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many, many long days to put words in my mouth."
- BILL GATES on his performance in his video deposition
...maybe he's pretending to be one of those autocorrect wizards?
>> HARD NEWS <<
The clips on the Net show it all - the wide-eyed child looking
on helpless: dragged away from everything that he knows,
transported to the byzantine world of the court, where
familiar, powerful figures debate whether he is yet too
powerful and must be... destroyed. Yes, we sense much fear
in BILL GATES. This week saw SUN using the force of law to
stop Windows 98 shipping with an incompatible Java VM, AOL
opening talks with Netscape, and the anti-trust trial judge
laughing out loud at Bill's soulful silences in the video
deposition. Meanwhile, Senator Ellison appears to be having
another one of his fits, in which he suggested that perhaps
Oracle servers could do without an full OS at all. Yeah,
let's just do it with a bunch of PEEKs and POKEs, Larry.
Sheesh, whose dark side are you on?
- Fear leads to suffering fools gladly
Okay, so we've got two governments, both eager to encourage
the new media sector of their economy. Both decide to
commission a report. One goes to Vint Cerf, Don Heath, and
the chair of Bell Atlantic. The other goes to a DIGITAL
MEDIA ALLIANCE STEERING GROUP, including members of the
Arts Council, a CD-ROM company, a media consultant, and
someone from Channel 4. After some months, the first group
recommends privatising the local loop, flat-rate charges for
Net calls, and heavy investment in a public IP
infrastructure. Within days, a scared national telco
announces 33% cuts in Net phone charges, a flat-rate system
to be implemented in two months and a "competitively-priced"
DSL system by March. The other group recommends forming four
new committees - one of which, intriguingly, will be
called the "Alliance of Digital Media", and will initially
consist of the same people who commissioned the report. Oh,
and they also propose a special "zone" on the Web to
showcase new, "grassroots" talent. Our question is: who had
the prettier-looking report?
- still, good to see Web forums suck over there too
- of course they're lying - but at least they're scared
- we'd get more bandwidth if they all lost these PDF files
- pretty shit-hot, these "Digital Media Alliance" leaders
No news on the crypto front, thank God: this week's
WASSENAAR CRYPTO MEETING isn't happening, which is a good
sign. Wassenaar is the widely-signed international agreement
not to export weapons of mass destruction, dual-use
technologies and - say France, Russia, the US and (quietly)
the UK - strong cryptography. Apparently, most of European
countries disagreed so heavily with the anti-crypto US line,
that there was nothing to discuss. More no news, we hope on
Tuesday, when the Queen's speech will reveal whether the DTI
are leaving their own half-baked crypto controls in the oven
for just a little bit longer...
- or maybe we should all move to Finland instead?
- skip this bit: the funny URLs and TV reviews are down there
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
www.eff.org down for a week: no-one notices... loss-leader
for gamesandvideos.com at http://www.ntk.net/doh/gandv981120.gif
... Guardian's FOOTBALL UNLIMITED mailing list echoes
subscribers' "fuck off" messages... band calls itself HORACE
GOES SKIING... "None of us likes the idea of another strike
in the Middle East" (except us, who make seven grand a shot
out of it): http://www.viewpoint.com/gulfcrisis/ ...
Microsoft BARNEY "not a success"... couple more radomes
going up at MENWITH HILL... NICHOLAS NEGROPONTE writes his
last WIRED column: how long before *he* turns up on bloody
Slashdot?... http://www.yell.co.uk/ re-design far, far
worse than previous... ZDNET reveals the top buzz at COMDEX
is (drum roll) THE INTERNET... NETSCAPE buys NEWHOO (lucky
they changed the name, right?)... BILL GATES meets REBECCA
EISENBERG, describes her as "most offensive person I have
ever met"... Lee Maguire gets the AMIGA OS FALCO, for
correctly predicting the shift to QNX in *May*...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Normally when we hear the phrase "digital art", we reach for
our railgun, but San Jose web mag SWITCH seems to be
saluting the true cutting edge with its upcoming exhibition
Cracking The Maze: Game Plug-ins And Patches As Hacker Art
(submission deadline 10/12/98) - possibly to tie-in with
current tweakable releases Carmageddon 2: Carpocalypse Now
and Tomb Raider 3. It's either art-school lamers finally
realising that they're outclassed by real coders, or -
equally understandable - the world's most desperate trawl
for the semi-mythical, barely stable "Nude Raider" patch.
- "It's nice to think of artists as hackers". Nice, but wrong.
- "Shimmering with hopes/ trembling,
speeding toward you/ My rocket is yours."
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
Tim Berners-Lee, as we recall, is always moaning about how
the Web was *supposed* to be annotatable - it should be as
easy to add and edit Web documents, he says, as it is to
browse them. To see what kind of mess that would have lead
to, you might like to check out the WIKI WIKI WEB, an easy
to set-up, easy-to-understand, impossible-to-administrate
"collaborative environment". In many ways, it's a
self-perpetuating mess (it took us half an hour to work out
how to get the source), but - like the Xanadu project it
superficially resembles - it can't help but gland a few key
geek hormones. The original Wiki is a tiny Perl script, but
versions now exist in Python, Squeak, and other places where
geeks do the Right Thing so much it becomes Wrong Again.
