The Null Device

2001/1/2

Oh, the humanity! A bunch of no-good crackers (probably something like those Columbine goth kids) have broken into the main server for the multiplayer game Diablo II, and done what any black-clad, Rammstein-listening teenager would do: massacred the other players. They went after the jocks and preppies of the Diablo II world -- the "hard-core" players who had climbed to the top of the rankings -- stripping them of their items, and killing their characters.

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An idea whose time has come? Last year, the loony leftists in France enacted a 35-hour work week, amidst protests from business groups that it would impair productivity. France is now reaping the benefits of this decision, with the lowest unemployment rate in 9 years, not to mention a happier workforce and reduced traffic problems. Perhaps this is a healthier trend than the dominant one in the US and Australia, with working hours and stress going up as the market is deregulated toward Industrial Revolution-style hours?

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Going back to the piece on software replacing human DJs: Mitchell Porter pointed out that once that happens, idorus would be the natural replacement for DJs as the figureheads of electronic dance music, with its anonymous, unmediagenic authors. Which makes sense, as the software could do everything; there wouldn't be a need to get human voice talent in (as was the case with Kyoko Date), and watching a DJ modelled on Max Headroom scratch virtual discs on a wall of TV monitors may be pretty cool (at least until the novelty wears off). Though there is the question of whether a piece of replicable software would have the star quality of an international DJ. If, say, Ministry of Sound, becomes the Hard Rock Cafe of the new millennium, opening franchises across the world and installing its proprietary software DJ at the console, will the cult of the superstar DJ evaporate into nothing, or be replaced by some other form of hero worship?

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High-tech WIRED digerati pundits on the year to come:

Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft will honor their debt to Microsoft, for its prepaid purchase of legal assistance, by settling the massive anti-trust findings against the operating system monopoly with some trivial, look-good slap on the wrist.
One or more of the Top-10 public relations firms will purchase major shares of South Africa-based partnerships that lease paramilitary mercenaries for low intensity wars. The integrated corporations will discretely cross-market themselves as "full service" crisis management specialists.

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The British government has declassified secret documents from 1970, including files on anti-apartheid demonstrators, and the pressing question of how to bury all the dead in the event of a nuclear war.

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