Brondignach (V)

– No, I can’t. – The surface of the table is immense, but slightly reflectant. A quick look doesn’t show anything over it that I may use as a ladder, string or parachute to go down. I prefer to save words and I don’t explain my findings to the doll.

– I don’t know why but I was also expecting that. – There is a deep sadness on her whispers. – Let me see what I can find.

I do remember now that I forgot to investigate the velvet tray. Well, I do have something that I could use as an anchor…but I will wait until she comes back. The perspective of escaping with her is ominous. What if she insist on leading the way? It’s true that she may know more about this world we’re in, but I don’t have any reason to trust a person that tends to run in the presence of danger without trying to communicate the plans to the others. She’s for me, a traitor by definition.

– Here! – I look on the direction of the whisper, that is not the same that originally she was.-  I’m going to throw you something, with a string attached. Please catch it and anchor it the best place you can find for it. – Pause. – It’s enough if it holds for the time it takes you to slide down. Will you be able to do it? – I nod by instinct, then I whisper a “yes”, and wait. – Good boy. Here it comes. One two three go!

I see a silver arrow crossing the artificial horizon that is the border of my table. How the hell is she sending it up so high? The spear falls like fifty meters away from where I am, between me and the velvet trade. I go for it before saying anything. The arrow is like one of the pins the giant used to fix the boy to the trade. The string attached to it looks like some kind of thick spider silk. Not that I remember playing with it frequently, but it’s irregular, dirty white, and sticky. But where can I attach it? She whispers again.

– Did you get it? Pull it twice for yes. – I do so. Is she now protecting me? Why a code? Didn’t somebody said that they can’t hear us screaming? – Good boy. Now please attach it as good as you can. When you are ready, pull it twice. There should be something there you can use as an anchor: a piece of bread, a cardboard, something. Or you can try to stick it over a long surface…- I think about it.

– No, I will manage. Please hold on. – I don’t whisper on purpose. I take the pin and walk down to the velvet tray, where the remnants of the boy are pinned down. One more will not harm him more than the current ones. Besides, he’s dead. I look at his glassy eyes. I look at the recomposition the giant made. Very rude. Then I lift the pin and I stick it into his torso with all the forces I can gather. For a moment, I doubt he’s not going to come back from the deads and pin me back, but of course it is not happening. And I have my anchor. – Ready! – I shout, and I pull twice from the spider silk. We are going to escape, so, why bother?

– You are so useless. I’m going to miss Trell so much. – I don’t know if the ambient is so silent I can hear everything or it’s that she want me to hear it. – Just follow the line, get to the border, grab the string with both hands, and jump over the border. Do you think you can do it, city man? – I walk to the border. I don’t see what’s at the bottom, but the string goes down with a kind forty five degrees slope now. Whatever was used to launch the spear has been moved away to help me to slide down.

– Of course I can. I go to the gym twice per day. I’m ready! – I shout.

– Then do it, please. Let’s end up with this, I want to sleep before we leave. – And I jump.

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Brondignach (IV)

I did faint and probably slide down. I wake up close to the corpse. The ambient light is diminished, or the night is coming to us. I don’t know and I don’t have a way to know. My stomach hurts: I’m starving. I remember the boy saying something about crumps. I try to leave the creepy velvet trade the giant is using as an expositor of his trophy – another living human a few hours ago – and I find myself over his table.

The table surface reflects the crepuscular light that comes from outside. It’s slippery, like if I walk over a frozen lake. Now I realize a window.  Before there was lamp light and I didn’t have time to pay attention to the decoration. It must be as big as a football field, and it resembles it with its tiles. No exit there, unless the opening is mechanical or electrical. In that direction, I see some irregular shapes, like rocks, projecting pointy shadows in my direction, against the unknown light source outside. I try to move fast. Just in case this is a setup. But the shapes are indeed bread crumbs, each one the size of my head. I am lucky the creature is not precisely a clean guy. I take the smallest, and I bite it. It’s from a cookie! I smell the piece, trying to extract some additional information. Do I know the baking? Is it cinnamon flavor or is it lemon? Or something else?

– Auch! – It’s hard and I’m hungry, and I can’t avoid shouting when I bite my tongue.

– Trell? Are you there? – The voice of the doll reaches me as a whisper. Maybe we are overacting, as far as I understood the natives are not able to hear anything of what we say. I shiver. But maybe there are other creatures here that can. I risk it anyway.

