Clockwork

Site Update

So been doing quite a bit behind the scenes to sort out my blog.

My old hosting was a bit overpowered for my needs, about 8 years ago when I’d gotten it I’d had bigger ambitions than a blog, and over the past few years the performance on the site had been excruciatingly slow and frequently chose not to work.

Instead I’ve gone just for wordpress.com – all my posts and such have been imported and I’m just playing about with the look and feel of the site. The good news is it now runs nice and zippy, and can concentrate on writing and blogging.

If you were following the old blog, you’ll have to refollow again I think.

Expect regular posts from now on.

Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 45: The Furthest Man

This is the 45th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

The Snow Angel, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 15th January 2012

Word count: 1,000

Theme: exploration, the first, technology, tribute, hope, drive, future, determination

The story:

“Charlie Whiskey Tango,” Captain Peters said into his microphone, “It’s oh nine thirty seven, I’m on final approach.” He settled into to the final manoeuvres that put him on course for entry into the planets atmosphere.

Captain Peters was five hundred light years from home, and on course to be the first man to set foot on an alien world outside the Sol system. Even with faster than light travel it had been a four year journey to reach this point.

The mission had started out as the brain child of Augustus Medley and John Bradley, two PhD students in Manchester, England who had devised the engine. Claire Cowley had joined later, being the person who had discovered the first supposedly habitable planet other than Earth, thus both the planet and the mission were named after her. The ship was named after its designers, the Augustus John. The planet Captain Philips was now fast approaching.

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 38: Meaning

This is the 38th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Meaning, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 8th January 2012

Word count: 925

Theme: technology, listlessness, future, hope, meaning, striving, determination

The story:

It wasn’t a glorious childhood, but nor was it a Dickensian tale of woe, abuse, and suffering, but it wasn’t glorious. It was kind of bland, you know? Just like five billion others out there. I guess that’s why I did it.

It was never planned, not early on anyway.

I was like everyone else, I woke up in the morning, showered, brushed my teeth, had breakfast, had coffee, then drive into the office. It was a nine-five job, only it never worked out that way. That said, when I was honest with myself, I didn’t actually know what my job was. It was one of those meaningless jobs, I attended meetings, spouted sage-like nonsense and plans, listened to other people make sage-like nonsense and plans. Then we’d make actions, and go bug other people. Invariably it would all be very exciting, and buzz words would fly around, names would be dropped, and ultimately nothing would happen.

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 37: Exercising the Demons

This is the 37th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Exercising the Demons, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 7th January 2012

Word count: 911

Theme: technology, drive, determination, Freud, military, race, run

The story:

“Ten miles in ten minutes,” Colonel Alexander Addingham reported into Mike Koslowski’s ear piece.

“I can get this thing faster,” Mike responded.

“Just bring it back, even pace, don’t push it,” the Colonel replied.

Mike turned around, and started pounding the tarmac back to the testing base. The suit almost floated around him when it was in motion, a mixture of repulsors and mechanical supports did their best to make the suit disappear. The sensor package interpreted the users will and servos kicked in, empowering the user to move faster, and bounce further. Mike’s will was somewhat strongly inclined towards pushing it, and without honestly meaning to, the servos kicked in.

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Stop the presses! Shocking news, I love Technology says blogger with umpteen laptops and mobile phones.

I love technology – I really do. I love gadgets, I think gadgets make my life better – though I don’t believe they make the world better (but that’s another issue I’ll sidestep). I can’t help it, I’m a geek, it has to be bigger faster, smarter, and shinier than what came before. I want bells and whistles, I want it all. Yes, I said bigger – size does matter, I don’t want a mobile phone the size an ants nut.

Doesn’t matter with its a pen, a computer, or a phone – more technology is simply better, in my universe. Zero technology has its place, I mean sitting their doodling with an e-pen is kind of a waste, and drawing is better with a pencil on paper. That said, I have an Amazon Kindle, and it is all kinds of fantastic, and I don’t feel the urge to go back to the printed word.

My point is, as I mentioned I love technology. However, in a strange kind of way I’m a traditionalist, I like my technology to be technological. I like that sometimes it requires a bit of brain power, some intuition, and a touch of luck to find my way round a piece of technology. I don’t want a smooth easy user experience, if I end up with one, I’ll only break down the veneer of civilisation covering the rugged peaks and valleys of performance that makes technology grand. I don’t want easy, I want fun.

For me, its about fun – at the end of the day I don’t need any of it, I could suffice with just the basics, even down to going back to pen, paper, and the printed world, I’d find myself happy enough at that. However, I do so enjoy new gadgets, new toys.

I’ve finally replaced my crappy Nokia 5800, I now have an HTC Desire running Android (which I’ll be upgrading to Android 2.2 this evening, I’m far too impatient to wait for HTC’s own upgrade of the operating system). Its an absolutely fabulous piece of technology – I don’t even mind not having the things I normally miss in a phone (a physical qwerty screen, and resistive touchscreen). Okay, its not great for writing my Nokia E71 was, but it gets by, for short pieces, writing up ideas and such. I do feel kind of dirty, I’m not usually a Google fan (in fact I think Google are out of control, but those kind of things fix themselves in time, and my surrender to their mobile technology is hardly going to delay the downfall). Compared side by side with an iPhone (3GS, not 4, since I know no one with the new iPhone), and the HTC Desire wins hands down on all the bits that matter to me… and that really is the only measure that counts.

I did fancy the Motorola Milestone, but the new one is out soon – and I’m happy enough for the improvements to that to pick it up in a year’s time when its cheaper. The first Milestone has a keyboard its true (major appeal), but its not the greatest writing surface, so figured I’d survive well enough just the touchscreen.

There are some things I do miss about the Symbian operating system, but Android isn’t that different, its just as open and customisable – and it is firmly current generation, the aging Symbian system does feel old hat. Symbian^3 is out soon, and it looks swish (the whole N8 does), but for me, it hasn’t come far enough from what I’ve seen of it. Who knows what Nokia will have out in a year’s time, they look like to put out many phones, to match a whole host of needs – maybe Symbian^3 will come on in leaps and bounds, and it will leave Android and Apple with a massive headache as that hill they’ve been climbing to be a major mobile phone player suddenly becomes a lot steeper.

What I look forward to is the day we go buy our mobile phones from any company we want, and can then choose what operating system to have it on it. We’re getting there, I hear tell rumours that Windows Mobile 7 might be installable on some Android devices, not sure if its vice versa or not. Of course, a model like that would lead to us having to pay for a phone, and the operating system, because licensing deals with manufacturers would go out the window.

In other technology news, my netbook is now at the point where its my perfect travel companion, its running Windows 7, has an extra gig of ram, and now has an extra large battery, combined with its existing smaller battery I can get quite a bit of time out of it between charges (between five and six hours), which is perfect for my holiday to Prague in four weeks time, and my following trip to the British Science Festival two weeks after that.

So yes, if you didn’t get the message, I love technology.