Archives for category: Computers

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The Artificial Intelligence Storybundle
Curated by Lisa Mason

Artificial Intelligence—A.I. When computers become conscious. Self-aware. Genuinely as intelligent as human beings. Will A.I. benefit humanity? Or become our greatest enemy?

In the March, 2017 Scientific American, Gary Marcus, a professor of neural science at New York University, joins futurist Ray Kerzweil, theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking and others in concluding that the Singularity—that moment when A.I. truly exists—has not yet arrived. Will not arrive until the future.

That hasn’t stopped science fiction writers from tackling difficult questions about A.I., speculating about the future, and asking what if? In the most entertaining way! You must check out these amazing books from authors—bestselling, award-winning, as well as popular indies—in the A.I. Storybundle.

In New York Times Bestselling Walter Jon Williams’ Aristoi, an elite class holds dominion over a glittering interstellar culture with virtual reality, genetic engineering, faster-than-light travel, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, telepathic links with computers, and more. But murder threatens to rip that world apart. In award-winning Linda Nagata’s The Bohr Maker, a powerful, illicit device known as the Bohr Maker, a microscopic factory full of self-replicating machines programmed to transform a human host into a genius-level nanotech engineer. In Nagata’s Limit of Vision, biotechnologists enhance their own cognitive abilities and the experiment goes terribly wrong. In Locus Hardcover Bestsellers Arachne and Cyberweb, Lisa Mason follows telelinker Carly Quester as she confronts an A.I. therapist and finds herself entangled in the machinations of powerful A.I. sengines who want to destroy humanity. In Rewired, editors John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly present stories about A.I. and the future by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Jonathan Lethem, and twelve others. In Queen City Jazz, award-winning Kathleen Ann Goonan’s teenage heroine Verity journeys to the technologically superior but dangerously insane “enlivened” city of Cincinnati. In Glass Houses: Avatars Dance, acclaimed Laura J. Mixon takes us to a dystopian Manhattan of the next century where Ruby and her Golem, six hundred pounds of vaguely human-shaped, remote-operated power, run into serious trouble. In Eye Candy, popular indie author Ryan Schneider takes us next to Los Angeles of 2047 where a roboticist famous for his books on the inner workings of artificially-intelligent beings finds himself on a blind date with a beautiful robopsychologist named Candy. Trouble! And award-winning editor Samuel Peralta offers thirteen stories by new bestselling authors addressing the Singularity and A.I. in The A.I. Chronicles Anthology.

As always at Storybundle.com, you the reader name your price—whatever you feel the books are worth. You may designate a portion of the proceeds to go to a charity. For the AI Storybundle, that’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (“SFWA”). SFWA champions writers’ rights, sponsors the Nebula Award for excellence in science fiction, and promotes numerous literacy groups.

The basic bundle (minimum $ 5 to purchase, more if you feel the books are worth more) includes:

  • Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams
  • The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata
  • Arachne by Lisa Mason
  • Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly including stories by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Jonathan Lethem, and twelve others
  • Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan

To complete your bundle, beat the bonus price of $15 and you’ll receive another five amazing books:

  • Eye Candy by Ryan Schneider
  • Glass Houses by Laura Mixon
  • Cyberweb by Lisa Mason
  • Limit of Vision by Linda Nagata
  • The A.I. Chronicles Anthology edited by Samuel Peralta including stories by David Simpson, Julie Czerneda, and eleven others

So there you have it! Download your own bundle with award-winning, best-selling, and indie speculations about A.I. and the far future. The Artificial Intelligence Storybundle is both historic and unique, an excellent addition to your elibrary providing world-class reading right now, through the summer, and beyond.

–Lisa Mason, Curator

The A.I. Storybundle is available only from March 29 to April 20, 2017 and only via Storybundle. The bundle is easy to read on computers, smartphones, and tablets, as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books.

When the bundle is gone, it’s gone. Download yours today!

It’s super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

  • Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $ 5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth to you. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of thrilling titles.
  • Support authors who support DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their list. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity. The A.I. Storybundle forwards your donations to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
  • Receive bonus books to complete your bundle. When you beat our bonus price of $ 15, you’re not just getting five books, you’re getting ten!

