General Exception

Attention Kurzweil Singularity Overmind Nanomachine Google

Well, when the business pages of the The New York Times are full of stories about transhumanism and Ray Kurzweil’s visions of our futures inside the Singularity, that means, I suppose, either that the world is finally ready to embrace my novels (which are full of singularity (“overmind”) stuff, not to mention nanomachines, lampoons of transhumanism, and vaguely Kurweillish techno-utopian evil villains ) or that my time has come and gone without my even noticing it (I guess I shoulda had a television so I could watch “Fringe”, sigh). I suppose if I ever were to get this site fixed I could find out if people were still interested in buying books from me. Note to self: get off ass, dammit!

In other news (which I found via the Kurzweil AI net), the military is working on some “local overmind” (“augmented reality”) technology, not unlike that used by The Eternals in the great Jack Kirby comic books of the late 70’s — of which I have a nearly complete set someplace, in proper comic-book bags. Wonder if it’s worth anything?


1. “In addition, groups of Eternals, as few as three at a time, can initiate a transformation into a gestalt being called the Uni-Mind, a vastly powerful psionic entity that contains the totality of the powers and abilities of all the beings that comprise it.” — Wikipedia

Posted in "A Republic, if you can keep it", Memology, My Thoughts Exactly, Wetware | Also tagged , , , , | 6 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

DNA Robots — another “Acts” technology sighting

According to this release from the BioDesign Institute at Arizona State University,

A team of scientists from Columbia University, Arizona State University, the University of Michigan, and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have programmed an autonomous molecular “robot” made out of DNA to start, move, turn, and stop while following a DNA track.

The development could ultimately lead to molecular systems that might one day be used for medical therapeutic devices and molecular-scale reconfigurable robots—robots made of many simple units that can reposition or even rebuild themselves to accomplish different tasks.

Or for creating the Overmind and repairing and reanimating the thawing head of Fred Christ, the frozen god, according to diabolical villain Monty Meekman, the power behind the throne at Digital Microsystems, Inc., and chancellor of the University of New Kent, as chronicled in my famous novel Acts of the Apostles and famous novella The Pains.

Posted in I Fear These Things, Memology, My Thoughts Exactly, Wetware | Also tagged , , | 4 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Smashwords, iPad, Doctorow, Zeldman: further bumbling self-publishing adventures

Over on the Self-Publishing Review, my Adventures in Self-Publishing is still front-paged and generating some nice contact, public & private. Go me! But I’m still not rich yet. So anyway(s), as discussed, I’ve signed up with Smashwords to distribute my Acts of the Apostles. It’s been accepted into the iPad store, for which iPad-hater Cory Doctorow would give me a “boo-bad” and iPad hater-hater Jeffrey Zeldman a “way-to-go”, I expect. DOCTOROW-ZELDMAN STEEL CAGE DEATH MATCH! Or not. So long as they both keep saying nice things about my books it’s all good, as the surfers say.

So far, my Smashwords results not all that impressive: 82 downloads and zero sales.

On the other hand, the book is only available on Smashwords so far, not on Amazon or iPad. Maybe best-sellerdom is right around the corner!

Further reflections on Smashwords, iPad, OpenLaszlo, self-publishing, etc, etc, below the fold.


Read More »

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Nanomachines manipulating DNA– and Grigory Perleman

Yesterday on Slashdot, a link to an article about nanomachines that can target individual genes — in this case to cure cancer. A long discussion follows in the comments (500+ comments) about implications of this technology, whether it might be used for ill as well as good.

I have not yet had the heart to read many of the comments. The technology described, and the implications thereof, are, of course, are pretty much the essence of my novel Acts of the Apostles, which I began writing 15 years ago and published more than ten years ago. Every time I see life imitating (my) art like this, I confess, my inner Grigory Perleman kinda starts to make rumbling noises deep in my bosom. Perleman’s the math genius & Howard-Hughes style recluse who refuses to accept $$ millions prizes for his solution of the Poincare conjecture because he’s evidently pissed off that his genius wasn’t recognized earlier. “You are disturbing me! I am picking mushrooms,” he hollers through the door to reporters who want to ask him about his mathematics and his opinion on prizes.

I did make a comment on Slashdot posting a link to this glowing Slashdot review of Acts by Slashdot co-founder Hemos. He at least recognized my genius. The other Slashdotters have probably modded by comment into oblivion by now. Such is the fate of us geniuses.

But just for the record, if anybody wants to give me a million dollar prize for writing Acts of the Apostles, I promise you I’ll accept. In fact, I’ll be happy if you just buy a copy.

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

Don't look now, but in silico brains just got closer

According to this article in Nano Letters, scientists at the University of Michigan have built a memristor — a chip that conserves memory, as neurons do:


A memristor is a two-terminal electronic device whose conductance can be precisely modulated by charge or flux through it. Here we experimentally demonstrate a nanoscale silicon-based memristor device and show that a hybrid system composed of complementary metal−oxide semiconductor neurons and memristor synapses can support important synaptic functions such as spike timing dependent plasticity. Using memristors as synapses in neuromorphic circuits can potentially offer both high connectivity and high density required for efficient computing.

Just in case you missed the implications, the title of their article is Nanoscale Memristor Device as Synapse in Neuromorphic Systems.

I discovered this article from this article in New Scientist (this link may or may not work for you). New Scientist cheerfully calls this memristor the “missing link” on the path towards true electronic brains, and points out that “the military” is already hard at work looking for applications. Gee, this all sounds so exciting! Why am I suddenly feeling very queasy?

