_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/"[Blah blah] unorthodox positioning as a magazine 'not for everyone'.
This is still true today, of course - perhaps even more so
now that the 'uneducated' tastes of the mass market are so
sharply at odds with Edge's continued pursuit of excellence."
- JASON BROOKS, ex-editor, Edge
oh fuck off
>> HARD NEWS <<
What does the British Net really need? That's right, another
committee. Having despatched the crypto debate with such
aplomb, BARBARA ROCHE and the wunderkinder of the Department of
Trade and Industry are now proposing an independent panel to
"investigate complaints over material on the Internet". The
body's brief will be confined to civil disputes - in other
words, copyright and libel. And how, exactly, will that
work? No-one knows; least of all the DTI, who it seems are
once again flying a kite to see who takes pot-shots at it.
Well, here's a few: one of the defences (we fervently hope)
against a libel charge is that you're telling the truth. So,
if the committee is supposed to decide what is libellous and
what is not, will it also have powers to investigate and
call witnesses? Or will it require that sites be shut down,
before they have their day in court? And if, as supportive
groups (like the ISPA and the Internet Watch Foundation)
claim, this is all to prevent ISPs being found liable by
third parties, then who is liable when a site is taken down
illegitimately? It's clear that the panel will act very
quickly if Sony fingers a warez site, but who does the
victim of a baaad decision appeal to?
- we know! Let's have another committee
- the Court of Human Rights, and it's a number?
In a unique example of unlocking the stable door
fractionally before the horse has been rendered into glue, a
US federal appeal court dropped the injunction on
Microsoft's Windows 95 this week - 48 hours before they
stopped selling it anyway. The Windows 98 launch party on
Thursday was a relatively subdued affair in comparison. In
comparison with anything. Bill Gates took the stage on 5PM,
San Francisco time, and ran through the list of new
improvements to the operating system. Then ran through it
again, slowly, in case anyone coughed.
- MS-DOS, Windows 3.11 and Win 95 make legal ancient history
- considering a move to Memphis? Not so fast...
- Linux kids getting tear-gassed
The European Space Agency and NASA have lost contact with
the SOLAR AND HELIOSPHERIC OBSERVATORY. SOHO was responsible
for the recent batch of Sol-based discoveries and beautiful
images - including sunquakes, comets crashing into the Sun,
and the only fart joke we've ever ran (NTK 05/06/98) and
solar tornadoes. While SOHO had finished its nominal two
year mission, the ESA had recently extended its funding
until 2011, in order to cover the expected peak in sunspot
activity. here's still a small hope for regaining contact,
but they've been trying for over 24 hours now. No joke here;
it's all a bit sad.
- although we *told* them not fly that close to the Sun
Oh, and almost everyone at Psion Software went off to work
for SYMBIAN, a new joint venture between Psion (40%), Nokia
(30%) and Ericsson (30%). With the benevolent nod of
Motorola, the new company will work on creating
WinCE-killing smartphones, based on Psion's properly
pre-emptive not-like-that-Microsoft-rubbish EPOC32 OS. The
partners, as is traditional in these alliances, spoke highly
of the open nature of their OS (not-like-that-Microsoft-rubbish)
- and then quickly stuck a free developers' kit on their
Webserver, so that nobody could deny it.
- oh, you want to run it on the Series 5? Two hundred quid, mate
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
NSA Chief tells US Senate that Y2K bug-fixers could be
employed by "a hostile nation" to *insert* bugs... EDGE
magazine's unorthodox pursuit of excellence this month
includes claim that Ridge Racer cabinet ran at 0.4FLOPS - an
incredible 4/10ths of a floating point operation per
second... new KEVIN SMITH film "will contain Star Wars
quotes"... fairweather freeware advocate DAVE WINER starts
charging for Frontier... author LUCY ELLMAN believes science
"escapist hobby for men not fully occupied with football"...
just as we're finally admitting that Nortel radio
interference story was dodgy, .NET and INTERNET MAGAZINE
start running it... @cix.co.uk, @well.com confer status -
says BBC's DAVID BRAKE (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)...
the inimitable RICHARD BARRY runs *fourth* ZDNET piece on
BT's penny ISP service - even though nothing has happened...
GATES richest man in world, uncovers Forbes Magazine...
