The Null Device


Salon looks at the seedy world of someone-has-a-crush-on-you sites; some of which operate as unethical marketing operations at best and spam email harvesters at worst, preying on the desperate and socially challenged. (via Techdirt)

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The turd in a can again: An article which argues that the recording industry's proposed (and likely to be passed) laws which criminalise bypassing copy-denial system for any reason are intended not so much to stop piracy but to lock out independent artists, giving the major recording labels a technologically-enforced monopoly on music distribution, backed by the full force of U.S. law:

Biden's new bill would make it a federal felony to try and trick certain types of devices into playing your music or running your computer program. Breaking this law--even if it's to share music by your own garage band--could land you in prison for up to five years. And that's not counting the civil penalties of up to $25,000 per offense. "Say I've got an MP3 collection and I buy a new nifty player from Microsoft that only plays watermarked content, and I forge the watermark to allow my legal MP3 collection to play," says Jessica Litman, who teaches intellectual property law at Wayne State University. "It is certainly the case that if I pass that around, I could be trafficking (in violation of the law)."

Of course, this thesis assumes that the recording industry are the sort of amoral, greedy scumbags who would do something like that. (via Techdirt)

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Film festival: Tonight I saw a documentary titled Much Ado About Something; it was about theories that the plays and sonnets attributed to William Shakespeare were written by someone else (it mostly focussed on Christopher Marlowe, but also mentioned Francis Bacon). It presented both proponents of such theories and orthodox debunkers, and, in the balance, the question is still open to doubt. (For example, there is no evidence that Shakespeare had the degree of education required to write his plays; though this could be just as easily evidence of collaboration or partial plagiarism. The facts about the "death" of Marlowe also seemed a bit suspicious as they were presented there.)

Anyway, those in the US will apparently be able to catch this documentary on PBS soon.

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A good article about the hobo subculture in America today. The old hobos from the Great Depression are gone, but there is a new generation of outsiders, ranging from anarchist punks and ferals to migrant workers to train-obsessed dot-com yuppies (and the odd neo-Nazi psycho killer, or so the authorities say); all brought together by disenchantment with mainstream American life and/or a desire for something else. (via bOING bOING)

(I wonder if they have a similar subculture in Australia. There aren't as many train lines these days, so maybe not. Perhaps the local equivalent is the Cave Clan or something?)

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Research reveals that the MS Windows API is intrinsically insecure; any application can spoof window messages to any other application, regardless of permissions, bypass the feeble "security" present and pull off all sorts of exploits. In other words, typical Microsoft security. And furthermore, the flaw is fundamental to the API and is irreparable, short of changing the fundamental design of the Windows message queue mechanism and breaking every existing Win32 application. (via the Reg)

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