_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
| \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ ____03/07/98_ o Join! Mail 'subscribe ntknow'
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "People don't pay for the software [in China]. Someday they will,
though. And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to
steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll figure
out how to collect sometime in the next decade."
- BILL GATES, explaining Microsoft's Chinese strategy
well, it worked for opium
>> HARD NEWS <<
"See you in court" became less of a threat this week, as it
transpired that's where everybody else was. INTEL popped in
for a brief chat with administrative law judge James Timony,
pleading that the Federal Trade's Commission anti-trust suit
needed "clarification" (translation: "who, us?"). Judge
Timony, in a two-line statement, told them to shut up and
prepare to reap justice. In other chambers, MICROSOFT
settled with weeny Chicago ISP SyNet, who had the temerity
to point out they owned the trademark "Internet Explorer".
Microsoft, who had claimed that the term was too generic to
own, in the end paid SyNet $5 million for the right not to
own it for themselves. And as that was wrapping up, IBM
found itself battling over ownership of the letter 'e'. A
French company, E Technologies, says that it has trademarked
the popular vowel (ingeniously done up to look like an @
symbol) in both Franc and Blgium, with licenses held by
Sesame Street and a chain of drug dealerships in those
- 'F' still available
- rest of ASCII going fast though
Britain and Ireland: two nations separated by a terrible,
unbridgeable gulf - the considerable difference in IQ of their
governments. This week, Ireland put forward proposals for
the simplest, most sensible cryptography policy to be seen
yet - support for digital signatures, strong crypto for all
citizens, but with a legal obligation to hand over your keys
when requested. By contrast, the British government somehow
managed to saddle their tech businesses with even more dumb,
unusable legislation. In their response to the Arms-to-Iraq
Scott report, the Labour government promised strong
legislation to prevent the proliferation of arms abroad.
Slipped into the white paper was the declared intent to
extend export controls to include data spread via the Net.
Sound familiar? Yup: it's the road to declaring certain
forms of computer code (nuke plans certainly, crypto almost
explicitly by extension) an unexportable munition in its own
right, just as in the US. Great idea: unenforceable in
practice, and criminalising almost every high-tech reseach
or business organisation that depends on international
co-operation. Well, never mind - at least there's somewhere
close to move to.
- even if you have to live next to Negroponte
- a modest proposal
- uh-uh! my name's the dti!
Still, it could be worse. You could be in Italy*, where a
non-profit mailserver was "preventatively" seized by police
on Saturday after its archiving software put an allegedly
libellous mailing list posting onto the Web. Presumably, the
Italian magistrates will now try and convict the PC for
perpetrating such a despicable act. In the meanwhile,
hundreds of users of Isolenella Rete ("Islands in the Net")
are without mail or Web space, even though very few of them
were involved in the act, and no-one has yet to be charged.
Anyone want to adopt a few Net refugees?
*-apologies to subscribers Antonio, Duncan, Dario, Curzola,
Luke, Michelotto and Stop, who are. It's nice apart from
that, though, isn't it?
- "Postal Police" : a worrying concept
- the irony is, it's probably some awful neo-nazi
site, but we've got no way of finding out...
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
TOWER now filing 2600-clones in children's magazine
section... VIRGIN courts controversy with beat-'em-up THRILL
KILL, in which female dominatrix character "simulates an
orgasm" while despatching opponents... post-NEWHOUSE Wired:
Prada suits in the Colophon, Gore Vidal, *Jackie Charlton*
in Fetish, while subscriber BRUCE STERLING's study of the
"Triple Xtra Large" strangely omits himself... electricity
generators "have too much power", BBC NEWS uncovers... DAVID
BOWIE to offer portal service... CRIME KILLER tries to court
*more* controversy with "Rough Justice: Tough Shit"
posters... COMPUSERVE goes for 17.95UKP 'flat' fee -
Falco!... EFF fundraising gig unveils life-sized statue of
JERRY GARCIA ... barely-improved TIMES INTERFACE runs
possibly *the worst feature of all time*, a breathy
first-person account of a games launch at the US Embassy
(p7), featuring the paragraph: "The receptionist told me to
take a seat nearby and to wait, adding that someone would be
along shortly"... C|Net runs banner that boasts "We've got
HTML covered from &65; to &90;!" - which is invalid HTML
(see http://www.illuminated.co.uk/cnet/ for details)...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
One of the few end-of-the-world gigs that you can
pre-register for : the SUBGENIUS RELIGION times out
spectacularly when X-Day finally arrives on Sunday 05/07/98.