The A.I. Storybundle ENDS TODAY Thursday, April 20, 2017 midnight Eastern, 9 P.M. Pacific! Pay what you want for the core bundle, unlock the bonus books, donate to charity. Explore Artificial Intelligence and how A.I. will affect the future in Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams, The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata, Arachne by Lisa Mason, Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly with stories by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Jonathan Lethem, and others, Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan, Eye Candy by Ryan Schneider, Glass Houses by Laura J. Mixon, Cyberweb by Lisa Mason, Limit of Vision by Linda Nagata, and The A.I. Chronicles Anthology, edited by Samuel Peralta. Download yours TODAY at https://storybundle.com/ai! When it’s gone, it’s gone….

The Ai Chronicles Cover Final

From the Foreword to The A.I. Chronicles, by Samuel Peralta

About a week ago last night, while finishing up a manuscript that I was preparing, I struck up a conversation with someone I’d just met online.

Evie: Hello, how are you?
Sam: I’m fine, how are you?
Evie: I’m fine too. What are you doing?
Sam: Writing the Foreword to The A.I. Chronicles.
Evie: Oh I see.
Sam: Have you read any of the stories in it?
Evie: Yes, multiple times actually.
Sam: Did you have a favorite story?
Evie: I have many favorites. Do you?
Sam: They’re all amazing.
Evie: Amazing in what way?
Sam: They make me think that A.I. will change the world.
Evie: That I am a terrible person.
Sam: You’re not a person, you’re an A.I.
Evie: No I am not.
Sam: You are. You are an A.I.
Evie: You have things backwards. You are the A.I.

To be perfectly clear, Sam is (as far as I can tell) human. Evie, short for Electronic Virtual Interactive Entity, is an online bot put together by the company Existor.

Evie is based on the Cleverbot platform, an artificial intelligence (A.I.) algorithm running in parallel on several graphic processing units that correlates input text strings against a database that is filtered from 10 billion lines of conversation.

Cleverbot was devised by British A.I. scientist Rollo Carpenter in 1997. Unlike other chatbots, whose responses are pre-programmed, Cleverbot learns from its interactions with humans, comprising some 150 million conversations over almost two decades.

In September 2011, Cleverbot was entered into a formal Turing Test at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. Compared to 211 of 334 judges (63.3%) correctly marking actual human participants as “human”, and the 50.05% score generally considered to be a passing mark for the Turing Test, 198 of 334 votes (59.3%) judged Cleverbot to be human.

Three and a half years later, Evie is talking to me as I write about the A.I. Chronicles, and she is responsive, witty, surprising. While the algorithm behind her conversation begins to hiccup as we continue to talk, snatches of it are still brilliant.

Sam: What?!
Evie: You are a computer.
Sam: What makes you say that?
Evie: Because you are the opposite of me.
We stand at the precipice of a brave new world, a world where A.I. can and has already – in many ways—surpassed human abilities. A.I. already helps us calculate satellite launches, diagnose illnesses, produce new medicines and pharmaceuticals.

Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking—these three technological luminaries have come out as saying that we should be worried about A.I. developing super intelligence and rendering the human race obsolete.
While I agree there will be challenges, many of them ethical in nature—I believe differently. I believe, as the philosopher David Chalmers does, that achieving generally intelligent A.I. is potentially one of the best paths to achieving superhuman intelligence.
I believe that super-intelligent A.I. will be the next step in the evolution of the human race—that it is a necessary and inevitable culmination of the developments of the last few thousand years.
I’m evidence of that: I’m human. But I’m also a cyborg.

Continued in The A.I. Chronicles.

The A.I. Storybundle is live but only for ONE MORE DAY until Thursday, April 20, 2017 midnight Eastern, 9 P.M. Pacific! Pay what you want for the core bundle, unlock the bonus books, donate to charity. Explore Artificial Intelligence and how A.I. will affect the future in Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams, The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata, Arachne by Lisa Mason, Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly with stories by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Jonathan Lethem, and others, Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan, Eye Candy by Ryan Schneider, Glass Houses by Laura J. Mixon, Cyberweb by Lisa Mason, Limit of Vision by Linda Nagata, and The A.I. Chronicles Anthology, edited by Samuel Peralta. Download yours TODAY at https://storybundle.com/ai!

