Coffee Addendum

On June 25th I posted “Coffee and the Writer,” a few observations about my penchant for having a warm beverage nearby while I write. A few days ago I ran across a note I emailed to myself from Baltimore in November 2002. It was about a coffee incident I encountered at SC2002 (the Supercomputing Conference held each year by the Association for Computing Machinery and the IEEE Computer Society). I was there as a part of the conference’s Education Program. At the beginning of the note, I seem to be astounded that I was sending the email while I wasn’t connected by a CAT cable to a network. This would have been just a couple of months after I started working at Rice University. It would also have been the first year I participated in NaNoWriMo. Here’s the body of the email.


I’ve been here at the SuperComputing Conference for a full week now.  I’m emailing this sitting in the lobby of the conference center, not plugged in to anything, connected to a wireless network.

The technology here is remarkable.  Every time someone gives a keynote speech, the voice-recognition system (only a few words behind) displays the text of their speech, and does it VERY accurately.  It recognized multiple speakers, even some with Japanese and German accents.

There have been a few glitches, of course, but everyone accepted them as part of the routine (if you have technology, it will sometimes fail); but when the milk-foaming machine at the Starbucks in the lobby died, and left thirty people standing in line waiting for their cappuccinos and lattes, panic set in.  There was grumbling and whining like you couldn’t imagine.

Geeks and writers love their coffee.


I used a scene similar to that in my first novel, The Jagged Man. What can I say? I’m a writer. I steal from everywhere.


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