_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
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in the push market and never will be."
- DAVE COPE, Vice Pres of MARIMBA
You got wrong number! Marimba now chinese laundry shop, OK?
>> HARD NEWS <<
COMPAQ, the company that started life in 1982 on a "House
of Pies" napkin, ate up DIGITAL "big in the seventies"
EQUIPMENT this week for a cool $9.6 billion. Compaq
promised not to spit out any of DEC's UNIX or VMS users,
but, you know, those Windows NT platters look veerry
tempting. Meanwhile, 72 year old DEC founder Ken Olsen must
be spitting chips: it was he who in 1977 said "there's no
reason why anyone would want a computer in their home".
Meanwhile, if you're wondering what this means for you, use
this simple mnemonic for the company's roadmap: Microsoft
will own the software, Intel will own the processor, Compaq
will own the hardware platform, and they will all own yo
- "people don't want computers. They want terminals"
- Altavista running on NT. Can't wait. Or rather, will.
- thank goodness those bold clone-makers saved us from this
evil monolith, hey?
Bad news for cypherpunks who thought legislation against
strong crypto had been laughed out of court. Jack Straw, it
seems, has been nobbled by the "lock up these PGP
guerrillas and throw away their keys" contingent. At a
meeting of European Justice ministers in Birmingham this
week, Jack said "we are using 19th century procedures to
pursue 21st century criminals" - the standard argument for
introducing key-grabbing policies. And despite a
conspicuous lack of evidence for these "Flash Gordons of
crime", a smokescreen that could hide the governments'
crypto U-turn is beginning to billow. In the latest edition
of COMPUTER WEEKLY, sources suggest that Downing Street
"will have no objection to potential certificate
authorities offering key recovery encryption. However, any
such services might have to provide access to law
enforcement agencies, for example in the prevention of
terrorism." So, they've played the terrorist card. Now,
it's just a matter of bringing up the evil pornographers
and drug barons...
- maybe we shouldn't have spammed William Straw's
name to USENET, then
- get 'em while they're still legal
Shy retiring billionaire Bill G. went on a publicity
offensive this week: emphasis, unfortunately for him, on
"offensive". In Silicon Valley, he tried the libertarian-
fighting-State guise, saying that it was intolerable that
third-parties were crippling his products (rather than, as
is traditional, the other way around). He also said that
Microsoft was being picked on for being too "sexy": "We
have a very sexy industry", he said, "if you worked for the
Department of Justice, which would you rather investigate -
- bread or software?". I don't know - are bakers demanding
you buy the rest of your food from them? Watch out for
repeats of his Friday ABC TV interview, in which Bill is
interrogated by the usual razor-sharp US interview
techniques ("Now Mr Gates, sir, perhaps we could move on to
your favourite colour?"). Then we'll see how far he can
take this "too sexy for your courts" meme.
- we only put this here to see if MS check their referrer logs
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
it's not just the browser that's free: Netscape sends Word
virus to all UK resellers... confused Ziff Davis editor
asks "if Apache is free, how come it needs disk space to
store it?"... "Gillian Anderson Is Queen Of The Net",
calculates ASSOCIATED PRESS after Yahoo trawl...NATHAN
MYHRVOLD building a working Difference Engine "for his
home" - what, Windows not fast enough or something?...
EXCITE reports loss of nearly $8m - "less than expected"
... unable to quit while ahead, slashdot.org now demands
RealAudio, Motif give source away... "Apple Needs New
Customers, New Products for Comeback" uncovers New York
Times... "British Watchdog Warns Against Internet Sperm",
cautions REUTERS... Ministry of Sound doing "sitcom"; says
it is "interactive"... Aladdin goes belly-up... Ch4 has
rights to South Park, "no plans as yet to show it"... WIRED
cancels its fiction book series CORETEXT : some sort of
cash-for-pages scandal brewing over this month's lamer Wit
Investment article... Queen Mother "may already be dead"...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
reasons to wear clothes
He's gone legit, but he just won't quit! PETER SOMMER (aka
Hugo Cornwall, author of the "Hacker's Handbook") is
hosting a series of Security Colloquia at the LSE again
this term, and, in a shameless breach of security, they're
open to the public. This week's (1800GMT, Thurs 5/2/98) is
on Controlling and Censoring the Net, from a kinda ISP
point-o'-view, and there's one on the 19th about the
Datastream/Kuji hack case (with special guest stars!).