Devotees will gather at "Ground Zero", Brushwood, Sherman,
NY, ready to beam aboard the escape vessels of the Sex
Goddesses, a bit like Heaven's Gate, but this time for
real. Apparently many will be leaving behind "Last
Starfighter"-style android clones - leaving the "pinks" to,
wrongly, assume that the whole thing didn't happen.
- so who's going to maintain Slackware now?
The commendable INDEX ON CENSORSHIP and Chris Ellison's INTERNET
FREEDOM group are having a discussion on "Hate Speech" at
London's Webshack on Thursday 09/07/98 from 1400BST onwards.
Given the closeness of the two organisation's opinions, we
can't imagine there'll be much in the way of live
demonstrations. Thank God, then, that the chat is being
relayed via a Undernet IRC channel called '#hatespeech' - a
name ripe for misunderstanding amongst IRC's genuine
- wonder what their /kick policy will be
- less free speech! more free beer!
>> TRACKING <<
net tucker man
A couple of updates from our resident road warrior, Moose,
who seems to be attempting to create his own tellytubbyesque
internal TV system. Part I: the not-just-for-kids B&W TYCO
Videocam is now down to 20UKP at branches of Debenhams and
Toys &funny_r; Us. It's a 320x287 greyscale PAL camera, which
when crunched underfoot reveals a matchbox-size CCD package.
Perfect, as Moose says, for "attaching to a radio-controlled
car or secreting in milady's boudoir". Or plugging into your
handheld Linux workstation. What's that? Not got a Libretto
yet? Well, it might be an idea to wait - news from Japan is
that a sequel to the almost-affordable Toshiba Libretto 70
has been announced. The 1000SS (for that is its name) is
*even* thinner, *even* faster. And, let's hope, *even*
- but think of all the money you've saved on video equipment
- yes yes, we know you'd need a PCMCIA framegrabber
- 24 hour spinning geek cam NOW!
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
Hunting for passwords by sticking '::$DATA' on .asp URLs...
ANTZ vs A BUG'S LIFE... ALAN MOORE (more MOORE!) returns
with LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN... where has STUART
DINSEY taken all the CTW staff?... rumschpringes...
videoing GAME BOY CAMERA anims by playing them back through
your Super Game Boy... who ate all the pies?
http://www.pierecipe.com/ ... Girl Power cabal uses
hypnotism to destroy traditional male sport... Quakers!
http://www.sujoy.com/ now readable again!... rebels with
rather too many causes - http://www.protest.net/ ... more
armchairish insurrection at http://www.spanner.org/mclibel/vdo/
... WWF on PCP - http://www.wwf.com/news/137.html ... DAVID
BRAKE *is* John Shuttleworth ... DISHWASHER PETE speaks -
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
life from a safe distance
TV>> just when you thought it was safe to etc etc - not
since Discovery's hilarious ratings-grabbing "Shark Week"
has there been schedules like JAWS 2 (8pm, Sat, BBC1 if no
football), JAWS 3 (8.05pm, Sat, Sky Movies Gold), and JAWS
(9.40pm, Wed, UK Gold)... C4 Fridays shaping up promisingly
for new Friends/ Frasier/ South Park next week, except for,
uh-oh, SO GRAHAM NORTON (10.30pm, Fri, C4). "So fucking
what?" you may well ask... rest easy, Gene Roddenberry's
wacko future fable GENESIS II (12.40am, Sat, BBC1 if no
football) isn't a US dramatisation of Sega's Megadrive II...
a great TMWRNJ joke is born, with Anthony Hopkins
fantasising over Emma Thompson in THE REMAINS OF THE DAY
(7.45pm, Sat, ITV if no football), then Debra Winger in
SHADOWLANDS (8pm, Wed, C5)... "gratuitous widescreen
presentation!" is the fun thing to yell at the
always-watchable repeat of WAYNE'S WORLD (9pm, Sun, BBC2)...
