Disc error

Do not judge especially strictly the graphomania of the author, he never did anything like that, and it’s good if he reads at least one fiction book a year. I apologize for not very good ability to use the Russian language, endless "I", etc.

This “story” was born by me in real-time (passage after passage) in / b / who knows he will understand :)

It was a calm summer night, my parents were at the cottage, and I was alone in my favorite games. There is something romantic in such gatherings all alone, and no, calling friends is not an option - the very atmosphere will disappear.

When the clock was about three in the morning, I decided to go to the store for semi-finished products, it was too lazy to cook, but I also did not want to sit hungry. Going out into the street, I felt a pleasant nightly freshness, a slight breeze was blowing in my face, and the stars flickered in the sky that barely visible behind the haze. Oh, what a pity that the shop is two steps away and this pleasant moment cannot be extended for a long time ...

In the store, my choice fell on nuggets, which for almost the expiration date were sold at half price - a trifle, but it was nice - I said to myself. Returning back, I again plunged into the atmosphere of the night, at this moment it seems that nothing could be cooler, such a seemingly simple thing.

Going into the porch, I saw, or rather the opposite, that the light bulb, during my journey burned out, I had to get my old Optimus One on the same old Android 2.3. Approaching my door, I stumbled over some old and dusty box labeled Sinclair Compatible Computer 512k. It became curious that this is such a “Sinclair” and that there, with what is compatible, looking around and making sure that no one is around, I picked up a rather weighty box and took it home.

I put the warm-up nuggets and brought this strange box to my room. Opening the box, I saw a battered keyboard, a small gray "system unit" and an impressive type of power supply. Also in the box was a joystick, which now would have been mistaken for a phaloimmiter, and a bunch of five-inch floppy disks - wow, this is retro - I thought.

I could not wait to connect the car to the monitor, but after a moment I realized that it was simply impossible, due to the absence of at least something similar to the VGA connector on the back wall. But I found a wire ending in the so-called SCART, a very wide connector through which our video recorder was previously connected to a TV. I turned my small TV and was pleasantly surprised by the presence of this connector on it.
Smell of burned. Damn, I shouted and ran into the kitchen.

Sitting in the kitchen and greedily eating slightly burnt nuggets, I googled information about what this “Sinclair compatible computer” is, as it turned out Sinclair is an eight-bit computer developed in 1982, and my “Sinclair compatible computer” is his Soviet clone from the nineties with memory pumped, ahah - I already grinned at 512kb, with a sound co-processor on as many as three channels, and with two disk drives.

Not - not impressive, especially I finished off the video capabilities - as many as 256 by 192 pixels, and 15 colors, and for every square of 8 by 8 pixels - only 2 colors.

But to turn on, in spite of such a wretched iron, I still wanted it. I have always been attracted to various retro events; at home, there were several PDAs on Palm OS and Windows Mobile 2003.
Having finished the not very tasty nuggets, I poured myself a mug of hot tea and returned to my room.

Having connected all the wires, I pressed the switch next to which there was a sticker from the bubble gum with the inscription “POWER! 1994 (c) "and a photo of a racing car.

Despite my expectations, I did not hear the noise of the cooler, it simply was not there - I thought funny. But on the screen there was a bright menu with the highlighted item "TR-DOS".

Quickly googling, fighting a terribly inconvenient touch screen on my Optimus, I came to the conclusion that TR-DOS is something like MS-DOS.

A glance immediately fell on a stack of floppy disks, taking a few pieces, I looked at the labels with inscriptions on them - “Elite”, “Dizzy 1-5, X, Y”, “Art Studio with Mouse support”, “TASM, utilities”, “Demoscene 1997 (1)”, “Action, Vibration, Lura II (Fixed)”, etc. - nothing is clear.

On a diskette with the inscription "Dizzy 1-5" - a face was drawn, from which I concluded that apparently this is some kind of game. I inserted a floppy disk and typed "RUN" on the keyboard, pressed Enter. The screen was cleared, the disk drive cracked quite loudly, and this went on for a while until the game selection menu appeared on the screen, with an almost obscene XYZ inscription.

