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PS2 Note #8: BIOS Flash, Teleportation

I’m giving a reading at Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia St., SF, 3 PM, Sat, February 10.

I mentioned I’m having some computer problems, and Rudy, Jr., persuaded me that I need to flash my ABIT motherboard’s BIOS with an upgrade. If you’re a computer hacker, BIOS flash day is a rare and sacred event. Like the day when the ants get wings and fly out of the hive. Like the five dead days that roll around every three years in the Mayan calendar. A hush falls…

The hard part about flashing your BIOS is that you have to do a clean boot either off a CD ROM or off — scared relic of our ancestors — a floppy disk drive. And, like most modern machines, my computer doesn’t HAVE a floppy disk drive.

Making a bootable CD ROM with a DRDOS.IMG file didn’t work for me, though I told ROXIO to use to make a bootable CD.

So I went to the High Temple, that is, Fry’s, and I got a USB Floppy Disk Drive and OH NO it installed itself as the B: drive, not as the Floppy A: Drive, so when I entered ADVANCED BIOS SETTINGS to set FIRST BOOT to FLOPPY, and rebooted, the machine was looking for a (nonexistent) internal A: floppy drive and spurned my my USB floppy disk drive B:

Gnashing of teeth. Rending of garments. Panic and fury in the ant hill that is my brain. But then I noticed that in my ADVANCED BIOS SETTINGS, I could set FIRST BOOT to be USB-FDD, and oh, joy, it booted off the floppy and showed me the beloved A:> prompt and I entered the sacred formula:


……………….and I flashed the BIOS.

Five minutes ago. SO FAR everything’s fine. I’m livin’ in a fool’s paradise! Might as well get this post up before I reboot once again and discover my machine is a doorstop.

On a later day, I’ll tease out some SF metaphors of flashing the BIOS, but now I have something to say about Omnividence and Telepathy.

This is another of my series of notes towards my novel in progress, a sequel to my Fall, 2007, novel Postsingular. I call the sequel PS2 for short, though the final title is probably Hylozoic. For earlier notes, you can run a search on my blog, or just click to this list of the notes.

Teleporting is all about making yourself uncertain about which of two possible locations you’re actually in. The trick is to eidetically and precisely visualize both your source location and your target location. Video isn’t good enough for this very rich visualization; you need something as strong as telepathy or omnividence—I used the orphidnet in PS1, and in PS2 (and in the Hibrane) I use lazy eight telepathy.

Once you have your source location and your target location clearly in mind, you can confuse yourself about which is which by linking up the two scenes, feature by feature. Thus if one scene has a cliff then the other scene needs to have something that you can at least think of as a cliff. If there’s an espresso machine in the coffee shop where I’m sitting, and I want to go home, then I have to think of my TV as being essentially the same thing as the espresso machine and, conversely, I have to think of the espresso machine as being essentially the same as my TV. Angular boxes that make noise.

In PS1, I initially have people using Jayjay’s so-called metamorpher agents to help set up the links, but soon people get the hang of weaving scenes together on their own.

Where I’m going with this is that I view teleportation as a three-step process. First you perfectly visualize two locations and mentally weave them together, second you become uncertain about which location you’re actually in, and third you abruptly observe yourself, asking, “Where am I?” Thereby you precipitate a quantum collapse of your wave function, putting you into a specific location.

[Generally I’m just going to act as if the collapse puts you in the target location. But, logically, you have a fifty-fifty chance of finding yourself either in the source spot or in the target spot. If it doesn’t “come up heads” on the first try, you might need to keep “flipping the coin” till you get where you want to go. But I didn’t mention this complication in PS1. Perhaps I can hint at it in PS2, by remarking that there’s a strobing quality to some teleportation jumps, like a lightning bolt striking repeatedly. Like the lightning strokes at the start of Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. Like the multiple camera flashes in a nighttime video on the bitchin’ celeb-stalker site X17online showing, like, Lindsey or Britney or Paris walking from a limo to a restaurant door. The Advent of the Great Old Ones. Whoah. Is this BIOS flash day? But generally I’ll suppose you don’t notice the false starts on the jump. Suppose you just view them as part of the observation.]

I’ll summarize teleportation once again (avoiding any mention of the repeated measurement issue). First you eidetically visualize your target, second you turn off self-observation and spread out into an ambiguous superposed state — neither here nor there, neither now nor then, not inside, not out — and third you observe yourself in such a way so as to collapse down into the target location.

I’m also supposing that anything I’m tightly coupled with (i.e. whatever I’m clutching) will teleport along with me. That way I can rescue or kidnap other people by whisking them off to distant places; also I can steal things. I’ll suppose that I can carry anything up to weight of, say, a heavy suitcase. Twenty or thirty kilograms.

Expressing teleportation as a formula:

teleportation = remote_viewing + uncertainty + self-observation.

I’m now going to replace the word “uncertainty” by a more buzz-worthy word: “coherent.” In quantum-speak, having no particular location is called being coherent . Note that being coherent is as opposed to our normal, unexciting bourgeois state of being nailed down in one particular spot, which is decoherent .

teleportation = remote_viewing + coherence + self-observation.

Becoming coherent means tuning out the real-world stress-questions like “How much do you weigh?” or “Where are you?” or “What do you think of Iraq?” or “Do you love me?” Bailing out of the meaningless social games. Like a junkie on the nod—or a yogi in a state of bliss. “I have no feelings.” “I have no body.” “I’m everywhere.” “I’m coherent.”

