Nikki Forgette, Vital Cog

Some of you reading this will not know who Nikki is, so a a brief description is a prequisite. She is a twenty year old lady that I have known for quite some time, has reddish/brownish hair, freckles, and a fairly ample bosom.

She also happens to be a vital cog in the grand internet machine.

She plays the dual role of archivist and collector. On facebook, more than any other person, I see her uploading, collecting, tagging, saving, and archiving the pictures and video that describe us. She plays an essential part in the innerworkings of the emergent social network system. She is the emergent cell that establishes the system, and she more than does her share of the work in that system. She is a digital human, whether she knows it or not, and is fufilling a vital, vital role.
Lets raise a glass to Nikki Forgette: A single cog in the soul-machine.

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Life, Hacked

Today, I received what I have been waiting near three years for:

My Special Studies major, Titled “Digital Humanities”, has been approved by the relevant committee at Central Connecticut State University. It is an undergraduate studies major, with a minor being taken in journalism.

I have a list of people to thank. Mom and Dad paid, both with their money and with their support… and their time, and their 2001 dodge neon and technically also 7000 dollars of a Hyundai Santa Fe. My sister and the rest of my family did what they coud to keep me in check. My friends never left my side, despite irritability, whimsical monologues, and fits of oddity. Special thanks go out to Rachel, Jerry, Matt, Josh, Nikki, and Christine, who never knew it, but often gave me that critical break when I needed it. Whether it was an instant message, or a lengthy discussion of my plans late at night before falling asleep. I cannot say how much you all helped, whether or not you know it. I am truly happy to have you all here.

And, of course, Doc. You pushed me when I needed to be pushed, and have never once apologized for my Geekiness. We spar on many fronts, but I cannot as of yet perfectly construct a sentence that would both eloquently express my deep feelings of respect, camaraderie, and friendship towards you while surviving your fucking scrutiny. Thanks.

I am nothing without the people mentioned. It is because of these people that I was able to move forward, to get the fuck off of my ass and DO. I love them with all of my heart, and any success I am afforded is because of them. Thank you all, so, so much.

Well.

Lets fucking do this, then.

The Face Book, Or: Please write!

So, some people noticed the little story I posted below (it’s the post immediately preceeding this one) and purported to like it.  Well, I think the idea of cyberpunk-ish stories set around a very common social networking tool, my imagined and not-at-all-cleverly-named “The Face”. So, I want all of you to write up some stories about the face! You only need to include these four criteria:

1. It needs to make mention of, or directly utilize, the facebook-esque program ‘ the face’.

2. The face works in mysterious ways. Find unique applications that aren’t currently existing, or extend current applications into a cyberpunk world, elaborating and expanding on their capabilities and usefulness.

3. It has to be set in a cyberpunk setting. Implants, digital-human interaction, all of that is commonplace. Check both my story and wikipedia for clarification.

4. And this is important: The technology, setting, or environment of your story cannot contradict a story that has already been posted. This is like cyberpunk-short story-improv.  I want to build a universe. To really give people after you a springboard, add in little details like my Juan and Gyro BS. Add in history, but I wouldn’t give it a concrete time or year. Do whatever you’d like, just fit in the universe we have right now.

So, come-on, creative types. Email me at Alex dot jarvi at gmail dot com, subject “The Face”, with your stories. I fully expect No one to respond to this, but it’s fun to consider anyway.

“It’s Complicated.”

So, I am taking a cyberpunk class with Doc. I thought to myself that most cyberpunk was writtem before we had things like youtube, or facebook- I mean, real, legitimate social networks. So what is cyberpunk after that? And moreover, what are we after that? So before you is a Cyberpunk story I penned last night, not out of angst or tore directly from personal experience, but because I really wanted to write it.  Those close to me will see similarities, but those will also know the difference between inspiration and dedication. And if Doc Ever wants to use this in class… that’d be badass.

Ladies and Gentlemen; The Post-Love Condition of the Male Cyberpunk Denizen. A story of love, loss, and latency. I present to you: “It’s Complicated.”

—-

//It was her smile against a lowglo landscape.

