Bruce Sterling\'s take about his digitized belongings

Bruce Sterling's column about how he digitized his belongings while moving from Austin to Pasadena.

When I was formerly a Texan author-journalist type rather than a Californian "visionary," I naturally lived like a pack rat. Then I drove my hybrid electric across I-10 to the gloriously unfurnished Pasadena pad over here, and I suddenly realized that I can thrive with something like 8% of my former possessions. Not that I've lost them. Basically – and this is the point for SXSW-I attendees – they've all been digitized. They got eaten by my laptop. There's an Apple Store a block away, where Mr. Jobs is selling iPods like Amy sells waffle-cones when it hits 105 degrees. So, where're all my records and CDs? They're inside the laptop. DVD player? Laptop. Newspapers? I read Google News in the morning. Where're my magazines? I read Metropolis Online, I write stories for Where's my TV? I got no TV: Compared to Web surfing on broadband wireless, watching a TV show is like watching ice melt. I tried real hard to sit down and watch a television dramatic episode recently – it felt like watching Vaudeville, with a trained dog act and a guy juggling plates. TV is dying right in front of us. It's become a medium for the brainwashed, the poor, and the semiliterate. Where's my fax machine? Laptop. Mailbox? Laptop. Filing cabinet? Laptop. Working desk? Laptop. Bank? Laptop. Place of business? Laptop. Most people I deal with have no idea I'm here in California. They'd never think to ask me. Why should they? They send e-mail, they get what they want, game over.

My laptop is even a library now; I've taken to reading books as e-text. For instance, a freeware, public domain version of Robert Louis Stevenson's The Silverado Squatters.