Wednesday, October 12, 2011

MileHiCon 2011

As always, I will be at MileHiCon this year, and this year, I'll be joined by fellow author,co-author, and friend Jeff Duntemann, which should be fun.

My appearances in panels and such are as follows:

Friday, Mesa Verde B, 10:00pm: Can't Stop the Prose: Late Night Readings/Discussion. My guess is that this will be exactly what it sounds like - readings and discussion about them. Jeff's scheduled to be in this one, so expect readings from our double novel, /Drumlin Circus/ and /On Gossamer Wings/.

Saturday, Mesa Verde A, 4:00pm: Fan fiction. Does fan fiction still carry the stigma it used to for both fans and publishers, or has that changed? This ought to be interesting. My nano group in Colorado Springs had quite a few fan fiction writers, so it's a topic I've heard about, but not really dug into. Rest assured, I'll be digging between now and then.

Sunday, Wind River A, 10:00am: To FTL or not to FTL? A discussion of
relativity, fantasy vs. known science and other factors involved in that
venerable SF standby, faster than light travel. I've given this topic quite a lot of thought, especially lately since neutrinos may have been caught violating the speed limit. It's one of those tropes that's been around forever, and it's time we go after it with the dissecting tray, pins, and scalpel.

Sunday, Mesa Verde B, 1:00pm: Programming the Future. Where are computers headed and what will it mean for our future? A look at AI and other, more imminent, possibilities. Okay, I'm on a panel about computers and the future. No worries, right? Let me rephrase. I'm on a panel about computers and the future with Vernor Vinge. One of cyberpunk's founding fathers. Still, it's a subject I've given a lot of thought to in the process of writing my first two novels, and if memory serves, the only work I've done since I went pro that /doesn't/ have a machine intelligence in it someplace is /On Gossamer Wings/. And even that one's debatable. Should be fun.

See y'all there.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

In 2001, I bought my first Mac, a blue and white G3, to run OS X 10.1. At the time, I thought it wasted an awful lot of cycles on eye candy, but was a pretty nice machine, and anyway it was Unix underneath. It took a long time for me to come around, grudgingly, and admit that how my computer's desktop /looks/, how it behaves when I click on things, does actually matter, and in all those things with OS X, IOS, AppleTV, iPod, Airport; in the look and feel of the hardware as my systems became more and more apple-centric, the esthetic sense of Steve Jobs and his team could and can be felt. At times, it's been maddening, because some simple thing that I should be able to do ran afoul of what Steve's esthetic said I needed to do. Other times it's as though he read my mind beforehand, and the solution to a given problem was literally at my fingertips when the need occurred.

So on this sad occasion of his death, let me send my condolences to everyone who actually knew him in person, but also to all of us who knew him only through his work. May the wind be at your back, Steve Jobs. You made technology exciting, even after the excitement had mostly died down and the suits had taken over.


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