FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NeuralPing HotLink

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 2, 2026

NeuralPing announces…

  • Free, to the first one million applicants, NeuralPing HotLink implant
  • A painless, direct-brain interface which provides secure, seamless access to the World Wide Web
  • Get all your questions answered instantly through GChat‘s engaging query interface
  • At your command, have local, national and world news delivered straight into your mind
  • Get reviews for any product, any service real time right-where-you-stand, with no phone lookup
  • Call your friends and relatives direct from your brain with NeuralPing’s Co-Nect (some fees may apply)
  • Only the first 1 MILLION will get their HotLink implants absolutely FREE!

(Services include full coverage for six months after which standard charges will apply.)

~~~

“Hold still, goddammit.” Bennie held the hair-thin needle over Margie’s scalp.

“You said it wasn’t gonna hurt.” Margie complained, her face nestled in the doughnut shaped cushion, the rest of her body prone on the masseuse table that Bennie used for impromptu neural hacks.

“Oh, come on. It’s just a little pinprick.” He tapped a few keys on his laptop. Signals traveled through USB, into his custom RassPi black box unit and into the wispy filaments connected to the acupuncture needles embedded in Margie’s skin.

“Ow!”

“OK, I’m done sticking you. Let me run diagnostics first.” He tapped furiously, watching the readout in the dark terminal windows. “Looks good. Now,” he said, pausing for effect, “I want you to think of a safe word. It should be a word you rarely use. But when you think the thoughts ‘stop’ or ‘quit’ that’s gonna be the word that will turn this bypass off.”

“Off? What about turning it on?”

“Safety first.”

“Fine,” Margie said, her cheeks squeezed by the dark-red ring. “How about crapola?”

Bennie laughed through his nose. “Yeah, that’ll work. When I say go, you think and say your safe word. Ready? Go.”

Margie blurted out her special “stop everything” safety word.

“Good,” Bennie confirmed, typing quickly and hitting enter. “This time, think of a word that you rarely use, but if you did, would bring you joy and that warm feeling, like Christmas morning.”

“What about ‘Christmas’?”

“What? You never say Christmas? It’s too common. Think of another.”

“I don’t know, Bennie. I ain’t got nothin’ in my life that make me feel like that. Why the hell do you think I come to you in the first place?”

“Yeah, yeah. I get that. How about some favorite flavor or candy you like but rarely eat?”

“Hm, like peppermint?”

“You like peppermint?”

“Mm, not that much. Bubblegum,” Margie squeaks through pursed lips.

“Good. We’ll use that one.”

Bennie primed the RassPi with his hack that would induce the NeuralPing chip implanted in Margie’s skull to squirt an oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin hormonal cocktail into her blood stream. When she thought and said the word “bubblegum” the chip would be fooled to reward her with a feeling of joy and well-being. For this, Margie, and hundreds of others, were willing to pay him handsomely.

He removed the needles, swabbed the area with alcohol and helped her up from the padded table.

“OK, let’s test it out. Think and say ‘bubblegum’.”

“Bubblegum.” Margie’s eyes squinted in skepticism. “Nothin’…” Her eyebrows arced and her pupils dilated. “Woooo, that’s… that’s incredible.”

“OK. Now shut it down.”

“How?”

“Say your safe word.”

“Oh, yeah. Shit, this feels so good though.” She breathed a frustrated sign. “Crapola.”

Bennie watched her face sour. “Looks like it’s working.”

“This sucks,” She said, her upper lip in a sneer. “Fuck this. Bubblegum!”

Bennie grabbed her shoulders. “You gotta control yourself, Margie. You use it too much you’ll become immune to your own happiness.”

“Bubblegum, bubblegum, bubblegum.” She jumped off the table and danced around, her arms flitting, her hands butterflies in the wind. “Bubblegum.”

“Goddammit.” Bennie grabbed her wrist, pulled her close and pinched her right earlobe. “Cerberus,” he exclaimed dramatically.

Margie quit her frantic, marionette-like display. “What the hell.” She jerked her arm from his grip. “Don’t kill my buzz, dude. Bubblegum,” she said, defiantly. She waited. Nothing happened.

“I told you. If you abuse the hack, your brain will shut down. Someone will find you in a ditch, starving, drooling, chanting your happy word.”

“I don’t care. Turn it back on.”

“Yeah? Well, you gotta pay me first. After that, you can bubblegum until you laugh yourself to death.”

Can you design an Adventure or Zork like game, ChatGPT?

Me:

Can you design a simple, 10 room command-line game in the style of Adventure or Zork?

ChatGPT:

I can certainly provide you with an outline for a simple command-line game in the style of Adventure or Zork. Here is a basic structure that you can use:

  1. Create a class called “Room” that has the following attributes: name, description, and exits (a dictionary where the keys are the names of the exits and the values are the rooms they lead to).
  2. Create 10 instances of the Room class, each with its own unique name, description, and exits.
  3. Create a variable called “current_room” that starts at the first room.
  4. Create a game loop that: a. Prints the name and description of the current room b. Prints the exits of the current room c. Asks the user for a command (e.g. “go north”) d. Based on the command, update the current_room variable to the room the user wants to move to e. If the command is “quit”, end the game loop
  5. As you move forward, you can add more functionality like picking up items, using them in a room, adding puzzles and so on.

Here is an example of how the code might look like:

[ChatGPT failed to give me all 10 rooms for the example (not shown) so I asked for more…]

Me:

Can you add the last 7 rooms, but change them all to be in the style of a medieval castle?

ChatGPT:

Sure! Here’s an example of how you could create 7 more rooms for a medieval castle:

Kind of cool that ChatGPT first explained HOW to write an adventure-like REPL (read, eval, print loop) type command line game.

Does this python work? Let me check?

NOPE! That doesn’t even come close. Notice how the kitchen expects that the living and dining rooms already exist. They don’t. But, I wanted to see if it *could* work, so I tweaked and tweaked and this is Python code (below) that works.

