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> | \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ ____12/12/97_ o Join! Mail 'subscribe ntknow' | \| | | | | ' / | '_ \ / _ \ \ /\ / / o to email@example.com | |\ | | | | . \ | | | | (_) \ V V / o Website (+ archive) lives at: |_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "In our opinion, every week should be year 2000 week." KARL FEILDER, MD of Greenwich Mean Time (a Y2K consultancy) - isn't that what we're trying to avoid? >> HARD NEWS << soft wariness A couple of hacker gangs got Warhol-portions of fame after YAHOO's front page was uhh... redesigned for 15 minutes on Monday. The world's favourite bulleted list got replaced with a manifesto that mixed fanciful threats (worldwide virus infections set to go off on Christmas Day) with a sadly accurate protest regarding Kevin Mitnick's mistreatment as he ends his third year in jail without trial. Unfortunately, the only Yahoo server to be broken was one feeding Lynx users - and while it's refreshing to find something that's *only* viewable on that text-only browser, if that's not preaching to the converted, we don't know what is. Meanwhile, Brit journalists missed two potentially juicier Webhacks - the fall of the equally technically adroit (no, really) Demon, whose nameserver was hacked on Sunday,  and the just as politically-charged sabbing of the The British Field Sports Society's site. Meanwhile, the spate continued with the zapping last night of Murdoch's www.fox.com. What is this, Christmas holiday homework from the Bugtraq boys?  Actually, it was a Demon customer. Update in next NTK - Ed. http://www.hacked.net/ - catch 'em while they're hot http://www.kevinmitnick.com/ - hold 'em 'till they're cold http://www.bfss.org/ - is this still hacked or was it always this bad? http://www.geek-girl.com/bugtraq/1997_4/0451.html - Aleph One's mailing list. But you can call him Al. Oh, the hubris! On the eve of Quake II's appearance in the shops, Id's JOHN CARMACK achieved the other qualification for Code God. He fragged Microsoft. In a joint press release with SGI, Microsoft agreed to officially endorse SGI's 3D API OpenGL on its platforms. While the statement doesn't actually say that Id was right all along and Microsoft's competitor Direct3D sucks giblets, everyone knows that's what it *means*. The pointed omission of Carmack from the industry figures quoted just goes to show how hard his nailgun rants about OpenGL superiority hit home. But just as deification looked a sure thing - what's this? A bug report from Id? Some debug code accidentally left in the CD of Quake II that sends a heartbeat packet from any Quake 2 server on the Net to Id's own internal servers? Debug code which itself is buggy, causing the packet to be sent not every 300 seconds as planned, but every 300 *milliseconds*, thus effectively wiping out Id's own Net connection? Carmack - fallible? The horror! http://www5.zdnet.com/zdnn/content/zdnn/1211/262353.html - It's almost Shakespearian http://www.sgi.com/Headlines/1997/December/ddk_release.html - Also, the deal obliges manufacturers to do a D3D driver too so Bill's *still* Satan The US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE on Thursday declared that while Microsoft weren't necessarily guilty of breaking their anti-trust agreement, they did look pretty shifty. Accordingly, the judge ordered them to stop obliging manufacturers to bundle IE with Windows 95, and appointed a "Special Master" to investigate further. The "Special Master", Lawrence Lessig lives alone in a swamp at Harvard Law School, Dagobah system, and is an expert, disturbingly, on "cyberlaw". He has until May 31st to give his opinion - which is close enough to the release date of Windows 98 to give Microsoft the willies. On the other hand, if you were a hardware manufacturer whose existence depended on keeping in with Gates, would *you* suddenly switch sides, just because you can? www.law.harvard.edu/Academic_Affairs/Faculty_Directory/l.html - monopolistic you are! >> ANTI-NEWS << berating the obvious STEVE BALLMER says IE4 had quality-for-deadline tradeoff... 72% of hacking attempts originate from outside US... "Web Based Journalism Often Includes Rumours", opines the rigorous FORBES MAGAZINE... 