Book review: Acts of the Apostles, by John Sundman

Acts of the Apostes

A megalomaniac IT billionaire with messianic delusions and access to high-tech nano- and bio- technology threatens the very soul of humanity: our free will.

The number of the beast is a floating point processor

Set in the late 90’s, Acts of the Apostles is the tale of a computer chip designer & a software developer who suddenly finds themselves involved a conspiracy involving Gulf War syndrome, SCUD missiles, Saddam Hussein and the CIA. It also features computer chips with a mysterious bug, a Java-like computer language with peculiar limitations, nano-powered DNA manipulation, high-tech startup mergers, a ghost in the machine and a large cast of sexy female IT professionals.

John Sundman is a man possessed by a dystopian vision of bio-technology Armageddon and a keen sense for paranoid conspiracies. His novel describes a world on the brink of radical transformation through technology and man’s infinite lust for power.

Of course, there’s plenty of action, sex and humor, but the book also carries a dire warning about the dangers of hacking the human machine. i like to picture Sundman as a biblical prophet of old, standing at the city gate, half-naked under a lice-infested hair shirt, waiting for someone to make eye contact. Shaking bits of half-eaten locusts and spittle from his ragged beard, he harangues passersby with apocalyptic tales of high-tech doomsday, nano-beasts and biotech antichrists bent on world domination; peppering his rants with techno-babble and sharp witticisms. Sure he can be goofy and weird at times, but ignore him at your own risk!

Quoth the bio-hacker

I found the book funny and highly quotable. I was also impressed by the authentic feel of his descriptions of computer geeks and the IT industry in general. Here is a sample to whet your appetite:

  • “Todd, in his arrogance, had built very little debug time into the schedule.”
  • “Once upon a time, he would have said the meaning in his life came from taking part in the redefinition human nature.”
  • “Maybe relying on common sense & logic had been a mistake. This guy needed yelling at.”
  • “The Bonehead Computer Museum; Open Midnight to Midnight – Monday Thru Sunday and by appointment. Donations welcome.”
  • “It was good getting back home in Massachusetts, where things were allowed to get old.”
  • “The back of the device, in particular, looked like an electronic bird’s nest that had been sneezed upon.”
  • “Kali’s a hag. Just look at those saggy tits. Shiva’s tits are like Teri Hatcher’s: big and firm.”
  • “Silicon & DNA were the same thing: devices that shunted in different paths to create new information structures.”
  • “Prissy net fetishists took great offense when binary nonsense clogged up space on a discussion board, but on the Internet nobody knows if you’re a dog and you can post binaries anywhere you want.”
  • “Built into the Kali, hidden among its nearly three hundred thousand AND gates, OR gates , NANDs and NORs, was the secret recipe for making the chip upon Nick’s soul and life depended.”

A non-linear trilogy

Acts of the Apostles is book “blue” of Mind Over Matter, an ambitious three-volume work that share similar themes, characters and settings. Because these books can be read in any order, they are not numbered but instead marked by color.

  • Acts of the Apostles (Mind over Matter volume blue)
    • A techno-thriller about the abuse of nano and bio-technology.
  • Cheap Complex Devices (Mind over Matter volume red)
    • A rambling monologue supposedly written by a computer (or a mind in a vat, or a swarm of bees, or a man shot in the head and connected to a computer). The story is kind of a slow motion reboot, a person coming out of a dream, an entity that is coming to sanity, wholeness, self-awareness.
  • The Pains (Mind over Matter volume black)
    • An illustrated 1984-type dystopian featuring alternate-universe version of some key characters from Acts of the Apostles. Also included: cryogenically-preserved severed human heads and Ronald Reagan.

Each novel is told in a distinctive style and focuses on different, sometimes conflicting, point of views on the events depicted. The most conventional novel by far is Acts of the Apostles, which is told as a straightforward techno-thriller in the mold of Michael Crichton or Robert Ludlum. Fans of Neil Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon will certainly enjoy John’s quirky and techno-savvy novel (see my of review of Cryptonomicon).

The other novels get a lot weirder with their self-referential meta-fiction, stream of consciousness rants and alternate universes.

