Review of '97, big TV, readers' efforts, Happy New Year!
Microsoft smacks back, OpenGL losses, Paarty!
Yahoo hacked, OpenGL victories, DOJ smack Microsoft
Cybersquatting blues, MSN puzzles, and the return of the FiReD
Bactel spurned, hackers liberated and the erotic olympics
Gates as Caligula, ISO Java and .NOT
FOOF bug, Easynet goofed, good food
E-on bust, Kashpureff nicked, Apple silly.
StrongARM tactics, laser ban,
Sci-Fi Con 2.0
Microsoft naughtiness, Quake II, Mark Leyner
Cassini, Survival Research Labs, SlashCon
Sun vs Gates, Pickering and the ZX Psion
Worldcom, IE4.0, and Negativland
Crypto weirdness, Easynet moneymaking and Win95 cracking.
Holiday Special #5
MiniNTK - by the seaside.
Holiday Special #4
MiniNTK - the nation mourns.
Holiday Special #3
MiniNTK - to "Di" for.
Holiday Special #2
MiniNTK - "the one with all the urls".
Holiday Special #1
MiniNTK - live from Mir.
HIP fallout, surveillance and kites.
Jobs & Gates, game.com and HIP '97.
Boys for the Jobs, Clan Negroponte and Sci-Fi Archaeologists.
LINX update, Virus wars, ECAL '97.
Internic spazzes, fibre slashes, and the dreaded Ecstacy
Amelio goes, NHS hate TTP, and Hard *ptuii* Wired.
Windows 98, Mars, and no "Independence Day" references.
CDA, Cousteau, Access All Areas the third.
Psion, Iridium, and Lee Harvey Oswald.
Comcast, Viewdata Revival Movement, Osmose.
Microsoft in Cambridge, Arthur C. Clarke Award, Earplugs
Sega/Bandai, Robert Anton Wilson, Perl Conference
Crypto, Ken Campbell, the Beeb. Michelle.
Final Beta - Rhapsody, MIDI Karaoke, Jimmy Hill.
Second Beta - BIB, The Hugos, Geek Golf.
First Beta - Brandname tattooing, bad Deep Blue predictions.
Appalling first efforts.
_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK> | \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ ____03/10/97_ o Join! Mail 'subscribe ntknow' | \| | | | | ' / | '_ \ / _ \ \ /\ / / o to email@example.com | |\ | | | | . \ | | | | (_) \ V V / o Website (+ archive) lives at: |_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o www.spesh.com/cgi-bin/now "It will be available within two weeks, or maybe sooner than that..." - Microsoft's Andrew Dixon, on a patch for new Excel bug He'd be more precise, but the spreadsheet says -3.33 years >> HARD NEWS << storms in brews Once again taking their first name a little too seriously, WORLDCOM this week swatted BRITISH TELECOM out of the way and made a bid for MCI, the US long-distance telco that BT craved so greatly earlier this year. If it succeeds, WORLDCOM, who own UUNET-Pipex, the old Compuserve backbone, and your mother, would then control around 60% of US Internet traffic and be "a new world player in the telco industry", according to our dictionary of unimaginative tech-biz journo cliches. Similarly, BT were described by all as "tight-lipped" and "shaken" by the move. Well, they could have been stifling giggles of relief - despite all the effort, the combined MCI/BT "Concert" was looking an increasingly tough gig to pull off. Meanwhile, Worldcom's CEO Bernard Ebbers told the excellent COMPUTERGRAM: "After we have got a deal finished with MCI, we might acquire BT." Hahaha ha ... hello? HELLO? http://www.wcom.com/ - live from Bernard's underwater base http://www.world.com/ - Jesus : how much is *this* guy holding out for? MICROSOFT INTERNET EXPLORER 4.0 was launched on Tuesday. By Wednesday, it had almost finished loading. Reviews were mixed, yet universally scared: impartial observer Marc Andreessen described it on CNN as "a 60MB hairball" (as opposed to those 30MB Netscape snowflakes, we guess). Still, it wasn't a complete rout - and Microsoft's early beta back in July may well have set the seeds for future troubles: journalists were seen running from the launch to test months-old security flaws they'd discovered then and kept quiet about. Not