Lenslok: crazy optical DRM device from the 80's

Torrentfreak.com has an excellent post describing what must be one of the first DRM devices evar: the Lenslok is a foldable optical lens that was required to decipher scrambled unlock codes in early 1980’s video games: The first game to use the Lenslok DRM was the ZX Spectrum version of the hugely successful wireframe-3D shoot ’em up, ‘Elite’. But of course, we're talking about DRM here so yes, you guessed it, it caused lots of problems for the legitimate users. As each version of the Lenslok de…

Random reading

The Piratbyrån’s Rasmus Fleischer has a an extremely interesting essay titled ‘the future of copyright‘ in the current issue of CATO unbound (a monthly web-journal by the ‘we love limited government, individual liberty, free markets, and peace’ CATO institute). In ‘the future of copyright’ he argues that ‘neither the stabilization nor the abolition of the copyright system seems within reach’ and that instead ‘we will have to live in this landscape of gray zones for quite a while, for good and ba…

Activism as a Non-Tariff Barrier to International Trade?

Patrice has posted an extensvie piece to the nettime-l mailing list that describes a rather bizarre legal dispute between an Indian textile manufacturing company and two Dutch internet service providers (one of them being my own). It comes down to the Indian company arguing that hosting websites that criticize labor conditions in their manufacturing plants constitutes an ‘international criminal conspiracy’: Now eight Dutch citizens, staff persons and directors of the [ISPs], are indicted and req…

Border economies

One of the things that has always fascinated me about borders is the way they structure the local economies of adjacent regions. People one the one side suddenly start selling ridiculous amounts of all kind of things that are not available – or much more expensive – on the other side. Particularly vivid examples of this phenomenon can be observed on the fringes of France. The area around Calais is full of shops selling booze and cigarettes to busloads of brits & in Portbou just across the bo…

Enjoy the most complete edition of windows (Syrian style)

When i first flew to Beirut in 2005, i was seated next to a Microsoft representative who then mentioned that Microsoft could not do business in syria, ‘because it is on the shit-list‘ (guess her refers to John Bolton’s extended axis of evil). Of course that does not mean that no one is using Microsoft products in Syria (in fact there are shit-loads of computer shops and internet cafes in Damascus if one considers that computers and internet have only been legalized in 2000). In fact you can buy…

Deportation class - for real?

So apparently some rather scary dudes from Austria (see picture below, but generally all males from Austria who are older than 50 give me the creeps) have come up with a really sick idea: Set up a charter airline that specializes in deportation flights from Europe to the warmer parts of this globe. If you believe the press reporting about their yet-to-be-realized plan then they are all about saving european taxpayers a couple of euros and making those forced deportations a little bit more enjoya…

How the World works...

Looks like someone has finally figured out how the world works. Hamza Mustafa, General Manager, The World, said: This is a big step forward in the evolution of The World. […] I think few people understand how The World will actually work in reality Unfortunately the website which records this bold statement does not go into any further details concerning how the World works, which is a bit disappointing – if you ask me. Even more so as the world in question is the archipelago of artificial islan…

Faith in the market...

Patrice has unearthed another nice little article for me (the fact that he has send it by email this time makes me think that he actually reads what i write here). It gives a nice little insight into the ethnic and religious underpinnings of Senegalese migrants that work as street hawkers in Italian cities. apparently most of them belong to a small but dynamic Sufi Muslim brotherhood called the Mourides. The artcle is a bit short, but well worth the read: … tourists and locals alike probably ass…

Casino Royale

So i have been trying to buy a dvd copy of the latest James Bond movie all along my trip. finally managed to score a decent copy with proper english sound in Shenzhen (china) yesterday. in total i bought 4 different discs which gives a nice little insight in the dynamics of movie piracy in asia: 25/11 Dubai, Karama market: got a 4-1 dvd with three other crap movies on it in a upstairs room behind one of the numerous fake brand clothing shops in the Karama Market Shopping Complex. Paid 20 Dirham,…

Illegal copies legal everywhere except in Suriname?

Went back to the indian DVD and CD sellers at the end of the amsterdamse poort shopping complex in Amsterdam southeast today. Looks like as if they have scaled back their DVD selling operations a bit (their Bollywood DVD’s still sell for unbeatable €2.50 each though). The stall also sells CDs with hindi film songs and all kinds of Caribbean, Urban and African styles even though the CD selling business ‘is not what it used to be before everybody started downloading the tunes’ (according to the ow…