CLIPPER chip crypto algorithms released to public: 24 hours
later, weaknesses exposed...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
By rights, they should be able to compress 10 times more
talk into the world's first MP3 SUMMIT from 8am, Thu
02/07/98 at UCSD, San Diego. Pre-registration costs a very
reasonable US$50 (the price of just a few "commerical" CDs),
and the credit-card form gives a fair idea of the target
audience: "Any suspicious transactions are immediately
reported... please act responsibly." Attendees include
musos, coders, lawyers (presumably hoping to shut the whole
thing down), and two portable hardware players. Someone
better tell T3, whose latest letters page contains the
informed editorial opinion that (p18) "we've not heard of
hardware devices... would have thought it... prohibitively
- delegates requested not to remove their "tags"
In an auspicious conjunction unlikely to be repeated in our
lifetime, Glastonbury and the World Cup have safely removed
the most annoying footie- and hippy-zines at THE NATIONAL
SMALL PRESS FAIR this weekend. Visit the Waterloo Foyer at
the Royal Festival Hall this Saturday (27/6/98) between 1000
and 1730, and marvel at these early examples of homepages,
and the techniques that are still used to craft them.
Admission free. And of course there's no URL.
Alternatively, if you want to transfer your valuable art &
craft skills the other way, you could always go along to the
ART SERVERS UNLIMITED day at the- Oh God, it's at the ICA.
Well, never mind. If you can make it, there's a discussion
panel at 1130AM on Thursday 4/7/98. They'll be talking about
how to set up public art spaces on the Net. From 2030,
you'll be able to listen to live mixing of various net.radio
feeds from across Europe. This will be in the bar. The
people will be lovely, and you'll have a good time, but
slowly, throughout the evening, you will grow angrier and
angrier. This will be because you are at the ICA, and
you'll be forced to watch very expensive technology being
pissed up the wall in increasingly dreary patterns. Tickets
will be 8UKP/6UKP. This will make you even angrier. Perhaps
you will consider torching the place. We will be there,
handing you the petrol can. Offering you a light.
- all art is quite useless. this Website, however, is pushing it
>> TRACKING <<
net tucker man
The only annoying thing about the PERL FRIDGE MAGNET SET is
that there aren't enough "$" symbols and only two pairs of
curly brackets. Otherwise, it would be the perfect visual
editor for Perl. As it is, you'll just have to make do with
creating parsing Perl poems. As infinitely re-usable and
free form as the language itself, the set costs $17.50
(outside US) from that commune of outstanding techsmiths,
The Perl Journal.
- Rapid prototyping for prosodists
- Perl creating Java quoting Unix emulating fridge
Almost worth scrabbling in that big cardboard box for your
old Nintendo handheld, with the launch of the delightfully
low-res GAME BOY CAMERA and Sticker Printer due here
10/07/98 (UKP 40, 50 respectively). If yours remains lost/
knackered, the COLOUR GAME BOY is slated for November (UKP
80) - or, for real head-jobs, there's the DATEL GAMEBOOSTER
(UKP 40, out in July), which plays GB carts on either the
PlayStation or N64. Obviously near-pointless, but how would
*you* go about building one: PSX emulates GB in software?
(And would Sony approve the CD?) Or just take the insides of
real GBs and feed the video in through the PSX i/o port?
- tragically, killer app Pokemon delayed till 1999
- convert your "Action Replay" into PSX dev kit!
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
TV NATION to return to C4... http://www.shon.ky/ ... Jolt
gets UK distributor... Mr Bunting's Experiment:
http://www.irational.org/biotech/ ... UNABOMBER has a
manifesto sequel, but publishers won't print it (put it on
the Web, Ted!)... putting thumb into thumbnails:
... Yahoo Internet Nolife: http://www.e-z.net/~ed1/yoohoo/
... pronouncing WIRED MAGAZINE as "Why Read"... NTK
subscriber site alert! http://www2.prestel.co.uk/lwtcdi/ ...
