This is a story about a helpful little robot run amok.
I’ve got a lot of work to do today. Between finishing the writeup for SP161 and starting in on the telescope software for SP174, I’ll be busy. I decide to head out to a café with no web access so I can get started.
I pick up my stuff and head for the door, and…
That’s just the vibrator in my phone indicating new a text message. Probably my muse flirting again. I take a look, and it’s actually from the house flood monitor, saying [weekly auto-arm] which means “everything’s good.”
Quick aside: A few years ago, we has some plumbing trouble in the house, involving hundreds of gallons of water inside the house. After the repairs, I put a water sensor downstairs so we’d get early warning if it ever happens again.
Here’s how it works:
It’s been working for years now. This message is just a weekly “all clear” to let me know it’s still working. That’s great.
So then (Bzzzz) that’s odd, another message, saying the same thing. Everything’s ok, no water detected.
I suppose if (Bzzz) …another one? That doesn’t usually (Bzzzz) okay this is getting (Bzzz) if (Bzzz) (Bzzz zz) all these messages are exactly the same. (Bzzzz)
Oh no, (Bzzz) I’d better shut off (Bzzz) the whole (Bzzz) system. (Bzzz) Quick, unplug it! Unplug it!
Ninja-quick action, and it’s all unplugged.
My phone says I received 30 text messages. Yikes! Good thing I stopped it before it got
(Bzzz Bzzz zz zz zz Bz Bzzzz Bzz Bzz Bzzzzzz Bz Bzzzz zz zzzz zzz zz z z z z z z zzzzz zz zz Bzzz Bzz Bzz Bzz Bzz Bzz Bz Bzz Bzzz Bzzz zz zz zz Bz Bzzzz Bzz Bzz Bzzzzzz Bz Bzzzz zz zzzz zzz zz z z z z z z zzzzz zz zz Bzzz Bzz Bzz Bzz Bzz Bzz Bz Bzz Bzzz Bzzz zz zz zz Bz Bzzzz Bzz Bzz Bzzzzzz Bz Bzzzz zz zzzz zzz zz z z z z z z zzzzz zz zz Bzzz Bzz Bzz Bzz Bzz Bzz Bz Bzz Bzzz Bzzz zz zz zz Bz Bzzzz Bzz Bzz Bzzzzzz Bz Bzzzz zz zzzz zzz zz z z z z z z zzzzz zz zz Bzzz Bzz Bzz Bzz Bzz Bzz Bz Bzz)
(280 new messages)
(286 new messages)
You know what? I’m feeling really popular right now.
- Call the phone company! Can I block it? Nope. (Bzzz)
- Call the flood-monitor service company. Can they stop it? Nope. (Bzzz)
- Call the phone company again! Sign up for the parental control package for $5.99 per month. Log in as my own parent, and block text messages from this new friend. Nope. (Bzzz)
- Turn off buzzer on phone. That works, as long as I don’t look. Or try to use my phone. ( ) (553 new messages)
…the phone company says I won’t be charged for this mayhem, so the only problem is really that my phone’s out of commission for as long as this storm lasts.
So I turn my phone off and head to a café and get some work done. Also, I’ve got an appointment with a new doctor. It turns out she’s really cute, so I’m hoping the appointment will take a really long time, but no luck there. Cute but fast.
A few hours later, I turn my phone back on, peeking over the wall to see if the coast is clear.
(6812 new messages)
- Call the phone company again, have them remove the text messaging feature from my account, and block all text messages. Turn the phone off, go to sleep.
Next morning, a few hundred more roll in.
- Call phone company again, talk to level 26 tech support ninja, but just then…
…suddenly, 24 hours after it started, there’s a new message, sent by my muse: Where are you? Need to flirt. She’s like music for my eyes.
And it’s over. Apparently all of those texts were sent by the flood server between 11:30am and 11:43am, to tell me not to worry, there’s no flood in my house.
Just in my phone.
Random assertion: When robots are ready to take over the world, they won’t need lasers. Text messages will do.
Steganographic data: 1864/2.8