The Null Device
iRiver, the Korean MP3 player manufacturer started off making players that were USB mass storage devices; in other words, when plugged into a computer, they looked like a hard disk you could copy MP3 files to, which the device could then play. A while ago, seemingly persuaded by Microsoft, they abandoned this and replaced it with something called MTP, a proprietary Microsoft protocol for transferring audio files, which officially only works with Windows Media Player (sorry, Maccies and Penguinheads!). Now they seem to have realised the error of their ways (perhaps spurred on by other player makers, such as iAudio, proudly advertising that their devices look like standard USB hard drives that work with anything), and released a firmware update which lets users choose which USB protocol their player uses; for some of their players, at least.
(via Boing Boing)
Amnesty International has started a campaign against internet repression. Named irrepressible.info, the campaign targets authoritarian/totalitarian regimes like Cuba, China, Iran and the friendly, open-for-business United Arab Emirates, which censor material the regime disapproves of, monitor the internet and jail dissidents, often with the help of compliant western companies like Yahoo!. There are resources detailing the extent of internet-based repression in various corners of the world, as well as a pledge to sign, which will be presented at a UN conference in November:
In November 2006, governments and companies from all over the world will attend a UN conference to discuss the future of the Internet. You can help us send a clear message to them that people everywhere believe the Internet should be a force for political freedom, not repression.