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- Cable TV President LEO HINDERY, demoing the JENNICAM to fifty
hey, Cardinal Pironio missed it! Reload!
>> HARD NEWS <<
paying your dues
Free the JAVA ONE! Sun's shin-dig for the Java faithful
kicked off on Tuesday with a ritualistic humiliation of a
Bill Gates lookey-likey, and the handing out of peer-
bonding JavaRings for everyone to wield, Green Lantern-
like, at him. Just "One", though, seems to be a
conservative figure when you consider of the multiplicity
of Javae around. As Microsoft rolled out its own 100%
Sullied Java (shorn by court injunction of its snazzy
Java(TM) logo), Hewlett-Packard announced that it, too, was
working on a non-Sun Java Virtual Machine. HP said Sun's
license was "too expensive". Sun countered by saying they'd
offered to give HP the code for nothing. HP failed to
deliver the obvious punchline by time of going to press.
Continuing the ingenious backwards-spin-doctoring at One,
Scott McNealy promised delegates that Sun will "continue to
spend like crazy on Java". Remember when they thought they
were going to *make* money with it?
- man dressed to look like silly geek (here with Bill Gates)
- and there's Kaffe, and Japhar and ...
- always worth repeating
When humourless games glossy EDGE dissed NTK's fave
computer cartoonist, CHARLIE BROOKER, did they really know
what they were letting themselves in for? "Breathtaking
hypocrisy" is how one Edge reader describes it on their
current letters page (p6), pointing out that they
criticised Brooker's "Cruelty Zoo" spoof in the same issue
that featured a semi-naked mutilated girl on the front.
Edge of course comes from Future Publishing, who continue
their mission to present games as a serious artform in this
month's Playstation Power, which contains the phrase
"Sony'll have our bollocks for this" (p5), a contest to
"get ripped-to-the-tits on booze"(p48), and the remarkable
newsagent-reassuring coverline: "Resident Evil 2: You'll
Shat The Bed!"
- "Not suitable for minors. Or cunts."
So, whose side were you on in the Domain Name Wars? The
time for comments on the US Government proposals, which
attempt to foster a compromise between those battling for
control of the top level domains, ended Tuesday. Time for
the real punch-ups to begin. Latest casualties: the
ELECTRONIC FREEDOM FRONTIER, who this week came down firmly
on the side of CORE (that's the Old Guys Who Created The
Net, Who Plan To Hand All That .Net .Com Nonsense To The A
Neutral Swiss Body). Unremarkable, since EFF co-founder
John Gilmore is an Honorary Old Guy and CORE buddy - but
still an excuse for outrage from Gordon Cook, author of the
Cook Report (not *that* Cook Report), and champion of the
"Senile Old Men Who've Lost Touch With Reality, Who Plot to
Give Away America's Internet To Foreign Powers" hypothesis
[see NTK 10/10/97]. Cook described the EFF position as
"outrageous puerile RANT", which, judging by the level of
debate so far, should be seen as a compliment. Our
position? If these guys want Net names to stay American,
why don't they all push off back to the .us domain where
they belong, and leave .com to us "international" folk?
- "For the ... benefit of the public, the Internet users, and
the entire human race" (delete where not applicable)
- "a single fallable individual" Sounds like a threat, Jon
- NSI presents *World*nic? uh-oh...
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
JAVA LOBBY compares fight with Microsoft to war with
Germany, quotes Churchill... parents of ANDREW GOLDEN,
Arkansas shootist, were postmasters, says NYT (retribution
for all those bounced mail messages?)... EU project to
provide individual Net dial-ups spends 2 billion pounds,
charges more than ISPs ... PERSONAL COMPUTER WORLD CD
offers "preview screens of forthcoming Quake II"... editor,
chief writer of COMPUTERACTIVE resign - get your Falco
nominations in now... "Children put on weight according to
how much television they watch," new research reveals...
KNESSET Website hacked... percentage of Americans who
believe their moral standards are higher than BILL CLINTON?
A telling 69% ... WARGAMES game and site rubbish... MUTE's
www.metamute.com site still reads "opening 6pm 12 March
1998" ... US astronaut takes PALMPILOT to Mir - forgets
sync cable... Creepy NICK ROSEN, weeks into his new job,
starts circulating CV: says he's "unhappy"...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
How do you persuade Cable and Wireless, a multinational
with a 7UKP billion turnover, and 1.5UKP billion profit, to
dump local call charges for the benefit of a few thousand
Net users? How about sitting outside their HQ, blowing
whistles and sitting in baths of custard? Don't knock it:
it toppled the Apartheid state in South Africa. Kind of.
