_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "NT 5.0 will build on a proven system architecture and
incorporate tens of thousands of bug fixes from 4.0"
- MICROSOFT on the not-quite-imminent new NT
while NT 6.0 will have *hundreds* of thousands of bug fixes!
>> HARD NEWS <<
You're smart people: you can probably make more of this
than we can. Here are the clues. Murdoch's coalition for
the repeatedly delayed digital TV, BIB, announces they're
to be "Internet compatible". Groups working on BIB content
are told to forget about all about the proprietary systems
in BIB's proposed set-top box (the one they've already
ordered a million of from Pace, Amstrad and others). Stick
to HTML, BIB say - even though HTML on that set-top boxes'
OpenTV system is a dog. Meanwhile, Microsoft's WebTV wing
suddenly loses interest in talking to any of BIB's
competitors. Then, we get dozens of tips that say little
else than "*cough* Microsoft *cough* NewsCorp". What can it
- apart from another tough week for our solicitors
- this is getting silly now, guys. Guys?
It couldn't happen here (because it already happened last
week). As if to prove that whatever Europe does, the US can
do better, AT&T's entire frame relay network went up in a
"cloud" of smoke (clever comms joke, I know - cheers) this
Monday. That neatly excised much of Canada of the Internet
(see last week's "did anyone notice?" comment), and
destroyed every Americans' God-given right to bargain-hunt
for Easter eggs on their credit cards. The mess took the
long weekend to fix, and as of yet, AT&T aren't sure what
the problem was. They're currently blaming two Cisco
boxes - which, oddly, is exactly what our network people
say when *they* don't know what the hell is going on.
- love the way the operator calls the AT&T CEO "sir"
- "I lost 4 million!" "I couldn't buy coffee!"
Not a good Easter for the Intel bunnies, either. Profits
were announced down 27% to a measly $1.3billion, requiring
a ritual slaughter of 3,000 jobs. Their bargain basement
Pentium, Celeron, whose name unfortunately reminds many
less of "celerity", and more of "celery", was viewed as too
bland and weak even for poor people, and few PC makers will
use it. As part of their lawsuit with Intergraph (who have
been trying to put Intel Inside for allegedly forcing them
to hand over patent rights), a US district judge declared
Intel CPUs as "an essential facility" - like water, or air
- so Intel might have to give away the details of how to
make them. And, potentially most worrying of all, SGI have
entered into a "strategic parnership" with the chip
manufacturer. Hope whatever SGI has got isn't contagious...
- smells like another open source story to us
- behb by friend! Blease don't bun away!
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
INTERFACE's "Dr Keyboard" advises readers to use PGP, but
warns that public key should be kept secret, and Fedexed
to the recipient, or maybe transmitted via a "secure ftp
site"... Thursday, AM: RICHARD "TREK WAR" BARRY "on
holiday" from Guardian Online... EMAP pull out of selling
banner advertising: Real Media take their place... Tower
Records place MUTE next to BBC LEARNING IS FUN and
2000AD... Steve Jobs said to measure stupidity in
"Gils"... FAST "pleasantly surprised" that 58% of 8 to 16
year olds claim they're not using illegal software: "They
weren't under any duress, so they probably were being
honest," says chief exec GEOFF WEBSTER... Thursday, PM:
RICHARD BARRY reappears at ZDNet UK, files a single two-
line story in which he manages to misspell the word
"Windows" (www.zdnet.co.uk/news/ns-4195.html)... PSYGNOSIS
Hangar Lane to close ... access rights on DOWNING STREET
SITE set so only government officials can reach it... "Ask
for your salary to be paid by cash or cheque in January
2000; make sure you have enough cash, food, bottled water
and coal to last a few weeks," advises 7-day mag summary
THE WEEK... LIAM GALLAGHER on "The Lion, the Witch and the
Wardrobe" : "I love the idea of opening a cupboard door,
you step inside, there's a lion and you're being chased
through the snow." Cupboards full of snow, Liam?
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Bloody Antirom, bloody irational and bloody, bloody KOAN.
