The Null Device
The latest issue of Computer Music magazine comes with a VST drum-sampler plug-in (SR-202, by the Muon people). Unfortunately, the Mac version of this plug-in can crash the entire machine, which renders it rather useless. Hopefully they'll fix this in a future issue (as it looks like quite a doovy plug-in; potentially better than LM-4).
(Yes, MacOS's nonexistent memory protection is to blame; I'll be glad when they start making native audio software for MacOS X, and compiling VST plug-ins for said platform too. Mind you, I'll also need a new Mac then, as my beige toaster doesn't want to boot MacOS X (probably because of the CPU upgrade).)
In other plug-in news, Roland have a VST version of their Sound Canvas module out; I'm thinking of spending the A$135 (with 3RRR subscriber discount) and buying it (I do have an ancient SC-55 module, but this is internal and VST-based, and thus more convenient; and you never know when you'll need some GM sounds).
The onward march of technology: Now there are viruses in Shockwave/Flash files. Mind you, they only work when run explicitly (so far).
Surprise, surprise: Australia's federal government rides to the rescue of beleaguered multinational media cartels, vowing to lift the onerous cross-ownership and foreign-media-ownership restrictions they have been struggling under, within a few months. Rupert and Kerry will be happy.
An interesting piece about the dominance of English, and the efforts made to preserve other languages from its encroachment:
In Hong Kong, by contrast, the new, Chinese masters are promoting Cantonese, to the concern of local business. And in India some people see English as an oppressive legacy of colonialism that should be exterminated. As long ago as 1908 Mohandas Gandhi was arguing that "to give millions a knowledge of English is to enslave them." Ninety years later the struggle was still being fought, with India's defence minister of the day, Mulayam Singh Yadav, vowing that he would not rest "until English is driven out of the country". Others, however, believe that it binds a nation of 800 tongues and dialects together, and connects it to the outside world to boot.
(Psychoceramic speculation: perhaps someone should try something like that in Australia; what's the point of becoming a republic if we still speak the tongue of our colonial oppressors? It may be politically correct to adopt and adapt an Aboriginal language (as has been done with Hebrew and Icelandic) as "Australian"; a committee of fashionable academics, bureaucrats and special-interest groups could be appointed to supervise the development of the language.)
[T]he Icelanders have readily adopted alnaemi for "AIDS", skjar for "video monitor" and toelva for "computer". Why? Partly because the new words are in fact mostly old ones: alnaemi means "vulnerable", skjar is the translucent membrane of amniotic sac that used to be stretched to "glaze" windows, and toelva is formed from the words for "digit" and "prophetess". Familiarity means these words are readily intelligible. But it also helps that Icelanders are intensely proud of both their language and their literature, and the urge to keep them going is strong
[M]ultilingualism, a commonplace among the least educated peoples of Africa, is now the norm among Dutch, Scandinavians and, increasingly, almost everyone else. Native English-speakers, however, are becoming less competent at other languages: only nine students graduated in Arabic from universities in the United States last year, and the British are the most monoglot of all the peoples of the EU . Thus the triumph of English not only destroys the tongues of others; it also isolates native English-speakers from the literature, history and ideas of other peoples. It is, in short, a thoroughly dubious triumph. But then who's for Esperanto? Not the staff of The Economist, that's for sure
Situation comedy of the day: A particularly thick and obnoxious spammer, masquerading as a "consultant", gets his arse handed to him, several times over. Hmmm; this guy reminds me of John "DrGodF*ck" Grubor in his "Doctor of Law" heyday. (Shifman link via TechDirt)
Obscure factoid about your humble narrator: Apparently, if rotten.com's sidebar is to be believed, I was born 100 years to the day after the original Siamese Twins, Chang and Eng, died.
After the September 11 outrage, Rupert Murdoch's publishing house HarperCollins pulled an upcoming book by left-liberal gadfly Mike Moore, for having the "intellectual dishonesty" to criticise George W. Bush, the Unquestionable Leader of the Free World. Existing copies of Stupid White Males were to be pulped, and Moore was instructed to rewrite it in a more patriotically-correct fashion, with costs coming from his royalties account. However, this decision has been overturned, and the book is set to come out in March. The reason for the turnabout is a campaign by librarians. (link via Reenhead)
(Why Moore still works with an authoritarian institution such as News Corp. is somewhat puzzling; the Murdoch empire have consistently shown themselves to be enemies of free expression, from pulling the BBC off their satellites at China's request to supporting draconian extensions to "copyright" laws to being the only agency outside the Chinese government to condemn and denounce the Falun Gong movement.)