The Null Device
This afternoon, I got a message from Cos, saying that he picked up the new Neil Halstead album at Second Spin in Balaclava. So I caught a tram and a train down there, and picked up a copy, as well as second-hand copies of:
- Ivy, Apartment Life (which I had had my eye on for a while)
- Lush, Gala (the early EP compilation; now I've got everything Lush ever released, save for some obscure remixes*).
Being on a tight budget, I didn't pick up everything I found there; I didn't get The Sundays' Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (which didn't sound too bad, in a slightly Cocteau Twins-ish sort of way), the last Mojave 3 album, an album by Bandulu (who did a good remix of Slowdive's In Mind, though their own work sounded like fairly standard dub/electronica), or Ryuichi Sakamoto's 1996 compilation.
* such as the DJ Spooky mix of Undertow, which I'd love to get my hands on.
TV broadcasters are using a new technology to trim the length of programmes without removing scenes, making room for extra ad spots. The patented technology uses a process called "microediting", in which duplicate frames are removed and the audio is compressed in synchronisation. This process can reduce programme length by 30 seconds per half hour, giving an extra lucrative ad spot. Some networks have even been applying it to "live" sports broadcasts, running them through a buffer.
(They can claim a patent for that? It seems like a rather obvious process; both the frame deletion and the audio doctoring.)
Stranger than fiction: Ambulance crews in the Polish city of Lodz have been deliberately letting patients die, in return for kickbacks from funeral companies. In some cases the ambulance crews even hastened the deaths of their charges by administering muscle relaxants. In return, the funeral homes paid the ambulance crews over US$300 for each stiff sent their way.
Backpacker advisory: Vending machine owners in Europe have found that unscrupulous customers have been using Thai 10 baht coins in place of two-Euro coins. The Thai coins are very similar to the two-Euro coin in size and weight, but worth only €0.26.