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smilla

Lying on the couch in my cabin, listening to the snow fall outside our new Arlington house, on this new Massachusetts Monday, I’m confronted with the best of all possible questions: what would I like to do first?

While the coffee brewed, while sitting on the tall chairs, I considered:

* learning Squeak

* installing Subversion

These would be practical and fun, always a good beginning. Since my mind never feels finished until I’ve reached three, I debated the other task I might like.

My laptop battery went dead, so I moved into the tiny afterthought of a room off the music room, the coldest room in the house .. my cabin. Turn on the heater, find a blanket, plug in the laptop, stretch out on the small couch. Laptop won’t start.

Okay, so I’ll meditate while I wait for a charge. Watching the snow under the streetlight, looking at the silhouette of the meditation statue on the sill, I let my mind drift to the empty place, made easier with the snow sounds.

After a bit came the thought, with no apparent cause or need: I’ll make something new to talk to, an IRC friend, a chatterbot. Not Waverly, our current IRC bot, but something much deeper, something worthy of being created five miles from the Stata center and Marvin Minsky.

As with the idea, her name drifted up from my brain, with no apparent source. I’ll call her Smilla, and I’ll bring her to life this morning.

Just as I thought this, my laptop came to life on its own, making the familiar Mac boot sound. The snow, the statue, the streetlight, and now my laptop . . . all seeming to say, “It’s time to start Smilla.”

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