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is how to augment the human intellect through collective
- DOUG ENGELBART, inventor of the mouse
...click on my head for more info!
>> HARD NEWS <<
your right to choose
More CRYPTO idiocy, as the UK government continues to
prepare its new E-commerce law... to ... oh, for God's sake,
what's the use? We're *so* preaching to the converted here.
*You* know how dumb these proposed restrictions on strong
crypto are. You've clocked that, unchecked, the government
is going to stuff e-commerce, stomp on civil liberties, and
catch exactly zero numbers of drug barons and kiddy
pornsters. But what can you do? The only people with any
influence on this issue are MPs. And they're so ignorant
about tech that even if you did tell them that we'd built a
postcode-to-constituency database grepped from public domain
sources, and linked that (using a Web subscription system)
to a low-traffic mailing list and a standard fax engine and
a plugin that serves customised GIFS of every MP in the
country, so that you can "adopt" your local MP, and put an
adoption certificate on your Webpage, and then with a simple
e-mail in a few weeks let your local MP learn that this
issue *is* important, local people *do* care, and if she
doesn't do something about it, thousands of people (all
with monstrous levels of IQ and technological nous) are
going to kick up such a fuss that they'd wish they'd banned
the Internet when they'd had the chance - you know, I don't
think they'd understand a word you were saying. Fortunately,
they will - once you've finished with them. Welcome to
WWW.STAND.ORG.UK, a site that let's you be lazy, geeky *and*
make a difference. Share and enjoy.
- also, nobody bought us a Furby this year
- it's in beta, so let us know any problems
So now we've sloughed our sneering apathy and become
crusading activists, we *must* remind you all to strike for
fixed-rate local calls this Sunday, as the successful
German/Spanish cyberstrike attempts to take fire over here.
Unfortunately, even our pals at THE CAMPAIGN FOR UNMETERED
COMMUNICATIONS think this Sunday's action a little...
premature (proletariat still suffering from false
consciousness, illiterate advocacy spammed to uk.* newsgroups in
HTML, BT actively not giving a fig, etc.) Perhaps a better
way to show your support for a flat rate would be to take
*full* advantage of BT's 50p per national call (no time
limit) offer on Christmas Day and January 1st. Offer only
available for "geographical" STDs (no credits for 0645,
0845, etc), so check the national numbers for your ISP. Come
on - who'd be calling you on Christmas Day anyway?
- "we'll be checking USENET for scabs"
- then take the Monday off to recover
- your mum's on ICQ, right?
Wow, it's already worked! BRITISH TELECOM announced a
fixed-price permanent connection for anyone using ISDN in
London this week. Using the always-on ISDN D-channel, the
upgrade to BT's system allows a constant 2400 baud stream.
[actually, it's 2.4Kbps. Ignore subsequent sarcasm - d.]
That means you could run a mailserver at home, or even get
your ISP to signal you when an incoming packet is received,
letting you "wake up" your home machine, and access it
remotely. Well, you *could*, if BT had wanted it like that.
The D-channel is built into the ISDN spec, so the cost to BT
is vanishingly small. As you'd expect, the altruistic
corporation has passed on that benefit to ISPs, who will
have to pay around 400UKP per annum, per line. And it won't
be available for Home Highway users. And that's for a whole
2400 baud, remember!
- twice as fast as Prestel was!
- Tim B-L on permanent connections (and "click here" links)
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
"Community: The New Internet Buzzword", scoops the NEW YORK
TIMES ... Microsoft's innovative new CLEARTYPE system
invented by Woz in '76 ( http://grc.com/cleartype.htm )...
FURBY factory workers have 14-hour shifts, earn $20 a week-
yumMMM!... 14yr old certified by MICROSOFT... PRIVATE EYE
recycling ONION's "Crazy Old Man Plans to Shout at Cars All
Day" story... Java 2? Solaris 7? Marketing tricks, or more
rounding errors? ... staff at ZIFF-DAVIS San Francisco
accused of calling employee "pretty boy," "bitch," "little
faggot", "failed our benchtests", "good but pricey"... one
URL you won't be seeing in the TELEGRAPH's "Connected":
http://www.blackenvy.com/ ... NINFOMANIA recycles Onion
"Instant-Win" airbag story as news... thanks to the unique
way it is funded, BBC hopes to continue patronising the
LITTLE PEOPLE well into the future...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
"If the cops come up here, say we're a
Eighties Punk Band reunion!"
