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March 2004 Archives

Fast Film

This is really cool.. It's a short film that mixes 300 classic movies projected onto stop-motion origami.... Hard to explain.... Very neat. Too bad the resolution is so low.

On CD copy protection's lameness

So several times now I've bought CDs with copy protection. In each case, the CD would skip or wouldn't play at all on some devices.. Sometimes it's just Windows machines, sometimes even my CD player... Each time, I've eventually found a way to rip it, usually just by using iTunes on my Mac.

Now, let's think about this for a moment: They presumably want to prevent these CDs from showing up on Kazaa, so they think: Let's prevent Windows users from ripping them. They usualy succeed at that, but what does it accomplish, when Mac users or sometimes Linux users can rip them just fine? All you need is one digital copy, and it can spread all over the Internet. I'd be surprised if copy protection affects Kazaa availability at all, though I admit to not having done my own research.

On the flipside, it is perfectly legal for me to make my own backup copy, or for me to want to rip my CD to my computer for my MP3 playlist, or for my iPod (if I had one), etc, and they prevent that (at least for Windows users). Often, they even prevent me from playing the CD at all on my computer, or even on my normal CD player.

The result? Actual criminal activity is hardly hampered at all, and lots of legitimate consumers who actually paid money for the product in good faith are inconvenienced. The really ironic thing in my case is that I'd be perfectly happy to listen to the CD I bougth normally, but I now have to rip it and make a copy before I can listen to it on my PC at work. The copy-protection has actually encouraged copying in my case. This is a technology that does only harm and no good.

One interesting thing is that Phillips actually sued some of these labels for falsely advertising their discs as "Compact Discs" when they don't conform to the spec. (If they conformed to the spec, they'd be playable on all players.) So on this new album I got by Hybrid from Amazon UK, there is no "Compact Disc Digital Audio" logo, and the copy protection message doesn't call it a CD. Instead, it says: "This label copy is the subject of copyright protection."

Anyway, I'm just rather annoyed that here I'm trying to do the right thing by buying my music, and I have to go through all this trouble (I'm making a copy of the disc in the background as I type this) just to play it on my Windows box, and someone downloading the album from Kazaa probably won't even know that the album is copy-protected. What a crock.

Jokes from Senators

Some guy posed as a 10 year old boy and sent letters to senators asking them to tell him their favorite jokes. He got several replies. Jokes from senators!

I'm part of history!

Trippy! I just got the following email:

Date: 3/15/2004 11:12:16 -0500
From: minerva@loc.gov
To: kenlu@subjunctive.net
Subject: Library of Congress Permission Request 82851 CD

To Whom It May Concern:

The United States Library of Congress preserves the Nation's cultural artifacts and provides enduring access to them. The Library's traditional functions, acquiring, cataloging, preserving and serving collection materials of historical importance to the Congress and to the American people to foster education and scholarship, extend to digital materials, including Web sites. The Library has selected your site for inclusion in its historic collection of Internet materials. The Library requests your permission to collect your Web site located at the following URL:


If you agree, the Library of Congress or its agent will engage in the collection of content from your Web site at regular intervals. The Library will make this collection available to researchers onsite at Library facilities. The Library also wishes to make the collection available to offsite researchers by hosting the collection on the Library's public access Web site. The Library hopes that you share its vision of preserving Web materials and permitting researchers from across the world to access them.

If you agree to permit the Library to collect your Web site, please click the following link to signify your consent. This link also includes a separate consent for permitting the Library to provide offsite access to your materials through the Library's Web site.

[Link snipped]

If you have questions, comments or recommendations concerning the collection of your Web site, please e-mail the Library's MINERVA Web Archive project at minerva@loc.gov at your earliest convenience.

Here's the MINERVA project website. I have no idea how many blogs they're harvesting, but it's still cool to be in the Library of Congress! Something I made is officially "of historical importance to the Congress and to the American people"! =)

The annoying thing about terrorism...

...is that it works. The Spanish Socialist Party just won the election, defeating the Popular Party which backed the Iraq War. Now, I don't know much about Spanish politics, and the Socialist Party there may well be a better choice. That's not my main concern. My main concern:

In a videotape discovered in a parking lot trash container late Saturday, a man calling himself Abu Dujan al Afgani and describing himself as the head of al Qaeda's military wing in Europe, said Thursday's attacks were a response to Spain's "collaboration with the criminal Bush and his allies," according to a transcript released by the Interior Ministry. The speaker on the videotape also warned, "If you do not stop your collaboration, more and more blood will flow."

Another Socialist voter, Daniel Rincon, 21, who works part time for a mobile telephone company, said he initially considered voting for a smaller left-wing party, "but after the attack, getting the PP out became the top priority."

The Popular Party was also hurt by the estimated 2 million young Spaniards voting for the first time. "I voted for change," said one first-time voter, Cristina Algema, a journalism student. "After the attacks, I had to contribute to kicking out the PP."

In other words, assuming this really was an Al Qaeda attack, this terrorist attack had a direct effect on the Spanish election in precisely the way the terrorists intended. Whether the timing of the bombing just days before the election was a mere coincidence is left as an exercise for the reader.

(This post is on the same theme as this previous post of mine on the Kurds.)

Homeland Security Design Video

From Christian comes this highly severely amusing video on graphic design for the Department of Homeland Security. :)

Life still sucks for Afghan women

The Taliban is gone! We've liberated Afghanistan! Everything will now be happy! ... um... or not. Plenty of Afghan women are still attempting suicide. Often they even try to burn themselves to death because of poor treatment from their husband's family, including their mothers-in-law. It reminds me a lot of how things used to be in China. Improvement in women's rights is one of the few good results of the Communist revolution there.. And even so, there's still a ton of sexism in China. The women of Afghanistan have a long road ahead of them.

Update: Oops. I accidentally linked to an article about script kiddie culture instead. I've fixed it.

Another update: Here's an overview article about the state of women's rights in Afghanistan. Things are much better in Kabul, but they still suck in more rural areas.

What would happen if kids acted out their favorite video games?

And now you have the answer.

On the pervasiveness of sampling

So my TV has bad speakers, and I plug my VCR directly into external speakers instead. I also plug a CD player/radio into those speakers. Saturday night, I turned on the radio then turned on the speakers. It was some sort of techno music, with some sampled voices over it. The voices were advertising some sort of medication, but I thought nothing of it; commentary on the commercialization of our society is pretty standard fare.

And then I hear Gene Hackman talking about something or other to some lady, while techno music chugged away. Still I thought nothing of it. But then the voices kinda just kept going on and on... and I started getting suspicious. I looked down, and I noticed that my VCR was on. I turned on the TV, and Gene Hackman was actually in some movie. :P He was in some sort of elegant dining room, talking to some upper-class lady.

Even then, I noticed that the music seemed somehow fitting... like this could be some sort of ironic music video. :)

Chernobyl ghost town, and an exoskeleton

This is pretty trippy: Photos from a Chernobyl ghost town.

This is also awesome: powered exoskeleton to assist in hiking, developed at Berkeley.

About March 2004

This page contains all entries posted to the klog in March 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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