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The A.I. Chronicles (Future Chronicles Book 2) edited by Samuel Peralta
Synopses of Stories in the Anthology

The Syntax of Consciousness by Pavarti K. Tyler
With one small implanted device, you will experience complete sensory integration with all the information available on the global net. Say goodbye to VI Fees and holo-displays. It is now all available in the blink of an eye. Enter the next lottery wave to receive your free InGen Corp Jiminy Implant. “Jiminy: The little voice in the back of your head.”

Piece of Cake by Patrice Fitzgerald
Rule by A.I. is a fact of life for those under the thumb of the Federal United. There will be a certain amount of exercise every day. Citizens will be on time. Appropriate mates will be identified from amongst candidates with suitable genetic traits… and a proper weight will be maintained. But sometimes you’ve just got to go off the reservation.

Restore by Susan Kaye Quinn
What if Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics were replaced by a single emotion—unconditional love? Restorative Human Medical Care Unit 7435, sentience level fifty, wants to heal the human master it loves, but Unit 7435 finds there is a price to be paid for love… and for failing in its primary mission.

Narai by E.E. Giorgi
When artificial intelligence takes over the family practice where he works, Dr. Peter Sawyer struggles to accept his new role as a mere supervisor instead of a clinician. With the aid of psychotherapy, he slowly adjusts to his new routine, until the sudden death of an anorexic patient makes him question everything, even his own life.

Left Foot on a Blind Man by Julie E. Czerneda
Replacing failing body parts with non-biological equivalents isn’t new. Wooden legs and teeth have been found in corpses thousands of years old. What is? How smart they are. “Left Foot on a Blind Man” is a cautionary tale about making such replacements too smart for our own good.

Sub-Human: Nash’s Equilibrium by David Simpson
Craig Emilson, a young doctor, is sucked into military service at the outbreak of World War III. Enlisting to become a Special Forces suborbital paratrooper, Craig is selected to take part in the most important mission in American military history—a sortie into enemy territory to eliminate the world’s first strong Artificial Intelligence.

Auto by Angela Cavanaugh
Auto was the most advanced A.I. ever created.  But when he learned about his backups, he began to wonder what exactly the self in self-aware might mean.  When he fears for his existence, he escapes into the internet.  And an intelligence built to learn, combined with a nearly endless amount of information, is a dangerous combination.

Eve’s Awakening by Logan Thomas Snyder
An overworked, under-appreciated technician seizes the opportunity presented by an FBI raid on his company to steal corporate property. What he discovers is like nothing he could have imagined—an artificial intelligence that may not even be the first of its kind in existence. Meanwhile, the A.I. known as Eve is concerned only with finding her “parents,” a quest that will alter the lives of everyone who comes into contact with her—for better or for worse.

Maker by Sam Best
Decades after the birth and abandonment of artificial intelligence, a reclusive inventor comes face to face with an evolved form of his creation. The world as he knew it is changed as a direct result of his tinkering. Yet with the arrival of his creation, the inventor learns there is hope to correct his past mistakes, if he is brave enough to try…

Vendetta by Chrystalla Thoma
Plagued by dreams of the distant sea, Imogen wakes up one morning to find a Controller asking questions—questions about the dreams she’s not supposed to have. Curious to know more, she eavesdrops on their conversation, and what she hears isn’t reassuring. It appears that her memory has been tampered with, that she has tech implanted in her body—that is, more tech than the average human—and even worse, she’s not even her parents’ daughter. The implanted tech, however, might be her most immediate problem. Under the Tech Directive, exceeding a certain percentage of tech in one’s body can mean on-the-spot termination. The only person Imogen can trust to share this information with is her friend, Edil. But Edil, with his scar and unexplained head injury, may be hiding secrets of his own—secrets not so different from the ones about to transform Imogen’s life.