following AT&T buyout, shares in NYSE quoted company TCI
rose 10%, Unfortunately, NYSE:TCI isn't the cableco: it's a
real estate company that shares the same initials... Jerky
Spice: http://www.znet.com/~dwhite/dance.html ... ENDSLEIGH
insurance state that running Linux on your PC *increases*
its value... new stuff at http://people.netscape.com/jwz/ >> GEEK MEDIA <<
may contain strongly-typed language
TV>> the schedules go all "if... then...", depending who
decides to show the second-round World Cup stuff - so now you
can watch ENGLAND VS COLUMBIA (7.30pm, Fri, BBC1) like you
really have something at stake... cool f/x and occasional
safety tips fan the tedious embers of BACKDRAFT (10.30pm,
Fri, BBC1)... while John Peel and possibly the world's
worst chatshow host - Jo Whiley - wallow around GLASTONBURY
'98 (9pm and 11.15pm, Fri, BBC2)... Bad Taste/ Braindead/
Meet The Feebles director Peter Jackson wimps out with NZ
murder frolic HEAVENLY CREATURES (9pm, Sat, BBC2); Kate
Winslet plays - wait for it - a posh girl... Sunday goes
gangbusters with Bill Murray and De Niro in MAD DOG AND
GLORY (10.10pm, Sun, BBC2) - marginally more believable than
Pacino and Madonna in DICK TRACY (11.05pm, Sun, BBC1
optional)... it's good to talk, but chaffeuring hookers is
better, discovers Bob Hoskins in excellently grim MONA LISA
(10pm, Sun, C4) - like The Crying Game, with plot... and,
finally, from the home of the Mafia comes projectionist
weepie classic CINEMA PARADISO (12.45am, Sun, C4)... THE
MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION (2.35am, Mon, C4) looks at
African-Americans in sci-fi - like that funny bit in Chasing
Amy?... Coogan's run ends with the clarion cry: I'M ALAN
PARTRIDGE (9pm, Tue, BBC2) - then cleverly avoids
typecasting by voicing the car-obsessed AUTOEROTIC (2.40am,
Tue, C4)... tape the first bit and wipe Woody Allen's early,
sporadically funny TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN (12.15am, Tue,
BBC1)... cute Connected columnist Vanessa Collingridge
continues C5's ratings-driven porn trend with subtly-titled
docu SEX LIFE (9.50pm, Tue, C5)... it's final cut for Barry
Norman in repeated FILM 98 (12.30pm, Wed, BBC2) - if you
were too busy watching Anna Friel last Sun... springtime
for Mel Brooks in his last genuine comedy, THE PRODUCERS
(12.50am, Wed, BBC1)... while the real victims of "new
cruelty" sketch show BARKING (11.25pm, Wed, C4) have to be -
you've guessed it - anyone trying to watch it...
FILM>> yes, it's another Alien/ The Thing/ The Relic remake
- what d'you expect from a film called MIMIC? (imdb: sci-fi
/ horror / thriller / virus / dissection / giant-insect /
epidemic / cockroaches / subway / shoes ) But, unlikely
bio-theory aside, it's quite a viable mutation... again, no
real stretch for Jennifer Aniston in soppy hetero-conversion
feel-gooder THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION (imdb: romance /
comedy / gay / based-on-novel / drama)... another My Bloody
Shirley Valentine for Julie Walters and Brenda Blethyn,
hitting Vegas for their last GIRL'S NIGHT (imdb: comedy /
drama)... PALMETTO (imdb: thriller / mystery) sounds like a
chocolate box selection - which'd be more interesting
viewing than Woody Harrelson and Elisabeth Shue in this flop
Florida noir... going to 'Nam worked for dad Martin Sheen
(Apocalypse Now), and brother Charlie (Platoon), but not
Emilio Estevez in family flashback effort THE WAR AT HOME
(MPAA rated: R for "a war-related shooting, an intense
sequence of violent threat, and for language")...
SKIENCE>> More horse/stable door/bolting combos: The
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) has just announced
they've finished the computer models that will allow them to
predict when failures will occur in the wheels and
suspension of high-speed trains: the answer "about three
weeks ago" won't do, apparently... not content with basking
in Bjorn Borg's past glories, the Swedes have statistically
proved that our greatest contribution to Wimbledon - Dan
Maskell - was full of it: players aren't more likely to
fluff the next point after a double fault; new balls don't
help: cliche after cliche fails to scrape over the
mathematical net... an in-depth Cornell research study
reveals why eggs explode in the microwave (they do? let's
try)... maybe now they've discovered feathered dino fossils
in China, that whole birds<>dinos argument will finally go
extinct... get ready for history-making as REALLY BIG PDFs:
those nice folks at NASA's History Office have scanned all
the Apollo Press Kits:
... autonomous 'bot the size of a Greyhound bus to roam
America's highways filling in potholes - someone send it up
the M11, please... no contest for top new paper at
XXX.lanl.gov this month: "Causal Randomness, Complete Wave
Mechanics, and the Ultimate Unification of Knowledge"...
>> 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 "now powered by VIM".
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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