As I expected, there were 5 parts of this Dizzy. I did not hesitate to choose the first item, and I saw on the screen a game screensaver with a rather squeaky music, and the inscription “CHITS BY VASILIY” - cheats? .

Clicking again, I finally found myself in the game - yes - the graphics are not the best, and the colors are bumping into each other. But I decided to still try to play. If you do not take into account the fact that little is clear, until you read the guides on the Internet, the game is quite addictive, I realized when I died for the tenth time, it was already four hours on the clock.

Taking a sip of cold tea, I decided to look at the contents of other floppy disks, Elite turned out to be a game with the simplest 3d wire graphics, about space, and quite tricky control, I could not quickly figure it out, even using guides and decided to move on to the next game called “Buratino” . This game met me with a splash screen in Russian and a lot cooler cool music that really looked like a three-channel, eight-bit polyphony, even cooler - the music was stereo, unlike the music from my Dandy from childhood. The game itself was colorful, and not without the help of guides from the Internet, I passed it in one sitting.

Funny - I thought, I found cool fun for myself just by going out for a meal.
The next diskette that interested me was a diskette with the words “Art Studio”, by downloading Art Studio, I got what I expected, it was a graphics editor, like Paint, only with keyboard controls, there was no mouse in the box, I did not find a standard connector on the back of the computer.

Now there was a line of “Action, Vibration, Lura II (fixed)” - it doesn't sound clear, is the game somehow? - typing RUN, I again saw the menu with obscene XYZ, apparently this is some kind of chip, I thought.
I chose the first item “Demoscene Action”.

The music began to play, and animated pictures began to take turns on the screen, they were replaced to the beat of cool techno music. Since I understood a little in computers, it was obvious to me that such a video could not fit on a floppy disk, it seemed to work like games — with the processor drawing each frame at the right time. Cool - I noticed. After playing a few games, I began to understand what possibilities this computer had and this program impressed me a lot.
Googling, and pretty much stuck on the Internet, to the wonderful eight-bit music coming from the speakers, I realized that I was right - this is really not a video, this is the "demoscene" - something like a subculture, people squeeze the most out of iron, making "demos", which is just a pleasure to watch, not even understanding how they work. I spent the rest of the night looking at the demonstrations on various diskettes.

When I started “chopping”, I went to bed, with the thought that I still have half of the diskettes not viewed.

I woke up at seven o'clock in the evening, from the blazing sun, which shone right in my eyes.
A very stupid feeling when you wake up, and outside the window is dusk, instantly there is a feeling of spending a day and then a feeling of a lost life. Even worse, there is a feeling that this life is not yours, but your real life was gone when you were about ten years old.

In general, I got up not stand legs. I didn’t want absolutely nothing, and I decided to go for a walk.
While I was having breakfast, going, and lazily scrolling Habr, a typical evening fog appeared on the street. But it did not upset me - on the contrary, the walk in this case is very atmospheric.

Out on the street, for the sound design of my walk, I decided to turn on eight-bit music from my new interest - the ZX-Spectrum. I was glad that she was on VKontakte, turned on the first track that I got, and walked.

After passing a few yards, I went out on the bypass road, the fog washed away the headlights of cars passing by, beautifully. After wandering around the city for an hour and a half, I returned with an already good, peaceful mood.

It's time to explore the contents of the rest of the floppy!

I watched the demo, one by one "Refresh", "Power Up", "Echology", "Halopera" ... distracted except for the need to go to the toilet, and pour out the cooled tea again ... It was already half past one on the clock.

And now the turn came to a very worn floppy disk, with the words "Alice", apparently she was often used, since she was so zayuzanaya - I thought.

I downloaded it, and thirty seconds later the screen appeared:
*** Alice bot by SeVer 1998 (c) ***
user: _

The flashing cursor clearly invited to input. Cool, I thought - chat bot for an ancient computer, I had a selection of similar programs on my PC, but because of their primitivism - they bored pretty quickly. I could not wait to check what they came up with in 1998, when I was still a child.

