_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "Gates had told [DEC CEO] Palmer 'You have to decide if you're Larry's
friend or my friend'"
- DAVID CHAIKEN, ex-Digital researcher and playground snitch
>> HARD NEWS <<
Who said de facto monopolies were slow to respond? On
Tuesday, Oftel gave BT's CLICK! Internet service the
nod, despite the fears of independent ISPs that BT would use
its existing customer database to poach their users. Within
hours, BT was... well, using its existing customer database
to poach independent ISPs' users. BT telesales, the good
Rupert Goodwins reveals, have been cold-calling customers
who named ISP dial-up numbers as "Friends & Family"
(hey, we've all been there) and asking them if they'd be
interested in this *fascinating* new service. Of course, if
they'd really sorted this data-mining stuff, they'd have had
a big light that flashed whenever they got a Cix user on the
line. Warning! Suspicious of Unsolicited Calls! Knows
Loads of Journalists! Unlikely To Change ISP At This Late,
Late, Stage! And ... Probably Recording This Call!
- finally, reading 1000 cix conferences pays off for Mr Goodwins
- also in the self-defeating promotions stakes, this is where
BT's extensive banner ad campaign for ISDN points to...
- and this is what it was telling us yesterday
If Newt Gingrich wasn't already the pointy-haired boss of
the US legislature, his spur-of-the-moment decision to put
the Starr report on the Net (giving the sysadmins hours to
sort out bandwidth, and the librarians minutes to OCR the
thing) now confirms it. Aww, like we care. As far as we can
see, this is going to be about as exciting as last week's
chance to see Americans learning how to count, slowly, to
63. What are people expecting - animated GIFs? It could all
go horribly wrong, we guess/hope/predict: at time of going
to press, one train had already derailed in the excitement,
snipping through a bunch of Atlanta fibre-optics and taking
out a chunk of service in the south-east. And I'd watch out
for conclusive proof of terrorist camps around MAE-East, if
I were you, guys.
- go for those XXX banner ads
- or worse, it could be in PDF format
- this is just like that movie "Flap the Route", isn't it?
- give that man a cigar, too!
Coincidentally (or was it), one anonymous tipster writes in
to suggest a suitable cover story. As regular NTK tipsters
will be aware, middle-class people all over the world have
been desktop fighting for the Mexican Zapatistas, this week
by participating in Ricardo Dominguez' and Stefan Wray's
"Electronic Civil Disobedience Campaign". Broadly
translated, this has involved a mass pinging of the Mexican
President's site, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and the
Pentagon. Upshot: little press, flames from techies, a death
threat from a mysterious Mexican when Ricardo set out to
speak at Ars Electronica (yes, yes, they're artists, how did
you guess?), "ingenious" Blitzkrieg-style Java ICE
counterattacks, and, from our correspondent at least, a
patronising tip on how to *actually* crash their target
sites (word to your subcommandante: it's running NT). But,
you know, denial of service at the Pentagon is technically
infowar, it's election year in Germany - and the
milindustrial complex's got to use up those Cruises before
the GPS bug kicks in. Also, see above.
- "The HEART says good idea Bad Code!"
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
like every fanboy always knew - it's official: GALACTUS
destroyed Krypton... SUNDAY TIMES INNOVATION headline "Face
Muscles Could Control Wheelchairs"... MSN.CO.UK relaunches
*again*... NCR offers combined microwave/PC/TV - and it
still doesn't work as a cash register... ADOBE's profits
collapse - hint they're dropping Apple (clever: Apple'll pay
*anything* to shut that talk up)... Mormon video store to
edit out TITANIC nude footage for customers... to everyone
who sent us the e-mail: there *is* no Walt Disney, Jr...
NETWORK SOLUTIONS launch new London rootserver - forget to
reverse DNS it... AUTISM more common in males: getting the
hint yet? ... CARMACK finally busted for card counting in
casino... HMSO put UK pharmocopoeia online for 30 day trial
- downloaded and printed by 100s of chem geeks...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
How could we resist the combination of an e-commerce
conference, sponsorship from The Grocer magazine, *and* a
logical paradox, all under one roof? That's the promise from
NON-SHOP SHOPPING, all day Thu 17/09/98 at the Commonwealth
Institute, London W8. Radio 4's Sue McGregor will be
"chairing" and "facilitating" the sessions on digital TV,
the EMU, home shopping revolution etc etc, and among those
paying the UKP365 + VAT fees are delegates from Boots, Coca
Cola, Iceland (the shop), and United Biscuits. Hey, now
those biscuits have put together a united front, I bet the
cakes are worried...