us, mind. We joined the crowd crashing it right there at the launch. Hey, you want beta- testers, you pay us in T-shirts, okay? http://www.yoz.com/ie40/ - includes not-so-dynamic HTML, inActiveX pages... http://www.microsoft.com/ie40/ - see the all-new scaleable Windows NT 'Server Busy' errors Amiga Inc designed the AMIGA - and was bought out by Commodore. Commodore marketed the Amiga - and went bust. Escom purchased the rights to the Amiga - then filed for bankruptcy. GATEWAY 2000 purchased the Amiga from Escom, and has just revealed plans to release the new AmigaOS 4.0 series within the next year, with an interim 3.5 release before that. Promised goodies included extended graphics card compatibility, and possibly a new machine with USB and other goodies. Oh, and Gateway announced an expected company loss for the third quarter of 1997, and this week, as news of the Amiga return spread, sacked 500 workers, with rumours of another 500 to go shortly. Gateway blame inventory problems for their fall from grace, but, come on, join the dots, guys - the Amiga's image test file is the DEATHMASK OF TUTANKHAMUN, for God's sake! DUMP THE CONTRACT. BURN THE MANUALS. SOW SALT IN THE SOIL OF THE CURSED R&D'S CAMPUS BUILDING - WHILE YOU STILL CAN. Oh, and there might be an embedded AmigaOS for industrial applications, such as Web TV. http://www.gw2k.com it's called "going down the blitter" http://www.nfinity.com/~amicom/auohsep97.html - Amiga announcement made to audience of over 20! >> ANTI-NEWS << berating the obvious INTERFACE section in THE TIMES describes "contraptions that look like Captain Kirk's chair on the bridge of the USS Enterprise" in arcade review... psychological profiling actually next to useless... Government seems to be distancing itself from Taskforce 2000... more column inches written about Di than all of WWII... Moore's Law to fail "perhaps as soon as 2017"... many stories in THE TIMES' INTERFACE now adhere to template "X looks set to be revolutionised by new product Y", followed by quote from manufacturer... "We're still here", claim OLIVETTI... Sega Saturn version of WIPEOUT 2097 lacks hip techno soundtrack... CJD *is* somehow linked to BSE, after all!... 60% of businesses "overcharged by Web design agencies" reports - A WEB DESIGN AGENCY... INTERFACE section (in THE TIMES) recommends URLs www.thenametocome.com and www.anothername.coming (sic)... >> EVENT QUEUE << thy buffer overfloweth The more tedious of the Nobel prizes are announced next week, which can only mean - it's Ig Nobel time again. Treats to be savoured at the awards ceremony (where Ig Nobels are bestowed upon those whose achievements "cannot or should not be reproduced") include an operatic version of the Big Bang, "Il Kaboom Grosso" (featuring live Laureates as sub-atomic particles), and the auction of plaster casts of scientist/supermodel Symmetra's left foot. Naturally, there's a live Webcast of the event, which starts at 00.30 GMT, Thursday evening. You won't be able to tell what's going on, but for once in a Webcast, this is deliberate. http://www.improb.com - check out the AIRhead 2000 project too http://www.netwalk.com/~popev/paperair/ask1.htm - the beautiful Symmetra Well, we missed the actual start of the MC ESCHER exhibition but, frankly, with his stuff, *who's gonna know*? The show devoted to every Quake player's favourite engraver continues at The Croydon Clocktower till 04/01/98, complete with walk-through "giant models", "tessellations", "moebius bands", and "optical paradoxes". Plans to link the show with a Bach recital in Romford and a Godel retrospective in Harrow (thus completing London's "Orbital Golden Braid") are as yet unconfirmed. http://www.croydon.gov.uk/cr-exhib.htm - MC Hammer: Can't touch this... http://www.donsplace.com/gallery/gallery.htm - MC