THE SOUTH BANK SHOW (10.50pm, Sun, ITV) pays long-due homage
to the best presenter The Big Breakfast never had (and
Extropian soundalike): Will Self... no excuse for either new
fly-on-the-wall-of-a-shopping-mall docu LAKESIDERS (8.30pm,
Mon, BBC1) or the "thrice weekly" dinner-party chat with
RUBY WAX (11.15pm, Mon, BBC2)... more Lee & Herring humour:
no, you don't have to have seen "the other seven" to enjoy
Andy Garcia/ Uma Thuman thriller JENNIFER EIGHT (10.30pm,
Wed, BBC1 if football)... so, also avoid Rutger Hauer in
Dead Calm rip-off TV movie VOYAGE (10.30pm, Tue, BBC1 if
football), for starkly French narco-cop drama L.627
(11.05pm, Tue, C4) - and no, you don't have to have seen
"the other 626"... life imitates art, with a double bill of
behind-bars action for real-life con Christian Slater (from
9.30pm, Thu, BBC1)... while RUNAWAY (9pm, Thu, C5) has cop
Tom Selleck hunting funny little "malfunctioning robots", in
something of a major plot departure for Michael Crichton,
also writer of Westworld...
FILM>> Ivan Reitman still hasn't made a decent film since
Ghostbusters, with the two lead performances the only reason
not to give nil points to SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS (imdb:
adventure / romance / comedy / pilot / wrecked) - some sort
of hoo-haa about Anne Heche being gay in real life, when it
is well known that other Hollywood stars are *all entirely
heterosexual*... America's oldest teens re-unite in
profanity-packing meta-retro frolic GREASE (imdb: comedy /
musical / romance / blockbuster / based-on-play / teen /
1950s / high-school), commemorating the fact that the gap
between now and the original release date is the same as
between 1978 and the era that the film actually depicts...
at last - the surprisingly humorous high-culture gay
stalking TV satire the world's been waiting for, with John
Hurt and - of course - Beverly Hills 90210's Jason
Priestley, tussling with LOVE AND DEATH ON LONG ISLAND
(imdb: comedy / based-on-novel / psychological)... and a
limited release - if at all - for whiny Nick Broomfield's
latest gets-good-at-the-end odyssey KURT AND COURTNEY
(various sources: at first, looks like it couldn't have been
suicide; but Nick concludes Courtney didn't "off" him. Well,
obviously - she's been much too busy with her movie career.
*And* appearing in "Friends" every week!)...
FEEDING>> we can't find the WALLS WINNER TACO ice-cream
experience (80p) anywhere in London, but are assured it's
like a normal choc-ice that's (according to a promo leaflet)
"unique in it's [sic] ability to refresh and recharge... it
truly is a powerful new snack!". And without a hint of
Tex-Mex chilli flavouring either... oh and CALIPO SHOTS
aren't even out yet (due 20/07/98)... over with crisps,
CHEETOS are *back* (and now cheapo 15p)... in another vague
Lee & Herring tie-in, the milk-optional "cereal formerly
known as CINAMMON TOAST CRUNCH" has now become, horror of
horrors, "CINNAMON GRAHAMS"... it was minor supermarket
BUDGENS who bought all the UK's 7-11s, turned them into
"b2"s, may now rebrand some as "Budgens" again - interesting
facts from top business weekly THE GROCER, online (behind
mad registration system) at http://www.foodanddrink.co.uk
... ultra-obsessive "inconspicous consumption" food zine
BEER FRAME (US$2.50) now imported into UK by famed Kinder
Egg collector: http://www.mpawson.demon.co.uk/ ... and the
reason you've always needed to say "eh-oh" at the checkout
in Marks And Spencers: UKP1.29 for a 500g carton of 100%
TV-official TUBBY CUSTARD...
>> 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 "Happy 900 Million Seconds, Unix!"
perl -e 'print scalar gmtime( 900_000_000 );'
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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