As an example of the complex relationship between each book in the trilogy, the introduction of Cheap Complex Devices (which represents almost half of the book) claims that “Bees”, the main story of the book, is the result of a contest for computer-generated fiction. Apparently, Acts of the Apostles would be the lost manuscript from another entry in this contest but was stolen and ineptly edited by an ex-security guard. It claims that the large number of sexy women in the story and their improbable lust for an otherwise average-looking computer chip designer, as well as its many typos and cringe-inducing passages, would be proof of the theft the book and its unwelcome alterations by a lesser literary mind.

According to the author, although there are many literary references in John’s work, the main inspirations come from Hofstadter’s Godel, Escher Bach and I Am a Strange Loop; Tracy Kidder’s The Soul of a New Machine; Vladimir Nabokov’s Pale Fire; and The Life of the Bee by Maurice Maeterlinck. These are not your typical pop-corn blockbuster fodder but instead deeply philosophical treatises about the nature of consciousness and humanity’s relationship with technology. Readers interested in an intellectually stimulating read will be well advised to dip their mind into Sundman’s literary pools of madness and wisdom as well as to peruse its thematic precursors.

Adventures in self-publishing

Through sheer endurance and determination, Sundman has become a self-publishing icon of his own right. Despite the support of an agent at an early point of his writing career, he did not manage to find a publisher for his work so he resorted to self-publishing Acts of the Apostles in 1999. This was half a decade before self-publishing tools like lulu.com became widely available.

Nowadays, print-on-demand services make it much easier to get a book printed and, theoretically, in the hands of avid readers. Any self-deluded hack with access to the Internet can now package strings of semi-random characters together, slap a cheap clipart picture on its cover and call it a book at virtually no costs (BTW, did I mention my self-published French novel, “La Boue”?), John had to do this the hard way, with actual printers, inventory, debts and boxes of books to lug around the country.

Acts of the Apostles, mostly sold by hand and through mail-order, gained critical success, including raving reviews by geek icons Cory Doctorow and Jefferey Zeldman. Commercial success, however, was elusive and mostly constrained by John’s own capacity to manually shove books into the faces of prospective consumers in various trade shows (as depicted in this detailed logistical account form the author).

Thankfully, John has now secured a contract with a publisher and is now revising his novel for publication of Acts of the Apostles sometimes in 2011. Let’s hope this opportunity will enable the book to reach the wider audience it deserves!

Links

My iPhone Is Shinier Than Yours

In the tech world, it’s not about who has the biggest screen or the most RAM, it’s all about who is the first to own the newest gadget. Techies stand in lines for hours to be the first to buy Apple’s latest device (come on, how many of you in Canada know someone who has crossed the border to be the first to own the iPad).

I remember when I first got my iPhone 3G, I was so proud. I bought a few skins, added a few apps and was just so proud to be a part of the Apple family.  But the next thing I knew the 3GS was out and already I was out of the loop. Now the iPhone 4 is out and… well… I still have my 3G. Well there is a group of chic geeks out there that refuse to be outdone in the gadget department. They work at not only creating the most blinged out gadgets, but also the most expensive. So the next time you’re out and about and someone pulls out their new iPhone 4 (with that fancy plastic cover), take out one of these babies, sit back and bask in all the glory.

The iPad Supreme Gold – blinged out by a man named Stuart Hughes, Apple’s latest must-have is adorned with 22-carat gold and a logo made with 53 flawless diamonds. Want one? You’ll have to pony up $210,000!

The next time someone shows off their iPhone 4, pull out this bad boy and watch the look on their face. At a cool $20,000 it makes the regular iPhone 4 look like it’s worth pennies. White with sparkling diamonds? A chic girl’s best friend!

After the diamond rings and all those pretty things, what do you get the girl who has everything? How ‘bout a diamond iPod Shuffle! It’s only $40,000, I mean, what do you expect from an iPod made of 18-karat pink gold and 430 diamonds. Oh, did I mention that there are another 118 on the earphone.

And in the eventuality that someone at the party does have one of the above, behold the most expensive phone in the world. Another creation of Stuart Hughes, this iPhone 4 is handmade of pink gold and more than 500 individual flawless diamonds around the edges and 53 more to make the iconic Apple logo. The home button is made from one of two interchangeable 8-karat diamonds (‘cause one would just be cheap!). So if you have an extra $8 million lying around, go nuts! I wonder if you still need that plastic case for better reception.

And finally for all you BlackBerry users, even your beloved device was given some love. The BlackBerry Curve 8900 was pimped out with 4,150 diamonds mounted on 18 karats of gold. Not a bad way to spend $200,000.

