Fang Talks

No fun allowed.

Hela-hola-hela-hola! How are we all doing today?

My day really can’t get much better, to be quite honest. I’ve gotten most of the grades for the tests from the test week now, and I must say I surprised myself. Except for biology, all my grades have turned out to be surprisingly good. Lots of people around me are flailing about with bad grades, and I’m sitting there, flipping my shit, waiting for the teacher to tell me how I did. BOOYEAH, GOOD NOTE. Couldn’t be happier.

Heading back to the hot topic of the month November, I’m spending way too much time on this NaNoWriMo thing. But staying ahed of schedule feels so good, and it will come in really handy if I have one of those days with very little spare time. Or very little motivation, for that matter.

Spoiler:
Retrieving the package from the mailbox, you notice it’s quite heavy. You wonder what could be inside.

[[ [08:11 AM] FallenMind’s Chatter status is now “Chatty” ]]
FM: Okay, I got it. Should I open it or what?
AL: handle it with care though!!
FM: Oh… The mailman kind of stowed it in the mailbox.
AL: i hope he survived it!
FM: Wait, what?
AL: just open it already!!!
FM: Okay, okay. Let me see…
[[ [08:13 AM] FallenMind’s Chatter status is now “afk” ]]

Opening the package is quite easy, seeing as how it has been manhandled by the mailman. Douchebag.
As soon as light enters the box, a loud bark emerges from it. You look inside. A small dog looks up to you. Not an ordinary dog, though. A robotic dog. You squeal in excitement and hop around a little. This is incredibly silly, but your new friend keeps his eyes focussed on your face nonetheless.

[[ [08:15 AM] FallenMind’s Chatter status is now “Chatty” ]]
FM: THIS IS SO DAMN AWESOME
FM: IT DESERVES EVERY SINGLY LETTER I TYPE HERE WITH CAPS LOCK ON
FM: EVERY. SINGLE. LETTER.
FM: THANK YOU SO MUCH!

AL: heehee, i knew youd like it! :D
FM: Where did you get it? Does it come with an instruction manual or something?
AL: there should be a pouch on his right side, everything you need is in there
FM: Oh yes, there is.
FM: DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW COOL THIS THING IS
FM: IT IS LIKE JUMPING UP AGAINST MY LEG AS I TYPE THIS

AL: well, youd better go take care of it then! :D
FM: Yes, maybe I should. I also need to calm the hell down, before I lose my mind.
AL: i really need to go now
AL: enjoy your birthday, the next one doesnt come til next year!!

FM: I sure will, thanks. Have a nice autumn break!
AL: yeah you too, bye! and give your dog a name!
FM: I’ll try. See you!
[[ [08:20 AM] AutumnLeaves’s Chatter status is now “Speechless” ]]

Your hands are shaking a little. Your own robotic puppy, how awesome is that? It must’ve cost her a fortune, you really should repay the favour later on. But first things first, the instruction manual. The dog has already lost interest in you and squandered off to someplace else. You look around your room, and find that the thing is playing with some school books you have laying around.
‘Hey,’ you yell at it. It looks up and faces you. ‘be a bit more careful with those books, will you?’ It ignores your demanding demeanour and starts playing with the books again. ‘Samuel Xavier Clarkson, stop that this instant!’ Your yelling now actual and proper loud yelling. Sam, the pup as you just named him, looks up much more swiftly now, and takes a little walk of shame away from the books. It is that it’s missing the natural look, otherwise you’d think this was a real dog.

Feeling a little sorry for Sam, you walk over to him and pat him on the head. You shouldn’t have yelled at him like that.
‘How about we take a look at your booklet?’ you say. The dog turns his right side towards you, showing off the compact, stretchy pouch. You open it, and take out a booklet and a few short cables.

“RDBQ 1.0 BEGINNERS GUIDE”, the booklet says. You guess the first two letters stand for Robotic Dog, but you have no idea what the BQ could stand for. Your open it up at the table of contents. It lists different chapters, most importantly “features”, “care-taking” and “programming”. Under “features”, it lists a few subchapters, most of which seem pretty interesting. “Body recognition”, “voice recognition”, “SMARTS-system” and “weaponry loadout”.
Wait a sec… Weaponry loadout? You mean this dog is armed with lasers and whatnot? Heh, good joke. Those guide writers sure do have humor.

You skim over the “features” pages, and are pretty impressed by Sam’s capabilities. It has some really complex algorithms behind the body and voice recognition. It also takes input from quite a few sources, namely 3D-camera eyesight, microphones, touch-sensitive skin, accelerometer, gyroscope and a magnetic field sensor. It combines all of that into a compact data-set, and uses that to make decisions on its own.
It can also learn things. Since it hasn’t been “alive” for very long yet, it is still kind of dumb. The integrated SMARTS-system enables it to compare new to old data, to see if anything’s new. If something is new, it analyses what it is, and stores that in its memory, along with the subject’s properties.
God, Sam really is amazing.

After having read through the “programming” chapter, you learned you can also add in your own algorithms, behaviours, and other programs of your choice. Surprisingly, you can write them in Java. You had expected something a lot more complex. Java is a great all-round language, though, and is still pretty good for these kinds of purposes.
You intend on spending the rest of the day tempering with Sam’s systems, but you recall having to do something important. Oh yes, the BlizBlu server. But you won’t get to that before you’ve plugged in Sam’s charging hub. He’ll hook himself up to that whenever his battery’s running low.
Being a dog owner comes with many responsibilities. Making sure he has easy access to the mains is one of them.

