The Null Device

2003/3/26

Tonight I went to a screening of In the Realm of the Hackers, a documentary about various hackers/crackers from Melbourne in the late 1980s (apparently not just another BBS/h4x0d-d00d scene, but one of the major hacker nexuses in the world); in particular, about a young man calling himself Electron and his friends, who apparently broke into machines like nobody else. It was pretty interesting; the details, connecting the mundanity of suburban Melbourne with the international computer networks of the time, were fascinating, and the reconstructed Commodore 64/Apple II screens (rebuilt from police phone intercept transcripts) were apparently the most authentic in the genre. (I half-remember various of the names seen on the hacker BBS message boards, from print-outs I saw many years ago. Of course, I never was k3wl enough to actually do any of that hacking shit myself.) Anyway, it does one proud to see that Australia can lead the world in something other than cricket.

The film was based on the book Underground, by Suelette Dreyfus, which is now online in freely downloadable form. It sounds like it's well worth a read.

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US radio-station empire Clear Channel (best known for homogeneising the US airwaves with centrally-controlled, unmanned radio stations) has been sponsoring pro-war demonstrations. Meanwhile, in the UK, the Daily Mirror slaps its brand on anti-war rallies, handing out conveniently branded signs to demonstrators. (Hey, if the Socialist Worker can do it, why not the Daily Mirror?)

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Two blogs I've just become aware of: Cosma Shalizi's Three-Toed Sloth (via Stumblings), and via that, former Suck writer Ana Marie Cox's The Antic Muse.

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General Motors, the company partly responsible for dismantling public transport systems across North America, is running ads in Canada calling public transport users "creeps & weirdos", and recommending that, to avoid sitting next to deranged, hygienically-challenged or psychotically dangerous people, one should buy a GM car and drive everywhere. Ah, laissez-faire transport. I wonder if VicRoads will pick up the theme for its own ad campaigns around here. (via bOING bOING)

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Bravo! Anti-global-warming campaigners culture-jam Poems on the Underground, the long-running art project on the Tube in London, replacing poems with anti-Esso and anti-Bush screeds:

Sing a song of Esso
A packet full of lies
and oily greasy dollars
to help the climate fry
When the wallet opened
George Bush began to sing
"The planet may be burning
but I don't see a thing"

(via Meg)

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The English Manager coins a new euphemism for being dumped: "joining the virus-writers' club". Heh; I'm just wondering when some other blogger will announce their new hopefully-long-term relationship with "my virus-writing days are over".

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