Author Archives: Ryan Porter

5 Reasons Why Fanfiction is Easy to Write

I don’t normally read fanfiction; I generally despise it, as most of it is the most terribly written, hackneyed, typo-ridden dreck ever conceived. Rife with wish-fulfillment and self-inserts, fanfiction attracts the worst the amateur fiction community has to offer.

However, I’ve recently returned to a fanfiction site that I haven’t touched in over three years, and I realized that this genre of amateur literature (and it can occasionally be called that) has several benefits that make for great stories and easy entry into the hobby. Here are several reasons why fanfiction is easy to write and fun to read.

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What America Needs the Most

      After my mission, I didn’t take much time to stay abreast of the latest news. I would hear bits and pieces of the latest depredations of foreign countries, a lot about Donald Trump, and some mutterings about “those darn Democrats” from my parents. Without taking time to actually formulate a coherent position on any of these topics, I decided that the nations of the world should try harder to get along, that I don’t like Donald Trump, and that partisan politics isn’t for me.

      But over the past two weeks—since the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, really—I’ve noticed a common thread in the biggest headlines in the newspapers at work and in the news apps I recently added to my phone. The United States is in serious trouble: Our Union is disintegrating, whether you like it or not. And after giving it some thought, I’d like to offer what I think is the one thing our great nation, and indeed all of us as individuals, need the most.

      Friendship. That’s right, everyone! The United States needs more friendships, within and without.

      I’m not talking about merely being more civil with each other, or ending the destructive tribalism that currently wracks the land. Yes, it’d be great to solve those problems, but I fear we’re not being courageous and bold enough to halt the disaster that is looming over the world when we focus on these issues. We need to start going out of our way to make new friends, to nurture those relationships, and to serve them with true care and concern.

      How many friends do you have? No, I don’t mean on Facebook, I mean actual friends, the kind of people that you share honesty, kindness, laughter, generosity, and loyalty with. The kind of relationships where you feel comfortable bearing your soul, and listening to them bear their souls in return.

      What’s that you say? You don’t even have a relationship like that with your spouse?! Dear reader, I beg of you, make whatever changes are necessary in your life to start developing that kind of relationship with every person you meet. Don’t concern yourself if someone isn’t interested in being true friends with you, but open yourself to being true friends in the case that they are interested. And do whatever you can to pursue that friendship in every sector of your life—at home, at work, and everywhere between.

      I believe that only by turning our country into a nation of friends can we conquer the overwhelming challenges of our day. While we squabble together and focus on fighting the other, we lose the opportunity to become, individually, emblematic of the American Ideal: E Pluribus Unum, Out of Many, One. We need to be unified, yes, but we can do even better. We can care for each other, love each other, desire the best for one another, and be friends with each other.

      My challenge to you is to start by strengthening your relationships with your close family, then your extended family. Build strong bonds with your spouse, your children, and your parents. Then start to reach out, and seek opportunities to express care for your coworkers and others you interact with regularly. You needn’t be intrusive, but you can show them that you’ll be there when they need a shoulder to cry on.

      Without friendship among Americans, the United States is doomed.

~RP

Starting my Homelab

Because my career interests lie in the world of information technology (servers, computers, and the tech that connects them), I’ve been listening to a lot of related podcasts for the past several months. I recently started studying in earnest for the CompTIA A+ certification, which has been a fascinating review of things I know well, and additionally a lot of information that I didn’t know before. It’s a lot of fun!

That being said, I realized that there’s a long way for me to go in order to achieve the level of competency that I want, so I followed the advice of the people at r/ITCareerQuestions on Reddit and started to build my own home server experimentation lab, affectionately called a “Homelab” by the denizens of r/homelab.

I’ve completed the first step, which was to acquire a platform to start on. I’ll be adding a 4TB disk drive and a nice Noctua fan next week. Here it is!

It’s not much to look at yet, but this is the humble beginning of my homelab. It’s a refurbished Dell Optiplex 7010 with 24GB of RAM, Windows 10 Pro, and 1TB HDD. At the back you can see my 2TB single-drive Direct Access Storage (DAS) drive, which will supplement the 4TB datacenter drive that I ordered on Newegg.

My plan is to image the system drive so I can retain that copy of Win10 Pro, and then install it in a virtual machine on whatever hypervisor I decide to replace it with, alongside other services. I have a lot to learn, but this is what I’ll be learning with for now; I fully intend to upgrade this server with more storage space, more modern hardware (such as swapping the i7 and DDR3 for a Xeon and ECC DDR4), and eventually, enterprise-level equipment. It’s going to be fun!

~RP

Time to Leave Windows 7 Behind

Operating system vulnerabilities allow people with evil intent to do a variety of nefarious activities on your computer. They could install cryptocurrency miners, botnets, keyloggers, or other malicious software. They can also steal your data or hold it hostage through a ransomware attack. Since these are exploits of weaknesses in the operating system itself, there isn’t a lot that your antivirus software can do to stop them—only regular updates provided by Microsoft can patch these holes in your system security. And when those updates stop coming, you will be utterly defenseless. Is the convenience of putting off your upgrade worth the risk?

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I’m Still Reading

Dearest readers, whomever you are, I thank you for continuing to bear with me during the last couple months. Real life has prevented me from writing as often as I desire, but my passion for the art hasn’t waned. I wanted to share something from On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner that I read just now.

Finally, the true novelist is the one who doesn’t quit. Novel-writing is not so much a profession as a yoga, or “way,” an alternative to ordinary life-in-the-world. Its benefits are quasi-religious—a changed quality of mind and heart, satisfactions no non-novelist can understand—and its rigors generally bring no profit except to the spirit. For those who are authentically called to the profession, spiritual profits are enough.


Gardner, J. (1985). On Becoming a Novelist. New York: Harper & Row, p.145.

I’m still on track for reading 35 books this year, but I haven’t been able to maintain my goal of writing one short story per week. As long as I’m writing something I still feel that I’m making progress, however.

Be Well!

~RP

Seeking Criticism

As any aspiring writer knows, you have a very skewed perception of the quality of your own work. That’s why it’s important to actively seek out feedback to help you know what areas you need to improve. Here are three sources you can use to find the positive criticism that will help your writing be at the top of your capacity.

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Backing up Your Stories

For creators of all kinds, a mysterious and illusive threat lurks in places we don’t like to think about. You’ve probably stumbled upon frightening reminders of this threat once or twice—such as on a gaming mod site like nexusmods.com, or even on Wattpad, when a content creator’s hard drive fails and they’re unable to continue their work. A sad end to some fantastic creations!

Happily, there is something you can do to protect yourself from this kind of disaster. Simply, you need to back up your stories. This is such an easy task that anyone can do it, but unfortunately, it feels too complicated for many people. I hope this advice will make keeping your precious data backed up seem less advanced for you!

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Welcome to Technoliterate!

Welcome, friends! You’ve discovered the gleaming new evolution of websterhamster’s Machine, which was a personal blog from 2012-2018. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot writing the Machine, but the time has come to kick it up a notch and enter a new phase. That phase is…

TECHNOLITERATE!

Here I will be writing about technology, books, science fiction, and fantasy—my favorite topics of discussion. I hope this will continue to be a learning and growing experience for me, as well as you, Reader.

As always, Be Well.

~Ryan “websterhamster” Porter