Escher: Can't *draw* this... Music usually goes under NTK's "media" heading, but the release of a new NEGATIVLAND album is invariably something of an event as well, particularly for those in the legal profession. This time the copyright-flaunting media junkies (still reeling from that hilarious U2 lawsuit) have had some decent professional advice, and aren't even spelling the new album's name in full (pssst - it's DISPEPSI). There's 13 tracks of "original music, songs, and collaged advertising", creating "an unusually large serving of carbonated controversy". Somewhat disappointingly, Pepsi are reported to be "amused" by the whole business and have "no plans to sue". http://www.negativland.com/ - for god's sake, no-one show them the Tango ads http://www.addict.com/issues/3.09/html/lofi/Cover_Story/ - hey Casey, what does "diddley shit" mean anyway? >> TRACKING << clots of bots Up until now, PC users could talk behind Mac users' backs using ICQ, the original "Is my mate online? Oh no, he is, better pretend to be out" buddy monitor and chat system. No longer - Macintosh users now have a beta to pester their "friends" with. And there's even a very rough-and-ready Java version, so even the most anti-social and insolent UNIX system administrator in your office can be forced to join in. Now, if only they'd implement a brawl function. http://www.mirabilis.com - platform will speak peace unto platform Informal surveys show our readers to be mostly senior executives in established firms, controlling an annual IT budget of, on average, 6 million UKP, manage 100-200 staff and plan to buy any product that they see advertised in NTK ever. Or that's what you always write on those little reader survey cards. What we know for sure is that you *love* exploitative Star Wars merchandise. The demo of Dark Forces II : Jedi Knight, LucasArt's Quake-a-like is now out. 20Megabytes. Get one of your staff onto it. http://www.lucasarts.com/static/jk/default.htm - a million ftp servers cried out and were suddenly silenced >> MEMEPOOL << hasta la altavista in the new Spice Girls video, are they *saving* the world from a dystopian future dictatorship, or *actively perpetuating it*?... recalled NINTENDO 64 power supplies "may pose a safety risk" - not quite the "jolt pack" we were expecting... USS Hopper... www.turnleft.com/apple/ ... search for +"ball lightning" +"microwave oven"... Mariah Carey video "could be" analogy for her escape from former husband/Sony music boss Tommy Mottola... www.xybernaut.com ... AIIEEEE!! pop artist ROY LICHTENSTEIN - DEAD!... hack the Hewlett-Packard MOPy-fish: points stored in first two bytes of brain.dat, little-endian format: set it to 0x0C, 0x80 for aphrodisiac... The Pope books Bob Dylan?... spam pretending to be from wired.com... 3D Dilbert... >> MO' MEDIA << why don't you turn in and do something less interesting? TV>> FRIENDS (9pm, Fri, C4) returns to form with more Smelly Cat songs and Sherilyn "Twin Peaks" Fenn guesting as an amputee - contrast with the consistently brilliant romantic goofs from FRASIER (10pm, Fri, C4)... in a surprising break with tradition, manga movie PATLABOR (12mid, Fri, BBC2) features futuristic police, a nightmare cyber-Tokyo, and *large robots*... tragically, only Meridian and Anglia viewers may enjoy the new prime-time series of CYBER CAFE (12.30pm, Sat, ITV regions only)... CLIVE BARKER'S A-Z OF HORROR (11pm,Sat, BBC2) skips A-F pretty quickly to get to serial killer Ed Gein, who partly inspired (and presumably would have hugely enjoyed) the movies Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Silence Of The Lambs, and PSYCHO (11.55pm, Sat, BBC2)... apparently there's a fan club entirely dedicated to Chris Reeve's otherwise unremarkable time-travel romance, SOMEWHERE IN TIME (3.40pm, Sun, BBC1)... startling doubts are cast on the so- called "official" version of events in Oliver Stone's interminable JFK (9pm, Sun, C5)... HERE AND NOW (7.30pm, Mon, BBC1) tests the Church of England's new marriage compatibility software; EQUINOX (9pm, Mon, C4) asks "What's in a number?" (featuring a "scientific poet"!)