H is for the Hitch-hiking Hologram

April 9, 2014

For the A to Z challenge this year, I’m sharing science fiction and fantasy story ideas…

I rather like this one. I picture it in space, at a time when ships routinely carry holo-projectors with elaborate computer processing cores, a little like the holodecks in Star Trek.

One independent AI travels by transferring from ship to ship and entertaining or teaching the passengers on board each… until she hops onto a ship whose owners have something much darker in mind for her.

They may try to rape her, in a virtual reality environment where she hasn’t been granted rights to shut down her avatar. They might want to tear apart her program to sell it  off, isolating subroutines as non-sentient software, blanking out everything that might make her resist their plans or suspect them, even trick her into making copies of herself!

Thanks for visiting!

In Memoriam – Medion Tower

December 11, 2012

I was just about to print out a sheet of Holly Lisle’s “Contract with your Readers” when I found out. I jogged the mouse on my desktop computer, and nothing happened. The fan was on, and the power light was on, but nothing else would come to life.

Quick aside – despite worrying about my beloved machine, the Short Story Shrine went great. I was able to print out the sheet by connecting the netbook to the printer, and I really like the 13-scene outline that I got.

But the bad news about Serena came today, at a little computer repair store along Brant Street. Her motherboard was dead, which means it’s pretty much pointless to try and rebuild her. For the time being, my two laptops will be doing their best to fill in.

I got Serena back in the winter of 2005, and named her, as I named a lot of my machines, on a character in the TV show ‘Roswell’ – actually, an enigmatic reference to a person from the future who was never shown on screen.

I’ve been through a lot with Serena. I learned to do video conversions with that machine, and made fan videos, and wrote crazy programs to spider the internet. She ran Windows XP Home, but I used a hack to install IIS from windows 2000 server and host little private websites on my home network. She had a dual-threaded 3 Gigahertz Intel processor. Last winter I installed extra RAM and a Sapphire video card for gaming, but I never got around to much other than the introductory setting of ‘Dragon Age Origins.’ The guy from the store on Brant Street extracted the video card, saying that I could transplant it into another desktop

Serena’s heart may have given out yesterday sometime between 5:30 and 6pm, but her memories are still with me as well – in two hard drives that I’ll be recovering over the next few days.

And perhaps her soul is on its way to Silicon Heaven.

Six Sentence Sunday – Odin vs Melanie, continued.

January 1, 2012

Thanks for all the great feedback last time, guys, and I hope that you had a great Christmas, and a Happy New Year’s Eve.

I’m going to skip a bit further into the scene, for some more Odin/Melanie fireworks. Personally, I like Odin, and he becomes a much more sympathetic ‘personality’ later on in the novel. But he’s by-the-book, and that’s not always a good thing when it comes to women and getting pregnant…

“‘At the end of the hiatus period, adjusting as necessary considering the projected course and the rates of death, such measures shall be taken as necessary to ensure the birth of the new generation and that it shall be optimal for the genetic health of the community, according to mission requirements.'”

“You can quote that straight out of the rulebook, huh?” Melanie nearly spat back at Odin. “You’re handing us the letter of the regulation to cover your digital butt, and of course we could never get you on a violation of those. All that you’re good at is following rules. But – but these are human lives that you’re toying with, Odin – dammit, you should have told us!”

I nearly rolled my eyes – it’s like Melanie to lose her temper at Odin, but of course it doesn’t really accomplish anything.

Order and Chaos in the Exploratorium.

November 23, 2011

On Saturday of last week, I spent a few hours at the Exploratorium museum in the Palace of Fine Arts, near the Presidio in San Francisco. That really wasn’t enough, and I saw a bunch of cool stuff, but what really struck me was the chaos and the order.

First, the chaotic pendulum. This was a bunch of swinging arms and joints embedded into the interior of a big spinning wheel. When you spun the wheel, all the pendulums started off swinging in the same direction, but they don’t all spin with the same frequency or energy, so they start to throw each other off and get the larger wheel kicking and jerking back and forth. Fun to watch, but also a good lesson to learn about anything complex in the world.

Second, the balancing pendulum. This was one weight on a long rigid swinging arm, connected to a computer motor that could move back and forth. The computer could read the position of the arm and was programmed to get the arm balanced straight up as quickly as possible and keep it that way. It was fun to see the computer in action – choosing its moment to swing into action, going back and forth to build energy if the pendulum wasn’t swinging up all the way, and nudging carefully along if you tried to push the arm to the side by yourself.

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