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"The SF approach: an awareness that things could have been different, that this is one of many possible worlds, that if you came to this world from some other planet, this would be a science fiction world."
- Neal Stephenson

Control-Face  
  A small liquid crystal display (LCD) unit linked to a larger network; gives a window onto your larger network world.  

Everything that William Gibson describes in his novels is something you want. It's irritating to have to wait.

Masahiko undid the tip two buttons of his tunic and withdrew a six-inch square of something black and rigid, no thicker than a pane of glass. He brushed it purposefully with the fingers of his right hand, beaded lines of colored light appearing at his touch. Though these were fainter here, washed out by the train's directionless fluorescents, Chia recognized the square as the control-face of the computer she'd seen in his room.

He studied the display, stroked it again, and frowned at the result. "Someone pays attention to my address," he said...

From Idoru, by William Gibson.
Published by Putnam in 1996
Additional resources -

In the novel, the control-face was actually a part of the computer itself. It was like being able to detach a touch screen display from the computer and then take it with you, remaining in control of the remote computer system.

Masahiko's computer was on the carpet in front of him; he'd put its control-face back on and peeled a very compact pare of tip-sets out of the back of the cube...

On the other hand, those of you who have not yet read this novel are closer than we were in 1998, when, as I recall, the Palm Pilot was the thing to have, even though you couldn't control your remote computer with it. It was a bit thick for a control-face, and after a short wait, there was a backlight for the LCD.

For the "classic sf" view, you might also want to look at the Calculator Pad, from Isaac Asimov's Foundation.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Idoru
  More Ideas and Technology by William Gibson
  Tech news articles related to Idoru
  Tech news articles related to works by William Gibson

Control-Face-related news articles:
  - Toshiba Ubiquitous Viewer Lets Phones Control PCs
  - iPhone To Control Desktop Computer Remotely?

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