"I wrote PGP for human rights!"
- PHIL ZIMMERMANN, London, 19/5/97
"The Chaos Computer Club's credit hacking program is a
crime against humanity!"
- KIM POLESE, Oxford, 19/5/97
old net, new net: slight differences evident
>> HARD NEWS <<
NETSCAPE inched back ahead of MICROSOFT this week by
releasing a beta of NETCASTER - software that lets Netscape
users subscribe to (stop me if you've heard this) "channels
of information that appear on your desktop". Similar push
media support is due in the final version of Microsoft's
Internet Explorer 4.0 - but that's not out yet. Netscape's
standard for creating the new channels is also closer to
standard HTML programming than Microsoft's planned CDF
format. Hoorah for the plucky underdog of a $3 billion
The BBC announced THE BEEB, an online consumer service
produced with ICL Fujitsu. The service will initially
consist of a set of branded sites (like www.topgear.com),
with an Internet access package a possibility later in the
year (like when people work out how to make money out of
it). The service is funded by ICL, rather than the license
fee. Software will be available for the BBC Model 'B' only.
That's our little joke.
AMIGA TECHNOLOGIES simply refuse to die, having confirmed a
full buy-out by GATEWAY 2000 at last weekend's World Of
Amiga show in Hammersmith. The cow-loving PC maker has not
yet revealed its plans for the elegant but elderly Motorola
680x0-based architecture; pundits reckon it'd make a lovely
sub-$200 set-top box, though that seems likely to
disappoint the large, mainly European user base of
dedicated hobbyists and Atari ST-haters.
http://www.amiga.de Mmm, _.de_ domain. *Sexy*.
In other retro-platform news: Who will stand up to STEVE
JOBS at APPLE? Maybe only Apple's other co-founder and
Yoda-figure, STEVE WOZNIAK. The Great Woz came out fiercely
pro-Newton in a MacAddict interview, published just as Jobs
was announcing he wanted to flog the PDA off. Only thing
they got right, says Woz; "I don't want the little scribble
thing." says Jobs. Uh-uh. Two guys enter the garage - one
Monday's CRYPTOGRAPHY CONFERENCE at the LSE went down a
storm: PHIL ZIMMERMANN confessed to having helped South
American freedom fighters use his Pretty Good Privacy
program, a criminal act under US law. Cambridge
University's dour ROSS ANDERSON efficiently shot holes in
the Department of Trade and Industry's proposed Trusted
Third Parties system: these trusted parties are likely to
be banks and telecom companies, both of which have *awful*
records in admitting security breaches (phantom
withdrawals? 'Beige box' hacking of residential phone
lines, anyone?). And WHIT DIFFIE, General-Custer-resembling
inventor of public-key cryptography, said why he thought
the legislation was *unnecessary* as well as dangerous.
Have no idea what this is about? It might be worth your
while finding out at:
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
news we knew you knew
Woman marries woman, pretending to be man - judge blames
Internet... In-depth PC ZONE survey shows GAMERS to be in
late twenties, live alone or with parents, male... INTERNIC
suspends domain of own parent company... DTI holds Silicon
Valley conference: no-one comes... survey says INTERNET
SHOPPING only second-worst technology in the world...
Kasparov accuses DEEP BLUE of "cheating" - what'd it do,
swap the pieces when he wasn't looking?... June/July issue
of BLENDER CD-ROM is the last... senior APPLE exec quits,
company "will eliminate his position"...
>> CULTURE <<
we reach for our remote
It's battle of the big-beat outdoor gigs this weekend with
Brighton's ESSENTIAL MUSIC FESTIVAL (Chemical Bros, The
Orb, Future Sound Of London - via ISDN) up against Luton's
TRIBAL GATHERING (Orbital, Daft Punk, and "at least two
songs" from Kraftwerk). Advance info on UK tech-community
attendance suggests both may suffer due to unfortunate date
clash with birthday picnic of PC Magazine's RUPERT
Those still traumatised by the whole Deep Blue thing should
certainly *not* attend Monday's gig by SERVOTRON (8pm,
Upstairs at The Garage, London N1), who "bring you a
warning of the rise of the robots in the form of popular
music!" But it's not all bad news: according to their FAQ,
"Will I be destroyed by Servotron? A. Yes, at some point
the human race as a whole will be ultimately erased.
However, a select group of humans will be needed to perform
menial functions for their mechanical overlords." And the
music? Like Kraftwerk vs The B52s, but in a good way.
(Dave talks to the robots, from about 6 mins in)
KEN CAMPBELL, the godfather of Discordian theatre, is
performing a sequel to his 22-hour show THE WARP this
weekend, in an undisclosed location somewhere in East
London. Ken, whose dramatisation of the ILLUMINATI trilogy
included the first simulated oral sex act to be publically
witnessed by minor royalty, says "Seekers will know where
to find me." They could do worse than mail firstname.lastname@example.org
and promise to subscribe to ntk-now for the next 23 years.
Old news, but not widely known: for the last six weeks PAUL
WATSON, co-founder of GREENPEACE and now president of the
direct-action Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is being
held by Dutch police, awaiting extradition to Norway. Many
supporters are concerned for his safety in that fiercely
pro-whaling country. The "Free Paul Watson!" campaign is:
And if you prefer your action a little more direct,
ACTIVISTS protesting MANCHESTER AIRPORT's SECOND RUNWAY are
expecting an eviction this weekend - as front-page coverage
in the Guardian suggests. 0161 834 8221 is the protester's
technically supportive hotline.
