President's Message
June 2000

1. Yale University blocked access to Napster (a popular website for sharing music software) after a lawsuit from the heavy metal band Metallica [Providence Journal Apr21, 2000]. "On May 3, with showmanship worthy of a stadium concert, hard-rock band Metallica dumped a truckload of legal documents on software company Napster's doorstep today, identifying more than 335,000 screen names for people the band says may have been illegally pirating its songs. The band's attorneys say they fingered the individuals sharing Metallica songs online while doing a scan of the software service last weekend, and they want those people stopped. The band isn't threatening to sue the software users, but today it demanded that Napster block them from its MP3-swapping service." [CNET] (The band's initial popularity grew in part from a cassette demo tape, "No Life Til Leather," which the band sent out free and encouraged fans to bootleg. It is said to be among the most traded cassette demo tapes in rock. [NYT, May 3, 2000])

2. The price of video is plummeting. The recent network television fantasy miniseries "The 10th Kingdom" has appeared on DVD, all 8 hours of it, for $30 list. The opera Tannhauser was $70 on laser, just released on DVD for $30.

3. NYT Apr18, 2000 has an informative feature on the two new critically acclaimed concert halls in Tokyo designed from acoustical principles. Leo Beranek was the principal acoustic consultant on the project. "If you make a copy of the old great halls, you'll have a great hall. But the Tokyo halls, he said, "are different in appearance and they have the sound of the great halls." This is seen as a vindication of the principles of architectural accoustics.

4. Associated Press reports that Aaron Blosser, a computer consultant, diverted 2585 computers and more than 10 years of computer time to help him search for a new prime number. U.S. West became aware of the problem when response time from its computers fell from 5 seconds to 5 minutes. He said "all that computational power was just too tempting for me." [Conformity 11/98]

5. I mis-remembered the quotation from "Lavender Hill Mob" (7/99). It was "THX375". Oh well.


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updated 11/11/04