_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
| \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ ____25/09/98_ o Join! Mail 'subscribe ntknow'
| \| | | | | ' / | '_ \ / _ \ \ /\ / / o to firstname.lastname@example.org
| |\ | | | | . \ | | | | (_) \ V V / o Website (+ archive) lives at:
|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "The computer industry is creatively bankrupt... with speed
and performance being the only things and mattered. We knew
the iMac was fast. We didn't need to make it ugly."
- JONATHAN IVES, iMac Designer
...but then we thought, why not?
>> HARD NEWS <<
win a cruise!
After almost a year of playing chicken with zero charge Net
provision, somebody went and did it. And, with the a
combination of technical know-how and traditional shoddiness
that can only be compared to a deBeers-Ratners joint,
Energis and Dixons were the people to do it. So what's it
like? Well, for what you pay for, it is, so far, very good.
5MB Web, infinite e-mails, nice registration, and a good
unflashy portal site. Charging for support seems,
initially, a bit of an own-goal: DIXONS fans
would instinctively let a grandsworth of PC rot in the attic
than pay one extra quid for any non-porno call; and what
value would you put on a minute spent with their legendarily
quick-witted sales assistants? But then, this may be the
canniest part of the Dixons deal. Whatever money was made
by ISPs back in the Bad Olde Days was forever sucked back by
prohibitive tech support costs. By trading on the
Dixons=Morons meme, and by making the punters believe that
they're pulling a fast one by never calling, Dixons will be
able to throttle the most unscaleable bit of the whole
operation. Meanwhile, partners Energis keep getting the
Telco interconnect payments of all those callers, and Dixons
get the portal. With rumours saying that by Thursday, they
were up to 12,000 accounts with 10 joining every *second*,
Energis/Planet's apparent over-spec for 250,000 users by
Christmas better stand up to the strain.
- logging on without the CD
- the best things are life are free. as is Robert X. Criiingley
- I want money. That's what I want.
Our spies at Privacy International (no secrets from us
there) inform us that Simon Davies and the lads are planning
a new set of awards, to be handed out in October. These Big
Brother awards will be given "to the government and private
sector organisations that have done the most to invade
personal privacy+in Britain." Launched 50 years after the
writing of Orwell's 1984, and featuring a charming statuette
of the iron boot stamping on a head, they are sure to be the
envy of all your fellow surveillance co-conspiracists.
Nominations are being accepted from members of the public,
So if you've ever got a thrill from secretly informing to a
quasi-autonomous body who - unbeknownst to their victims - is
compiling a database of suspected "criminals" for a
show-trial in abstentia... Hold on, this isn't coming out
right. There are also some "Winstons" for people who helped
privacy. We're not sure what they look like... a
ratcage, or something?
- oh, what the hell. Fun's fun, right
As you know, we've followed RICHARD BARRY'S career with
almost grandmotherly concern so we were as delighted as
anyone when he got his exclusive ZD Net interview with the
CEO of Intel, Craig... um, thing. Even if, for now, Intel's
own PR didn't seem to share our happiness. Starr-like, Barry
chose to put the whole transcript on a heavily plugged ZD
Net special: a fair barter, as he'd also obtained most of his
questions from the readers. But, sources suggest, he
*said* he was doing it for the Guardian. Ah, no, we think -
he's still on holiday from there, isn't he?
- Craig: Ha! /Barry: Haha!/Craig: Ha!/Barry: Well, time's up
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
"Football is the new rock and roll", uncover ZDNET UK,
approximately a decade late... WIRED compared to Third Reich
on Well... http://www.conf.labour.org.uk/ gets our block
vote - as the shittiest site *ever*... handwriting of
DOCTORS worse than controls, reveal BMJ... BRITISH
ASTRONOMER helped find some more planets but they're not
bloody M-Class, the idiot... "personal involvement in the
leadership" expected at the Whitehouse intern initiative
http://www.whitehouse.gov/WH_Fellows/ ... OFTEL punishes
BT's use of Friend & Family to sell Click to ISP users - by
admonishing them in a slightly raised voice... ELECTRONIC
TELEGRAPH puts positive spin on killing "etcetera"
section... we're sure that http://www.bmw.co.uk/ checked
with their lawyers before putting "mercedes", "jaguar" and
"daewoo" into those meta-tags...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Nope, London-based low-budget film fest VOLCANO isn't
extinct (26/09-03/10/98, various venues, box office: 0171
582 7680), though it does look like they're spending even
less on their website than they are on their movies. Based
on what we can piece together from the evidence, this year's
attempts to prove that "independent" cinema is now *even
more* experimental (unwatchable?) following Hollywood's
inevitable co-opting of the term. Contributors will
hopefully include chop-socky connoisseurs (and retro gaming
fans) SHAOLIN, plus multimedia cabaret CINERGY, though
apparently they've never been as good since former host The
Word's Alan Connor left to finish his PhD on 20th Century
- at last, a film site without Shockwave...
