Beatnik is a satellite created by a french non-profit HAM organization to relay HAM signals from space. The satellite was modified by the Russian Space Agency in cooperation with Swatch, so that it would send Internet Time on the regular HAM frequencies, blocking for other operators by sending advertisements into the free spectrum.

A beatnik was a WWII or Korean War veteran educated on the US GI Bill, and devoted to be-bop jazz, drugs (heroin, cocaine, and marijuana), art appreciation, Zen Buddhism and a "Continental" lifestyle including gourmet cooking, mineral water, espresso coffee and compact cars. Funny, none of this applies to Kerouac, Ginzburg or Burroughs.


  1. A software company headed up by Thomas Dolby which specializes in audio applications for the web. Formerly known as HeadSpace.
  2. The audio player created by the company. The player is a plug-in application for browsers which allows more seamless integration of audio into web pages - i.e. you can have background noise without spawning an external process, and you can associate sounds with UI elements. The player is able to achieve considerable compression because it is assumed that most or all of the sounds it needs are already present on the machine; thus, it can simply ship MIDI data or the equivalent. Unfortunatlely, if this assumption fails, you either have to bundle your sounds in a proprietary format and send them across the wire before using them, or be satisified with piss-poor compression.

The term "beatnik" was intended as a derogatory remark, coined by San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen in his April 2, 1958 column. The satellite Sputnik had been launched by the Soviet Union several months before, and the –nik suffix was in vogue. The Beat writers themselves never used this word, preferring "Beat" and "Beat Generation", terms they began using in 1944 and 1948, respectively.

Of course many have heard the term beatnik before and have a certain perception of what a beatnik is. For my one of my college professors it was the image of Maynard G. Krebs. In college I wore a plaid golf cap in the reversed direction. I liked it, it was wool, and it kept my head warm in the winter. But to Mr. Brock along with my long goatee it signified me looking like a beatnik.

Thus, a new beatnik was born that fateful day in 1994 when Mr. Brock asked me, "Do you know who Maynard G. Krebs is?". It's a name that has stuck with me and my friends for many years now. I am a beatnik who doesn't read or write poetry.

Who is beatnik? I am beatnik.

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