You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of
"So, that’s my long and winding history of a little postcard from the Upper West Side of Manhattan!" Suzanne Vega writes about writing the hit song Tom's Diner, coping with its numerous remixes, and its part in the birth of the MP3 music compression format.
Help Save P2P! The United States Supreme Court is currently considering the legality of peer-to-peer file sharing programs in a case called MGM v. Grokster. Rumor has it that the Justices have set up a computer, in the court, with Grokster on it. If you have legal P2P files to share, blogger Death in the Afternoon suggests that you move them to Grokster immediately, as this might help convince the Justices that P2P is good for more than just illegal filesharing. (If you doubt that, think Diebold). If you don't have any legal files, you can get some here. (More inside).
Meet the new Walkman. 20GB HD, 25 minutes of cache for skip-free playing. Works with Sony's Connect music service. Sharp-looking little player.
Did you hear Michael Greene's speech at the Grammys? At first it seemed like it was going to be just yet another recording industry weasel with an obligatory goatee congratulating himself on stage. But it quickly turned into a lesson on the harms of the illegal Internet downloads. "This illegal file-sharing and ripping of music files is pervasive, out of control and oh so criminal. Many of the nominees here tonight, especially the new, less-established artists, are in immediate danger of being marginalized out of our business. Ripping is stealing their livelihood one digital file at a time, leaving their musical dreams haplessly snared in this World Wide Web of theft and indifference," says Greene. Was this appeal-cum-address effective or appropriate? Were you more sympathetic to the RIAA or artists afterwards?
iWalk : Apple's new device is rumored to be a PDA/MP3 Player with a color screen and airport functionality. Never heard of spymac.com before, but this looks pretty legit. (contains photo)
Anti-rip CD system bypassed. heh. nice try, boyos. i've never understood how people can believe something digitized can possibly be protected in such a manner as to be foolproof. what one process can scramble, another can undo. [via /.]
A digital camera that plays mp3s? Convergence is a steam train that can't be stopped. In the future, will every piece of electronics priced over $100 include a mp3 player in it? Stuff like this makes me think the mp3 format will definitely surpass CDs and tapes as a delivery medium. Too bad the record companies still want to stop it, they're losing money everyday by not offering mp3 albums.
My Winamp Locker appears to be a free online storage space for your music files, hosted by Winamp. At 3Gb, and the offer of sharing and listening to your songs anywhere, how on earth do they expect to A) make any money back from all the server hardware they'll buy to support this, and B) not get sued by the RIAA? I thought it'd be a great service to exploit for my personal 2-3Gb collection, but it turns out you have to upload your files one at a time. ugh.
Convergence baby! Sony has released a Minidisc Player/Recorder, MP3 player with USB connectivity, and PalmOS PDA, all wedged into one small unit. Wow, that's enough buzzwords to kill a horse...
(via /.) comes the much-rumored new 4.8 Gb personal mp3 player. I heard about this a long time ago, but it seemed like a fantasy. 4.8 gigs! That's hours and hours of mp3's! My entire collection at home and work is less than 4 gigs. They claim it's going to be released next week. If they can sell if for under $300, I bet they won't be able to produce enough for the demand. The revolution has begun.