This morning, after arriving at the Metro station closest to my office and climbing the escalator (I need exercise, what can I say?) to the platform closest the street, I noticed something that you don't hear very often in downtown DC: Swimming through the air thanks to the odd accoustics of the Metro station above the sound of the traffic was music. Live music, replete with the little vibratos and imperfections that come with playing the same particular instrument for many years for hours on end. Pan pipes, a wooden flute, bass, and a drum machine.
After going topside again, I discovered that there was a trio of Latino guys standing on the street corner with a nice little portable rig set up on the sidewalk, carefully out of the way of the workaday crowd hurrying to their destinations. As I'd determined earlier, they had a small PA system, a drum machine, an electric bass, an electric guitar, what appeared to be a synth on autopilot, and an older gentleman playing a pair of panpipes and a flute in quick succession.
The song definitely wasn't an improv number; they had too much accompaniment running on their computers for that. They have, however, been playing for quite a few years, judging by how well they played. There are little things that you pick up after a few years of playing an instrument, like a little buzz on the C string of a guitar that means that it's frayed near one of the mounts, or the way that someone playing a wooden flute doesn't always pick out every note but sometimes slurs between them, which sometimes makes a song sound more interesting.
I stood there for a couple of minutes listening to them play, and dropped a couple of dollars into one of their guitar cases that was sitting open on the pavement. They reminded me a little bit of the band Cuzco, in that they had a very organic feel on top of all of the electronics (which did a good job of imitating accoustic instruments, actually), but took their melodies in entirely different directions from what one would expect.
Senator John Sununu of the state of New Hampsire is working on a bill that will prevent the FCC from requiring hardware manufacturers to support or not support certain features in their products in an attempt to prevent another Broadcast Flag power play on the part of US media companies, such as was attempted back in 2005 and narrowly averted.
Rachael Bevilacqua, also known as the Reverend Magdalene of the Church of the Subgenius has announced that she's regained custody of her son, following a messy divorce that used her performance at the last X-Day Rehearsal in New York as a weapon against her in court.
The MPAA has been caught uploading fake BitTorrents so that they can harvest the IP addresses of downloaders. It's been determined that all of the servers are physically located in Las Vegas, Nevada and southern California, with the following /24 networks, which you can then configure your client to ignore or drop into your local firewall:
For those of you who don't understand the mechanics of IP address blocks and netmasking, you can think of the parts that say '0/24' as '*', meaning all addresses under that block.
It is interesting to note that the MPAA is putting up dozens of trackers serving bogus content, all in the same class C netblock. Thus far, they aren't using one or two IP addresses from different blocks.
Remember Wikileaks? John Young of Cryptome has leaked some very interesting information about the project.
Lots of sound. Lots of fury. Lots of "we're going to change the world with this!" No development of code, though. Some of the threads of discussion remind me a lot of my .com days.. and embarass me just as much.
An excellent point is also brought up by John Young, in that it is common for operatives to leak forged documents as part of a diversionary campaign or as disinformation.
A couple of days ago I posted a link to an article about some changes made to US Postal Service regs to make it possible to search the mail without a warrant. The signing statement used raised one hell of a firestorm, not only among the people but in the US government as well in a "What did you DO, Ray?!" sort of way. As a result, a number of US Senators went before the senate and did what they could to set the record straight by explaining what, exactly, was supposed to happen (in short, nothing, it was intended to be a restatement of existing law), and the circumstances necessary for mail searches to take place (FISA requires that a search warrant be obtained unless there are lives at stake this bloody minute).
I think I'll have a glass of white wine with my crow.
The way the signing statement (what a way to sneak things into existing legislation..) was worded, it seemed to many, myself included, that mail could be searched at any time for no good reason (which is to the uninitiated what the warrantless secret searches and wiretaps appear to be). It seems that this particular statement was not bugchecked before being committed to the repository, which caused a similiar sort of panic.
I think I need some time alone... a Commodore-64 hacked into a laptop configuration.