_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "The government is *trolling* for evidence that
Microsoft 'engaged in a comprehensive plan and pattern
of anticompetitive conduct to monopolize markets.'"
...now you know who posts all those slashdot attacks
>> HARD NEWS <<
but who's whose?
After their "Net users get depressed" anti-news, we're
hoping Carnegie-Mellon will turn their sociological
microscopes to a rash of Net-related amnesia that's been
doing the rounds. Sources close to the BILL GATES court
deposition indicate that The World's Cleverest Man has great
problems recalling the exact chain of events that lead to
company writing its browser - and indeed, many Microsoft
representatives apparently found it different to even remember
the term. "Witnesses claim they don't know what a browser is.
What used to be browsers are now simply 'bits of browsing
technologies.'" reports the NYT's Joel Brinkley, though of
course this was all in the pre-Outlook days, an era of
almost medieval chaos...
- "basing their estimates on detailed time dairies"?
Australasia seems to be heading for a Mad Max period of
lawlessness. Australia's LABOR PARTY has fired two workers,
following a Web crack of the opposing Liberal party's
Website (which linked the site to hardcore porn, and called
John Howard the "Prime Minister for Pain, Suffering and
Inequity". Satire!). Thank God New Zealander PETER GUTMANN
still has some respect for law and order. Wanting to
demonstrate his cryptlib software on a US trip, he wrote for
- and received, a temporary permit for its dangerous crypto
wares. The principle proviso was that he came back with the
disk. Naturally, to comply with US export laws, the disk he
returned with had to be re-formatted before leaving the US.
That was okay, though, because the code on the disk was
readily available from European ftp sites anyway. Naturally,
Peter complied with all existing legislation during his
trip, including a document that allowed him to export a disk
to Auckland, then re-import it back to the same spot. As
Peter says, "It's folk wisdom that dealing with bureaucrats
is like running around in circles, but I may be one of the
few people on earth to have an official government permit to
- the loop
There's no news around for our third item, so instead we'll
keep you informed on how all the other Net journalists are
coping with the famine. MICHAEL WOLFF, who
famously wrote a book on his own experiences as a Net
publisher in "Burn Rate", devotes his New York Times
Magazine column to how he's being written about
by Brill's Content, a mag entirely devoted to analyses of
other journalists. Noah Robischon, the Net journalist
commissioned to do the Brill piece, is ex-editor of Netly
News, the Net publisher of which, Josh Quittner, wrote the
definitive Net-journalist-on-other-Net-Journalists piece,
the story of Suck in Wired. Suck's Carl Steadman, the only
man we believe qualified (by talent and academic training)
to indulge in this kind of postmodernism, has been subtly
demolishing Michael Wolff in his Industry Standard columns
(a magazine that Michael Wolff himself writes a column for).
Carl's also been encouraging Gary Wolf to write *his* story
of everybody else's stories in his upcoming history of
Wired. Hopefully, the Wired book will include a chapter on
the executive editor of HotWired, Gary Wolf, and thus an
- why journalists have to be protected from other journalists
- six degrees of mr steadman
- worst of the lot
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
CD writing a dangerous business: DORLING KINDERSLEY MD Alan
King now receiving fatwahs over a pic of Mohammed on
CD-ROM... guess we won't be seeing that underwater SWISS AIR
advert again... "Change is good" - KATZ leaves Hotwired...
EPSON printers claim to be "Year 2000 ready" - ah, those
notorously time-dependent font renderers... "MICROSOFT
pledges support to SET" - the Egyptian God, right?... DISNEY
kill Onion book after unfortunate Walt/Hitler headline
proposal... last week to enter Interactive BAFTAs -
apparently not much competition... did LUCASFILM kill
http://www.starwarsfarts.com/ (www.lucasfarts.com still
available)?... US gov claim they "checked the website" of EL
SHIFA factory before bombing it... http://www.motoracer.com
points to something a "racier" than EA PlayStation game...
BANDAI pulls plug on http://www.my-cd.com, stunned by own
"inability to license content from major record labels"...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Thanks to everyone who responded to last week's entirely
genuine NTK job ad, including acclaimed cyberpunk author PAT
CADIGAN, who - fear not - will have to undergo the interview
stages and "aptitude tests" just like everyone else. We
*think* it's just a publicity ruse for her new VR whodunnit
novel, TEA FROM AN EMPTY CUP (Voyager, 5.99), which she will
be reading and signing at various real-world locales from
Forbidden Planet, London WC1 (1pm, Sat 05/09/98), to Cyberia
Cybercafe, London W1 (6pm, Wed 09/09/98), and the Birmingham
Science Fiction Group/ FantasyCon (7.30pm, Fri 11/09/98).
