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> | \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ ____14/11/97_ o Join! Mail 'subscribe ntknow' | \| | | | | ' / | '_ \ / _ \ \ /\ / / o to email@example.com | |\ | | | | . \ | | | | (_) \ V V / o Website (+ archive) lives at: |_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "Nobody was trying to do anything malicious. We just optimized too much." JANPIETER SCHEERDER, SunSoft President, after Sun were caught cheating in the Java compiler benchmarks ...and if it's too fast, it's not Pure Java (tm) >> HARD NEWS << short fuse It's rare that hexadecimal turns out to be so viciously onomatopoeic. The "F00F" bug, revealed on newsgroups last Friday, is just four bytes which, executed by a Pentium, freeze the chip and snap the spine of even the most heavily defended Intel-based operating system (oh yes, Linux too). Most of the technical press nobly chose not to reveal the final two bytes, confident in the knowledge that h/\c<er d00dz would never spend ten seconds at DejaNews discovering that it's "C7C8". Meanwhile, INTEL's bunny-suited spokespeople fed clueless hacks bizarre reassurances that it was not a problem - and even if it was, it wasn't Intel's. The NY Times reported that "the problem appears to be a virus affecting processor performance, rather than a flaw in the chip" (phew - it's only a *self-replicating* defect), while one Intel rep executed the evergreen "Push Problem To Source" command, claiming "that the flaw was found by an Intel competitor looking for undocumented instructions on the chip". Gad, how low can people sink? (The F00F bug, needless to say, does not occur in any competing Pentium clones.) http://people.delphi.com/gjc/crashme.html - PowerPC and ARM users! Get famous! Find your own bug! http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Personal/L.Wood/IE4res/ - Combine F00F and the new IE4.0 bug to crash your PC remotely "Was that it?", APPLE's European PowerPC product manager was said to mutter after Steve Jobs's world-shaking press conference on Monday. And it was. The big three announcements, relayed live to Apple offices around the world were: brand new super 233Mhz+ PowerPC machines (great!), super new direct- selling Apple Web Store (note: American orders only), and incredible new customised manufacturing scheme (not available outside the US). We're assuming this is Apple's ongoing punishment of "the countries for the rest of us" for sending them Jean-Louis Gassee. http://www.apple.com Cute accent. Are you from France? http://www.macosrumors.com - "misguided and inaccurate information" - Wall Street Journal There are, sadly, some news stories that are so unbelievable, or so depressing, that even we are obliged to deliver them in a gratingly trivial funny-back-page-of- technical-mag style. Here goes. "Item! EASYNET received 15,000 copies of their latest client software from the pressing plant this week, all ready for the Christmas rush. Imagine their seasonal delight when the packaged CDs were found to contain, not a full ISP connection kit, but copies of David Essex's Christmas Hits. Elsewhere, rumours knocking around top nobs in the new media community suggest that a sizeable chunk of MSN UK's staff are in for a *very* nasty Xmas bonus. Ho, Ho, Ho!" Now, where's the Dettol? http://www.headland.co.uk/war-of-the-worlds/biogs/essex.html - Halt! Oo goes there? http://www.uk.msn.com/ Bill knows who's naughty and nice >> ANTI-NEWS << berating the obvious BT to re-launch ISDN - again... still no definitive evidence that cell phones cause health problems, cautious scientists repeat slowly... HOTWIRED's "RGB Gallery" showcases art from - two HotWired designers... Shetland links case settled during 3 hour wait for court Net connection to work... DAILY MAIL blasts Carmaggeddon as "sickest ever" video game... "New Zealand man confesses to filming up thousands of skirts" - Nando Infotech... Future Publishing's new business mag, INTERNET.WORKS, fails to register internetworks.com, settles for appalling iwks.com instead... ICA's tortuous BroadVision Website at www.mediacentre.com not Y2K compliant... LARA CROFT actress still "not fired - just not doing many promo appearances" in week of TR2 launch... FILM THREAT WEEKLY back again, ditto the (weirdly similar) CINEZINE... MICROSOFT tells DOJ they knew they were going to integrate browser in late 1993 - this would be around the time "Blackbird" was going to replace HTML, right, Bill?... Myst-sequel RIVEN will not debut with "blockbuster sales", warn BRODERBUND... animated GIFs on Microsoft site created with MAC SHAREWARE... >> EVENT QUEUE << stick that in your cronjob Could next week's COMDEX be the dullest yet? Tough call, but by concentrating on the industry's core areas of tedium (networking software, Windows CE palmtops and the latest mousemats) the Las Vegas exhibition looks to have beaten even its own sanity-shattering records. Check out the line- up: keynote speakers include NOVELL and CISCO CEOs, a beta of