Some time around 1930, JRR Tolkien started off the whole Lord of the Rings series by telling his children bed time stories about a little character he called “The Hobbit.” He’d been dreaming up the world of the Hobbit since he was a child himself. In doing so, Tolkien pretty much invented the whole “Fantasy Adventure with Elves and Dwarves” genre single handedly.
He also proposed what is perhaps the most glamorous conference call technology of all time, the Palantíri, or seeing Stones of Númenor. These were a set of 7 crystal balls that could be used for videoconferencing from Eressëa all the way across Middle Earth.
In these latter days, the stones are lost, the Elves have sailed into the West, and the “little folk” are only a bustle in the hedgerow. Today we can pick our smartphones out of our “pocketses” and videoconference with three people spread across three continents for free.
But if you had the choice, which one is better: a conference call, or a Seeing Stone of Númenor?