The Null Device
Must-read: R.U.Sirius and Justin Hall talk about new-edge "cyberculture" and what happened to it:
The great thing about the early-'90s cyberculture was that we got to make it all up. As far as anybody reading Mondo knew, hackers were probably as busy working on implants that would install encyclopedic knowledge in users' brains as they were working on encryption for a digital shopping mall. Instead of preparing to go public and rake in bucks, we were preparing for a singularity after which human life would be beyond current comprehension. It was bullshit, or at least massively premature, but it was hella more fun than our current relatively grim reality.
Reading the news, it seems as though being a "cyberpioneer," in the early-'90s sense of things, may soon be a crime. A young man was arrested for developing software code to watch DVDs on his Linux machine. Soon they'll be throwing people in jail for having MP3 servers, for sharing music with their friends.
That's the basic early-1990s technotopian mistake, believing that the nature of the technology will ultimately overthrow corporate tyranny as well as state tyranny.
...right libertarianism didn't bother me that much until 1994, when Cyber-Newt Gingrich took over the country. Seeing some of my own rhetoric about techno-based boundary dissolution appropriated in order to decentralize the social welfare state while deregulating the corporations came as a bit of a shock.
According to the OpenDVD people (keep fighting the good fight!), DVD region coding is illegal in New Zealand; all DVD players legally sold there must be modified to play content from all zones. Of course, DVD manufacturers are contractually prohibited from selling out-of-the-box unzoned consumer DVD players, which makes work for a thriving modification industry. It'll be interesting to see how it turns out; will the content cartels buy out this law, or will there be a trade war or embargo against New Zealand? Or will the DVD zoning system end up collapsing?
In Lincolnshire, England, a doof-imitating parrot is causing its owner no end of consternation. Perhaps she should consider renting the parrot out to DJs?
Irritation of the day: Web banner ads which imply that the viewer is a gullible rube. Case in point: the animated "click on the seamonkey and win $500,000" ads and the like. Anyone who knows about the way web browsers work will know that there is no way that a server can know which frame of an animated GIF you clicked on, and whether you did in fact skilfully nab the animated graphic. To those in the know, the subtext of the ads is "you are an idiot". Now I don't know about you, but I wouldn't trust my money (or personal details) to a firm that has this opinion of its target market.