Ivan's place: Marchintosh 4: A child of our own

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What you are seeing is a DRAFT. Most things are likely to be changed and there are likely grammatical errors. If you happen to find something that is wrong or could be improved, please let me know. Thanks!

It was 23:59, almost day 4 of the Marchintosh. G4 was sleeping peacefully. When suddenly, a startup sound triggered his wake-up sequence. Startled, he looked to the Microsoft Surface. It was waking up! Excited, he started speaking to it:

—Hello? Woah, I did not expect this to actually work.

The Surface started displaying a modern Finder logo, then opened its eyes.

—UGH! —said G4, startled by the unfamiliar logo—. I'm sorry, you look... Great! You look great, you really do.

Surface started looked at G4, in confusion. G4 continued:

—Hello Surface, my name is G4. I'm a Mac, just like you! What's your gender? Well, what's your name? Actually, never mind that you just look like... A Mac who's name would be Surface, that's why... I called you that earlier. Yeah, that makes sense.

Surface stayed silent.

Uh, I hope he isn't catching on. Okay it's fine if you don't like that name, I uh... I had a Mac friend not too long ago that looked just like you, he was a legitimate Mac! And uh, he was named Surface. That's where the confusion came from.

G4 saw no answer from Surface. He awkwardly looked around, and made eye contact.

—Wait a second —said G4—, oh my god, you've got to be kidding me.


The three other friends each followed their respective routines, and made it to the place they agreed to meet up in just in time, all but G4. They were quick to notice something was off:

—Hey, —G5 said—, wasn't G4 supposed to come sooner because of the... You know... The Hackintosh?

—Well, he sometimes comes late. You know how much he loves over-preparing himself before meet-ups —responded Bondi.

—Well, yeah, but I'm getting reports from Apple's servers that he's already half an hour late.

—Guys, —interrupted Graphite—, over there!

G4 was waving at them in the distance while approaching, Microsoft Surface in hand.

—Oh, I'm so glad he's finally here! —said Bondi.

Huff, huff. Deepest apologies for being late, here is the Surface —said G4, while still getting closer.

—Jesus, sit down and breathe in some air through your fans. You're wheezing! —Said Graphite, worried for G4.

—Look, I've got some bad news.

The group looked at G4, worried. He continued:

—It woke up, but has no data. It seems that, uh, his neural network is completely untrained. It can't speak, has no knowledge, no gender, its mind is basically empty, like a human that's just been manufactured. I've been reading novels to it for 8 hours hoping that it would learn how to speak, but I had no luck. That's why I was late.

—... Damn. That's incredibly unfortunate. We need those transformers, and this toddler is our only hope to get them. What are we going to do now? —Asked Bondi, worried.

—Me and G4 are going to raise it —said G5 with confidence, G4 gasped—. You and Graphite will work on getting the other pieces needed for reparation, we'll take care of the Surface.

—Stop assuming I'm always going to do what you say. But yes, I'm going to do this —said G4.

—Woah, woah —intervened Graphite—. You don't need to do this. Training a neural network is so much work to do, especially if you need to have it speaking by the end of the Marchintosh.

—No, not the end of Marchintosh —Bondi added—. You'd need to get it speaking in two weeks! Considering we also need to wait for the shipping and procedures. I agree with Graphite, this is too much work, and it might not even work in the end.

G4 and G5 looked at each other, and started speaking between themselves, whispering. Then, they turned around looking back at Bondi and Graphite, again.

—Bondi, Graphite —said G5, determined—, we know what we're getting into. Just, if you make it out alive, promise us you'll buy us more storage —G5 giggled.

—I... wh... —words tried to come out of Graphite's mouth, but didn't make it through.

—Bondi let out a sigh while smiling—, you guys are unfixable. We'll follow along, but you need to promise us that you'll be responsible with yourselves, and your time management.

—Well —Graphite finally managed to start speaking again—, I do have to agree with Bondi here. If you're up for the task, please make sure to take care of yourselves. It's okay if you don't make it by the end of the month, we'll find a way.

G4 and G5 nodded almost at the same time.

—G4, I think it'd be a good idea if you temporarily moved to my apartment while we train Surface —G5 said.

—If you don't mind me bringing all of my stuff over, then sure —responded G4.

