Diary of a Homicidal Steem Bot

Once upon a time, July last year to be slightly more precise, Muxxy wanted to get one over on @swelker101 – henceforth referred to as Shane. You see, Shane had created a little Steem bot that would give out little upvotes he referred to as Shane hugs from the @msp-shanehug bot. People would delegate to the bot and its voting power would slowly increase, adding a little happiness to the rewards on Steemians’ posts.

Never one to let someone else’s idea go to waste, Muxxy decided to copy improve on the premise and set forth plans to bring Muxxybot into the world. For minutes he tinkered with the same code Shane did to create his bot. Bored, he gave up on the idea.

Instead, what he devised was a human curation team that worked in the background, finding little gems of posts from minnows which Muxxybot would then compile into regular posts, upvoting the authors and giving them further exposure. Like the hugbot previously mentioned, Muxxy would call for delegations to improve Muxxybot’s voting power to better reward these worthy authors.

Muxxy was totally oblivious to the wrong connotations that another bot to the network would bring, to the detriment of the project. Many Steemians were firmly anti-bots and here he was pronouncing a new one! Ignorant of the fact, he ploughed on with his creation.

Muxxybot would have a personality, something Muxxy could sink himself into when producing the curation posts. This bot was to be very anti-human – a sad twist on the anti-bot feelings permeating the Steem ecosystem. Muxxybot was to be so full of sarcasm as to make readers pass by his posts. The exact opposite happened. Humans are strange, as Muxxybot would say.

Muxxy relished writing these posts, he enjoyed getting into the Muxxybot character and turning his snark on. He treated it as a release from being nice to everyone. The writing style was obviously different, written in code…

...*... something like this ...*...

To seal the deal, Muxxy contacted an awesome artist called @overkillcoin who designed the graphic at the top of this post. Although not looking as evil as Muxxy might have wished, he was very happy with the design.

Next, Muxxy turned it up to eleven: not only was Muxxybot to hate humans, but he would use his curation efforts as a means to somehow destroying humanity, slowly growing in strength from delegations and rewards on the posts. The readers appeared to lap this up.

But then Muxxy had a change of mind. By now he had a solid crew of upwards of twenty curators, bringing in worthy shareable posts. Where he began curating general posts three days a week, Muxxybot began curating poetry only on a Tuesday, fiction on a Thursday and, in an effort to help the French community, French language posts on a Saturday. Three days suddenly turned into six.

Although Muxxybot tolerated his curators – which he called minions – he had little desire to see their efforts rewarded. His master however thought differently. What he decided to do was to split the SBD earned from the curation posts equally among the curators that featured in that post.

Muxxybot didn’t like this change as it interfered with his plans for human domination, less of the power of the account being used to boost his evil. I’d like to say that Muxxybot got out of control, something akin to Skynet in the Terminator series of films, wreaking havoc and destroying entire populations. The truth is less impressive.

A few months ago there was a dearth of suitable content to share. The Muxxybot minions struggled to find curatable content. We dropped down the number of days we posted to account for this.  It helped little. On top of this, Muxxy became extremely busy being a moderator at @minnowsupport, a curator for @OCD and running his own writers’ community, @thewritersblock.  Despite a lot of support and help from @bex-dk and @tinypaleokitchen, who took over posting the curation posts a few days a week, the project looked like it was dying.

Last month Muxxy announced that Muxxybot was to shut down. He was genuinely moved as he wrote the last post by Muxxybot, as were some of the minions. As hinted in his last communique, Muxxybot’s memory modules were transferred to The Writers’ Block Discord server where he still lives on, welcoming newcomers to the welcome-center in his usual sarcastic and brash manner. He eats dropped links and tells off the human perpetrators.

Huge thanks to @jasonbu for capturing the essence of Muxxybot in our Discord bot.

It’s good to know Muxxybot hasn’t forgotten his roots…

I don’t usually write about myself in the third person, but this has been fun. Ten months living as a maniacal human-hating bot was very enjoyable. I was and am still sad that the operation had to shut down when it did, but I am forever thankful to the curators that helped make the project so much fun.

Will Muxxybot ever return? Who knows. Currently, I am far too busy to even consider it, but maybe one day – when I have enough SP to throw at the account. As much as I enjoyed being a sadistic bot, I enjoyed helping out minnows in what small way I could, and that was the real fun behind the Muxxybot project.

Virtual Mortality Part 4

Bleak. Empty. Terrifying. A deafening silence. Neither hot nor cold. No cues for his senses to latch onto and they screamed for input.

How long have I been here? Where is here? At least I have you, parrot. Did I ever give you a name? No, not Polly. Something more–piratey. Hey look, Polly–Lena. Hello Lena, have you met Polly? Lena? Why are you green? Your eyes, Lena! No!

