bits-and-bytes

twentyeightghosts  asked:

I SAW YOUR "#cyberpunk baze x chirrut?" TAG AND NOW I'M THINKING -- chirrut as the badass techno-monk still loyal to his destroyed order, baze as a Bodyguard For Hire With A Big Gun, ughhhhh i can see it so clearly in my head and i love it

Star Wars is basically one step away from cyberpunk anyway, just add more neon and stick everyone on one planet instead of a billion, et voilà.

Chirrut works as a technomancer, able to communicate with and manipulate computers directly without needing code or terminals or cybernetic implants. He came by his abilities not through the self-taught survival-of-the-fittest lessons of the street, nor through sinister experimentation by one of the Megacorps, but through good old-fashioned techno-religion. His bond with the very web of cyberspace becomes the stuff of legends on both the mainstream and shadow ‘nets. This flickering presence known as The Monk, who slips through firewalls and cyber sentries like so much tissue paper, who runs his digital fingers through classified archives and top-security files pretty much whenever and however he pleases, whose reported exploits far exceed the number of places he’s actually been in.

Even glimpsing his avatar requires feats of hacking accessible only to the top tiers of hackers, the legends say, and a confirmed Monk sighting goes onto a person’s net profile like an elite badge of honor, good for both reputations and credit accounts. The legends have also embroidered the description of Chirrut’s avatar way beyond the actual mask of bits and bytes that he assumes when he goes into cyberspace - he particularly enjoys the fanfics that feature flames, or improbably giant swords, or improbably glowing armor, or all three at once - but most of them eventually boil down to a few common threads: a beautiful man with Chinese features, wearing traditional robes, disarming your defenses in a single glance of his eerie, blank white eyes.

But as invincible as The Monk may be in cyberspace, commanding the very hardware of its machinery to bend to his will, he has a weakness. Which is simply the weakness of any hacker, down to the most ordinary - when he’s plugged in, he can’t defend his own body.

Company enforcers know that. Rival hackers know that. Anyone Chirrut has ever crossed, from the Megacorp that bought out and razed his religious order, to the most recent two-bit mob boss he humiliated and laid bare to the sharks of the underworld, and continuing on down the list, knows that.

So that’s where Baze comes in. 

Baze - to put it in the simplest terms - has a really big gun.

He started life as a fully organic, ordinary genetic human. That’s all ancient history by now, seriously - the reason why his Wuxing IST-Tech 45 plasma-cell cannon has so much concentrated firepower, and why it’s so deadly accurate in his hands, is because strictly speaking, there’s no boundary between the cannon and his hands. Cybernetic implants in his limbs, his body, his eyes - even his brain - turn him into a living weapon, one that maintains the firepower and accuracy even if by some miracle he’s separated from his primary weapon. 

His reputation takes longer to grow and spread than Chirrut’s, in part because it’s a fair few years before anyone realizes the quiet-but-menacing mercenary with minor-but-solid street cred operating in a single medium-size city within the Sino-Pacific Trade Group is connected to the much-rumored but somehow even more elusive bodyguard of the internationally-famous Monk. Is, in fact, the same person. (Chirrut still likes to gleefully send him text strings from shadow ‘net forums regarding wild conspiracy theories pulling together highly improbable shreds of evidence to pinpoint the entirely wrong person as the identity of The Monk’s Protector.)

As Chirrut’s daring deeds spread across cyberspace, undermining corporate structures, propping up rebellions, sabotaging exploitative operations, declawing predators and giving teeth to prey, so too does the manhunt for The Monk. Over the years, Baze stops taking as many merc jobs that require him to leave Chirrut’s side, because he simply cannot trust that his partner won’t hook into the ‘net while he’s gone, dancing with wild abandon across the strands of the matrix that runs their world. And, incidentally, leaving himself a completely empty physical shell lying comatose amongst cushions on the floor of their shared apartment. A heavily fortified apartment, but still.

