October 31, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (1/23)

Although Kouryou and Taiki walked from the ground almost to the Sea of Clouds, they got a little help along the way. The Imperial Palace is equipped with magical escalators that shorten the actual distance traveled. You can climb a flight of stairs and cover a hundred times the actual distance traveled.

Without these conveniences, getting to the top of a Ryou'un Mountain would be like climbing the Matterhorn. That's why Taiki and Risai couldn't just land on any Ryou'un Mountain when they flew from Kei to Tai above the Sea of Clouds. They fortunately found one that had been previously occupied.

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October 24, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (1/22)

The way I read the political theology of the Twelve Kingdoms, the Divine Will (天命) is communicated directly to the kirin alone. When the kirin makes the Divine Will known to others through his words or actions, that is the Word of Heaven (天啓).

In Old Testament terms, a kirin is like the prophet Samuel when God tells him to choose a successor to King Saul. "I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king." After rejecting all of Jesse's other sons, Samuel settles on David and God gives him the go-ahead. "So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers" (1 Samuel 16:1-13 NIV).

The private revelation expresses the Divine Will. The public pronouncement reveals the Word of Heaven.

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October 17, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (1/21)

The Shore in Twilight begins at Jinjuu Manor (仁重殿), Taiki's residence in Hakkei Palace (白圭宮), the Tai Imperial Palace.

Large cities are castle towns surrounded by a loop road accessible through twelve gates. Each gate is identified by a member of the Chinese zodiac: rat (子門), ox (丑門), tiger (寅門), hare (卯門), dragon (辰門), serpent (巳門), horse (午門), ram (未門), monkey (申門), rooster (酉門), dog (戌門), boar (亥門).

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October 10, 2020

Back to the AT future

I don't get nostalgic about high school or college. For me, it's the decade from 1985 to 1995, the heyday of the personal computer. By 1985, the clone wars were over (and IBM lost). By 1995, the GUI wars were over (and IBM lost again).

During those ten years when the PC came of age, the computer was truly personal. You simply couldn't live a life online at a few thousand baud. Even in 1995, soon-to-be online colossus AOL only had around three million active users.

Ah, an era now gone for good. For a stroll down memory lane, it's enough for me to browse though old issues of PC Magazine. But then there are those dedicated Dr. Frankensteins devoted to bringing hardware long thought dead back to life.

As his YouTube channel title suggests, 8-Bit Guy focuses more on the Stone Age. Clint Basinger takes us up to the Medieval Period. In the two videos below, he unboxes and upgrades an IBM AT from 1988, still sealed in its original packaging.

As Crocodile Dundee would put it (there's another 1980s reference for you), "Now that's a PC."

Clint Basinger paid $500 for the AT on eBay. The IBM AT cost five times that in 1988, ten times as much when adjusted for inflation. By contrast, a thirty dollar Roku today has orders of magnitude more memory and computing power.

In the following episode, Basinger plays Indiana Jones exploring a warehouse crammed full of computer equipment dating back to the 1970s.

Call it the excavation of a PC Pompeii, a look back at a once thriving past now relegated to landfills, museums, and our memories.

Related posts

The future that wasn't
The accidental standard
MS-DOS at 30
The grandfathers of DOS

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October 03, 2020

Hills of Silver Ruins (1/20)

Rakushun explains the ritual of the riboku to Youko in chapter 53 (book 2) of Shadow of the Moon.

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