Not much to report in the pre-Crimbo lull, so allow us to
reminisce on last week's CONSPIRACY HACKER CONFERENCE. It
was, attendees must agree, a positively Edwardian affair. In
a delightful gentleman's apartment above Manchester's
fashional Tapas Tapas bar, restaurant and wrestling pit,
young larval types listened wide-eyed to tales of masonic
control, as their elders leant on nearby consoles, in
spirited recitation of seasonal exploits. After port,
cigars, and the obligatory bust-by-cops/
row-with-mafioso-landlords, revellers moved through to a
stately council home in Manchester's Mosside district,
enjoying on the way the cheerful banter of the helpful
cabbies, unruffled by the 3am pavement appearance of an
entire intranet, with support staff. And so, as dawn
beckons, and the youngsters gather to steal electricity from
a dead telephone socket to drive a acoustic coupler they've
gaffer-taped to a mobile phone, so we must bid our
farewells, and ask, in the morning chill: can the UK
underground truly be dead? And if so, does that mean all the
charges are dropped?
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
LITESTEP is the what you get if you pull out the Explorer
bit of Windows, engineer a super-slim NeXTish interface,
then fatten it out with lots of funky Enlightenmenty
themes. Heavens to Murgatroyd, you say, can't these people
just install Linux, and get it out of their system for good?
Ah, but by being so much *more* perverse in their mongrel OS
tastes, they get to win. Do you see?
- now, a desktop as colourful as your school exercise book
- everyone loves screenshots
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
Matt and Trey to run COMEDY CENTRAL?... the model CV:
http://www.europa.com/~dogman/resume/ ... click, and
destroy a life: http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Arc/7406/ ...
by contrast, see what love did to HARRY KNOWLES at
http://www.aint-it-cool-news.com/display.cgi?id=2637 ... 30
years of the mouse: five years of its killer app:
http://5years.doomworld.com/ ... "Gordon Joly Lives Next
Door" ... internationally renowned Websites, and their
pathetic pleas for presents... you use BeOS, you need humour:
... hold on, isn't that Microsoft Building 27, home of
Win98? http://www.iamdrunk.com/temp/postal.htm ... Miko
spam... and you thought DREAMCAST was a crap name:
http://gameboy.s-one.net.sg/didknow03b.htm ... well, tech
support *is* stressful - http://www.rug-rats.org/me/index.html >> GEEK MEDIA <<
may contain strongly-typed language
TV>> the long-latent gay subtext surfaces in a particularly
erudite FRASIER (10pm, Fri, C4), effectively apologising for
the hour-long London indulgence of FRIENDS (9pm, Fri, C4)...
but could even Steve Martin's cut-up classic DEAD MEN DON'T
WEAR PLAID (12.05am, Fri, BBC1) make up for Ridley Scott's
cod-feminist blockbuster THELMA AND LOUISE (9.30pm, Fri,
BBC1)?... BBC2 follows its previous zany theme evenings with
the rather more sobering HUMAN RIGHTS NIGHT (from 7.05pm,
Sat, BBC2), featuring trailer tongue-twister Daniel
Day-Lewis in IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER (9.30pm, Sat, BBC2),
and a look at more local violations in PEOPLE VS UK
(11.25pm, Sun, BBC2) - hopefully to feature that old Ross
Anderson chestnut "If the Allies had lost WW2, the
Dambusters missions would have been tried as war crimes"...
flagrant abuses continue meanwhile on ITV with the dual
torture of Steve Guttenberg's POLICE ACADEMY (12.05am, Sat,
ITV) rubbed into the still-raw wounds inflicted by THE
BRITISH COMEDY AWARDS (9pm, Sat, ITV)... and a chance to
re-record the mysteriously worn title sequence on your video
of cheerfully stupid Pamela Anderson Casablanca remake BARB
WIRE (10.15pm, Sun, C4)... PANORAMA (10pm, Mon, BBC1)
unwittingly explores the psychological need of surviving
relatives to find "explanations" for unexpected suicides...
Jonathan Demme makes amends for the gay serial killer in
Silence Of The Lambs with Tom Hanks disease-of-the-week
weepie PHILADELPHIA (9pm, Mon, ITV)... and Carol Vorderman,
the richest woman in British showbiz, is evidently qualified
to help viewers FIND A FORTUNE (8pm, Wed, ITV)... SCIENCE AT
WAR (9.25pm, Thu, BBC2) concludes with a promising look at
"Full Spectrum Dominance" - robot planes, smart bombs, big
lasers, and infowar... and SEX AND SHOPPING (10.50pm, Thu,
C5) now seems to be taking a more consumer tack, this week
comparing gay porn from the US and UK - presumably on
criteria like camerawork, value for money, and so forth...