- start here, we guess
- aha! found it
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
ROBBIE WILLIAMS' Antmusic... POKEY THE PENGUIN's dark side:
http://forbidden.dough.net/~archon/rwallace/ ... "favourite"
banner ads: http://www.microscope.com/ ... locking on target
market - fire! http://www.offcolor.com/blast-xy.html ... QT
goes open source - now who are we supposed to like?... KEN
CAMPBELL to adapt INFINITE JEST?... put your HANDS on the
CAR and YOUR BROWSER at http://www.apbonline.com/...
horizontal flies... all-new SCHNEWS moved along to
http://www.schnews.org.uk/ ... BEN STILLER is: Mr Furious -
GREG KINNEAR is: Captain Amazing... Truth in Advertising:
http://www.kvetch.com/ads/barnesandnoble.gif... FRANKIE says
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
may contain strongly-typed language
TV>> celebrities in need of a good kicking, more like, with
the usual B-list nobodies and bands plugging Christmas
singles supposedly in aid of CHILDREN IN NEED (from 7pm,
Fri, BBC1)... maybe Simon "Alan Parker" Munnery and techno
uber-spoof The Pod can transcend the dire low-budget
limitations of COMEDY NATION (12.30am, Fri, BBBC2)... BOOKED
(8pm, Sat, C4) tries to establish if nature or nurture
produces pop-sci books like Richard Dawkins' new "Unweaving
The Rainbow"... and while they marketed Crichton thriller
DISCLOSURE (9pm, Sat, ITV) as the latest Michael Douglas
battle of the sexes romp, in fact it's a daft VR thriller
about the use of clean rooms in CDROM drive manufacture...
with b&w nuke parable THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (4.05pm,
Sun, C4) following last week's Forbidden Planet, looks like
Sunday afternoon is "scifi classic with a robot holding a
swooning girl on the poster" time. Oi! Channel 4! Klaatu
barada nikto!... still, better than F/X-lite Marvel
adaptation GENERATION X (9pm, Sun, C5) - for Matt "Max
Headroom" Frewer completists only... WORLD IN ACTION (8pm,
Mon, ITV) cynically targets parents of kids cynically
targeted by TV ads... and C5's porn schedule has a lot to
answer for, as WITNESS (9pm, Mon, C4) casually observes
naturists vs nudists, and BBC2 starts a pioneering series of
ugly people talking about their bodies while NAKED (9.50pm,
Wed, BBC2)... MODERN TIMES (9.30pm, Tue, BBC2) rides the
rollercoaster history of Alton Towers pleasure park...
across the ITV networks, an interdimensional portal has
opened - to reveal minor recent parallel universe movie
DOORWAYS (12.30am, Wed, ITV)... and: "I am *disgusted* to
notice that you've *completely* failed to take the piss out
of us Acorn users again," complains one self-loathing
RISC-taker over the non-existent Acorn Phoebe machine used
as a non-linear edit suite in extreme sports vehicle PIRATE
TV (around 1.40am, Thu/Fri, some ITV). See comp.sys.acorn.*
for further details...
FILM>> casting Matt Damon in virtually his Good Will Hunting
role again makes ROUNDERS (imdb: judge / law-school / mafia
/ new-york / poker / prison) a bit of a gamble, but it's a
safe bet for fans of poker or John "The Last Seduction" Dahl
- and at least it's not the girls' version of baseball...
DEAD MAN'S CURVE (imdb: black-comedy / college / humor /
suicide / urban-legend) almost combines Scream humour (and
Hackers "star" Matthew Lillard) with student murder,
sub-Heathers-style... Roger Ebert hypothesises that the
mystery briefcase in lame De Niro nothing-to-do-with
Frank-Miller Euro yawn RONIN (imdb: betrayal) contains "the
briefcase from Pulp Fiction". Either that or an explanation
of whether the car chases are trying to re-enact a) Diana's
death crash, or b) Konami arcade game GTI Rally Cote
D'Azur... "miserable" accurately describes the cast, tedium,
song-free plot of LES MISERABLES (imdb: based-on-novel /
historical / paris) - Neeson! Thurman! Danes!... so probably
more laughs in taking your Heinlein-loving libertarian pals
to risible Ayn Rand re-release THE FOUNTAINHEAD (imdb:
architect / courtroom / heiress / newspaper / suicide)...
"OUT OF MY WAY, FANBOY", WITH LEE MAGUIRE AND BEN MOOR>> Top
of the pile is YOU ARE HERE (UKP15) by Kyle "Why I Hate
Saturn" Baker, an extension of some of the bits from Dark
Horse's much missed 'Instant Piano'... also in the comedy
section, Kevin Smith's slackfest JAY AND SILENT BOB finally
gets to its second issue - a good bet if you're interested
in the backstory of upcoming anti-religion comedy 'Dogma'.
Smith is also writing the only one of the new Marvel Knights
books nearly worth reading: DAREDEVIL. It's like reading a
teenager's essay titled "Does God Exist? And if He Does, Why
Does He Let Pretty Girls Get AIDS?" but with better pictures
(the Black Widow hasn't looked so great in years). Bullseye
returns next month: corny issue zero shockwave preview at
But best Smith-based book has to be: the manga Chasing Amy
... SPIDER-MAN's relaunch with two new number ones has been
welcomed with altogether controlled excitement in shops:
DC-heads are meanwhile coveting the hardcover, slipcased
limited edition of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, probably the
best maxi-series in superhero history and almost worth the
near infinite price of UKP75... but the toys for Christmas
have got to be the 6-inch SPY VS SPY action figures -
available in the next couple of weeks, around UKP10. They
each come with their own suitcases of bombs and hammers and,
brilliantly, you really need a pair. Buy! Fight! Spy! Vs!
Spy! Life's a riot, as they say...
>> 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
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