54% of Webmasters hate "Webmaster" title - but they still can't come up with a better one... Wired Ventures' NEWSBOT "down for repairs" ... Christmas cards "really do make people happy", scientists report... BMG claim GRAND THEFT AUTO stock nicked by "ram raiders"... APPLE's Website makes $12 million a month; Dell makes $6 million a *day*... MS's Nathan Myhrvold investigating how dinosaurs moved so fast. Wonder why? ... MICROSOFT advises Govt. on online self- employed registration project: forms turn out to be Explorer only... 66% of IT Managers have experienced "complete project failure", survey says... NEIL TENNANT to produce NOEL COWARD covers album... >> EVENT QUEUE << stacking the "odds" We've had a few, shall we say, disbelieving e-mails about the .NOT Awards, and we're not afraid to say that we find your lack of faith... disturbing. Okay, so we've moved them to January. So what? The 1997 Oscars are in *March* for God's sake. But we are nothing if not bounteous in our generosity. Take this e-mail as your official invite to THE NEED TO KNOW CHRISTMAS PARTY, which takes place on SATURDAY 20th DECEMBER at 8pm onwards at BACKSPACE, a funny little cyberplace with comfy seats in CLINK ST, LONDON, ENGLAND. Space is a bit limited so please RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know if you're turning up. The enforced fun will include MIDI Karaoke, videogame charades, a Gates/Jobs shooting gallery, the rapier wit of your fellow subscriber contributors, and some free drink. Please bring a floppy. http://www.backspace.org/clink - the phrase you're looking for is "Yes. Am impressed." Fancy yourself as a bit of a retro coder? Then perhaps you could win the UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER's competition to write a new program for the first ever stored code computer, Baby. There are a few restrictions: firstly, the program has to fit in 1024 bits of memory (yes, bits), and there's no output apart from one blinking light and a binary dump of the core on a primitive cathode ray tube (maybe mini-Tetris?). Winners will get a chance to see their code entered into the replica of Baby being built for its 50th anniversary next year. To help you, there's a smart emulator to download, which runs only in DOS and isn't guaranteed to run under Windows. Wow - these guys take their O/S preservation *seriously*. http://www.cs.man.ac.uk/prog98/ - "as powerful as a child's calculator"? What, the TI-58? >> ANTI-TRACKING << stuff you thought you needed. but don't JAVASOFT have, with much pomp and circumstance, released the Activator, a plug-in that allows you to run JDK 1.1 Java apps on any browser, even the non-compliant Netscap- er, Microsoft Explorer. A clever and sneaky hack? Well, we could think of cleverer: the plugin first demands your viewers download the full 3MB Java 1.1 virtual machine and class library (why didn't they just release patches to the present Netscape/IE4.0 libraries? Or is that *too* sneaky?). Secondly, you have to rewrite all your HTML to embed the Java app within a plug-in tag, so that it's invisible unless you download the plug-in. And at the risk of repeating ourselves, isn't that what all this was trying to avoid? http://www5.zdnet.com/zdnn/content/zdnn/1211/262353.html - write once, run anywhere (if you've got all the stuff pre-downloaded anyway) DAVE WINER (what ever happened to that Winder chap, anyway?) has released the first version of his Frontier scripting language for the PC. First reactions (from accredited Frontier fans): Middling to "oh dear". He's done that stupid stick-all-the-floating-windows-in-the-Mac-app- in-one-big-unmanageable-Win95-window mistake, and the interface is too Macish by half. Worth a look if you're part of the Apple diaspora, but otherwise, "uncoooooooool". http://www.scripting.com/ - and Aretha Franklin sucks. Nyah, nyah, nyah. Death to record companies! Empower the artist! And charge them for the privilege! That's the plan for Manchester- based MUSIC NETWORK INTERNATIONAL (nb: not the Music Network formerly known as part of Webmedia), who'll be showcasing the music of unsigned bands via "secure" Liquid Audio from next Jan. They think listeners'll pay a quid to download individual MPEG3-quality tracks (after enjoying a RA-quality preview), of which 40 or 50p goes straight to the band - and they think musicians'll pay UKP100 a time to join the scheme. Well, maybe it really is digital distribution sidestepping the middleman (ie the one that normally pays big advances), rather than just an online variant on those music mag small ads that go "will put your lyrics/poems to music for small fee"... http://www.music-www.com/ - link to Liquid Audio, but no more info http://www.mp3.com/ too legit to quit >> MEMEPOOL << hasta la altavista selling ad-space on "404"s ... no UK release for JACKIE BROWN till at least May?... Netnames, witness for Virgin in ONE IN A MILLION court case has "telecom.bt" ... Pursuits++ - http://www.trivial.net ... ICQ say "eh-oh"... Brit Newshub: www.newsnow.co.uk ... Ross' guide to hacking GSM : http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/19.48.html#subj5 ... company that pitches an "accelerated device for routing packets" for $3 at Internet Expo is - the US POST OFFICE... No Sisters of No Mercy: http://members.xoom.com/ssv/ ... www.ronthemusicmaker.org/p_jpg/listen.htm ...selling link placements... new PRODIGY video available as "Duke Nukem" mission pack... PAUL LEYLAND, other Cambridge cypherpunk make the move to Microsoft... STARSHIP TROOPERS *is* just as violent, ridiculous, and crypto-fascist as everyone says... http://av.yahoo.com/bin/query then hit reload... >> MO' MEDIA << why don't you turn in and do something less interesting? TV>> extreme