The Null Device
New code fragment posted to the Code section of this site: iffdigest, a very lightweight library for decoding IFF/RIFF files in C++ (which will make its way into the audio tools I'm working on). if you need to pull apart IFF files of some sort, are already using C++/STL and don't want to depend on any heavyweight file-format libraries, you may find it useful.
Tanya sets her sights on the recent meme of ironically mixing together two songs (one of which is usually by Missy Elliot, for some reason).
Forget all that nonsense about CoolEdit and ProTools - all you need to be a master bootlegger are a pair of decks with a broken crossfader stuck in the middle: the results will be the same, to wit a grisly mess. And boys in bakers hats will stare at you while you are DJ-ing as if you are the cleverest man alive for supergluing an REM and Maddonna track together and calling it "Losing My Virginity"
Did the era of human rights end on September 11? It looks a bit like it, with the preservation of Empire taking precedence over feeling warm and fuzzy about doing the right thing, western countries diplomatically shutting up about their new allies' human-rights problems and everyone from Australia to Zimbabwe using "terrorism" as an excuse to dismiss human rights issues as a holdover from a softer, more decadent era.
But, as the Cold War should have taught the US, cozying up to friendly authoritarians is a poor bet in the long term. America is still paying a price for backing the shah of Iran. In the Arab world today, the US looks as if it is on the side of LouisXVI in 1789; come the revolution in Egypt or Saudi Arabia, American influence may be swept away. The human-rights movement is not in the business of preserving US power. But it should be concerned about stability, about moving strategically vital states such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia from closed to open societies without delivering them up to religious fundamentalists.
Greg Egan on the refugee situation: (via Stumblings)
That's what it's like, though...: working relentlessly to create a society so vile that no one in the world would choose to be a part of it. It takes a lot of effort to poison a calm, civilised, prosperous democracy to the point where people would rather eat grass or live under a dictatorship than attempt to come here, but if we keep it up, we'll get there.
I just found in my referer logs a hit from Google, searching for "phenylethylamine in illicitly produced amphetamine". Sounds nasty; taking some speed to get sharpened up and finding oneself developing intense crushes on people and things instead or something. That's the problem with illicit drugs; no quality control...
In Europe, Philips asks Customs to seize DVD players made by unlicensed factories, on grounds of patent infringement. This may include players which do not enforce region coding (such as the Apex/Hiteker players so popular with scofflaws), as apparently the DVD patent licence was tightened up a while ago closing loopholes around the region-enforcement issue.
The BBC plan to make a TV series based on Fungus the Bogeyman, the somewhat odd children's book by Raymond Briggs. I loved that book when I was 10 or so; where else would one, for example, learn what "crepuscular" means, or that "hodmandods" are snails. Anyway, the new TV series will be a combination of live action and 3D computer animation. Should be interesting if they pull it off well.
The sexual marketplace: The greatest love letters in history have used the same techniques used by direct mail marketers.
In advertising, we must remember, honesty is a commodity that can be traded freely against expectations; since Henry (VIII) clearly didn't need Anne (Boleyn) as a repeat customer, he could afford to promise her more than his final cutthroat offer.
It's good to run into people who appreciate brilliant, long-forgotten bands few others have heard of. I went to the Empress Hotel this evening to check out the bands. The first up was a touring English indie duo named Partition; two guys with a guitar and a drum machine singing slightly humorous indie numbers, with a subtle Sarah Records feel in places, only a bit more punk in others. (Among the songs they did was one about thinness obsession to the tune of Billy Bragg's New England, and a slightly punky yet touchingly heartfelt rant-over-guitar-strumming piece about having fancied some girl for 10 years and then finally going out with her for two disastrous weeks, which reminded me a bit of The Cure's So What), finally ending with a funny little dance to a drum machine pattern. Whilst on stage, they wore white T-shirts, reading "APART" and "APRAT".
Afterwards, I noticed that one of the members of the group (Martin) was wearing a T-shirt with the Field Mice soundbite "CHOCOLATE LOVE SEX" printed on it; I asked him whether it was a Field Mice reference, and it was. It turned out that he used to go and see many of their gigs when they were around (late 80s/early 90s), and was into the whole Sarah scene. Anyway, we ended up talking a bit about bands and such. He also mentioned that Partition have written one Field Mice-inspired song, but they didn't play it tonight, as it's not finished yet.
Anyway, Partition seem like a fairly interesting outfit; with any luck they'll record something soon.