... don't expect any startling insights if you go delving into MYSTERIES WITH CAROL VORDERMAN (8pm, Tue, BBC1), while David Duchovny materialises on THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW (11.40pm, Tue, BBC2)... the appallingly titled ANIMAL PEOPLE (7pm, Wed, BBC1) has actually been really good so far, and this week features Californian mountain lion attacks and an "incredible moustache"... the new TOMORROW'S WORLD (7.30pm, Wed, BBC1) takes some getting used to, but, promisingly, plans to examine "the hype surrounding digital TV"... HORIZON (9.25pm, Thu, BBC2) advises sending killer viruses after antibiotic-resistant bacteria (is that wise?)... FEAR OF A BLACK HAT (12.15am, Thu, C4) isn't really "a rap Spinal Tap", but does have characters called "Tone Def", "Ice Cold" and "Tasty Taste"... MOVIES>> Disappointingly only released at "selected cinemas", FIRST STRIKE (Motion Picture Association of America rated: PG-13 - "for plentiful action/violence") is exactly what you'd expect from Jackie Chan (alternative titles: Police Story 4, Piece Of Cake, Story Of The CIA, or Jing Cha Gu Shi IV: Jian Dan Ren Wu). Still, it's a livelier James Bond spoof than, say, Austin Powers... Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche (aka Mrs Ellen DeGeneres) battle that hot LA lava in VOLCANO (MPAA: PG-13 - "for intense depiction of urban disaster and related injuries"). An improvement on Dante's Peak, but then again, so's being burned alive... drowning's too good for Harvey Keitel and Cameron Diaz in their Norwegian comedy thriller remake HEAD ABOVE WATER (MPAA: R - "for language, nudity, violence, and another hopeless performance by a former model" - yeah, I'm making them up again, did you guess?) COMPO>> Spot BILL GATES - win a prize! Okay, we admit, it's not the competition we were planning (more on that, ahem, next week) but Bill *is* in the country next week, and to celebrate, we've arranged a contest that could earn you UKP UKP UKP. Mr Gates is visiting Tony Blair at Downing Street on Monday, then travelling up to speak at St John's College, Cambridge on Tuesday afternoon. If you can furnish photographic proof that you saw the Redmond giant during this period, and are first to send it to us, we'll furnish *you* with ten whole pounds and just some of the many rubbish CDs that we get sent by fool PR agencies who think we review music. Yes. Be impressed. Contestants who use digerazzi-style rudeness will be summarily disqualified - but there *is* an extra fiver in it for anyone who *politely* asks him "I heard from a friend that you promised to release the source to your original 4K Microsoft Basic - are you?". You may not know what that's about, but we do. And we want that code. >> SMALL PRINT << Need To Know is a useful and interesting UK digest of things that happened last week or might happen next week. You can read it on Friday afternoon or print it out then take it 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 "ditherated". NEED TO KNOW THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK. Archive - http://www.spesh.com/cgi-bin/now Excuses - http://www.spesh.com/ntk Unsubscribe? Mail firstname.lastname@example.org with 'unsubscribe ntknow'. Subscribe? Mail email@example.com with 'subscribe ntknow'. NTK is helped by VIRGIN NET, VENUS INTERNET and UNFORTU.NET. They worry about us, but we don't worry about them. (K) 1997 Special Projects. Non-biz copying ok, but retain SMALL PRINT. Tips, news and gossip to firstname.lastname@example.org.