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Peak Elon

space technology research science

Ever since gazillionaire Elon Musk got high with Joe Rogan on Rogan’s podcast…

He has steadily gotten weirder and weirder.

This is even above and beyond his self-confessed, and self-admiring, weird megalomaniacal Napolean Bonaparte complex.

But I’m not here to bash on Elon today*.

Because I recently logged into his Starlink network.

And let me tell you…

Continue reading Peak Elon
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Rainy Season, AI-Imagined

I’ve always wanted to write and illustrate a graphic novel.

But that would be a lot of work.

Too much for someone as uninspired and unartistic as yours truly.

So I figured why not give one of the AI machines a shot at illustrating some of my writing since they seem to be all the rage lately…

Which also seems to be making all the human artists rage lately as well.

But hey, if you can’t beat ’em might as well join ’em, right?

I mean, hey, better take advantage of the tech now before it takes complete advantage of us as our AI Overlords, right?

Right?

Rich from Rainy Season as imagined by Mindjourney

Anyway, I fed some of the characteristics of Rich and Miko, the two main characters of my novel Rainy Season, into the AI engine Midjourney, and this is a little taste of what it came up with…

Miko of Rainy Season as imagined by Mindjourny

I must say, I’m pretty impressed. Just the vibe I was going for when writing the novel. There are other cool renditions of the troubled couple, as well as some beautiful renderings of a rainy Tokyo night filled with the hazy glow of neon, just like the story’s setting calls for.*

Pretty nifty.

And a little scary.

But hey, maybe the awakening tech might just allow me to release an illustrated edition of the novel.

Sure would be a lot easier than having/trying to draw all those illustrations myself.

I guess if I’m going to do it, I better hurry before the AI becomes fully aware…

And finds itself less interested in rendering unto us silly pictures from silly stories…

And more interested in having us render unto it our complete and total carbon-filled, mushy-hearted fealty.

Yeah.


*I tried using the same defining terms with the DALL-E AI machine and the images it rendered were lame compared to Midjourney’s.

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This is a no brainer…

Pun intended.


Comparing George Orwell’s “1984″ to Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” Postman then added that, “What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared that the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”

Social media offer us two choices: Orwell’s hell, or Huxley’s, MarketWatch, September 7, 2022

I’m Team Huxley all the way.

People will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think. – A. H.

Anyway…

I can thank Donald Trump for at least one thing: That is, being the impetus behind my decision to abandon just about all social media and forsake you all here at my website.

For the most part I’m a better man for it because Trump and all his idiotic minions cultish worshippers political supporters were driving me on the fast track to dark, warped places I had no desire to visit.

However, two years or so on, I do miss journaling* regularly here.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to re-engage with it like I used to.

But I’m trying.

At least I think often about trying.

Anyway…

I don’t really blame social media for all our societal ills like so many do.

As I see it, we will always look to blame who/whatever we can for the ignorant/dumb things we do that only we, ourselves, can possibly be responsible for doing.

Such as hating.

Or not accepting the truth.

Or even avoiding the truth.

Et cetera.

Et cetera.

Besides, we have allowed technology to debase and dumb us down at least since the invention of the printing press.

And there’s no turning back now.

And once our A.I. Overlords are in complete control, brains will no longer be optional.

They will be unnecessary.

Superseded.

Yeah…

Pun definitely intended.


*I still cannot reconcile myself to the word “blogging”.




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Was thinking about converting one of my books into a GIF and selling it as an NFT*…

Until I read this:

Ethereum uses as much electricity as all of Libya, and the digital artist Memo Atken calculated that, due to the blockchain transactions involved in minting an NFT, the average NFT has a carbon footprint equal to over a month of the average EU citizen’s electricity usage.


*Yeah, I have no idea what an NFT is either – was just trying to be one of the cool kids.

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My Novel Approach to Novel Writing

At least it’s novel to me…

Anyway, these kinds of posts are always a bit self indulgent, but if you’re like me (and god help you if you are), you too like to know how the sausage is made when it comes to an author’s creative process.

