The History of Books: Part 3-ish (or 2.5, whatever)

Part1 / Part 2

CHAPTER 2.5 – More Backstory But This Time It’s The Story Of Congo, Orange, Shed & Highborn, and Some Other Random Bullshit That Probably Has Nothing To Do With The Rest of This Chapter

Update / Newsflash

Right. So this isn’t really an update, as for you, it is three seconds after reading the last sentence. For me, it is the next day, and at some point during the time I finished the paragraph above, and right at this moment, I realized there is more to this story. It isn’t really important, but I’ll tell it to you anyway. You’ve read this much. The poison is already going to kill you, might as well try and hope that reading more of this crap will speed the death process up so you don’t suffer too much more.

One day, back in the ancient lands of a place called Silicon Valley, was an enclave of wizards and magicians and sorcerers. This enclave, it was full of some of the most powerful mages in the entire realm, and even realms that had never been discovered yet. That sounds about right. I’m kind of making this one up as I go along too, so… you know, put your bullshit filters back on. Which you should have never taken off.

These mages at the Enclave, they heard the far-reaching stories of a great sorcerer, one unfamiliar to them as this sorcerer, Congo The Wise, had come from a land called Seattle, far to the northwest. The Enclave became curious as to how this unknown sorcerer had become so powerful that his name traveled the winds all the way to the Valley. The enclave was well known for the way its various sects had begun to shape the land and the lives of the humans that lived within its sphere of influence, which was quite far and wide.

When the Enclave learned of what the sorcerer had been doing to garner such praise and rumor, the members openly scoffed, brushing off this ‘wise’ sorcerer as nothing more than an illusionist, a trickster, not a real wielder of the great arcane power known as Technology. Privately, the Enclave’s wizards and mages and warlocks and sorcerers and even those granola-eating bastards called druids who rode their stupid bikes to work all began to worry.

And so the High Council of the Enclave of the Unmatched Power of the Arcane Technology, and this is why I just call them ‘The Enclave, because that shit gets old after about the nineteenth time, these elders began to send their best and brightest to this place called ‘Seattle’ to find out exactly how the sorcerer was doing his magic, and to craft their own magic to capture the interest of the citizens (mostly peasants still) of the realm and get some of that internet money. I mean gold. They were after the gold. Continue reading

Meet “badBIOS,” the mysterious Mac/PC malware that jumps airgaps

I love writing about science fiction-y ideas, and I of course love computers and networking. I happened across this story today on Ars Technica, and could not stop reading. The writer part of my brain lit up like a Christmas tree on steroids after being blown up in a Michael Bay movie trailer. The nerdy part of my brain that still pays attention to high tech shuddered, as this is part of our technological future.

“Three years ago, security consultant Dragos Ruiu was in his lab when he noticed something highly unusual: his MacBook Air, on which he had just installed a fresh copy of OS X, spontaneously updated the firmware that helps it boot. Stranger still, when Ruiu then tried to boot the machine off a CD ROM, it refused. He also found that the machine could delete data and undo configuration changes with no prompting. He didn’t know it then, but that odd firmware update would become a high-stakes malware mystery that would consume most of his waking hours.

In the following months, Ruiu observed more odd phenomena that seemed straight out of a science-fiction thriller. A computer running the Open BSD operating system also began to modify its settings and delete its data without explanation or prompting. His network transmitted data specific to the Internet’s next-generation IPv6 networking protocol, even from computers that were supposed to have IPv6 completely disabled. Strangest of all was the ability of infected machines to transmit small amounts of network data with other infected machines even when their power cords and Ethernet cables were unplugged and their Wi-Fi and Bluetooth cards were removed. Further investigation soon showed that the list of affected operating systems also included multiple variants of Windows and Linux.”

Read the entire article at Ars Technica

Techological Evolution = Societal Evolution (+ a warning?)

Let’s talk about Travis and his paranoid delusions. Or maybe they’re just my fears? As someone who has spent half his life in the high tech industry, I’m pretty familiar with the way a lot of the industry operates. I understand hardware, until it gets down beyond the silicon where there’s a lot of math and electrical current and all that. I understand software down to the part where you have to code the actual language of it. I understand the internet both from a user perspective, as well as from a technical perspective.

On top of all this knowledge-y goodness, I’m also old. I’ll be 41 in a couple of weeks. This gives me a lot of experience, but it also gives me a good deal of perspective. I’ve been alive long enough to actually see trends develop. A lot of you younger readers, you’ve grown up with the internet and instant communications. To you, this is just normal. This is how it is. It’s sort of like when I grew up with TV or electricity (okay, I’m not that old, but you know what I mean). It’s something you take for granted.

Now, knowing what I know about technology, business, and human nature (and money, let’s not forget money, and religion, I guess, though religion doesn’t play a part in this at all as far as I can tell), I’ve watched the world grow up with this new internet “thing.” There’s still some of us who are scared of computers, and don’t understand the internet. I’m pretty sure when I was born, there were still those who were scared to death of color television and didn’t understand why it was important to put men in space.

I’ve watched how technology has evolved the social structure of civilization, and has done it possibly more rapidly than any other huge leap in innovation ever has in our history. I grew up remembering a billion phone numbers (733-9329 was our home # for… forever, like twenty years or more, and 733-5776 was the number of the car dealership who had the most annoying asshole I’ve ever seen on TV doing their commercials). I grew up having to get up and change the channel. I also remember remote controls having five buttons only: power, channel up, channel down, volume up, volume down.

My mother told me about remotes that only had one button. You clicked it, and the channel went up. That’s it. To get all the way back around, you just clicked it a bunch of times. But, and keep this in mind, there were like… three TV networks back then, and that’s about it. The Star-Spangled Banner played at midnight, then it was six to eight hours of snow because the TV stations shut down for the night.
Continue reading