Entrance is free, but mail P.M.Sommer@lse.ac.uk for
- No details on the official Web site...
http://www.ntk.net/lse/ but obscurity's no security
You may know him as the bloke off the Phineas Fogg tortilla
chip adverts, or the fighting telegram from Men Behaving
Badly, or a thousand minutely observed roles in those
interminable Armando Ianucci BBC2 shows. But to us, he
continues to be just BEN MOOR, the guy that we hang out
with to make *us* seem less geeky. His new one-man live
comedy show, A SUPERCOLLIDER FOR THE FAMILY, blends high-
energy physics, kitchen-sink drama, the sinister
machinations of "the military/ industrial/ entertainment
complex" - and a super bit of string. The Times said: "The
jokes are... so beautifully constructed that the audience
is unable to laugh for fear they may not hear the next
one." That tautly pleasurable silence will descend every
Mon from 09/02/98 to 23/02/98 (inclusive) at the Old Red
Lion pub, 418 St John St, London EC1 (nearest tube: Angel),
box office: 0171 837 7816. (Well, it's in a room above the
pub, probably. He's weird - but not *that* weird...)
http://www.spesh.com/pix/us.gif (artist's impression)
>> TRACKING <<
putting the "rad" back into "radar"
We've been taken down the garden path by funky idea
organisers as often as you have, and still we like
Natrificial's THE BRAIN. Certainly, it's showing all the
danger signs of a doomed tech - small company, proprietary
data format, use of "mind maps", cutesy terminology, 30 day
free trial. But the interface is sparky, and it will, at
least, impress your workmates. Come on, spend another week
re-entering your entire life into your PC for no clear
reason. Go awwwn.
- "You must register and pay for The Brain within that period,
or you will lose your ability to add any new thoughts"
Having received our free e-mailed transcription from
SpeechMachines ("record dictations anytime, anywhere"), we
are now convinced that either a) they have some *very* good
computerised speech recognition tech behind them or b)
they're cheating, and getting 3rd-world sweat labour to
type it all in. Evidence for a) is that it's all ex-
ministry of defence tech. Evidence for b) is that it's
based in the UK.
- try reading out C code, and see if they indent it properly
Killer Namco coin-op TIME CRISIS 2 packed the serious heat
at this week's Amusement Trade Exhibition International
(see NTK 23/01/98), and now comes with: Simultaneous two-
player link-ups (from different perspectives - though no
deathmatch mode)! Same recoiling guns, new System 23
graphics (whatever that means)! And, sadly, enemies wearing
body armour! According to the brochure, "players also
benefit from perceived added value - when their time runs
out a life is lost and play continues". Also new at the
ATEI, the usual mix of Sega Rally 2, novelty photo booths,
and mad Japanese fishing sims - but no sign of genuine
terror-engines like TOP ELIMINATOR (from Canada's
ThrillTime Entertainment), a "genuine" 0-75mph dragster
ride that sets new records for ratio of attraction
- "Give a man a gun, and he's superman. Give him two and he's
- $15 for a 8-second ride = $112.50/minute
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
Cameron said it'd have been cheaper to *build* the Titanic
in a Gdansk shipyard: so let's do it!
www.powerup.com.au/~nicw/gigantic/gigantic.htm ... scouse
losers THE FARM injunct LA MACARENA - but why did they let
the world suffer so long?... Altoids as blowjob aid...
Phrack 52 out... for your gullible Edge-reading friends:
www.telepolis.de/ix/artikel/E/1997/04/036/ ... why your
GIFs look shit in Netscape 4: www.artware.de/nc4petition/
... PERSIAN KITTY goes to print... mail your INTERACTIVE
BAFTA nominations (cough, cough) to email@example.com...
mail your "EFF Pioneer" award nominations to
firstname.lastname@example.org (cough cough)... Babelfish the new Roland:
http://users.skynet.be/xpinchar/mc505.html ... Bored of
Rocky Horror? Apply the same audience participation spirit
to showings of Apocalypse Now!... think you're an old
hand? www.clark.net/pub/kfl/history.net ...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
consume more media than you produce
TV>> given the current "reality TV" craze, you'd be
forgiven for assuming that THE GRAND (9pm, Fri, ITV) is
actually a fly-on-the-wall docu about the staff of a hotel
who like dressing up in period costumes... E Nesbit,
Tolkien, Dr Seuss - some promising choices for the classic
kids' authors profiled in AN AWFULLY BIG ADVENTURE (6pm,
Sat, BBC2) - but where's cutaway king Richard Scarry?...
