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05 Aug 2020 22:36 #fiction#gates#ship Permalink
"Emergence in 15 seconds."
The crew are all strapped in, and have been for five minutes. No passengers this run, but I still make a habitual sweep through the lounge and the living quarters.
"Emergence in 10 seconds"
If I still had a body, it would be shifting slightly in its seat, left hand on a throttle, right hand wrapped round a control stick, and my eyes scanning displays showing the distance and heading to the gate.
Of course, I haven't had a body in a long time, and it's been thousands of years since a basic human has piloted a ship, but what can I say? I'm a fan of old movies.
"Emergence in 5 seconds"
The AI makes the announcement using it's professionally calm, "nothing to worry about" voice. The transition from gate space to normal space is routine, but accidents can happen.
I ramp up, and watch the inside of the ship a moment longer. Then, I switch to outside.
This is me. This is where I really live. Oh, crew's are nice enough, and I haven't liked the trips when I've been without them, but they don't understand what it's like for me to be me.
Gatespace looks much like realspace, if you could see all of real space from a long, long way away. It's like a galactic core, with stars almost close enough to touch, but still separate, and slightly dim. If we were closer to the edge of the galaxy, we'd be able to see across to our neighbors, almost close enough to lean over the fence to chat.
Back to business. Running at ramp speed I've got plenty of time, but still, I've got plenty to do. I ask the shields to bring themselves up to full please (they're dumb, but politeness doesn't cost much), and check that the realspace engines have finished their startup sequence.
This close to the gateway we're not moving very quickly. The ship drifts towards the interface, holding steady in x and y, moving forwards towards z.
The AI insists that the transitions into and out of gatespace are instantaneous. Anything organic that has expressed an opinion is clear that the transfer takes time. For me, with feet in both camps, there is an endless instant of confusion, and then the ship, the crew, the AI, me, we're all back in real space.
Back in realspace. I tell the forward scanner to send out ping, and wait a millisecond for a response. Nothing, so we're clear to boost out of here. I send the standard instruction to the engines to negotiate with the onboard gravity to manage the boost within reasonable human tolerance, and queue up a "transition complete" message on the ship's intercom.
Rule #1 clear the gate. You never know what's coming though afterwards.
Still nothing from the active scan, so I can relax a little. The spectrum of the local star looks about right, and I'm getting the expected chirps from the usual pulsars so we're in the right system. It's been a long time since a ship went through the wrong gate, but it's worth checking.
The engines and the gravity generators both ping me copies of their agreements, and my inner ears (well, the signal translators that connect to what used to be my inner ears, but that's so much less snappy to say) report both the perceived acceleration (not much more than 2g) and the real acceleration (substantially more. I guess the grav generators have been upgrading themselves again. I make a note to have a chat with them later, after I've checked the accounts to see what they've bought and how much it cost).
Half a second clear of the gate and we're looking good. I start bringing the ship round to point at our destination, and begin ramping down to something closer to human basic speed.
"Emergence complete, no problems reported"

04 Aug 2020 21:04 Permalink
Depression sucks. Like, really. I'm taking the pills, I'm trying to maintain a positive attitude, and I'm still feeling crap.

02 Aug 2020 15:50 #ad#dns#stupidity Permalink
I've been playing with getting an Active Directory (AD) server setup (using Samba instead of Windows).
Arghh, it's so stupid! The AD server needs to do some DNS stuff (mostly setting up records so that clients can find it), which is fine. The Samba server includes a DNS resovler to service those records. Again, no worries. But the Samba DNS server is very stupid, and although it can forward requests for other domains, it won't forward requests for machines in it's own domain.
I can see why someone made that design choice, but it's really irritating. It means that either a) I give up on AD (which is not an undefensable position) or b) I have to put all the AD connected machines in their own subdomain.
Option b doesn't stop the machines having a name in the primary domain, but it does feel a bit weird.
I'll think about it.

01 Aug 2020 09:44 Permalink
Back at work yesterday. Went alright, deleted a bunch of stuff of of my inbox, going to try to keep that clean (lol).
Spent lunchtime out in the garden, in the sun, with husband. That was very nice.
Storm is allowed back outside (she's been to the vets with foot/nail issues) and seems happy with that.

Thinking about wrapping calories in an app, so I can add "Just ate a ..." buttons to the home screen, but I think most of the cost is the task switch to the phone, not waiting for the webpage to open/react.
Having said that, the website should cope better when it's offline.

31 Jul 2020 06:54 #asp core#gosh#systemd Permalink
ASP Core has support for Systemd! Who'd have thought?
(I've turned it on, if you had any questions)

I've written most of an archive page, and support for showing individual entries, I was all ready to deploy, and then I remembered about drafts (and private entries). And now I've got to rewrite the whole thing to be more aware of if the current user is logged in or not. Bugger.

