_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
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and, in the end, I had to turn the PC off."
IAN PARR, council official sacked for porn surfing, gives his
excuses and leaves
can't ... seem ... to reach ... back button
>> HARD NEWS <<
British company CABLE & WIRELESS buying MCI's entire US
Internet backbone; @HOME, the cable modem ISP, to launch in
the UK; and a German COMPUSERVE manager being given two
year suspended sentences simply for being a German
Compuserve manager. A marvellous week for British Net
users. No? Well, maybe. The C&W deal looks like a clever
two-step to avoid raised eyebrows at the MCI/WorldCom
merger. MCI keep control of the transport for two years;
C&W get the routers, the ISP customers, and, it seems, Vint
Cerf and the guys. @Home's foray into the UK is with
ComTel, and will be in Swindon and Oxford only for 1999.
@Home's technology has 36Mbps to the home - but you'll be
sharing that bandwidth with up to 600 others. And the
Germany guy is bound to be let off. Even though we've got
*proof* he worked at Compuserve.
- "abused the medium" : sounds about right.
- "Cerf's Up". Sheesh.
- Mr Goodwin brings the good news home
Last time Microsoft gave ROSS ANDERSON money, he gave them
a system that would let them spy on Word users from a van
[NTK 13/2/98]. Now they've paid him and his friends a six-
figure sum to form the FOUNDATION FOR INFORMATION POLICY
RESEARCH, a woolly-sounding think-tank which will examine
"the effects of IT on society". So, has Bill managed to
farm off the Cambridge firebrand with a cushy desk job? Not
so : among all the fluffy social topics the FIPR is
investigating (Millennium bugfixes, IT for the poor,
preservation of public records) are the usual Anderson
hotspots: phantom bank withdrawals, overly restrictive
copyright laws, and our favourite topic, strong encryp- ah,
"issues regarding e-commerce". Except that now, when Ross
attacks dumb legislation, he'll be speaking for an industry
body that already has support from Demon, Poptel and
others. Thank God, ministers must be saying, that Caspar
Bowden from Scientists for Labour is involved to keep him
under control. But hold on - isn't that the same Caspar
Bowden who has been arguing against the government's own
crypto policy for the last few months? With Ross? For free?
- others rewrite press releases. We post them wholesale.
- running Apache! How independent can you get?
- what Ross did last
Our last "Life After Cliff" Demon story, we promise. All we
have, really, are questions. Why are people saying that the
new (Scottish Telecom-chosen) chairman, Rod Matthews, hates
the ex-MD and Father Of The UK Internet with a passion?
Hate cuddly Cliff? Can it be true? And why is chosen son
and Cliff protege, Roy Bliss, now being referred to as
"*acting* managing director"? Why are ex-Demon staff
beginning to pop up at Cliff's new concern with such
regularity? And can people believe Cliff when he says he's
been *banned* from the Demon offices?
- surely you jest, Mr Stanford!
- "no hurry to sell"
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
Falco! BYTE to close print edition - Jerry Pournelle to
retaliate with home-made rail gun... microsoft.com error of
the week - www.ntk.net/doh/ms980530.gif ... OFFICIAL
PLAYSTATION survey reveals movie-watching habits of readers
- 15% watch "RPG", 15% watch "puzzle", and 6% watch films
in the genre of "flight sim"... "Ohmigod, they killed
*themselves*!" - first suicide to cite SOUTHPARK as
influence... "Older Americans more likely to be Sinatra
fans" reveals CNN... NINTENDO dumping SGI... TWO Airplane-
style TITANIC spoof movies en route... best FRANK headline:
"Industry Mourns Death of Sinatra as Public Demand Rockets"
- hey, if they want rockets, *give 'em rockets!*...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Phrases you don't see in NTK that often: "Attention all
theatregoers!" Believe it: Michael Frayn's COPENHAGEN is a
timely, implosive little drama about the historic WW2
meeting between top nuclear physicists Werner Heisenberg
and Niels Bohr, showing May-July 1998, at the National
Theatre, London SE1. Stop us if you've heard this one, but
the "Uncertainty" of Heisenberg's famous theory is mirrored
in the "uncertainty" of his own behaviour!!! Still, despite
the usual arty pseudo-science metaphors, a big thumbs-up
for being one of the few West End shows containing all the
info you'd need to build your own a-bomb.
