The Null Device
It's about time somebody did something like this: Japanese synth maker Korg have announced a series of laptop-sized USB music controllers. The nanoSeries, as they call it, includes a 25-key MIDI keyboard, a 12-pad drum controller with X/Y pad and a mixing controller with 9 faders, 9 knobs, 18 switches and transport controls; all of these will be about 13 inches in width and will come with download codes for light versions of music software; according to these UK retailers, this series is expected to arrive in October 2008, costing between £49 and £59 each.
Another milestone in the prolonged death of USENET: US ISP Verizon has removed the unregulated alt.* hierarchy, along with all other newsgroups that aren't formally regulated, on the grounds that they are a stagnant pond that breeds paedoterrorists:
Cuomo claimed that his office found child porn on 88 newsgroups--out of roughly 100,000 newsgroups that exist. In a press release, he took credit for the companies' blunderbuss-style newsgroup removal by saying: "We are attacking this problem by working with Internet service providers...I commend the companies that have stepped up today to embrace a new standard of responsibility, which should serve as a model for the entire industry."
The alt.hierarchy is even more extensive. In the discussion thread attached to our earlier story, one of our readers said: "This is ridiculous. I actually met my wife on alt.personals, 14 years ago... I still use usenet - there are a lot good discussions and a person can get answers to questions on specific topics pretty quickly. It's nice to have a decentralized place to hold discussions, one that is not beholden to a sysadmin to correctly run a forum, one that's free of blinking gifs and flash ads."
Meanwhile, the UK's media minister has vowed not to allow product placement in British-produced television programmes, saying that to do so would compromise the high esteem in which British television is held worldwide.
(Is British television still held in the same high esteem it was years ago, though? There is a good deal of unoriginal and generally cheap programming being made in Britain these days. Meanwhile, American television seems to have transcended its reputation for lowest-common-denominator programming, with series winning acclaim.)
If this report is correct, console mod chips are now legal in the UK, after the court of appeal ruled on Wednesday that the devices do not circumvent copyright protection. The judgment was awarded when a seller of the chips appealed against his conviction, and got all 26 counts quashed, with legal costs awarded.
The successful argument seems to be that the copyright violation has occurred before the chip is used, and not one about the legitimate uses of the chips. It's not clear whether the Trading Standards Agency has much chance of successfully appealing this decision.