– Hello? I’m up here! I’m sorry to say it, but he’s definitely dead! – I don’t shouth, but also I don’t whisper it. Silence. I munch my cookie crumb. The noise is quite distinct and loud: cruch, cruch, crunch. Maybe it’s only in my head. I hope so. I take another crumb and start to move. How far is the edge of the table?

– I see. I was hoping he was unconscious only. I just run away when he appeared. They like to play, you know. – Pause. Probably she’s evaluating my achievements, so to say. I know a lot of girls like that. Picky without concerns about the situation. – Then it’s going to be you. You are going  to help me. Can you come down on your own?

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Brondignach (III)

I see the horror on his face before I realize the giant is back. His fingers look like pink tree trunks, moving weirdly coordinated. The hand grasp the boy in a way similar the way he took me. I decide to play the boy’s game, just in case it works, and I stay still, trying to look like a discarded crash test dummy.

From my privileged point of view I can see the scene pretty well. Yes, definitely they are bilateral. Two legs, two arms, two eyes. The eyes look funny thought, like if they were segmented or something like that technical. Is the nose maybe more bulky? The hair grows on the same spots, they don’t seem to have tail. Maybe they are after all humans, and it’s us that are, as a result of some disease or experiment, becoming smaller and faster. Becoming out of their scope, also.

What is he doing now? The giant has grabbed, as he did for me, one arm of the boy with one hand, the other with the other. Now as in slow camera I see him stretching the boy out, slowly moving his arms apart. The boy shrieks with pain. The giant ignores it. Oh, I forgot, they don’t hear us. He seems to hesitate, then, hanging the boy by his arm, he takes the leg with his free hand and stretch again. I can see his pain, but the giant doesn’t seem to be looking at the right spot.

Cold sweat goes down my spinal cord. I was in that situation, then he dumped me. It must feel like being on the rack. But the boy seems to be holding. Isn’t his first time? How can someone simply move after being stretched out this way? I look at him, totally and utterly useless, totally and utterly powerless. With a final shout, the boy faints, but the giant keeps pulling on his members. I’d like to move forward, but I’m petrified. I’d like to close my eyes, but I must know what the giant does.

With an occlusive sound, like the one a cork does when flying out of the bottle, the giant pops out both arm and leg of the boy. The rest of his body falls down to the far carpet fifty meters below us. If he survived to the dismembering, he will not survive to the fall. Meanwhile, our involuntary jailer is rotating at his slow camera speed both hands and examining the body parts. I see an expression of surprise forming on his face. He didn’t expect this result, I hope. But no. The surprise is turning to a smile.

He dumps the body parts close to me, where I can see they are not as bloody as one could think of. They really look like dummy parts. The best is on the floor. Still frozen, I see how our giant looks for the remnants of my former teacher of this world, and carefully, arrange them on the velvet box we seem to be in. Blood is still flowing from the holes, but very little. With some pliers the size of my body, and pins the size of my arm, he fixes all the parts together. The body and the remaining limbs get 4 pins. Then the leg and the arm are roughly reattached, and pinned below the ankle and the knee. He covers the result with a brush that seems to be wet in some dense white goo, smelling strongly to chemicals. A glue maybe? I content my urgency to throw up. I need to keep my position, he seems to be looking at me, from time to time. Probably as a model. Because this result, from his point of view, may as well look like the perfect display of a broken toy.

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Unfinished lines

Due to the nature of my ideas I’m not really good on finishing my stories. They come from my dreams, which means they are blurry and most of the time unfinished. I decided to write here some summaries of the ones I’d like to finish, with a link to the first chapter. It’s not only for you, but also to remind me that, at one point, I have a lot of lines to work on. So here you have them, not on a special order. Consider it a repost 😉

