26 July 2009 @ 12:52 am
(OK, I stole that from T Campbell, who titled a Twitter story--that is, a story posted to Twitter, written by a character posting to Twitter--as "Tweets of the Nightengale.")

I am now on Twitter. It should come as no surprise that my username there is scifantasy.

I'm already searching out and finding friends who use Twitter. But that flows both ways.
Velocity: tired
Soundtrack: And Your Bird Can Sing - The Beatles - Revolver
07 January 2009 @ 11:55 am
It does seem to be in vogue to discuss one's LiveJournal alternatives right now. So:

I have a JournalFen account and an InsaneJournal account, both with the handle of scifantasy.

I also have accounts in a few other places, such as Blogger, but as far as active journaling/blogging sites, it's just the three journals.

At present I do not mirror any content from this account to those; the JournalFen account is for my participation in Fandom Wank and its offshoots, and the InsaneJournal account is for following a couple of friends who use it as their primaries.

I would be extremely reluctant to move off of LiveJournal; my primary motivation has always been following my friends and their posts, and I doubt that all or even most of my friends list would end up in one other place.

What this would mean, should the worst occur and the switch be thrown on LJ, is that I'd probably end up with even more accounts on journal sites, mirroring my own posts to all of them. Unfortunately, I suspect it would cut down on the interesting comments that come out of different spheres of my friends interacting. I've always said that was the best part of LiveJournal's system.

Plus, I have a lot of material on LJ. Especially when you count comments.

And finally, I really like LiveJournal's system. Threading comments, especially, with email options for replies; locking posts (I have a single friends-lock, in which a person is either in or out, and most of my posts are locked); you get the idea.

Admittedly, I have a Basic account, so I'm not in a position to complain if something does happen. Still, I really don't think I'll have to change. Certainly not any time soon.

But feel free to add me on IJ or JF.
Soundtrack: Livejournal Shanty - Brooke Lunderville and John Caspell - Downloaded
Velocity: prepared
With the end of my time on this coast approaching with a steady pace (one day per twenty-four hours, in fact), I've started considering what I need to do to wrap up my affairs here. Thankfully there isn't much. I've done pretty much everything I wanted to do while I was out here, so really the job now is to be ready to leave...pack up, make sure I have whatever I'm bringing back, and leave the room orderly when I depart.

It's making sure I have whatever I'm bringing back that brought me into the familiar arms of techno-animism. In this case, it was Aphrodite. Aphrodite[1] is the Mac laptop that Creative Commons issued me, and that I have been using for the last two months. As is good and proper for techno-animism, I believe that my usage invested the computer with some fraction of my own soul[2]. I've changed settings, installed applications, downloaded files, and generally used this laptop as my own for two months now.

Now, though, I'm reversing what I did. I'm copying over to Luna[3] any data on this computer that I want to keep, I'm uninstalling programs, and I'm undoing settings. In general I am removing the aspects of this computer that mark it as mine.

Therefore, by techno-animism, I must be extracting my fragment of soul as well.

This, of course, has its own set of interesting metaphysical implications. For example, while a computer can reasonably simply be brought back to a soulless state (rm -rf /, or better yet fdisk), is the inherent soul lost unless already reclaimed? What about cars, which are clearly animistic, but which can rarely if ever be completely desouled? Do you lose parts of your own soul if you don't reclaim them, or do souls regrow lost fragments?

...This is what happens when work is slow. And when the idea of opening hasn't diminished with sleep. I'm not ready yet, though, and not quite liquid enough. Maybe in another six months, especially if this web design job goes well, and assuming I can find a solid premise to work from.

[1] I'm keeping the name, by the way, for whatever other Mac I get--if ever. Female, in keeping with the "Greek names for planets" theme, and I get to work in a nice "apple" reference.

[2] There is a spoiler-based joke for Harry Potter begging to be made here. Insert your own.

[3] My iPod, in case you haven't been keeping track.
Velocity: thoughtful
Soundtrack: Aviator Soul ~ Theme of Great Ace - DarkeSword - Rise of the
06 April 2005 @ 03:27 am
Animism is an involved subject with some people I know. According to [ profile] prophetkristy, Wedge Antilles is the True Animist Warrior God of Star Wars. (Site is down at the moment; it'll go up soonwise.)

But this is a separate discussion involving animism, not concerned with the archetypal gods. The section of animism under discussion here is the core, that gives the belief its name (animus, Latin for "soul"): The tenet that everything has a soul.

About a week ago, [ profile] ccshadow and I were talking, and I mentioned that my iPod is named Luna. "What's yours named?" I asked.

"iPod," he said, looking at me as if I'd asked him "Why is Thursday?"

"You have no soul," I told him, but I later amended it to "Your iPod has no soul."

I've had this discussion a few times with different people, and my general conclusion is that people who name their computers invest a small soul into them, and therefore tend to have a pseudo-animist philosophy in their interactions with computers and technology.

(I'm talking about myself and my friends, people whose computer competency is above a certain level; while there are some people at the other end who think computers are alive, that's another type of alive and not my concern here.)

[ profile] redheadedgeek has named her Powerbook--and RHG, have I told you recently how brilliant this name is?--"FayeRei," and her iPod is named "Gretchen"--the latter being one part Donnie Darko, one part Heinlein, and one part just liking the name, and the former being...well, if you can figure it all out, good for you; if not, I'm not going to spoil it for when you do. RHG has been known to talk about how FayeRei is either being nice or not so much; and Gretchen, of course, can be occasionally difficult.[1]

Wise, he of no livejournal, has named his computer "Superman," his external drive "Phoenix," his iPod "Spiderman," and his USB key "Flash."[2] Superman could be named Brainiac, since it's an information-gatherer, but Wise likes heroes, not villains; Phoenix is named because if anything happens to the computer, the external drive can recover it all.

In my own setup, Gaia is my central computer, and Luna is my iPod. My flash drives were "Challenger" and "Columbia" in memoriam, but Columbia is destroyed and I'm not really using Challenger much at the moment.

We all tend to talk about our computers and other technology in an almost alive sense. I'll ask RHG how FayeRei is almost as if I was inquiring about a mutual acquaintance, when I was wrangling with Gaia I debated renaming her after the reinstall, the old Nintendo that [ profile] phlyers brought to the dorm needs to be dealt with in a certain way to get it to work, et cetera.

I believe that these souls in the technology are related to the users. Gretchen would be different for me than for RHG, because it's a piece of RHG's soul inside. No one else can use Superman quite the way Wise can; though this is ostensibly the result of Wise knowing all the tricks and everything he's put on the computer, I argue that that's part of the ensouling process. Certainly, my friends find it difficult to use Gaia, if for no other reason than I need to switch keyboard layouts.

Of course, this idea isn't entirely new. After all, Tracy Kidder called the book Soul Of A New Machine for a reason. But these are just my thoughts on modern techno-animism...we imbue the technology we use with fractions of our own soul.

[1] A side conclusion has been reached about gender in computers; Macs, as Douglas Coupland says in Microserfs, are usually female while PCs are male. Linux boxes, it varies.
[2] Wise's stuff is all Apple too; this is an abnormality in the male/female dichotomy.
Soundtrack: All About Soul (Remix) - Billy Joel - Complete Hits Collecti
Velocity: not sufficiently sleepy