Anyway, that's what the CAMPAIGN FOR UNMETERED
TELECOMMUNICATIONS are planning (custard, not majority
rule) this Tuesday 31/3/98, 1100GMT to 1400GMT at Red Lion
Square, London WC1. There's an open meeting to discuss
tactics this Sunday, if you feel in the mood to fight for
your right to parity. Armchair activists that we are, we're
especially intrigued by the protestors' adoption of C&W's
corporate yellow colour scheme, planned spirited sing-a-
longs of its advertising soundtrack, and at the height of
the protest, a demo (in its proper sense) of the C&W set-
top box. Let's hope bystanders won't mistake it all for
impromptu show of employee loyalty.
- "bedraggled pantomime horses"
- particularly slow site: call-charge conspiracy
Theatre. Think of it as a medieval version of going to the
cinema, and you'll be fine. Well, actually, with this crowd -
maybe not. You guessed right about Patrick Marber's "net play",
CLOSER (Lyric Theatre, London) - there's just one (1) "online
chat", and it's as appallingly unconvincing as the rest of it.
The lead in glam-rock Spocky Horror SAUCY JACK AND THE SPACE
VIXENS (Queen's Theatre, London) *is* named after Spinal Tap's
notional "Jack The Ripper" musical, but - brimming with dumb-
ass double-entendres from a largely s/f-ignorant writer - that
could be the funniest thing about it. So, with heavy heart, we
must grudgingly recommend the live touring version of Terry
Pratchett's GUARDS! GUARDS! (various, see URL), if only because
- in a canny chunk of cross-marketing casting - it stars Paul
"Avon" Darrow from off of Blake's 7.
- No Website, Pat? Perhaps you're not so clever after all...
- taking Spinal Tap's name in vain
- NTK Pratchett quota: one (1) mention per year
>> TRACKING <<
Want to DJ, but don't have a pony tail, SL1200 decks, or
*any records*? Fortunately, VTT VIRTUAL TURNTABLES is a
real-time Windows MP3 mixing studio, which can cue, mix and
play two MP3 compressed songs simultaneously, pitch shift
them while they're playing (though unfortunately only by
+/- 15%), and of course crash every five minutes like all
good shareware. A great addition to everyone's favourite
copyright-violating hobby, though, as yet, there's no
automatic bpm calculator (like it's hard to spot kick drums
nowadays) or realtime scratching. Still, the processing
artefacts on the "Back spin" effect alone qualify it as the
ultimate shutdown sound for the next millennium.
- anyone doing this for karaoke MIDIs?
The Spring user-interface designs are in, and word from the
boutiques is that 80x24 text-only mode is back with a
*vengeance! Vi editor clone VIM burst onto March desktops
with a dazzling show of pastel syntax highlights for its
5.0 look. Strident and customisable, Vim raises eyebrows
with its interpretation of the classic Vi single-key macro
collection. Echoing the themes of no mice and tiny windows,
conservative lines and little ornament, the LYNX text-only
browser celebrates its 2.8th this season with a unique re-
interpretation of console couture. A gentler, more
understanding HTML parser sets the tone, as does a playful
port to Windows. Retro all the way, with Vim -- and Lynx!
- [INLINE] [INLINE] [INLINE] [INLINE]
- actually, we'll stick with Vi^]Bx:w^[Add:q!:bye!^C BLEEEP
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
Big of them: www.microsoft.com/education/curric/macwin/ ...
0345 880088 for details of "the world's first legal tender
STAR TREK coin"... 3D GUI for NT? ... "irreverent UK
opinion" at www.wot.co.uk/public/ezines/wotndx.html ...
Friel cam! FRIEL CAM! www.netshopuk.co.uk/annafriel/ ...
webserver.luna ... burning a hole in your pocket:
www.libretto.crop.com.hk/150mhz-11.html ... bye-bye, DOS
... www.leisuretown.com ... www.fuck.co.uk/fuckmail.html
versus www.fucker.com/super/secret/url/ ... www.haktek.com
... SAINSBURY'S Pre-Peeled Oranges... IRIDIUM gets its own
country code (+8816) ... pgl of ein.cz writes that
http://dk/ is the shortest URL, and - "because I can" -
This correspondence is now closed. We hope...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
electronic fun transfer
TV >> symbolically crawling out of the dregs of Water Week,
EVOLUTION WEEKEND (from 8pm Fri, all weekend, BBC2) seems
unlikely to emphasise the fact that many accepted their
primate ancestry well *before* Darwin's Origin Of
Species... as if the previous version wasn't offensive
enough, THE NATIONAL LOTTERY BIG TICKET has Gladiator-style
games, Anthea Turner and Last Chance Lottery's Patrick
Kielty (who, presumably, won't be singing his swinging
cover of Radiohead's "Creep")... ITV counters, tellingly,
with slapstick Carrey-fest DUMB AND DUMBER (6pm, ITV,
Sat)... and, for once, it looks like they managed to keep
Robin Williams away from the L-DOPA in cute Oliver Sacks
neurology fable AWAKENINGS (9pm, Sat, C4)... cult cardboard
cartoon SOUTH PARK (10pm, Sat, Sky1) lands over here with
the tone-setting episode Cartman Gets An Anal Probe... and,
also on satellite, we believe that Das Bus is the Homer-as-
ISP/ anti-Bill-Gates episode of THE SIMPSONS (6.30pm, Sun,
Sky1)... fluorescent nutcase Adam Hart-Davis constructs a
voice synthesiser from "an air pump and some ribbons" in a
unique tribute to his LOCAL HEROES (8pm, Mon, BBC2)...
