Posted in books, computers, cyberpunk, dystopia, Outerspace, Planets, Quotes, random thoughts, science fiction, science fiction, Space, writing

Future Sci-Fi

More random bizarro thinking on my part.


I suddenly started wondering what science fiction of the future will be. Today most science fiction is focused on colonizing other planets, alien encounters, high-tech taking over, dystopias, the fall of civilization, robots, AI, time travel, extending human life. Ok, that’s a whole lotta stuff.

In say, a thousand years, when we’ve conquered space and how to travel millions of light years, encountered alien races and survived the fall of civilization and rebuilt, AI will be pervasive, robots old-hat – what form will science fiction take? What will future sci-fi writers write? Presumably by then the question of “are we alone in the universe” will have been answered. Possibly not, but my gut says another thousand years will see things we haven’t even dreamed yet; finding extraterrestrials will be small potatoes.

There’s been some discussion lately that science fiction no longer deals with the ‘big questions’ of what-ifs, that it’s focused on the immediate future: There’s some truth to this. Most of the sf I see lately is riffing on some current political issue, detours in tech that derail us, terraforming planets.  These topics will seem like baby steps to future generations. :::just gave myself an idea…:::

Mars terraform

I wonder what the ‘big questions’ will be a millennium from now. Or am I being too optimistic? Will we still be consumed by the things that concern us today: overpopulation, diminishing resources, pollution, corruption, greed, religious wars, politics. Will we be Borg? Will cyborgs be passé by then? DING! (another idea) John Steinbeck was right:

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

I would imagine all these topics that we spend so much time writing and thinking about today will be as normal to future humans as telephones and electricity are to us. I’ve been spending a lot of time wondering what future science fiction will consist of, and I guess I’m no visionary because at the moment I have no idea what people will be wondering about in a thousand years. If you look back at what people were doing a thousand years ago in 1013… The Norman Invasion hadn’t even happened yet. Brian Boru had not yet fought the Battle of Clontarf (that would be the following year in 1014).  The Black Death, The Crusades, Copernicus, Columbus, Magellan, Galileo, Da Vinci, Gutenberg, the Protestant Reformation, Henry VIII, Mozart, Beethoven, the bicycle, the automobile, Kitty Hawk, Apollo 11… all that and so much more in just the last thousand year.  Imagine even the same rate of advancement  taking place over the next 1000 years. And at the rate technology increases and the fact that so much more is being done in general makes it almost scary to think where we’ll be in a thousand years. Or two thousand.

But wow, would I like to see it.

Posted in books, computers, Office Life, random thoughts, science fiction, writing

Last Typewriter Factory in the World Closes

UPDATE 7/21/2011 (Hemingway’s birthday, btw): It appears the demise of the typewriter has been greatly exaggerated. See this NPR article for clarification. Seems the plant in Mumbai was producing manual typewriters, but electrics are still to be had from other manufacturers.


Aw you guys, I’m sad! I guess it’s just nostalgia, but it’s the end of an era. Just a few short paragraphs in The Atlantic (although they picked up the story from The Daily Mail) to announce the demise of our clackety friends.

With only about 200 machines left — and most of those in Arabic languages — Godrej and Boyce shut down its plant in Mumbai, India, today.

Well, go click through the little gallery, or head for the nearest antiques mall to pick up one of these old beasts for posterity. I had no idea. Paper books, typewriters… what’s next? I might as well face it, we are living in the future. Just this morning I found out we have a MFP (Multi-Function Printer, i.e., scanner/copier/printer/fax) that has VOICE COMMAND enabled. Prepare yourselves.

Posted in computers, Office Life, random thoughts

Have you cleaned your hard drive lately?

So first off, you guys should know that I’m not a computer tech, or the geekiest person alive, BUT, I was clued in to a really good tool that cleans up your hard drive far better than the Disk Cleanup tool supplied with Windows. One of the tech guys here at my office, whose job it is to take care of people’s computers told me about this and downloaded it to my work computer (and with all the firewalls and other stuff we have loaded on our computer and as draconian as they are about blocking anything potentially harmful, I am perfectly confident in recommending this to you).

It’s a free – yes, FREE – utility you can download from, called CCleaner.  You can read the info and ratings on CNET, and if they’re offering it, it’s safe.

From the first screen (pictured below), just click on “Run Cleaner” at the bottom right and it will do its thing. As a comparison, generally when I run the Windows utility, it finds a couple megabytes of crap (on a good day), but most of the time it only finds a few kilobytes. When I run CCleaner, it gets as much as 83 megabytes of old cached temporary files, cookies, internet garbage and so on.

I don’t do much with the other screens (Registry, Tools, Options), but you’ll find tools to install/uninstall programs, choose what loads at Startup and more.

There is a similarly better defragmenting utility than Windows comes with, Smart Defrag, which can also be found at CNET.

Defragmenting your hard drive compacts files that have become scattered as the computer searches for open space to store the bits and bytes of everything you do all day. Seriously, it’s a mess. Defragging, as it’s commonly called, can take awhile, especially if you’ve never done it and your computer is getting a little long in the tooth, but it can really improve performance and speed it up.

I love these two utilities, I even installed them on my home computer. They’re both really easy to use, no matter how little tech inclination you may have. Even if you’d rather have someone turn your computer on and off for you, YOU CAN DO THIS. Hope these help.