The Null Device
More wacky goings on on Melbourne's trains, as an unidentified woman broke into train public-address systems, and proceeded to describe her sexual fantasies about the drivers in explicit detail; this happened during peak hour, with hundreds of commuters hearing it, though no witnesses seem to have seen her. Police are at a loss to how she did it, though it is believed she actually got into a vacant train cabin. (I wonder whether this sort of thing is now covered under anti-terrorism legislation.)
(via bOING bOING)
While the major labels are looking for new ways to make their music more inconvenient to users, two US indie labels—Merge and Saddle Creek—are taking the opposite approach, and giving away free MP3s with each vinyl purchase. This move caters to the section of their customer base who prefer music on vinyl but also want to have copies for their MP3 players. Also note the lack of DRM on the MP3 files.
(via bOING bOING)
As Apple starts looking more and more like another PC company (or, more precisely, a MP3 player company with a sideline in prestige PCs and software), it emerges that Apple almost merged with Sun three times. One of these mergers was an attempted acquisition of Apple by Sun. Apart from this, the two companies had abortive talks about a number of proposals, including sharing a user interface (so perhaps we could have seen Solaris with a MacOS Classic interface) and the SPARC architecture.
It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if any of these ventures had been successful. I don't know whether SPARC chips make better laptop processors than PowerPCs, but if they do, then perhaps we wouldn't be seeing Apple capitulating to the x86 monoculture*. On the other hand, if Apple had Solaris offered to them, they may not have bothered buying NeXT, and OSX may be based on a less exotic strain of UNIX.
* not that that's entirely a bad thing; perhaps, once Intel Macs are commonplace, smart hackers will figure out ways of shoehorning Windows code (such as, say, the numerous free VST plugins that never make it to OSX) into running on one. But I digress.
The trial has begun at the Old Bailey of hardline Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al Masri, accused of inciting hatred and terrorism. The court heard that Masri preached, among other things, that Muslims have an obligation to kill infidels and apostates and overthrow non-Islamist governments, that Hitler was sent by Allah to "torture and humiliate" Jews, and that the ultimate aim was a global Islamist caliphate, ruled by a caliph in the White House in Washington DC.
The surprising thing is the last point. If one was to think of a location for the capital of a global Islamist state, surely Washington DC, a city with relatively little in the way of Islamic history, would come fairly low on the list, well after places with historical resonance like Baghdad, Mecca and Jerusalem, or even cities like Paris and London.