Friday, February 4, 2011

G-Whiz, the PI's Have It

I write two mystery series featuring PI's. In the first series, my protags are a couple in their latter sixties. Greg McKenzie is a sharp investigator and is fascinated by all the new surveillance gadgets, but when it comes to telephones he's a bit old-fashioned. He thinks telephones are communication devices for people to talk on, just like they were back when you stuck your finger in the correct holes to dial a number.

The G-revolution has changed all that. If you're like Greg, you've seen all the G signs around kiosks at the mall but never bothered to find out what it's all about. The modern PI knows. In my second series, Sid Chance's sidekick, Jaz LeMieux, has all the latest smart phone gadgetry and uses them to her advantage.

So what is this G business all about? Greg McKenzie stepped on the G1 rung when he bought an analog cell phone. For an investigator, it was a great time. You could buy a scanner that would sweep the cell-phone spectrum and listen in on your target's conversations. No need for a wiretap and all that business.

That ended when G2 came along, the digital cell phone. Digital transmission improved the quality of the signal but made it quite difficult to listen in on the conversations. You had to know the algorithms used by a particular cell company to unscramble a call.

Greg was okay with the G2 step, but then along came another advance known as G3. That was a bit much. Cell phones suddenly started sprouting up that would tune into the Internet, receive emails, text messages, pictures, most anything you could imagine. A bit slow for downloading large files, but doable.

Now we have the fourth generation (yes, G stands for Generation). The 4G phones are faster than ever, four to ten times faster than the previous generation. The high-speed addition will allow a PI to sit at a table watching his target chat with a potential bad guy, flip through photos on his cell phone and try to pick out a match. It provides all kinds of possibilities. Do a real-time background check.

This newest revolution won't affect Greg because he's still living in 2004, but you can bet Sid and Jaz will put it to good use. Have you encountered the G-whiz factor in a mystery?

Mystery Mania Blog


Charmaine Clancy said...

I often wonder how crims from old mystery novels would cope today with all the technology and science and ways of catching them. Would Professor Moriarty seem so clever?

Mark Troy said...

Nobody "drops a dime" in mysteries anymore because pay phones have disappeared. When a read a book where the PI is looking for a phone, I feel like I'm reading a historical novel.

Morgan Mandel said...

Yes, unfortunately pay phones are obsolete, even ones costing a lot more than a dime.

it sounds like lots of fun writing mysteries using the new technology to solve crimes. I love hearing about new gadgets.

Morgan Mandel

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I can hardly keep up with all the new stuff that available for solving crimes. But we just read in the paper that in Fresno the autopsies have been botched up with some of the people doing them not having proper training--almost like in the not too long ago days when morticians did autopsies.