The Null Device


No marks for The Designers Republic on their web design, mostly because they don't actually use HTML and just make everything embedded Flash. Having to start VMWare to access their web site (you try finding a working Flash plug-in for Linux) is annoying.

(And the Macromedia Flash plug-in for Linux is unusable. It works, but it grabs the audio device, and freezes Netscape until it gets it. Having to stop listening to your MP3s because there's a Flash ad on a page is just not acceptable, even for the leprous beggars who don't use Windows.)

Anyway, if you want to snarf it from a UNIX machine, the Designers Republic's free screen saver may be found here (for the Mac) or here (for Windows). (Cute URLs, guys...)

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You know, those singing fish toys (the ones the Queen Mum supposedly finds most amusing, and everyone else will probably find at garage sales for the next decade, next to the fibre-optic lamps and iMac-like kitchen appliances)? Well, one hacker from MIT (where else?) has hacked such a fish, modifying it to record and play back messages (and mouth movements). (via Slashdot)


I'm Wayne Kerr, and if there's one thing I hate... it's that stupid JavaScript scroller gimmick. You know, the one that some pages have, scrolling a flickery message (typically something droolingly inane like "Hi! Welcome to my web page!") through your browser's status bar. You can't stop it (as you can GIF animations), you can't see any links you put the cursor over, and it's irritating as hell. And no, it's not cool, or clever, and it makes the designer of the web page (or the pointy-haired management type who signed off on it) look like a cretin. Unfortunately, the Ausway street directory home page has succumbed to this particular lapse of taste.

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Perhaps there is some justice in the world. Two spammers have been jailed for two years for a fraud which duped 12,000 suckers and almost crippled several major ISPs.


In three days' time, it will be my 27th birthday. I had a dream, early last year, about my next birthday party. It was held in a suburban street, probably not far from where I lived at the time. Everyone turned up about a block away, and until I found them, I had thought that they weren't going to make it. They were mostly older people, friends of the family or somesuch. Shortly later, the party made a human-interest headline in the local community paper; with a colour photo, two paragraphs about it and the rest about something else; a rather depressing experience, and one which made me decide (in the dream) that that was the last time I would hold a party like that.

Mind you, before dreaming of the party, I (recursively) dreamt about waking from a dream, something about receiving SMS messages on my mobile phone from a semi-obscure movie actor.


Yahoo knuckles under to a French court decision, banning the sale of Nazi-related memorabilia worldwide. Of course, this may now open the floodgates to demands to ban other items which are illegal in some parts of the world, reducing Yahoo's online auction site contents to those items considered universally inoffensive. There is, of course, something unwholesomely creepy about those who fetishise a murderous dictatorship, but banning the sale of Third Reich postage stamps isn't likely to have any effect other than making those imposing the ban feel good about symbolically standing up against fascism (albeit some six decades too late).


Jeff Noon has written a new book, Cobralingus, which promises to be quite interesting:

Jeff Noon transforms techniques from dance music into a whole new approach to the production of words. He begins with his own fiction, or pieces 'sampled' from Shakespeare, Thomas De Quincy or Zane Grey. These are playfully 'remixed' by the Cobralingus Engine, producing fiction, poems, songs and visually stunning text.

(via Stumblings)