Book Review #28

Days of Future Passed

The shape of things to come!  This author was prescient.  This is where it all began, or at least, a big part of it.

The book: Neuromancer

The Author: William Gibson

The Review:
This book was written in 1984.  I had a chance to read it over 30 years ago.  The son read it, but I passed on the opportunity.  It would not have had the effect on me back then, as it did to read it recently.  I read a post by a blogger who was doing what I am doing, taking old Science Fiction books out of storage, and re-reading them.  His description intrigued me, so I got a 2010 re-published copy from the library.

The story itself is not all that exciting –by today’s standards.  His protagonist is a computer hacker who can mentally access, not merely individual computers, but can surf the entire Internet.  Of course, the author doesn’t call it that.  The term, and the function, did not exist back then.  He did not coin the term Cyberspace, but this book popularized it.  Soon, readers and other authors were regularly using it.

In 1984, computers, and their interconnectivity, were far less common than in his then-future fiction.  Since he couldn’t call it the Internet, he coined the term The Matrix.  While this author, and this book, are not completely responsible, they both heavily influenced Tron, and the three Matrix movies.

The précis reminded me of Johnny Mnemonic.  A bit of research revealed that, 17 years later, he shuffled some concepts around and wrote the novel that another Keanu Reeve movie was based on.  Microsoft had incorporated in 1981, but the microsofts (small m) that the hacker uses to jack in, are nail-sized inserts that plug into a socket at the base of his skull, like Sim-cards, or SD cards.  They contain relevant data, and operating code – the Apps of their time.

The plot involves the hacker either slicing or surreptitiously oozing past security protocols, to free a manacled A.I. – Artificial Intelligence.  The story also contains a couple of computer ‘Constructs’, which are essentially the uploaded knowledge, experience and personality of hackers who were killed while online.

This author impresses me like the deaf composer, Ludwig von Beethoven.  He conceptualized huge amounts of technology that he couldn’t see, but which later came to exist.  Finally, there is another peculiarity, not of the story, but of the particular copy of the book that I received.

It is in the page numbering.  Each page is numbered in the lower corner.  Each number is underlined.  The underlining on the right-hand, or Recto page, extends to the edge of the page, across the thickness of the sheet, and continues till it underlines the number on the left-hand, or Verso page.

Infinitesimally and imperceptibly, the numbers and the underlining rise and fall several times through the book.  If you firmly close the book and look at the lower edge, the ink forms an EEG brain-scan readout.

Thanks To A Stranger

Bikini

Thanks to a stranger, half a million people saw me naked.

Well no… not me! 😯 If that had happened, even Trump would have called FEMA out. No, this was the title of a post from a young female.

I am a supporter of #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #BelieveTheVictim. I am also realist enough to know that not all such reports and accusations are true. From self-embellished memories, to totally fabricated stories from women with social and financial ulterior motives, females sometimes need someone to blame. There’s a certain truth to the statement – She didn’t know that she’d been raped, until the cheque bounced.

So, in a certain reverse manner, did this gal and her story.

In her early 20s, she let her long-term boyfriend convince her to make a sex video. When she learned that the kind of guy who would con you into making a sex video wasn’t the kind of guy to keep around, she broke up with him. Then Mr. Spurned Ex-Lover got nasty and vengeful, and put the video up on a revenge porn site.

She became aware of the site, and expended time and energy to get it deleted, but by the time she did, someone had downloaded it, and put it up on a different porn site. When she became aware of the second posting, she had to go through even more to have it taken down – but not before yet another man downloaded it, and posted it to a third porn site.

By the time she got it finally deleted, the accumulated views on all three sites had exceeded 500,000. Now the blame game began, as you can see by the title.

I’d like to feel sorry for her, I really would, but my ‘Give A Damn’ gland has all dried up. She is largely the author of her own misfortune. As Nancy Regan unsuccessfully said about drugs, “Just say no.” If you don’t want your sex video to show up on the internet – don’t make one – don’t let it out of your possession and control – don’t let a boyfriend (or anyone else) have a thumb-drive copy – don’t store it on a computer that can be accessed or hacked – don’t upload it for storage in ‘The Cloud.’

It seems so simple in retrospect. Think ahead, anticipate possible/probable outcomes, and when the shit does hit the fan, accept personal responsibility for the results of no/poor planning.   A con artist once said that you can’t cheat an honest man. Don’t go blaming ‘A Stranger.’ You can’t embarrass a cautious, vigilant woman.

Thanks to the fact that I’ve got nothing better to do in retirement, I’ll be back with something different in a couple of days. I hope you’ll join me.

I Know Spit From Spamola

Spam 2

I haven’t done a post about ‘interesting’ spam for a while, because I haven’t received any interesting spam for a while.  Same-old, same-old!  I decided to dig this old one out.  This interesting lady popped up in the middle of a comment thread about something else entirely.

***

Hi. Would you please write a post about how easy (or hard) it would be for my ex-husband to hack into my phone or computer? Also what I would need to do to ensure my phone and computer are secure?

Thanks, your advice and help would be much appreciated.

Penny@gmail.com

July 3, 2015 at 11:09 pm  (Edit)

I’ll get right on that. While I’m busy protecting your phone, would you use it to contact the Canada Revenue Agency, and get them to double my pension?   😳

      • Penny says:

July 4, 2015 at 12:21 pm  (Edit)

the most logical and likely explanation is that you are my ex-husband and all that time I thought I was talking to someone else it was actually him fucking with my head. What a tangled web.

Spam

***

I don’t think I gained a new follower, as much as a new stalker!  😯  I wish her and her phone and computer the best of luck against her evil Ex.  I can’t imagine why anyone would want to harass such a logical, undemanding person.

Have you had an interesting, entertaining spam recently? Feel free to share it in the comments.