  • Coinreruf. Welcome to the origin of mankind. It’s a wild time, and the values as we know them remain yet to be written. The Kingdom of Pecunia sent hist best man to find a special girl that has in her hands a secret able to change the future of all. Are they going to be brave enough as to reveal it? Or are they going to fail on shaping the civilization so that it doesn’t pass down the current black days?
  • The Water Wedding. In the future, Utopia is a forgotten concept. The known Earth is divided into two blocks, the System and the Empire. Hakim is a privileged server of the Emperor and has been invited by him to the biggest event known on the Lands, one of a lifetime, the Water Wedding. Welcome to a wild road trip that will bring him and his lover to Fountain City and …to find themselves.
  • Star Hotel 2050. Your work is really appreciated. To the point that you are invited to visit the result of if, on space. The Star Hotel is the most ambitious project a private company has built so far, but you don’t want to go there alone. You bring your family to shelter you. Because who’s better than your family to find out what’s wrong on leaving Earth, and all its commodities, to move to another planet? Or is it that your family is really as particular as it looks like for you?
  • Brondignach. Humans are being brought here, to this land, by an unknown force. But this land is already inhabited. And the natives, although humans, are enormous, and don’t seem to see humans as little people. They chase them, the play with them, they use them as toys. Communication, even written, seem to be impossible. Follow one of the visitors of Brondignach on his search of the Paradise, the human land, away from the giants. A search that is also a path of discoveries.
  • The Yellow Earth. The Fall took mankind by surprise. Nobody knows what it is, nobody knows where they are now. There are theories, of course, but most of the people just keep on going, without caring about the ancient ruins mixed up with the city, without asking themselves about the green moon now floating over. Anyway, people keep coming, and the news about what happened back on Earth are not encouraging anybody to come back.

There are more. I’m very messy, I’m sorry. One day I’ll make order. I need to. And you will hear about it. Thanks for being there!

Posted in 2050, aliens, bits, Brondignach, dragons, fantasy, new dreams, old scrolls, Pecunia, System Earth, time travel, yellow earth | Leave a comment

Reorder the network connections on Windows 10


As a part of the leginon installation we may need to reorder the network connections, so that one of them is seen always as the first one. The reordering described on the picture and link above seems to work just fine on Windows XP. However, on Windows 10 the business is a little bit different. You need to change the metrics. This is how they did it, and this is how I did it, step by step. Note that you need to be Administrator to do it.

  1. Check the original order. Open a command prompt (search Windows for it, or ask Cortana) and type ipconfig (or ipconfig /all). Keep the window open for later.
  2. Click on the network icon (usually bottom right) and on the menu that appears, on Network settings. You should get a new window. Roll down until you see Change adapter options (on blue). Click on it. You should see several icons of screens with a cable or a signal icon, maybe a red cross if the connection is not on use.
  3. Right click on the connection you want to have available first. Go to Properties (at the bottom, with the administrator shield). A new window will appear. Stay on the new window, look for  the Internet Protocol option, and click on Properties. Yet another window will appear.
  4. On the new window, click on Advanced. You should arrive to Advanced TCP/IP Settings. It has several tabs, stay on the IP settings. You see? Automatic metric is marked. Unmark  it, and give it a number above 2: for example 3. Click OK, OK, OK and close everything.
  5. Repeat for the next interface, give a number higher for the second (for example 4) and so on for the third, etc. Do it for all the interfaces! And check on the command prompt window that the order is now the one you want.

Note that you don’t need to reboot to apply these changes. And probably you were wondering why you need to give a metric above 2. It’s because 1 and 2 are reserved. You have a lot of numbers, so don’t make a movie out of this! 🙂

(EDIT: I’m kind of busy with the X-mas things. Sorry I don’t post as frequently as before…)

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Star Hotel 2050 (VII)

– You know, Paula, we really appreciate the work your father has done here. – I managed to remember the name of the man I’m almost sure is here the Head of Environment. – Are you following his steps? Because we could use some intuition for our Mars Project.

– Me? Going to Mars? That would be simply awesome! Where do I sign? – David, that’s his name, laugh out loud, and tap my daughter on her shoulder.

– Well, well. I love your enthusiasm. Unfortunately, working for us doesn’t mean coming to the place! That is not fashionable since…

– Since 2020. – My father enters in. He retired a little bit after that. – I retired in 2030. Offices were very lonely places those days.  – 2030? I thought he stopped working much earlier! But maybe I’m simply remembering when he stopped going to work. – I was not able to believe the VR office was coming to stay. Damn, I still do not trust the whole VR thing! It’s so realistic…

– Indeed it is. But not enough, otherwise we will be out of business. The haptic feedback, for example, is one of the fields that are most looked for, and appreciated here on the Star Hotel. Your father, Paula, is the direct culprit of it… the AI’s can scan out the network looking for likes on this or that, but they don’t live it.  Take this restaurant we are going, for example. – The Boulevard was indeed charming. The light from the fountain was diminished already (which means we were entering the local sleeping cycle) and like a dozen of old Shanghai-like neon lights (my idea) were floating around. I spaced out of David’s advertisement a little to try to remember what we have here. It is confusing to be for real in one of the VR proposals of Aladdin’s AI collective. I remember studying hard all of them. The one from the bar and restaurant area I approved was having a traditional Chinese look, with a lot of small Japanese-style restaurant rooms that were selling food from all around the planet. Small Japanese restaurant rooms were a very discussed option (what if one of them becomes popular?) but I managed to sell them as a very effective solution for small groups, that are still the target of the Star Hotel. Families, and families-to-be on route to Mars.