Who ever said it’s what’s on the inside that counts?

Confessions of an IT conference traveller (part 4 of 6)

Photo Credit: Jérôme Decq

Christian Heilmann covers the different stages of travelling for IT conferences in this six part series. Be sure to read parts one, two and three.

In the last article of this series we talked about surviving the flight and staying sane at the same time. Now you should be outside the plane and try to find your way to immigration and baggage retrieval. If you have no luggage other than hand luggage, you can start hurrying not to be stuck in the queue at immigration. If you have bags to collect, there is no point in hurrying as most likely you will stand at the luggage belt a long time waiting for your bags to arrive. So, keep calm and walk with purpose but without pushing.

You probably will want to use a washroom after the flight. Skip the first one you encounter as this one will be rammed with people with children and others that needed it very quickly. On average there are at least two washrooms until you get to immigration so go for the second.

Paperwork

The main thing to check is that you have all the papers to get out – your passport and boarding pass – and that you filled out all the necessary forms to be allowed outside.

This differs from country to country. For example in the US you have visa voucher applications (which used to be on paper but now are actually to be filled out and paid for online at this incredibly beautiful and usable web site) which have interesting questions on them like “have you been involved in espionage in the time period of 1939 to 1945”. I always wondered what I did back then–probably being -30. You will also have to have a customs voucher declaring that you have less than $10k cash on you and that you are not bringing in any plants or animals.

These forms can be tricky to fill out – be sure to check front and back and that the addresses and dates are in the right format. There is nothing more annoying than having queued up for half an hour just to delay the rest of the waiting people even more or–even worse–being sent back to the end of the line.

Funnily enough a lot of airports don’t allow you to use mobiles or ipods whilst waiting for your turn with the immigration officer – I normally read a book in the queue.

If you travel a lot from London Heathrow, sign up for IRIS. This is a retina recognition system that basically means you can smugly strut past the people queueing up, look into a box and get a computerised “Thank you”. You walk out in a matter of minutes. If you are like me you hum the James Bond Theme while you do it as it is quite Science Fiction if you think about it.

Immigration

Immigration can be daunting or quick, depending on the country. Again, this is something you have no choice but just to deal with. Be friendly, state the truth and you’ll be out fast. You might get stuck behind people who do not do the same. In this case, roll your eyes and look helpless and some official normally points you to an alternative booth with another official.

The baggage belt – meet the Mensa club

After immigration you will get to one of the things that always fascinates me – no matter how often I encounter it. Baggage belts are the things that illustrate the difference between greedy cavemen and people who in their ancestry went through a period of enlightenment. Here is the task: identify and pick your luggage from a long moving belt that gets the luggage in random order.

Less enlightened people do the following: move as close as possible to the belt and be ready to pounce like a very hungry tiger onto anything that remotely looks like your luggage. Also bend over and peer down the belt as if you can manage the Force and bring your luggage to you faster that way. The effect of this is that these people are in the way of others who stand by and try to just pick their luggage.

Those worthy of not being displayed in museums next to Mammoths all take one step back and calmly wait until their luggage is in front of them and then quickly grab it. That way nobody is in each other’s way and you don’t need to budge through people to get your suitcase.

The fun thing is that airports encourage that kind of behaviour by, oh, paint an area of the carpet around the belt differently or display a line. The following shot taken at the SFO airport shows what I mean and the labels explain my take on the subject matter:

The difference between obstacles and clever people

Regardless of your approach, sooner or later you’ll get your luggage. If it doesn’t show up and the belt stops moving – that’s a bad sign and you should contact the airline. Sometimes lost luggage is actually quite cool as it means the airline will deliver it to your place and you don’t need to lug your massive suitcase around. If it genuinely is lost then it is really annoying as the replacement money you get from airlines is not really enough to make up both for the lost clothes and the memories or hardship of finding just the right pair of trousers.

If your luggage is damaged, complain immediately. Preferably to an airline official rather than people next to you or people who offer to carry your luggage. Which reminds me: in India you will find a lot of these and sometimes it is a great idea to take their offer as your journey and communication attempts with official security staff at the door will be accelerated if someone speaks the local tongue. Back to the damaged luggage: I had a handle broken on a brand new bag once and asked for replacement. BA replaced the whole bag with a smaller bag of different make as that is their policy. This will happen, so don’t get emotionally attached to your suitcase.