- NB: does not feature any former cast from Blake's 7
Linus "Bigger than Elvis" Torvalds, accompanied by backing
singers Alan Cox and Jamie Zawinski, will be fighting off
the screaming teenage fans at Duke University's LINUX EXPO
'98 this weekend. You're not there, clearly, otherwise you
wouldn't be sober enough to read this. You can, however,
glean a vicarious buzz by reading the inevitable flurry of
announcements on the Website. Not least among them will be
the definitive answer to the "Emacs vs Vi" question
provided, not by a Magic Eightball, but by a magic
*Paintball* face-off. It's the only way.
- Linus! Linus! Marry me! MARRY ME!
- looking forward to the cheers:
"H-J-K-L, what can we pipe through ispell? VI!"
"Give us a '(' - Give us another '('! Give us a '('!..."
>> TRACKING <<
net tucker man
You know what we miss about DOS? It had renaming *smarts*.
You could type "REN *.FOO *.BAR", and it would go: "Gotcha
- renaming a whole bunch of shit," like it was born to it
or something. Hooray, then, for the Power Rename utility
which brings such mind-boggling sophistication to Windows
'95/NT - and more. You can search and replace filenames,
increment filenames numerically, change case, add text to
the filename or the extension - all without even glimpsing
a DOS shell. And I know that sounds boring *now*, but you
wait. One day, you'll be desperately searching through your
inbox for this URL. Then you'll thank us.
- try searching for "dumb rename utility". That'll find it.
Ban this evil ECSTASY TESTING KIT! wail the tabloids. Damn
right: it only has enough solution for a few tests, and the
packaging is embarrassingly psychedelic. You're better off
with the Green Party's version, which - while a little
costlier - has enough reagent for 100-150 pills, is non-
profit-making, and comes with lots of informative leaflets.
And if you're feeling community-spirited, you could enter
your results into www.ecstasy.org's nifty online database.
Owning an Ecstasy testing kit is currently legal, but I'd
stash in a safe place with your old laser-pointers,
unmuzzled Rottweilers and that copy of Windows 98 beta, if
I were you.
- Puritans vs Purity
- well, that's the "profiteering" complaint fixed, Mr Czar
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
engraving 33rpm grooves onto old CDs... from the people who
brought you emptywebsite.com, its Russian equivalent:
www.nichego.net ... O'REILLY goes LaPlante-baiting with new
title: Protecting Networks With SATAN...
www.straightdope.com ... GATES swears he's off-camera:
McClure - former actor... this week, Adam & Joe meet
MICROSERFS at www.legopolis.com/web_pages/personal/thomas/
... we want: www.appliances.com/mmb142.html and we want
http://18.104.22.168/tigertoys/fishing.htm and we want
www.marchenoir.com/hotrings.html ... UNREAL - oh, my...
Chris Carter explains on hidden X Files soundtrack track...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
fluoresce the best
TV>> if INVASION: EARTH (9.30pm, Fri, BBC1) is all a big
Microsoft metaphor, are the nD's actually *non-Disclosure*
agreements?... Daryl Hannah and director Christopher
"Spinal Tap" Guest trample the camp feminist hilarity of
the original ATTACK OF THE 50 FT WOMAN (12.15am, Sat,
BBC1)... NTK-sponsored TV-geek-monopolist Ben Moor takes no
hostages at CITY CENTRAL (8.10pm, Sat, BBC1)... while C4
hosts its own alien freak night, starting with "eclectic"
clip show THE SCI-FI FILES (8pm, Sat, C4) - starring genre
greats like William Gibson, Brian Aldiss, and, er, Tom
Baker off Dr Who... reshown Equinox THE REAL X-FILES (9pm,
Sat, C4) yawns through psychic channelling and remote
viewing, followed by Nancy "RoboCop" Allen in B-movie spoof
STRANGE INVADERS (not as good as *Spaced* Invaders, we
reckon), freakish bio-experiment Melvyn Bragg reviews THE
SUNDAYS (the newspapers, not the band), and odd how bits
from Whitley Streiber's earlier novels turn up in "factual"
abduction classic COMMUNION (12.40am, Sat, C4)... then that
eerie "losing time" feeling as the alien visits continue in
EVERYMAN (10.25pm, Sun, BBC1), featuring the now-standard
"explanation" of "minor temporal lobe epilepsy"... of
course, true sci-fi purists will be cuddling up to TV-
series spin-off PROJECT: ALF (12noon; 6pm, Sat, Sky Movies
2), a made for (German) TV movie with music by Mark "X
Files" Snow... nuclear weapons show their value in feature-
length VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA (5.05pm, Sun, C4)...