The apparition morphed into Commander Chameleon. He came closer. No, he’s growing–or I am shrinking? The giant’s form changed. It had the body of a man and the smiling head of a crocodile. I’ve seen this before, but where? Something familiar. The goliath started to chuckle. The sound echoed infinitely across the void. Gabe tried to muffle the din with his hands. If anything, the laugh grew louder. Bent double, clutching at his ears. Gabe screamed…

“Finished?”

He looked up at–Sobek! That’s it.

“Finally click did it?”

How can he be reading my thoughts? Unless–

“Yes, that’s right, Gabe.” At that Captain Zain vanished, replaced by a standard amorphic avatar. “I am one of the gods. Did you really think you could slip in undetected and play around on my server? And for what? A Lost One? They are lost for a reason, you know that.”

Don’t think of her, don’t think of her.

“Lena? Oh we know about her, don’t you worry. Right now her data feed has you heroically flying around the universe. She has no idea. But–you can’t be fretting about her now. You know she is out of our reach. Ah, wait! Another, is it?”

Change the subject. “So what’s it to be? Threats? Violence? Those don’t work on me. Go ahead. I’m waiting.”

“Oh Gabe, if only you knew what we can do. Nothing so barbaric. I could, however, just leave you here with your pretty parrot. How does that sound?”

Here, alone? I’ll go mad.

“That’s right.”

“Get out of my head!”

Sobek chuckled once more. No echo this time, thankfully. “I don’t care who you came to find. As you see, your mission was a failure. Whoever she is, she is lost. I–need something from you.”

Interesting. “Whatever it is, I am not interested.”

“Your thoughts deceive you. But, as I am a good sport, I shall stop reading your mind.”

A previously unfelt presence shifted and tore its way loose with a shock that coursed through his brain. Nausea, nearly blacking out. Swallow it down, fight it.

“Come on, that wasn’t so bad. There. Your mind is your own. Play nice now Gabe.”

“OK,” he gasped, “let’s have it.”

“Another has one of your Lost Ones. It’s quite simple. I want him.”

“I thought you lot were a big happy club of tyrants. What makes this one unique? And why can’t you just get him?”

Sobek paced back and forth, each giant stride stretching half a mile.

“You really don’t understand us. Yes, we have the same objective, but there is a hierarchy. My associate has more power, more miners, and greater influence. This Lost One would tip the balance in my favor.”

“So it’s a power play. This one must have been worth the effort to trap me here.”

“You have no idea. He can crunch numbers like ten ordinary miners. I want him, and you will get him for me.”

“What’s to stop me from unplugging this Lost One when I find him?”

“We are not gods for nothing. Take a look behind you.”

Gabe spun around and watched a silent feed of Swelker flipping buttons and shouting commands to Henry. There, on the bridge, was Captain Zain, deftly avoiding the Alpha ship, and maneuvering through the asteroid field.

“Your friend. I have been keeping an eye on him for quite some time. I knew you’d show up sooner or later. All I have to do is snap my fingers, and he will be lost too. He will be passed from god to god, you will have no chance of ever finding him.”

I have no choice, I can’t lose Swelker too. “Alright,” he said finally. “Give me the details.”

“I’m sorry Gabe, but this will sting a little.”

Before he could process it, Sobek shrank to normal size, grabbed either side of Gabe’s head and squeezed. An agony like no other, his thoughts not his own. Places and people he had never seen before crashed into his mind. Armies, war, death, destruction, and, finally, a mushroom cloud, thousands of wailing cries dying on the nuclear wind.

He jolted out of his seat, and fell to the floor of the bridge, shaking.

“Gabe! What’s wrong?”

Good old Swelker, it’s good to see you. “Get–just get us out of here.”

“Aye aye, Captain.”

Swelk took the controls, punched in a target, and The Marauder hummed, creaked, and rattled as the hyperdrive charged.

Lena, are you there?

Gabe! What’s wrong? You seem–different.

Oh, thank God. Tears welled in his eyes. Get me out. Now.

 

Originally posted on Steemit – where you earn to blog.

© 2017 GMuxx

Virtual Mortality Part 3

 

A cacophony of voices made him flinch. Gabe twisted his fingers to access his heads up display, and the volume dropped to a bearable level. He never tired of the sights in the departure lounge. A violet, peacock plumed avatar with impossibly large breasts sauntered by, as a massive beeping robot head floated past. A user with more money than sense strolled down the boulevard with satoshis dripping from an elaborately designed cape that changed hue to a rhythmic pattern. Of course, he was followed by a gaggle of newbies, their standard avatars little more than vague human forms as they fought for the dropped crypto.

