The Null Device
Patently absurd: An enterprising American company is giving the Russians who patented the bottle a run for their money; Menusaver Inc. has patented sandwiches with the crusts cut off (U.S. Patent 6,004,596), and is suing a catering company/restaurant for infringement.
Emily Hofstetter, CEO of female tech enterpreneurs' site SiliconSalley.com, was in the shower when she came up with a novel (if slightly silly) way to protest Bush's "election". (Streaming audio)
Surprise, surprise: In one of his first acts as US President, George W. Bush signs an executive order blocking federal funding to international agencies which support womens' rights to abortion.
Anonymity is useless; your language patterns are as unique as your DNA, and words serve as a memetic sample that can be used to identify the author. Or so says Don Foster, the English Literature professor and investigator who identified the author of Clintonian roman à clef Primary Colors, helped track down the Unabomber from his writings and proved that a forgotten poem had been written by Shakespeare. Foster is the author of a new book titled Author Unknown, which (judging from the review) looks fascinating.
An interesting article on the Linux 2.4 Netfilter system, which allows you to do some neat things; such as stateful firewalling, enhanced packet logging and so on.
Two albums I have been listening to recently have been Low's I Could Live In Hope (ta, Oliver!) and Piano Magic's superbly introspective Artists' Rifles. I just found out that Low and Piano Magic, along with an act called Transient Waves, recorded a single in 1998 titled Sleep At The Bottom. Only available on 7", though, and I don't have a turntable (I know, I know, and I dare call myself a trainspotter...) Though some kind villain has probably napsted a copy by now; not that I would encourage such nefarious acts...
Last evening I went to see the film Show Me Love (the Swedish independent film; original title: Fucking Åmål; and no, it wasn't named after Chasing Amy, despite the Sapphic theme present in both; Åmål is a Swedish regional city, and "fucking" is used as an adjective). Anyway, it was a most enjoyable film; a teen coming-of-age comedy, though not in the Hollywood schlock tradition, and with more credible characters. A much recommended feel-good movie, if you're not allergic to subtitles.
Welcome to the Digital Millennium: John "gnu" Gilmore has written an excellent piece about what's wrong with content protection, and the myriad schemes and power-grabs hatched by back-room conspiracies of entertainment and computer industry figures to deprive you of your legitimate, legal rights:
Intel touts the wonders of their TCPA (Trusted Computing Platform Architecture)... It exists to report to record companies about whether you have installed any software that lets you make copies of MP3s, or any free software to circumvent whatever feeble copy-protection system the record company uses.
SDMI would not allow EFF to join its deliberations, saying that we had no legitimate interest in the proceedings because we weren't a music company or a manufacturer. There are no consumer or civil rights representatives in the SDMI consortium.
What is wrong is that we have invented the technology to eliminate scarcity, but we are deliberately throwing it away to benefit those who profit from scarcity. ..
If by 2030 we have invented a matter duplicator that's as cheap as copying a CD today, will we outlaw it and drive it underground? So that farmers can make a living keeping food expensive, so that furniture makers can make a living preventing people from having beds and chairs that would cost a dollar to duplicate, so that builders won't be reduced to poverty because a comfortable house can be duplicated for a few hundred dollars?
A look at some of the dirty tricks used to get web pages into search engine listings they would otherwise not appear in (with the sort of drily humorous photos/captions that have been appearing in many recent BBC stories):
Webmasters make thousands of these pages that differ enough to make the indexer think they are unique, and all point to the one that the webmaster wants you to see... Often these "bridge" pages are "cloaked" so you never see it but get bounced to another - usually the main page that the hidden one points to.
Not surprisingly, a lot of fingers point at the porn industry, which is not known for playing by the rules.