Back to business, you guess. You’ll have to make short work of their server’s new security, so you can get back to more personal matters more quickly.
You open up your Terminal, set it to full-screen mode, and get to work. Working with a bare-bones console like this, quickly scanning thousand of numbers flying across the screen, it almost feels like second nature to you. Outside of the Terminal, you boot up a program you’ve written yourself. You enter the server’s address, and it scans it for data. From the publicly available data, it quickly generates thousands and thousand of possible server passwords. It’s like brute-force hacking, but without the blatant idiocy.
While that is running, you best get round to gaining external access.

A few hours later, you have full admin access to the BlizBlu server. As proof, you’ll mess around with their files a bit. You’re sure they’ve removed any top secret documents, and backed everything else up properly.
On the root of the server, there’s a folder named “congratulations”. It was probably put up there for your enjoyment, so you check to see what’s inside. It contains a single file, “rewards.exe”. You open it up, and are presented with a bit of text.

“Congratulations on besting our new security system. We didn’t think you could do it. You will get your payment, we’ll contact you about that as soon as possible. For the time being, we have something else we thought you might enjoy. As you read this the program is downloading an odd application to your computer. We found it on some obscure server we obtained whilst expanding our network a few years back. The code is unreadable gibberish, encrypted in a really odd way. Have away with it, we hope you enjoy it.
We’ll contact you when we need you again. Thanks for your time.
– BlizBlu Security Department.”

Odd, but okay, good enough. As you wonder what this mystery program they speak of is, a loud bark scares the living snot out of you. Sam has found its way onto your desk, and is barking at the monitor.
‘Damnit Sam,’ you say to him, agitatedly. ‘Keep it down, will you?’
Your robotic pal ignores you, and keeps barking at your monitor. That is, until it presents you with a notification that two files have been successfully downloaded to your computer. Sam’s barking stops, and he slowly backs off with his tail between his legs.
‘What is it boy? It’s a computer, just like you.’ Sam agilely jumps of your desk. He keeps amazing you.

You examine the two files you just downloaded. They are complete gibberish. Not even the filename is properly readable. What’s up with that?
You try running one of them using a program you’ve also written yourself. It uses code detection algorithms to automatically turn any type of program into something your OS can run without an effort. Seriously, it almost seems as if you’re the God of algorithms and complex programming. You’re a fucking genius.

Surprisingly, it actually boots.
The program presents you with a screen. A big button that says “SEARCH FOR SERVER PLAYER” and a text field that asks you for a specific IP address. They seem to work separately, so you hit the search button without entering anything in the field. A “no server players found” error pops up. Guess that was to be expected, with you probably being the only person in the world who has these files on his computer.
You decide to boot up the other program, though you have a vague idea of what that will do. As you expected, it presents you with a screen containing a button and a text field. This time around, the button says “SEARCH FOR CLIENT PLAYER”.
You quickly deduce a few conclusions. You’re probably dealing with a game here, seeing as how the users are being called players. In order to start a game, one needs both a server and a client player. You guess it’s also safe to say that there is currently nobody else in the world who can run this game.

You are curious to see what kind of game it is, but you need someone else to set themselves up as a server player, first. It’s been quite a few hours since you last spoke to her, so AL may be back online.
You boot up Chatter again, and look through your Chatpals list to see if she’s there. But what the hell are you rambling on about, there is no list to look through! A list consisting of only one contact can not be considered a list.
Luckily, she is online again.

[[ [03:42 PM] FallenMind started Chattering with AutumnLeaves ]]
FM: Hello again.
AL: if it isnt the best robotic dog owner in the world! :D
AL: ..you have given him a name, right?
FM: Samuel Xavier Clarkson, how’s that for a name. I just call him Sam, though. Samuel Xavier Clarkson would be too long a name to yell whenever he does something stupid.
AL: have you taught him any tricks yet?
FM: I wouldn’t call it tricks, but he’s a pretty quick learner nonetheless. I wanted to program some new functionalities into him, but I’ve been busy with this server of this huge-ass company.
AL: are you getting yourself involved in really important things of big companies? :o
FM: I guess you could call it that. They asked me to test their new server security, and so I did.
AL: how was it?
FM: Got inside within a few hours. Was pretty challenging, but still not impossible.
AL: geez rich, you are all up in this hacking thing!! youre kind of like a really big deal now right?
FM: I guess you could say that.
FM: But hey, I found something interesting on the server. It’s a game of sorts, but it’s pretty odd, and can’t be run by any old computer.

AL: have you managed to hack that too yet? ;)
FM: I have managed to run it, but you need both a client and a server player to play it.
FM: So, would you mind acting as the server?

AL: youll have to walk me through it, but sure no problem!!
FM: Okay, hang on, I’ll send you all the files you need.
[[ [03:49 PM] FallenMind is sending 3 files to AutumnLeaves ]]

You are sending her both the game files, and an installer for your own program-converter-program. Now you just have to wait for her to receive the files and set herself up as a server player.

Adding in all those colours is such a fucking huge amount of work, you don’t even know.
As always, feedback would be much appreciated. Just don’t mind the minor spelling and/or grammar mistakes, this is all being written in one run without too much re-reading.

See you!
~ Fang

Comments

  • 10/11/2011 (2:38 AM)

    Congrats on the good grades and being ahead of schedule :) Both good things to have/do/be.

  • 05/11/2011 (2:19 PM)

    what is all this computer language mumbo jumbo? haha. in all fairness, so far so good, fang. :)

  • 03/11/2011 (8:43 PM)

    Congrates on the good grades!

    I don’t know enough about computers to fully understand the story, but it seems well written.

  • R
    03/11/2011 (1:30 PM)

    Congrats for the good news!

  • 03/11/2011 (2:32 AM)

    congrats then, good grades are good news

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