– Here it is. – Our anfitrion made a gesture in front of it. The Blue Lotus. – The best fish restaurant on orbit! I’m really proud of the robots here. They are master chefs. – I read my father’s face. But he’s not going to be nasty with our sponsor, thanks a lot. I could lose a lot of points if this dinner goes wrong. On the other hand, if it goes well…

We take the first door out of four that seem to be all the restaurant. The room is having space for a maximum of eight commensals, with a table in the center, and at the end of it, a window from where I guess food and drinks can be taken out. David is sitting now close to it, close to Paula, my father, in front of him. I go with my father.

– How does this work? – My father takes one menu. I look at his. There are shrimps, squids, lobster, crab, sardines…but my father turns the page before I read it all, to reach the drinks section. – He taps on one picture of a beer. – Beer for me, please. I’ve been thirsty since we took of! What a nice surprise to find beer here!

– Father. – I must. – Be careful, you’re no more forty.

– Let him enjoy his first night! – David takes the menu, and taps visibly on the beer picture also. – And you, Paula? I guess you will enjoy our space green tea… – She nods. Then it’s done! – He leaves the menus over the table, where we found them. – We will decide on the food later.

– We don’t order? – My father again.

– You just did, sir. – We turn our face to the window, where the stylized torso of a robot with extra long arms is handing the beers to David and my father. They grab them with a smile, and the robot extends his arm somewhere to pick up another glass, that he hands to Paula. – Your tea, little one.

– Thanks mister robot! – He smiles. The robot is my doing. And I’m proud of it.

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Install and use bbcp on CentOS 7

It is very annoying to move or copy data around, from storage A to storage B, and back sometimes. Specially if it’s like, a few terabytes of data. The default tools under linux are usually command-line, and will depend on a lot of parameters, like how the type of mount (cifs, nfs, gpfs) the bandwith and the command used. The obvious ones are copy (cp) that I tend to run recusively and verbose (cp -Rav  origin destination), move (mv) and rsync (that also has a lot of options). But they don’t squeeze out all the speed, since they don’t run in parallel. If you want and your data structure allows it, you can always write a script to loop over the folders and start a copy/mv/rsync for each of them. But this is not what I wanted to show you. The most complete tool, and the fastest after my experience, is bbcp. Unfortunately, to use it, you need to install it first.

There are several ways to do that. You should get the package from somewhere, for example, download latest puias-computational rpm from a CentOS repository:

Install puias-computational rpm:

# rpm -Uvh puias-computational*rpm

Install bbcp rpm package:

# yum install bbcp

Or you can follow this installation procedure from another blog 🙂

After that, you can start by typing bbcp and you should get something like this:

bbcp: Copy arguments not specified.
Usage: bbcp [Options] [Inspec] Outspec

Options: [-a [dir]] [-A] [-b [+]bf] [-B bsz] 
[-c [lvl]] [-C cfn] [-D] [-d path]
[-e] [-E csa] [-f] [-F] [-g] [-h] [-i idfn] 
[-I slfn] [-k] [-K]
[-L opts[@logurl]] [-l logf] [-m mode] [-n] 
[-N nio] [-o] [-O] [-p]
[-P sec] [-r] [-R [args]] [-q qos] [-s snum] 
[-S srcxeq] [-T trgxeq]
[-t sec] [-v] [-V] [-u loc] [-U wsz] [-w [=]wsz] 
[-x rate] [-y] [-z]
[-Z pnf[:pnl]] [-4 [loc]] [-~] [-@ {copy|follow|ignore}] 
[-$] [-#] [--]

I/Ospec: [user@][host:]file

So how does it work? In principle, once tuned, bbcp will start several parallel copying processes and report you (if you want) of what’s going on. The nicest feature, from my point of view, is that, at the end of your run, it will inform you of what it did. Like this:

5170 files copied at effectively 20.3 MB/s

I got this line at the end of my run. Sample line to bbcp origin to destination is:

bbcp -av -P 2 -s 16 -w 2M -r origin/ /destination/

Here you have another usage example. I think the tool, although a little bit cumbersome, is working very well. What do you want more, a progress bar? 🙂

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