_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "Such a policy would impede a process that leads to long-
run growth in productivity and living standards. It would
throw sand into the gears of human progress."
- GREG MANKIW, Harvard economist, on what would happen if the
US government delayed Windows 98
- this guy's been playing way too much Civilisation
>> HARD NEWS <<
Free money! CLIFF STANFORD, ex-MD of Demon Internet,
revealed his "secret future project" on Thursday, after
selling up his share in Demon Internet for 33 million UKP
(and, yes, the final price for the whole ISP was 66.6
million, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PROPHECY). Voila REDBUS
INVESTMENTS, a fund of 15 million UKP for innovative start-
ups. Cliff, as the new Hermann Hauser, will be "drawing on
his entrepreneurial and commercial experience" to make your
dreams come true. Hopefully, this will include advice on
choosing the right name: we note that as soon as Demon sold
out, Cliff's old accountancy software company Data Command
slapped ScotCom with a demand for a million pounds for
misuse of the Demon name, which they still own. Of
course, there's no way the tiny Data Command could afford
to fight the case: unless, that is, some of the thwarted
Demon bidders decided to lend a hand...
- you've checked this out with London Transport, yeah, Cliff?
- or these Japanese ladies?
Aspiring undergrads at the new Stanford University will be
looking to Easynet old-boy KEITH TEARE for inspiration.
His, ah, innovative idea of using plain words instead of
URLs (see jokes passim) paid dividends when Altavista, of
all people, snapped up the service. So it seems it *was* a
clever idea, after all. And, while we're here, can we
interest anyone in our idea to do a Java Web TV that lets
you move around a VRML world using a VR headset and Pen
- works for "ntk". That really hurts.
In other news, APPLE used an early Neanderthal cheerleading
chant, "Pro... go... whoa!", to launch a desktop machine, a
laptop, and a playdough-coloured vacuum cleaner. No, hold
on: it's actually the iMac, an Internet-ready Apple machine
that upholds all the values of the original Mac - ie, the
screen's too small, there's not enough RAM, you can't get a
printer to work with it, and it's too much money. Runs very
fast, mind - though not as fast as Jobs will if it bombs.
- and no floppy drive! Backups should be fun then...
- UK store launched too, but that didn't rhyme with "whoa"
(unless you're Penelope Pitstop)
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
US NAVY hack UK dolphin charity - yeah, right...
"INTERNIC.COM" fraudsters get busted... Monday: BBC NEWS
RealVideo shows Neighbours instead of news... Microsoft's
HOTMAIL runs on Solaris: port to NT bombed... Thursday: BBC
NEWS RealVideo shows half an hour of football... entire
WWW.EU.MICROSOFT.COM front page on Weds: "Welcome to
Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Option Pack" - now *that's*
product placement!... BBC ONLINE feedback TV ads involve
writing to a PO Box number... the phrase "women know" has
been trademarked - by TAMPAX... BADENOCH AND CLARK
recruitment agency put out ad for "Y000 System Tester" -
think we've spotted one bug already... US GUN PROTESTERS
demand manufacturers "put prominent warning labels on
guns"... and WIRED MAGAZINE sold to Conde Nast -
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
gotos considered non-harmful
Oops, sorry, just three days left of digital film festival
ONEDOTZERO2, running until 10/05/98 at the recently
workstation-free Institute Of Contemporary Arts, London
SW1. Expect the usual blurry nonsense masquerading as both
art and/or entertaiment, although, promisingly, there are
cinema showings of videogame FMV sequences - your chance to
see Tekken characters as god intended them: the size of a
house. Plus: pop videos, PlayStation Yaroze demos, and the
obligatory outing for cyber-philosophising manga romp,
Ghost In The Shell. The name ONEDOTZERO2 is the logic-
defying sequel to last year's ONEDOTZERO, by the way, (ONE-
DOT-ONE too tricky for them?); in the belief that this is
how we computer people talk, the press release adds that
it's "always lowercase and all one word. Never
capitalised." Oops again.
- now that's what we call case-sensitive
- now that's what we call experimental film
In the first five minutes of next week's KILLER NET (10pm,
Tues, C4), they say: "According to .net magazine, 75 per
cent of material on the Net is porn." This month's .net
proudly proclaims (p17) that "We actually said 90 per cent,
but the producers didn't want to make the programme too
frightening." Twats. Take your chance to commend Lynda La
Plante on her sterling research when she chats live Tues
lunchtime (12/05/98) on the C4 site. Oh, and bear in mind
that she presumably expects between 75 and 90 per cent of
it to be sexually explicit...