Saturday night: kill yourself - it's an Ecstacy
criminalisation debate on C4, or (god, no) another lame Wil
"Wesley Crusher" Wheaton movie on ITV... plus, over on
satellite, woeful wannabe waste-of-disk-space HACKERS
(10pm, Sat, Sky Movies 2) - notwithstanding its freeze-
frame and RISC/ "PCI bus" chat-up lines... FITZ (10pm, Sun,
ITV) is the oddly pointless US remake of Cracker... Data
gets emotions in Kirk/ Picard romp STAR TREK: GENERATIONS
(7.10pm, Sun, BBC1) - though, notably, not including
disgust at his dreadful make-up... WATCHDOG HEALTHCHECK
(7.30pm, Mon, BBC1) takes an obsessively detailed look at
high-functioning autistic disorder Asperger's Syndrome...
politico-prankster Mark Thomas bangs on about tax exempt
properties in LIE OF THE LAND (7.50pm, Mon-Thu, C4)... and
not too many rollercoaster disasters in the behind-the-
scenes look at Blackpool PLEASURE BEACH (9.30pm, Mon, BBC1)
- just another attempt to make a drama out of a
workplace... the Watch The Skies season audibly scrapes the
barrel with BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES (10pm, Tue, C4)
and David Bowie yawn-fest THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH
(11.45pm, Tue, C4)... babies with tails! - it's a long-
overdue "funny" episode of THE X FILES (10pm, Wed, BBC1),
with Darin "brother of Glen" Morgan now writing better
roles for himself than his debut as "Flukeman"... and LOUIS
THEROUX'S WEIRD WEEKENDS (9.30pm, Thu, BBC2) conclude - not
literally, one hopes - with trips to a militia hideout and
a survivalist superstore...
FILM>> possibly the worst date movie of all time, yet the
vicious suits in IN THE COMPANY OF MEN (MPAA rated: R - for
"language and emotional abuse") remain, American Psycho-
style, enthrallingly appalling... seems not even Total Film
could contrive a ridiculously enthusiatic quote about the
ultraviolent troubles-drama RESURRECTION MAN (imdb: not
listed!)... more gritty Britty life-on-the-street frolics
in STELLA DOES TRICKS (imdb: drama) - clue: it's not about
a magic act, though cheery sitcom bloke James Bolam does
get turned into an evil pimp... and finally, it's got Bill
"Twister" Paxton, Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg, and Julianna
"ER" Margulies, but TRAVELLER (imdb: con-artists / drama)
is actually about a pair of nomadic semi-Irish swindlers,
rather than the popular sci-fi role-playing game
SKIENCE>> Great insights of our time department: "living
birds are nothing less than small, feathered, short-tailed
therapod dinosaurs."... Ancient astronauts myths are true:
78 year-old Right-Stuffer John Glenn will fly again on the
Space Shuttle, which has NOTHING TO DO with who sits on the
committee which approves NASA's budgets... The Universe
_will_ go on expanding forever after all, according to new
measurements of supernova red shifts _ you can stop holding
your breath now... Lego launches "intelligent bricks"
expect the NTK "build an (oversized) nanotechnology
assembler out of Lego Technic" competition to be revived
any time now... Forget batteries, and recharge your cell-
phone with a large jigger of 120-proof, using a miniature
methanol-powered fuel cell 50 times more powerful than Ni-
Cds developed by Los Alamos nuke-meister Bob Hockaday in
his basement workshop... worried about sweaty palms on that
all-important first date? Jeff Schweitzer MD can cure you
with a few deft strokes of the scalpel, severing the nerves
that control the sweat glands... Top new science paper
title at the xxx: e-print archive: "Spacetime foam as a
quantum thermal bath"...
- email@example.com >> 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 "bigger than the average US ISP".
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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