The Null Device


Sounds like common sense to me: An insurance company which offers insurance against cracker attacks has increased its premiums for sites running Windows NT, and plans to do so for Microsoft's IIS as well. The reasoning is that NT systems have more downtime, and open-source systems have more experienced system administrators.


This looks interesting: FreeJ, an open-source live video mixing system. Still in the early stages, but it could be very promising.


Speculative fiction scenario: In the US, where tertiary education is bloody expensive (so much so that parents start saving for their childrens' college fees when they are born), a service has opened that will pay your way through college, in return for a percentage of your future income. The next logical step from this would be allowing individuals to sell shares in themselves, with each share paying a dividend from the individual's income; be your own publicly-held corporation, as it were. Young people would issue shares to pay their way through college, and then strive to buy them back, becoming private(ly-held) citizens again.

One could take it further and allow shareholders voting power over the individual's actions, such as their vote in elections, or where they will move to. For example, you may want to move to a pleasant neighbourhood, but your shareholders may prefer you to live somewhere cheaper, closer to work or otherwise more profitable, and until you buy back majority ownership of yourself, you don't get a choice. Putting your career on hold to raise a family may also be out of the question until you have majority ownership of your personal stock; if adverse economic conditions kept a lot of poorer/less successful people from buying back their stock before their biological clocks run out, some social-darwinists may see that as a good thing.

Of course, there's the matter of the whole scenario looking a bit like slavery in neo-liberal-capitalist garb, But still, it could make for a good fictional scenario; or possibly the kernel of a Swiftian essay.