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New Research Project on the Language of Computers in Science Fiction, 1975-1995 is Underway September 20, 2018

Posted by Jason W Ellis in City Tech, Research, Science Fiction.
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This semester, I am using course release time to focus on a research project that I am tentatively titling, “The Language of Computers in Science Fiction, 1975-1995.” Most of my readings come from SF magazines, but I’m finding some material in anthologies, too. More to follow…stay tuned.

Retrocomputing at City Tech Site Updated with Software Inventory July 18, 2018

Posted by Jason W Ellis in Announcement, City Tech, Computers, Personal, Science Fiction.
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Neuromancer for Commodore 64/128. Item in City Tech’s Retrocomputing Archive.

Recently, I posted about the new OpenLab site that I launched for “Retrocomputing at City Tech.” On the site, I included a photographic inventory of the computing hardware and peripherals that I have on-hand in my office in Namm 520. Now, I’ve added to the site with a second page that inventories a majority of the software that is in the vintage computing archive. The software archive includes games (like Neuromancer pictured above, Star Wars X-Wing and TIE Fighter, and Star Trek 25th Anniversary), productivity software (such as Microsoft Office 2004), encyclopedias (Comptons, Groliers, and Microsoft Encarta), and operating systems (Windows 95, Macintosh System 7.5, Mac OS X 10.0-10.3 and 10.5). Follow the link above to see all of the software on its original media followed by textual descriptions.

Computer Upgrades: HDD and RAM April 22, 2018

Posted by Jason W Ellis in Computers, Personal, Technology.
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Maker:L,Date:2017-10-2,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

My desktop PC, which I wrote about its build and benchmarks previously, has performed very well since I built it late last year. However, I built it on a budget, so I wasn’t able to outfit it as well as I would have liked. After deciding that I would use the desktop computer as my primary computer, I upgraded it with those components that I needed most: more storage space and more RAM.

The most pressing need was additional hard drive space. The original ADATA 128GB SSD was adequate when I was testing the system and deciding if I wanted to use it as my primary computer. When I wanted to do more than just the bare necessities and have access to my data more quickly than an external backup hard drive or flash drive could provide, I added two hard disk drives.

First, I picked up a Toshiba 5400rpm 2TB OEM drive when Microcenter had them on sale. I had good luck with Toshiba drives from Microcenter with previous computer builds, so I was comfortable using a larger format capacity one in this computer. Due to the limited warranty on OEM drives, I put the drive through its paces to ensure that it wasn’t a lemon: I performed a low level format on the drive, and then I began the laborious task of moving files to the drive via USB and over the network. Then, I culled through the copied files to remove duplicate files. Finally, I erased the free space to stress test the drive again.

Second, I waited for another sale at Microcenter and purchased a Western Digital Blue 5400rpm 4TB drive. After adding it the computer, which required routing the power cable and SATA cables differently than I had done before, I stress tested the new drive with a low level format (this took all evening to perform!) and then copied everything from the Toshiba 2TB drive to the WD 4TB drive.

Another important need was additional RAM for the software that I use–multiple productivity applications, Wolfram Mathematica, and games. The Gigabyte B250-DS3H mATX motherboard supports four sticks of DDR4 RAM. I bought the computer’s first dual-channel pair of Crucial DDR4-2400 4GB RAM sticks at an amazing discount. Unfortunately, DDR4 RAM prices rose and have stayed elevated since that time. When a more modest discount was offered than originally, I chose to take it. Now, all four DDR4 slots are filled with two pairs of Crucial DDR4-2400 RAM for a total of 16GB RAM.

I dabbled with VR before video card prices went through the roof. For this experiment, I upgraded the video card and PSU. I don’t have the video card any longer, but I kept the Corsair CX650M PSU so that I can switch out video cards for something more powerful in the future.