Any of y’all others intrigued by implications of nanomachines and brains– and perhaps with a healthy touch of technoparanoia — are encouraged to check out my novels (if you haven’t done so already), especially the critically acclaimed Acts of the Apostles now available in sundry ebook formats!

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

Acts of the Apostles in convenient ebook format

For nearly ten years, my book Acts of the Apostles has been available for free download from this site, and lately, from lots of other sites. I figure that it’s been downloaded at least ten thousand times, and perhaps a lot more. There’s really no way to tell at this point.

Recently I’ve been getting a fair number of requests for other (that is, not PDF) formats, such as mobi for the kindle and epub for other devices. After much, much, much too much ado, I’ve finally made different versions available on Smashwords for $4/copy. I’ll be curious to see what kind of sales I get, especially since the PDF is out there for free, and people can convert them if they feel like going through the hassle.

As I wrote in an earlier wetmachine post, I consider format conversion, for example from PDF to mobi, to be making a “derivative work” and therefore prohibited by the Creative Commons license. Not everybody agrees with me about this, and the matter really rests in an indeterminate state until such time as a court of law makes a pronouncement on it.

In the meantime, I don’t think $4 is much to ask for such a great book!

The hassles I went through were largely caused by my mule-headedness and lack of understanding of Microsoft Word. The Smashwords site itself is a relative breeze to use. I do plan to make Cheap Complex Devices also available on Smashwords, and I think the process of converting that book will be a whole lot smoother than the first one was.

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly | Also tagged , , | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

Entering the E-book age, kicking and screaming

So after a nearly a decade of giving away PDFs of my first two books, I’ve decided to sell them as ebooks in different formats.

The technical hassles in so doing are bigger than they should be, although most of the problems are perhaps more in my head than in the format-conversion technology.

Mainly, I’m trying to convert PDF versions of my book to MS Word .doc format.

Any help in making me un-stupid in this process would be much appreciated.

Read More »

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Also tagged , , , | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Sunset makes me think of Google teeth I coulda maybe shoulda bashed in

So today, depending on how you reckon such things, more or less marks the end of the legendary Silicon Valley company Sun Microsystems, where I worked from January 1986 until April 1994 (badge #1387). Here’s a photo (taken today) of me behind a giant-sized beer mug that I got from Sun on my 5th anniversary. It says, “In appreciation for five years of service in the Kingdom!”

photo of giant sun beer mug
In addition to this beer mug, Sun gave me a fantastic education in hardware, software, management and office politics; a chance to spend at least one night in every hotel on the entire length of El Camino Real from Sunnyvale to Burlingame; lots of good friends and fun times; money, and most of all an inspiration for Monty Meekman, the nastiest villain in the best. novel. evar written about Silicon Valley, my very own Acts of the Apostles.

Below the fold: The day I almost put (Google CEO) Eric Schmidt’s teeth down his throat.

UPDATE
My dear wife says this post makes me sound a whole lot angrier than I in fact am, and she’s right. I just thought it was funny that two of the most arrogant bigwigs I encountered at Sun went on to become bigwigs at Google, an outfit that’s known for its. . . arrogance. Most of my memories of Sun are of good friends and interesting challenges. (And a whole lot of airplane travel and hotel rooms.)


Read More »

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Software | Also tagged , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

What's in my wallet, Part One

You’ve seen those TV advertisements for the “credit card” mafia front called Capital One. “What’s in your wallet?” they ask. Well, I used to have a Capital One so-called “credit card”1 in there , but I cancelled the account last year –I’m still paying down the balance– so I have nothing with their name on it in my wallet to remind me that I’m still their bonded serf. What I do have in my wallet is this:

photo of warn and folded pawn ticket.
It’s the pawn ticket from when my wife pawned her jewelry, including her wedding ring & family heirlooms, for cash to keep us going when we were homeless in 1996 when I was writing Acts of the Apostles.

Read More »

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Also tagged | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

You Must Read These Books Because I Said So

One of my invisible New Year’s revolutions is to put up a Wetmachine post every day. Ideally I would like to put up something interesting or at least grammatical, but with time winding down and my intended piece for today not quite written, let me leave y’all with a reaction to this post by Goddess of the Porcelain Feet about “other people’s ‘must read’ book lists”.

I found her blog while ego-surfing; she analyzes this list by 18th Candidate (scroll down) in which my book Acts of the Apostles appears in this alphabetical context:

# Stowe, Harriet Beecher – Uncle Tom’s Cabin
# Styron, William – Sophie’s Choice
# Sundman, John F.X. – Acts of the Apostles
# Svevo, Italo – Confessions of Zeno
# Swift, Jonathan – Gulliver’s Travels

Not bad company, I must say.

Anyway what most amused me in 18th Candidate’s list was his commentary on the list (also reachable by the above link) about Harold Bloom’s list of “278 books you should have read by now:”

The list by Harold Bloom that starts off this node is perhaps the most pretentious and self-absorbed list of its kind that I’ve ever seen. While most of the books in it are good, to call it a list of books you should have read by now and include six titles by John Ashbery smacks of a world of self-absorbed cultural irrelevance. These aren’t 278 books you should have read by now, these are 278 books that a pretentious literary twat should have read by now.

Priceless. I’ll be on this guy’s list any day.

Phew, I got this post done before midnight, so I have posted two days in a row. If the time stamp says othewise, ignore it. Who you gonna believe — me or some damn machine?

Posted in My Thoughts Exactly, Writing | Also tagged | Comments closed
  • Connect With Us

    Follow Wetmachine on Twitter!

Username
Password

If you do not have an account: Register