- no online event registration, natch
Looking for a holiday that challenges your mind *and* your
body? How about 240 days sealed in an 3,500 cubic ft chamber with
69 other people, testing out biosystems for the INTERNATIONAL SPACE
STATION? Interested parties should contact Yevgeny Dyomin,
at the non-too-reassuringly-named Institute of Biomedical
Problems, Moscow. You must be between 30 and 50 years old at
the time of the test, fluent in English, and clearly
bonkers. The alternative is to win this "Design A Web Page -
Go And See the Leonids Meteor Shower In China", but you've
got to be under 19 for that one. A challenge to most of our
reader's bodies, that's for sure.
- anything to get away from this news coverage
- it'll be dark, no-one'll notice.
- life imitates Onion once more time
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
While, with most of the so-called "impartial" media busy
brainwashing the public into believing that there is only
one serious OS choice for PCs, we'd like to put in a brief
word for Windows 95 software, which is easily as good as
Linux in certain niche areas. This week, our token Win app
is SCRAMDISK 2.02, a very satisfactory on-the-fly file
encrypter that allows you to use any of your favourite
encryption algorithms on a mock mounted drive. It's small
enough to fit on a floppy, and also features a neat
hide-data-in-a-WAV-file steganography mode. Author's
anonymous, but the source code *is* available. And the
crypto resource pages are some of the best we've seen coming
from the UK.
- yeah, we know, Linux has cfs -- give a poor OS a break
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
so, who'd win in a mailing list slanging match between
Haddock and THE FILTHY TRUTH?... TTYQUAKE? when we see it
working on a *real* teletype, then we'll be impressed... C&W
going for cheapo ADSL?... was the BLUE PETER Garden incident
really an inside job?... PYTHON fans seize the Perl
Homeworld - http://www.tpj.com/tpj/rules/ ... well, *that's*
not full disclosure: http://www.ntk.net/doh/ms980911.gif ...
MP3ed nostalgia at http://www.c64audio.com/ ... the return
of FIRESIDE THEATRE... omigod, they killed KENOBI:
http://www.citysun.ac.uk/klawler/sp.htmhttp://www.conavigator.com/main.jhtml vs the MODEL RAILROAD
at http://onion-router.nrl.navy.mil/Tests.html ... build a
better one: http://ww.docfizzix.com ... GNU CPU design -
yah, right... FANTASY NOVELISTS demand Realism in Movies:
spot the irony in *this* anti-MS toon collection URL:
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
may contain strongly-typed language
TV>> lame new cop thing DANGERFIELD (9.30pm, Fri, BBC1)
takes the mickey with a crime scene in a (presumably
dangerous) field... the Black Sabbath branch of ROCK FAMILY
TREES (11.15pm, Fri, BBC2) hopefully solves the mystery of
why rockers no longer have cool names like "Ozzy Osbourne",
"Ian Gillan", and "Ronnie James Dio"... and can new star
Julian Barratt monkey around with the peridontal atrium of
COMEDY NATION (12.05am, Fri, BBC2) to stop it becoming the
sci-fi-free Planet Mirth?... the synthetic fabrics of '70s
nostalgia stray near to the 2-bar electric fire of desperate
C4 theme nights, causing an avoidable DISCO INFERNO (from
9pm, Sat, C4)... and Sat's only bright spot - repeats of the
US extreme-cyberpunk spin-off series of MAX HEADROOM (7pm,
Sat, Sci-Fi cable only) - are dimmed by slow plotting and
this first one being just a shorter remake of the original
Blipverts movie (*plus* Bryce is no longer evil!)... former
"Kryten" Robert Llewellyn finds himself on the SCRAPHEAP
(6.20pm, Sun, C4) - when they asked us about helming this
Mad-Max Great Egg Race-style face-off, we said that
difficulty playtesting would be a problem. Based on the flop
of their Easter hovercraft-building pilot, they didn't
listen... more stomach-churning than Saving Private Ryan's
depiction of D-Day: Mark "Moviedrome" Cousins fawns over
Spielberg in WAR STORIES (8.40pm, Sun, BBC2)... and some say
the anti-Nazi message of SCHINDLER'S LIST (9.30pm, Sun,
BBC2) is so powerful that *everyone should be forced to
watch it*... hey, if you were responsible for both Mrs
Merton and laugh-free class-tourism sitcom THE ROYLE FAMILY
(10pm, Mon, BBC2), maybe you'd try to kill yourself too...