The latter will be webcast via LineOne (headsets/ neural jacks
- SFX gave it "B-", but what the hell do they know?
Next week's BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF
SCIENCE FESTIVAL (Cardiff University, 07-11/09/98) takes a
more populist tone (presumably to attract young people to
the field) with its TOYS FOR THE BOYS theme, and promises of
"gadgets, cars, and girls!". Oops, no, sorry, got the press
releases muddled up: the BAAS fest examines "The Challenge
For Science" under the calm gaze of controversial
neuroscientist Prof Colin Blakemore, while the appalling
sounding "Toys For The Boys" show is run by "Crucial Events
Ltd" at the Wembley Exhibition and Conference Centre,
04-06/09/98. Please note that the "gadgets" include very few
useful household devices, like washing machines, food
processors or irons, and that - disappointingly - the show
features no actual children's toys.
- with Sociology Challenge and Human Brain Challenge sub-games
- it's no War Planets (http://www.trendmaster.com)
And levelling out the gender balance is video games trade fair
ECTS (London Olympia, 06-08/09/98), nowadays attracting a
surprising number of female delegates (admittedly either in
a PR capacity or wearing bikinis and brandishing machine
guns). Your mission(s): try to convince yourself that
Dreamcast will be any good, nick a Colour Game Boy, and see
if there's any truth to the bizarre "Eidos to buy Psygnosis"
rumours (one - refreshingly honest - PR reassured us: "Not
after this lot of financial results".)
- welcomes live "Lara Croft" *and* "Daikatana girl"!
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
Devon smugglers were quick to sneak PGP 6.0 past the
sleeping coastguards this week. It's just the Mac and
Windows users who get to revel in embedded photo-IDs in
their key certifs, secure server access and better
revocation features (like giving trusted friends revocation
capabilities and keys that expire). Bitter UNIXen should
stick to GnuPG, although last we heard, the guy working on
the UNIX ports had left Network Associates (after death
threats regarding his junking of the old command line, no
doubt), and so they're a tad undermanned in that department.
Zimmerman may be a DOS-boy at heart, but he's paid his dues
- fell of the back of a lorry, guv'nor
- Windows version "should not be used for real work"
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
http://www.worlddomination.com/ ... Win PSXemu ... POCKET
OPERATION http://www.basicfun.com/KeyChains/games2.htm ...
STAR TREK: Special Edition... pocket DONKEY KONG
name for OASIS tribute band that isn't : http://iasos.com
... http://www.scour.net/ ... candid raw TV feeds at
http://www.wildfeedtv.net/ ... REBOOT series three makes it
to the US... KRISPY KREME doughnuts... Now REALDOLL has a
friend: http://www.inti-mate.com/stud.html ... a study on
the effect of too much caffeine amongst mathematicians:
http://www.sysinternals.com/ ... "Lately, I've been
experimenting with the asexual quality of LEGO. I've created
actual women." - http://www.sweet-peas.com/lego/intro2.htm
... http://www.iproject.net/WFH/JackieChan/InjuryGame/ ...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
may contain strongly-typed language
TV>> marvel at the aimless plotting, stunt casting and
occasional gag in the terrifying "highlight" of BBC2's
returning "Comedy" Zone - the "University Challenge" episode
of THE YOUNG ONES (10pm, Fri, BBC2)... fear not: "Mr Hankey
The Christmas Poo" is widely regarded as one of the best
SOUTH PARKs ever (11.05pm, Fr, C4)... while Hywel Bennett's
PERCY (12.35pm, Fri, BBC1) may be *the worst sex comedy of
all time* (unless there's another Bennett vehicle called
"Bysshe")... Astra-owning MiSTies rejoice, as MST3k
reschedules to avoid the Sky watershed with Gemini Man
nonsense "Riding with Death" (10pm, Fri, SciFi)...