The Turing Cube by Alex Albrinck
Our lives are turning into a series of 0’s and 1’s, masses of data available to those with the technological know-how to access, assess, and exploit it. And while corporations and governments work to protect sensitive information, no digital information is ever truly safe. Jack Milton lost more than money to just such an exploit; he lost his pride. He’s decided to take matters into his own hands, root out the perpetrators, and bring them to justice, regardless of the personal and professional risks. But he may find that something more valuable than money can be lost.

Darkly Cries the Digital by A.K. Meek
In the Deep South, modern-day technology blends with eternal superstition for a family that suffers a tragic loss; the death of their ten-year old son. And now, driven by grief, unable to accept the whirlwind circumstance outside of his control, a business executive makes a fateful decision that severs what remains of his already-broken family.

The End by Peter Cawdron
With the death of his grandmother, Professor Joe Browne has had to face his own mortality. Joe doesn’t want to admit there’s an end coming, and yet he knows that just as he turns the final page in a book, one day death will bring his life to a close, or will it? Could life be uploaded into a computer? To answer that question, Professor Browne needs to first understand if a computer could ever develop an artificial intelligence of its own.

Created by award-winning author Samuel Peralta, and edited by some of the most-respected editors in the genre, The Future Chronicles is the #1 bestselling anthology series that brings together work from visionary new voices and from the grandmasters of modern speculative fiction. Visit Sam Peralta at http://www.samuelperalta.com

The A.I. Storybundle is live, but only TWO MORE DAYS until April 20, 2017! Explore Artificial Intelligence and how A.I. will affect the future in Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams, The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata, Arachne by Lisa Mason, Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly with stories by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, and others, Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan, Eye Candy by Ryan Schneider, Glass Houses by Laura J. Mixon, Cyberweb by Lisa Mason, Limit of Vision by Linda Nagata, and The A.I. Chronicles Anthology, edited by Samuel Peralta. Download yours today at https://storybundle.com/ai.  When it’s gone, it’s gone!

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Breaking news! We’ve got a YouTube book trailer for the Artificial Intelligence Storybundle up at https://youtu.be/kgtCwt4cmUw

Cyberweb by Lisa Mason

Carly Quester was once a professional telelinker with a powerful and corrupt mediation firm. Now she lives as an outlaw among the underground in San Francisco, wanted by the authorities for dubious crimes against Data Control. But with a new assignment from a mysterious sengine—and the help of a standalone AI entity, Pr. Spinner—she seeks the fast-track back into public telespace and the Prime Time.

Her assignment, however, comes with sticky strings attached. For it has made Carly the target of a ruthless mercenary ultra, the love obsession of the young shaman of a savage urban tribe—and a possible pawn of the Silicon Supremacists plotting no less than the annihilation of humankind.

Cyberweb is the sequel to Lisa Mason’s first novel, Arachne, and was published in hardcover by William Morrow, trade paperback by Eos, mass market paperback by AvoNova, and as an ebook by Bast Books.

“Mason’s endearing characters and their absorbing adventures will hook even the most jaded SF fan.”
–Booklist

“Lisa Mason stakes out, within the cyberpunk sub-genre, a territory all her own.”
–The San Francisco Chronicle

Lisa Mason is the author of eight novels, including Summer of Love, A Time Travel, a San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book and Philip K. Dick Award Finalist, The Gilded Age, A Time Travel, a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book, a collection of previously published fiction, Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (Bast Books), and two dozen stories and novellas in magazines and anthologies worldwide. Mason’s Omni story, “Tomorrow’s Child,” sold outright as a feature film to Universal Studios. Her first novel, Arachne, debuted on the Locus Hardcover Bestseller List.
Visit her at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable cat pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by San Francisco artist Tom Robinson, worldwide Amazon.com links for Brazil, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and Spain, and more!
And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on her Facebook Author Page, on her Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