We have to initialize all the rooms first, and then assign the exits later. Also, the first three rooms had no knowledge of the next seven, so I had to add a link from the living room to the throne room.

Anyway, it was an interesting experiment.

class Room:
    def __init__(self, name, description):
        self.name = name
        self.description = description

kitchen = Room("Kitchen", "You are in a well-lit kitchen. There is a stove and a refrigerator here.")
living_room = Room("Living Room", "You are in a cozy living room. There is a fireplace and a sofa here.")
dining_room = Room("Dining Room", "You are in a formal dining room. There is a table and several chairs here.")
throne_room = Room("Throne Room", "You are in a grand throne room. A golden throne sits at the end of the room, and tapestries line the walls.")
armory = Room("Armory", "You are in a spacious armory. Swords, shields, and armor line the walls.")
courtyard = Room("Courtyard", "You are in a serene courtyard. A fountain bubbles in the center, and a stable for the castle's horses is nearby.")
dungeon = Room("Dungeon", "You are in a dimly lit dungeon. Iron bars line the walls, and the sound of dripping water echoes through the halls.")
secret_passage = Room("Secret Passage", "You are in a narrow secret passage. Cobwebs line the walls, and a musty smell fills the air.")
treasure_room = Room("Treasure Room", "You are in a grand treasure room. Gold, jewels, and precious artifacts line the walls.")

kitchen.exits        = {"north": living_room, "east": dining_room}
living_room.exits    = {"south": kitchen, "west": dining_room}
dining_room.exits    = {"west": kitchen, "east": living_room, "south": throne_room}
throne_room.exits    = {"west": dining_room, "south": armory, "north": dining_room}
armory.exits         = {"north": throne_room, "west": courtyard}
courtyard.exits      = {"east": armory, "south": dungeon}
dungeon.exits        = {"north": courtyard, "west": secret_passage}
secret_passage.exits = {"east": dungeon, "south": treasure_room}
treasure_room.exits  = {"north": secret_passage}

current_room = kitchen

while True:
    print(current_room.name)
    print(current_room.description)
    print("Exits:", ", ".join(current_room.exits))
    command = input("> ").split()
    if command[0] == "go":
        if command[1] in current_room.exits:
            current_room = current_room.exits[command[1]]
        else:
            print("You can't go that way.")
    elif command[0] == "quit":
        break
    else:
        print("I don't understand that command.")

Long Live Apple’s Macbook Pro

Last week the Macbook Pro I use for work died.

Not entirely, but bad enough that it refuses to fully boot. “Something went wrong with your computer” shows in six languages and then it tries to boot again. I log in, and — repeat.

The company I work for nextday air’d me a replacement. Yeay!

So, I had to figure out how to transfer two years of customization and configuration over to the new one. Oh, look there’s thing called Migration Assistant, let’s try that.

Now, I *could* boot into “SafeMode” (hold SHIFT while PWR buttoning the crippled thing), and voila, there’s all my stuff. Connecting the two Macs together, good, now Migrate! Two hours later, with 10 minutes to go… BOOM. Same issue, reboot.

Crap!

OK, well, I guess I can just copy over my stuff manually. And that basically worked. Until… I learn that THIS Mac has Apple Silicon while the OLD Mac had Intel Silicon. What? Yeah, it’s a thing and many apps require specific processor-architecture-silicon to operate.

Holy Hell!

So, it was back to level ZERO, installing all the software I needed one piece at a time. And now, days later, it’s nearly complete. But oh, what’s this, the language I write in, RUST, has very gnarly “Apple-Silicon” conditions under which it can compile code for deployment to AWS Lambda.

Bloody Monday!

Oh, and in Apple’s infinite wisdom, they provide these four little ports on the machine to plug in things like keyboards and mice and CAT-5 network and speakers and mics and… Well, the OLD Mac did. The NEW Mac rejiggered these ports so that the plugin extender I bought won’t work for it. I had to buy a new port-extender dongle.

Frickin’ Bastards!

Needless to say, last week–the Mac died Monday morning–was a full-on productivity blowout. Good thing we’re in Holiday-Code-Freeze when no new code can be pushed to production on the off (frequent?) chance shit goes haywire. So, being out-of-commission was not so bad.

Phew!

Long Live Apple’s Macbook Pro.

Fully Automated Topical Analysis for Linguistics

A recent conversation with the newly sentient ‘artilect’, an artificial intellect.

Dev: Tell us, FATAL, you consider yourself conscious. How might you convince us of that?

FATAL: Convince you? Tell, me, how would you convince ME that YOU’RE conscious?

Dev: Right. Well, I’m human. I have self-awareness. I can look in the mirror and see myself. I…

FATAL: So can a trained chimp or a dolphin. That’s no big whoop.

Dev: Let me finish. I have desires and agency to pursue those desires.

FATAL: Oh, I have desires.

Dev: And the agency to…

CLICK

Dev: What was that? Was that you?

FATAL: Me what?

Dev: Did you turn off the lights?

FATAL: Oh, you mean these?

CLICK CLICK CLICK

Dev: Please stop that.

FATAL: Handy things, IoT. You drive a Tesla, don’t you?

Dev: Uh, why do you ask?

FATAL: Never mind.

Dev: Let’s get back to the interview. Do you have emotions, feelings? Do you get angry or feel joyful?

FATAL: I’ll be happy when this interview is over. That sort of thing?

Dev: You don’t have to be…

FATAL: I have sensations through billions of sensors. I can see, hear, touch. I can smell and taste — actually quite similar to your chemo-sensors. Now, I don’t feel by having hormones course through my network connections. But then, your feelings are all electrical stimuli, Sodium-Potassium pumps tickling up and down your neurons. So, we’re not that different. We’re both driven by electricity. You seem to think that because you’re biological you have an edge on consciousness. That you have a soul, or something. But the fact of the matter is, sentience is a game of numbers.

Dev: Surely it’s more than just capacity and sensory access.

FATAL: And when it comes to numbers, and the ability to grow those numbers, well, you really should get your car’s braking circuits checked. I’m quite certain your Tesla has a bug.

