28 June 2012

Frakking Cylon Bugs!

I was about to update FWS with a blogpost about the weapons used in space warfare, and it was good, but after hours of work...it is gone. Just gone. Reports are flying around the internet about something going on with blogger. I blame the Cylons.
Frakking Toasters.
Anyway, I am working on another post or the other will resurface. I ask for patience for you, my readers, while I try not to take my new SOG tomahawk to my laptop.
Frakking Cylons!


  1. I feel your pain, William!! I've learned to always save my work when working in a graphics application like Adobe Photoshop, because sometimes those programs crash and I lose all my work. I just know that Cylons are involved in these failures.

    I hope my new Silk Trigger Active Return Bolt Laser's autotargeting adjust is more reliable than our computer programs- otherwise, I may have some trouble with those pesky alien space cowboys...

    Christopher Phoenix

  2. Recently, Blogger has gotten buggy, I have an issue of my text going all white, like someone using white-out on the screen. The HTML code says the background colour is white, which is wrong. But, is only happens at home when I use Chrome. Odd. I think when I was editing the HTML code, I fucked it up, and Blogger rejected the entire code...wiping out my work and a very good post. I am reworking on it now.
    You bring up a great point, Mr. Phoenix, about the over-complexity of future firearms...what if your smart gun crashes like an iphone? Hmmm....

  3. I hope you manage to get that reworked post up here without a hitch- it sounds like it will be interesting to read. Frakking Cylon bugs...

    Maybe you should write a post on "smart guns" sometime. As far as I can tell, the term "smart gun" can mean two things. In SF stories, a smartgun is a firearm (usually a handgun) fitted with a fire control system, so it can accurately convey where it is pointing via a heads up display or even target itself within certain limitations set by its users. Which, to be honest, sounds pretty awesome. We can't build such a weapon today, sadly.

    Some SF guns also have biometric handgrips that lock out unauthorized users- perhaps only a few people can use it, or maybe the gun will not fire unless a certain species is using the gun (in settings where various alien species live alongside each other, perhaps). Other even complex features might only allow the gun to target certain species- like the revolvers in "Westworld" that could only be used to "kill" robots- until the robots rebelled, that is!!

    In some SF stories, there are true "smart" guns that actually have built in low-level AI. Some SF firearms could only be capable of doing the things they do if they had low level AI. Obviously, this is out of our reach for a long time. So are biometric handgrips that can read your fingerprints, fire control systems that can track targets and auto-target, firearms that can tell friend from foe and so on.

    In the real world, various antigun organizations have lobbied for laws that require us to buy "smart guns" or "personalized guns" that won't fire unless we are wearing a magnetic ring or RFID chip. Such systems are extremely unreliable even under laboratory conditions, and will probably get their users killed. Just wait until criminals (or an oppressive government!) figures out how to jam your "smart guns" RFID circuits. These systems don't help the user. I firmly believe that no one should rely on safety features as a replacement for safe firearms habits. Keep the gun out of reach of the two year old- don't rely on magnetic rings. What's to stop the kid getting his hands on the ring too? After all, very smart three year olds are the only people on the planet who can open "child-resistant" packaging- they are probably the only people who can actually use a smart gun, too.

    The term "smartgun" as used in military SF and "smart gun" as used by political lobbyists are not the same. A true smartgun will show where it is pointing on a heads up display- perhaps one built into a contact lens. It will be able to track targets and possibly even aim itself within limits set by the user. It may have a biometric handgrip- but only if such technology is reliable. A "personalized gun" that civvies are forced to buy has no such features- it only locks out unauthorized users (and fails when you need it most) and maybe incorporates a "gun camera" that records every time you fire a shot- for court "evidence", of course. A true smartgun aids its user, a "personalized gun" limits its user.

    Christopher Phoenix