- "Where do you get your ideas? And take your top off."
- kill -9
Oh, and it's INTERNET WORLD in London next week. Yawn.
- Erotica '98 came (and went) a little quickly this year...
>> TRACKING <<
85, 95 per cent complete - it's in the room with us!
"Win a free trip" and "Space Shuttle Columbia" aren't
phrases you see together enough. Sadly, the trip is only to
see a launch in December 1998. To win it, you need to give
the dull old ADVANCED X-RAY ASTROPHYSICS FACILITY (AXAF)
X-ray space telescope a chirpier name. The winning entry
should be the name of a place, thing, or fictional
character or historical person (we'd have assumed "thing"
would have covered all of these), who symbolises
exploration of the universe. The first X-Ray satellite,
launched from Kenya, was called Uhuru, so you can see what
they're getting at (go on - try "Scotty"). Oh, and living
persons are not permissible. So that rules out "Hank the
Angry, Drunken Satellite".
- you'll never guess that it's really called "Rumpelstiltskin"
When will we stop plugging outdated DOS software? Well, now
that Microsoft's officially dumping the poor little cash-
cow, we'll tie things up by announcing the final beta of
ARACHNE 1.4. Arachne, like you didn't already know and/or
care, is the Web browser/PPP dialer/POP3 Mail client that
can cope - via plugins - with GIFs, JPEGs, Quicktime
movies, AVIs, MPEGs, Telnet - but not frames. It's what to
get for your no-hoper friends who keep on whining about how
they'd like to get online but have more sense than money.
Oh, and they've dropped all that annoying crippleware
stuff, so it's vaguely (non-commercially) usable.
- we like the Czenglish , also!
- you cannot kill that which does not live
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
PARANOIA.COM *is* dying, but maybe you can help:
... 1999 FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP... "I do all my FLASH
coding in Emacs"... Good News: Austin Powers director Jay
Loach to direct HHGTTG movie - Bad News: he wants JIM
CARREY for Beeblebrox... T1s in the US, E1s in the UK - is
it really because of the spacing of the MANHOLE COVERS?...
European Space Agency use GNU C compiler for their
satellite systems... GROOVIUS... WINAMP skins... FEED oBo:
www.fortunecity.com/roswell/quatermass/74/obo.html ... Open
Source genetically-engineered COWS (no, really)... improve
your speech recognition: speak with an AMERICAN ACCENT...
domain asking for trouble - http://www.can-u-hack-it.com -
and would it look any worse if you could? ... playing your
own car in GRAN TURISMO... expect us to rip off
www.mcs.net/~jorn/html/weblogs/weblog.html ... oh, and
http://www.snoot.com/cgi-bin/wuss.cgi >> GEEK MEDIA <<
what the? listings *without* an impenetrable search form?
TV>> yes, sci-fi fans, the BBC has rewarded your loyalty -
with a *punishment gift*... first, LOST IN SPACE (7.15pm,
Fri, BBC2) spins off from that show where X-Philes talked
about their "obsession", this week mocking, er, we mean,
celebrating avid viewers of Dr Who... then INVASION EARTH
(9.30pm, Fri, BBC1) is the usual Sci-Fi Channel co-
production CGI tosh - blah blah interdimensional conflict
blah blah humanoid aliens blah blah SETI experts - but with
RAF Tornados!... amazingly, still looking just like he did
on The Young Ones, and amazingly, still going, it's ALEXEI
SAYLE'S MERRY-GO-ROUND (9.30pm, Fri, BBC2)... filmed for
peanuts, but after extensive re-mastering and marketing,
doubtful whether indie low-budgeter EL MARIACHI (12.15am,
Fri, BBC2) ever actually made any money... compulsory to
make some sort of "nul points" joke about THE EUROVISION
SONG CONTEST (8pm, Sat, BBC1) - though we prefer complex
statisical analysis at http://www.kolumbus.fi/jarpen ...
otherwise, Mark and Lard's footy-bore FAN NIGHT (from 9pm,
Sat, BBC2) doesn't seem to include Tom Cruise Vietnam
wheelchair weepie BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (11.15pm, Sat,
BBC2)... and stick a vibrating pager down your pants to
fully enjoy William Castle schlock classic THE TINGLER
(12.30am, Sat, C5)... clearly not as much fun - or as easy
to control - as the laserdisc arcade version, Clint
Eastwood must "think in Russian" to pilot FIREFOX (3.05pm,
Sun, some ITV regions)... and when Jeff Fahey creates a
virtual girlfriend in confusingly-titled TV movie ADDICTED
TO LOVE (9pm, Sun, C5), he clearly didn't learn anything
from when he played The Lawnmower Man... the debut
"Breakaway" episode enlivens the (normally superslow) Gerry
Anderson Y2K panic-mongering SPACE: 1999 (6.25pm, Mon,
BBC2)... then followed by what looks like a thinly
disguised rerun of last year's appallingly named Carol
Vorderman tech-literacy vehicle, COMPUTERS DON'T BITE
(7.30pm, Mon, BBC2)... did they deliberately call that
Robson Green serial-killer-chiller TOUCHING EVIL (9pm, Thu,
ITV) because it sounds a bit like "Touching Cloth"?...