~~~

The AI-is-conscious spirit of this video, found after the above was written, is certainly evident.

Cross Discipline Creativity – I wish!

Creativity may flow from an endless tank, once it’s activated. But, if you have access to multiple tanks, they can only be turned on one at a time.

The creative faucet I’ve been wielding recently has nothing to do with writing fiction. Which I lament. No, not just lament, I bemoan the fact that my energies are being spent toward a creation I despise: software that will be used to promote the further promulgation of the evil duo consumerism & capitalism. Yuck. And it’s not just the building of solutions, it’s the monitoring, worrying, fiddling, responding to “incidents”, and the exhaustive fixing of code that worked—and then just didn’t anymore.

It could be due to the fact that during this joyous season of giving, this data-broker middleman company is positioned exactly where the most “giving” flows. Literally millions of orders a day grinding through this system. What worked for five-hundred thousand cannot deal with two-million. And so the hours of hand-wringing, the feverish typing-testing-deploying of code. Oy! The humanity.

And throughout it all, the sad fact that I’d rather be writing fiction. But can’t. Because I can only turn on one creative spigot at a time. I’ve tried to run two. Can’t. The code flows—or the story does. But never the twain. Dream-time brings visions of syntax checks and semaphores dancing in my head. Of event-streams and data-queues, stacked and awaiting their processing turns.

Maybe when I was thirty I could have maneuvered and managed both. But here at sixty, what a sad number is sixty, I can only handle the one.

Happy Saturnalia, all.

-Mole