Leaving the airport and choosing a mode of transport

Once you got past customs – which always means choosing the “Arrivals from the European Union” or “Nothing to declare” channels and looking very relaxed and in-suspicious (remember, always remove the packaging of new Apple hardware and use it in your hand luggage – even when you bring it as presents) you get to the outside of the airport. There you have a few choices of transport.

  • You get picked up – kiss the person if you are in a relationship or thank the official drivers for picking you up (kissing is only allowed in very rare edge cases). Also be prepared to decipher various mis-spellings of your name and company or conference names to pick your driver. One time in Bangalore it took me 20 minutes to pick my driver from around 100 waiting ones as Mr. Kahl Ehliman was on the adventurous side of transcription.
  • Be prepared to travel and queue to get your rental car – most pick-up locations are a bit outside the airport, either connected with a train (SFO, for example) or by coach shuttle (Lyon, France). As everybody will pick up their cars at the same time there will be a queue – get a coffee to avoid it.
  • Take a train from the airport – if you travel light and you have to go to a Hotel in the centre of the town this is normally the best option. A lot of airports have great fast trains taking you directly where you want to go – London, Hong Kong, Stockholm, Oslo are great examples.
  • Get a cab to get you to where you need to be – always take official cabs, it is dangerous and almost always much more expensive to go with “need cab, sir” people who approach you directly. There is always an official place where cabs stop – go there.

In any case it is a good idea to have the address of your hotel as a printout or on your smart phone. That way you can just hand it to any driver or ask about it. On the smart phone you also have the benefit of translating it into other languages. In Taiwan for example I found it pointless to show English addresses to cab drivers. Maybe also ask your office or the conference organisers in the other country to provide you with a local version.

Checking in and finding your bearing

Once arrived in the hotel check in. If you have to wait a while for the room to be ready ask them to keep your luggage and go exploring the immediate area. I found for example that a coffee outside the hotel is always significantly cheaper and you already get your bearings of the area. Of course check beforehand that the area is safe.

Once in the room I either go to the gym of the hotel to sort out my stiff back from the flight and fight jetlag or have a shower to do the same. I then go outside and deliberately lose my way to force myself to ask the way back to the hotel and gain a bit of independence in my travels that way. If you are on a very tight schedule you might already have a speaker’s dinner or something lined up so that’s the evening planned. The best way to avoid jetlag to me is to immediately get into the time zone of the place you visit – if that means staying up 27 hours, do it. Sleeping as the first thing will only mess you up for the next few days. Thankfully arriving in a strange new town or re-visiting one I enjoyed beforehand always gives me an adrenaline rush that makes this easy.

The people I could have been are awesome!

Sometimes, one life is not enough to accomplish all of our dreams…

In the many-worlds theory of quantum mechanics, all possible events exist, have existed or will exist as each act or decision spins-off a plethora of parallel universes. This means, among other things, that every project I haven’t put into practice has in fact been accomplished by one of my many-world selves. Think then of all that I’ve accomplished over the years as I procrastinated, dithered and postponed putting my ideas into action!

You really should check-out my blog from universes Ψ∞28.312.12670.5044 to Ψ∞39.122.42600.0023 where I took the time to post all the insightful articles, reviews and stories that, in this universe, I’ve dictated in my head but never got to put into writing.

While you’re at it, you should play the cool adventure game my self from universe Ψ∞30.114.00065.1177 made, where my theories of gameplay ecology have been implemented. The sequel will be even better!

My self from universe Ψ∞27.255.86400.112b is enjoying early retirement from his sale of the social application I thought up in 1998 while my self from Ψ∞22.278.00965.6630 lives in abject poverty, but is quite proud of the comic books he published to critical, if not popular, acclaim.

In universe Ψ∞21.122.42600.0023, my other self’s mother clutches with pride her son’s fourth novel, the latest in a sprawling fantasy series I envisioned with a friend in 1988 but didn’t publish (yet).

And, finally, my self from Ψ∞6.022.62502.1112 may not have become an astronaut, as his childhood dreams had envisioned, but thanks to revenues from his sprawling media empire he managed to purchase a ticket to the next Space Shuttle launch as a space tourist.

I envy these alternate-selves for their dedication to their ideals. Let’s wish them luck in their very active lives as their own decisions and indecisions keep spinning even more new universes out of the fabric of infinite possibilities. Maybe one of them is even now wondering where he’d be if he had put into execution some of our other ideas or simply delayed acting on his dreams just a little while longer in order to spend more time with his family…

And you, what do you think your other many-world selves may be doing right now?

