More on Apple's breaking of the iPod -- UPDATED

A number of you have written in regarding yesterday's post about Apple's campaign to remove features from your iPod and presenting it to you as an "update." There are innumberable utilities available to help you move your music from your iPod to your Mac, of course, but that's not the point.

The point is that Apple is devoting time, money, and lawyer- and engineer-hours to breaking your iPod and selling it to you as a "fix."

Imagine if your mobile phone manufacturer enlisted your car maker into ensuring that you didn't use a third-party charger with your cigarette lighter, but instead bought the official, expensive licensed charger. Every time you take your car in for warranty-mandated service, the manufacturer's representative rips out your lighter and puts a new one in that locks out your charger. And when the agent is done, he smiles and tells you he's "updated" your car.

Does the fact that you can go out and find a new third-party charger that works with the new lighter mitigate in the car-maker's favor? Wouldn't you be pissed off that your car-maker was selling you out to the phone company, treating you as a mark to be sucked dry by whatever vendor it decided to do a deal with?

That's what Apple's done here. The music industry has concluded that it can maximize its profits by restricting what you do with your music, and it's signed Apple up to see to it that even if you figure out how to do more that Apple will do its best to take that feature away from you. Read the rest

US-Iraq bioweapons report by independent UK academic

David sez, "Geoff Holland of the School of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies, University of Sussex (UK), has recently submitted a report to all Members of the UK Parliament with the aim that the US supply of biological materials to Iraq will at last be properly investigated. The report can be read or downloaded from this site. It sets out further evidence of misleading Government statements in relation to the Iraq conflict, considering specifically the Government’s response to the previously overlooked finding of the US Senate ‘Riegle Report’— that in the 1980s the United States supplied Iraq with materials for its biological weapons programme in breach of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention"

428K MSFT Word Link

(Thanks, David!) Read the rest

Haunted Mansion dollhouse

Bigfigs ("big figures") are the new breed of Disney Park collectables -- they're 18-24" detailed models of ride-buildings and facades. The new Haunted Mansion one is out, and while I can't say I'm very impressed with it -- looks too much like a doll's house and the construction materials are too plasticky if you ask me -- the Haunted Mansion fan boards are all a-twitter. Order 'em from Disneyland DelivEARS at 800-362-4533.


(via The Disney Blog)

Read the rest

Jon Stewart C-SPAN torrent -- UPDATE

Here's a .torrent for ASF video of the wonderfully subversive Jon Stewart and company appearance on C-SPAN. The video's apparently a little low-quality, be warned.

Torrent Link

(Thanks, RobW!)

Update: Here's a higher quality video in .torrent form, courtesy of Mike Graham. Thanks, Mike! Read the rest

Working iPod costume

This guy modded his Tablet PC and a rewired USB mouse and built a "working iPod costume."


(via /.) Read the rest

Photos of decaying Toronto

Kendall Anderson shoots galleries of decaying and abandoned buildings, asylums, factories and warehouses in Toronto and environs. Love this one, from his series shot in an old Toronto Transit Commission "Barn."


(Thanks, knotpunkt!)

Read the rest

Sim e-voting machine almost as buggy as real thing

If you're a Sims player you can download this "Dumboold" electronic voting machine, which has almost as many flaws as the real thing from our malfeasant friends at Diebold!

The Diebold Voting Machine is programmed with cheats, bugs and easter eggs, which you can discover and read about by playing around with it. It demonstrates and simulates some alarming problems with real world electronic voting machines, with many surprising effects and subtle interactions:

Baxter the Chimpanzee Erases the Voting Log. When you put the voting machine into debug mode and clear the votes, you will see a dialog with the hillarious picture and story of Baxter the Chimpanzee. In your web browser, you can watch the funny monkey movie showing Baxter erasing the voting log! Now your Sims can monkey around with the electronic Dumbold Voting Machines, go bananas hacking the system, fling poo and corrupt the election results just like the pros!


(Thanks, Robert!) Read the rest

Bhutan: World's biggest book

Kottke's posted a great item about a presentation he caught at PopTech on the "world's largest book," called "Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom," which retails for $10,000 at Amazon. Says Kottke, "Turning the pages involved a short walk."

Link Read the rest

Stealth Lessig-ing

First, there was Stealth Disco. Then, a dark variant emerged after Abu Ghraib -- the Stealth Lynndie. Now, the Stealth Lessig.

BoingBoing reader Kmr. Tupko in Poland says,

"Lawrence Lessig is present on the web in limited number of images that we've all become familar with -- there's Lessig by the columns, and several of Lessig behind a computer. They've become visual icons. But when I recently googled for Lessig photos, I found these: an entire image directory of this guy posing in these -- cult by now, apparently -- Lessig-like poses. It's like one of those contests, where they say, 'show the contents of your bag/purse,' except here one person just took it upon himself to 'strike a Lessig.' Very creative commons, remix spirit."

Link to a directory of photos showing some guy in Japan "Striking a Lessig." And lo, a meme is born. Read the rest

"Still the One" songwriter demands Bush campaign stop using his tune

The Bush re-election campaign has been using the 1970s hit "Still the One" without copyright clearance. The songwriter behind the tune wants that to stop.