After one particularly long week, which features three highway chases, four days of hopping from safehouse to safehouse, thirty hired hitmen (spaced out over the week), too much expended ammunition to bear thinking about, and a fuckload of cleanup - flesh-eating nanobots do not come cheap, let me tell you, and neither do plasma cartridges - Baze decides to say something. 

“You could at least take a few paying jobs, since I can’t anymore,” he grumbles while he takes one of his guns apart for maintenance. “Thanks to you,” he adds, because sometimes it takes many repetitions of an idea for Chirrut to come to grips with it.

“Yes, we will eventually starve. Soon I will be nothing but an insubstantial ghost, just a spirit swaying in the digital breeze, blown wherever the matrix wills it. I think I’d make quite an attractive ghost, don’t you think?” Chirrut says, leaning back from his meditation pose and stretching, tilting his chin up and exposing a delicious stretch of throat that has Baze clamping down on a highly annoyed spark of lust. “You, on the other hand, would make for quite a large lump of a corpse, come to think of it. Hmm.”

Baze snorts. “You didn’t act like you were kissing a corpse last night,” he says, and Chirrut waves a hand.

“No, no, you’re right. I prefer you in non-corpse-form. Very well then,” and he unfolds with the startling grace that he has - the same physical capability that’s stymied more than one assassin expecting an infirm, out-of-shape hacker - and bounds over to fold into Baze’s lap, who hastily retracts the gun into his arm compartment. Chirrut cups his cheek, running light fingers over exposed metal ridges and surgery scarring. “For you, my beloved, I will take a paying contract. How much should the Monk charge for his services, I wonder?”

Baze raises an eyebrow under Chirrut’s hand, not bothering to conceal his surprise at his partner’s easy capitulation. “For you? You could probably ask for anything you want. Couple million creds, to start with, and going up from there.”

Chirrut’s pupils contract in the way that indicates he’s pulling something up on his internal HUD. “I have here a humble request,” he says, stretching out the word ‘humble.’ “From someone designating herself Mon Mothma. Came in just a few hours ago.”

Baze raises his other eyebrow. Mon Mothma of Alliance Corp? Everyone in the shadow world knows by now it’s just a front for one of the many proletarian movements seeking to break the grip of the oligarchy. Ironic that she’s funding it with wealth gained through her own corporation. But she can pay handsomely. 

Chirrut bends forward to kiss his eyebrows. “I take it you approve.”

“You’ve vetted it already,” Baze says. 

Chirrut scoffs. “You could have left that thought unvoiced and saved yourself the energy,” he says, and Baze rolls his eyes.

“When’s the verification meeting?”

“Tomorrow, in the Prosperity District. At a very nice café for the finest tea in the region, the reviews tell me.” 

Right in the heart of downtown, in the shadow of every major Megacorp skyscraper in the SPTG. Baze sighs. “I’ll get out your good suit. Try not to get yourself killed.”

“Mon Mothma asked for you, too. By name.” Chirrut smiles radiantly, inordinately pleased for no reason Baze can think of. 

He grunts and wraps his hands around Chirrut’s waist. “We’ll have to pull the rich-asshole-and-his-bodyguard act again.” Baze’s visible modifications aren’t unusual in the bowels of the city, down at street level, but would stand out as unspeakably gauche if he tried to pass himself off as a plutocrat on the 200th floor of some shiny fuck-off corporate complex.

“If we must,” Chirrut dismisses. Then he pushes Baze flat on the floor and slides down, grin glittering wickedly, and proceeds to make Baze prove - repeatedly - that he is very much, definitely, decidedly not a corpse.

(Sidenote: Baze does in fact own a super rad cyberpunk motorcycle that leaves neon streaks in the darkness when he and Chirrut ride through the rain-soaked alleys of their city, because the Rule Of Cool turned the knob up to 11 on this pair, and everyone knows it.)

