Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

from here to there

December 26, 2011

I really enjoy the details of how a universe works, and the internal logic.  That means in protagonists, I want to see their weaknesses and how the author gets around those weaknesses while still being true to the universe they created.  If you push the line of what is logical in universe, you get a lot of cries of BS from me, but if you do it well, I’m impressed.  It’s an interesting exercise.

So that means in Naruto, no ninja can fly.  Sure, they have jutsus that can effectively do this, or some technologies (mostly in the movies), but given that the schizoid tech of that world, that’s not a problem for me.  They still have to walk to get to places, or hop trees, or whatever, and you see them do it.  Or that Harry Potter’s world, nothing can be created from nothing – which I find really interesting.  Because it shows the limits of whatever power there is – a power which might solve problems without other kinds of effort.  (For the record, I am not a Potter-head.)

My favorite, in theory if not in actual execution, is Dune.  Because the whole saga is based around acquisition of the spice, which is their way of getting around.  It is actually the oil equivalent of their universe.  (Almost literally – using the analogy of the desert people and all that.  I don’t know enough about it to comment further, but I am really impressed by this.  Although, to paraphrase themightygodking, you don’t have to read much further to get the point.)  But a civilization is based on exploitation of this spice, which is the lynchpin of their moving around the universe.  Without it, nothing goes.  Everything else, the family sagas, the technology, the religious cults, is secondary to this spice.

I am myself working on several pieces which involve these little details.  One story is basically halted because of the problem I am having in getting a reasonable fix on how this civilization would transport mail/messages.  Because if you’re crossing galaxies, you’re wanting mail/news from all the corners of your empire, right?  How can you do that in a way that doesn’t seem dated by the standards of the technology you’re already getting up there?  Couriers?  Some hyper-light mail?  Which I can’t buy because of the problems of the physics, not that I know anything about it, but it is a stopping block.  How fast would it have to be to be reasonable?  Would you just set up mini-wormholes/mail drop boxes everywhere?  That’s crazy.  That would work with crack fic, but not a serious piece.  (I know lots of works just handwave it (looking at you, George Lucas, Gene Roddenberry), and I probably could too, but it seems like something really key to the story right now.  It’s probably kind of dumb that I’m stuck on it, but this is one of my Problems.)

I can’t help but think that the things that add to/halt a civilization’s communication/travel say a lot about it, and because of my need to Say Something Important Occasionally, it’s sort of blocking-making.  No wonder people start to write fantasy, if only so they don’t have to deal with it.  It’s all MAGIC, then.   Because this theorizing can sometimes feel like BS all by itself.

it’s good to be old

September 30, 2011

I bring you news of the internet – where I have been hiding. I mean, thinking about writing.

I have found lots of pronz.  Which is sort of uh, not awesome.   Because I wasn’t really looking for it.  (Geez, you’d think that’s all that drives technology.  Wait a minute…)  But, I have found this totally awesome thing – here (warning, posts here are occasionally NSFW).  There’s Fanfic Friday, where there is much sporking of bad fanfic pronz.  Ohh, I love the spork. It is delish, yo.

And then, randomly, there are the cooking communities on LiveJournal.  Which is weird, because I sort of now equate LJ with fanfic that is often NSFW.  I have even found a slow-cooker community.  It’s like – I don’t know – all of my dreams of fanfic and food In One Place.

I’m so glad the Internet did not exist in its current form when I was in school.  I would never have gotten anything done.   I don’t wonder how the students these days are incapable of finishing anything – or so I’ve heard.  I’m barely capable of finishing anything.   Speaking of which, I should get off the net and actually start crackin’ on my exchange fic, now that I’ve gotten my assignment and all.  (But honestly, I’m sort of excited about it, you guys.)

punkin’

September 12, 2011

Crap.  I think I’m about to commit steampunk AU.

I don’t even know why.  The most important thing to understand about the Victorians is that no modern day Asian American woman with a liberal bend should in any way be interested in their views.  (W says they’re awful.  And he should know, having spent a lot of time researching the science of the period.  Science, which besides stretching the understanding of nature, was also heavily tainted with sexism, racism, and classism.  We’re probably still trying to crawl from underneath some of that stuff right now.)

Also, made W laugh.  Because the only visual I can really think about what people wear on airships is sort of what I remember people wearing from the movie “Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang.”  All trenchcoat and goggles.

Query:  Is steampunk an aesthetic?  Because the technology piece is awkward, from my view.  You’re constantly trying to fix their problems in a modern way without seeming “too modern.”

