_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "Capitalism is not merely the practical, but the only
*moral* system in history."
- THE COMMITTEE FOR THE MORAL DEFENSE OF MICROSOFT,
quoting Ayn Rand, http://www.capitalism.org/microsoft
Yeah? So what's with the ".org" charity domain, ya freeloaders?
>> HARD NEWS <<
Yet another glorious week for BILL GATES. Taking a break
from the trouble in his home country, he visited the Swiss
skiing resort of DAVOS (site of the World Economic Summit,
and home of the Creator of the Daleks), where he was feted
as a leading entrepreneur. His company was voted "Most
Respected Company Operating In Europe Irrespective Of
Country Of Origin" by the FT and Price Waterhouse. His
lawyers managed to get Special Master (and Mac lover)
Lawrence Lessig thrown off the DOJ case. Rumours that
Netscape were about to bought up were rife. Internet
Explorer overtook Navigator in Japan. What, he thought, as
he strode breezily into yet another high-powered meeting
with Belgian business leaders, could possibly go wrong now?
- L'Entarteur: "If things go wrong, we eat them."
- launch of Entarta '98 : the *real* footage
- Oops, sorry. Wrong Pi Man.
Last week, the US government released a report on domain
names that indicated that the plans made by leading Net
founding fathers to move the domain name servers from
InterNIC to Switzerland might not happen. This pleased
groups who thought that these Net elders - principally the
old hands at the Internet Society - might have too much
power if they could control where the servers were put.
Meanwhile, the day before, one of said elders, Jon Postel,
went a little, er, "postal" and moved the servers anyway -
over to his home machines at the University of Southern
California. Postel said later he had wanted to see what
problems would arise from such a move, and anyway, he put
the servers straight back, so what's the problem? Ira
Magaziner, the government figure in charge of the new
proposals, was quick to forgive Postel, asking critics to
cut him "some slack". Reports that Postel had suggested
that he might "accidentally misplace" the Net next time
- Jon, put that Internet down. Jon? JON!
How much would *you* pay for one and a half million badly
HTMLed home pages? LYCOS (the George Harrison of search
engines) bought up TRIPOD (the Ringo Starr of Geocities
clones) for $58 million this week - about forty dollars for
every slacker ass the GenX community hosts. A quick search
on AltaVista reveals "58 million" to be the predicted value
of the entire Java market in 1997, the loss made by
Compuserve in the last quarter of 96, and the total number
of Americans who are now officially overweight. Do you
think this is some kind of hint?
- same search on Lycos shows.. um, a trivia page... a bakery...
damn, how do you get decent results out of this thing?
- Say! I can look up my own name in AltaV- uhh... in Lycos!
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
www.nma.co.uk enters beta-testing, 3 weeks *after* official
launch date... hard-hitting John Romero interview on MSN UK
News reveals Daikatana "launched last year", at the same
time as John "Carnack"'s Quake II... ISP churn very high,
uncovers in-depth study... gullible US TV networks buy
appalling Granada sitcom "Holding the Baby" as well as
"Faith In The Future"... THRESH thrashes www.pgl.net ...
bits of International Space Station nicked by Russian
workers - selling them for scrap... Mark Thomas bleeps 23
"fucks" from his latest show... www.whitehouse.com porn
site upsets Clinton: can't imagine Mary W is too happy
either... not all free e-mail accounts are used, Internet
World discerns... Jamiroquai describe contribution to
GODZILLA soundtrack as having "a synthesized bass line,
electronic drums, and a bit of guitar"...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
external interface adaptors
MILIA '98, the "International Content Market for
Interactive Media", starts in Cannes from Sun 08/02/98 -
11/02/98, and, for two reasons, may not be the usual lame
multimedia crowd backslapping each other over art-wank
CDROMs that then go on to sell *no copies at all*. For the
first time, they're officially recognising the games sector
(aka the multimedia that sometimes even makes money), with
noted has-beens like Sid Meier, John Romero, Richard
Garriott and (yawn) Peter Molyneux. And second, they claim
to be running a Scandinavian-style Demo Party, with cash
contests for teen-hacker teams and their "Mixed Demos"
(includes PC 4K executables), "Musical Scores", "Bitmap
Graphiques" and, er, "Navigation Interfaces". Sadly, the
compos start and end with a "cocktail party", kind of
missing the spirit of every real demo event we've been to:
turn up, code non-stop for 48 hours, fall asleep on your
http://www.milia.com - reads like a babelfish.altavista job
- "all drugs are illegal and software pirating is a crime"
The South Bank Centre has a series of speakers lined up
this month on the theme of "Miracles and Machines". Coming
up are talks by Brian Aldiss, Bruce Sterling, Melanie
"Hard, Soft and Wet" McGrath (assisted by the
preternaturally young Daniel Pemberton), and John Browning,
ex-editor of Wire-ptthhhh. Excuse me. Wired UK Maga-spptth-
*TWITCH*-hhakakakkaKAKKAKA-zine. First up, though, as
sacrificial as they come, is NTK Editor DANNY O'BRIEN,
who'll be acting out at least one half of the MIT Media Lab
motto "Demo or Die!" next Wednesday at 7.30pm. Danny
writes, exclusively for NTK: "This is a bloody nightmare. I
thought I'd have worked out something for this by now. I've
had 6 months to think about it, and now it's Friday, and
I've still got no clue. If you could ask your readers to
possibly click on the link below, they'd make me very
happy. Otherwise, it's going to be catastrophic. And I may
have to take a few others with me when I go."
