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Comment: Re:Copyright trolls (Score 1) 596

by mcgrew (#48647959) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

If you're writing music that is indeed a concern; I'm sure Seether will be sued for same damned life; its rhythm guitar is note for note identical to the melody to I Will Follow Him (a bad pop song from the early sixties). There's a suit against Led Zeppelin for a guitar riff that sounds vaguely like Stairway to Heaven; I think Zep will win, but it turns out that the guy suing would have had no standing if Zeppelin had never heard the song.

Other art forms don't have that problem.

Comment: Re:Intrinsic motivation vs. Extrinsic motivation (Score 1) 596

by mcgrew (#48647773) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Well, you have to respect your audience. Since I'm retired, I have no need to monetize my books; I'm just happy people read them, which is the whole point of writing them.

I seem to have written Nobots at too high a reading level for some folks; I got comments such as "can I find those words in a dictionary?" So I wrote Mars, Ho! (may be ready for publication this week) mostly from the perspective of a high school graduate with bad grammar, which was oddly more of a challenge.

I did get some folks saddened when I stopped writing diary-like stuff, but they seem to like the sci-fi even more.

Comment: Re:Good news, bad news (Score 1) 596

by mcgrew (#48647711) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Buying? We're talking about a post-scarcity society here. If no one is enjoying your art, it may not be any good. If nobody is using your code, it's probably poorly designed. Find something else to hold your interest, it isn't hard.

I'm lucky, in that people read my books every day, according to site stats, and folks buy hardcover copies and send me fan mail, which is far better than money; I have enough money to live pretty well.

Sales is the worst possible metric for any creative endeavor. Van Gogh only sold one painting in his life, to his brother to repay a debt. Meanwhile, what was selling in the galleries for big bucks is worthless today.

Comment: Re:Copyright trolls (Score 1) 596

by mcgrew (#48647563) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

I have no fear of copyright trolls; I register my books with the US Copyright office. If one fucks with me, I'll wind up with HIS money.

And since I'm my own publisher, I'm my own gatekeeper. You can find my books in bookstores world-wide, and I've posted them on the internet. Site stats say folks are reading them every day.

What I'm doing was impossible twenty years ago. Now that I'm retired I have the time to do it. When the subject of conversation actually comes to pass, everybody will be retired.

User Journal

Journal: A mild rant 3

Journal by mcgrew

I've been listening to KSHE since the day they changed format in 1967. They play some great rock and roll.

They're a hundred miles away; Im in the fringe reception area so I listen online. So a few days ago I'm editing random Scribblings and the music stops. I curse Firefox and Flash and ComCast and pull the browser up to refresh the page that plays the music, and I see "Still listening?"

Comment: Re:Hints (Score 1) 72

by mcgrew (#48642319) Attached to: Boeing and BlackBerry Making a Self-Destructing Phone

They've been working on it for over 12 years; I wrote the following for my web site in 2002. It will be in an upcoming book. Apologies for the mangled unicode, but slashdot's preview is worthless, since "preview" shows the unicode but the submission displays garbage. Here is the article:

McCoy: He's dead, Jim
        Several years ago, before PCs were not nearly as com-mon in the home as they are now, a friend of mine asked of my computer, âoebut aren't you afraid it will explode?â
        He was a Star Trek fan, and in the old 1950s and 1960s science fiction and spy shows, computers all had a nasty habit of blowing up. All one had to do to these TV or movie computers to make them explode was shoot them, with either a ray gun or a police revolver. Some TV and movie computers would blow up if you âoepressed the wrong buttonâ; one episode of the 1960s TV show The Prisoner (âoeI am not a number! I am a free man!â) had a computer that could answer any question. The bad guys, who had imprisoned the hero, a spy who had resigned his post, wanted to know why he resigned. Of course, before the bad guys could ask the computer âoeWhy did number six resign his post?â the intrepid number six offered that he had a question the computer could not answer.
        He typed in to the Remington electric typewriter and fed the paper into the computer, which, of course, promptly started smoking, sparking, and ultimately blew up. The question was simply âoewhy?â
        Similarly, in an episode of Star Trek, Spock makes a computer explode by asking it to figure the value of pi to the last decimal place. Of course, any time a Star Trek computer was fired on, whether by a Klingon or Federation phaser, and no matter what civilization designed and built the computer, it would explode in a grand display of fireworks.
        I had to explain to my friend that this was all nonsense, that early computers from the early 1950s used thousands of vacuum tubes, requiring high voltages, which could throw showers of sparks and bright purple flashes with the characteristic âoepop!â if there was a short circuit in its 120-240 volt circuitry but would not actually explode, and that modern computers ran on three to twelve volts and wouldn't even get a spark from a short.
        I had to explain to my friend that the only explosions were in my games; that the computer itself here in the analog world was safe.
        Along with the matter transporter and faster than light travel, the exploding computer was one of those things relegated to science fiction.
        Until now.
        New Scientist reports that they have found a way to make silicon explode on demand, either by shock, as with that .38 caliber police special or by electrical signal.
        âoeThis machine is stolen and will self-destruct in ten seconds.â
        New Scientist says âoeFor instance, the American spy plane impounded by China last year could have used it to destroy its secret electronics systems.â
        They add âoeIn a stolen mobile phone, the network would send a trigger signal to the part of the chip containing the gadolinium nitrate âdetonatorâ(TM), triggering the explosion... and detonate it at will.â
        So not only is Star Trek's computer to blow up, its communicators will too! I can see in five years when these bozos have the anti theft circuits in phones. Drop your phone now and it might break. Drop it in five years and it might take your leg off!
        Of course, the new viruses in ten years will not just reformat your hard drive; the kids will be writing viruses to make people's computers explode in their homes!
        Doncha just love science... Personally, I'm hoping someone with a little common sense will have a talk with these educated morons and explain that just maybe, exploding computers ain't such a good idea after all. Just maybe the US Government might be more concerned with bringing its spy plane crew home alive than exploding its electronics; they could have blown the plane up with conventional explosives, or even driven the thing into the ground, but they didn't.
        When my cell phone explodes the manufacturer better hope it takes my head off, because if it doesn't I'm suing the shit out of the morons!
        Beam me up, Scotty.
1/18/2002

Comment: Re:Good news, bad news (Score 4, Interesting) 596

by mcgrew (#48642285) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

Maybe folks will make art for art's sake, program for the love of code, etc. I love the freedom of being able to write and publish anything I want without making compromises with money issues. Like Rush (the band) sang in Spirit of Radio,

It's really just a question of your honesty, yeah
Your honesty.
One likes to believe in the freedom of music,
But glittering prizes and endless compromises
Shatter the illusion of integrity.

User Journal

Journal: Three Irons Burning: Progress Report 2

Journal by mcgrew

When I was in college, I often took workshops in the summer. Two weeks of eight hour days equaled a normal class for a quarter. It would allow me a couple months vacation.

One was a blacksmithing workshop, where I learned to fashion stuff out of steel, learned a little metallurgy, and learned where a lot of the "old sayings" came from: blacksmithing. One is "too many irons in the fire", which is where this journal's title comes from. I'm working on three books right now.

It appears that PL/I (and its dialects) is, or will be, the most widely used higher level language for systems programming. -- J. Sammet

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