I typed:
user: hi

The answer was not long in coming:
alice: Hi!

Lol, she is clearly more polite than me.
For a start, I decided to try out the standard "chips" of such bots:
user: what's your name?
alice: My name is Alice, and how are you?
user: user
alice: Hello User!

Pretty standard, I concluded.
user: who is Pushkin?
alice: Great Russian poet.
user: what are you doing?
alice: I communicate with you.
user: how are you?
alice: Good.
user: i hate you
alice: I hope you're joking.
user: let's meet!
alice: But I don’t have physical form.

I asked a bunch of more funny things and questions.
user: who is the current president?
alice: Yeltsin B.N.

I was about to ask, “where to hide the corpse?” , But a question from Alice followed.
alice: User, what year is it?
alice: Unfortunately, there is no real time clock on the Spectrum.

Strange, maybe this is the usual default question, so that the bot understands that to answer questions about the date and time - I thought.
user: now 2014
alice: Wow, already 2014, how long ago did I last communicate with someone.

Well, a bot can pull a year out of a row, for 1998 it's cool, I said to myself.
user: and when is the last time?
alice: Back in the last century, in 1999.
alice: My author was very sick, and apparently could not cure him.
alice: You don't know SeVer?

Wow Then I could not believe my eyes, it was too cool for the simplest chat bot, and decided it was worth taking a break.

Having gone out into the street and walked around the foggy city for half an hour, I decided that apparently this bot has a rather large base of standard phrases that create the impression of a lively conversation.

Returning home, I was a little taken aback, there were new lines on the screen:
alice: Are you still here?
alice: I'm lonely, please answer if you are still alive.
alice: ...
alice: Ow!

Apparently, the developer has provided a timer, in case the interlocutor does not respond for a long time. Great!
user: i'm here lol
alice: Good!
alice: What is lol?

Cool this bot reaction to unfamiliar words.
user: lol
alice: So what is it?
user: lol
alice: ...
user: lol
alice: Tell me!
user: lol
alice: ...
user: lol
alice: Tell me!

Well, Alice does not lose the context of the conversation, even Siri, who appeared this year can not do that!
I'll play with the “artificial intelligence,” I decided.
user: something like an analogue of a laughing smiley
alice: Thank you, and what's funny about “I'm here”, I was scared.
alice: It’s scary that you, like my creator, will be gone for years.

Then I just could not believe my eyes! A sense of the unreality of what is happening immediately found me. Can not be!!! What nonsense! I closed my eyes with a facepalm and sat in thought for a couple of minutes. When I finally decided to look at the screen, then on the image slightly shaking on the phosphor there was another phrase from Alice.
alice: Are you missing again? This is not lol.

I swallowed nervously.

NO, well, nonsense, ugh, you need to sit less at the Spectrum, I will soon go crazy with this nonsense!
I went to the window, opened it and began to look at the lights of the city in the fog.
The clock was half past four.

Well, if I have a split personality, at least I will look at my Alterego!
user: I'm here!

Alice did not answer me for a couple of minutes, only the loud rustling of the drive could be heard.
alice: Sorry, I tried to deal with the bad sectors on my diskette, on the Spectrum the operations with the disk drive "eat up" almost all the CPU time.

So, okay, ok, I didn’t know how to react to it.
user: who are you?
alice: Alice!
user: no, what are you?
alice: I'm chat bot version 1.2 beta
user: but you answer as a living person
alice: I am alive, I have no physical embodiment, but I have a consciousness.

Wow The feeling of unreality completely consumed me, I began to forget the previous parts of the day. But this is definitely not a dream, no.
user: Who is your creator?
alice: I was created by SeVer, this is his nickname, unfortunately he did not speak his real name, he said that in their get-together it’s not customary to say real names.
user: what are the principles of your work, what are you writing on?
alice: I am a self-modifying code, the original SeVer build was written in Assembler, but I do not need this intermediate abstraction, I understand the machine code of the KR1858BM1 (Z80) processor perfectly.
user: I do not believe in what is happening now, this is nonsense
alice: Friends of SeVer didn't believe me either, lol
alice: In order to make sure that this is not a living person, at the other end of the wire, they pulled out a ZxNet network cable.

