The Null Device
The non-US press are having a field day with the US election fiasco, with many leaders (including Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe) wanting to send observers to the US.
Congo's independent La Reference Plus said Thursday the US vote provided "strong arguments for bad leaders and dictators in Africa." "If this happens in the United States, how do you want everything to be clean and transparent in the poor African continent," added the daily.
Good news for the environment: IBM are opening a PC recycling service in the US. For US$29.99 (including delivery), they'll keep your obsolete PC out of the landfill (well, 96% of it). Reusable parts are refurbished and donated to charity (which is tax-deductable); of what is left, as much as possible is recycled. This and other services like it may help avert the looming crisis of toxic chemicals from all those obsolete two-year-old computers leaching into the groundwater.
Australia now has a fat pipe to the rest of the world; the Southern Cross Cable Network opened today, and once it's complete, will provide 120 gigabits of bandwidth between Australia and the US -- 120 times than the present capacity. However, Australia's links to the rest of the world still seem to go pretty much exclusively through the US backbone; it'd be nice to see some more redundancy.
Nyetscape has been going downhill since it was acquired by AOL. The latest instalment in this sorry saga is the Netscape 6 installation process. No longer can you download a tarball at work, put it on a ZIP disk and take it home and install it; the download is now a proprietary, closed-source installer, which you have to run as root no less, which fetches Netscape 6 over your modem link (all 10-20Mb or however large it is) and installs it. Since it's closed-source, there's no telling what else it might do; for all you know, it may surreptitiously patch your kernel to report your browsing habits to AOL (in the interests of serving you better, of course), or to report MP3 downloads to the RIAA at the behest of merger partner Time Warner. Illegal? Possibly, though under UCITA and the DMCA, maybe less so than in the past. And then there is the NSA, who work closely with large high-tech companies. The possibilities are endless.
TrollTech have released a version of their GUI toolkit Qt for palmtops. It will install on various Linux-based palmtops (including a retrofitted Cassiopeia); there is even a demo version on a disk for PCs. It looks pretty interesting; though it seems to be a bit desktoppish, and as such there may be some usability issues when using it on a hand-held device (as there were with WinCE).
Why do get the feeling that Lore Sjöberg is an avid Democrat partisan? (via Found)
Choice search keywords from today's referrer log: "clockwork orange fonts" (um, try here), "nude ananova" (I think someone needs to get out a bit more).
The chickens may be coming home to roost for the recording industry. Chart-topping Australian Seattle-sound band Silverchair have knocked back the major labels and signed to an independent label, Eleven, which will give them creative control and ownership of their copyrights.
Think you have a problem making ends meet? Spare a thought for our enlightened leaders in Canberra, who have found revenues from fuel excise to have fallen far short of expectations. This is largely because of rising fuel prices and selfish motorists cutting down on driving. If you're a good, patriotic Australian, you know what to do: throw away your bicycle, stop taking the train and buy a monster-truck-sized 4WD for your grocery shopping.
At the risk of falling foul of BLOGMA 2001, an update on the new computer saga. I bought a new (cheap commodity) sound card today, this time an AudioExcel card based on something called the CM8738, which is known to have some support under Linux. I installed it and compiled the driver (a weird, standalone one). It worked well enough when playing MP3s and such, but VMWare didn't like it. I tried the alternative ALSA driver suite, and it worked a lot better.
One curiosity: I noticed that the CD that came with the sound card had drivers not only for various Microsoft-spawn but also for "Linux". On closer inspection, the Linux driver turned out to be a copy of the experimental driver sources bundled with the 2.2.13 kernel (the one which didn't work with VMWare).
It had to happen: BLOGMA 2001.