The Null Device


Yet another new Palm, this time the m505. It has colour and a faster 68000-based CPU, though it's still stuck with the woefully inadequate 160x160 screen. You'd think they would have upgraded it after all these years (especially with Microsoft's PDAs having higher-resolution screens)...

I suspect that when the time comes to upgrade my aging Pilot (not even a PalmPilot, except for the ROM), I'll probably go with a Psion. They're more powerful and seem to be well supported under Linux...


From July 1, the Victorian government will require the state's proliferation of Kennett-era gambling venues to have clocks and natural light. Why? Because gambling venues traditionally eliminate any cues as to what time it is outside, even to the point of keeping the air temperature and humidity constant, so that gamblers become disoriented, losing sense of time and suspending their better judgment. (Tellingly, similar techniques are used by interrogators to weaken prisoners' resolve.)

gambling manipulation psychology 0

Swiss police came up with a good way to deal with those pesky dreadlocked Marxists: spraying them with manure. Unfortunately for them, the plans came unstuck when local farmers refused to sell them sufficient quantities of manure, partly because they themselves were no fans of corporate globalisation.


Napster to charge access fees, in order to pay royalties in the hope that the RIAA doesn't have its guts for garters. Wonder whether they'll do this by charging fees for usernames/passwords with the existing protocol, or by "de-commoditising" the protocol and forcing people to use the closed-source Windows client? (Hope it's not the latter; other than not being able to use a decent operating system, clients for proprietary protocols often take advantage of this to send marketable user information back to their masters.)


That's irritainment: Some months ago, the marketing department of the company that now runs the City Loop (that's the part of the Melbourne commuter railway that goes under the city centre) had the bright idea of piping canned music into the station PA systems, undoubtedly to give customers an illusion of better value for their (overpriced by other cities' standards) fares. So now they have canned music of the most bland sort (late-80s love ballads, boy-band R&B, and various easy-listening banalities which exist solely for this purpose) playing in the background, just loud enough to be annoying. Did I mention that the PA systems of the City Loop stations (which were built in the 1970s and 80s) cover every part of the stations uniformly?

Anyway, tonight at Museum Station (I refuse to call it after the shopping centre that bought naming rights), they had something playing which I would not have imagined would exist; namely an elevator-music cover of Lenny Kravitz' It Ain't Over Till It's Over. That's right, that chunk of manufactured 1960s hippie peace-and-love, circa 1990, made even more banal and kitschy, as if on some nutter's exquisitely ironic whim.