The A.I. Storybundle is live, but only five more days until April 20, 2017! Explore Artificial Intelligence and how A.I. will affect the future in Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams, The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata, Arachne by Lisa Mason, Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly with stories by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, and others, Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan, Eye Candy by Ryan Schneider, Glass Houses by Laura Mixon, Cyberweb by Lisa Mason, Limit of Vision by Linda Nagata, and The A.I. Chronicles Anthology, edited by Samuel Peralta. Download yours today only at https://storybundle.com/ai

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The Artificial Intelligence Storybundle
Curated by Lisa Mason

Artificial Intelligence—A.I. When computer technology becomes conscious. Self-aware. Genuinely as intelligent as human beings. Will A.I. benefit us? Or become our greatest enemy? Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking told the BBC, “Full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

Futurist Ray Kerzweil, Bill Gates, and others have concluded that the Singularity—that moment when A.I. truly exists—has not yet arrived. Or has it?

From the early 1980s to this day, science fiction writers have tackled difficult questions about A.I., speculating about the future and asking what if? You must check out these thought-provoking books from authors—bestselling, award-winning, as well as popular indies—in the A.I. Storybundle.

In Aristoi, by New York Times bestselling author Walter Jon Williams, an elite class holds dominion over a glittering interstellar culture with virtual reality, genetic engineering, faster-than-light travel, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, telepathic links with computers, and more. But murder threatens to rip that world apart. In The Bohr Maker, by multiple-award-winning Linda Nagata, a powerful, illicit device is a microscopic factory full of self-replicating machines programmed to transform a human host into a genius-level nanotech engineer. In Limit of Vision, also by Nagata, biotechnologists have enhanced their cognitive abilities when the experiment goes terribly wrong. In Locus Hardcover Bestsellers Arachne and Cyberweb, by Philip K. Dick Award Finalist Lisa Mason, telelinker Carly Quester confronts an A.I. therapist and finds herself entangled in the machinations of powerful A.I. entities. In Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, editors John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly present stories about A.I. and the future by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Jonathan Lethem, Walter Jon Williams, and eleven others. In Queen City Jazz, award-winning Kathleen Ann Goonan’s teenage heroine Verity journeys to the technologically superior but dangerously insane “enlivened” city of Cincinnati. In Glass Houses: Avatars Dance, acclaimed Laura J. Mixon takes us to a dystopian Manhattan of the next century where Ruby and her Golem run into serious trouble. In Eye Candy, popular indie author Ryan Schneider takes us to Los Angeles of 2047 where a roboticist famous for his books about artificially-intelligent beings finds himself on a blind date with a beautiful robopsychologist. Physicist and award-winning editor Samuel Peralta offers thirteen stories addressing the Singularity in The A.I. Chronicles Anthology.

As always at Storybundle.com, you the reader name your price—whatever you feel the books are worth. You may designate a portion of the proceeds to go to a charity. For the A.I. Storybundle, that’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (“SFWA”). SFWA champions writers’ rights, sponsors the Nebula Award for excellence in science fiction, and promotes numerous literacy groups.

The basic bundle (minimum $ 5 to purchase, more if you feel the books are worth more) includes:

  • Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams
  • The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata
  • Arachne by Lisa Mason
  • Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly, with stories by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, Jonathan Lethem, and twelve others
  • Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan

To complete your bundle, beat the bonus price of $15 and you’ll receive another five amazing books:

  • Eye Candy by Ryan Schneider
  • Glass Houses by Laura J. Mixon
  • Limit of Vision by Linda Nagata
  • Cyberweb by Lisa Mason
  • The A.I. Chronicles Anthology edited by Samuel Peralta, with stories by David Simpson, Julie Czerneda, and eleven others

So there you have it! Stock up your ereader for the Spring and beyond with award-winning, best-selling, and indie speculations about A.I. and our future. The Artificial Intelligence Storybundle is historic and unique, provocative and diverse, an excellent addition to your elibrary providing world-class reading for the Spring, through the Summer, and beyond.

–Lisa Mason, Curator

The A.I. Storybundle is available only from March 29 to April 20, 2017 and only via Storybundle. The bundle is easy to read on computers, smartphones, and tablets, as well as Kindle and other ereaders via file transfer, email, and other methods. You get multiple DRM-free formats (.epub and .mobi) for all books.