- he also promises to buy you all a pint
>> TRACKING <<
catches for your batchftps
Dave "Not Winder" Winer shipped Frontier 5.0, the latest
version of his scripting language for Macs and PCs this
week. Simultaneously his Web site vanished off the Net. He
says that was due to a "storms", and a "flood in the
basement". We think it's an act of God. Winer took one of
those "organise your life" 32KB 1980s outliners and turned
it into a universal, platform-independent programming
language. That can't be right, can it?
- a language you click with a mouse to use. Not RIGHT!
Adobe Pagemill 3.0 is available for a preview playaround.
Pagemill was one of the first Web page editors, back before
everyone went back to doing it in Notepad or BBEdit. New
features include DHTML support, an "advanced search and
replace" (wooo!) and "dozens" more improvements (that'll be
bug fixes, then). Despite its origin, this preview is only
available for PCs. Nothing for those Photoshop-loving Macs.
- Et tu, Adobe?
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
TANDY closing 69 UK stores - hey, that asking for postcodes
thing must really scare the straights... Leisure Suit Larry
to host YOU DON'T KNOW DICK... www.freedomship.com... Mike
McShane, Dennis Leary and Miles off of Frasier in new PIXAR
movie... Y2K movie optioned... Resident Evil 2 tops
Japanese PSX chart; hotly tipped Gran Turismo slips to
number 3, beaten by CHOCOBO'S MYSTERIOUS DUNGEON...
www.fork.de/games/diana/play.htm ... after the Spanish Lady
Di, comes French memorial "Enfin la paix" Excel virus... US
Congressman believes Net could make women pregnant:
http://rs9.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?r105:H04FE8-30: - does
the President know? ... topical user interface widget o'
the week: http://catalog.com/hopkins/piemenus/ >> GEEK MEDIA <<
what's on the other side?
TV>> the weekend starts here, chortles ex-Tomorrow's-
Worldlie Howard Stableford in the 100-minute mathfest of
OPEN SATURDAY (9am, Sat, BBC2), with the Morlock-like
Professor Ian Stewart setting puzzles for the unwary...
cameoing Bob Monkhouse puts on a few pounds - presumably
just to keep up with the other characters - in JONATHAN
CREEK (9pm, Sat, BBC1)... classical music series YO-YO MA:
INSPIRED BY BACH (6.05pm, Sun, BBC2; also 8.05pm, Sat)
sticks the international violinist among 3D-rendered 18th
century architecture - intriguing competition for MICHAEL
BARRYMORE'S MY KIND OF MUSIC (6.30pm, Sun, ITV)... and we
still think the Sega light-gun coin-op is substantially
more fun than Spielberg's plodding JURASSIC PARK (7pm, Sun,
BBC1)... a "mirror writer" (Mon) and rocket builder (Thu)
are the non-sporting prodigies paraded as RAW TALENT
(7.55pm, Mon-Thu, C4)... it's no interviewers, no voice-
over, no kidding in the (As-Seen-On-TV-style?) accounts of
CHILDREN OF DIVORCE (9.30pm, Mon, BBC2)... Claire Grogan
spoofs Sinead O'Connor while the priests judge the "Lovely
Girls" contest in funny-as-ever repeated FATHER TED
(10.55pm, Mon, C4)... building their strength up for their
TV return next week, old pals Lee and Herring tuck into Mel
and Sue's LIGHT LUNCH (12.30pm, Tue, C4)... schoolyard
"internet problems" hit HEARTBREAK HIGH (6.15pm, Tue,
BBC2)... the 15 minutes of futuristic penal colony
performance art in EXPANDING PICTURES (11.45pm, Tue, BBC2)
sound like a very long sentence indeed... oddly, Abel
Ferrara's BODY SNATCHERS (10pm, Tue, C4) is but a pale
imitation of the '70s remake, despite Gabrielle "Press
Gang" Anwar and borrowing the squealing pig noise... for
some reason (upcoming censorship?), they're now reshowing
REBOOT (4.45pm, Thu, ITV) from the end of series 2... and
the best line in the Forrest-Gumpy Trials And Tribble-
ations timewarp episode of STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE (6pm,
Thu, BBC2) goes to Geordi LaForge: "Those are *Klingons*?"