Martin Clunes returns as Man Shagging Unconvincingly in
uninspired marriage drama TOUCH AND GO (9pm, Tue, BBC2)...
the "This Life" bloke chases undead semi-believable vampires
afraid of the ULTRAVIOLET (10pm, Tue, C4)... and
decontaminate the deadly dull Michael Crichton double bill
of CONGO (9.30pm, Thu, BBC1) and THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN
(11.25pm, Thu, BBC1), for C4's ongoing "Renegade TV"
efforts, including the "uncompromising" Newcastle-based ZINE
(1.10am, Thu, C4), repeats of Ken Campbell's BRAINSPOTTING
(2.35am, Thu, C4), and the non-confrontational but no less
entertaining repeated Cringely fest TRIUMPH OF THE NERDS
(3.35am, Thu, C4)...
FILM>> disgusted by redesign of Amazon-owned IMDB? Well,
fortunately, they haven't reached all the mirrors yet (
http://virgin-net.imdb.com/search )... fans of nasal Tom
Hanks see him kill for the first time (and be killed?,
detractors may hope), in widely hyped "war unpleasant,
cruel" shocker SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (imdb: drama / war /
action / rescue / military / wwii / historical / d-day /
normandy / violence / blood / gore / controversial / tragedy
/ blockbuster / omaha-beach / epic / cult-favorites /
based-on-true-story / brothers / bravery / army-life /
heroism / weapons / vomit / 1940s / tank / flashback /
soldier / aviation / _horror_ / brother / death / guns /
machine-gun / tearjerker / anti-war / stabbing / translator
/ bridge / machine-gun-nest). The apparently entirely
serious http://www.hollywoodjesus.com highlights the film's
Christian message - at least it's not Schindler's List 2:
Nazis On The Run... so, god knows what they'd make of LA VIE
DE JESUS (imdb: French), an oddly non-Biblical countryside
version of La Haine, though not from the immigrants' point
of view... even the official URL - http://babymother.channel4.com
- doesn't seem to work for Hackney-set "Ragga to riches"
musical BABYMOTHER (imdb: yeah, right)... so, this week's
surprise tip: raunchy revenge-fuelled OTT costume antics for
people who don't like costume dramas in Balzac's COUSIN
BETTE (imdb: comedy / 1800s / based-on-novel / drama /
period), including "Elisabeth Shue writhing naked in
PRO-CELEBRITY FEEBDACK>> "Are contributors still being named
and shamed?" inquires privacy activist MARK DZIECIELEWSKI,
after inadvertently being credited with a tip he sent in two
weeks ago [see NTK 28/08/98]. Yeah, sorry Mark - NTK policy
is to keep all contributions anonymous, unless they
specifically request a credit (in which case we usually keep
them anonymous), or they're clearly doing something (like a
whois lookup) that no-one is going to get too annoyed
about... rather less playfully, cult author MARTIN MILLAR
was "extremely unhappy" about the mention we gave to his
book Love And Peace With Melody Paradise [also NTK
28/08/98], objecting to the phrase "after bundles of
rejection notes, Millar would be the first to concede that
it might not be any good", and instead pointing out that he
tried to get it published "for several years", because he
likes it "so much". There we are then - the author himself
recommends his own work. Now go buy it... sticking with
lit, Surfing On The Internet author JC HERZ complimented us
on last week's NTK, with the precise words "God, this issue
was the best ever (love the beauty notes)", followed by the
enigmatic postscript "I'm making Joystick Nation into a
two-hour documentary for PBS". Cheers JC, though apparently
the youngsters are all calling them "joypads" nowadays...
again with the personal grooming: CONRAD HUGHES queried our
description of Wilkinson Sword as Gillette's "rivals", being
"under the impression that Gillette own 20% of WS, so it's a
bit of a weird rivalry". Well, now that
http://www.wilkinson-sword.co.uk/ is up, that's clearly not
their only identity crisis: the "male/ female" select option
suggests that the big 5 items in every bloke's gym bag
include a copy of Cosmopolitan and a "spare lipstick"... and
finally, prolific tipster LLOYD WOOD couldn't stop chuckling
over the odd juxtaposition in the job ad where we advised
applicants to hack the homepage of a "major UK web design
agency". You're right Lloyd, we didn't mean "major", we
meant "still going"...
>> 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 "picking one from column A".
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