_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "Microsoft doesn't have a drunken captain who ruined the
environment. Microsoft doesn't kill people..."
- Pam Edstrom, Vice President of Microsoft's PR company
what's known as "positive spin"
>> HARD NEWS <<
Murdoch and BT's British Interactive Broadcasting announced
that their set-top boxes are going to be Internet
compatible, after all. Well, *that* should be easy to set
up in the short months before BIB's premiere. Especially
since BIB's boss said at the outset that legally, they
couldn't provide Internet access (contravened ITC
regulations, he said), and that BIB would actually compete
with the Net (numbers would "overtake the Internet" by this
time next year, he said). The decision to switch to an IP-
friendly format for the joint venture was, no doubt, made
easier by a) the threats of legal action from competitors
BDB if BIB *did* try and use their proprietary standard, b)
the rumoured paucity of content using that format, and c)
the increasing fragility of partner BT's interest in their
other co-venture, LINEONE.NET. Perhaps Murdoch can pursuade
BT to stay a bit longer in that deal if he ports the whole
of LineOne across to the set-top boxes?
- oh, yeah. This should work, no worries mate. Sweet as a nut.
- Guys? Think you missed something.
Evil hackers broke into the offices of the DAILY MAIL on
Wednesday night, and replaced their science correspondent
with a babbling idiot. That's the explanation, claimed
self-appointed experts, for that paper's "Anarchist Code
Cracker Britons Hack Into Pentagon" front page story on
Thursday. The Mail reported a Pentagon source as saying the
attack was launched from a "secret convention of computer
hackers, probably in New York", in which "there was a
contingent from Britain". So secret that no-one in the
computer underground knew a thing about it (must have been
for the real elite). It's also an odd thing for the
Pentagon to be saying, when earlier military reports (like,
over two weeks ago) suggested that the hackers were
American and Dutch. One thing is for sure - these
statements by the Pentagon have nothing to do with its
current attempts to secure extra funding for an expanded
info-warfare division. Oh no.
- maybe it was all those people trying to e-mail back to
firstname.lastname@example.org When the Trading Standards Officers raided online shop, The
Oasis Superstore, on the suspicion that it sold bootleg
Gallagher merchandise, someone must have pointed out the
disclaimer. "Although ALL staff at THE-OASIS-SUPERSTORE are
permanently 'MAD-FOR-IT'," it admits, "the 'oasis-
superstore' is not connected in any capacity to Oasis."
Unfortunately for them, they *are* connected with Derek
Gorman, Oasisnews.com webmaster and scourge of Creation
Records' legal department. Young Derek escaped prosecution
last August by pointing out that his "pirated" sound
samples were freely available on Sony Music Brazil's site.
Now, it would be sniffy to suggest that Sony and Creation
went for the Superstore after it cheekily sponsored Derek's
site. And it would be equally ill-mannered to draw
comparisons when the Trading Standards boys had to give
back all the seized merchandise, and Sony was forced to
back down again. Well, someone's clearly mad about
- the official site's cheerful breaking of the bust news
- ...though strangely lacking the end of the story
- all my products right here, right now
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
NETNAMES sells >1,000 lame .tm domains in first week -
sign-ups include Esso, BT - and BP... BT launch "Mill-e-
mail" - free e-mail account to everyone in Britain. So how
many of these do we *need*?... "Many Could Bank Online, But
Don't" uncovers C|NET... GUARDIAN ONLINE plugs Kuji's new
security consultancy; claims he owned "a Commodore Omega
500"... failed "WAR MACHINES" cyber-helmet used Windows
3.1... LEMMINGS *don't* hurl themselves off cliffs, British
naturalists said Tuesday... WWW.GREENWICH2000.CO.UK uses
client-side clocks... CHEMICAL BROTHERS get Grammy
nomination for "Best Rock Instrumental"... JAVA NAVIGATOR
"on hold"... Net hackers cost UK businesses over one
billion pounds in 1997 alone, says KEVIN BLACK - manager of
"Internet Security Systems"... HATE Comic collaborates with
Alan Moore: goes on "permanent hiatus"... NETLY NEWS
collaborates with NTK; Netly News rumoured to close...