The minute after she ended it, a torrent of messages flooded his comm. His wrist began to glow the color of a choking man’s face, the slight hum of a late-night confirmation echoing through his bones and into his inner ear.  She had to fucking do it, didn’t she?  She couldn’t just let me suffer in silence. No, She had to upload that shit to the Face, and all these fake mother fuckers had to be reading it at the exact time she did it, didn’t they. They HAD to tell me they knew. Fucking face.

The Face started as something dry. Back in the days, the tube days, it was some sort of social-network. It was a quick way to tell if someone could be your friend or not, and to archive the ones you had. Anything you had, you could put up on there. Long pretentious notes about yourself, pictures, up-to-the-minute updates about little bits of nothing. If you wanted to know everything superficial about any individual, you went to the face. But one day, it stopped just archiving. It started being, Doing. It was the notice. It didn’t just let you figure it out, no. It grabbed you, by the balls, it just.. it told you. shook you down until you knew. Hey? Did you know that those two fuckwits know each other? NOW YOU DO. You see, now the Face archives everything.  What you see, hear. Problem was like I said, it was still dry and shit. You actually had to, like, type things into it. And that was dry!   Once it got a little more wet, well, everything changed. It was ever the motivator, but, It still would archive every aspect of your life. Everything. I’m Counting on it.

//it was a laser-guided orgasm.

She got mad because of my problems. She said I wasn’t growing up. The fuck? I just got hired by the Binary’s! The Tech-Twins of Tennessee! Juan and Gyro, those rich bastards that brought in binary wetware. Machine-level coding! Direct access to the human body! the Source code to the soul! Good shit, the whole of it. It was good timing, too. My first app is really gonna blow their- and, not growing up? Fuck that – Who bought you the new sex Drive, huh? Who got you the X-Patch for your cerebral? Or the Goddamn nipple antennae piercing For our FUCKING ANNIVERSARY! I hope you drop all your Calls. Fuck am I kidding, no I don’t.

//It was a quiet tear in the rain.

When we first started this, You were so happy. Remember that, huh? The fun we had? Remember the first time we Ad-Hoc’d? Plugged into each others subconscious? It was like a big, fun pillow fight. We Tossed memories around like it was nothing. Made you lick your breast, you made me hit my head trying to lick mine. I poked and prodded your body, and then… God damn, we fucked like hell! I was you for a bit, you were me. I mean, I couldn’t see anything, but I could feel. Do you know how fucking close I felt? That net is a big, wide place, and this shit was rare. And of course, right after I unplugged, right after I found the signal again- a bunch of Face Friends congratulating me on our first fucking. Days like that, I’d want to spend all day ad-hoc’d. Off the grid. Just you, me, and the meat. Fun times,They were. Were they? I’ll find out.

//It was a contemplation of a Hand in the early morning.

So I’ve designed a place for you.  Sort of. I mean, whatever. It’s not like I care, right? Why should I care? Why do I fucking care? All you ever did was remind me I am stuck here. Gave me that undue hope that maybe, MAYBE there was some fucking purpose to this meat. But no- you took your meat away, and you took the software running on it. Gone in a day. Nothing I say can change it. Nothing those fucking face friends can say, either. I wonder how many Faces have messaged you, today. Wonder who is next in line. No matter. No one is. Not yet. Not ever, actually.

//It was a realization of happiness, far too late.

The Source code for the human brain is disgusting. It’s bloody and sick, and before Juan and Gyro came in the Pineal input, it was hard. But now? I got a machine that turns the little packages into neural signals. And It’s gonna help me remember. Better than that- it’s gonna help me forget. It’s weird like that. But, isn’t love, too? Isn’t it a duality? I mean, how much do we really want love? How fucking good is it to remember, day after day, this, this… shit? I had it once! And the whole time your there…. you forget that it will ever end. Guess what, Vic? IT DOES. //Click.// And the Face. A constant reminder. The next time you fuck someone, it’ll tell me, won’t it. Good shit, too. It’ll congratulate me. “Did you know That Victoria…” //Whirrrrl.// No, I didn’t. Shut. The fuck. up. Shit, I wrote the first killer app for this piece.

We lasted, what, a Year? I got a year of plasmid here. Blood machine’s gonna work through my waste, plasmid’ll keep me alive. You bitch, I was happy. I am planning on staying that way. Lock me in, and Deploy Program Victoria.