“Aye aye, captain!” boomed a human shaped cactus.

“Huh? Oh, yes!” That’s right. I’m Osred.

Taller than his usual five feet nine, a dark, straggly beard with brightly glowing beads hanging from it. He was clad in a futuristic interpretation of a classic pirate’s attire, all silver and black–complete with a holographic parrot floating above his right shoulder.

“Aye lad. I be Captn’ Zain of the dread fleet-”

“I know who you are Gabe.” The cactus interrupted, its voice much softer. A face appeared on the plant, one he hadn’t seen for a long time.

“Hey, I know you! Swelker!”

“The one and only.” The face dissolved into a spiky green skin.

“Are you in hiding?”

“Gotta be careful Gabe, you know that better than most. Speaking of which, why the dreaded Zain? I thought you killed him off?”

Swelker was his shipmate back in the day, an excellent navigator and tactician. As close to a friend as he ever had in VR. Yet, he was reluctant to tell him his real mission. Many users remained invisible and could easily overhear.

“I had a hankering for a little adventure.”

Lena? Verify identity.

It’s him, Gabe. Just be careful.

“How about it Swelk? Fancy one last trip out?”

“I thought you’d never ask.” The cactus smiled.

 

* * *

 

Dropping out of hyperdrive, the bridge of The Marauder’s Curse lit up with warning lights. Alarms screeched as jagged rocks bounced off her heavily shielded hull.

“Sorry Gabe, this is the best I could do.”

“Don’t fret Swelk. We’ve been through worse. Maximum shields fore and aft. They’re still with us.”

Lena, how did they follow us?

Your ship has been in storage for a few years. Plenty of time to fit a tracker. Damn, I should have checked.

The ship was a mishmash of scavenged parts salvaged from previous victims. The shape belied her agility. With Gabe at the controls, Marauder’s Curse zipped elegantly between massive asteroids.

The Alpha fleet ship was a massive dreadnought and relied on her incredible firepower to blast the rocks out of the way.

At least the weapons aren’t trained on us.

“Captain Zain?”

New kid. Hank? Harry. No, Henry. Didn’t matter.

“What is it, yeoman?”

“Incoming transmission from Alpha.”

“Patch them through.”

A hologram lit up and bathed the bridge in soft blue light.

“Do you with to dithcuth the termth of your thuwender?”

Gabe laughed out loud. How can you take that seriously?

“My surrender? I appear to have you at a disadvantage my young chameleon friend. I am Captain Osred ‘The Imposter’ Zai-”

“I know full well who and what you are.” His long tongue was impressive in three dimensions.

“Thuwender now or be dethTwoyed.” His eyes swiveled in opposite directions as he surveyed the bridge.

Gabe took a few seconds to decipher the threat.

“Ha, I don’t think so, lizard boy.”

“Tho be it.”

Commander Chameleon blinked out of view. Before Gabe could issue any further orders, The Marauder lurched, and turned inside out. Then she just ceased to be. No explosion, no sound, just gone.

Surrounded by darkness, he was for once thankful he’d wasted crypto on a holographic parrot. Its light at least gave him something to focus on.

“Swelker? Harry? You there?”

Silence.

“Lena? Can you hear me? Come in Lena.”

Static.

Uh oh.

Gabe flicked his fingers, twisted his wrists. His heads up display no longer functioned.

Oh shit.

 

Originally posted on Steemit – where you earn to blog.

© 2017 GMuxx

Gatlinburg Bound

In exactly a week’s time I shall be in Dublin, awaiting my flight to Washington, where I will catch my connecting flight to Knoxville, TN. I am beyond excited. Not only will this be my first time travelling outside Europe, but I will have the distinct pleasure of meeting many members of The Writers’ Block and several other prominent Steemians.

This hastily arranged meetup is not purely social: there are the future plans of The Writers’ Block on the agenda with us discussing a presentation from certain devs that will propel our community onto bigger and better things. Thanks to @neoxian, I was able to take out a loan to pay for my flights – without this I would not have been able to make it and I am eternally grateful.
Over the past few weeks many people have donated both to myself and @thewritersblock – who also took out a loan to pay for the hire of a cabin for us. Huge thanks to everyone who has supported us. I would like to give a special thanks to @enginewitty who sent along the income from 7 daily posts to me. I can’t wait to meet you in person to thank you. Expect a few man hugs.

While so excited, I am also quite apprehensive. This is the furthest I have traveled, certainly on my own. My last solo trip was to Portugal last year for Steemfest. Will I catch my flights in time? Will I get held up by security? What do I do if something happens over the Atlantic? I’m not that great a swimmer. What if my MS rears its ugly head and puts me on my back in the next week? What if it happens in the States? Yes, I worry perhaps a little too much. I’m sure all will be fine and that once I finally arrive, I will have the time of my life.