- ...or any non-broken GIFs!
- hmm, black text on brown: *tres* avant-garde
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
Like you, we got were thrilled when we found the super-slim
1MB browser, OPERA. And, no, we can't remember when it made
the transition from ultra-cool speed-monster to dull and
ugly piece of Taskbar lint, either. It's not that it's
changed - not for the worse, anyway, with the latest beta
promising Java support, super W3C standard obeyance, and a
multiplicity of fledgling ports (although only the BeOS boys
appear to have escaped parallel fits of ennui). Maybe we
just grew to loathe its previously endearing quirks - like
that yucky Borland circa 1994 interface, or its impenetrable
- and yet, oddly useless - configurability. All that's known
is we uninstalled the last beta within five minutes. And we sleep
in different beds now.
- browser de jour, but they *never* mention it again...
Linux users, hithertofore deprived of the marvellous beauty
of Macromedia plug-ins, have developed compensatory
abilities in their other senses: their sense of injustice,
their sense that some Web designers should be strung up by
their piercings, and so on. Now those powers could fade,
with the first stirrings of a Oliver Debon's FLASH Netscape
plugin FOR LINUX. It's not all there yet, but at least
Flash-"enabled" sites (we prefer the term "differently
platformed") are blurrily viewable (if not yet audible). And
Linuxen have the chance to see for the first time exotic
fonts appear, get big, then move left off the screen, while
spinning around in a thrilling and startlingly original
- if you run, you can still avoid the Shockwave "games"
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
30 Years of PLANET OF THE APES ruined by news of Roddy
McDowall's terminal illness - although we do get to mention
... follow the course of HURRICANE GEORGES by pinging Florida
servers... Japanese teaser ads for DREAMCAST feature Sega MD
chased by kids going "Sega sucks! Playstation rules" (new
'Station due in 6 months, according to CVG rumours)...
gentler, more nurturing form of Y2K panic-mongering at
http://www.y2kwomen.com/archives/samples.html ... and what
is http://www.noreferer.org/ ?... never hear from your
haxx0r pals again with the forthcoming ANONYMOUS CALLER
REJECT feature... "You're in a maze of twisty little Java
VMs, all different"... "more snow more snow more snow" -
IRIDIUM experiences difficulties at the North Pole with
http://www.icetrek.org/live.htm ... can you find the snuff
animated GIF at http://www.moderntv.com/ ? ... guess we
can give up now there's http://www.memepool.com/ *and*
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
may contain strongly-typed language
TV>> SOUTH PARK (11.05pm, Fri, C4) pays combined tribute to
Barbara Streisand, The Cure, and Godzilla movies - as only
it knows how... tonight's may well be the terrible failed
hot-air-balloon edition of BEAT THAT EINSTEIN (4.40am, Fri,
C4)... but the worth-waiting-for highlight is the Lilith
Returns first-series episode of FRASIER (10pm, Fri, C4) -
togther now: "This is a *mistake*!"... sorry, even we didn't
anticipate quite how dull everything-must-be-explained net
history GLORY OF THE GEEKS (8pm, Sat, C4) was going to be...
casting coup of THE FRESHMAN (11pm, Sat, ITV) is of course
Marlon Brando playing mentor to Matthew "War Games"
Broderick - a film student studying "The Godfather"...
you've got to wonder: does Pete McCarthy really get any
personal fulfilment out of mocking UFO freaks in third
series of DESPERATELY SEEKING SOMETHING (7.30pm, Sun,
C4)?... while Mark "Moviedrome" Cousins strokes himself into
a frenzy over original blaxploitation fave SHAFT (10.45pm,
Sun, BBC2)... wouldn't it be interesting if the producers
of thought-provoking life-swap show BREAKING THE RULES
(11.20pm, Mon, BBC2) swapped roles with the producers of
thought-provoking life-swap show LIVING WITH THE ENEMY (9pm,
Wed, BBC2)? Just an idea!... promisingly, EQUINOX (9pm, Tue,
C4) gives detailed lift/drag coefficients for monster
Russian seaplane prototypes... while Leslie Nielsen helms
an arguably more airworthy effort in the first-ever
AIRPLANE! (10.35pm, Tue, BBC1)... ironically titled arts
docu CLOSE UP (9.30pm, Wed, BBC2) gets nowhere near cult
Napoleonic author Patrick O'Brien... some funny ideas, but a
tendency to go on too long spoiled the pilot we saw of
topical Daily Show ripoff THE 11 O'CLOCK SHOW (10.55pm,
Wed-Fri, C4)... HORIZON (9.25pm, Thu, BBC2) asks what
happens to chimps used in military experiments (could they
pose a security hazard, and defect?)... and, in still the
best of Woody Allen's post-Mia Farrow '90s movies, John
Cusack and a hilarious Dianne Wiest dodge the BULLETS OVER
BROADWAY (9pm, Thu, C4)...