"I was watching TV, and there all of a sudden was my song, my guitar playing, my voice coming out of the speakers," said the 56-year-old [John] Hall, still a working musician. Hall wrote "Still the One" with his then-wife, Johanna D. Hall. The two as well as surviving members of the band are supporters of Democratic Sen. John Kerry and don't want their work used to promote Bush's re-election, Hall said.

"I'm not just some guy that's stoned out and happened to write a song, and even if I were, it would still be a problem, because you should always ask permission to use the work," Hall said.

Link (Thanks, Rico, and Steve)

Update: BoingBoing reader Brian Carnell points us to a news article which says the Bush campaign claims to have acquired permission from a third-party licensing company.

"Out of deference to Mr. Hall's views, the song will no longer be played," Bush campaign spokeswoman Nicolle Devenish said. She said the song had been included in a catalog of music that the campaign's licensing company used to provide music for events."

Link to Detroit News story. Read the rest

Spoken Word Bananaphone

First a fellow named Andy Zebrowitz recorded himself doing a spoken-word interpretation of Raffi's childrens' song "Bananaphone", inna deadpan William-Shatner-styleee. Then, he posts this masterpiece online. Now, you can download it, and spew Red Bull through your nose laughing. Next, who knows -- some enterprising soul might just transform this file into spoken-word-Bananaphone ringtones. Or better yet, an extended hard trance remix.

Link to site with 622KB MP3 download. Link to Andy Zebrowitz' website. (Um. thanks, I guess, Brett Taylor)

UPDATE: Ferlinghettified beatnik remix here -- Link Read the rest

Moment of snapshot zen: stingray smile

Lovely snapshot of a serene stingray from the Coney Island Aquarium [via flickr]. Link to larger, uncropped image. (Thanks, Ivy ) Read the rest

Star Wars-inspired "Fallen" wins fan film contest

Hollywood Liberation Army tells BoingBoing, "

Fallen is a machinima music video created in Star Wars Galaxies about a tragic romance between a female Imperial officer and a male Rebel fighter using the song "Fallen" by Delirium. It has just won the Star Wars Galaxies Fan Film Fest 2004.

Link to movie download site, and link to more info on the project. Read the rest

To Some Fool, Thanks for Everything! Love, Nigerian Spammer.

BB reader jon rahoi writes,

"Nigerian scammers now appear to be using to troll for victims to save 'damsels' in distress. I've posted one damsel's emails leading to the pitch." Excerpt:

# "Hi dear i have added you to my chat friend right now i left an offline for you, hope to catch you on later lol benny and one more thing your physic i like it kool keep it up, lol."

# "Hi its nice to hear from you. Well i into sales of aretifacts and it carried me far and wide but this is my first visit to africa. I am currently in nigeria and its a lovely place. Well i have not visited china before would love to some day and dont worry when i come back i will tell you all about africa when we go out for dinner. Well is nice to hear from you. Lol."

# "Thanks for writing back. I am glad you did. Well i dont know where to start. Well i sold my paintings to a client and he has refused to pay up i have not seen him since the last 3 days i contacted the local police here and they cant seem to find him. I dont have enough money to pay for my hotel bills and settle my agent. Please i want your assistance. I need 450 dollars to add to the money i have so i can payup clear my name and come back home this week, thanks for your kind assistance.

Read the rest

New group blog on e-voting

Ed Felten says:

[We've launched] a new group blog on e-voting, from a group of leading experts on e-voting technology. Members thus far include David Dill, Ed Felten, Joe Hall, Avi Rubin, Adam Stubblefield, and Dan Wallach. The site's goal is to provide one-stop shopping for e-voting news and analysis, to the public and the press, on election day and thereafter.

Link Read the rest

False hype and hope about hypo-alergenic GM cats?

As Cory posted below, Allerca is taking deposits for $3,500 cats genetically engineered to be hypo-allergenic. Caveat emptor though. New Scientist reports that geneticists and allergists doubt Allerca's claims.

It is probably possible to create cats that do not produce the most common protein allergen, says Thomas Platts-Mills, director of the Asthma and Allergic Disease Center at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, US. But he adds that cats produce many more allergens, and that blocking production of the protein could damage the cat's health.

Moreover, Allerca's claims that a technique called RNA-induced gene silencing can work in cats are "unfounded", says Greg Hannon at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York state, and author of the book RNAi: A Guide to Gene Silencing. So far the technique has been used only in mice.

Link Read the rest

Let's Get Ready to Snitch On Our Neighbors!

The Let's Get Ready to Rumble guy is paying cash bounties to people who snitch on their neighbors' "infringing" use of phrases like "Let's Get Ready to Gamble" and "Are You Ready to Rumble?"

Buffer Enterprises, Inc. now offers a cash bonus to those who report a corroborated unauthorized use [resulting in an actual recovery] of the "Let's Get Ready to Rumble,"(R) "Get Ready To Rumble"(R) or "Ready to Rumble"(R) servicemarked phrases ,any paraphrasing of these marks (including "Get Ready To Crumble,"(R) "Are Your Ready To Rumble?"(TM) "Let's Get Ready To Gamble"(TM)), or use of Michael Buffer's famous rendition of his copyrighted "Let's Get Ready To Rumble" recording. This bonus system applies to viable reports [resulting in an actual recovery] of unauthorized use of our servicemarks, copyrights or related rights in or upon TV, radio, the internet, print or in connection with unlicensed products or services such as T-shirts, toys, posters, or other merchandise.

Link (via Fark) Read the rest

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