This is one of the greatest things I have experienced since signing up to Steem just over a year ago. The generosity of the wider community knows no bounds and last year helped me get to Portugal. Thanks again to Steem I get to travel to America next week. As someone who cannot work due to ill health, this is absolutely amazing to me and is incredibly humbling. Despite the negativity that is displayed at times on Steem, it is still an incredible place filled with incredible people.

Witness Team Announcement – NobleWitness Assembles

 

Source

History

At the start of the year, I announced and ran a witness. It went reasonably well with many gracious votes for me. Unfortunately, a few months on I had to retire for two reasons: suddenly 32GB was not a big enough memory capacity, meaning I had to pay to set up and upgrade to a larger server. At the time I didn’t have the funds to accomplish that. My second reason was due to my health: I was going through a bad patch with my MS, and my head just wasn’t in the game.

I still strongly believe that a good show of faith in Steem is running a witness and supporting the blockchain. I have thought for a while now that maybe I should join a witness team with like-minded Steemians who share the same core values that I do. I always advertised myself as more of a social witness with no delusions of being a dev, therefore was keen to find more technically minded people to run the server while I got on with the business of community building.

So, big announcement incoming

I am very happy to announce that following deep discussions with three other people, I have decided to join an existing team, that of @sircork and my co-admin of The Writers’ Block, @rhondak. Joining us will be another prominent Writers’ Block leader @anarcho-andrei. The team name and account it will run from will be called @noblewitness – or no-bull witness. What you see is what you’ll get with @noblewitness, doing what we can to support the Steem community.

We shall share server costs and whatever income we generate equally. My share will be focused on helping to support The Writers’ Block and @rhondak’s animal shelter @tarc. As invested as I am in my own community, I also strongly support creatives across Steem.

In summary, our witness will exist to lift the voices of users via our communities, tools, writing, curation, broadcasting and charitable service work. We believe in a shift in witnessing towards team witnesses, one where we can pool our time, expertise, finances, and platform and community awareness into one cohesive force to serve our supporters more effectively.

Click HERE to read the complete @noblewitness mission statement.

Who are we and why should you vote for us?

@rhondak is a force of nature and the co-admin of @thewritersblock. You would struggle to find a more honest and forthright Steemian. With a skin toughened by running the @tarc animal shelter in a hostile local environment, this lady is a tough cookie, but one with a heart of gold. Rhonda is a real-life author and a professional fiction editor.

@sircork is vocal in the witness community, pushing for changes beneficial to lower ranked witnesses and Steemians in general. His major project is the YouAreHOPE foundation, which leverages the transparent power of the blockchain to support humanitarian aid endeavors around the world. He also runs the SteemStar Network, a radio station producing a wide variety of shows on various topics.

@anarcho-andrei is a founding member and part of the leadership team at The Writers’ Block. He has run a witness node since August last year, keeping pace with the requirements. He studies law at Thomas Jones School of Law in Montgomery, AL and is a member of the veteran community on Steem.

@gmuxx is co-admin of The Writers’ Block, a rapidly growing community of writers for writers of all abilities. Under his and @rhondak’s guidance, The Writers’ Block has fast become the place to go for editing, critique and writing support. He has been a moderator at PALnet since its founding, curates fiction for the @minnowsupport project, is a curator for @OCD and a member of many Steem related Discord communities.

Server details

@noblewitness is currently hosted by Privex.io and has the following specifications:

  • 64GB DDR3 RAM
  • Intel i7 Quad-Core Processor
  • 2x240GB SSD
  • 1 Gbit/s network connection
  • 20TB bandwidth limit

With an eye towards Hardfork 20, Hive Mind and appbase, we plan to move to a 96GB server with a 480GB SSD for the increased drive speed and as a buffer for future memory requirements. Another 96GB server is also planned, as a backup to the witness node. We are also planning to add a seed node to the network.

A call to my previous witness supporters

Although my old witness has been disabled for some time, I still have 184 people voting for me, totaling 422 MV. I would like to ask that anybody who supported my prior witness move their vote to @noblewitness. Click the link below to approve @noblewitness via SteemConnect.

https://v2.steemconnect.com/sign/account-witness-vote?witness=noblewitness&approve=1

Alternatively, visit https://steemit.com/~witnesses and enter noblewitness in the text box at the bottom of the list.

If you support @sircork and @rhondak’s current witness, or @anarcho-andrei’s, please also move your votes to @noblewitness.

Should you need help moving your witness votes feel free to contact any of us.

Thank you in advance for your support