—Bondi, Graphite, it's going to take a while before we finish moving his stuff over. If you need us for anything, don't be afraid to hit us up by sending us a fax. Just, make sure to send it to my house, not G4's apartment.

—Trust me, we sure will —said Graphite.

Just when G4 and G5 were about to go, Bondi got closer to G5 and whispered to her:

—Don't overheat, I know you can do it.

G5 smiled and nodded.

—See you later, friends! —Said G4 with a smile on his face.

Now Graphite and Bondi were by themselves, again. They looked at G4 and G5 walking away, still not believing what was happening.

—Think about it, isn't it hilarious how we always end up by ourselves? —said Bondi.

—Yup. Now is when we start talking about how lucky we are for having such amazing friends.

—Hehe, yeah. Then one of us will have an arcing attack and we'll sit down.


—Will they be okay?

Bondi and Graphite stayed silent for a while, not really knowing what to say.

—Hey, look —said Graphite, breaking the silence—, it's that Intel iMac I stumbled with yesterday! He seems to be walking in our direction.

—Woah, it's the ugliest one I've seen so far.

—Let's try to respect them, they're just alternative forms of casing.

—It's getting nearer, should we do or say something?

—Leave it to me —Graphite turned in the direction of the Intel iMac—. Hey! I'm that guy you stumbled with yesterday. I apologize for the inconvenience.

—Oh —responded the Intel iMac—, it's you again.

—Yes, it's me! My name is Graphite and I'm a male iMac G3. Hey, just to properly refer to you, what model are you? Additionally, would you mind telling me what your name is?

The Intel iMac said nothing back and started walking past Bondi and Graphite.

—Excuse me? —said Graphite.

—Hey, this is not nice —Bondi interrupted—. My friend asked you who you are, and he deserves an answer.

The Intel iMac, without turning back, or even stopping, responded:

—Oh, I'm a nun who's name is Chabi, from the Sness line of iMacs. Nun-chabi-sness!

—Oh, so nice getting to know you proper, Chabi! —Graphite responded, enthusiastically—. I'm glad we finally got over our differences.

Bondi and Graphite again stayed silent until the Intel iMac got out of sight.

—Graphite, sometimes it's very hard for me to believe you're actually that innocent.


—Jeez, I can't believe we're actually moving together —said G4.

—It's happening! We are going to raise this neural network, and then you can go back to your apartment! Until then, we'll will both sleep here, at my home.

After saying this, G5 realized how big of an issue sleep was going to be. She either had to let G4 see her parts, or leave her casing on and potentially overheat while sleeping.

—G5, are you alright?

—Oh uh- yes yes, what's up?

—You zoned out.

—Oh, I'm sorry. I froze. It just happens sometimes, hehe.

—Okay, that's fine. What matters is that we're done moving my stuff, and that we're good to go. G5, where's the Surface?

—In bed, it's in nap mode.

—Nap mode?

—Some Intel iMacs take so-called "naps," which is just a distributed form of sleeping. They do this to compile changes to the neural network throughout the day. It's most common when they're untrained.

—Damn, G5, you know a lot.

—Never underestimate a PowerPC wo-Mac.

—Well, while that Hackintosh is... "Napping", we could choose what books we're going to train it with.

G5 ran to her library, G4 followed after her.

—Woah —said G4 surprised—, your house is huge!

—Thanks! Look at this: I present to you... —G5 opened the door to the library— my personal library!

—What is this? It's filled with hard drives, placed as if they were human books.

—Each hard drive is a translated version of a human book. How do you think I got to know so much about the Intel Macs? I'm a bookworm.

—That's so... Cool! I always download my books from the internet, it really sucks. How did you get so many hard drives?

—It's... complicated —G5 giggled.

—Now —G4 turned back to G5—, how do we know which book to select?



—What's up with... your face?

G4 looked at his face's reflection on G5's screen, it was a noisy mess, a unified glitch. A face could not be seen on it anymore.

—Oh, so that's why I didn't notice it earlier today —G4 shook his head.

—Oh, it's gone?

—There's some software issue I've been having, don't worry about it. I'll reinstall my drivers later, or something.

—Could it be your GPU?

—To be honest, I stopped using that thing long ago, either way.

G5 looked at G4, confused. She asked:

—How? Why?

