Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Machine Monastery

I've been reading 365 Tomorrows, and I like the idea of flash fiction. Here's a story that popped into my head while deep cleaning my carpets:

Cynthia was reluctant when it came time to leave the Machine Monastery. Nobody had predicted that machines would be Buddhists. Crazed killers, perhaps. Indifferent to humanity, perhaps. Cold calculators, almost certainly.

She had learned the tactile pleasures of sanding the walnut sides of an imperfect jewelry box she had made herself with hand tools. The visual pleasure of brushing a finish with a wet edge.

The empty contentedness of sweeping a floor. The ragged exhaustion of breaking out old concrete sidewalks with a sledgehammer and hauling them to a skip. The gleam of a toilet scrubbed clean.

The machines had done all these things, mostly better than humans could, and had found the same peace from their lessons. Cynthia would go back to her life in the city, where her finance skills would pay the bills, and where machine and human craftsmen continue to do their jobs with the labor-saving tools that made mass production cheap. But perhaps in the summer she would take another vacation to the mountains east of town, away from the noise, and rejuvenate with the joys of manual labor.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy LTS) on HP EliteBook 8530w

Trying to boot the laptop with my 8.04 live CD, it hangs with a message "BUG: soft lockup - CPU#0 stuck for 11s". Hit F6 at the ubuntu boot screen and edit the boot params: remove "splash" and "quiet", and add "acpi=off".