german computer science vocabulary

taken from the glossary of my AP Computer Science prep book. tbh i didn’t know half of these words even in English but this is a good way to procrastinate I guess

die Anwendung (en): application
der Arbeitsspeicher (-): random access memory (RAM)
das Betriebssystem (e): operating system
das Binärzahlensystem: binary number system
das Bit (s): bit
das Byte (s): byte
der Bytecode (s): bytecode
der Computervirus (viren): virus
das dezimale Zahlensystem: decimal number system
das Fehlerbeseitigungsprogramm (e): debugger
die Grafikschnittstelle (n): graphical user interface (GUI)
der Großrechner (-): mainframe computer
die Hardware (s): hardware
der Hauptprozessor (en): central processing unit (CPU)
das Hertz (-): Hertz
die Hochsprache (n): high-level language
die Hypertext-Auszeichnungssprache: Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
die integrierte Entwicklungsumgebung (en): Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
die Internetadresse (n): Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
der Interpreter (-): interpreter
der Kleincomputer (-): minicomputer
der Maschinencode (s): object code
der Mikrorechner (-): microcomputer/personal computer
die Minianwendung (en): applet
das Modem (s): modem
das Netzwerk (s): network
der Nurlesespeicher: read-only memory (ROM)
das Oktalzahlensystem: octal number system
der Programmbinder (-): linker
der Programmcode (s): source code
der Pufferspeicher (-): cache
das Sedezimalsystem: hexadecimal number system
die Schadsoftware: malware
der Server (-): server
die Software: software
der Softwareentwicklungsbaukasten (baukästen): Software Development Kit (SDK)
der Transistor (en): transistor
der Übersetzer (-): compiler
der USB-Speicher-Stick (s): USB flash drive
die Workstation (s): workstation
der Zwischenspeicher (-): buffer

4

In quantum computing, qubit or quantum bit, is a unit of quantum information—the quantum analogue of the classical bit.

A qubit is a two-state quantum-mechanical system such as the polarization of a single photon: here the two states are vertical polarization and horizontal polarization. In a classical system, a bit would have to be in one state or the other, but quantum mechanics allows the qubit to be in a superposition of both states at the same time, a property which is fundamental to quantum computing.

youtube

It’s the start of a brand new adventure and the evil that comes along with it

youtube

Time to announce our next Let’s Play, Okami!

forbes.com
Key Challenges For Monetizing Big Data-Powered AI: An Overview

Admit it: Your big data is just a big waste of money and server storage space.

No matter how much of it you collect, no matter how many analytics programs you run, no matter how many data scientists you have pouring over the bits and bytes – big data is not boosting the bottom line or making your business smarter.

You’re not the only one facing this problem, according to recent articles in the Harvard Business Review and McKinsey. But don’t blame big data for that. It’s all your fault.

You’ve been focused on analyzing the data rather than extracting intelligence from it and taking quick action on that information. Big data would be more than happy to help you achieve these goals, but only if you use it correctly.

It’s possible to transform your big data into an amazingly accurate soothsayer using process-centric and process-embedded AI and machine learning. In order to do so, you have to overcome the three biggest challenges in the quest to monetize big data: complexity, consumerization and continuity.

I’ll dig deeper into each of the three challenges in future articles, but first, here’s an overview of the aforementioned challenges.

Challenge No. 1: Confronting Complexity

A recent article in Forbes reported that data scientists devote up to 80% of their time collecting and massaging data before even trying to extract anything useful from it. Some even termed these tasks as “data janitor work” and “data wrangling.”

Trying to get value out of vast amounts of complex data is a serious challenge facing businesses. A recent big data survey by NewVantage Partners cited “ability to develop greater insights into their business and customers” as the primary driver behind their big data initiatives as well as “faster time-to-answer, faster time-to-decision and faster speed-to-market.” We know that organizations that manage to do this benefit greatly.

Challenge No. 2: Creating Consumerization

Organizations want to extract intelligence from their big data as quickly and easily as consumers get the information they need from the apps on their smartphones. In other words, businesses want “consumerized” data. The resounding success of the IBM-Apple partnership is a significant harbinger of the increasing need for AI-powered corporate apps that can institutionalize analytics-driven decision making.

Think about that for a moment. Our phones can sift through mountains of data, select the most applicable information and display it in a usable, appealing fashion along with personalized suggestions for further action. This is AI at work. And they accomplish this in real time.

