The Null Device


In the Philippines, where cars sport "NO To Contraception!" bumper stickers, the largest Internet service provider is none other than the Catholic Church, who have made it a mission to extend the Net to those who would not otherwise have it. All filtered and censored, of course (attempting to visit a proscribed site gets a "Thank God you were not able to enter that bad site. CBCPNet suggests that you access wholesome sites instead. God Bless You." message). Pragmatically, though, while adult content is blocked, violent first-person shooters are tolerated, because their adolescent male fans make up much of the custom.


30/12. Looking at those digits brings home the realisation that another year is drawing to an end; that soon 2000 will join 1999, 1998, 1997 and so on in the vaults of history; dead things, ever receding and growing only dimmer. All that happened receding into the distant past, every day becoming fossilised, bit by bit; gradually transformed from recent events to the halcyon memories of distant youth.

At such times, one sometimes tries to summarise what happened in the past year, and all that. It's funny, but it's hard to think of a year as a coherent whole, when it's something you experience piece by piece.

On another note, I've still got no idea how I'll be seeing out the old year (and the old millennium, for that matter), except that I will most probably remain in Melbourne.


A typically insightful look at the facts of CPRM hard disk copy control from The Reg.

If CPRM-compliant hardware is the de facto standard in the marketplace, then media producers will be able to switch to disseminating only restrictive-copy content overnight, and they'll be able to do it as easily as flicking a switch. They will need the connivance of software applications, but it only takes a CPRM-compliant Internet Explorer to achieve this and the vast majority of desktop personal computers will have been assimilated. By this stage, you may well be living in a CPRM-free world, but the bets are that your neighbors won't be. Are you confident you'll be able to dissuade them, then?


I recently received in the mail Issue 1 of a self-published comic titled The Warstorm, by an outfit calling themselves Chrome Fetus. It is about a God-fearing old man named Henry Carver, whose passion is writing and illustrating a lengthy book he calls Tales of the Lillian Girls (if that sounds familiar, it is because it takes a lot from the story of real-life outsider artist Henry Darger, of Vivian Girls fame). The preview issue of The Warstorm looks pretty interesting; the graphics and writing are impressive (though don't expect Vertigo gloss), and the story itself looks quite interesting. It will be interesting to see how this evolves in future issues.

(Aside: I like the way a bug in the JavaScript implementation of Nyetscape 6 puts those GeoCities ad boxes at the bottom of the page, where you don't even waste consciousness on them.)

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Director of facile sentimental schlock Steven Spielberg is to receive an honorary knighthood, putting him among such great men as George Bush and Norman Schwarzkopf.

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Madison Avenue, Graham? How about the Teen Queens? Girlfriend? Peter Andre? (I heard that Dannii Minogue's Coconut Song is a contemporary Australian classic too...)