epic manga nonsense takes flight on THE WINGS OF HONNEAMISE
(11.45pm, Sun, BBC2)... "Go on, just one more quick game of
'Misty'," is the line tragically not said by the proto-
Fatal Attraction Clint stalker in PLAY MISTY FOR ME
(11.15pm, Sun, BBC1)... oh, and a big day on Sky 1 with two
new THE SIMPSONS (6pm), hour-long FRIENDS (7pm), then
double THE X FILES (8pm) - basically the TV premiere of the
"Emily" video... is DC or AC better for electrocuting
people?, puzzled Edison and Tesla-powered Westinghouse in
SECRET HISTORY (9pm, Mon, C4)... oddly, the comic-book
stills are by far the best bit of TANK GIRL (10.55pm, Mon,
C5)... a virus double-bill swiftly spreads from BLACK
DEATH/ JERICHO FEVER (11.15pm, Tue, BBC1) to MILLENNIUM
(10pm, Wed, Sky1)... ALLY McBEAL (10pm, Wed, C4) is like
Bridget Jones, only funny... and more Diana conspiracy
treats from both DISPATCHES (9pm, Thu, C4), and the
excellently titled DIANA: THE SECRETS BEHIND THE CRASH
(9pm, Wed, ITV) - which sounds like it's going to be a
tell-all "the making of" special effects extravaganza...
FILM>> you thought The Crow was dark and scary (they did,
after all, kill the leading actor), but now the same
director's back with the fantastically extreme comic-book
Kafka of DARK CITY (imdb: sci-fi / mystery / thriller /
time-lapse / memories / city / beach / murder / inspector /
aliens / darkness / door / psychokinesis / space / sleep /
amnesia / psychiatry / clock / alien-abduction)... Nick "48
Hrs" Nolte - Lara Flynn "Twin Peaks" Boyle - Julie "Demon
Seed" Christie - and Johnny Lee "Hackers" Miller - are
together, at last, in cross-generational sex romp AFTERGLOW
(imdb: romance / comedy / drama)... while squelchy sci-fi
f/x and genre-star cameos shore up the shockingly standard
WES CRAVEN'S WISHMASTER (imdb: thriller / wish / genie /
horror)... else it's *yet another* Irish botched crime romp
THE GENERAL (imdb: also known as "I Once Had a Life"),
dull-o Henry James costumer WASHINGTON SQUARE (MPAA rated:
PG "for thematic elements including some sensuality, a
childbirth scene and brief mild language"), or John Hannah
in THE JAMES GANG (imdb: comedy / crime / fugitive) -
"possibly the worst British film yet" (a source)...
GIFS IN SPACE>> Very Large Telescope, Very Silly Name.
Could be worse: 18% of abcnews.com visitors want to call
the International Space Station "Babylon" ... Of course,
all this VLT vs Hubble competition is just press hype; it's
purest coincidence that the Very High Telescope guys have
managed to get a visual on a planet *this week* -
http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/1998/19/ ... the pic we
want to see is the Sunday Times' "diamond as big as a
planet" - http://exosci.com/news/61.html ... although we'd
settle for funny monkey space GIFs at www.ape-o-naut.org ...
Remember Kashpureff, guys: NASA launches Shuttle-hosted
Webserver, together with highly unofficial ".orb" domain:
techie graphs at www.spacehab.com/products/p_shucs.htm ...
Forget Deep Impact-scale disasters (ambiguous phrasing
deliberate) it's the Local Fluff you need to worry about :
>> 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 "powered by StarOffice"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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