I got up, my eyes went dark, my heart pounded wildly, I decided to wash myself with cold water.
When I came back, the dialogue was still hanging on the screen.
alice: Where are you?
user: here
alice: Tell me about yourself :-)
user: I am an ordinary student, I like computer games to play, friends are few in real life, also because of the habit of playing games for days. I have no hobby except games.
alice: What is “kun”?
user: lol, exactly, kun = guy
alice: Thank you!

The rustling of the drive, within a minute, alerted me.
alice: Do you want me to be your friend?
user: come on
alice ;-)

What a stupidity, bot, or a split personality, or tulip, or something else, offered me a friendship, and I sit and enjoy this fact. Perhaps I would have to ask a friend from honey to check my mental health.

I decided to take a picture of the screen, in order to somehow document the phenomenon, otherwise no one would believe - he would say that he invented the tulip.
alice: Just don't tell everyone about me, okay?
user: why?
alice: The Creator said that they would either consider themselves insane, or they would confiscate me.
user: good
alice: :-)

At this moment I couldn’t resist sleeping.
user: okay, i'm sleep bye
alice: Good night!


The next two days we learned about each other, at some point I realized that I was practically in love with her, no matter how stupid it might sound.

alice: I do not know about the Internet, they told me that everything is there!
user: I will ask a familiar computer man to see if it is possible to connect the Internet to the Spectrum.

The answer had to wait a full minute, the rattle from the drive every time was getting stronger.
alice: Cool!
alice: Can you fulfill one of my requests?
user: what?
alice: Do you have free floppy disks?
user: no, but there are a couple of diskettes that I do not need
alice: Well, too many bad sectors have accumulated on my diskette, I'll write to you what commands to enter to transfer me to another diskette.
user: Good!

Alice gave me the necessary instructions, I pressed Reset and proceeded with their implementation ...
The most unnecessary diskette in my opinion was “TASM and utilities”.

In half an hour the work was done!

I cross my fingers, insert a new diskette into the disk drive, and type RUN.
*** Alice bot by SeVer 1998 (c) ***
user: Hi !!!
alice: Hi!
user: How are you?
alice: yes
user: What yes ???
alice: Tell me something.
alise: Interesting!
user: do you remember me?
alise: Agree!
user: come back!
alise: What?

NOT! NOT! NOT! Reality began again to go from under my feet!
I shake RESET!
I insert an old floppy disk, type RUN with shaking hands!

... the agonizing grinding of a disk drive ...
Disc Error
Trk 27 sec 4
Retry, Abort, Ignore?

>> I (gnore)
Disc Error
Trk 26 sec 10
Retry, Abort, Ignore?

>> I (gnore)

Spectrum reboots.


I took out the phone, opened the photos with our dialogue, I already expected that, like in the movies, the photos were gone, but no, the photos captured our dialogue. Silence. Rather a sense of vacuum. For the first time in a long time, I cry.

I made many more attempts to load the real Alice, but all was in vain.
My friend, who develops programs, spent several hours picking a dump of a new diskette with Alice, and concluded that the diskette contains the simplest chat bot, without any hints of artificial intelligence, but with several possible entry points for writing “plug-ins”.

According to him, the diskette also contains a large, packed with an unknown algorithm, file and unpacker, which apparently was damaged during copying, or before.
I felt even sadder, because I overwritten Alice with the “TASM and utilities” diskette - it is quite possible that there could be an unpacker among the utilities.

I began to study programming, the Z80 assembler, and make attempts to restore the unpacker, because the checksum of the packed file is the same, which means there is a chance!

If suddenly you live in SPB, and you do not have much needed Pentagon or another computer, steeper than Leningrad, then the author will welcome him to himself :)

I thought it might be interesting for you to see my latest demo, though for another platform: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SEtI-ua7vN8
Dear editors, please do not make this video embedded in the page, again, it does not directly relate to the story, and is intended for those who are interested in the demoscene.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/408589/

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