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bladerunner and neuromancer

William Gibson writes about some of his thoughts on Bladerunner and its relationship to Neuromancer. He writes:

BLADERUNNER came out while I was still writing Neuromancer. I was about a third of the way into the manuscript. When I saw (the first twenty minutes of) BLADERUNNER, I figured my unfinished first novel was sunk, done for. Everyone would assume Iíd copped my visual texture from this astonishingly fine-looking film. But that didnít happen. Mainly I think because BLADERUNNER seriously bombed in theatrical release, and films didnít pop right back out on DVD in those days. The general audience didnít seem to get it, relatively few people saw it, and it simply vanished, leaving nary a ripple. Where it went, though, was straight through the collective membrane to Memetown, where it silently went nova, irradiating everything from clothing-design to serious architecture.
The paralels in the vision of Bladerunner and Neuromancer are quite striking. What's interesting is that 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?', the Philip K. Dick book on which Bladerunner was based, doesn't really create the ambience that Neuromancer achieves so perfectly. Bladerunner's visuals (in large part the work of visual futurist Syd Mead, enhanced by Ridley Scott's direction) are, then, more than anything, a product of their age, of the ability to tap into the subconscious of imagined futures where Gibson's works live comfortably...

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 17, 2003 at 11:18 PM

dublin != digital

A couple of times I've written about the sorry state of broadband service (and dial-up for that matter) here in Dublin (the most recent entry is here). Karlin today has an entry with link to an Irish Times article she wrote that references the 'e-cities report' which places Dublin second-to-last. I'm not surprised. I surmise few others would be, either. Hopefully things will start to change soon. I think that wireless access, by being relatively ignored by the monopolies, might have enough time to grow under the radar and so start providing an alternative. The geography of the city works in favor of this (not many tall buildings, with low hills in it and higher around it), so that relatively few transmitters would have line-of-sight to most areas.

Now, wireless infrastructure is more flexible than wired for many reasons, starting with the fact that it doesn't entail a natural monopoly (the "last mile" of the telecoms). This can be seen in action in the greater innovation and competition that happens in the cellular telephony space.

What is paradoxical is that Dublin, by having missed the high-speed "wired" boom (DSL is too expensive ot not available, cable access doesn't exist in most areas, no flat phone charges, etc), it might be unwittingly setting itself up to simply skip it and go to wireless directly. Imagine, a bunch of upstart companies fighting over the space on service and prices. With PDAs using the appropriate network hardware people could even bypass the cellular companies (whose prices for everything are more expensive here than in most other countries/cities I've lived in) and place calls at much lower prices from them. These wireless service companies could eventually start to take control of phone services in the home through their wireless connections, much in the way some cable companies are doing in the US. Eircom and the other idiotic monopolies would, simply, be turned irrelevant. By the time they realize this and get their act together, it will be too late.

Utopia? Yeah, maybe. But here's hoping.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 17, 2003 at 10:35 PM

on security

An article by Sun's Chief Security Officer and the co-inventor of public-key cryptography.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 17, 2003 at 4:13 PM

a george orwell essay

[via Scott]: Politics and the Enligh Language. A must read.

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on January 17, 2003 at 4:07 PM

if microsoft had been in charge of the Apollo Program

After writing my previous entry on how Microsoft keeps comparing itself to the Apollo Program, I thought I'd write one of those extrapolations of "What if ...". So here goes:

  • At random intervals you get messages that say "Fuel is low. (Eject) (No) (Cancel)". You always press Cancel, and nothing seems to happen.
  • While typing in commands to run a check on the life support systems, a voice would suddenly interrupt you, saying: "It seems you want to write a letter to a man named O2. Would you like help? (Yes) (No) (Cancel)". Angry, you select Cancel. This cancels the offers but also shuts down one of the engines, which will never start again.
  • Nearing the completion of the first part of the trip, you get a message that says "A new flight plan is available for download, with many fixes. Would you like to install the new flight plan? (Yes) (No) (Cancel)" You select Yes. All systems on the spaceship shut down. You are cold and miserable for six hours. Finally, when they do start again, there's a new message that says "To use this flight plan the trip has to be restarted. Press Ok to return to earth (Ok)."
  • After restarting the trip and nine days of randomly roaming through space, movement stops. There is an announcement: "Destination Achieved: The Moon". You look out the window, and you see that you're stranded on a random asteroid.

  • On the asteroid, repairs are performed by a swarm of Microsoft lawyers, which are carried on the outside of the ship (hanging from leather-alloy briefcases) and can operate unprotected in the freezing vacuum of space, only requiring as sustenance large amounts of cash, preferably US Dollars, although they can also survive on Euro and Yen.

  • The journey wouldn't end with a landing. It would end with a crash.

Derivative? Certainly. Well, at least I vented a bit. Writing is good release, even if it's bad writing. :-)

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 17, 2003 at 1:43 PM

a year of 'trustworthy computing'

A article that tries to take stock on where Microsoft's 'Trustworthy Computing' initiative actually is. Choice quote from the article:

"We said that Trustworthy Computing is a 10-year project, sort of like (President) Kennedy sending people to the moon," said Scott Charney, chief security strategist for Microsoft. "We're (only) a year into it. We want to get to a point where the end user says, I trust this technology, my privacy is protected, and it is reliable."
Sending people to the moon? Please. Do they really believe that plugging the leaks in Windows that allow buffer overflows and rogue code to take over machines can be compared to anything other than, say, fixing the wheel of the cart used to bring food to the astronauts?

Later: I remembered that back in August Gates had made a similar assertion about how building .Net was "more difficult than getting to the moon.", and here is my entry commenting on that. Sounds kind of like this one doesn't it? :-)

So now Microsoft (according to them at least) is handling not one but two projects that are as difficult as "going to the moon."


With any luck, they will go past the moon and get lost in outer space.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on January 17, 2003 at 12:29 AM

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