How can businesses work with their big data in the same fashion? Analytics firms need to consumerize the data, providing businesses with the information they need right now, in a consumable format for effective decision making.

Challenge No. 3: Constructing Continuity

Until now, organizations mainly relied on analytics to understand the drivers of past performance or the root cause of a problem, but organizations are increasingly demanding insights from analytics that enable them to predict their future. Predictive and prescriptive insights are big data’s real value.

But as anyone who has seen a time travel movie or studied quantum physics knows, the predictable future is not set in stone. If something shifts, the whole scenario changes. A new product is released, a clever business maneuver is made, the global economy coughs, and suddenly, you are in uncharted territory. All the predictions around product demand, consumer perceptions or consumer sensitivity to pricing are no longer optimal because there’s suddenly a new kid on the block and the picture has changed – again.

Creating continuity between the present and the rapidly changing future is the third challenge that faces organizations today. While meeting all three challenges is critical to extracting the most value from your big data, continuity is in many ways the most important, as it underpins the self-learning architecture of the analytics that are ushering in the era of sophisticated AI, machine learning and deep learning.

Welcome To Tomorrowland

Every business today is functioning in a complex, dynamic environment. Nothing is static anymore. Some businesses may move faster, and some slower, but no matter what the industry is, business is in a constant state of motion, always trying to compete. This has consequences for big data.

As new data flows into the ecosystem, insights need to be continually recalibrated. Big data analytics must continuously update the insights so that stakeholders are served with predictions that are based on the latest and greatest data.

There’s a saying that dates back to the early days of computer science: “Garbage in, garbage out.” It’s a phrase coined in 1963 by George Fuechsel, an IBM technician and programming instructor. Fuechsel was referring to a computer’s remarkable ability to grind out vast amounts of utterly incorrect information when fed erroneous data. As sociologist William Bruce Cameron once said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” (Cameron’s quote is now widely, and wrongly, attributed to Einstein.)

Any big data initiative that doesn’t reduce complexity, enable consumerization, provide users a peek into the future and rapidly recalibrate as the future unfolds is simply not optimal. The bottom line is this: You must be smarter than your data. The purpose of your data is to keep you way ahead of the curve. If your data is moving faster than your predictions, your insights about the future will prove no more realistic than a ride through Disney World’s “Tomorrowland,” now also known as the “Future That Never Was.”

Anti-Oedipus, An Introduction: Ab Initio

“It is at work everywhere, functioning smoothly at times, at other times in fits and starts.  It breathes, it heats, it eats.  It shits and fucks.”

What is ‘it’?
That’s the question. That’s the question to which, in the broadest sense, Anti-Oedipus is entirely dedicated.

Everything is wrapped up in this basic question. Nietzschean transvaluation, Spinozan ethics, Humean empiricism, Bergsonian intuition: all the modes of thought Deleuze spent the 1960s exploring come together in the question, as do the two great domains of thought which dominated French intellectual life in the 1960s, but which Deleuze, notably, never really bothered with before: psychoanalysis and Marxism.

For most of its history, Western philosophy asked, “What am I?”
It explorations of being, of consciousness, of existence, all began with the thinking subject. But the 19th century destabilized the idea of the self’s supremacy: first Schopenhauer then Freud established unequivocally the existence of forces in the mind beyond and outside of consciousness; first Hegel then Marx insisted that consciousness is not a transhistorical given but a product of material and social existence; and Darwin’s theory of evolution formalized the radical notion, hinted at much earlier in Spinoza and Hume, that humanity is not a quality outside and beyond nature - after Darwin, it could no longer be doubted that man was fully in and of nature, and that both human existence and human consciousness are fully within and entirely bound by the principles that govern natural things. Deleuze & Guattari’s position is explicitly clear: “There is no such thing as either man or nature now, only a process that produces the one within the other.”

Thus the formula of the Cartesian cogito - “I think, therefore I am” - in which subjectivity and existence are absolutely linked, was ruptured. Things exist beyond and before consciousness, before subjectivity and the self. What are these things? What underlies and underpins our ability to watch ourselves think and to say “I am”? This is the question to which inquiry now needed to address itself.

