Thoughts on Post-Apocafic

If there’s an apocalypse, zombie or otherwise, I desperately hope the internet stays up and running. I say this having just this morning diagnosed why a sewing machine wasn’t sewing.

Given that the sewing machine was about… 1980s vintage, this is not as simple as it sounds. Check the manual? Ahahaha, like the original manual has survived the past decades, moves, random acts of violence….

(I’m actually not sure if the machine’s owner ever had the manual. Who knows?)

But some brave or foolhardy soul or souls out there has scanned, PDF’d, and posted a whole slew of old appliance manuals. So if you search on a PFAFF Synchrotronic 1229, you can find the manual. And print it. And use it with some amount of head-banging to start figuring out what the problem is.

Diagnosis: bad fuse. Further diagnosis from sewing store: probably due to machine needing its yearly oiling, ’cause PFAFFs are fussy that way.

(I don’t use the thing, I just troubleshoot it. That happens to me a lot, because apparently logically isolating problems and breaking them down until you arrive at a solution is not something a lot of people I know do. Why….)

Point of all this being, our current society has scads, nay zillions, of various devices one might wish to maintain/run/try to get running under emergency conditions. And there’s no way any one person can remember all the little pieces. So… we need ways to look stuff up.

If the internet is down in an apocafic – gentlemen and ladies, forget the zombies. Things just got ugly.

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27 thoughts on “Thoughts on Post-Apocafic

  1. Yeah, when I think about just how dependent our society is on the Internet or Computers and electronics in general it gets reaaaaaaaaaaally scary, reaaaaaaaaaally fast.

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  2. Not to mention some people just toss the manual going “Manual? I don’t need no stinking manual!”

    Which is fine. Right up until they need the manual. Or someone else does.

    And it would be nice if the thing mentioned stuff like routine maintenance . . . . through to be fair to that manual, it might be in there (sometimes manuals are pretty long) or it might have been something discovered well after the manual was printed. Or the manufacturers didn’t care about the customers maintaining the thing since they want them to buy the new thing . . . it does exactly the same thing as the old thing but it’s New! and Exciting! and like at least 20% mark-up from the price of the old thing . . .

    Yeah, fingers crossed for the internet.

    The bunnies like that notion of keeping the internet for the Halloween World Fraction Spell Universe they are spinning. Because to figure out even a bit of what is going on with the world and themselves, the heroes are going to need to be able to pool their collective resources.

    Especially since magic did not copy ANY from the other universes wholesale but rather mix-and-matched various bits and pieces into a patchwork. So for example, the Kisuke Urahara After Halloween has memories, powers, etc from various other Kisuke Urahara across the multiverse – largely whatever magic thought resonated best with the base – this particular universe’s Kisuke Urahara Pre-Halloween Self – and the OTHER stuff it had been grabbing in a mad scramble to mitigate the damage caused by the Fraction Spell(s) – there might have been more than one, the researchers aren’t sure yet – plus magic responds to Will and there was a lot of wanting not to die real hard going on.

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  3. I am all for keeping a very big library of old manuals, I get my best sewing/quilting/cooking/embroidery information from them. That said, as you’re speaking of old sewing machines and post-apocolypes (-ies? what is the plural for this?) here’s something you might want to keep in mind:
    https://www.lehmans.com/product/traditional-treadle-sewing-machine/sewing-quilting
    Up until recently, I didn’t know anyone still made tredal sewing machines, let alone ones that could do more than a straight stitch. If I had time before the zombie apocalypse? I would invest in one of these- my nice electric sewing machine is awesome, but useless once the power goes off.

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  4. * Shudder * we are so screwed. I can’t count the number of times I’ve used the internet to trouble shoot some appliance. Throwing out manuals is a guy thing. I keep them around, but a lot do not have error codes listed. They are “user manuals” and they are normally boilerplate. “Do not toss plugged in toaster into a sink full of water” Really? So helpful.

    A new trend that I really dislike is substituting pictures for text. I suspect it’s to avoid translation costs. Pictures are universal after all. A thousand words. Now, if the pictures were clearer and larger so I can figure out which of five different screws that damn little line represented…*Sigh* I think you hit a sore point.

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    1. Heck yes! I *despise* the most recent trend towards picture-heavy manuals, especially since I tend to learn things best with descriptions, the more detailed the better.