After these upgrades, my computer’s stats are:

Intel i7-7700

Gigabyte B250-DS3H mATX Motherboard

Asus Radeon Rx-550 4GB GDDR5 Video Card

Crucial 16GB 4×4 DDR4-2400 RAM

ADATA SU800 128GB 3D-NAND 2.5 Inch SATA SSD

2TB Toshiba OEM HDD

4TB WD Blue HDD

Corsair CX650M PSU

ROSEWILL Micro ATX Mini Tower Computer Case, FBM-01

Maker:L,Date:2017-10-2,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

Spring Recess 2015: Reading, Exploring, and Making April 12, 2015

Posted by Jason W Ellis in Brain, City Tech, Personal.
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Spring Break reading list.

Spring Break reading list.

I had a fun and productive time during this year’s Spring Recess in our new home of Brooklyn. I read three brain-related books: Maryanne Wolf’s Proust and the Squid, Michael Moskowitz’s Reading Minds, and Antonio Damasio’s Looking for Spinoza. I took the subway to Manhattan twice with Y and Little My to visit Kinokuniya Bookstore, Sun Rise Market, Uncle Sam’s Army Surplus, the New York Public Library, and Washington Square. I picked up an M65 field jacket and put together an EDC kit. I walked to Microcenter twice–each time scoring a free 16GB flash drive thanks to a new coupon promotion. To cap the week off, I completed a draft of my PARSE documentation for advancement at City Tech and posted assignments for tomorrow’s classes on OpenLab. Now, I feel ready to see this semester through to the end.

A question for my students: how did was your week away from the college? Are you ready to see things through?

Spring Break Update 2014 March 17, 2014

Posted by Jason W Ellis in Recovered Writing.
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This is Georgia Tech’s spring break week, so I’ve decided to pause my Recovered Writing project. It will restart Monday, March 24. In the meantime, you can catch up on it so far by going here.

While (I hope) my students are resting and recuperating from the spring semester thus far, I will be working. I have a big book review to finish, an essay to continue revising, and grading to complete in ENGL1101 and LCC3403.

End of Summer Updates August 27, 2011

Posted by Jason W Ellis in Kent State, Personal.
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I completed my entry on “cyborgs” for the Ashgate Encyclopedia of Literary and Cinematic Monsters, edited by Jeffrey Weinstock. I am excited to see this work published, because its entries will pack a research-powered punch!

I am reading Gary Westfahl’s work on Hugo Gernsback and John W. Campbell, Jr. I am also collecting old issues of Amazing Stories for my research. Many thanks to Lisa Yaszek for that after-session conversation in Poland. This is the turn that my chapter needed.

I had a wonderful time with my friends yesterday at Bert and Robin’s house. While Bert was busy running his catering business, Robin hosted a bunch of us graduate students for steaks and good cheer. Y made a delicious fruit pie (following a recipe that our friends in Switzerland gave us).

Y, M, and I enjoyed Japanese cuisine and sushi tonight at Sakura followed by a visit to Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart. I now find visiting bookstores a depressing affair, because I do not have time to read many books that I would like to read as a result of my studying and writing about books for my dissertation. I have to remind myself: This too shall pass.

 

Mac OS X Folk: Run Software Update to Protect Against MacDefender June 1, 2011

Posted by Jason W Ellis in Apple, Computers, Technology.
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Apple rolled out the new Mac Security Update 2011-003 to address threats posed by the latest family of malware under the MacDefender moniker. Keep your system up-to-date with Apple’s built-in Software Update program (Apple menu > Software Update), and if your system is infected by MacDefender, the security update will helpfully nuke it.

After you install the update, consider protecting yourself with some advice that I offered in a previous post.

Stay safe in cyberspace!

