Black Pill

Seen on Twitter, via Slate Star Codex. Decided to try my hand at a more nuanced version. Limiting myself to 1000 words as a challenge, and to avoid spending too much time.

After many false starts—time vision is surprisingly hard to write about—it is done. Completely different from how I imagined it, and much shorter, but such is life.

Have a great 2016 everyone!


Gives you the ability to see up to one month into the future.

“Sometimes life turns out hard, Isabel. Sometimes it just bites right through you. And sometimes, just when you think it’s done its worst, it comes back and takes another chunk.” —M.L. Stedman, The Light Between Oceans

To any clear-eyed seer, the future is a grand darkness.

Everything we have threatens to go away; everything we own decays and turns to dust. Climb, and chaos tugs at you, a gravity critter so misleadingly small until it looms in your periphery, a boiling maw whispering for you to let go, let go, let that same chaos jostle and tumble you around in the energy spiral’s decaying dance, let it shelter you from the world’s sheer stillness, let it cradle you in the business and busyness of life.

Pull free from chaos and for a moment the grand darkness is visible, a terrifying nothingness pierced by pinpricks of hope and love, which send forth their lonely messengers of light to unseen corners of the universe.

The future is easy to see if you just open your eyes. And a little less terrifying when the stars are doubled in the eyes that gaze back at you.

Moving howtos to Github Gist

I have made a lot of promises on my technical posts to provide updates whenever I run across them, and I have broken most of these promises. A large part of that has to do with my publication (on WordPress) being separated from my notetaking (on Github Gists).

So here’s a mini announcement: all technical howtos will be migrated to Github Gists. You should see a convenient link to my gists in the right sidebar. And here’s a list of the migrated posts, each hyperlinked to their new home on Github.

  1. Logitech MX Revolution in Arch Linux
  2. Linux and Western Digital Advanced Format Drives
  3. Cyborg RAT 7 in Arch Linux
  4. Linux disk performance tweaking parameters

Thresholds in computing: Part 11 – A Thin-ITX challenger appears: The Intel 5×5

(Part 11 in a series of posts on small-form-factor computing)

Before I temporarily ended my series on thresholds in small-form-factor computing, I talked about Thin-ITX being the last stop in a series of miniaturisations. For a while it looked like the Intel NUC might become the next form factor; there were third-party cases and coolers being made for it, and Intel has stuck with it for three generations, gradually lending it the stability needed for OEMs to build businesses around the product. Nobody wants to make accessories and alternative parts for something that could disappear in
a year or two.

But in CES 2015, something interesting appeared: a socketed sub-ITX motherboard.

intel-sff-mobo Continue reading Thresholds in computing: Part 11 – A Thin-ITX challenger appears: The Intel 5×5

Gray Pill

Seen on Twitter, via Slate Star Codex. Decided to try my hand at a more nuanced version. Limiting myself to 1000 words as a challenge, and to avoid spending too much time.

A short break in the middle of a busy month.


Gives you the ability to control any machine or electronic using only your mind. You also have the ability to generate powerful electrical discharges by touch.

You never thought it would be invented in this century.

The neural interface was simple, almost laughably child-like, and like all things that came before it, assimilated itself into your daily life with hardly any excitement. The easy things were easy; switching on your TV, controlling your lights, managing all your kitchen appliances. You threw all your remotes away that same day.

Then you ran into the brick wall of software. Continue reading Gray Pill

Red Pill

Seen on Twitter, via Slate Star Codex. Decided to try my hand at a more nuanced version. Limiting myself to 1000 words as a challenge, and to avoid spending too much time.

I know I skipped Red Pill, just because I wanted to write Blue and Pink together. So here it is.


Gives you super speed, super strength, and rapid regeneration (not invincible).

It has only been two months, and already they’re asking you to try a Caterpillar.

15 metres in length, and almost as tall at full height, and a whole 600 tonnes in weight. The A380, which you already tackled last month, looks a lot more impressive, but the one they gave you was ten times as empty and half as heavy.

They didn’t even put on the handbrakes. Continue reading Red Pill

Pink Pill

Seen on Twitter, via Slate Star Codex. Decided to try my hand at a more nuanced version. Limiting myself to 1000 words as a challenge, and to avoid spending too much time.

A companion story to blue pill, and also an unabashed fanfic.


Gives you the ability to make any person love you with a single touch. Can turn off the effect by retouching the person(s).

They say love is blind. That is how it looks from the outside: veneered infatuation, a surface attraction, failure to see imperfection.

It’s surprising, when you read the interviews, how many abused partners know exactly what they are getting themselves into. They loved, because they knew their love was needed. Love helped them to see; it was hope that made them blind.

And so it is with all these whom you have taken under your touch, telling them where to put their money, where to spend their time. Continue reading Pink Pill

Blue Pill

Seen on Twitter, via Slate Star Codex. Decided to try my hand at a more nuanced version. Limiting myself to 1000 words as a challenge, and to avoid spending too much time.

This is short because of lack of inspiration, and simply because I couldn’t quite get into character for this unabashed fanfic. In compensation I will post pink pill together with it.


Gives you the ability to fly, swim, and teleport to any area while being impervious to any physical dangers.

Where does one end, and the universe begin?

Teleporting an atom, and teleporting another atom, there is virtually no difference. These atoms came from a long line of creatures, feathered lizards, Roman rulers, paupers, bourgeoisie and proletariat alike. We have in each of us some from Julius Caesar, and some from St Francis. The atoms they do not care, they do not draw lines and boundaries.

The atoms they do not belong to us.

Sick of petty conflicts over special atoms on earth, I teleported myself to Mars. Myself, without the atoms I borrowed to manifest my existence; there are many more on Mars that can be used. There I built. And I observed that what I made was good.

But she was not there. Continue reading Blue Pill