The Null Device
Your next computer will be a trusted client: Academics and legal scholars are claiming that copy control technologies deprive consumers of legitimate rights. The technologies in question include Microsoft's Product Activation technology (which will require new Windows installations to be registered and activated from Redmond), CPRM (hardware copy control coming to your next hard disk) and SDMI. Some are calling for amendments to copyright laws giving consumers more fair-use rights. Mind you, given that this is just a bunch of bleeding-heart leftists in ivory towers, with no "soft money" to donate to election campaigns, this will probably be given as much heed in the Real World as other academic proposals (such as equation formatting in HTML 3.0).
Tuesday, 6 March 2001. That's when Mir crashes into the Pacific.
Windows exile tip: if you, like me, are used to having multiple virtual desktops (X window managers certainly spoil you in that way), and find yourself marooned on a Wintendo NT machine or similar, there is a quite decent free virtual desktop program named multiDesk 2001. Thankfully it doesn't succumb to any of the major Windows vices: it's not nagging shareware, not a time-limited demo and doesn't show ads.
Welcome to the Dark Ages: According to New Scientist, when Bush is sworn in, we will see Reagan-style military spending, oil drilling in national parks, and an end to research that offends Christian Fundamentalists, such as stem cell research and AIDS research (after all, AIDS is a divine punishment for evildoers, and it is not Man's business to interfere in the Lord's doing), whilst diverting funds from tropical disease research to "diseases of the rich", such as cancer and heart disease.
Oh yes; there is a new Fontomas font out (#19: "Oldphart"), and it looks interesting, in a T-26esque grunge sort of way. (Btw, is grunge typography still more of a going movement than grunge rock (Silverchair notwithstanding), or is it too mid-90s?)
If you've been wondering the depths TV producers would go to to attract sensation-jaded channel surfers; upping the ante on "reality TV" is a new show from Fox (the network which also did the massively successful Who Wants To Marry A Multimillionaire) is called Temptation Island:
The premise: Four real-life couples (described by Fox as "unmarried but seriously committed") are put on an island off the coast of Belize, along with 26 attractive single people. During a two-week separation, each member of a couple selects three of the seductive singles for a series of dates.
As you can imagine, the guardians of morality are decrying it vocally, denouncing it as a sign of the decline and fall of Western civilisation. Which means it will probably be a smashing success. Perhaps they can do a follow-up show with Jerry Springer?
DivX, the video compression technology which promises to be to video what MP3 is to music, is going open-source. Which may mean no more need for Windows codecs for playing DivX films under Linux. That is, if it isn't sued into oblivion for patent infringement.
Can TV make you fat? An Irish politician has accused shows such as The Simpson and GenY branded-lifestyle promo Friends of promoting unhealthy diets and eating habits by example.