Apple iOS 4.3.3, Fix to Location Data, Now Available May 4, 2011

Posted by Jason W Ellis in Apple, Technology.
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As I wrote about previously here and here, Apple iOS on iPhone and iPad keeps a cache of crowd-sourced location data on your mobile device as well as on the computer that you sync your mobile device with. Today, Apple released an updated version of iOS that allows you to remove this data. Connect your device to your computer, fire up iTunes, and check for updates to download iOS 4.3.3.

iPad Successfully Updated to iOS 4.2 November 23, 2010

Posted by Jason W Ellis in Personal, Technology.
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She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid.” – Han Solo, Star Wars: A New Hope

It took about an hour for the update to complete, in large part due to my Time Warner Cable Road Runner Internet connection crawling along at a snail’s pace while iTunes downloaded the 400MB upgrade, but my iPad is now running iOS 4.2!

I have some app updates to complete, but I am ready to take it through its paces. Y’s iPad is up next for an update. For her, I hope that the update includes more text input options for traditional Chinese.

A Short Post of Updates, Readings, and Goings-On August 8, 2010

Posted by Jason W Ellis in Personal, Science Fiction.
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I have been very busy reading for my dissertation prospectus and preparing my two College Writing II classes for the Fall. As a result, I haven’t had much time to update dynamicsubspace.net. Also, the mysterious shrapnel in my right pinky finger from helping Masood and Jenny load up their moving truck has made it until now impossible to type (pressing right return and shift would trigger whatever was in my finger to press against a nerve that would make me howl with pain). I think I dug out all of the fragments, and it doesn’t hurt too bad with bandaid padding, so I can get some typing done tonight.

Since I got back from my visit to the South, I have been doing a fair amount of reading. Eric Rabkin’s speech convinced me to read A.E. van Vogt’s Slan–a novel that I would characterize as an adventurous Golden Age science fiction adventure. Had I read Slan when I was much younger, I think it would have ignited my love for science fiction much earlier than when I did get started reading the genre at 16 (my much earlier love of science fiction film began with I was 3 or so, however).

I spent some time with Nietzsche and read Tanner’s Nietzsche: A Very Short Introduction. I love Oxford’s Very Short Introduction series. They give you a quick and dirty immersion into a topic or author that makes it so much easier to find where to go from there in your reading.

I enjoyed reading Steven Johnson’s Interface Culture: How New Technology Transforms the Way We Create and Communicate (1997). Johnson is prescient and a little wrong about the future of interfaces, but his work is very lucid and informative from a less rigorous perspective.

I also worked through Bruce Mazlish’s The Fourth Discontinuity: The Co-Evolution of Humans and Machines (1993). This was another excellent book to read. My ideas about humans and computers mesh with those of Mazlish very well. Lisa Yaszek suggested that I pick up this book, and I’m glad that she did.

Barry Brummett’s The World and How We Describe It: Rhetorics of Reality, Representation, Simulation (2003) was a less than enjoyable encounter compared to my other recent readings. There are elements of what he has to say that I agree with and others that I don’t. I will need to go back through my notes to sparse things out, but the one thing that I wonder about has to do with the way he writes about rhetoric and novels. Brummett analyzes William Gibson’s Sprawl Trilogy in relation to the way reality, representation, and simulation are used in the novels. One problem that I had with what he said in regard to Gibson’s work was: “[Gibson] wants his reader to think of cyberspace as real, and thus invokes the categories of rhetoric of reality that we have seen expressed through permanence and change, commodification, subjectivity, and aesthetics” (122). In other places, Brummett says that Gibson argues for ‘this’ or proclaims what Gibson’s rhetoric is. It seems to me that there are more than on interpretation of the rhetoric within a work, but the invoking of the author as promoting a particular kind of rhetoric seems to go against the death of the author. It seems like interpretations of rhetoric are just that: interpretations. We don’t know what Gibson’s rhetorical intentions were, and it doesn’t really matter. Could a reader not interpret Gibson’s rhetoric differently in the Sprawl Trilogy? I haven’t read much rhetoric oriented scholarship, so I don’t know if everything is like this when it comes to fiction or works of culture. What say you, my rhetoric friends?