WITNESS (9pm, Mon, BC4) surely won't live up to its bizarre
premise of getting a top diplomat to mediate between
warring street gangs... ditto the promisingly titled 5-
minute MAFIA COOKBOOK (7.55pm, Mon-Thu, C4)... find out why
YURI GAGARIN (9pm, Tue, BBC2), the first man in space,
probably wishes he'd stayed there... and expect the same
compulsive self-loathing during the MODERN TIMES (9pm, Wed,
BBC2) version of "Friends" that you'd normally feel
watching the real (sitcom) thing... could even a daily
early-evening half-hour of Mel and Sue's LATE LUNCH (6pm,
Tue-Thu; repeated 1pm next day) compensate for the series
end of both SEINFELD and THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW (from
11.15pm, Tue, BBC2)?... and is Jean Claude Van Damme
*obsessed* with playing two characters in his films, eg the
moderately uninspired TIMECOP (10pm, Wed, BBC1)?... still,
slightly more plausible than the casting of Stephen
"Ballykissangel" Tomkinson as a (surprisingly science-
aware) all-action English teacher in daft three-part
bioweapon romp OKTOBER (9pm, Thu, ITV)... plus, if even we
can't understand these new episodes of REBOOT (4.45pm, Thu,
ITV), we want to know: *who the hell can?*
FILM >> the rehabilitation of Bob Hoskins is promised in
limited-release Brit black-and-white "let's give the kids
some self respect by teaching them to fight!" tear-jerker
TWENTYFOURSEVEN (imdb: drama / comedy / boxing). But where
we come from, 24-7 really means "24 productive minutes per
hour, for up to 7 hours a day (not weekends)"... some
surprising similarities between SPHERE (imdb: adventure /
sci-fi / based-on-novel / ocean / space / time-travel /
ufo) and Barry Levinson's other recent movie, Wag The Dog:
Dustin Hoffman, musicians in cameo roles (here, Queen
Latifah and Huey Lewis), and a strong concept ruined by
aimless blundering. Fortunately, Wag The Dog was not -
spoiler warning - largely based on Tarkovsky's Solaris...
all our teenage girl readers are sure to love ANASTASIA
(imdb: animation / musical / anastasia / based-on-play), a
Disney-bashing revisionist retell of the post-revolution
Russian royal family. We still reckon they should have used
Boney M's "Ra Ra Rasputin" as a theme song, though...
"REAL" REAL AUDIO >> the rap track that samples the Knight
Rider theme is the new BUSTA RHYMES single, TURN IT UP
[06/04/98] - no "woo-woo" scanning or real Kitt voices, and
thus a better idea than an actual record, but isn't that so
often the way?... similar warning sentiments apply to the
new LIONROCK album, CITY DELIRIOUS [out now] - like,
where's the acid techno singles (like Tripwire?) Still,
some nostalgically familiar rapping from MC Buzz B for
anyone who recalls his version of Bruce Hornsby's The Way
It Is (anyone? anyone?)... intriguingly, the VITRO
longplayer, DISTORT [out now], is a much better record than
idea, given that the idea seems to be pseudo-industrial
covers of old Beloved songs (*and* they don't even have the
Enviromental Sciences remix of Set It Down, which is the
best one)... after intriguing revelations that one lyric on
the new MADONNA album, RAY OF LIGHT [out now], is
"borrowed" from an old US Gap ad, comes news that her track
Candy Perfume Girl uses exactly 196 of the 200 words in the
popular fridge puzzle Magnetic Poetry... but what's really
spooling 150Kb/s of red book audio off NTK's drives this
week is VALENTINA [27/04/98], KOMPUTER's retro-electro
tribute to - you've guessed it - Ms V Tereshkova, the first
female cosmonaut. You might think they stuck the "K" on the
front of "Komputer" in order to sound more like
"Kraftwerk", then you hear the track and realise they sound
far more like Kraftwerk than (now) even Kraftwerk do...
>> 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 "written over gin and tonics".
( http://www.msnbc.com/news/151800.asp )
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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