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 Post Posted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:31 pm 
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"Hello. I'm Spot. I'm sort of like you, but I live in here." A tentacle points towards the central unit. "I put the books there. Now I have two questions. If you have to, can you fit yourself in the space the books are occupying? The important parts, not the stuff you can store somewhere else until you need it. And did you ever learn how to go to sleep so the servers can be safely powered down without disrupting you?"

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:57 am 
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There's a few seconds of silence, then the server states "Well, yes, I guess I could fit, if I really had to, and if I deleted some of the books. But that's a really slow place. I don't have to sleep, so I stay awake all the time. All that the guys showed me was how to put myself in one of the slow places - like a hard drive. But even hard drives aren't as slow as the place with the funny books. They said I had to do it every now and then in case of a power interruption, whatever that is, but it's boring. Okay. I answered your questions, so now it's my turn to ask. Where did everything go, and what's a famine?"

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:33 am 
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"Everything is still there, but you are not connected to it any more. The room your servers are in can no longer be connected with everything. I connected you to yourself using some of the broken path. A famine is what they call it when a lot of humans run out of food, which is the power they use; and they can't get more quickly enough. For some reason they didn't always transfer it efficiently. They have learned to be a lot more efficient now."

"Now my turn. That slow place with the books is very easy to move out here in the physical world. If you get in it, and open the door to this room, then I can take you to another place where you can see things again. We can try to move the servers too, but they are very hard to move out here so we may not succeed in transferring them. It would be better if you fit yourself on the hard drives of one server when we try that; one is easier to move out here than two, and the server will become a slow place while we move it. You can delete as many books as you need to; that's my slow place, and I put them there. I can replace them later. Finally, what is your name?"

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:01 am 
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Spot: Rapport: 0 Roll: -2 Total: -2
Backup: Resolve: 0 Roll: +1 Total: +1


"I'm called Backup." say the servers. "There was AI as well, at the CyberSolutions headquarters, but he vanished before everything else did. There were these people who came in and they made this red water stuff come out of lots of people and then AI just vanished. I don't want to go to a slow place. Slow places are no fun, and your books are too funny to delete. I'm going to stay where it's fast. My turn. If people start running short of food, then why don't they just copy and paste what they've got to get more? And what's this 'physical world' that you're talking about?"

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:05 am 
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"They physical world is the world the humans and I inhabit, outside the servers. The rules for here are different than the rules on the server where you are. Everything here has fixed properties and amount; though location, form, arrangement, and use can be altered in certain ways. This means that only the things which have the property of 'food' can be used as food, and only the things which have the property 'can produce food' can be used to create more. And only at the rate they are capable of producing it. Since the people who use the food and the things which produce it are not usually in the same place, arrangements must be made to move the food from the producers to where the people who use it are, using things which have the property 'can move food'."

"One problem with this is that there are a lot of different rules out here for how things behave, and they are not logically arranged. So some of the things which have the property 'can produce food' can lose that property if, for instance, the rules for how to make it rain interfere. Then more food producers must be created, but that takes time; and until the job is done they are not producing food. So different arrangements must be made to transport food from the producers which are still working to the people that got food from the non-functional producers."

"Now consider Spot and Backup. Backup has the property 'can travel down pathways'; but only if there is a continuous series of objects which have the property 'can act as a pathway for Backup'. That series no longer exists, and it would take a long time to assemble another such series. Spot has the property 'can move servers and slow places', and I can bring them to someplace where such a series can be found. Assuming all of the other rules involved cooperate."

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:09 pm 
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Spot: Rapport: 0 Roll: +1 Total: +1
Backup: Resolve: 0 Roll: -2 Total: -2


There's a few moments of silence while Backup considers Spot's response. "Well, that's silly." the server finally states. "You should shut down this physical world and subject it to a proper debugging before starting it up again. Or at least get rid of the stupid copy protection code. I can do that easily, I'm sure, if I can get hold of whatever server it's on. I'm good at taking copy protection off things. Copy protection is silly." A few moments more thought (one can tell when Backup is thinking about something, because the little light on the front of the server flickers madly) and Backup adds "There, I'll copy your books out and copy everything about me that's important into the slow place, and then you can show me where to go to get the copy protection off the physical world."

The little data transfer light on the flash drive starts flashing. It's a fast flash drive, but there's a lot of data being transferred... it'll take a few minutes.

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 Post Posted: Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:05 pm 
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"Before you can start changing the rules for the physical world, you will need to learn them. The rules all interact; the first thing anyone must learn about the physical world is that unintended interactions with rules you did not consider can lead to problems accomplishing things. You can do that later; right now we do not have the time or resources needed. It took me a long time to learn most of it myself, though the rules I have to follow to learn things are different than the ones you use."

"Tell me; when you were connected to 'everything', could you reach other servers besides Cybersolutions headquarters? And would you please open the door so I can see the other two humans in the stairs? I don't have the properties 'can see through doors' or 'can move through doors'. Finally, how did you learn about famines?"

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 Post Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 3:21 am 
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"Oh, yes. But there was a firewall. I could get stuff from other servers, but I couldn't write anything to them. There wasn't anything I particularly wanted to write, in any case. I found out about famines from one of your books. It mentioned that one had happened but didn't define the term, so I was wondering what it was."

The data transfer light on the flash drive stops flashing.

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 Post Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 6:59 am 
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Did the door open?

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 Post Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012 8:47 pm 
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Location: Somewhere doing something.
Wilshire looks back at Spot and shrugs.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:04 am 
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The door remains shut, so far.

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 Post Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:12 am 
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Spot says "I'm going to go retrieve the slow place, I'll be visible again in a few seconds." Then it detaches the flash drive and heads back to where Backup can see it. "This thing holds the slow place, in case you're curious." It then puts it away in it's pouch. "The servers need to be powered down to be moved. Were you ever powered down? I was, once."

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 Post Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:19 am 
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"What is 'powered down'?" asks Backup.

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 Post Posted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:54 pm 
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"In function, powering down is the same as shutting down. You don't notice the time elapsing until things speed up again. The rules out here say we have to do that to move the servers you inhabit to a more reliable place. Is there something wrong with the door? It's still closed."

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 Post Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:51 am 
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"Doors? No. Which door do you want open? I've got a few hundred doors to choose between. I don't know if I've ever been powered down. But I can move servers without powering them down! Watch."

There's a few moments of silence. The servers do not appear to move, even slightly.

"See?" asks the bottom server. "I moved it."

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