—My GPU drivers once crashed, so my thoughts switched to software rendering. I can't lie, it felt very nice. My thoughts became more abstract, and I stopped visualizing most of them. So, I decided to enable a kernel argument that disabled them permanently.

—Why do you not want to visualize your thoughts?

—Well, it's... complicated. Remember that thing you told me on the first day of the Marchintosh?


—Well, it doesn't matter. We have a neural network to train. I'd rather use my CPU cycles to look over the books, we can talk about that later.

—You're probably right.

G4 and G5 looked over the hard disks. They wanted to find a book that was easy to follow yet interesting enough not to bore them.

—G5, you have so many books about Intel's Assembly!

—Yes, I did try learning their language at some point in time. I gave up.

—... Eh, who needs to talk to those weirdos anyway?

— ...

—Look, a book about Vulkan! I didn't know you were into that kind of stuff.

—I just like learning for the sake of learning... Hey, a novel!

—A novel? What is it?

—Oh, it's uh... "Dhilly's Game 6"

—Eh, works for me, as long as it's not another ASM specification.

G5 copied the book over to her hard disk.

—I'm splitting the book in chunks of 1Kb —said G5 while running the split command on her console—. I will read the odd ones, you'll read the rest. Seems good?


—And... Done! I'll hook us up —G5 takes out an Ethernet cable and hooks herself up with G4—. Now, open an FTP server. I'll drop you the files.


—Give me a sec... There you go! Wait, not yet... Now!

—I got it! Hold on —G4 disconnects himself and gives the cable back to G5—. Now, we've got a neural network to train.

G4 and G5 walked to where Surface was.

Hey, G5 —said G4—, can we somehow wake him up?

—Well, if we do, we will probably put the compilation process to waste . Maybe it gets cached, but I'd rather not find out.


—We can keep track of its vitals, though. If it goes low on battery or runs out of storage space, it'll immediately stop the process and start screaming for help.

—Let me get a charger —G4 grabbed a charger and gently gave it to G5—. I'm sure you can hook it up better than I can.

—Oh, thanks —G5 smiled and connected Surface to a nearby outlet.

—You know, this desperate attempt to save our friends... It's a bit like having offspring as a human.

—I've read so much about human biology. It's surreal how they have integrated human factories inside of them.

—Sophisticated, though.

—G4, I've always thought that if we computers had self-replicating capabilities, I would never have children. I wouldn't want to give birth to someone who is destined to be unhappy.

Silence suddenly filled the room.

—What are we doing? —G5 asked, unsure about their plan. Progressively, she was becoming more and more anxious.

—G5, I have no idea what will happen, but...

G5 looked directly at G4.

—It —G4 continued—, it... Whatever it is, whatever it will be.

—... —G5 lowered her face, looking down.

—It wouldn't have lived without you. Whatever happens, it will live.

—... —G5 started looking up again, right at G4.

—It will get to live with a caring "mother", it will get to experience sadness, and discrimination. But also friendship, pleasure, and happiness.

—I... —G5 started slightly grinning.

—It will live, and it will be thanks to you. Out of Microsoft's hands, it will have its own face, it will get to feel, thanks to you.

They both looked at each other and smiled.

Suddenly, a strange boyish voice broke the silence:

—In the moonlight's gentle rivers, jellyfish trees on singing

—You... —G5 started laughing—, you didn't read poems to it all night, right?


—Now he finally has a voice, though it doesn't know the meaning of words. It seems we have a boy.

—Well, we've got some reading to do, don't we?

G4 and G5 spent the rest of the day reading and talking to their new-found boy. Eventually, night came, and G5 felt like interrupting:

—G4, you need some sleep. I'll take care of training, go to sleep.

—Oh —said G4—, thank god, I really need some sleep. Good night, G5.

Right before he was about to cross the door, G5 turned back and said:

—You can do this.

While looking for a place to sleep, he decided to check the fax, they had gotten a letter from Bondi and Graphite. But G4 was too tired, he decided to leave it for day 5.

Sleep mode activated.

Proudly written by Ivan.

Ivan is a young and passionate libre software advocate and coder, main author and designer of this website. He's been proudly embracing the open web and giving back to the open source community ever since he was 13 years old. A passionate writer too!


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