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indistinguishable from magic

indistinguishable from magic published on No Comments on indistinguishable from magic

From Wikipedia:

British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke formulated three adages that are known as Clarke’s three laws, of which the third law is the best known and most widely cited:

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, they are almost certainly right. When they state that something is impossible, they are very probably wrong.
The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

I’m done, personally, with the word play around hacker/maker. I used to identify as a hacker. Now we’re makers? Ya know what? I’m a mothafuckin’ wizard, according to Arthur C. Clarke. So there!

I’m building my own “smart” watch. To be perfectly frank, the bluetooth (or “smart”) part may be postponed some. I need to get settled into an android toolchain, and brush up on bluetooth/serial comm usage.

My Modern-Wizard’s ingredients list for a magical clock:

Various incantations and tomes (software/tutorials) exist for magical clocks. Many, you can modify with ease. I am writing my own as items from the list arrive.

Now, I know my target reader base is people like me. Angry geeks. But! We have to remember that we’re still kinda “special”. We’re still the wizards of the 21st Century, and likely will remain so for some time. As a systems administrator in my day job, people accuse me of utilizing witchcraft, voodoo and other things on the computer. I just smile, and continue on my way, silently agreeing with them. All because I know, if you put yourself in their shoes it sure looks like fucking magic.

Lots of other people have made the same argument. It’s easy to do. Here’s a scroll of adjust view:

xrandr --output VIRTUAL1 --off --output DP2 --off --output DP1 --off --output HDMI1 --off --output LVDS1 --mode 1600x900 --pos 1600x0 --rotate normal --output VGA1 --mode 1600x900 --pos 0x0 --rotate normal

To the typical work-only user, this is an arcane spell of unknown origin or result.
To any geek that knows a bit of linux, it’s one way to set up dual-displays.

Here, we have a spell of blinkenlight:

int led = 9;
int brightness = 0;
int fadeAmount = 5;
void setup() {
pinMode(led, OUTPUT);
void loop() {
analogWrite(led, brightness);
brightness = brightness + fadeAmount;
if (brightness <= 0 || brightness >= 255) {
fadeAmount = -fadeAmount;

This is a bit of (not terribly pretty) C code that can be flashed to any $5 ‘arduino’ dev board, and make an LED fade between bright and dim. Trust me, it looks pretty damned arcane to someone who’s never read C. Think wayyyy back to when you were first learning C.

I leave you with this. We (human beings) aren’t terribly smart in the grand scheme of things. We like to think we’re very clever, indeed. The sad truth is, we’re not. So, even as a wizard of tech, I can’t say I feel all that bright.

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