To those relations and forces which affect and shape the individual mind but are outside individual consciousness Freud gave the name “das Es,” the German third-person neutral singular pronoun. “The id,” Freud’s English translators decided. IT. That…something. We say 'it’ because “that which acts but is not the individual consciousness” is kind of bulky.

But Freud’s concept is not adequate. “What a mistake,” D&G write on the first page of Anti-Oedipus, “to have ever said *the* id.” It’s not the idea of unknown forces that bothers D&G, but the singularity, the definite article, the oneness - the idea that behind the subject is simply another, deeper subject, a second, hidden self. What kind of explanation would that be? Like a dictionary definition that includes the word being defined, THE id, the irreducible singularity of the individual unconscious, is inadequate to explain the substrate of the self, the materials and forces from which the subject is constructed and the process by which that construction takes place.

And without a doubt, it is a process that we are in search of here, not a thing. A thing is not an explanation. “Machines driving other machines, machines being driven by other machines…Something is produced, not mere metaphors.” To ask what “it” *is* is to return to the other of subjectivity the position of a subject - centered, stable, observable. The question must be reconfigured if we are to get anywhere at all. Hence the emphasis on processes, on becomings and relations. There are two questions which will guide D&G’s entire exploration: “How does it work?” and “What does it do?” Or to put it slightly differently: “Given a certain effect, what machine is capable of producing it? And given a certain machine, what can it be used for?”

It is thus never a question of truth. Truth is a correlate of being - the simplistic Platonic question that asks, “What is it?” It is always a question of action and activity, of processes and becoming.  To say that the schizophrenic “resists” the forces of capitalism and acts on their “actual” desires is to reinstate the stability of truth as the substrate of the subject, to suggest that beneath the subject constructed by capitalism is an unconscious that is nothing but a deeper, truer subject - a subject more truly the subject than the subject itself.  Does that sound absurdly complex and incoherent?  Yeah, that’s because it is.  The subject has “desires,” but beneath those desires are not more true, “actual” desires, but desire itself, not a desire for or a desire to but desire as the flow, as force, as the energy that connects machines together.  The schizophrenic’s desires are schizophrenic precisely because they are not the schizophrenic’s.  Desire never belongs to anybody - the schizophrenic is simply in a much better position to recognize that fact.  The subject is an operating system - it’s nothing but a thin, reasonably coherent interface designed to facilitate a user experience.  Beneath it are endless series of programs, connections, links, chips, nodes, processers.  We want to strip back the screen and watch the bits and bytes connect.  We want to figure out what makes the damn thing tick. 

It will be a wild ride. An expansive, immense one, spanning the whole of history and the entire surface of the world, every cell and organelle in the body and the entire human race’s collective orgasms.  How could it be anything else when the root of the entire problem is the idea of discrete entities?  Here, again, the Cartesian cogito furnishes us with the best example - the mind that can only become certain of its own existence by denying the possible existence of everything around it.  Individuals, unique and irreducible, trapped inside their unique and irreducible flesh suits.  Fuck that.  “The real truth of the matter - the glaring sober truth that resides in delirium - is that there is no such thing as relatively independent spheres or circuits."  The analytic mode - breaking things down, separating them, examining things in antiseptic isolation - is not sufficient.  Everything relates to everything, everything connects with everythingAny time we say that something is, the verb "to be” means the exact same thing.  All things are in the same way - this is the claim of substantial unity, the univocity of Scotus and Spinoza, that is the Deleuzian heart of Deleuze & Guattari.  Deleuze is the metaphysics; Guattari is the schizophrenia.  Everything is necessary.  It’s all a part of the same giant mess of quivering, stuttering connections and larval, productive flows. 