The process of becoming coherent feels like a single psychic gesture. No need for drugs, a simple breath can do it. Inhale Many, exhale One.

11 Responses to “PS2 Note #8: BIOS Flash, Teleportation”

  1. anders k. Says:

    I flashed my brain BIOS with a bud off that cactus.

  2. moondawg Says:

    get a mac already!! no freakin’ flashing needed.

  3. Rudy Says:

    Good news, it worked, my computer is well.

    And, actually moondawg, exactly the same kinds of issues can come up with mac bios flash. Macs are just computers like all the others. But, yes, it is less common for Mac users to flash their BIOS. Instead they buy new BIOS chips from Apple.

    The thing is, I LIKE flashing the BIOS. When I was a kid my big brother was always working on his car, greasy, under the hood, and I admired that. I like the tweaker aspect of the open-platform Unix and Windows worlds, where you are buying weird components by third parties and putting them in. I used to teach Intel Assembly language, and for many years I taught Windows programming, so I have a pretty good understanding of what’s going on inside the Windows code.

    For me, it’s fun to get my hands dirty with the innards. I did use a Mac for awhile, but I didn’t in fact like it better. I felt like too many tweak details were being hidden from me…and I like obsessing over the details.

    And I always had a big problem with the one button mouse too although, yes, I’m aware that you can get other mice for mac.

    I’ve never quite understood why mac users are so evangelical in wanting to convert everyone. It’s a fine machine, good for some people, there’s room for all of us but, once again, they’re all just von Neumann architecture machines. Live and let live.

  4. Alex Says:

    “Macs are just computers like all the others” is like saying Rudy Rucker is a Science Fiction writer like all the others. 😉

    If ever a Lifebox gets made, it will be Apple Mac who do it.

    Your time is too valuable to waste on silly Windows PC problems.

    Just finished Mathematicians in Love. Reading Mad Professor now.
    Both as great as Mac OS X !!

  5. Alex Says:

    I think mac users are so evangelical in wanting to convert everyone because we see ourselves as part of a countercultural response to the monoculture of Windows PC.
    I like your books because they have hot and deep ideas but are simple and easy to read. The same goes for Mac OS X which is like Unix, so you can go deep and get your “hands dirty with the innards” or you can keep it simple.
    I guess you used Mac Classic sometime between 1996 and 2001? It’s true Mac wasn’t so great at that time, but it was still less hassle than Windows…

  6. Jerry Eldridge Says:

    I’m reading Spaceland right now. Woke up this morning to
    a dream playing Def Leppard’s “Photograph” and video showing
    spherical musical notes rolling down and over terrains
    as sheet music. With lyrics “fantasy”… though I followed it
    up by looking for all Fantasy genre by Drew Barrymore and
    Forest Whitaker. And wondered about Momo from Spaceland.

    I was reading the Blog today. A lot of talk about panpsychism
    and hylozoism which I had to look up on Wikipedia. I was
    wondering about today’s ordinary government agencies but
    set in the Post-Singular world (PS1 and PS2). What would
    global surveillance be like for the National Security Agency?
    What would “Stranger than Fiction” (2006) (Will Ferrell,
    Emma Thompson) be like in the Post-Singular
    world? Where the nants would distribute knowledge about
    the Earth like between Computer Science students taking
    a course and their teacher. And kids typing email messages
    to their friends only to have the nants distribute it also to
    an author or the latest pop songwriter and singer. Or kids
    talking on the phone with their grandmother to have their
    aunts and uncles hear their conversation from cities across
    the Earth.

  7. Peter Turney Says:

    “Where I’m going with this is that I view teleportation as a three-step process. First you perfectly visualize two locations and mentally weave them together, second you become uncertain about which location you’re actually in, and third you abruptly observe yourself, asking, ‘Where am I?’ Thereby you precipitate a quantum collapse of your wave function, putting you into a specific location.”

    In A.E. van Vogt’s The Players of Null-A (1956), the sequel to The World of Null-A (1948), the main character, Gilbert Gosseyn, uses a similar technique to teleport himself:

    “The Gosseyn bodies each possess a secondary brain jammed into their skulls. Using this, Gosseyn develops an interesting way to teleport himself. It involves memorizing a stretch of ground or floor to ‘twenty-decimal similarity’. Thereafter, during the single day that each location remains sharp in his memory, he can teleport himself to his memorized locations. There are conditions under which this doesn’t work, but this similiarization allows him to survive some sticky situations.”

    I’m currently reading Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day, which includes the following passage, in which a character, Hunter Penhallow, is on a boat near Iceland (page 136):

    “And in the ceaseless drift of the ice, the uncountable translations and rotations, meltings and freezings, there would come a moment, maybe two, when the shapes and sizes of the masses here at this ‘Venice of the Arctic’ would be exactly the same as those of secular Venice and its own outlying islands. Not all of these shapes would be dry land, of course, some would be ice, but, considered as multiply-connected spaces, the two would be the same, Murano, Burano, San Michele, the Grand Canal, each small waterway in painstaking detail, and for that brief instant it would be possible to move from one version to the other. All through his boyhood, Hunter Penhallow had watched for the fateful moment, prayed for its thunderous assault on his sensorium, for immediate translation miles and years away from here, to the Ctiy of Silence and Queen of the Adriatic herself.”

  8. jennifeer Says:

    you have done a really really great job i love it.

  9. dylan Says:

    hey that last pic is from downtown los gatos right? i go there every summer!

  10. dylan Says:

    whats this talk about telepathy and teleportation? its intriguing and makes sense in an albert einstein kinda way! very smart! 😀

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