Sunday Morning! “The Faraway Nearby”

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Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

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7 Responses

  1. I’m about a third of the way through Neal Stephenson’s Fall; or Dodge in Hell. The main story is a decades-long arc about getting from where we are now to being able to upload someone’s consciousness to a computer network. So far, I have found the rapid changes in the US culture in which the story plays out to be more interesting. I haven’t decided if I find the rapid fall of the rural US into a theocratic “Ameristan” — rapid as in the next 20-25 years — and the rise of new flavors of Christianity there to be believable.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Michael Cain says:

      You realize that about two weeks after we first upload a consciousness to the Internet, Romania hackers will take it hostage and demand $2 million in ransom payments.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to George Turner says:

        Even if we found a way to avoid that (eventually), I’m struck by how I have a box in my computer room with some 5 1/4″ disks in it. The disks have some Apple IIe programs on it.

        I don’t know that I’d be able to look at the stuff on the disks if you gave me a thousand dollars to do so. I don’t know where I’d even start.

        30 years after we upload our first consciousness to a computer, will we still have anybody who still uses that software?

        Anybody corporeal, I mean.Report

        • Avatar George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

          You can buy an Apple IIc or an Apple IIe on Ebay for very little. 🙂Report

          • George certainly has the easiest answer. A harder answer is this device, which can use pretty much any 5.25″ drive to read lots of old formats. Apple is specifically listed, as are Amiga, Atari, and Commodore. Once you have the files in a modern file system of some sort, I assume that any good Apple emulator could deal with them.

            Game disks might be a problem. Way back, game disks were structured to load a little program that would read one special sector on the disk. That sector was written by a special drive that did an intentionally crappy job. Attempts to read it generated different values every time. If the loader program could read the sector consistently, it knew the disk was a pirated copy. If it couldn’t read the sector, the loader would go ahead and load the rest of the game.

            If you’re going to try it, get on with it. It’s been seven or eight years since I dumped the contents of all my 3.5″ floppies and burned them onto optical media, and some of the little monsters were already unreadable. (I do have CD-ROM disks from as long ago as 1995 that still read just fine in a modern drive.)Report

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