FILM>> noisy trailer doesn't convey the comedy in good
old-fashioned swashbuckling romp THE MASK OF ZORRO (imdb:
epic / father-daughter / gold / hacienda / heroine / horses
/ mask / mexico / murder / period / revenge / slave-labor /
superhero / swashbuckler / swordfight / teacher-student /
tragedy / zorro / bandits / brothers / california / church /
confessional / defenestration). Hey, the script has to be
spectacular to coax decent performances from Antonio
Banderas and Catherine Zeta "Grey" Jones, here playing a
19th century Bond girl, in not too much of an imaginative
stretch for director Martin "Edge Of Darkness / Goldeneye"
Campbell... thinking of getting divorced? Create unrealistic
hopes of parental reconciliation by taking your kids to
well-made transatlantic family feelgooder THE PARENT TRAP
(MPAA rated: PG "for some mild mischief"). And what is it
with those Richardson girls (Natasha here, Joely in 101
Dalmations) and recent Disney remakes?... rather grimmer
limited release action, with Toni "Muriel's Wedding"
Collette living unhappily ever after in gritty post-heist
containment drama play-adaptation THE BOYS (imdb:
Australian)... and Mulder gets high on his own supply in
neo-noir David Duchovny vehicle PLAYING GOD (imdb: medical)
- no info yet available on freeze-frames of Angelina
FERROUS PARTICLES' DAY OFF (WITH YOUR HOST, DAVID COVERDISC,
OF "WHITESNAKE")>> big win time for those of us who've put
off buying CDs all year in the hope that the good tracks
always get given away free on Xmas magazines. For UKP3 or
less, these free gifts - or "unprotected MP3 source files",
as we prefer to think of them - also make ideal Christmas
presents (bin the mags, obviously; they're terrible), and
you can even use the weird rubbery glue they stick them on
with as fake bogies... WOMAN AND HOME (UKP1.90) is the
cheapest, but their covermount cassette "Christmas Music
1998" delivers just "A 30-minute selection of *glorious
carols* and *classical music*" (their emphasis): Joy To The
World, Good King Wenceslas, Silent Night and a rousing
accappella I Saw Three Ships... Q MAGAZINE's self-effacing
"The Best Tracks From The Best Albums Of 1998" (UKP2.80) is
no less mainstream, with only Marylin Manson breaching the
peace of Air, Catatonia, Madonna, Fatboy Slim, Massive
Attack and REM singles, and inoffensive album tracks from
the Manics, The Beautiful South. But where, oh where, are Q
indispensables Paul Weller and Ocean Colour Scene?...
higher hopes dashed slightly by UNCUT's foolhardily titled
"Unconditionally Guaranteed: The Coolest Sounds From The
Hottest Bands Of 1998" (UKP2.85), largely featuring Brit
bands trying to sound American (eg Silversun perfecting
their impersonation of the Foo Fighters), and vice-versa...
and further disappointments from NEON's "15 Great Tracks
From" (UKP2.60). From where? From forgettable soundtracks
like A Life Less Ordinary, Mojo, Scream 2, and - of course -
Velvet Goldmine. Fluke at last do a track that doesn't sound
like Atom Bomb, unfortunately it doesn't sound very good
either... MUZIK's "1998: The Tunes" (UKP2.60) covers a
broad church of dancefloor fillers - Freestylers to speed
garage - but doesn't quite match the cool cost-effective
moogy knob-twiddling of the "All Back To Ours Exclusive Mix
By Jacques Lu Cont" on last week's MELODY MAKER (UKP0.95)...
ultimate party album? Either the refreshingly honest "All
The Stuff You Know You'll Dance To When You're Drunk"
(LIVING ETC, UKP2.40) - cacophonous High Energy start
mellows to respectable versions of '60s/'70s faves: Sam &
Dave's Soul Man, Gloria Gaynor's Never Can Say Goodbye, a
non-recent Midnight At The Oasis... or similarly
retro-flavoured "Classic Movie Themes 2" off the current
TOTAL FILM (UKP2.40). Some odd choices - 7 mins of
Braveheart? And that's not "Empire Strikes Back", it's Star
Wars Imperial March! - but enough instrumental Titanic,
Kraftwerk-esque Clockwork Orange, and comedy Dambusters
march to get everyone re-enacting their favourite scenes,
'specially when you can stomp around to the closing 4 mins
36 of The Terminator...
>> 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 "snarky"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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