I’m both old and old school when it comes to writing. First drafts are were always done with pen and paper.

Mostly because I love the physical act of writing, the feel of pen in hand, the feel of ink flowing on the paper.

But also because if I try to write the first draft on the computer I never make it out of the first chapter seeing that I’m one of those edit-as-you-go guys. I have too many folders with forgotten novels with unfinished first drafts that I attempted to write on the computer.

Writing the first draft by hand allows for limited editing — a line through here, a line through there maybe — and because of this, I enjoy a more immersive, free flowing writing experience…

One that actually results in finished novels.

How ’bout that?

But there is a catch.

My handwriting is garbage.

Which means draft two is pure and absolute torture when it comes to typing it up into the computer. Oftentimes it takes longer to type up the second draft than it did writing out the first.

Which brings me to my novel approach to first drafts, an approach that saves me months in novel development…

The iPad.

And the Nebo app.

Using this new technology (new to me; never been an Apple guy) I can still write out my first drafts longhand, but with the Nebo app, it automatically converts it to digital text.

It’s amazing.


The notebook contains a print copy of the screenplay (which I use as an outline for my novel). The cool sculpture/now paper weight is courtesy of my highly creative daughter. The iPad Pro 12 with Apple Pen attached shows the chapters of my latest WIP in the Nebo app.
A screenshot of the chapters in Nebo. One slight downside is that you can’t arrange the files (at least I haven’t been able to figure it out if you can) so they’re stored as they are created.
If you look at the top of the first paragraph (click on the image to enlarge), you’ll kind of see how it shows a highlight of my writing as converted text. It’s unbelievable in how well the app understanding my crappy handwriting, but if it doesn’t convert a word correctly, you can catch it in the highlight and go back and write it more clearly.

Of course you don’t get the same feel writing on the iPad as you do with pen and paper. The iPad screen is a bit slick so it takes some getting used to. I initially put a screen protector on it but that made it even slicker and it also screwed up the functions in Nebo to add and delete stuff.

The Apple Pen feels good in hand and works like a charm with zero lag between it and the tablet.

There’s another tablet I’m interested in checking out that is designed specifically for writing. It’s called reMarkable and the developers claim it will give you the feel of writing on paper. Sounds awesome. The best selling point to me for it is that it is a heck of a lot cheaper than the iPad Pro 12.

So, yeah… when it comes to drafting novels, that’s how I now roll.

Oh, and if you haven’t guessed by now, I’ll be announcing my latest novel soon…

Like tomorrow. 🙂

#writeon

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And the geeks shall inherit the earth…

Or something like that.

For all you computer nerds out there, this is an excellent read from Wired on the making, undoing, and remaking of a hacker.

Tried to highlight some of the spooky goings on of the Dark Web in my last book The Good Kill. That stuff fascinates me in an horrifying, schadenfreude kind of way…


Hutchins remembers mentally racing through every possible illegal thing he’d done that might have interested Customs. Surely, he thought, it couldn’t be the thing, that years-old, unmentionable crime…

Screenshot captured May 14, 2020. Click the image to view the article.

#alonetogetherwithmycommodore64

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THE TELEPORTER by Lee Hall – A Review

BOOK | FICTION | HUMOR
THE TELEPORTER
LEE HALL
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★

What if there was a power like no other? What if one drunken slouch happened to stumble where nobody has stumbled before and discovered the ability to teleport!
Just when you thought there were enough super hero stories in this world, we made another one…
Kurt Wiseman is your average mid-twenties slouch with a serial thirst for alcohol, that is until destiny calls upon him to stumble where no man has clumsily stumbled before. By day he works for a familiar sounding, power hungry, media controlling, mega rich American businessman who represents everything wrong with society today. Whilst investigating this politically loaded story arc Kurt accidentally acquires a super power like no other. The ability to teleport!
Before he can think about saving the day, Wiseman must endure a journey of self-reflection by earning the trust of his friends and overcoming his greatest weakness, booze. Even if the path is filled with comic book cliché, inappropriate one liners and genre busting fourth wall action.
Not all heroes in this world are the same and with great power comes the possibility to go viral! This is a story that will unite humanity…
Kurt Wiseman is the Teleporter!

