Beware the Machine

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Mon 21 Mar 2016 02:10
Noon position: 13 31.3 N 159 19.8 W
Course: South west Speed: 6.6 knots
Wind: East, F5 – fresh breeze
Sea: moderate Swell: North east 2 meters
Weather: sunny, warm
Day’s run (25 hours): 166 nm

I did not end up hanging onto the pole for another 24 hours. Instead I
dropped it early yesterday afternoon as with it up we were being pushed too
far to the west. Fortunately, with the pole down, broad reaching to the
easterly breeze has proven more comfortable than I had expected, and we have
continued to make excellent time. You will notice that today’s daily run is
for 25 hours. This is because we retarded clocks an hour yesterday as we
continue west crossing meridians of longitude (and escaping the tentacles of
the US extending time zones out into the Pacific). Fiji of course lies on
the other side of the date line, so we will be losing a day before we get
there, bringing Sylph more closely in alignment with the centre of the

Not all has been beer and skittles, however. This morning we experienced a
minor technical problem with the ship’s computer systems. (Houston, we have
a problem. Houston? Houston? … My God, are we all alone out here? Out here
no one can hear you scream, which is probably a good thing when it comes to
me and computers.) While in Hilo I managed to get the olde netbook up and
running. It does not use much power and, unlike Windows 10, it works with
the Iridium satphone, so I was rather pleased with this achievement. But,
there was a price to pay. In trying to fix the netbook I had dismantled the
keyboard and in the process had damaged the delete key while prying it off.
Consequently, every now and then the delete key would get stuck and delete
anything and everything that I happened to have the cursor over at the time.
I think I have now rectified this problem by permanently deleting the delete
key using a small sharp implement. I can only hope that it suffered
excruciatingly as I prised it apart, welcoming oblivion as a release from
its torture, a torture commensurate with my own as I watched file after file
disappearing before the wild willful mindless destruction of the errant
delete button.

Now the machine lies quiet, tamed before my fingertips, doing exactly what I
want … but for how long I wonder. I do not trust its blinking malevolence.
Beware the machine.

All is well.