Saturday, June 07, 2008
Now, and Then ...
These days, you can get biometric locks for your front door -- works with a key, combination, or your fingerprint. Eye-readers -- retinal-pattern recognition -- are being put into airports; and vox-activated systems, using a code word or tuned to your unique voice are out there. I can make phone calls by speaking a name into my cell phone.
When I put all these things into science fictions novels a few years ago, that's what they were, science fiction.
As a lad, there were still plenty of houses where I grew up that used spring-locks -- the classic keyhole-you-can-peep-through things that used keys unchanged since knights and castles. If you happened to lose your house key, you could hie yourself on down to Williams Five & Dime and buy, for fifteen cents, a skeleton key. There were two basic patterns, notched and solid, and with these two, you could open pretty much any residential spring-lock front door around.
My running buddies and I, circa age ten, had these keys, and we used to prowl empty houses using them. We didn't steal stuff -- probably because the houses were emtpy and there was nothing to steal -- but we liked to play at being spies and adventurers, and we did enter illegally every vacant house we could find, come summer. Never got caught, and probably we did it two dozen times in half a dozen places. Always locked up when we left, too ...
I wonder how easy that is with a modern electronic lock? Or how much fun today's computer-generation kids would think it was ... ?