For New Year and New Readers

For readers who are relatively new to the Eldraeverse and didn’t catch it first time around, have a little New Year’s fic:

The Darkest Night

(For those who are curious about such things, yes, the Harmonious Calendar very carefully sets the new year equal to the winter solstice. Except it’s not actually a solstice, because *there*, axial tilt isn’t the Reason for the Season.)

Trope-a-Day: Machine Monotone

Machine Monotone: Mostly averted.  Who builds a speech synthesizer that can’t handle the subtextual channels, seriously?  Bad design.  People need to be able to relate even to the non-sophont machines, and that means a good emotional simulation is a fundamental part of UI design.

(Played a little straight with the machines and also the non-machines; see Creepy Monotone.)

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Apologies… and Not-My-Fic

…to all, and especially my Patreon patrons, for the dearth of fictional content over the last couple of weeks. I can only plead, as those of you who also follow me on Google+ will know, the saga of my ongoing computer issues – which both make it somewhat harder to write, per se, and also make my muse disappear to avoid the sour mental taste of extreme frustration.

Hopefully it will be done in a week or two, as I should have a tech coming tomorrow to perform the magic third futile gesture before they give up and replace the thing.

Anyway… for good reading in the meantime, let me commend this shiny nanofic here, from Raymond McVay of Blue Max Studios, to your attention.

Trope-a-Day: Machine Empathy

Machine Empathy: It looks this way – actually, it mostly is this way, thanks to those population demographics that made it necessary, due to lack of a large disposable workforce, for the Empire to adopt automation as early and as often as possible, and therefore ensured that lots of people not only had plenty of experience using machines, but also in customizing machines, fixing machines, and adapting machines to do things that the original builders didn’t think of.  Make those cultural universals for a few millennia, and you’ll have lots of machine empathy going on.

But anyway, in the modern era, a lot of what looks like this would be more properly described as Technopathy, even if the underlying machine empathy is still there.

Trope-a-Day: Technopath

Technopath: A ubiquitous talent in the more civilized Worlds (largely because Everything Is Online, including people’s brains – usually with both regular old WiFi and a high-bandwidth laser-port in the back of the neck that interfaces with any of a large number of comfortable chairs.) This is also how the majority of people do much of their jobs – be it the botboss conducting a mechanical symphony of drones from amidst them, or a group of high-level engineers collectively managing the affairs of a vast industrial complex from the comfort of their virtuality couches, the I-think-it-and-it-happens interface is where it’s at.

Heck, in lesser matters, you don’t even have to think it. One of the advantages of having your muse – the AI in your head – read your mind and pass selected relevant data on to, say, your house brain is that it can arrange to light the fire, turn the lights down low, put on some soft music, fetch that new book you hadn’t got around to reading yet, and pour you a glass of wine before your conscious mind quite realizes that you want a quiet evening at home, much less worked through all the tedious details of how to get one.