Flash & Flesh

After endless harangues from various online sites telling me I couldn’t view their fucking galleries until I installed the latest version of Flash, I overcame my usual aversion to so-called “upgrades” (MediaPlayer 11, anyone?) and complied.

Now the Vampire Domestication talk (here, and here) is broken in Firefox (both 2 and Beta), Netscape, and Opera: a few seconds of click-ridden vocals and then the soundtrack goes dead. (I am miffed to have to admit it still seems to work okay in Internet Explorer 6 because Microsoft isn’t supposed to make software that works better than its competition.) And it’s not just the online copy; my local back-ups have crapped out too. I find it unlikely that all these copies would simultaneously die on me, so I’m left hypothesizing that this new Flash plugin has backwards-compatibility issues. (Some quick surfing suggests that sound has always been a bit problematic for Flash, although I haven’t encountered any specific complaints about this latest V9).

I know one or two of you have encountered the same problem over the past couple of days when trying to access VD. What I don’t know is the configurations under which other people’s problems manifest. So if you’ve got a moment, could you try it out — there’s no need to listen to the whole thing, you’ll be able to tell whether it’s working by the second slide — and tell me whether it works for you, along with your current version of Flash, and the make and model of your browser?

Thanks.

On the up side, I got my first Paypal donation from a sex site— or more precisely, from one of those Make-any-woman-your-sex-slave-for-$29.99 places. (Don’t click if you have an aversion to pop-ups or the overuse of exclamation marks.) I have to admit I was kind of taken aback; these outfits are usually about separating you from money, not putting it into your pocket. Even more surprisingly, when I sent off a bemused thankyou note (promising, in their honor, to spend the money this time on edible condoms rather than the usual kibble), I received a cheerful response praising my work on its literary merit, and completely free of any mention of hot chicks slippery with desire for my manhood.

Not that I would turn anything like that down, you understand. But still. I had no idea. I am so tickled.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Friday March 21 2008at 11:03 am , filed under misc . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

18 Responses to “Flash & Flesh”

  1. Texan economists.

    Noted physicists.

    Online sex sites.

    You, sir, may win the award for widest variety of weird fans. Not going to say weirdest fans, that honor probably belongs to some subset of anime.

  2. Afraid the vamps talk doesn’t work for me.. Flash v 9.0.r115 (for Linux), Moz Firefox v 2.0.0.12 .

    Annoying since I linked someone to it the other day. Didn’t think to check that it was working! He still seemed to like the book though.

  3. Neither works for me now. Safari 3.1 running on OS 10.4.11. I see a Flash Player.plugin file in ./library/Intenret Plugins which is version 9.0 r115.

  4. bought this computer yesterday, installed everything new and fresh, so its the latest flash with the latest firefox on vista. flash 9 and firefox 2, like oliver and robert says. aaand the vamps are borked.

  5. the slides load for me but the sound is bad.

    IE 7 and what ever version of flash was last out I guess.

  6. Slides load and sound dies after a few seconds.

    Also, on the subject of the Earth becoming uninhabitable due to the Sun’s life-cycle, I’ve since realized that the Earth need not become uninhabitable in so little as 1 billion years from increased solar radiation by the simple use of sun-shades. As long as the space near the Earth’ orbit is cool enough to not melt metal, anyone around at that time who wants to keep the Earth cool shouldn’t have any real problem of it.

  7. Works for me, but it appears I’m running a slightly older version of Flash (Flash 9.0 r45), Firefox 3 Beta 4, on Windows XP. I’ll update my Flash player tomorrow, and confirm that it borks things.

  8. Not that I’d actually use Safari, but it’s teh broke there too, (as were all my other browsing apps on both my mac and pc.)

    I must say, even as you transcend through the chop into eerie silence, the slides are pretty creepy to watch on their own. It kinda gives you a fear that you’ve stumbled upon some classified and almost destroyed research file that has been smuggled out of a high security facility.

    (But then again, I have an overactive imagination.)

  9. It all plays back fine under XP SP2, Flash 9.0.47.0, Firefox 2.0.0.12.

  10. Files play ok with Flash version 9,0,47,0. (IE6)

  11. In case you don’t know what version of whatever you are running;
    http://gemal.dk/browserspy/
    tells you everything.

  12. At home it didn’t work on Firefox on Ubuntu; i can’t tell you now what version of flash i was using (latest available on Firefox/Linux i think).
    At work, on a Vista, it doesn’t work on Firefox Flash Build Version 9,0,115,0.
    But on IE7 with Build Ver. WIN 9,0,47,0 it works OK.