COMPUTER ACTIVE may be "worst magazine ever", contains
headline "Science Fiction Becomes Fact"...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
This one's a bit spurious, but there ain't nothing out
there but Titanic right now. Monday 2/3/98 is your last
chance to pre-book for UKCAC, the UK comic art convention.
This year, it's in Manchester (21/3/98 - 22/3/98), which
means that we may still be able to talk our geekier pals
out of going. A shame for them, because they'll be missing
visits from Alex "Marvels" Ross, Eddie "Bacchus" Campbell,
Alan Grant (promoting his new title "Shit The Dog"), Dave
Taylor etc. etc. Great for us, because we'll be able to
avoid the insanity that is the UKCAC Fancy Dress contest.
Original artwork for sale, a chance to purchase rare and
valuable comics, and a must for field anthropologists
looking for a project.
- so suddenly we're anti-geek
>> TRACKING <<
grep goodies ftp://* Fortify, the patch that provides UK users of Netscape 4.04
with full-blown security (rather than the crippled, 40-bit
security that the American government forces on foreign
browser users), has been upgraded. You now get strong
S/MIME email encryption, and 1024 RSA keys. It's all
freeware, and the patch is only 350KB for the Windows
download. Not quite as short, mind, as this:
s/(KEY-BITS:.*?\0)/($_=$1)=~s,[a-z], ,g;s, $,true,gm;s,
which we're told, hacks the Unix 4.04 executable.
- play safe now
Quake II's "point release" is out. Somebody'll write in and
tell us point release means when you pressed the CDs for
the commercial version months ago, and you carry on sending
out patches hours after the point release went out. In the
meantime, though, we'll sit back and enjoy the bugfixes,
co-operative play for four players, and extra deathplay
maps. And, yes, we know you already found this out off
bluesnews, slashdot, news.com, and your nan. But think of
the poor lost ones, reader. The poor lost ones.
- and capture the flag for Quake II. Too.
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
bad Mickey! - www.negia.net/~issachar/secret/mickey.html
... DESIGNERS REPUBLIC sent a bomb... www.sex-on-a-
stick.com/ ... "Po stared at the long, thick, hard, green
furry rod that had emerged" - TELETUBBIES slash... he's
baaack: www.mediabiz.co.uk/team/people/nickr.html ...
looking for PURPLE 3s... www.webleyweb.com/tle/index.html
... "The Collected .plans Of J Carmack" ... Millennium Dome
- designed by CHRIS MORRIS?... 220.127.116.11:27912 for
"Team iD" ... www.bushido-dojo.com/vdx/ ... Film Threat's
review of TITANIC? "Star Wars for chicks"... spammers with
weapons of mass destruction: http://www.strathuranium.com/
... following last week's superhero outing, STAR FLEET
ACADEMY #17 introduces the homosexual side of Decker's pal
Yoshi... AUCKLAND shut down by power-cut: who will be next?