Stupid prompt.  But I’ve got a whole plot in my head now.  Grah.   I even went so far as to look up the design for airships.  *Stomps around angrily.*

behind the times

June 2, 2011

Okay – so I’m behind the times.  I’m still wondering what the heck Dreamwidth is about and why people are going there.  It seems all fun and fandomy and I’m all for that.

But I barely understand LiveJournal.  And Tumblr.   (For reference, I only really discovered fanfic about 3 years ago in my 30’s.)   Not that I’ll ever do anything about it.  It’s too hard to keep up with the blog (such as it is, and nobody cares anyway), my fic hobby, and my life and work  (besides other things like errands and personal hygiene and eating and cooking and laundry, which, to my mind, constitute a whole other category of Things To Do.).  Besides, I can’t remember all those passwords.  I’m lame.  Tell me something I don’t know.

But how do people maintain all that stuff anyway?  I just can’t keep it all in my tiny little head.  (Which is actually a physically big head, so much that kids sitting behind me in school would comment on the enormity of my noggin – but allow me this small conceit.)  I have a Facebook account, a blog, and two emails (work and home), a few fandom accounts, and that’s pretty much it.  I try to keep it simple, because I can’t afford to spend a lot of time just fooling around, and not getting more accounts is my way of trying to cut down on fooling around opportunities.  But I want to be cool and cutting-edge and early-adopter, too!  (I know, it’s not going to happen, but still.  A girl dreams.)

And in other news, I think my fandom is waning.  I would get into a fandom right as it is about to hit the black hole of suckage.  I have so many more ideas!  So many stories to finish!  Do I just keep going regardless of fan bail?  I know this is still a big fandom, but it was so much bigger before I got involved.  Sighs all around.

66 75 63 6b 20 6d 65 2c 20 49 27 6d 20 61 20 66 75 63 6b 69 6e 67 20 6e 65 72 64

May 19, 2011

I just made a hexadecimal joke on Facebook – to people who probably don’t care and have real lives. Wally on a wiener, am I a freakin’ nerd. I thought I would conform to normalcy when I finished school. I just got worse. Sigh. (Honestly, I had to go through a translator. Confession: I looked up the hex in wikipedia to make sure it was correct. Nerdy and with OCD. Lovely.)

But it was a joke about the upcoming robot apocalypse.  It’s funny, right?  *wibbles*  Right?

modern language fail

March 25, 2011

My parents have not lived in Korea for almost 35 years. And it shows.

All of the great advances that people talk about Korea having – the fast internet – the great entertainment – the speedy transport system – they have only really experienced as tourists when they visited a couple of years ago, or only very recently with their acquisition of Korean TV via satellite.  They are also not very technologically savvy, which I honestly don’t know whether is a function of their age, their language skills here, or their lack of interest or something else entirely.

And so, learning Korean right now leads me to fail when I speak with them, because their Korean has a lot of traces of 35 years ago – or, at least, not so much modern language Korean. E.g. – I was trying to have a conversation with my mom about my cell phone (which is literally handphone, pronounced “hand-uh-pone” according to my sources) and she looked at me in a most peculiar way. Then she was all, “You mean your cellular phone?”   And then she put her hand up to her ear in the universal signal for “phone.”  Like, “duh, daughter.  It’s called a cell phone here in America.”

You know Mom, really, I’m trying.  Even when it’s in Korean, it’s like we’re speaking 2 or 3 different languages.

new religion

March 10, 2011

Oh, God of Office Machinery/Equipment – why is it that I have been chosen to be your buttmonkey?

For reals, GoOM/E.

I have always been situated near the copier – and it is inevitably my job to clear the jams (offering up to you the crumpled paper with the occasional sacrifice burnt onto the fuser), adjust the auto-stapler and empty the punchbox.

Why am I the only asshole who knows how to NOT jam the large documents stapler, dear GoOM/E?  (Is this my punishment because I have occasionally stapled a non-work related document in your holy spaces?)  And the only one who apparently bothers to clear the inevitable tangle of grossly mangled iron strips (one sharp pair of scissors would do it, oh Lord, if only that pair weren’t stolen within days of purchase because somebody wants to let in their friends/students into the copier room).