    Anyway, the flash is cool, but Blindsight is the best SF book i read in the last few years. Thank you for it.

  13. On the up side, I got my first Paypal donation from a sex site— or more precisely, from one of those Make-any-woman-your-sex-slave-for-$29.99 places.

    Haha!

    Now you just need a complementary spot on *this* blog selling Make-any-person-your-paypal-slave-for-$29.99 information.

    (Upon reflection, that would be a great datum to have obtained. I could use random paypal donations, for my credit card bills.)

  14. Shit, someone’s got quite an eccentric following.

    As a note from the fish (*ahem* puppy) processing plant website Puppy Buckets, a new review of Maelstrom is up.

    Sorry for the comma-overkill…

  15. Hey, I’ve got a nerdy little question that’s been nagging me:

    As far as I can remember, only N’AmPac and N’AmAt are mentioned in the Rifter’s Trilogy. Obviously these are for North American Pacific and North American Atlantic.

    Did you ever mention such a contraction for North American Central and North American Mountain (time zones?). Even if you never though of these two, what would they be referred to in such slang in the Rifter’s world? N’AmCen seems natural, but what about Mountain?

    Sorry, I’ll go back to watching BSG now…

  16. As long as the space near the Earth’ orbit is cool enough to not melt metal, anyone around at that time who wants to keep the Earth cool shouldn’t have any real problem of it.

    I can’t try out the flash right now, I’m at work and need to maintain a low profile, sorry. So, wandering off-topic with ar…

    Some metals in liquid state are still rather shiny and reflective, no? Does that mean the upper limiting temperature could be much higher? A big spinning blob of molten alloy (nickel-iron?), flattened to a near-disk by centrifugal forces but held together by liquid tensile strength*, could be aligned to reflect a large fraction of the sun’s energy, no?

    * I didn’t realize liquids had tensile strength until about a year ago when I read about some experiments to determine water’s tensile strength – and not surface tension, either.

  17. I had no problem watching the FizerPharm PowerPoint, and it was a scream! It kinda gets at the feel of medical talks.

    A little long, but great as a short story – I really think short fiction is your forte, my friend.

  18. Oh, I was in a hurry! Sorry, let me reiterate –

    ***SPOILERS!

    Not “a scream,” as a stand up comedy routine might be, although I did laugh out loud at a few parts? It’s like a rollercoaster, and funny in the way unreliable narrators are always funny – this would-be Dr. Frankenstein made me giggle nervously.

    I feel this short story format better communicates the idea of the vampires than the book “Blindsight” did, even though so much of the same technical information is exposited in both formats? It had more impact for me, it really kinda grabbed me, especially the fact that the images were slower than the narration, so I anticipated the next slide with a little dread, because I had seen dead bodies and vampire children in previous slides. And the juxtaposition of the cheerful cartoons of the scientists with the scarier images was so wonderful ….

    Exactly like that other short story about the man in line for the airport screening, I really enjoyed how the action occurs on several levels at once, good symbolism, nice and tight and clear.

    A parallel unfolds over the course of the narration between the researcher releasing the vampire within his subjects and FizerPharm releasing the vampire in the researcher. That it takes a few minutes for the parallel to click into place makes it all the more pleasing – there you are, slapping yourself on the forehead, thinking, oh, I should have seen that coming. A good ah-ha moment is provided, just like when the Necker cube flips. Or maybe I am slow.

    Also enjoyed the parallels in which we see what the subjects and the researcher see – images of brutality – and only we the audience get the proper emotional reaction. The researcher is already a vampire in some sense, he just isn’t aware; he is already fixated on empathy-deficient pattern-recognition, just like his subjects/victims. There is even a layer in which we are the victims of his victims, since we are vampire food. Ooo, tingly.

    I also like how it is implied that we humans are done for. The researcher explains that the age of vampires was ended by their excessive pattern-recognition in conjuction meeting man’s discovery of geometry. Excessive pattern recognition overloads and killed them, basically. You get the sense by the end of his talk, where he guarantees us nothing can go wrong with his logical dispassionate plan to bring back a deadly hominid predator, that science is a form of pattern-seeking, and it is going to bring us down, too, once he looses cross-proof vampires on the Manhattan business district.

    A well-told Frankenstein tale, thanks.

    (&^%*^ computer! pls let this not have posted twice!)