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I believe this story was published in the late 1950s or early 1960s; it may have started as a short story and then been turned into a novel.

The basic plot was that the protagonist had created a tiny computer ("Manche") that approximated the capabilities of today's netbook, plus a degree of sentience; as the story progressed, he and Manche were fighting for Truth & Justice, etc., but were bested by the villain(ess, I think), who then stole Manche. Our hero then built a better/faster/smaller version, named Dimanche or Diamanche, and after a suitable battle, saves the day.

I don't recall anything else about the story -- not even, really, why I enjoyed it so much . . . but it was one of the pieces that spurred my love of electronics, computers, and the hybrid human/computer knowledge-retrieval made possible by sites like Stack Exchange. So it's kind of amusing that Google has been so little help finding this story! :*)

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Google turns up one reference: a story from Galaxy circa 1953 (Simak? Don't think so...) about a computer engineer who builds AI machines small enough to slip under the skin behind his ear: they talk to him through his skull, and he "subvocalizes" his end of the conversations. I remember the computers' names were Dimanche and Manche. Unfortunately that person was looking for the author and title too. – user56 May 31 '11 at 7:22

The story is “Delay in Transit” by F.L. Wallace. It appeared in Galaxy in September 1952. It was collected in Neglected Visions, amongst others.

The first computer is called Dimanche and the replacement is called Manche. The protagonist isn't actually fighting for Good, just trying to go on his life. The main theme in the story isn't exactly information retrieval, it's the difficulty of travelling in a galaxy with billions of stars and only point-to-point ship travel: the problem initially faced by the protagonist is being stranded on an intermediate step in his interstellar journey.

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I confirm (I have it in an anthology). – user56 Jun 10 '11 at 19:39
Thanks for the additional info, Gilles. On the topic of hybrid human/computer knowledge-retrieval, just wanted to add that I found the story by OCR and grepping a bunch of Galaxy magazine scans. Only read a couple pages to confirm the identity but it looked interesting, may go back and finish at some point. – so12311 Jun 11 '11 at 0:03
That is exactly correct! Thank you SO much for your time & effort in finding this -- not only the story itself, but, it turns out, the anthology in which I'd actually read it (along with a number of other stories I enjoyed); I've found a used copy and ordered it. :*) – Tracy O. Logan Jun 15 '11 at 1:26

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