The Null Device

2000/8/1

Just looked at (in my copious spare time) the gallery of found photographs. (Thanks, Jim!) This reminded me of a memorable sight I saw some years ago. It was an afternoon, either in autumn or spring, and I was in the Melbourne city square (this was before they knocked it down and put up a hotel or whatever). Back then, they had these shallow rectangular stone pools of water. At the bottom of one pool was a black-and-white passport photograph of two girls making faces at the camera. The water rippled over this image, reflecting the sunlight and the leaves/branches of a tree above the pool. This scene, the photograph, the water, the tree, seemed like a perfect moment, embodying some kind of deeper cosmic harmony or symmetry, and I wished I had a camera on hand to record it. The photograph, the pool and the tree no longer exist anymore; though I guess that is the nature of perfect moments...

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2000/7/31

Television recently arrived in the remote Himalayan country of Bhutan, and is having a profound impact. (via RobotWisdom)

``I see that suddenly there is an explosion of fashion as people try to imitate things they saw on television... Television is a great agent to make the world into one big market, a powerful agent to melt down all local culture,'' Ura said during an interview in an office crammed with sacred Buddhist texts. ``I wish it was not welcomed so early into our society.''
Instead of learning to long for the indulgences of the outside world, most Bhutanese reacted with pride after TV arrived, he said. Until they saw the violence and lawlessness in the world outside, ``we didn't know how well off we were,'' Thinley said.
A 13-year-old student, Ugyen Phuentslo, wrote that he enjoyed watching World Wrestling Federation matches on TV, but was plagued by doubts. ``I think human beings can't take such big blows, kicks, etc. Some people say the fights are real and some say they are not. So whom should I believe?''

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More than 300 rock fans turned up to a university lecture, after seeing a poster announcing "an evening with rock photographer Tim Cullen" -- only to discover that it was a lecture on geology.

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The MPAA/RIAA's latest file-sharing enemy is likely to be MojoNation, a system which not only is distributed and decentralised (and thus impossible to shut down) but rewards uploaders with micropayments, thus keeping to a libertarian faith in the market as panacea. It comes from Autonomous Zone, a bunch of cypherpunkish hackers, and is LGPLed. Of course, the "payments" go to those who post materials, not to the authors or owners, which won't make music distribution any fairer, but will democratise the practice of pimping artists for money.

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I think I'm going to need a faster Macintosh. A 233MHz G3, whilst fast enough for generic Cubase VST use, does tend to strain rather a lot under the weight of several softsynths and a bunch of Pluggo plug-ins.

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Some enthusiastic teenagers have decided to create an open-source Windows-compatible OS from the ground up. So far they have a web page and a request for startup/shutdown graphics. No word on actual code yet, but this looks set to follow kick-ass vaporware Freedows into the realm of penguinhead legend.

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