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"Tokyo homeless people reiterate the whole nature of living in Tokyo in cardboard boxes, they're only slightly smaller than Tokyo apartments, and they have almost as many consumer goods. It's a nightmare of boxes within boxes."
- William Gibson

Briefcase Console  
  A notebook computer  

This term just gets a brief reference in the book. The book was published in 1981; probably written in 1980. At that time, Apple II computers were just breaking into the non-hobbyist market.

A useful gadget [referring to an implant that would allow the user to communicate with a computer by thinking about it], but you know, you can communicate with a computer about as well with a good briefcase console.
Technovelgy from Oath of Fealty, by Jerry Pournelle (w/L. Niven).
Published by Timescape in 1981
Additional resources -

The first real briefcase consoles (probably the Osbourn) also came out in 1981. The Osborne I was the first complete portable microcomputer, with 64 K, two floppy discs, the CP/M operating system, and BASIC for $1795.

One of my absolute favorite computers was the Toshiba 5200, a "laptop" computer sold in 1988 that fits the description of a briefcase console to a "T". It weighed about 15 pounds; it was really a portable workstation. As I recall, I paid about $4,200 for it. It had room for internal PC cards, Intel 80386 whipping along at 11Mhz, 100 Mbytes of internal hard drive storage, and had a 13" 640x480 VGA orange gas plasma flat screen that was, hands down, the best display then available. So cool, I provide a picture:

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Oath of Fealty
  More Ideas and Technology by Jerry Pournelle (w/L. Niven)
  Tech news articles related to Oath of Fealty
  Tech news articles related to works by Jerry Pournelle (w/L. Niven)

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