Microsoft Exchange '98 is promised, Web TV technology showcases - oh, the non-attractions are (perceptually) endless. You're better off staying at home (like you could afford to go anyway) and ordering the *only* decent new Comdex product by mail: that'll be, of course, Rocky Mountain Traders's "Monimals" - the Damien-Hirst-like computer accessory that "turns monitors into sheeps, cows, lions and moose." (0171 631 0707 for more details). http://www.comdex.com - time to trot out the "porn flick awards" stories again. >> TRACKING << look, over there! The Goodyear Blimp! Remember when Microsoft pointed out that if MS IE4.0 was not Java Compliant, you should see what Netscape's Java Machine did to the test suite? And everyone went "shut up, shut up", because they knew it was true? Well, the new 4.04 release NETSCAPE COMMUNICATOR fixes that problem. The bugs are still there, naturally (what would a commercial browser be without them?). But they have rather sweetly removed the Java logo from the About... screen. View Source gives the sheepish explanation... ftp://ftp.netscape.com/pub/communicator/4.04/shipping/english/ http://www.operasoftware.com - buggy, bit amateurish, but tiny - and a bit more honest The name of PC Zone journo, warez apologist and 1995 UK Doom Champion DAVID MCCANDLESS may sound a bit like David McAlmont, but his self-pressed debut album sounds more like David Byrne's Oasis tribute band doing novelty Radiohead cover versions - in a good way, of course. True to his geekazoid roots, McCandless has recorded the whole thing, Jyoti-Mishra-style, on his bedroom PC for about 130 quid - though, disappointingly, the catchy title track, "Smoother And Faster", appears to be some sort of love song, rather than a celebration of the improved performance of the Quake 2 graphics engine. http://www.wakeywakey.com/ - UKP6.99. Ask for a copy of his "TrekMaster" book, too http://wwww.hotwired.com/wired/5.04/warez/ - those MP3 demons coming home to roost now, eh Macca? Sticking for the moment with the UK's first-person- shooterati, NTK is always reassured to see net journos veering wildly off their usual subjects, as ZDNet's "First Lady Of Quake", CAL JONES, has managed for two weeks in a row now. But when the digressions take the form of detailed accounts of state-of-the-art rollercoaster tech (including the Intamin Eurostar, the Togo Ultratwister, and Alton Towers' upcoming Secret Weapon 4) - who's complaining? Beats the (somewhat less thrilling) ups and downs of the PC games biz every time. http://www1.zdnet.com/cgwuk/cal/cal10.html http://www1.zdnet.com/cgwuk/cal/cal11.html - imagine some sort of Dune-like parallel universe, where, in a strategic alliance between House Dennis and The Ziff-Davis Imperium, Cal Jones was forced to marry David McCandless, to produce THE ULTIMATE QUAKE-CHILD. Just a thought... >> MEMEPOOL << hasta la altavista do the brownian motion... Steve Jobs for CEO - of SGI, that is... www.henson.com - to work with PSYGNOSIS?... APOCALYPSE CLARKSON... "Spam is good for the net - it teaches newbies about regular expressions"... spot today's crashes at www.mae.net/east.stats.html ... ALT tags: the New Content... BANDAI founder Naoharu Yamashina dies - at a record 17 days old... Fire International's ERAZER MP5... memo to ICA: putting shouty poets next to SPARCstations and painted-over Doom screendumps does not constitute "art"... www.affection.net/~jamesc/bettyford/ ... is that a GameBoy POCKET MONSTER in your trousers, or are Nintendo just pleased to sell something?... new PIXAR short, Geri's Game, is an old man playing chess, and *not* another sodding Spice Girls spin-off... Judge Zobel "nobbled" by EDWARD WOODWARD (aka The Equaliser)?... HYPER YO-YOS... live PARAPPA-fans' rap contest in Tokyo... character based on Cherie BLAIR in STREETFIGHER EX PLUS?... fanfic of the week: www.angelfire.com/sc/screamlouder/ ... >> GEEK MEDIA << inter-inactive entertainment TV >> Nice Painter, Suits You, Check-out Girl - the only thing they don't have is a sketch with two guys constantly repeating their favourite catchphrases from the FAST SHOW (9.30pm, Fri, BBC2) - though, on second thoughts, that could apply to all of them... as if a triple bill of the repetitive MAN FROM UNCLE (BBC2, Sat) wasn't insane enough, the first starts at 7am, the last at 2.35... Christmas comes early with SCROOGED (9pm, Sat, BBC1), a surprisingly good Bill Murray/ Lee Majors comedy (and there's something you can't say every day)... even compared to "new" You've Been Framed, AS SEEN ON TV (11.20am, Sun, BBC2) is still the best camcorder show of all time... weirdly, it isn't just a repeat (or even a re-CGI'd "Special Edition"), but a total remake of BBC perennial THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET (5pm, Sun, BBC2) - though unlikely to match the bawdy frolics of period drama TOM JONES (9pm, Sun, BBC1), with Brian Blessed in full "Gordon's *alive*?" form... here's hoping the (more entertaining) "M" variant gets equal time when THE SOUTH BANK SHOW (10.50pm, Sun, ITV) profiles Iain Banks... sparks will fly as MOVERS AND SHAKERS (8pm, Mon, C4) looks at Scalextric fans, while EQUINOX (9pm, Mon, C4) discovers another exciting interviewee (a 96-year-old survivor of the Tunguska explosion), in an edition prosaically entitled "The Day The Earth Got Hit"... surely Jennifer "Rachel from Friends" Aniston can maintain the level of swearing one has come to expect from THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW (11.40pm, Tue, BBC2)?... forget scientologist L Ron Hubbard's SECRET LIVES (Wed, 9pm, C4) - how did he manage to publish several huge sci-fi novels several years after his "death"?... Eric Bogosian plays an out-of-control shock-jock in TALK RADIO (9pm, Thu, C5), arguably Oliver Stone's most watchable movie (and you don't hear that too often either)... MOVIES >> GI JANE (imdb: action / drama / navy / commando / training / feminism / prejudice) is by far the most viciously sadistic film of the year, maybe even enough to make you forgive Demi Moore for The Scarlet Letter and Striptease?... everyone seems to love Kevin Smith's fanboy/lesbian romance CHASING AMY (imdb: romance / jealousy / friendship / love / comics / lesbian / gay / comedy / hockey / sexuality / foul-language / vulgarity / lesbian-scene / drama) - though it's not as unpleasantly funny as his magnum opus, Clerks... from 1992, the re- released FULL CONTACT (imdb: action) is probably for the more dedicated fans of Ringo Lam, Chow Yun-Fat, Hong Kong chop-socky (or Quentin Tarantino)... making this week's out-of-nowhere surprise recommendation the lamer-vs-Kramer courtroom farce TRIAL AND ERROR (imdb: comedy) - with Michael Richards (from Seinfeld), Rip Torn (from Larry Sanders), and, er, the same director as the Sgt Bilko movie and Nuns On The Run... MEAL REPLACEMENT PRODUCTS >> NTK's "f00d d00d" Ben Moor reports that WRIGLEY'S new menthol/eucalyptus chewing gum, AIRWAVES, has a total nutritional content of "almost zero" (across all categories), and bears the small-print warning "Excessive consumption may produce laxative effects". All in all, a big thumbs-up then, apart from the product's taste - "like sucking radio"... we don't know what scared us more: a) BURGEN bread with "added plant oestrogens", b) KELLOGG'S appropriating your mum's rice-krispie cakes into the tasty (but geometrically misguided) SQUARES - or c) the apparent replacement of DAIRYLEA DIP & PIZZA CRACKERS by the shockingly bland DAIRYLEA DIP & BREADSTICKS. Come on, Kraft! they're competing for the same ecological snack- niche!... can't seem to find the new Nestle MAVERICK bar anywhere, but CADBURY persist with woeful attempts at a citrus/chocolate crossover with the "limited edition" TIME OUT ORANGE (you can see why - it's disgusting). In fact, their plain Dairy-Milk-style ORANGE bar ("Orange Flavoured Milk Chocolate") isn't too bad, but still has about as much chance against Terry's original choc-orange-spin-off as Nestle's HERCULES MAGIC BALL has against the GLOWING GHOSTIES KINDER EGGS... >> COMPO << with added P45 - see www.spesh.com/compo/ Oh, too easy again, was it? Well then, I suppose you won't mind if the prize goes to Dr Nik Cain, one of the few contestants who didn't pepper his entry with jeers and cat- calls at our generous nature. The good Dr receives a copy of THE LEVELLERS album (yes, be impressed), a NINTENDO GOLDENEYE poster, and Star Trek: Starfleet Academy (which, should Interplay be reading this, is NOT a competition prize - Nik is officially reviewing it for NTK, and anyway I've already opened the box and installed it on my machine, and it's great, so what's the problem, huh?). Plus, naturellement, the free invite to the .NOT Awards. Which we're really are going to announce next week. Ahem. Here's this weeks' URL. As ever, it's in the form http://www.*.com/now.html. And the wildcard is: The 1st l. in the 30th, 23rd, 97th, 255th, 179th, 144th, 107th, 124th, 176th, 103rd, 52nd, 26th, 155th, and 254th l.s of t.m. Remember, there's still time to contribute your own URL/now.html combo. Yeah, you might lose your job, but when the boss hauls you in, just say you know a guy who edits this newsletter, and one time he put in a forthcoming diary event that actually happened exactly a year previously, and they didn't sack *him*, so why should you have to go? [See last week's Event Queue. NTK regrets the error.] >> 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 "http in '93". <shemp.ncsa.uiuc.edu/NCSA/SDG/Experimental/demoweb/old/marc-info.html> NEED TO KNOW THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK. Archive - http://www.ntk.net/ Excuses - http://www.spesh.com/ntk/ Unsubscribe? Mail firstname.lastname@example.org with 'unsubscribe ntknow'. Subscribe? Mail email@example.com with 'subscribe ntknow'. NTK now 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-business copying is fine, but retain SMALL PRINT. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for commercial license details. Tips, news and gossip to email@example.com.