violence ought to spice up tonight's FRIENDS (9pm, Fri, C4) in the form of an "Ultimate Fighting" contest, though sadly it only involves Monica's CEO/Swingers boyfriend, and not useless guest stars Billy Crystal and Robin Williams... yes, it was us who sent them the net tips on cool stuff to put in microwaves in the last ADAM AND JOE SHOW (11pm, Sat, C4) until New Year's Eve... maybe the Star Trek movies would have got more "hits" if they'd used AltaVista to carry out THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK (3.35pm, Sun, BBC1)... MOVERS AND SHAKERS (8pm, Mon, C4) rolls the d20 on table-top battlers like Warhammer... compared to Jeremy Hardy & Jack Dee's lame efforts, Paul Merton ought to do a better paranormal spoof with DOES CHINA EXIST? (10pm, Mon, BBC2)... HG Wells pursues Jack The Ripper through modern-day San Francisco in intelligent Time Machine rip-off TIME AFTER TIME (9pm, Tue, C4), up against Shane-Black-scripted action classic LETHAL WEAPON (9pm, Tue, ITV)... it's rare that a remake is this much better than the original, but of course that's kind of the point of 1978's appallingly scary version of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS (11pm, Wed, BBC1)... oh, and the cute wobbly robots in eco-space fave SILENT RUNNING (6pm, Thu, BBC2)? - apparently they're midget amputees *walking on their hands*... MOVIES >> they say TOMORROW NEVER DIES (imdb: action / james-bond / spy) but someone really should put the James Bond franchise out of its misery: Brosnan, Jonathan Pryce and Michelle Yeoh gurn through a catalogue of tedious stunts, technical inconsistencies and appalling dialogue, and Teri Hatcher's hardly in it at all, after negative reactions from test screenings... the not-very-ironic teen serial-murders of I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (imdb: horror / thriller / mystery / hit-and-run / slasher / revenge) shows why Miramax wanted to make Sony take "From the creator of Scream" off their poster - probably one for only the most deeply psychotic stalker-fans of Sarah Michelle Gellar (aka TV's Buffy The Vampire Slayer)... and strangely, Stephen Rea's IRA philanthropist in A FURTHER GESTURE (imdb: unclassified) isn't supposed to be a sequel to his role in The Crying Game, though you could pretend it was if you liked... SHINY TEXT>> disappointingly, MINISTRY (UKP 2.40) isn't a glossy fanzine devoted to "Weird" Al Jourgensen's industrial goth-metal outfit, and turns out to be a sort of Bizarre/Stuff-style badly designed consumer guide to clubbing, sex, toilets, sex in toilets, and drug paraphernalia. The free CD isn't bad though... so, in a month when Q (UKP 2.70) runs Noel Gallagher's Antinews revelation that he "nicked" some of David Bowie's tunes, instead we're going to review the free Xmas music mag CDs that sometimes become mysteriously detached from the covers and that you can then presumably take home for nothing. The Q one, needless to say, is terrible (Chemical Brothers, Primal Scream, Texas - and Bush!)... MUZIK (UKP 2.40) reckon that theirs covers "1997: the tunes", and they may well be right, if you spent the last year listening to nondescript jungle, speed garage and the world's worst ever remixes of Underworld and The Prodigy... our surprise recommendation is therefore the "House Puts The Breaks On" compilation stuck to MIXMAG (UKP 2.30) - just a weird out- there obscure retro-techno fest, plus an interesting reminder that if music publications can put a decent CD on the front without doubling their cover price, then *why can't computer mags*?... and as NTK went to press, news reached us of the UK's first monthly Tamagotchi mag (1.35UKP) , with free stickers classifying their developmental stages. Still think they should have called it "Tamagazine-otchi", though... >> COMPO << void where not prohibited by law Congratulations this week to Keith Lawler, who asks "Well, I found it. Now what do I do?". You celebrate, Mr Lawler, the imminent arrival of the almost self-defeatingly titled The Best Rock Ballads In The World Ever! (Volume 2) and the nonsensical graphic novel Tarzan vs Predator At The Earth's Core ("Guards! Seize him! SEIZE HIM!"). Almost time to wrap up the competition for this year. But you still have one more chance to write in with the now.html you have secreted as an internal security test on a Website you administer. Remember - external hacks are heavily frowned upon (though we'd probably have bent that if those guys had sent us www.yahoo.com/now.html - Fools.) Full details, as ever on http://www.ntk.net/compo/ This week's clue for an URL of the form http://www.******.***: "Spot the extra dot." >> 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 "never using My Briefcase again". 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 email@example.com with 'unsubscribe ntknow'. Subscribe? Mail firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com for commercial license details. Tips, news and gossip to firstname.lastname@example.org.