Notes:  I really meant to put in a good, thoughtful, heart-wrenchingly beautiful post brimming with insight and humanity, but I am so damn mad today – I’m a bitch on wheels because all I’ve done is wrestle these f’ing machines that people can somehow walk away from while they’re all broken and I need to photocopy one flipping sheet.  Don’t think I don’t know who you are:  just because you don’t leave a name, doesn’t mean I can’t figure it out – Psylab101!

Also, the one thing that made me laugh about the whole thing was thinking that there was some other asshole on the other side of the planet – somewhere, in Japan or Korea or China or India about to be in the same boat of broken copier purgatory.   It can’t just be me.

googling docs

February 26, 2011

A little annoyed with Google docs – which is where I’m currently working on my long fic piece.   I went to Google docs because I like the idea of having the fic on the internet where I can access it from anywhere, and hey, going with technology and working in ‘the cloud’ seems all  forward-thinking and hip.

Here’s the thing – a doc of a certain length (let’s say 10-12k) loads pretty slowly, and I’ve also had problems saving docs of that length – I run into errors and it doesn’t save properly.  I don’t know if it is the length, but I’ve had to break up the doc into sections so I can be assured of trouble-free writing.  (I get that it isn’t really a full-on word-processor, because a lot of tools I’m used to are missing or rudimentary, but it seems that’s where Google wants you to put stuff.)

I don’t like breaking up a long piece into sections – it ruins the flow  – so I spend time I don’t want to trying to figure out where to make the break so that it makes sense for actual on-line publishing.  Then when re-writing I have to remember what section a certain bit is, which is irritating – and I go back and forth between docs/sections when editing to check for flow.  It’s like trying to carrying the entire piece in my head – which is a lot of words.  I write this all down so I can stop thinking about it, already.

I can’t be that annoyed because, hell, it’s free, but still, irritated.

If anybody has had any luck with other on-line editing programs, please let me know.  (I got an email specifically for this blog, even.)

internet permanency oxymoron

February 24, 2011

My feeling: if it’s on the Internet, it is ephemeral.

So if there’s a fic/site/page that I liked and it is then gone, I don’t worry about it.  That I can’t get it back doesn’t really bother me, most of the time.   If content belonged to the author/webmaster and if they don’t want it around anymore, then it’s their right to take it down.  My only issue is that very occasionally, I will miss the item in question and spend a little bit of time trying to get it back.  I give up after a very weak little search.  I try to console myself that if it’s really gone, then it was fate that I never see it again and I should try to re-create something like that in my own head.

The thing that surprised me was that some people save fanfics to their hard drives for referencing later.  They were concerned there was some sort of taboo about this practice and couldn’t come out openly as having a hard drive full of other people’s fics.

This sort of thing really surprises me.  I mean, why would you want to keep an old fic around?  How do you know you’ll want to read it again?  Some of those things are long, too.  When would you ever find the time?  (There was also a discussion of how they organized their fics, but that’s a whole other thing, as far as I’m concerned.)

Are people keeping my fics on their hard drives?  I don’t have a knee-jerk negative reaction to it – just incredulity.  It’s just fanfic.  There’s tons of it around, easy to find.

The idea concerned me some, after I thought about it.   What if I want to take my stuff down sometime?  (Unlikely.)  What if I cannabalize old fanfics to use in an original fic and I don’t want any evidence of my fanficcy past around?  (Possible, but still pretty unlikely.)  What if people want to use my fics for their own writing?  (Hard to imagine.)  What about plagarism?  (Really unlikely, and it would really make me sad/upset if it should happen, but that could happen in any form of media.)

So thinking this might be a terrible control thing for me.  Meditating on Louisa May Alcott’s (Little Women, about Jo’s writing) something like “she sent out her little stories to make friends.”  And I guess I should just let it all go.  It is the internet, after all.

I talked to W about this, because, honestly, this saving idea is weird to me – I have no idea if I’ll be interested in going back to anything, so I don’t.  Lots of times, it takes me months, or even years to think about a piece from the time I’ve read it.  W completely understands the saving impulse and has no idea why I wouldn’t be saving up a storm if I was interested.  That’s what he does.

Different strokes, I guess.

recent favorite quote

December 17, 2010

“I know I tell you kids a lot of inappropriate things,” (followed by, ” but there’s no way in hell I’m telling you that).”  From the show How I Met Your Mother.

I was going to put up a funny image I had made, but I am apparently too bass ackward to figure out how.  But soon.  I just have to venture into the help to learn what else I’m failing at while I get this little piece of information.  Eeek.

Also, I just saw the ad for the movie Eclipse and it made me laugh out loud.  SO INTENSE.