But it's not just familiar faces at the veteran LOVE BYTES
arts festival in Sheffield this weekend. In fact, there
appears to be quite a nice collection of new media artworks
taking form, including some intriguing observations on the
nature of tribality, a genuinely really good set of Web
postage stamps, and an appearance by the "Cult of the
Inserter Seat", who are attempting to "reverse the
trajectory of the ejector seat by pushing against the tide
of disembodiment in favour of re-inserting the body back
into the fridlock of the earth". Great fun, unless you're
planning on doing some quiet shopping in Sheffield city
centre this weekend. Bloody freaks.
http://www.lovebytes.org.uk/ bloody ALT tags
http://www.hypertribes.org.uk/ bloody football
Relax. It's still okay to like DOUGLAS COUPLAND, at least
around here. He's touring the UK promoting his new(ish)
book GIRLFRIEND IN A COMA, a Scooby-Doo-meets-Rip-Van-
Michael-Stipe-Backstage-At-The-X-Files-Set book that is
better than his last one, but not as good as Microserfs.
You can meet, greet, and ask him really obscure stuff about
Michael in Books Etc, Charing Cross Road, London on Monday
20/4/98, 1900BST, or Tuesday 2000BST 21/4/98 at Cambridge
University at, we think, the Union. Wednesday 1900BST
22/4/98 sees him at Dillons in Newcastle upon Tyne, and on
Thursday 1900BST 23/4/98, he'll be hanging out at
Waterstones, Princes St, Edinburgh. And on Friday at
1900BST, he's going to be in Waterstone's Deansgate,
- so much to answer for. Oho-wo-ho-oh.
>> TRACKING <<
you've turned off your targetting computer - what's wrong?
I'm an open format! No, I'M an open format! As Adobe and
Macromedia race to give their proprietary vector file
formats away, the release of a new version of the
MACROMEDIA FLASH editor has been somewhat missed. It's
looking fairly good, with some charming morphing and
transparency features, some stupid animated button
bloatlets, and a slightly better drawing tools. And it's in
beta, so therefore it is free!
- Gordon's *alive*?
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
where has a.b.s.mp3 gone from the Demon "censorship free"
newsfeed?... Amiga Quake! Jurassic Quake! Same
difference?... ISO8601 now!... Voice of God:
channel stuffing... boy, those 20th Anniversary Macs sure
look shit now, don't they?... sound of God: http://www-cs-
staff.stanford.edu/~knuth/organ.html... how did they do
that? Type +"Rudy Rucker" into Altavista... BNC T-Pieces
are the new Tazos... your Y2K beta site:
www.kcbbs.gen.nz/users/peterg/power.txt ... Resident Evil
2's secret Tofu character... NY POST headline, about AOL
user who kidnapped and sexually abused a girl he met in a
chatroom: YOU'VE GOT JAIL!... how dense is your town? -
GIMP approaching 1.0 asymptotically: do you think Slashdot
will shut the HELL UP when it does?
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
catch it while it's still analogue
TV>> after last week's crash-happy Comic Strip Presents,
maybe the BBC could console Rik Mayall with a (rare) head-
trauma free episode of BOTTOM (9pm, Fri, BBC2)... as you
suspected, the bonkers parachuting hackers in DROP ZONE
(9.30pm, Fri, BBC1) - think Point Break without the surfing
- are the handiwork of gimmick-crazed WarGames director,
John Badham... and don't bother with Have I Got News For
You, because Lilith is back on FRASIER (10pm, Fri, C4)...
Saturday is now officially theme night, with BBC2
commemorating not-dead-yet? comic SPIKE MILLIGAN (from 9pm,
Sat, BBC2), and C4 doing 2 hours on the first year of
Labour government (from 9pm, Sat, C4) - apparently that
Rory Bremner Max Headroom thing is supposed to be Peter
Mandelson, though it looks just like the weird eye-lined
new Lottery bot (and we don't mean Anthea Turner)...
instead, stick with the first, cheapest, best MAD MAX film
(10.55pm, Sat, ITV), or Wes Craven's social comment horror
romp - with guns - THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS (12.30am,
Sat, BBC1)... not-so-bad before-it-was-"cool" online-chat
action in JUMPIN' JACK FLASH (10.35pm, Sun, BBC2), plus
great NICAM sound, but: warning! Whoopi Goldberg! Twice!...
