I'm not ashamed to admit that I harbor unnatural feelings towards my servers. If programming and writing are both expressions of one's personality, then the content and systems on a server are a piece of you. Where it gets complicated is when you can transplant the ticking heart of a server--its logical brain--into another piece of hardware. You've transmigrated the soul without any of the messy ethical considerations. This is a common theme in modern sci-fi, because the notion of where the essence of who we are lives (in wetware or hardware) fascinates us.
I wrote today at the Economist's Babbage blog about my move from owning several rack-mounted servers to a couple of virtual private servers (VPSes), virtualized computers running on computers I'll never see or touch. The move was moving, and I'm hard pressed to understand why.
I couldn't understand why I was near tears. It was only a computer server I was shutting down, not pulling the plug on a life or saying goodbye to faithful pet. Nonetheless, my eyes were moist.
Virtualisation is the classic brain-in-a-jar scenario. If you, dear reader, were a brain in a jar with all your sensory inputs mapped into a simulation program a la "The Matrix," how would you know? As long as the illusion were perfect--and no Agent Smiths intruded--you could live your life in blissful delusion. So, too, do virtual servers perform: unaware.
In 2009, President Obama pledged to “restore science to its rightful place.” He said, “We will not just meet, but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race, through policies that invest in basic and applied research, create new incentives for private innovation, promote breakthroughs in energy and medicine, and […]
When I was little, my mother had a 1960s sit-under hair dryer with a huge translucent plastic hood that I’d imagine was a variation on a Star Trek Transporter. But that hulking machine had nothing on these vintage hair dryers from the first part of the 20th century. These would have provided me with years […]
In a new report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reveals that the “Department of Defense uses 8- inch floppy disks in a legacy system that coordinates the operational functions of the nation’s nuclear forces.” That floppy format was developed in the late 1960s and was obsolete by the 1980s. I wonder if the DoD saves […]
Some people say magic tricks are nerdy and best left to your 12-year-old asthmatic cousin. But others see value in perfecting the slight of hand and showmanship associated with a perfectly executed routine. We’re firmly in the latter camp. And now, we’re giving you the ability to put a few parlor tricks up your sleeve with the Penguin […]
Bluetooth speakers may be convenient to use, but many of them just aren’t that powerful. Sure, it may be fine if you’re seated in front of the speaker. But move across the room, and you may strain to hear what’s coming from those tiny drivers.There’s a reason why the G-BOOM Wireless Bluetooth Boombox (now $79.99 in the Boing […]
If you’re working to build your web programming knowledge, you know you have a lot of ground to cover. With literally dozens of languages, platforms and environments available to coders, mastering all those technologies can be a daunting task.Up-and-coming coders can start learning some of the most fundamental programming study areas with this Web Hacker course bundle – and […]