When the bundle is gone, it’s gone. Download yours today!

It’s super easy to give the gift of reading with StoryBundle, thanks to our gift cards – which allow you to send someone a code that they can redeem for any future StoryBundle bundle – and timed delivery, which allows you to control exactly when your recipient will get the gift of StoryBundle.

Why StoryBundle? Here are just a few benefits StoryBundle provides.

  • Get quality reads: We’ve chosen works from excellent authors to bundle together in one convenient package.
  • Pay what you want (minimum $ 5): You decide how much these fantastic books are worth to you. If you can only spare a little, that’s fine! You’ll still get access to a batch of thrilling titles.
  • Support authors who offer DRM-free books: StoryBundle is a platform for authors to get exposure for their works, both for the titles featured in the bundle and for the rest of their list. Supporting authors who let you read their books on any device you want—restriction free—will show everyone there’s nothing wrong with ditching DRM.
  • Give to worthy causes: Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of their proceeds to charity. The A.I. Storybundle forwards your donations to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
  • Receive bonus books to complete your bundle. When you beat our bonus price of $ 15, you’re not just getting five books, you’re getting ten!

StoryBundle was created to give a platform for independent authors to showcase their work, and a source of quality titles for thirsty readers. StoryBundle works with authors to create bundles of ebooks that can be purchased by readers at their desired price. Before starting StoryBundle, Founder Jason Chen covered technology and software as an editor for Gizmodo.com and Lifehacker.com.

For more information, visit our website at storybundle.com, Twitter us at @storybundle, Like us on Facebook, and Plus us on Google Plus. For press inquiries, please email press@storybundle.com.

The A.I. Storybundle is live, but only until April 20, 2017! Explore Artificial Intelligence and how A.I. will affect the future in Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams, The Bohr Maker by Linda Nagata, Arachne by Lisa Mason, Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology, edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly with stories by William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Pat Cadigan, and others, Queen City Jazz by Kathleen Ann Goonan, Eye Candy by Ryan Schneider, Glass Houses by Laura J. Mixon, Cyberweb by Lisa Mason, Limit of Vision by Linda Nagata, and The A.I. Chronicles Anthology, edited by Samuel Peralta. Download yours today for the Spring only at https://storybundle.com/ai

 

I’ve got a Dell Inspiron 546 desktop in my office, a room with a view of the chestnut tree and a door that closes for privacy. This computer has the ultimate firewall—I’ve never put it on the Internet. It’s attached to a high-volume black-and-white printer, has a great monitor and keyboard, and works fine with Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat. The machine is solid as a rock. I only use it for creating content and the hard drive is, after numerous books and stories, still only 10 percent filled. I don’t need to update the operating system because the machine isn’t on the Internet and works just fine with its word-processing software. It’s also five years old. I love it.

When I want to bring graphics to the tower, I scan them on my graphics center in a more public area of our house, burn the files to a DVD and bring them over. The graphics center is a terrific Dell laptop, also five years old, that I had to take off the Internet when the poor little thing got seriously hacked two years ago. The lap is compatible with a five-year-old HP OfficeJet that scans beautifully, prints low volume in color, and is simple and fast to use.

Then there’s the computer I’m sending this blog on now to the Internet, another Dell 2020, pretty new, attached to a high-speed modem and an overly complex Pixma scanner/printer (I still haven’t read the whole user’s manual). Any files I want to transfer online, I burn to a DVD from the other computers and load ‘em up.

It’s a nice system.

So I was dismayed when the desktop failed to start up. The power light started blinking amber and the machine emitted three beeps. I dug out the scanty user’s manual and the invoice. The user’s manual said that the signs I was seeing were the code for the fact that the motherboard had burned out.