plus: weariness, nausea, boredom with docus like HORIZON
(9.30pm, Thu, BBC2) and their "chemical cocktail" theories
- all symptoms of what experts are now calling "Gulf War
FILM>> due to some sort of administrative error, this week
sees the release of a lot of home-grown/ foreign arty
rubbish, instead of the usual blockbuster Hollywood
rubbish. Fear not, normal service resumes next week...
probably the worst "date movie" since The Company Of Men,
yet Gary Glitter does not appear on the soundtrack to
controversially dull kiddieporn LOLITA (imdb: romance /
tragedy / sex-with-minor / drama / road / based-on-novel /
paedophilia / love / obsession)... at last, a wacky Brit
love story that looks like Friends for ugly people, with
the rip-roaringly bland title of MARTHA, MEET FRANK, DANIEL
AND LAURENCE (imdb: romance / comedy)... Rachel "Chain
Reaction" Wiesz plays AMY FOSTER (MPAA rated: PG-13, for
"elements of theme and some sensuality"), in Conrad-
inspired craggy costume drama with unexpected gay
undercurrents... it's a miraculous cancer recovery that's
SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN (imdb: soundtrack by Lalo "theme
from Mission: Impossible" Schifrin)... like Deconstructing
Harry beforehand, not too many surprises from real-life
Woody Allen in for-fans-only jazz tour docu WILD MAN BLUES
(www.virgin.net/cinema/filmfinder: London only)... and it's
a surprise Japanese Strictly-Ballroom-style hit that asks
SHALL WE DANCE (Roger Ebert: "Ballroom dancing is regarded
with great suspicion, in a country where couples don't go
out hand in hand"). And it's - inevitably - hardly based at
all on the song of the same name (off the soundtrack of The
King And I, you dummies)...
FEEDING>> KELLOGG's hit right back at the advance of
instant cereal RUMBLERS [see NTK 06/03/98], with their own
hastily bundled airline-style toilet-soundalike PORTA
BOWLS, now available for Corn Flakes, Frosties etc.
Slightly cheaper than Rumblers (but still about 80p), they
include milk, sugar, and a napkin, but are ultimately let
down by bland post-war design and a much less interesting
spoon... sticking with cereals, do HEALTHWISE BRAN FLAKES
actually taste worse than Bran Flakes Classic?... oh, and
by the way, NTK still advocates punching the side out of
variety pack boxes and pouring the milk in there... reader
ADRIAN MOULDER contests our nomination of SPOONERS as last
month's "taste abomination" [see NTK 24/04/98], claiming
that fruity "vitamin B1&6-C enriched beverage" SUNNY
DELIGHT "tastes so foul that it must be good for you -
especially the strawberry one, which is disgusting"... but
NTK regular CHARLIE BROOKER reckons he can beat it with
SPRITZER's ZERO GRAVITY clear-can drinks, with "lots of
little gelatine *balls* floating around inside". "It's
disconcerting!" Charlie adds. "You have to drink the
balls!" Sounds like the UK arrival of freaky US staple,
ORBITZ [see NTK 13/06/97]?... bev-flash: ubiquitous US
chain STARBUCKS to acquire growing UK presence THE SEATTLE
COFFEE COMPANY... also headed here soon? - the ROBERT CRUMB
DEVIL GIRL CHOCO-BAR ("It's *bad* for you!")... finally, we
don't know what it is that McVITIE's are putting in their
"crispy cracker snack" tubs CRACK POTS (various flavours,
inc garlic & herb), but it makes them almost as addictive
as their freebase cocaine namesake... still, they'll need
something strong to take on the mini-Pringle stacks; like
they say, "Once you've popped, you just can't stop" - a
slogan (we believe) appropriated from sellers of amyl
>> 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's registered at the Post Office as "50 people you don't want to meet"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY SOLD OUR REVOLUTION TO CONDE NAST. NOW WE'RE HIRING IT BACK.
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