You see, now the Face archives everything. //Ppineal inppput securre.// What you see, hear. Problem //NO ERROR DETECTED, // was like I said, it was still dry and shit.//CODE:VICTORIA.EXE DEPLOYED// You actually had to, like, type things into it. //Connection to FACE server secccuuuurrrreeee.// And that was dry!//NERUAL FLASH PREPAREDD//Once it got a little more wet, //hitting memory synapse,conscious reboot immiment// well, everything changed//interruption of live stream imminent. Replace with Archive feeeeddd//. It was ever the motivator,//Execute program? Y/n……// but  \It still would archiiiiive every //….confirmed. Welcome back.// .. aspecct of your life. Everrythiiiiing. //Flash to predestined archive// I’m Counting on itttttttt.

//It was the Kiss that Ruined Everything.

I suppose I should be proud…

Go to your browser.

Type in “troll warcraft sex.”

Press enter.

#2, baby.

Without you, the fans, I’d never be in as such an illustrious position as I am today.

The Might of the Digital Dollar; A Bill Of Rights

Time will keep moving, and with it, the experiences that enrich life as well as the technology that enrichment can sometimes rely on.  I was perusing the internet today when my browser, as it often does, brought me to the Kindle. Newly refurbished rumors of a 2.0 device  have…kindled… my drive to get one (though i’d gladly wait for the new one, especially if it is cheaper and aimed at the oh-so-elusive collegiate market that I happen to consider myself a part of).  I was explaining the device to my mother ( especially since I have a birthday coming up this sunday… two decades and such) and she couldn’t quite grasp the concept of such a device. The oft-used phrase “the ipod of books” was brought up, and she seemed to grok that – she was even intrigued by the wireless purchase device, and she said she would be interested to see one in person.

It was then that I began to think; what media isn’t digital anymore? Movies, games, music, pictures,  and finally books are available digitally, and yet, the way in which we deal with this media is dealt with in increasingly old-school terms; Laughably, in many cases. For instance; An mp3 is not what it is, according to the fine people at the RIAA. While the Mp3 is a specific amount of data that, when played through a compatible player, unfurls as a song, and is therefore a song, the RIAA states that the ownership of the Mp3 is only a physical representation of a service contract one has made with the “true owner” of the media, and can only be used in a way in which complies with this true owner. This is obviously panic, as in the days of analog, the idea of pirating a piece of media, while not unheard of, was certainly a little more unorthodox. Meanwhile in our futuristic computer-space world that we appear to live in, I can click two, maybe three buttons and have an exact copy of a particular piece of media, or thousands of copies, if I want. They fear piracy, and so, we are all pirates. ( A side story; My father is vehemently against my downloading of anything over the internet, yet will not hesitate to purchase a 5 dollar copy of “The Dark Knight” in Times square out of a plastic bag. I mean, so long as someone is getting paid, right? ) A quick google search of “DMCA” will load unto your ocular lens’ a cache’s worth of hypocrisy. We, as consumers, ultimately hold the power when it comes to our purchasing, and yet we continue to bend over to the whim of the restrictive tendencies of the powers that be controlling our, thats right, our, new media. The Hackers had a code of Ethics, and so shall we.

Tech Crunch recently suggested such a bill of rights to the internet, but what of digital media? Here are some of my More specific suggestions to such a bill of Rights.

I Maintain Personal Ownership of  My Digital Content.

When I go to Amazon, or Itunes, Or (more realistically) the Zune marketplace, I am asked to give my credit card information, and many times more. I do not assume that this place is a scam, nor do I think that they will steal away with my personal information and run off with the $64.21 that I have to my name. Similarly, the providers of this digital media should not assume I am going to run off and make 100 copies and sell it on the street. When you give me content, it leaves your hand, and goes to mine. This is the final line, and as far as you are concerned, there is no longer any hold or sway you have over it. Which brings me to the next point;

No restrictive measures will be placed on my paid content.

DRM. The bane of every digital consumer. Why is the Song I bought at itunes, or zune, not able to be played on my Rhapsody player? or vice versa? Why can’t I just load it to my phone, or my watch, or play it within any major player? No, a “clean” standard should be derived for every major media type (Mp3, Mp4, ebook for example) and at the very least, a version of the requested media in such a format must be able to be purchased DRM free. This should be playable on any device or player that will support the format, regardless of where I got the content from. There are exceptions to this one rule, which leads me to:

I will Subsidize costs for hybrid Ownership/Altered media.