Links

  • Check-out my blog to see which ideas my self from this particular universe has managed to put into action.
  • The many-worlds theory is one of the themes of Anathem, an excellent science-fiction novel by Neil Stephenson.
  • More about the importance of following our dreams in Dispelling Illusions, a post by Ara Pehlivanian, the esteemed founder of Webstyle Magazine.

My Big Kiwi Day Out, Part 2: Not In The Shire Anymore

Photo Credit: Phillip Capper

Last month I travelled to Wellington to speak at Webstock Mini conference and to volunteer behind-the-scenes at the FullCodePress international website-in-a-day event. Between the conference and the geek-a-thon I had a day to myself. Rather than visit museums and city sites, I wanted to get out to see some of the countryside.

This is my story of how I got lost in the jungle, and survived. Just. (Read Part 1)

In Search of a Summit

After wandering around the back streets of Paraparaumu looking for something — anything, really — that read “Hiking Trail,” I finally stumbled upon a gate with some signage that gave me hope. Granted, the font used was rather small, and the sign was so covered in mud that it was barely legible, but it was a start! The sign read:

Nikau Reserve entrance

That was enough for me! I’d finally found a path to follow that was lined with grass and dirt, rather than the concrete that I had persisted with to this point. With the adrenalin in my veins overriding the pain in my leg, I opened the gate and began my journey to, well, I had no idea — hopefully the top of a hill.

Calling the “path” ahead of me a path would be extremely generous. It was more like a paddock that a tractor had travelled over a few times to clear the grass out the way — a marshy paddock. I pressed on, and the rain came down harder, the ground got muddier, and the grass got higher. Eventually I abandoned all hope of having a trail to even look for, and started exploring the paddock.

Which was fine — I was having fun. This was an adventure, and a far cry from spending the day in front of a computer. Besides, I could see a hill up ahead that was thick with lush green ferns and towering trees. It looked like a real Middle Earth-style rainforest, and I wanted a piece of it.

Dressed For The Occasion

A babbling creek kept me company as I meandered my way through the mud. For the first 20 minutes I managed to maintain a healthy distance from my watery friend, but I eventually reached a point when I needed to cross. It was a short jump, and I felt confident that I could make it. What I didn’t take into account was the stability of the river’s bank …

I gave a short run-up to give myself a buffer on the other side (you know, so I could high-five myself after clearing the creek by this much) and took a flying leap. Legendary decathlete Daley Thompson (man I loved that game) would have been proud of the distance I covered, and I’m sure my landing was graceful.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. It turns out the entire paddock on the other side of the creek was basically just one big swamp, and my left leg was now submersed up to my knee in mud. And this was the only pair of jeans I brought with me.

Funnily enough, I was still having fun. I waddled my way to firmer ground, and pressed onwards until I hit a fence … and that was it. What had started out as a barely navigable path had deteriorated into a marshy paddock, and this was what the locals called a walking trail?

Well, I wasn’t settling for that.

From Field to Forest

I followed the fence line with my eyes and saw that it ran across the creek (which by now had expanded into a fully fledged river) and climbed up a hill covered in luscious, thick forest. The change in landscape on the other side of the river was dramatic — the hill was covered in enormous ferns standing shoulder to shoulder, dwarfed by a thick canopy of towering trees that were probably hundreds of years old. This was my hill.

I saddled the wire fence and precariously shuffled across, and this time my water-crossing attempt was more successful. I began working my way through the forest, casting aside vines and ducking under branches, David Attenborough-style. This was exactly what I was looking for! The real New Zealand.

My goal was to get to the top of the hill. It wasn’t enormous, but it was big enough for me to feel a sense of accomplishment. Then I would turn around and retrace my steps back to the train station. Hopefully without falling into the marsh again.

At One With Nature

At this stage I was unconcerned with the following facts, but in hindsight I probably should have been:

  • I had no way of contacting anyone should I run into trouble (I hadn’t enabled roaming on my phone, as it was expensive and I was only in the country for a few days).
  • I had no GPS (I had my iPhone, but it was useless as a mapping device without a network connection to load map data).
  • I had no compass.
  • Nobody knew where I was.
  • I was alone.