MOVIES>> cinema's first "gay comedy" (unlike, say, The
Birdcage), IN AND OUT was last-minute postponed last week -
to avoid facing the still-massive Titanic, and not because
the idea of a gay Kevin Kline would have confused audiences
for the Sigourney Weaver/ Christina Ricci supercooled pot-
boiler THE ICE STORM (imdb: drama / marital-crisis /
dysfunction / drugs / adultery / based-on-novel / affair-
extramarital / sexuality / sexual / storm / 1970s /
waterbed / alcohol / electrocution / family / key-party)...
Disney remade The Absent Minded Professor as FLUBBER (imdb:
comedy / based-on-adaptation), yet weirdly forget to put
any decent gags in, or not to cast Robin Williams...
another laugh-a-minute Thomas Hardy adaptation in THE
WOODLANDERS (imdb: drama / based-on-novel / costume), with
Emily Woof - the pregnant girl off the cellphone ad -
tragically falling for bloke with a 1970s footballers'
perm... and a typically dark Gallic soiree in CLUBBED TO
DEATH (LOLA) (imdb: French) - Beatrice Dalle? Beatrice
*Dull*, more like...
GLOSS>> the semi-Australian "21st Century culture" mag 21C
was shaping up to be the legible Mondo 2000, but now it's
taken its emulation perhaps a step too far and ceased
publication altogether... still, arguably a better fate
than actually being taken over by RU Sirius, as seems to
have befallen music-and-fashion cyber-nonsense AXCESS...
other recent casualties include the second incarnation of
the frankly hilarious SPY, a closure ominously presaged by
regular readers' letters bemoaning their inability to
understand its urbane New York witticisms... on a more
upbeat note (just), aspiring Net journo Garret Keogh
informs us that Flamingo ("VNU's answer to Stuff magazine")
is the code name for new launch COMPUTER ACTIVE, due out
any day now and apparently helmed by Jan Howells, formerly
of Ziff-Davis's doomed Computer Life... new cover of SPIN
features South Park's Eric Cartman, Janet Jackson-style,
and hopefully gives info on the filthy animators' upcoming
feature film... back over here, .NET has caught up with
South Park (p21), but then goes and spoils it all with a
profile of its 3 top female Quake players, all from the US
(p74), and an insufficiently detailed apology about the
"barrage of offensive email" sent to subscribers of the
hacked netmag-news mailing list (p90)... and finally, RADIO
TIMES continues its very public struggle with font
substitution errors - that is, unless they *want* those
subheads printed in tightly tracked Courier (p8, p133)...
and this week runs a complaint from one of Britain's
biggest slash fans - www.hermit.org/Blakes7/ - about "plot
holes" in the recent Blake's 7 radio play (p128);
presumably not enough "Beat Up And Rape Avon" scenes for
Nicholas Saunders, the entrepreneur behind Alternative
London, numerous Neal's Yard companies (including one of
the first DTP one-stop-shops in the UK), the author of "E
for Ecstasy", "Ecstasy Reconsidered", and most recently the
man behind www.ecstasy.com, was killed in a car accident on
Tuesday. He was 60. There is a Web site for those wishing
to offer their memories of him at www.stain.org/nicholas/
The Ecstasy Website will continue: to continue Nicholas'
work, you could buy a Ecstasy testing kit, and pass your
results on to the rest of the world. Basic Ecstasy test
kits are available from the Green Party Drugs Group on 0171
>> 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 "slashdot mutual fanclub".
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
Archive - http://www.ntk.net/
Excuses - http://www.spesh.com/ntk/
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