similarly, urban thriller JUDGEMENT NIGHT (11pm, Sun, BBC2)
has a great rap/rock crossover soundtrack, and intriguing
cast, but *shame about the film*... Lee & Herring host last
year's Montreal comedy interviews in FESTIVAL OF FUN
(10.50pm, Sun, C5)... new half-hour adult cartoon STRESSED
ERIC (10pm, Mon, BBC2) seems unlikely to really be a Brit
version of The Simpsons, but - still - can't be as bad as
Crapston Villas... the ESP debate hots up - hopefully using
"Scanners" tactics - on COUNTERBLAST (7.30pm, Wed, BBC2)...
best title-battle of the week: between ANIMAL CANNIBALS
(10pm, Thu, C4), and HORIZON's space station disaster
diagnosis, "Mir Mortals" (9.30pm, Thu, BBC2)...
FILM>> a compulsively semi-autobiographical account of the
compulsively semi-autobiographical Woody Allen,
DECONSTRUCTING HARRY (imdb: comedy / writing) also features
*tremendous swearing*... it's updated Charles Dickens,
without the funny character names, but with Ethan Hawke,
Gwyneth Paltrow, and added nudity: so, don't have too many
GREAT EXPECTATIONS (imdb: drama / romance / art-market /
love / revenge / based-on-novel / broken-heart / dickens /
ladybug / class-differences / painter / fugitive / spinster
/ gallery )... Clint Eastwood directs John Cusack, "gay"
Kevin Spacey in lengthy, indulgent period murder mystery
MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL (imdb: crime / gay
/ drama)... some of the folks responsible for Kids are
behind limited-release filth-fest GUMMO (MPAA rated: R for
"pervasive depiction of anti-social behavior of juveniles,
including violence, substance abuse, sexuality and
language")... somehow, somewhere they've sneaked out
excellent giant Japanese flying turtle nonsense GAMERA: THE
GUARDIAN OF THE UNIVERSE (imdb: also known as "Gamera:
Giant Monster Midair Showdown")... and, finally, Travis
Bickle's box-office prediction for a soggy thriller called
HARD RAIN (imdb: thriller / action / heist / disaster) -
it's gonna fall...
FEEBDACK>> well, we thought we were being rhetorical when
we wondered if The Three Musketeers use the word "tits" in
the original novel of The Man In The Iron Mask [NTK
20/03/98], but PAUL BLEZ still puts us straight: "I can say
for sure that they wouldn't have used the word 'tits'
because of course they were speaking French in the
original, hee haw hee haw. They might however have used the
word 'nenes' or 'nichons'." Thanks for sharing Paul, this
isn't Loaded you know... leading us quite nicely to ADRIAN
MOULDER, who inquires, "How long before Official
Playstation Magazine and Edge bow to what looks like Future
Publishing official policy and stick semi-clothed women on
the front of every issue?" Well, our clock is ticking...
sticking with Edge, DANIEL JAMES is our first error-spotter
in the humourless games glossy, claiming, "They misquoted
me this month... and pretty much everyone else in their
lame 'lets write up the shorthand from that conference'
Online Games article." Great start, but NTK still wants
*your* Edge goofs and blunders, at firstname.lastname@example.org... we
always knew you were funny: 'toon terrorist CHARLIE BROOKER
remarks, "the recent 'kaylo koverage in NTK has brought a
higher class of readers flocking to my site. Some of them
even write to me" - as the final letter on
demonstrates all too well... BENET ALLEN felt it necessary
to inform us that the word "Ulay" is short for "underlay"
[NTK 03/04/98], which is either "(a) stuff that goes under
carpets, or (b) mute video pictures that the newsreader
voices over during the news." Cheers Benet, though how does
one go about extracting the *oil* of it?... and finally,
showing he's fully grasped our hard-hitting issues-driven
campaigning jounalism, NTK intern LEE MAGUIRE contends:
"According to recent USENET rumours ITV won't be buying the
final seven episodes of Reboot due to its 'diminished
appeal' (possibly caused by 'shoddy scheduling'?)" He
advises angry fans "to make Brooker-style phone calls to
Meridian on (01703) 222555 or, for a less confrontational
approach: sign the petition at
>> 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 "grepped for Easynet references".
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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