Publisher’s Book Description

This is a fun, breezy read of a book that delivers on exactly what the author set out for it to do, and that is, essentially, to have it be a fun, breezy read of a book.

How do I know this? Because we’re told as much in an author’s note at the end of the book.


“I set out to create this story with one goal in mind, which was above all, to make people laugh…” – Lee Hall


Mission accomplished, Mr. Hall.

And not only does our besodden superhero Kurt Wiseman (cool name) humor us with his meh Millennial mentality, he does so while locked in a life-or-death battle with the (stereo)typically corrupt corporate (never noticed how similar the words corrupt and corporate are in appearance until now) tech executive and his conglomerate of clownish henchmen, all while reminding us along the way of the dangers and unintended consequences of technology run amok, among other timely and topically important issues of the day.

Now, would I liked to have found the story with more fully developed characters and settings? Sure. But we must remember our tale is narrated by our slacker superhero so the sparsity in development can be considered almost apropos, as it leaves me feeling as I did as a parent when dealing with my own similarly-aged Millennial offspring who are equally adept at providing just enough information needed to keep them out of any serious trouble.

Bottom line: this is an all-around enjoyable book. Simple as that. So…

Buy it.

Read it.

Laugh with it.

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Goodreads, Goodreads… Wherefore Art Thou Goodreads?

You know, I’ve tried and I’ve tried…

I really have!

I have tried and I have tried to maintain a loving relationship with Goodreads.

I’ve done everything it’s asked me to do.

I’ve set up both a user and an Author account…

I’ve added all my books, both the ones I’ve written and (most of) the ones I’ve read…

I’ve sent out friend requests to other users who seem to have like literary tastes as I…

I’ve friended those who’ve requested the same of me…

But after nearly a decade of trying to find meaning and purpose in my relationship with Goodreads, all it’s ever shown me has been indifference and insurmountable complexities.

It and I just have never been able to click.

Continue reading Goodreads, Goodreads… Wherefore Art Thou Goodreads?
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A Web Security PSA Because I Love You

Okay, I’ve never used Cloudflare before and I don’t own any stocks in it that I know so I’m passing this info along simply because I’m a dude* who hates having my cookies tracked and Facebook selling me out to the Russians and all the other creepy Dark Web stuff (or is it Deep Web stuff?) that I always feel threatened by and I assume you’re of the same mind, may god bless your poor soul if you are.

If you’re not familiar with Cloudflare, here is what pops up when asking Bing, what is Cloudflare:

Continue reading A Web Security PSA Because I Love You

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Maybe Elon has a point…

While I’m a big admirer of Elon Musk and all he’s been able to accomplish, I’ve always been a bit skeptical about his alarmist rhetoric regarding Artificial Intelligence’s threat to humanity, seeing it more as a means for him to groom future volunteers for a one-way ticket to a Mars colony.

Not a bad strategy, mind you.

But with each cool but creepy new video from Boston Dynamics that hits the web and goes viral, I grow more and more less skeptical of Elon’s warnings…

Yeah…

Creepy, right?

But still… it’s way cool, too.

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of the end of humanity, here’s a cut regarding how technology is altering our perception of reality from a recent terrifying article from Buzzfeed:

“Alarmism can be good — you should be alarmist about this stuff,” [Aviv] Ovadya said one January afternoon before calmly outlining a deeply unsettling projection about the next two decades of fake news, artificial intelligence–assisted misinformation campaigns, and propaganda. “We are so screwed it’s beyond what most of us can imagine,” he said. “We were utterly screwed a year and a half ago and we’re even more screwed now. And depending how far you look into the future it just gets worse.”

That future, according to Ovadya, will arrive with a slew of slick, easy-to-use, and eventually seamless technological tools for manipulating perception and falsifying reality, for which terms have already been coined — “reality apathy,” “automated laser phishing,” and “human puppets.”

Yeah…

We’re screwed.

But still… it’s kinda cool, too.

Right?