Cyberghosts and cyberdemons
Matt wrote about hosting your website on a server in your bedroom, about music playing or lights flashing when people visit your site, which is something I’ve been meaning to do for a while. It’s a super fun prospect.
The devs at GOV.UK harrumphed when I mentioned looking after a server: as you would when you’ve been at the sharp end of nginx timeouts and unauthorised access for a decade or two. But it’s an exciting concept for an amateur nerd like me.
I want to feel like my room is haunted by miniature cyberghosts whenever someone reads my blog!
Which reminds me of when folks at Simpleweb added a secret page to their site that allowed you to fire small Nerf darts at people in the office. And a site in the early 2000s when someone pointed a webcam at a CRT monitor you could send messages to. Most people sent rude messages. Or the time a family in south-east England (it was Kent or Essex; it was 2008, I can’t remember) dotted webcams around their kitchen and broadcast everything on justin.tv –￼ a neighbour found out and published their phone number online, so the household had to endure multiple phone-based pranks.
All right, I’ll hold my hands up. At least 6 pizzas have arrived at homes visible in the livestream of Abbey Road because of me. It was a waste and it was silly, but Domino’s system was very exploitable when it was all cash-on-delivery.
As much as I’d like to experience the murmurations of cyberghosts, is the idea of inviting cyberdemons just as fun? Based on the examples above, as soon as you introduce a webcam, the cyberdemons could come along.
Having said that, part of the fun is experiencing those cyberdemons. The merry pranksters with their hypertext fool-aid acid test.
You can only protect against so much. Buy the ticket, take the ride.
It’d be interesting to see how the proclivity to prank an internet-connected situation defines the generational divides of Internet natives.
Inviting cyberghosts into your home is a well-meaning pursuit to connect with other beings, albeit in a limited and one-directional way. Having grown up in the generation that followed, a lot of us wanted connection but we also played with exploiting the bounds of that (remember the card stand thing?). Now, you’ve got people making money from those connections on YouTube and Twitch, inviting their cyberghosts to become more real, to be in the room.
We all want connection online, and a good way to feel that is to bring the bits in the cloud closer. It’d be interesting to make that bi-directional. You can write in my guestbook and that will projected onto my bedroom wall, but in return I get to fire little foam darts off your mantelpiece while you’re watching telly.
The multiverse can wait. What about the interconnected playground we could build right here, in this universe?