The Null Device

2001/8/19

Emergentiles/Rewardians: Attitudes to work are changing, with young employees now demanding enough slack to have a life outside of work; this includes a rise in part-time work, and more flexibility in working arrangements, not to mention more willingness to change careers. (On one hand, that's good, as it provides more slack to those who value it, but then there are exploitative casual McJobs to worry about.)

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This evening I briefly went to a joint birthday party for a number of people, including Mike of Grouse!. All those black trenchcoats and ponytails and sunglasses indoors and black lace and PVC; I probably saw more goths tonight than I did all year before then. (Not necessarily a good thing; as I tend to get a bit paranoid and defensive when surrounded by groups of Spooky People; probably as, not having the clique-hierarchy-politics instinct, I can only be an outsider in their world.)

I was half-thinking of printing up a T-shirt reading "I HATE GOTHS" and wearing that there, but I never got around to it.

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Say goodbye to your MP3 collection, kids: The recording industry has patented a means of copy-protecting CDs. This method relies on CD players not using time codes, which CD-ROM drives do use, and encrypts the time codes. A computer can access the audio, only with special software that decrypts the time codes, and only on terms approved by the Recording Racket. Which means no MP3s, no listening to CDs on your Linux box, and no using unofficial CD playing software (there goes freedb.org's air supply). Then again, if CD players don't need the time codes at all, and special software can decrypt them (i.e., access the disc), surely it would be possible to write a program which extracts audio without relying on the time codes in the first place. (Would that be a circumvention device, or any more illegal than video signal stabilisers?)

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