Thoughts pushed past subconscious firmware don’t escape the keyboard. Brilliant gems I try to capture never appear on-screen. Subconscious edit and my keyboard aren’t the problem. Disconnecting my mental editor anyway would be more difficult than convincing Irina Mirsukovsky, smoking Belarus starlet, to leave HollyMinsk, fly to Spicer’s Junction, and pitch woo at me.
Something is sabotaging my material, making ninety percent of my new works unreadable. Pressing ‘a f t e r’ keycaps, ‘bydgml’ appears on-screen. That’s an incorrect character count, certainly no wild permutation caused by fingers strayed from ‘home’ keys producing ‘zvgdf,’ and certainly isn’t ‘atfre’ character transposition.
Voice recognition software works Jim-Dandy when I play computist. Let me try to record English or Russian, the software suddenly produces babble. Required analog-digital interfaces and the tedious nature of VR (not that other “VR”) are such that, my VR software is my only commercially produced code. Incidentally, it’s the only failure of my software-writing software, which I’ll explain momentarily.
My machine’s Operating System is quirky in what foreign code it allows. I know that because I wrote my operating system. I don’t run any Unix derivative, version, or outright purloined code. It sure as hell isn’t any (pardon my swearing) SoftSoft OS version, themselves phenomenal rip-offs of everything Unix-ish which was itself stolen from Multiks. That last trick was not an unabashed lift but close enough I remain puzzled as to why it escaped outrage. Probably some altruistic reasoning like: the natural mutation from early operating systems to successive newer ones are expected evolution of non-biologic systems; offspring in any iteration no more accountable to parents or liable for what they took from them than a newborn is for the helical schematics rabbit-holed within its cells’ nuclei.
Oh, there’s another popular OS out there, named after some fruit. Really? Unfamiliar with its code, its scripting and base-level commands, if you’ve ever coded C, ksh, Tcl, or any script discipline, two good slugs of coffee, a command cheatsheet, and you’re in business. No new shows opening in Newark.
Commercially available operating systems, including earlier ones running frontline hardware like JCN, OneVac, Herpes, UCS, and the rest, are all DNA aberrations of frontier hardwire systems. All good for their own purposes in their day, they’ve come and gone. Most expirations natural and expected. Those remaining and today’s personal systems are financial siphons. They come off the showroom floor with gotchas and gimmies that get in the way of computing and keep the basic little binary boxes from performing like the rock stars they are. Speaking of stars, don’t get me started on the new waves. Pretentious Quantum and Neuro-Bio Computing. Let us not forget AI. Ah, bullshit!
It never occurred to me to name my nascent OS. Problematically, porting support software (word processors, statpacks, and yadda, yadda) almost drove me back into the money-grubbing arms of ‘he-who-shall-be-nameless’ whose minions now suck fistfuls of Dollars, Euros, Rubles, Rupees, and every other unit of monetary exchange from every global household – automatically and for rampant ignorant malaise, unfettered. He-who, and all his other-badged cohorts.
It was either write application systems, revert to the Multiks concept (a damned good one save that it required writing slave OS’s to leave to my system’s supervision), or write software that wrote software. Sound familiar? Hell, I’d written translators, decompilers, decoders, encoders, intercepts, emulators, reverse -compilers and -assemblers, and heuristic neuronets, so it was as easy as counting: 1, 10, 11, 100, 101… (A little inside joke. Wanna do it in hex, maybe radix thirty-six?) With the software-software running, I settled back to let my machine tend business. With of course, that one abysmal failure.
There followed many productive years. But the day came when I burned-out as a computist. No challenge anymore. Tackling VR software was a possibility, but my heart wasn’t in it.
My grandson left a book lying on the main lab console. I read it. Hell, it was fascinating. I thought, I can do this. Tired of computing, I’ll give this writing thing a shot!” Which I proceeded to do. I tried VR first, thinking real words would work much better than Z notation, which is difficult to pronounce cold sober, sounding like you are half-potted. VR failed. For a couple of days, all went well as I blistered my fingertips. When fingertip callouses formed, the keyboard went goofy. ‘Goofy’ is scientist-speak for apeshit.
Something was awry. I keyed carefully. It wasn’t me. I coded low-level interrupt processors in C, MPL, APL, and 4TwoG to record detent signals before they migrated buses – to see where deterioration set-in. Got the code past OS security. It didn’t work; showed me nothing. I suspected my assemblers and compilers were in collusion with whatever else had gone rogue, something deep within hardware, firmware, or most likely software in the bowels of my machine.
In a dusty storage room, I sorted through crates and tarpaulined racks, looking for a secret. There she was, my beauty, my first near-Planck processor, connected to nothing and likely as pure as driven snow. I coded an intercept, flashed an EPROM, and waited for a propitious moment to slip it to Big Tess during a quiescent moment of her self-calibration. When I placed it into her RZU, an arc snapped, tossing me unceremoniously onto my butt. Adding insult to injury, the arc fused the EPROM pins. Any number of EPROMS were handy, but to what end?
My operating system hijacked ancolludng to thwart my attempts to write ‘English.’ All this wouldn’t bother me, except, as I dsai,,, Ia mbur nedout on ciomputing. X’d really like to ret ireto wri teabook ortwo($) “Ode to Bi-stability” or “The Cultu ralBais AgainstOc tal-based Xomputing.” Or “Little-Endians, Big-Endians, and Other Hmuorouds Anecdotse.” Exc eptthato nceagain thew onde rfulwords I think, I know, I’m typ1ng,are di$sappearing in some m33556chine-supported collusion against 8y weished. Or29md ~! LMOC R16,, LL, shift left 16, STIR 4,,BMAJ -> *46BuF.
© S P Wilcenski 2020