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  5. As reminded in another conversation, how about some actual cookbooks? It’s amazing how many have gone to “You need this mix and this product exactly.” instead of being actually useful and why(one of my favorite things about my mom’s old cookbook we use? Substitutions for pretty much every ingredient! Plus for those people who haven’t memorized measurements, a chart for those is so helpful)

    Also, if you can get them, there’s sets of manuals that are for professionals to diagnose and fix equipment, my mom owns one for each car we have. Much, much more useful then an owner’s manual. But I’ve seen a couple for sewing machines.

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    1. Ohh yes. That is my major complaint against so-called ‘modern’ cookbooks. This is why I buy mine second-hand at the local antique/second hand store- get the ones published before about 1970’s and they use *real food* for ingredients! 🙂 That said, Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” is a modern cookbook that provides charts and substitutions, as well as explanations for techniques and variations for most recipes. I bout it when I was 16 and use it at least twice a week.

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      1. How To Cook Everything is AMAZING. How to make everything from tortillas from scratch to basic sushi to plenty of general American staples. Though since I use Pinterest as my main recipe book, I’d really like the internet to stay on…

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  6. Another thing about the internet – you can talk at a distance. So if you’re holed up in town A and your allies and-or friends are holed up in town B, and the zombies are between them, you can talk, exchange ideas, maybe set up for a raid or two…

    I suppose it depends on what kind of apocalypse it is. Tech suddenly stops working? Doomed. Zombies? We should probably be fine for a few months/years – satellites don’t just drop out of the sky at random, after all. Same with biological or heck, even war-caused probably won’t destroy the internet.

    Reduce us to dial up, probably, but not a complete wiping out of all the data storage.

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      1. The big issue in any kind of apocalypse is keeping the power on. Given how frequently non-apocalyptic situations can cause the power to go out…

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  7. Honestly, my favorite modern cookbooks are Alton Brown’s, and I wish I could afford to give his guide to kitchen equipment to everyone(then again, I like super in depth “why” stuff, and he’s excellent at it.) If you can get your hands on them, especially second hand, the Culinary school cookbooks are on my list of post survival stuff to grab(I own a few), especially their chapters on butchering meat safely and preservation techniques.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. With the developing nations driving the market for small scale solar or cooking-fire based renewable chargers for cell phones and lights, as long as we can keep basic towers and internet server banks in place/maintained/powered and send up new satellites periodically, we should be able to keep cell phone based communications going as long as we either have a secure, non-apocolysped nation that can keep making and trading the tech and/or have folks who are really good at scavenging and putting something usable together using scraps.

    Maybe we can have a trend of historical plays to keep the craft of cell phone making alive a la Shadows in Starlight 🙂

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  9. Hah, yeah! I do computer infrastructure stuff for a job, and it’s been super-interesting learning some of what makes this huge complex creation stay up and running.

    It’s kinda hard to know how the internet would do in an apocalypse. Datacentres make for very defensible hideouts in the short term (even little ones normally have scary airlock doors and their own generators!), but keeping servers running uses a ton of energy, and networking needs routers up and running an the few dozen really big fibreoptic cables that go all the way under the ocean to stay intact…

    It also takes humans to run it: lots of really key things about how computers should talk to one another were designed in the 80s. Some of those ideas were genius, but others were makeshift bodges designed to work with maybe a couple hundred computers split between a dozen resource centres, not however many million or billion internet-connected things there are out there nowadays… So, well, it takes humans fixing problems to keep things online. Part of that’s replacing hard drives in servers, and scifi robots could be doing that pretty soon. But another big part is having people around to troubleshoot.

    Lots of people would wanna be able to google things to troubleshoot their immediate crisis-problem… But it’s take a special kind of person to decide that their number one priority in a crisis should be making sure search engines and networks and the clever infrastructure that turns urls humans can remember into numbers computers know how to reach across the internet… (It’d make a good but really overspecialised story: “in the dark future, the solemn guardians of the last of the world’s 13 root DNS servers have taken on the sacred duty of keeping the internet resolvable…”)

    (OK sorry that’s a long ramble! But your stories are good, and I’m glad I googled to see if any more of Whispers of Fire existed than what’s on AO3 🙂 )

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