The Null Device

2006/7/25

The latest peril in Australia: Aboriginal prisoners converting to militant Islam, and becoming potential terrorists; or so the federal government says, and would they lie about such important issues?

"We're worried (when) certain prisoners that are doing very long sentences, as an example, denounce their Aboriginality for Islam," he said. "We monitor them very closely ... To us they're not terrorists in the real sense but they talk the talk. So, if we had somebody who was recruiting in a prison ... we keep them away from people that might be susceptible to the conversion."
Meanwhile, US air marshals, faced with insufficient likely terrorists to meet their quotas, have reportedly taken to adding innocent people to their watch lists to make up numbers:
The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they're required to submit at least one report a month. If they don't, there's no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments.
"That could have serious impact ... They could be placed on a watch list. They could wind up on databases that identify them as potential terrorists or a threat to an aircraft. It could be very serious," said Don Strange, a former agent in charge of air marshals in Atlanta. He lost his job attempting to change policies inside the agency.
One example, according to air marshals, occurred on one flight leaving Las Vegas, when an unknowing passenger, most likely a tourist, was identified in an SDR for doing nothing more than taking a photo of the Las Vegas skyline as his plane rolled down the runway.

(via Boing Boing) aborigines australia islam paranoia terrorism the long siege 0 Share

Today's Evening Standard headline: "CHATROOM LED TO MODEL'S MURDER"

Upon closer examination, the details of the story emerge. Apparently the model in question was murdered by her boyfriend at the time, whom she had initially met in an internet chatroom.

So yes, whilst one could say that, were it not for the chatroom, she'd probably still be alive, claiming that the Evil Evil Internet led directly to her death is a bit of a stretch. Though why let logic get in the way of selling copy?

internet media paranoia sensationalism 1 Share

What would happen if network neutrality rules were eliminated and internet carriers were free to set the terms for what goes through their networks? Well, the internet could look a lot more like the mobile phone system:

Imagine you want to create a user-moderated news service like digg.com that operates on SMS. On the neutral Internet, you rent a Web server ($7-$100 per month to start), register your name, and start programming. Total time required: less then two hours in most cases. But getting a service on the non-neutral US cell phone network would be a little different:
The next step is satisfying the requirements of the cell phone companies. Many of these steps, such as requiring affirmative opt-in before a subscription can start, are not burdensome, and serve to protect the carriers' customers. Others, however, border on ludicrous. Requirements vary by carrier, but some prohibit operators from offering games or sweepstakes, or require that subscription periods can only be monthly: not daily, weekly, or yearly. Others require that content, such as ringtones, be locked so users can't forward them from their phones to their friends' phones.
In practical terms, you'd never get approval for your brand new peer-mediated news service. Even if you were able to set up filters to block images and bad words, you'd still be sunk: Verizon prohibits "un-moderated chatting, flirting and/or peer-to-peer communication services."
Even if you could slip your service past the censors, you would already have been set back eight weeks and many thousands of dollars -- and this is just the beginning. Next, the carrier will charge you a fee (a few cents, typically) for every message you send to your users, and charge your users to receive your messages -- and charge them to send you messages. Just imagine where craigslist.org would be if it had to pay a few cents every time someone browsed an ad, and you had to pay as well. It's no wonder SMS services are overpriced and haven't grown beyond a niche market for ringtones and horoscopes.
And along a similar line: Sidewalk Neutrality

(via /., techdirt) control corporatism internet network neutrality 0 Share

The creator of the Electroplankton game/generative music tool for the Nintendo DS, Toshio Iwai, has developed a new electronic musical instrument. Known as the Tenori-On, it's an electronic tablet containing a 16x16 grid of LED-illuminated pushbutton; it can be used as a loop-based sequencer, or played in more game-like modes:

Each of Tenori-On's LED buttons can either be lightly strummed, sort of like a harp, or alternatively pressed down, whereby each button lights up. Musical notes are triggered by a regular line of light that moves from left to right, much like the sweeping line in PSP game Lumines.
Perhaps most interesting are the more game-like modes, where you can set off Breakout or Pong-style music balls that 'bounce' around the grid, triggering new sets of dynamics sound. These can be layered on top of the more traditional music making modes, creating what Iwai called, "a real musical instrument for our digital age, just like the Theremin was for the 20th Century."
No idea when (or even if) it'll go to market, though Yamaha seem to have the rights to it.

(via Boing Boing) art electroplankton music tech tenori-on toshio iwai 3 Share