The Null Device

2003/10/24

This sounds interesting: A new MP3 player from Archos, the Gmini, which is claimed to be the smallest 20Gb MP3 player in existence (which means it's probably based on one of those 1.8" sub-notebook hard disks). The interesting part is that it will work with plug-in accessory modules, including a voice recorder, a photo viewer and music composition software (which could be anything from a glorified ringtone composer to a Cubase-like studio package to a loop-based dance-music production toy).

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Via Jim, this page of silly Tube maps, including one with the station names removed (see how many you can name), and this one in German (amusingly enough, Mile End is "2.4km Ende" in German). And here are some (mostly) sensible Tube maps; and a link to some brilliant stickers found added to line maps (I think I may have seen some of those when I was last over there).

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After looking around LiveJournal a bit, it occurred to me that someone could easily do a LiveJournal Bingo game.

Look at your "friends of friends" page and tick off any of the following you find there:

  • South Park-style goth/raver/hipster user icon
  • anime user icon
  • Photographs of cats
  • "Which ___ are you" test
  • "personality" test whose outcome is based entirely on user's name
  • 3 or more people doing the same bogus test
  • Vampires
  • Furries
  • "Current music: Radiohead"
  • Sexual compatibility test results
  • Discussion of romantic situation involving 4 or more people
  • IRC/MSN chat transcript that's two or more pages long

Have I missed anything?

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Fish on Prozac! (Which sounds like a Clag/New Waver MP3 mashup, but I digress.)

According to a study by a Baylor University toxicologist, fluoxetine -- the active ingredient in the antidepressant Prozac -- is making its way to a lake in the Dallas area and into the tissue of the fresh water blue gill fish.

Science may have finally developed a happy fish that doesn't mind being eaten, and whose fluoxetine-saturated flesh makes you contented.

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Malcolm McLaren (yes, that Malcolm McLaren) reckons that 8-bit chip tunes are the next big thing, and that revolutionary music will be made on Amigas and Game Boys by people in FUCK PRO TOOLS T-shirts.

The essence of chip music is in reverse engineering an electronic interface - whether it's a Game Boy or a computer's sound chip - and subverting its original design. Chip music can be made using run-of-the-mill equipment, like a Casio keyboard, but first the insides must be scrambled. The lo-fi sound of the White Stripes and their ilk has a certain aesthetic kinship with chip music, but it's less tech-centric and not nearly as subversive. Kraftwerk might be the grandfathers of chip music - like today's reversible engineers, they invented many of their instruments. As for programs like Pro Tools, chip musicians don't think they're really creative. The sound isn't generated by circuitry, and you can't alter it by twisting a knob.

This ties in with the CasioNova piece posted and with the somewhat nebulous casiopunk aesthetic. And with vinyl fetishism; chip musicians apparently scorn CDs, not to mention MP3s. Though the article raises two questions:

  • is it the wave of the future, or an ephemeral fashion of crusty anachronism, sort of like electroclash for pretentious arty types?
  • Is chip music the punk to Austrian laptop glitch's krautrock?
  • And if it endures, how long until there are ProTools plugins to emulate all that grungy old circuit-bent hardware, so that P.Diddy or Madonna or whoever can put the fashionable chip-tune sound on their latest multi-million-dollar production?

Btw, McLaren's next album, Fashionbeast, will be all chip music; could it be the Duck Rock of the 21st century?

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A Californian hospital recently found itself blackmailed by a third-world data-entry worker threatening to post patient records on the internet unless she was paid. The UCSF Medical Center did not know that the clerical work had been exported to Pakistan, as the records went through a chain of three subcontractors (each probably being the lowest bidder, chosen hourly, where a fraction of a cent can mean bankrupcy). Looks like someone along the line needs to tighten up their paramilitary death squads, err, industrial-relations practices. (via /.)

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Columbine killers' video released. becomes top-selling item at Hot Topic stores across the U.S.

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