The Null Device


Only in America: A technical glitch briefly replaced cable TV channels in Detroit with an Arabic-language soap opera from a channel catering to Detroit's Arab-American community. Consequently, thousands of subscribers panicked, thinking that terrorists had hacked into the system.

"It's a sad sign of the times that Arab-language programming should create such fear," Black says.

(After all, only a supervillain like Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein would stoop to such a dastardly act as targeting decent Americans' cable TV.) (via


It looks like my Pilot (an ancient US Robotics Pilot 5000, not one of those new-fangled PalmPilots) is cactus. The touch screen finally gave out, and now varies between locking the machine up and not working at all. I've managed to get the data off it, and now am looking at what to replace it with. (I'm thinking of going with a Psion.)

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An engineer in the UK has developed a silence machine which selectively eliminates predictable noises. The machine is basically a noise-cancelling device, equipped with a signal-processing computer programmed to find and cancel only those noises targeted, letting other sounds through.


A propagandistic News Corp. article about the evils of coin-operated CD duplicators, how they threaten to kill musical artists, and how outrageous it is that they're perfectly legal, as a result of our inadequately lax copyright laws. (Keep in mind that News Corp., along with Disney, is one of the major advocates of legally mandating copy-protection in all electronic devices in the US.)

NEW machines installed in Adelaide convenience stores make the illegal copying of the latest CDs and computer software - which costs artists and software designers millions of dollars - as easy as buying a loaf of bread.

It also makes legal copying of CDs you already own, for backups or use in the car, for example, or of your band's demos, or whatever, easy. But we all know that consumers have no legitimate reason to copy CDs.

The machines are able to operate under the same legislation as public photocopiers, where the burden of responsibility for copyright breaches lies with the user and not the owner of the equipment.

How much do you want to bet that there'll be legislation in parliament to remedy this promptly?

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