Overheard: Cyberia

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The Independent Culture
Scene: Cyberia, at 39 Whitfield St, W1, the cafe which offers computer facilities to access Internet, the worldwide information network. The blonde woman behind the cafe bar (she is Tech Support) offers a young man with a pony-tail a cappuccino, and then emerges to take him over to a screen. 'You can browse the worldwide web,' she suggests. At a screen nearby a clean-cut young American is tapping out a message to his university. 'I'm at this hip cyber cafe where I can log on directly to the OU system - incredible]'

A long-haired young man peering at unstoppable realms of information is distracted by his portable phone: 'Yeah. I'll give you a call soon as I'm outta here. I'm sort of linked in at the moment.' A friend has taken over his screen. 'Sorry.' he says. 'I'm dangerous with a mouse.'

On the end of the row a young man is gazing at a screen headed 'alt.

tasteless jokes'. He moves the mouse down the list: 'Anti-Asian jokes. US Moron Corpse jokes.' Blonde Tech Support appears behind him. 'What you looking for?' 'Just cruising,' he says.

Tech Support returns to a conversation at the bar with another young American. He asks for a cappuccino.

Tech Support suggests 'a virtual coffee mug. They do those now. It's Toggleboolean Stuff. You can knock it over and it sploshes all over the screen. Or you move it about and it leaves round marks on your copy. This is a different paradigm. It's a whole different mind set. . .'

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