>> TRACKING <<
Ten metres, five metres... they're in the room with us!
Updates this week to the NEWS AND MAIL component of
Microsoft's Internet Explorer. You can now read and send
HTML mail, and use LDAP, a search system that for every
e-mail address you're looking for locates seventy other
people with the same name. Also included is a useful and
maliciously irreversible 'upgrader' (converter) for
Netscape Mail and Eudora users. Assimilation now taking
There's a new version of MIRABILIS ICQ, the sneakily
successful program for spotting when your friends are
online and then pestering them with chat requests.
Fantastically irritating if you're using a modem, a godsend
if you're on a direct line and have no friends in your
office. The new version contains features like "it works
better". ICQ - the distributed ciggy break, is at:
http://www.mirabilis.com Our uid: 338623
Wired Ventures (whom we hate) have announced V5.03 of its
brand-subscription push-channel physical artefact, WIRED
MAGAZINE. Good apparently - especially the charity article
on how to save Apple, and more movie F/X designers. Oh, and
some nutters who think they can predict 500 years into the
future. They're a madcap bunch out there.
- count the 'W's in that
>> MEMEPOOL <<
well, technically the disinfectant footbath
the return of ZILOG... the re-return of STEVE BOWBRICK...
alternate NICOTINE delivery systems... the rise of the
THIRD BROWSER... promotional DOG-TAGS... I18N = ANSI
standard abbrev for "INTERNATIONALISATION" (work it out)...
ANTI-SPAM spamming... baggy coding... the Pink Floyd/
Wizard of Oz connection... obscure top-level domains are
the new rare stamps... feeding emotional terms ( "love",
"father", "woman", "Rossetto") into ALTAVISTA'S
LIVETOPICS... COMPUSERVE buy Microsoft software: MSN go
after Compuserve customers... 51% of US net users say they
would give up TV rather than PC...
>> MO' MEDIA <<
eat your television
TV HIGHLIGHTS: C4 pitches up its zany SITCOM WEEKEND (from
7pm, Sat, C4), with wry tributes and repeats of various
imported curiosities... BBC2 hits back with KUNG FU NIGHT
(9.10pm, Sat, BBC2), including spectacular Bruce Lee
showcaser ENTER THE DRAGON (10pm, Sat, BBC2)... the Bank
Holiday HERE AND NOW (7.30pm, Mon, BBC1) is an
investigative special into - wait for it - The Spice
Girls... C5 persists in showing an important collective
work appallingly out of sequence with REVENGE OF THE NERDS
IV: NERDS IN LOVE (9pm, Mon, C5)... out of nowhere comes a
repeat of season two of THE X-FILES (10.50pm, Tue and
10.25pm, Wed, BBC1)... and a new series of REPUTATIONS
(9pm, Wed, BBC2) sharpens its hatchet on philosophy poster-
boy Bertrand Russell - apparently "the logic and reason of
his public life were in sharp contrast to a private world
of passion, jealousy and marital disaster"...
MOVIES: BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD DO AMERICA (snickering cartoon
caricatures) is exactly what you'd expect: no music videos,
but plenty of single-entendres and exposed American
underbelly... SPACE TRUCKERS (Dennis Hopper, Stephen Dorff)
appears to be a mix between Red Dwarf and Aliens - we're
not sure that's a recommendation... and low-rent romantic
comedy is the order of the day in LOVE AND OTHER
CATASTROPHES (no-one you've heard of), like an Australian
Brothers McMullen/sort of whimsical movie-buffs' Friends...
MAGAZINES: Two newies due this month: REVOLUT!ON is the Noo
Medja magazine from those nice CAMPAIGN people: one for the
*snappily-dressed* suits, we think. For the plebs, CONNECT
is from Future publishing, and will be a bunch of URLs with
some lifestyle articles wrapped around it. We wish them
success: more success, perhaps, than COMPUTER LIFE, whose
oxymoronic demise is rumoured in ZIFF-DAVIS despatches.
As you might have read in i-D, MICHELLE STAVINROU died last
month. Mark Dz and Eva Pascoe are working on a small Web
page to her memory. For someone so passionate about this
culture, little of Michelle's writing exists on-line. If
you have access to any of her work, or wish to contribute
your recollections, you can contact Mark at
<email@example.com>. Bye, Michelle.
>> SMALL PRINT <<
Need to Know Now is a useful and interesting UK digest of things that
happened last week or might happen next week that you can read
on Friday afternoon or print out and then take home if you have nothing
better to do. It is compiled by NTK from stuff they get sent.
It is registered at the Post Office as "unnecessary".
Unsubscribe? Mail firstname.lastname@example.org with 'unsubscribe' in the body.
Subscribe? Mail email@example.com with 'subscribe' in the body.
NTKnow is helped by VIRGIN MEDIA and VENUS INTERNET. They worry about
us, but we don't worry about them.
(K) 1997 Special Projects. Copy at will, but retain this SMALL PRINT.
Tips, news and gossip to firstname.lastname@example.org.