Decisions make us stronger.

As you know from my last post I had one to make, one that would have taken time, effort, and could cause potential pain.  So I knuckled down and made it.

They say that breaking up is hard to do, and this is the God's honest truth. Sometimes it's just the right thing to do, and depending on how things were going, you're either looking into sad puppy dog eyes and feeling crappy, or they knew it was coming and couldn't wait to get off at the next bus stop.

If it just happens to be the puppy-dog-eyed scenario, then they will spend the next two weeks trying to figure out why they didn't stack up, what they could have done better, what would it have taken to tip the scales and still be around. Things get really sticky there.

I told you about how everything was just meh, and here is the photographic proof. The machine was named Tintern, after a famous Welsh monastery from the area my bloodline lived in and came to the United States from. So it wasn't arbitrarily picked, there was meaning involved. There are almost always secondary back stories to everything I do when it comes to naming things. It's just how I'm wired. I have to attach an extra meaning to them.

Here was how Tintern looked when I made the last post:

So you can see why I might be a little less than enthused. You know now why it was so humdrum to use, and I had simply had enough. I looked at some nice Debian alternatives, figured out about how long it would take me to get the distro down, burn it to DVD and install it. I also put some time into deciding the best way to handle the UEFI issues I knew I would have because I had them when I installed Fedora the first time.

Sometimes it all comes down to a single moment, and that moment dictates what you are going to do and how you will proceed with things following that. You see, I love Debian, and we've established that by now. All of my cluster servers are Debian. But where I work, everything is CentOS (which is the same variant family as Fedora) and at the end of the day, I just couldn't let her go.

So I set to work. She needed to become a "she", which meant she needed a name. She needed an identity. The previous blank slate does not provide any sort of identity to work with. Using a machine like this is a partnership, no matter how you cut it.

me and ms fedora...

Anyone who knows me decently well knows how attached I am to William Gibson and his books. They are what has kept me in the field for the last 25 years, they are the books that got me completely and irreparably hooked on technology, and even more so on open source and Linux.

The server name of Straylight should have been your first hint that I might have a little attraction to it. Straylight refers to the Villa Straylight, the home base of a family called Tessier-Ashpool, and you can go read the rest for yourself.

The point that I actually want to get to is that the massive AI structures in that place have personalities of their own. We have begun, in our technological evolution to seek out very similar things, because we like building things, and we more enjoy like building things very close to our own structure because possibly that is the way that we're wired.

This is no different. I am going to be spending a lot of time in front of this screen doing the most amazing things I can come up with, as well as some of the more mundane things that I will most likely try to automate, which is pretty close to the exact same thing. Why not give her a personality? Why not create an image that I can impose to make this a little more than a machine, something that can be transferred from data platform to data platform? After all, Tony Stark has JARVIS. I'd rather have a girl.

Call it weird, I don't care.

One does have to be selective in these things, as I found out in the course of thinking about it all.

some women are just crazy

I thought about naming the laptop after Molly Millions, a recurring razorgirl character that continually pops up again and again over two trilogies. But that's just it... like a chameleon she blends into each new thing with a new name and a new identity. In the movie, she's called Jane, and while I will not deny that the lovely Dina Meyer did a great job playing her, when I was reading the books I had more of a Milla Jovovich type woman in my mind's eye.

Either way, the sheer violence, anger, passion, and more personalities than an entire nuthouse not only left me without a name but trying to moniker my technology after someone who was at their core simply cray-cray.

Yeah. Tried that once in real life. Didn't like it.

enter the aidoru

In the second trilogy, Gibson brings out that very idea, where the human-machine interaction is becoming almost transparent. Media companies no longer put the entertainment on a media console, per se, but you are actually involved and interact directly with what is essentially a construct of that entertainment media. To try to put it in terms you might understand and could culturally relate to, it would be like thinking of your favourite singer, and instead of them having to go through the logistics of setting up a concert, flying there, you doing whatever you do to get to said concert, and then seeing them from afar, you actually get to interact with that performer.

Granted, it is a copy, an artificially intelligent copy, that is very much like the real person, and in some respects is the real person, but you get to hang out with them on the beach and they know your name. There is an interaction that even Taylor Swift couldn't pull off. I think she's about the closest to that level of cool in music today.

But you get my point.

In Gibson's world, those entities are primarily owned by a company called the Toei Company. It is actually a real Japanese company that he based this on, and they are like a Sony or MGM type company to us here in the States. From what I've seen, they are huge, and they are cutting edge. That might be what he visualised when he created the entity of the aidoru.

I started with the server name of idoru. I've used it before, but this case was quite different. I had to think about what I want this system to be and to do. It is going to:

  • execute commands
  • maintain working processes
  • create and sustain the local environment
  • touch and work with remote environments
  • help me generate new code and new designs

Are you really surprised I would make this entity female? Guys are not capable of regeneration and creation, at least not on their own, and I really wanted to follow this plot line to its end if I am going to be investing so much time of my life into working on it. I mean that in the sense of using it as a tool, not in the sense of having to repeatedly repair and upgrade, although I am seriously considering ways already to make that much more automatic and transparent.

So Idoru it was... for a while. But the name didn't grab me. I didn't have a face to put with it, and people need that, you know?  It's like the online world. If we don't know what you actually look like, our brains will generate an assumed image, which is usually horribly incorrect, but we do it anyway.

So I surfed my usual stock photography site to try and find something that spoke to me. I didn't want a whole facial shot, because then it's weird, and this innocent person who is trying to live their lives elsewhere in the world has a completely brand new life that they don't know about in my workstation screen.

I found a picture that fit pretty much what I was going for, and if you are a reader of these novels, or you are into the anime and manga scene, this might make sense as well.

I installed zsh, which was a vast improvement over the bash shell that I had on there originally. It also has capabilities to be highly configured to perform other tasks and create a highly refined information system right there on the command line. I owe Keenan Kunzelman for helping nudge me over the edge on that one.

I3 was refined and updated with i3-gaps, and more programs that I haven't brought to life yet but will further document came into the mix, and I saw something good was beginning to come of it all.

meet ms fedora

In the novel Idoru, the primary character, the idoru in question, is called Rei Toei. Rei is almost like Romi in Andromeda, in that she is everywhere running things, and we won't get into that show either, or I'll derail.

Rei is able to convert herself as a construct into the viewer's favourite person/performer/whatever. The story goes off the rails from where I'm going with this because the story revolves around a performer that wants to quite literally get married to the machine. Enough of that craziness for now. That's not my point. My point is this:

Idoru just still didn't have the right click for my coming work, and the drive I have to push envelopes as far as technology and self-learning go.

Fedora has now become something much more beautiful. It is becoming something useful and I am confident that now this ball is finally starting to roll, I can get to doing something quite magical with it. But I had to change the name again. This time for good.

And this is version .81 of

She's sane. She's hyper-intelligent (because she's Linux). The best part about it?

She can be anything I want her to be.