCT proved to be immensely successful and useful to students and faculty alike. The only drawback to the system was that it lacked security to prevent it from being hacked. WebCT’s first and only beta test took place at Brown University in the fall of 2047 to analyze the efficiency and drawbacks of the system before the public release intended for the Summer of 2048.
Fortunately for Arrr!!! and unfortunately for the rest of campus, the pirate crew that semester contained some of the university’s best CS majors, who quickly hacked WebCT, yielding the capability to immediately locate every person connected to the network through nodes, thanks to the inclusion of GPS chips in the nodes. In the first few weeks of its introduction the pirates had already utilized WebCT to be able to do exactly the sorts of things you wouldn’t want to make pirates able to do.
Of course this was exactly the sort of problem WebCT’s beta test was meant to reveal, and most assuredly new security components would have been integrated into the software the next year. If not for the
collapse of the American Government that following winter.
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