fortunately, the "new season" starts on Sat, with ITV
fielding GLADIATORS (6pm), Cilla Black's alt.games-style
MOMENT OF TRUTH (7pm), plus - wait for it - MOTORWAY LIFE
(8.30pm), a fly-on-the-wall docu about people who work on
(or near) the M6... the competition: Costner's costly
not-too-bad (but bad) WATERWORLD (9pm, Sat, BBC1), one of
those rare films where the studio logo merges seamlessly
into the opening scene... still, a bit more action than
Crichton's emotionless (but widescreen) repeat, WESTWORLD
(10.45pm, Sun, BBC2)... most promising phrases used by Radio
Times to describe Di doc THE PRINCESS'S PEOPLE (9.30pm, Sun,
BBC2): "unsentimental" and "those who appeared to be
indifferent"... if there was any justice, viewers of Gus Van
Sant's dire EVEN COWGIRLS GET THE BLUES (12.35am, Sun, C4)
could go to him and demand two hours of their lives
*back*... new cop drama LIVERPOOL ONE (9pm, Mon, ITV)
ingeniously pits Brookie's Barry Grant against hot new
psychologist, Samantha Janus!... when will they pay tribute
to whoever invented mad cycling science demo show LOCAL
HEROES (8pm, Mon, BBC2)?... plus: surprise! ITV buries new,
actually OK-ish Kirstie "Lieutenant Saavik" Alley sitcom
VERONICA'S CLOSET (10.40pm, Mon, ITV)... EQUINOX (9pm, Tue,
C4) looks at "gravity" (please, no)... high hopes for TV
review/ preview slot THE HAUNTED FISHTANK (12.40am, Tue,
some ITV) - presented by Ed Hall, possibly the new, ginger
Johnny Vaughan... flee from BATMAN FOREVER (8.30pm, Wed,
ITV), and - there is no god - *another* series of incoherent
musos "chatting" with JO WHILEY (11.25pm, Wed, C4)...
HORIZON samples Viagra (9pm, Thu, BBC2)... though
alternative "cures" include those offered by Nick Broomfield
in FETISHES (11pm, Thu, C4)... coverage of the 50th
Farnborough on THE AIR SHOW (8pm, Thu, BBC2)... and of
course Sly Stallone and pals forgetting to check that
there's no-one pointing guns at them while they're pointing
guns at someone else, in ruined-by-dumb-flying-bikes
production treat JUDGE DREDD (9.35pm, Thu, BBC1)...
FILM>> Spike Lee almost slam-dunks his heavy-handed
message-movie tendencies in not-as-good-as-Hoop-Dreams
black/street battler HE GOT GAME (imdb: father-son / drama /
sport / basketball). Still, the lead character is called
"Jesus"... sassy dialogue is the salvation of Whit
Stillman's Barcelona-prequel THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO (imdb:
drama / nightclub / scrooge-mcduck / venereal-disease /
1970s / comedy / disco / 1980s / roommates / new-york /
studio-54) - and don't get your hopes up for Mike Myers'
similarly themed "54"... hard to tell which you should avoid
harder: Anna Friel and god-awful Rachel Weisz in THE LAND
GIRLS (imdb: drama / wwii / period / rural / women / dorset
/ love)... or The Krays/ Let Him Have It director Peter
Medak warping back to his Space: 1999 origins with the truly
terrible SPECIES II (imdb user's plot summary: "Lazard's
character gets infected by an alien and slowly begins to
mutate. When they get back to Earth all he has on his mind
is to have sex with [Natasha] Henstridge!")...
BEAUTY WITHOUT CRUELTY (WITHIN)>> admittedly, something of a
departure for NTK, prompted by the launch of Gillette's MACH
3 "male shaving system" (http://www.mach3.com), descibed by
reader BEN ROONEY as "the best a man can get" - and he's the
editor of the Telegraph's Connected section... oddly, rivals
Wilkinson Sword also chose this month to launch their
clashing blade, PROTECTOR 3D METAL, promising "technology in
3 dimensions" - though not, as yet, an OpenGL API... other
personal grooming tips include LLOYD WOOD's 80 things to do
with shampoo (http://www.alberto.com/vo5hdtip.htm) - yet
another example of life simply imitating The Onion
CECIL was very taken by Lancome's release of a perfume
called "Oui!", looking forward to ads like: "Now you can
smell... of Oui!"... the ASA upheld complaints against press
ads for Elida Faberge's hip new FUSION fragrance for
incorporating white powder samples plus the tagline "The
only thing in a club worth sniffing"... also from Connected
(tech supplement to the "beautiful people"), GEORGIA
CAMERON-CLARKE highlighted alarming claims from ESTEE LAUDER
that their latest skin toner "actually re-programs" the skin
to produce less oil... but READER MILLINGTON wins the NTK
geek makeover prize with his observation that BOOTS' SPA
TONING lotion asserts that "after one application", it
increases the skin's elasticity "by at least 19 per cent".
His girlfriend has "been applying it all week, so I should
be able to pull her ears right the way down onto her chin
then watch them spring up again"...
>> 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 "ragged-trouser misanthropists".
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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