The Null Device
A curious tidbit about the ICL One-Per-Desk, a forgotten 1980s microcomputer (which may or may not have been sold in Australia as the Telecom Computerphone), and the power of human inventiveness:
The rudimentary speech synthesiser built into the answerphone bit of the OPD/Tonto had a limited number of words in its vocabulary in a bid to prevent people from leaving rude messages. There was a competition between ICL employees at the time (the early 1980s) to contrive to construct a dodgy phrase. The best anyone could come up with was "please will you service my secretary".
According to Fourth Room, a British marketing consultancy, the English language is being displaced on the Net by "Weblish":
The apostrophe is dead. Its no longer needed. writing emails entirely in lower case is fine for creative professionals Addressing someone as Mr, Mrs and Miss is too formal and old-fashioned. Most emails now open with 'Hi' or 'Hello' Word combining, eg: workinglunch
(Perhaps the last one is German getting its own back for being displaced among hip young Germans by English?)
Martial law comes to Howard's Australia: The federal government, under our most esteemed despot, John "The Beast" Howard, is proposing laws enhancing federal security powers; in particular, allowing the federal government to deploy the army within Australia to crush dissent. This law apparently will allow martial law to be imposed, including a suspension of civil liberties and even shoot-to-kill orders; It is planned to be in place for the World Economic Forum. Not surprisingly, anti-capitalist militants have spoken out against it.
A grim conclusion to the sunken Russian submarine story, as Norwegian divers have entered the submarine and found it flooded. All on board are dead, but at least they would have died relatively quickly.
What's in a name? Ireland's Monopoly champion, Nigerian-born Ekumdayo Badmus has changed his surname to O'Badmus, as he was due to represent Ireland in the world Monopoly championships.
It's not only in western countries that people are concerned about the effect of television on youth. In China, there has recently been outcry about the scandalous television programmes coming in from the more liberal Hong Kong. Schoolchildren in China have taken to keeping cockroaches as pets, copying a popular Hong Kong TV show in which a couple keeps a pet cockroach.
A Russian television station has been suspended over subliminal advertisements. The single-frame ads, appearing as only a flash, read "sit and watch only ATN".
Steganography for psychopaths. Use this for encrypting your high-school massacre plans. Or maybe not.
Oh dear: The mullet is back in fashion, if an Australian hair stylists' contest is anything to go by. But is this a sign of the mullet coming into fashion, or of it transitioning from ironic underground hipster fashion to the mainstream?
For some reason I keep getting entries in my referer log from local Windows-only web radio outfit bigfatradio.com, which seems to be some sort of venture-capitalised dotcom startup run by a bunch of ex-JJJ yoof-radio people. Of course, I can't tell for sure, as it's all in Windows Media format and the site works only in Microsoft Internet Exploiter. You see, I'm one of those subversives who doesn't subscribe to the Microsoft New World Order. (I use Linux, actually; the last version of Windows I used was 3.1.) And no, I'm not going to downgrade to Windows just to be hip enough to listen to your trendy radio show. Tunney et al., consider yourselves taken to task, and stop to think what your younger lefty rabblerouser selves would think of your reinforcing of the Microsoft multinational capitalist monopoly. It's not like there aren't any alternatives, you know...
Speaking of Slowdive's Pygmalion, does anyone else think that the second track (Crazy For You) would work really well as drum'n'bass? May be something to have a go at once I have a bit more time. (I once did (most of) a drum'n'bass track based on This Mortal Coil's Another Day. And no, I won't post it online, as I don't own the copyright. Anyone from 4AD reading this, drop me a line...)
Lately I seem to have developed a new appreciation for experimental post-rock ambience, of the understated, evolving, repetitive variety; stuff like Yo La Tengo's _Everyday_ and Slowdive's third album (where they ditch the shoegazer thing and go minimalist). This seems to be at least partly due to listening to Midweek Crisis on 3RRR. Soon I'll no doubt be buying Flying Saucer Attack CDs and such. (Btw, you _did_ subscribe to 3RRR, didn't you? I did...)