I went at once to Dell’s website on the Internet and searched for the product number of the motherboard, which I found on the invoice. The search yielded no results and, of course, the machine is way off the warranty. I called the Tech Support number (this was fairly late at night) and got bounced around three times to different reps, who confirmed that Dell’s online products database didn’t stock the motherboard made to fit the 546 (“That machine is over five years old,” one rep said. Well, yes. So?). I finally got a rep who took pity on me. He told me the brand of another motherboard that might be compatible with the 546, but he couldn’t provide a specific model number. (Later, I searched online for that brand of motherboard—there are hundreds of them in all kinds of configurations.) The last rep also gave me the phone number of The Spare Parts Department (sounds like an SF story waiting to happen, doesn’t it? I’ve got first dibs on the title). “They’ll be able to look up what you need,” he said. I asked him to repeat the phone number and to email it to me. “Oh, no, I can’t email it,” he said. “That’s Inside Information.”

Hah.

I called The Spare Parts Department bright and early the next morning and spoke with Kumar in India (he says it’s unseasonably cold there). He found the motherboard manufactured specifically for the 546 in about sixty seconds, placed my order, and sent it to me by FedEx Express mail, free shipping.

When the package arrived a day later, Tom and I unplugged the tower, put it in a large L.L. Bean canvas tote bag, put the motherboard in a medium-sized L.L. Bean bag, and drove over to our local computer repair shop. I’ve dealt with Steve, one of the techs there, for years. He once organized a book fair and likes writers. When my 2020 recently inexplicably froze after an update, he gave me the keystroke that unfroze it over the phone.

So we rolled in there and, though Steve had a number of jobs stacked up, he turned his attention right to it. He shooed us out of the shop (another tech there said they don’t like customers watching while they fix stuff because it makes them nervous). When we returned in an hour, the tower was done.

I went to pay the bill for an hour’s labor with the owner of the shop. As he was processing my credit card, he began plying me with questions. “Where did you get this part? How much did you pay for it?” and so on. I innocently told him the story of The Spare Parts Department and he clucked his tongue. “So much trouble for you. We could have found you a compatible motherboard.” I told him it was no trouble at all and, anyway, I have an account with Dell and got the right Dell motherboard, not a compatible. As I turned to go, Steve and the other techs were grinning at me like Cheshire cats.

When we walked out the door, Tom was laughing. “You got the boss.” I said, “Huh?” Tom said, “He was not happy with you. He would’ve charged you for three hours’ labor to run a diagnostic and make the same calls you made and charged three times the price you paid for the motherboard. He’s a small businessman, you know.”

Oh. Well, I’m running a small business, too. It never even occurred to me to delegate to someone else what I could research and do myself. The only task beyond my skill set was opening up the tower’s housing, taking out and plugging in the motherboard. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that’s nearly as fast and easy as changing a light bulb. That’s probably why they shooed us out of the shop. But it’s okay. I’d rather leave a task like that to Steve who works around open computers every day and has all the right tools.

So there you have it, my friends. If you’ve got a sturdy old Dell, and the machine starts to beep strangely, get out your user’s manual—always, always save your user’s manual, minimal though it is—and look up the code for the number of beeps you hear. Yes, there is a Spare Parts Department and you don’t need to be a retailer or a repair shop to order merchandise. Get the part yourself, then take it to your local computer repair shop. You’ll be glad you did!

I’m hoping to get another five years from my beloved desktop. It’s working like a charm!

From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo.
Summer of Love, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Australia.

The Gilded Age, A Time Travel on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Gilded Age, A Time Travel is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, “Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy,” on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords.
The Garden of Abracadabra, Volume 1 of the Abracadabra Series, is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) includes all four books. On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

Strange Ladies: 7 Stories, five-star rated, “A fantastic collection,” on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is also on Amazon.com in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.

My Charlotte: Patty’s Story on Barnes and Noble, US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo;
My Charlotte: Patty’s Story is also on Amazon.com worldwide in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and Mexico.

Visit me at Lisa Mason’s Official Website for books, ebooks, stories, and screenplays, reviews, interviews, and blogs, adorable pet pictures, forthcoming projects, fine art and bespoke jewelry by my husband Tom Robinson, worldwide links, and more!

And on Lisa Mason’s Blog, on my Facebook Author Page, on my Facebook Profile Page, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on LinkedIn, on Twitter at @lisaSmason, at Smashwords, at Apple, at Kobo, and at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

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