The Null Device


Score! I just picked up a Roland PMA-5 at the Northcote Smack Converters. (That's the device which looks like an extremely chunky PDA and contains a GS sound module and sequencer.) Now to find a manual for it...


Hollywood's next power grab over your computer and digital rights: requiring watermark detectors in all analogue-digital converters; i.e., a gatekeeping mechanism ensuring that the digital domain is securely locked down. Needless to say, if they get this through (and they stand a good chance of doing so), it could mean the end of actually useful general-purpose computers and technologies which can be creatively adapted to new purposes. (They can't have that, you see, in case someone adapts them to a purpose that violates their (new, expanded) copyrights, or otherwise puts them out of pocket.)

Which could be disastrous. The technology of steam power was discovered in ancient Greece, but not developed because it didn't fit with the mores of the time, and remained unknown until the Industrial Revolution. Several hundred years ago, the Chinese came close to sailing to Europe and the New World. They had the technology, but turned back by Imperial decree. And now our corporate emperors want to kill off innovation to protect the valuable conditions of scarcity on which their power and wealth are founded.

In short, such a régime has the potential to impede technological development by decades if not centuries. (And the consequences will be felt all over Earth, especially if backed up with US military power, which is backed up with US economic power, which depends on "global stability". If the New Zealanders or Indonesians or someone develop an unencumbered bit-shuffling device industry, watch the high-energy particle beams from Fort Kissinger, high earth orbit, vapourise the offending facilities as if they were Iraqi penicillin factories.)

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