Tag Archives: internet

Wherever I lay my Cat5 is my home

A little update on my residential situation, for them what’s interested.

The good news: I have a new flat in the centre (and I do mean right in the centre) of Stockport, and my moving-in date is tomorrow… so St George’s day for me will involve furniture, vans and lifting heavy things up a few flights of stairs (there are upsides and downsides to getting the top floor, y’see). If you’ve a need for my new mailing address, please drop me a line by whatever channels you usually use.

The bad news: after getting in touch with Virgin earlier in the week, they determined that there is cable availability in the area I’m moving into. “Great,” thought I, and awaited further word from a ‘spotter’, whose job it is to go out and scout the location in order to assess and book the installation process. Now, said spotter discovered that Stockport Council have recently paved over the Virgin cable duct access thingybobs in the street, and there’s a long-standing agreement that Virgin won’t dig through paving that’s been laid in the last year. No cable connection for me, then. *facepalm*

The very helpful spotter chap suggested Virgin’s ADSL service instead: so long as there’s a BT line running into the property, then Bob’s your mother’s brother, so to speak. A quick call to BT reveals (of course!) that my new flat has never had a BT line, and I’ll have to get one installed from scratch… so I might as well suck it up and get broadband from them directly, if only so as to not pay the initial connection fee of something close to £150 (yes, really).

“OK, let’s book that in,” I told the little chap from BT in resigned tones. The earliest they can do the install? Tuesday 4th May, a week and a half after I actually move into the damned place. Due to the nature of my work (in a nutshell: if I can’t get online, I can’t work), that means I can’t actually inhabit my new home until the turn of the month, so my long-suffering mother will have to put up with me raiding her pantry and rinsing her internet connection for another week.

Selah. This is, I realise, a fairly whingy post… but given my current inability to go to a pub with a friend and rant over a few beers, well, it has to come out somewhere. In the grand scheme of things, it could be a lot worse – this whole situation has definitely qualified as a textbook case of #firstworldproblems – but I’m now at a point where I just want this frustrating limbo period to be over, so I can start getting my life back into something resembling proper order. To find that date rolled back by another week and a bit is very frustrating…

… but hey, at least I have a definite date. I’ll take a frustrating actuality over a frustrating uncertainty any day of the year.

Positive thinking

“… the short fiction space is actually the equivalent to the club scene. It’s going to the underground place where people gather to dance to the new music, the experiments and the different sounds. Short stories as the white labels, dubplates and electronic battle weapons.

(And Bruce Sterling turning up with a laptop at 1am like Roedelius or a demented Bob Moog.)”

Yes. This is as it should be. This is the club I want to build.

Clarke Award, baby!

As mentioned in FPB last week, tonight is the Arthur C Clarke Award ceremony up in the Big Smoke, and your loyal correspondent from the Styx is getting on the train in a few hours to hob-nob with the worthies of the science fiction literature scene.

M John Harrison with the 2007 Clarke AwardTo the right is a picture of M John Harrison receiving last year’s award for the inimitable and excellent Nova Swing [image by abrinsky]. Who’ll take the trophy this year? There’s only one certainty with the Clarke Award, which is that whoever wins there will be some degree of controversy about it … the good Mr Harrison being the exception that proves the rule, of course.

So, yours truly will be on the scene, a-Twitterin‘ anything of note. As there’s only the one award, that probably won’t be a great deal; I think I’ll be too busy chatting with people (and showing off my awesome new Asus Eee) at the drinks afterwards to do any heavy reportage. That said, I’ll try to get some decent photos of various people … bodyguards permitting, naturally. 🙂

Oh, and while we’re on the subject, the Orbit books gang are celebrating the Award and lamenting the passing of its founder by giving away a hardback edition of Arthur C Clarke’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. You gotta be in it to win it, as the saying goes.


Today is also notable for a much bigger reason (or at least one that more people beyond the boundaries of the sf echo-chamber will care about) – the World Wide Web is fifteen years old today.

It’s ess than half my age, and yet I already spend more than half my time using it – there’s a scary thought for ya. 😉

Passively Multiplayer Online Gaming

This is immensely intriguing – not just as something I quite fancy having a go at (just “for the lulz”, as the kids say), but from a conceptual point of view – The Passively Multiplayer Online Game.

Basically, PMOG is a browser extension that makes a game out of visiting websites – but as the name suggests, it does so passively. It doesn’t demand tasks of you as a player, but instead presents you with opportunities for play that you may (or may not) decide to take up.

“Passive-ists aren’t asked to roll for initiative and then take part in a full-on turn-based combat. Rather, moments of combat and gifting invite the player briefly into the gameworld. This is not the same as the strategic blow-by-blow that makes Dungeons and Dragons style combat so engrossing. PMOG’s fun is often the fun of discovery and misdirection.


This is the point in the design process at which the internet really became physical for me, and the aesthetic decisions stem from that. Mines, the first tool I’d designed, were initially meant to be crafted by players from flotsam they’d collected on websites like so much primordial goo. Now they’re prefabricated tools you can buy, trade, set, or detonate. The imaginary world of the internet in my mind became a city that had been built over and over again, a sprawling maze of secrets.”

Go read that article. It’ll take you maybe five minutes, but it’ll be worth it. Not all landscapes are physical.

Something smells damned funny here

Via SlashDot, I discover that there has apparently been a third “accidental” severing of a vital undersea internet cable, and that as a result Iran has zero internet connectivity at time of posting – click through to the Internet Traffic Report for Asia to see if this is still the case.

As people have pointed out in the comments thread at SlashDot, if we suddenly start hearing tales of unverifiable atrocities in Iran, it’ll only serve to turn paranoia into justified suspicion.

I hope this is just a coincidence, with all of my heart. But sad to say, it’s not even hard to think the worst, is it?