30 Jul 2020 17:02 #ai#fiction#ship Permalink
I like the AI. It's smart and capable, can can multitask like nothing else I've met. It can watch a gauge or a screen for days, and still react in microseconds to something "odd" - without to many false positives (or worse, false negatives). I just wish it was a bit more chatty.
It's hardwired into my substrate, and it communicates by just dropping knowledge into my consciousness. Which is nice and efficient, but very distracting when I'm in the middle of a conversation with one of the crew and suddenly I'm hyper aware of a slight pressure drop in the portside airlock. No words, no polite "Excuse me Captain...", not even a new message bleep. Nothing.
It knows I'm still not entirely comfortable with something messing with my awareness, although both my and the AI's psych-techs swear that it's impossible for it to generate the smugness that I feel coming from it.
It's not even that it can't talk! It takes on the bulk of the job of dealing with the crew - "Ship, can you turn on the lights" - leaving me to step in when someone needs to make a judgement call.
The link is two way, of course, so I can communicate my needs to it. I've started reading it poetry, let's see what it does with that.

I like my crew when they're sleeping. I like my crew when they're awake of course, else I'd have put in for a change of career a long time ago.
But when they're sleeping I feel most strongly that I'm protecting them, carrying a delicate cocoon of warmth and light through the eternal darkness between stars. Also, I can concentrate on playing games with the AI.
My attention flicks around the ship, tying the output of various subsystems into my sensorium (a fancy word for "the pictures inside my head"). The medical bay smells clean, which means it's ready for use. (This crew is generally healthy, like most of them, and doesn't indulge in hard contact combat simulations, which is a pleasant change from the previous crew).
The cleaning bots scattered round the human habitable parts of the ship are stupid and reliable, I can trust them to do a good job with only occasional supervision. Occasionally one will get stuck under a table or confused about the definition of "rubbish" and will ping me for advice, but not tonight.
The engines are humming along nicely, pushing us towards our destination at a respectable speed. (They don't really hum, their general status is patched into my aural feed. I had to push one way past it's design specifications once and, ooh, that was a bad noise).
Navigation looks good, we're on course and the long range sensors can't see anything unexpected ahead. The EM sensors cover the spectrum from gamma through to radio ("sight", more or less), and I've also got a compact gravity wave sensor ("hearing", or sometimes "touch", depending on the range and how busy my various input channels are) tucked away somewhere.
The external view is very distracting. In the past I've tried to show the beauty of the universe to various crews, showing false colour images that try to squeeze all the information down to human basic visual range. It doesn't work, I just get the slightly worried expression of a crew that's concerned that their ship is crazy.
I pop my attention into the corridor outside the crew's quarters. The crew have an absolute right to privacy, so I don't look inside the rooms, but the sensors outside are good enough for me to hear four sets of regular breathing, three normal heartbeats, and the very sight grinding noise from Simon's artificial heart. He's very proud of his augmentations, and very interested in mine. One of these days I'll show him the tapes of when I was fitted into the ship. I wonder how he'll react?
Survey complete, all's well. I schedule an alarm for 5 realtime minutes to do it again, and mentally shift back into gamespace with the AI.
"All right", I send, "where were we? Your move, right?"

Fixed a couple of problems with Shopping, so now the android app works again (I've just disabled 'AntiForgery validation' for the API controller, hope that's not going to bite me on the ass, but you need to be logged in to use it, so should be ok).
I'd forgotten that I told the blog to save articles as drafts by default, so yesterdays posts didn't show up until this morning. There should have been a clear visual marker for me to see that, but it's not working. Testing it now.
I had the wrong path in the CSS. Mental note: Paths in CSS files (e.g. in
background-image: url(images/example.png);
) are relative to the CSS file.

Avid followers of this blog will have noticed a gap of a couple of months without posts. I'm not going to apologise, this is an explanation (and a reminder for me if I come back in a few years).
I've got depression. (And very carefully not "I'm depressed"). I first spoke to my GP about it a couple of summers back, and I've been trying a range of antidepressants of and on since then.
Then, there was this global pandemic (COVID-19, maybe you heard about it?) that cut me off from contact with people from work, and also I started a new type of pill (Venlafaxine, apparently, which comes with an overwhelming need to sleep, and an inability to concentrate as side effects) and it all just became to much.
I've been off work sick for about 8 weeks. I tried to be clever at the start and do some work (from home) on the days when I thought I could cope, but I wasn't really useful at work, and I what l wasn't getting used to the pills, so that didn't work.
I asked my manager about a "phased return" - half day working and half day sick leave, but that's only for people coming back from long term sick.
Well, fair enough then. I got a series of sick notes from my GP and I've taken six weeks off. I've got my pills to a stable dose, the side effects have calmed down, I've got a lot of work done on personal projects (this site, mostly, and the webmail for fluffypeople).
And I've had six weeks away from work. I feel that I should feel at least a little guilty, but I stamp on that as soon as I notice. Work is big enough to cope without me - a lot of my problems come from thinking that it's all on me and I can't let them down. Well, fuck 'em. Officially not my problem.
I'm due back in a couple of days, and I've got agreement from my manager that I don't have to work 8 straight hours, or even really during the "normal" working day. Current plan (at least this side of the equinox) is working 7-11 (4 hours) and then something like 15-18, or even 16-19 (3 hours) (which isn't quite they 7.4 I need each day, so it needs some tweaking).
Hopefully, I can either start skipping more of the bullshit meetings, or get better at accepting that the business really does want me to burn my time with this crap.
Anyway. I can feel that I'm winding myself up with this so I'm going to wrap up here, but hopefully more entries sooner rather than later.
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