One features I use with very liberally is the use of the Zune Pass, which allows the (mostly) unrestricted download of the entire Zune Marketplace catalog. For fifteen dollars a month, I download roughly 100 dollars worht of CD’s. The Difference? If I ever stop this subscription, which I can do at any time, these songs downloaded using this service (distinct from ones actually purchased during the subscription)  are no longer available to me. Truth be told, I use this service more to sample music, and more of my music purchases hav been made from this service than from any other service. You could extend this to ad-supported media as well; I will watch ads to make my content free, so long as I am given a choice to pay for non-ad supported content.

I will not be bundled.

This seems not as important, but there is distinction; If I only want track 9 from CD X, or Episode 2 from Season 4 of Scrubs, I should only have to pay for the content I require. Hell, if I only want the blooper reel, I should only pay for that. Speaking of payment;

I refuse to use Monopoly Money.

My home team, Microsoft, is guilty of this very charge; there is no reason why any sensible adult should have to translate their good, hard-earned money into pre-sectioned points, such as the system that the Microsoft online environment implements. This is racketeering, plain and simple. If I only want one item, and it only translates into 79 of your points, that is all I need. I am not going to get 400 points because that is the lowest you offer. I get 79, or I download it elsewhere. (better yet, I get to pay using real dollars!)

I Will Pay for Good Media.

One of the amazing things coming out of the digital age is the idea that we are all not just money-grubbers trying to get everything for free. Look at the RadioHead “In Rainbows” experiement, where they allowed the album to be downloaded for free, with the stipulation you return to give what you thought it was worth. While so far the average amount donated is less than a whole album ( around 8 dollars) so many more people listened to the music than ever would have before, how can it be deeemed a failure? At the very least, a few people paid more than the album, a bunch paid less, and some paid none at all- but all of them got to hear music they otherwise would not have, and a band got their music out to so many more ears.

Any more to think of? I am here.

Nu Scum, Or; Ode to the Godless

I believe my stagnation of blogging is due to several factors; for instance, I was doing quite fine recently, and now I am not. This sort of odd upset is what spurs me to write, a rule that is almost certainly reflected throughout history. Also, this post originalyl had a much different title, and that aborted post still sits as a draft. I suppose, sometimes, you just have to change.

The Word today kids, is Truth.

A heady topic, I know. But as a relatively recent Agnostic Athiest, my longview backwards is definately one that sees failure and hyposrisy in the pursuit of that faith. I highly reccomend the youtube video series “Fundamental Falsehoods of Creationsim”, in which many of these hypocrisys are highlighted. Neither here, nor there.

After a recent conversation with my mother explaining this end, she was incredibly hopeful. I was not all that worried that I would be disowned, but the thought was in my mind.  She ended the conversation hoping that one day I’d believe again.

I began to think about it, how life was “back then”, and it all seemed so….

awesome.

You cannot defeat the good-ness that stems from belief. I mean, C’mon. Everything will be Ok! There is a plan! I know what just occurred was fucked up and horrible, but there! Is! A! Reason! Why think? Hell, at a certain point it could be a productivity thing. Why consider the world around us when we can be focused on ourselves! Also, the Sinners! We are good, and they are bad! They always are, and the creator says so! Science? Heresy. I need nothing but the prayer to get me through. Life with the blinders on, and it seems so amazing.

There is a scene in the animatrix where one person asks another to plug back in.  He made a deal with the machines, and they would be allowed back in to the matrix, their memories wipes, given all the gold and riches, fame, etc they could ever want.  So, do the Godless ever consider this choice? I mean, we’d just… forget, right? We’d lull ourselves to the pious cascade, and go with the flow?

Or is it better to be gritty? Is it better to forgo the others, who even seek to twist and clusterfuck the words we hold dear – like truth, for instance- and live an existence full of reality, which in and of itself is nowhere as clean and pretty as the falshood that others live by? Well. Big words aside; I’ve taken the red pill, and all is done.

Fuck that shit. I’m spider fucking jerusalem Alex fucking Jarvis. Here’s to the Godless.


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