I did have a basic sense of where I was, based on the noise of the cars that I could hear in the distance (the highway that ran north-south along the coast) and the position of the sun in the sky. I figured as long as I could hear the car noise, I’d know that the coast was near.

It only took me 20 minutes to make it to the top of the hill, and it was a fun climb. In Australia, trekking through unmarked bush can bring you into contact with any manner of poisonous beasties — deadly spiders, the most poisonous snakes in the world, scorpions.

New Zealand, however, is refreshingly devoid of these inconveniences. With this inside knowledge, I could pretend to be a pioneer who was setting foot on a land of untouched beauty for the first time. Knowing that nothing was going to drop down from the trees and kill me had me telling myself that it was easier to press on than to turn back. Besides, the canopy was so thick that I had yet to find that stunning view that I’d promised myself.

This Way To Success

After about an hour of peeling back vines and spiky branches that were becoming increasingly impenetrable, I was relieved to notice a bright pink arrow attached to a tree. “Ah ha,” I thought. “The trail! Finally I have some guidance.” I thrashed my way through the forest until I spotted a second arrow, and then a third.

The thing is, the arrow didn’t seem to point anywhere particularly related to any trail that I could see. I figured that the trail they were marking mustn’t have been followed in a very long time, and that the arrows were in urgent need of remarking.

I climbed the second, larger hill, and stopped to catch my breath. There was still no view to appreciate (all those damn trees in the way!) and I was a little puzzled that the pink arrows were daring me to venture downwards into a steep ravine. I peered over the edge and found myself staring at a severe drop-off that I remember thinking would have possibly been a fun descent … if I were abseiling. However, climbing down without ropes and a harness would have been suicide.

It was at this point that I had two realisations.

  1. This isn’t fun any more.
  2. I can’t hear the cars.

At Odds With Nature

I’m not one to panic, but even an optimist like me can identify when things are looking dire. Here I was alone, in a foreign country, lost in the jungle, covered in mud, unable to orient myself, with a phone that didn’t work, a packet of chips and a few mouthfuls left in my bottle of water. It was nearly 3.00pm and nobody knew where I was.

It dawned on me how genuinely stupid my predicament was. Seriously, who goes hiking in the jungle by himself, literally carving out his own trail, and doesn’t expect to get lost? Grim questions flashed through my head: What if I can’t find a clearing before it gets dark, and I have to sleep on the ground or something stupid? How would anyone find me? It’s wet — would I have enough warm clothes to survive a night? What about food and water? I could really be in trouble. I thought of my wife and daughter back home in Australia, and began imagining newspaper headlines reporting my demise.

“Some trail!” I shouted out loud.

Nobody responded.

Fuck.

Next issue, Part 3: The Two Trails

Geek chic done right

Laptop bags get a bad rap. Sure they are functional, illness but fashionable they are not. I have been searching for the perfect laptop bag – practical and oh so chic! – ever since I bought my laptop, look and I have been unsuccessful, and ended up settling for a tote that is less than functional (seriously, the zipper doesn’t even close when my laptop is in it). So what’s a chic girl to do? Well luckily for all you fashionistas, designers have embraced chic geeks and designed bags where fashionable meets functional when it comes to carrying all your gadgets.

Badgley Mischka


A beautiful and fabulous Badgley Mischka laptop bag! This chic buttery soft tote is practical enough to carry your gadgets and gizmos, but stylish enough to take with you wherever you need without it screaming “I’m a laptop!” Bonus: wear it across your body for a slouchy look perfect for weekends or when running errands.

Marc Jacobs


If laptop sleeves are more your style, Marc Jacobs has designed a collection of funky cases that are sure to get you noticed. Bonus: they are very affordable (at $80 a pop, you won’t go broke trying to look fab)!

Coach


Dress up your laptop with a splash of colour. The Coach Poppy Laptop Case gives new life to the designer brand, breaking away from the iconic print.

eReaders

When Apple’s latest creation hit the market, it was uncertain what its lifespan would be. But it’s quite obvious now that the iPad is here to stay. With the tech world accepting the new gadget, it was no surprise that the fashion world soon followed.

Salvatore Ferregamo and Louis Vuitton were the first to come out with iPad cases.

Trying to separate itself from the pack, DvF created a collection of cases for the Kindle in her signature funky prints.

So no matter what your gadget of choice, you can seek comfort in the fact that there are plenty of chic options to help you tote them around.