The Null Device


The Designers Republic's merchandising division The People's Bureau is opening soon, and will have a free screensaver for the downloading. (PC and Mac only; you can't bung it on your Linux box, unless you want to run it in a VMWare window or something equally pointless.) Unfortunately, the site seems unreachable at the moment.

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Taking it meta: Am I an "am I X or not" site or not?


Another UL debunked: The word "chad", as seen in the press recently in light of some dubious events in the US, is not back-formed from a Mr. Chadless, inventor of the chadless key punch, as the Jargon File suggested. It now appears that Mr. Chadless never existed (no more than the legendary inventor of the brassière, the renowned German engineer Otto Titzling). The latest theory is that 'chad' comes from the Scottish word for gravel.

(I wonder whether, once facts are forgotten and selectively rediscovered a few times, theories will emerge that the term "chad" originated in the year 2000, as a reference to St. Chad, the patron saint of disputed elections.)

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Welcome to the New World Order: Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it may be illegal to read aloud from electronic books in Adobe's GlassBook format, including Alice in Wonderland. (JPEG screenshot)


This blog looks potentially interesting. Then again, I don't understand Spanish so I can't read it. Though it's interesting how much you can pick up from a few words here and there and a collection of links. At the very least, the author of the blog has interesting taste in music.

(Correction: It has since been pointed out that it's in Portuguese, not Spanish. Though I can't read Portuguese either.)


US law enforcement agencies will soon have a spray which makes envelopes transparent, allowing them to read mail without a warrant and capture more of those nasty drug-dealing paedophile terrorists.

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Coming to film festivals next year: MacArthur Park, a Blair Witch-style mockumentary about the assassination of Bill Gates, and the subsequent cover-up.


Justice in action: Some time ago, Tom Bourke registered the domain, dedicated to "sheep and woolly resources". A few months ago, the British Airports Authority sued him to take over the domain. Now, unable to pay the legal costs of standing up to corporate bullies (expected to be £100,000 by the conclusion of the case), he has settled, handing it over. The moral of this story: if someone with more lawyers than you wants your domain, it's theirs.


The power of the Internet: Today's words of advice: if your boyfriend is an asshole, don't send him steamy email, a mistake one Claire Swire made, and which may catapult her into the realms of near-Shergoldian infamy.


A US Superior Court judge has ruled that airlines are within their rights to demand that obese passengers buy multiple tickets, should they not fit into one seat. (via Leviathan)


Speaking of the music press, just weeks after britpop magazine Select closes its doors, NME and Melody Maker merge. The apparent rationale is the declining market for music magazines.

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Oh dear... According to the local street press, Boy George is working on a stage musical about the New Romantic movement of the early 80s. It is rumoured that Marc Almond may star in the musical. Actually, weren't the Pet Shop Boys working on a musical as well a while ago? Whatever happened to that?


Now that Dubya is President, we can expect to see more censorship in the US; a new Meese-style inquiry into the evils of online pornography may be on the cards.