The Null Device
Tim O'Reilly on the Amazon patents.
Also on the Sisters site: a page listing all the incarnations of Doktor Avalanche, in excruciating technical detail:
Roland TR808. In the early nineties, as acid house was developing a cult around this drum machine, it was suddenly very fashionable to riff along to TR808 sounds. We did that almost ten years earlier, when the cocktail drinking classes and the NME thought it was a bloody stupid idea. (One wet afternoon in the early eighties, we switched the Doktor to play the usual stuff but twice as fast. Hey presto! Drum'n'bass! This was interesting for about ten minutes. Even Cabaret Voltaire couldn't manage to make it interesting for much longer. Please don't tell us it's interesting now.)
After talking for some time to a very suspicious secretary, we managed to get through to the awfully nice people at a certain defence contractor in Leeds. Usually they make military-specification field devices for launching bad stuff at even badder people. That sounded appropriate, so once we'd discussed the possibility of razing Lancashire to the ground (which is apparently not an option right now), we asked them to put together a computer from the most primitive components currently available - which means a fast 486 motherboard - in a shock-resistant rackmounted enclosure, with auto-switching power and a plasma display. We wanted it to run DOS 3.3 and we wanted an identical spare rig, because cargo-handlers do more damage than the average military encounter, and we like to have one Doktor running while we're fixing the other.
The Sisters of Mercy may not have released anything worth buying since Floodland, but they at least now have an interesting (and more than slightly sarky) web site:
I'm in a tenth-rate goth band. That's as good as goth bands get. Naturally, we don't have the faintest idea what the Sisters are about, but we try to evoke as many superficial similarities as possible. Our 'original material' is devoid of substance and wit. What would you say to a whole album of Sisters songs, as played by my band and other pasty-faced Californian dweebs? Aren't Cleopatra Records always up for this kind of rubbish? We'll try to ignore everything you put out in the last thirteen years.
Nice one! Hungarian prankster/conceptual artist offers girl's virginity for sale on web; publishes names, addresses of bidders. (Reuters)
The highest offer came from an American man offering 500,000 forints ($1,886) to have sex with the fictitious girl. ''Those who didn't realize that it was a joke should suffer,'' the prankster wrote in a message on the site.
Industry hijinks: Sun hires pest extermination company to drive around Win2K launch; when the company notices, it bails, fearing the wrath of Gates. (The Register)
American statesman and/or UFO kook Louis Farrakhan courts mainstream Islam. (Salon)
Weird gadget of the day: A MP3 player that fits into a cassette player, or works with the traditional headphones. (WIRED News)