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
all screens are constantly refreshing
TV>> animated white trash-com KING OF THE HILL (10.30pm,
Fri, C4) is back, and so is Have I Got News For You, albeit
disguised as yet another interminably smug panel game
called IF I RULED THE WORLD (10pm, Fri, BBC2). But will
they have just a captain and guest per team, like Have I
Got, or try the 3-1-3 line-up of NEVER MIND THE BUZZCOCKS
(9.30pm, Fri, BBC2) etc - and so end up with 7 celebs who
can't get a word in edgeways?... POWER RANGERS CLASSICS
(8.25am, Sat, ITV) is an hour of "selected episodes from
the first series", in case you were wondering... did Tony
Hart deliberately borrow the theme from THE DEER HUNTER
(10pm, Sun, C4) to highlight the Russian Roulette-like
gamble of entering his Take Hart Gallery, with its sinister
disclaimer: "We cannot return your pictures - but there is
a prize for *all the ones we show*"?... Monday is wild
boffin night again, with a new run for cycling invention
historian Adam Hart-Davis in LOCAL HEROES (8pm, Mon,
BBC2)... plus the new, "funny" series of previously arty/
worthy tech show THE NET (11.15pm, Mon, BBC2) - in which
NTK staff advocate Betamax as "the new DVD"... annoyingly,
they then *didn't* ask us onto FOR THE LOVE OF (12mid, Mon,
C4) to discuss Diana Conspiracy Theories... Jodie Foster
isn't so multi-talented that she actually plays the child-
prodigy of the title in cool geek fable LITTLE MAN TATE
(10pm, Tue, C4)... but the heavy-handed presidential satire
of Tim Robbins - aka BOB ROBERTS (12.25am, Tue, C4) - is
way too smart for his own good. Or indeed anyone else's...
"Wellington invents a machine for catching ghosts" in new
adventures of THE WOMBLES (4.05pm, ITV, Wed) - oh, and
Alderney *isn't* a new Womble, as anyone who's read the
books would know... plus: Alien corpse found! It's all a
hoax! Mulder dead?! It's (yawn) another cliffhanger climax
to probably the penultimate season of THE X FILES (10pm,
FILM>> another special double-bill week, first for fans of
Anthony Hopkins, as he grizzles through a script by David
"House Of Games" Mamet - with Alec Baldwin and Elle
Macpherson - in survivalist romp THE EDGE (imdb: thriller /
survival / wilderness / bear)... or as a courtroom battler
vs the historical inaccuracy and liberal self-flagellation
of Spielberg's free-the-slaves drama AMISTAD (MPAA: rated R
for "some scenes of strong brutal violence and some related
nudity")... the title doesn't seem to refer to the casting
of Michael Keaton and Andy Garcia (almost an honorary
Baldwin brother himself), but DESPERATE MEASURES (MPAA:
rated R for "violence and language") has an OK twist to its
Silence Of The Die Hards manhunt, and also references both
Star Trek: TNG and The Wrath Of Khan... which gives it a
small edge over this week's other terrifying glimpse
"inside the mind of a murderer", stylised New Zealand low-
budgeter THE UGLY (imdb: horror)
SKIENCE>> top title from this week's NATURE magazine:"A time-
resolved glimpse of the terahertz glory"... first they found
out how to make you laugh with an electrode in the brain - now
there's a test to measure your sense of humour: not "Do you
find Have I Got News for You funny?" but a 19-point
questionnaire assessing your "NEED FOR LEVITY" - considerable,
after filling it in, we should think... Skience Antinews:
"Multiple Factors Contribute To Death In Men And Women Over Age
65" reveals the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION...
if NURBS and b-splines mean anything to you, visit
although, of course, subdivision surfaces are where it's really
at... a watched ELECTRON never interferes, as old uncle Erwin
used to say, and there's finally experimental proof; expect
quantum cryptography any day now... you knew there was a reason
for supercomputers, and "simulating the evolution of a large
fraction of the whole observable Universe" was probably it,
right? Top news is that it looks like the patterns on the
bottom of a sunlit swimming pool. So now you know...
email@example.com >> CORRIGENDA <<
hubris, man, hubris
We rejigged the mailserver last week. Turned a four hour
wait into three-minutes turbonutter majordomo nukefest.
Along the way, we somehow lost about n^2 NTKs, so that's
why you didn't get it. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> with a blank
message to get your replacement copy, with our most abject,
pitiful apologies. Also, the URL should have been
http://american-computer.com/Transcap.htm , and Carl
Steadman's www.dianabear.com is down, and, yes, StrongARM
*is* going to be saved by Intel, so we got that wrong too.
We're sorry, we've learnt our lesson, and we're never going
to be horrible to anyone ever again. Promise.
>> 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 "read between the lines".
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
Archive - http://www.ntk.net/
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