Utility gear is a catch-all term for the array of consumer electronics, pocket devices, disposable amenities, and style accessories that characterize life in an urban, post-apocalyptic future. Most people carry their lives on their backs, giving rise to miniaturized sleeping, eating, and multimedia devices crammed into packs or cargo-pocketed street fashions. The future is post-housing, because there is little need for a raver or ganger to go "home"... your music is on your wrist, your favorite Tri-V program is ported directly to your visors, you can slam a stim-derm if you get tired, and your favorite 24-7 club has a coffin bay upstairs if the going gets really tough. To support this rootless and ultra-modern lifestyle, the corporate machines have marketed a massive stockpile of portable gear for every facet of an urban cyber lifestyle.
Use of the Global Positioning System's satellite constellation network is widespread in the post-war world. Besides its obvious military uses, GPS is used for a host of consumer applications, and portable mapping units are especially popular with wasteland nomads.
Obsolescent but still used in many less developed areas, cellphones are the preferred communication option for grifters and shady types who like to keep their conversations anonymous. Poorly maintained infrastructure makes cellphone coverage extremely spotty, but satellite and land-line patches allow them to easily communicate with users on more modern complant networks.
When the nuclear strikes of Zero Day vaporized critical cell, matrix, and phone network nodes, portable radios became a popular alternative method of communication. Cheap, effective, and common, they come in a variety of styles and capabilities. Most commercially available units are tuned to civil and municipal channels, but more exotic models are designed to work on restricted corporate and military networks. High-end radios allow the use of encryption cards, which scramble and secure two-way transmissions from eavesdroppers.
Radios have different frequencies ranges that they can access as well as a limited number of frequencies they can scan at one time. If you reach your channel limit, you must squelch one before adding another.
Some radio devices are higher quality that others; high quality devices will send out clearer transmissions and are less prone to interference. Radio interference in some areas may affect the performance of your device-- leaving the area will allow you to communicate normally again.
For a list of general radio frequencies, see: help radio frequencies
|Free public use; popular with nomad convoys, small-time mercs, techno gangers.
|Municipal and government use. Police, law enforcement bulletins, matrix security warnings.
|Corporate use. Often encrypted. Shuttle traffic control, internal security team (SECteam) chatter.
|Military use. Mostly encrypted. Special operations, command and control.
|Cellular network data-links, packet radio, wireless voice links.
|High bandwidth data-links, satellite feeds, Virtual Reality (VR) transmissions.
Focused on ultra-portability and maximum connectivity, most multimedia devices feature "always-on" connections to satellite media channels spanning the globe. For the consumer, tiny players and receivers allow constant access to streaming "tree-dimensional" Tri-V programs or recorded holograph footage. Media stars and personalities carry the equivalent of a full studio in shoulder-mounted units, complete with full uplink.
|Full-size, miniature, or worn/implanted sets allow easy access to video programming. Some feature simple playback.
|The ultimate "web cam", a miniaturized (concealable) camera/transmitter uplinks video straight to networks.
|Simple video recording and playback capabilities, sees use with most amateurs and small-time producers.
|An uplinked cell cam with recording capabilities, sees widespread news and Tri-V production use.
|Ultra-powerful uplinks found in dedicated studios; pipes satellite-direct bandwidth on a registered channel.
|Standalone integrated player/display boxes allow easy playback of recorded programs. Very portable, cheap, common.
|De-facto standard for media recording; solid-state memory "chunks" replaces traditional tape or optical discs.
|Obsolete throwback to pre-war days; most process data digitally but spit out instant hard copy.
The modern-day equivalent of a lock-pick, hack-cards contain tailored components aimed at defeating various entry security systems. All are black market technology, and can be expensive to find, assemble, and use. Even the most skilled lock hacker needs to examine the target security system beforehand. There are no electronics and design standards, and the internal mechanisms of security locks differ widely, requiring extensive per-configuration of a hackcard before use. Even worse, most high-voltage door lock systems will tend to short out or slag hack-cards after a successful break-in.
|Fairly common and relatively cheap. Input splices and a custom processor either spoof the security or brute-force the code from all permutations.
|Expensive, rare, difficult to assemble. Holographically reproduces a target retina onto the security sensor, spoofing access.
|Expensive and technically complex. Uses programmable smart materials to mimic palm contours.
|Given an access pass-phrase, uses complex processors to mimic required voice-prints. Requires massive real-time computing power.
A broad, catch-all term including everything from scavenged surplus to cutting-edge diagnostic and repair sets. Though toolkits see most common use on vehicles and other heavy equipment, they also see applications in cyberware repair and delicate electronics work.
Small, hand-held units allow quick readouts on body functions and internal structure. The most popular street models feature quick-display screens that output a target's cyberware rig, allowing rippergangs an easy way to case potential victims. Some can be jammed by anti-scan fabrics or interference generators.