In Marx we find a history of social processes that never adequately explains interiority.  In Freud we find a history of interior processes that never adequately explains sociality.  The series of binaries that govern this separation - inside/outside, self/other, personal/social, private/public, mind/body - are the false divisions, the inadequate analytic distinctions that pry open the subject only to find…another, deeper subject.  More of the same.  This is the problem of hermeneutics, of interpretation.  Interpretation seeks to determine what a thing truly is.  In the Freudian concept of repression no less than in the Marxian concept of false consciousness, there is the supposition of the latent and the manifest, the visible surface which we see and the true thing hiding beneath it, the real meaning of the things we perceive.  But this is sleight of hand, because every hermeneutic in fact presupposes knowledge of the thing it supposedly sets out to discover.  D&G do not want interpretation.  They want schizoanalysis, an open-ended process of discovery the parameters and protocols of which are discovered as we go along.  Things will get messy.  But that’s OK.  Because things are messy.  Sometimes there will be tautologies and dead ends and circles, because life is a series of feedback loops, not a clearly sign-posted highway.  

Speaking of clearly sign-posted highways:  if interpretation and the lure of the hermeneutic is the first thing we reject, we equally reject teleology, the idea of a destination known in advance, of a future that emerges clearly and inevitably from a present that is taken for granted as fully understood.  No, no.  We sort of see the past.  We barely understand the present.  Who the fuck knows what the future will bring.  The inevitability with which Marxism, especially, claims to see the future unfold out of the present is an error, to Deleuze & Guattari.  The idea that “schizophrenia is capitalism’s annihilating angel,” as Peretti’s article suggests, is not what D&G suggest at all.  The inevitability of teleology as just as invalid is the certainty of interpretation - in both cases, there is a claim to know in advance what is yet to be discovered.  Nonsense.  Again, what we are interested in are processes - connections, shifts, movements, relations, changes.  Not beginnings and endings, not stages of dialectical development, not aims or truths or any of that knowing, presumptuous horseshit.  These are all things.  Processes do not have beginnings and endings, they only have magnitudes:  more, and less.  Changes are not conclusions or inevitabilities, but simply oscillations.  Faster and slower.  Bigger and smaller.  Stable and chaotic.  What goes up must come down.  What deterritorializes must reterritorialize.  What escapes coding in one place must be coded in another.  History isn’t a straight line, it’s an insane, stuttering doodle.  What was can be again - but different, because you can never piss in the same river twice.  Heraclitus said that.  Or maybe it was Patti Smith.  One of those growly old punk dudes, anyway. 

Anti-Oedipus is revolutionary.  No doubt about it.  But it’s not revolutionary in that it’s a handbook for revolution, or a manifesto for one.  Not for your revolution, anyway, or for the one you think you want.  Enough with the teleology, already.  There’s nothing revolutionary about a revolution you can already see coming.  And anyway, we’ve already established that what you think you want isn’t actually desire, anyway.  Stop assuming.  Stop interpreting.  Stop waiting.  Dive in to a sweeping, sweaty, swirling morass of concepts and connections.  But for fuck’s sake, don’t do it because you think you know what you’ll find.  If you want to read things that will reflect the reality you already assume exists, stick with Buzzfeed and Fredric Jameson.  If you want to reinvent the world, to patch together a new infinity from lacerating shards of chaos, Deleuze & Guattari are waiting. 

youtube

What happens to a video after it gets uploaded to YouTube? 

Making millions of videos from thousands of camera types play on thousands of models of computer and mobile device and making them work every time someone pushes the YouTube play button… well, that is nothing short of a technological miracle. But even as someone who lives and works on YouTube every day, seeing words like compression and codec thrown my way and trying to decode whatever that “processing” bar is doing… I guess I’ve never really asked myself how it’s all done on the level of bits and bytes and 1s and 0s.

Thankfully, we have this great series from Nat and Lo about the science behind YouTube to explain it all! Check out Part 2 here, “What happens when you watch a YouTube video?

During the CD audio reformatting process at NPR, the Ripstations (aka our favorite Robots) help with the legwork (or should we say arm work?) by checking that the bits and bytes on the discs are inline. But the best final audio quality checks (QC) are completed by humans.

As archivists listen to the stories and voices from the past, audio reformatting provides for a visceral human experience. Engaging with archival audio makes us feel like we are traveling back in time!

Click here to see what else the RAD team is doing to save our stories.