FILM>> it's "hip to be square" chortle glowing reviews for
London-only extended-Twilight-Zone-episode containment drama
CUBE (imdb: Canadian) - including, as far as we know, Harry
"Ain't It Knowles" News' first poster quote. Unfortunately,
they've printed the "L" and the "I" a bit close together, so
"The Most Intense, Claustrophobic Sci-Fi Flick I've Seen In
A Long Time" (Harry Knowles) looks more like "The Most
Intense, Claustrophobic Sci-Fi *Fuck* I've Seen In A Long
Time" - which some may find all too believable... steel
yourself for the pioneeringly tasteless romantic comedy
THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY (imbd: blockbuster /
masturbation / hitch-hiking / masturbation-scene), with the
*five* semi-playable games at http://www.aboutmary.com , all
of which use the world's most appropriately disgusting
plug-in, Shockwave... and finally, the biggest surprise in
all-at-sea when-squids-attack DEEP RISING (imdb: lovecraft
/ ship / black-comedy / boat / luxury / thief / jewels) is
that at no point do any of the characters say, "Hang on, I
know what to do - I saw exactly the same thing happen in
Aliens / Hard Rain / Beyond The Poseidon Adventure"...
BUMPER BONERS>> thanks to everyone - DAN SUMPTION, for
instance - who pointed out the US/UK date confusion in our
picture link for BT's goofed Home Highway page [NTK
11/09/98] (both fixed now, unfortunately). Also, the UK's
premier "Star Wars/South Park" page is still at
http://www.citysun.ac.uk/klawler/sp.htm ... MALCOLM PACK
questioned last week's Finsbury Square IT SLEEPOUT story
[NTK 18/09/98], specifically the bit where we said:
"Unfortunately they won't be able to pop into nearby disused
Aldwych tube station". The two locations, he adds, "aren't
even close on the London Underground map, never mind Real
Life. Are our NTK editors *Northerners* or summat?" Well,
no, though we kind of wish we were, if only to balance the
ridiculous London bias of the rest of the media. We maintain
that Aldwych is *fairly* near Finsbury Square - at least
from the perspective of America, the Moon, or a cold and
hungry IT CEO sheltering in an orange plastic body bag...
we're sorry we didn't credit CNN's excellent JOHN HOLLIMAN
for the Russian life support system story [NTK 11/09/98], if
only because he died in a car crash the next day (please
note respectful lack of joke)... we've now read Martin
Millar's MELODY PARADISE and can confirm it *is* as "quite
good" as he says... popular figure of hacker scorn (and star
of other fave tome, THE GREAT MAMBO CHICKEN) CAROLYN MEINEL
wrote to demolish our DEFCON HERF gun story [NTK 07/08/98] :
sadly, none of Carolyn's somewhat personal accusations stood
up, apart from that, yep, it wasn't so much high-energy RF
as *targetted* RF. But it still messed up shit, CM, and
that's what counts at DEFCON... US crypto mavens wrote in to
say that the "Doorbell" physical backdoor to routers
mentioned in NTK 18/09/98 was an ingenious political
manoevre to split the law-enforcement and security camps in
the US: yah we knew that, but we still think moving the
battle to the ISP is opening a whole new can of worms...
and finally, a model third party apology from Irish TV show
TechTV, as the sysop explains *exactly* what happened -
http://www.ntk.net/apology/ - now that's presidential...
>> 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 "a big smut jamboree on the internet"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
Archive - http://www.ntk.net/
Excuses - http://www.spesh.com/ntk/
Unsubscribe? Mail email@example.com with 'unsubscribe ntknow'.
Subscribe? Mail firstname.lastname@example.org with 'subscribe ntknow'.
NTK now is helped by THE ILLUMINATI and UNFORTU.NET.
They worry about us, but we don't worry about them.
(K) 1998 Special Projects. Non-business copying is fine,
but retain SMALL PRINT. Contact
email@example.com for commercial license details.
Tips, news and gossip to firstname.lastname@example.org.