"Software expands to fill the space available. If it
didn't, it wouldn't be designed properly."
- NATHAN MYHRVOLD explains Microsoft's design philosophy
...within 4 hours we estimate NT will have consumed much
of Washington State: after 16 hours, the entire Western
seaboard. It'll reach New York by 3am tomorrow morning...
>> HARD NEWS <<
it barely moves
Odd rumblings from inside the ISPA, as Yaman "cyber-rights,
cyber-liberties, cyber-unreadable-homepage" Akdeniz's
letter-writing campaign begins to get results. Yamiz asked
ISPs what their policy was on the police inspection of
e-mail. Did it require a warrant? Or (as anecdotal evidence
to NTK implies) are the police able to gain access without
legal restraint? For such a clean-cut question, ISP
reactions have been most peculiar. The ISP's head Nicholas
Lansman went quite schtum, refusing to answer the query, and
- according to Network Week - advising his members to
"ignore the letter". Hello, hello, hello - if you're so
innocent, sunshine, what have you got to hide? Or do we have
to get a warrant to find out what ISP privacy policies are?
Meanwhile, the chairman of ISPA, in a curious show of bias
towards pay-your-way ISPs, told the Register "you should ask
yourself - are free Internet services (like Freespace)
*really* free?". Well, yes, Nicholas, they are, unless
you're a competing service provider, of course. Now could
you answer our question?
- proof that we just sit around
- nicking our stories from other people
You'd think STEVE MANN would be the last person to demand
privacy for his fellow men. Was he not Mr Headcam, stalking
the corridors of MIT with a noggin-mounted Webcam,
encouraging thousands to log on for a chance of catching
Negroponte in the urinal? Now Steve says that he's seen the
future - and the coverage is *far too good*. To fight back
against unnecessary surveillance, he's launched SHOOTUP DAY
- 24 hours when everyone marches into shops and workplaces
that use CCTVs, and monitor them back. Mann suggests
recording on camera any law-breaking by the corporations
(padlocked fire exits, work and safety breaches, criminal
assault by humourless security personnel, etc). The first
day of action is set for 24/12/98, so you'll have plenty of
great crowd shots in the stores. Meanwhile, armchair privacy
advocates can tune instead to TONY BENN's ITV documentary on
the 27th, where he'll be filming NEW LABOUR'S
backbencher-surveillance systems (geek content: pagers,
faxes, Darkside Millbank wonks). Or perhaps you could use up
your remaining Xmas film by taking nude photos of Boots
developing staff? Up to you.
- just a suggestion
Thanks to everyone who chipped in to the STAND campaign over
the last week. Given that it's an obscure technical issue
that nobody understands, over two thousand volunteers
adopting five hundred MPs in just one week isn't too shabby.
Also, you may be interested to know that a week ago, the
only way to get hold of the imminent crypto consultation
document was to telephone Anne, a very nice lady at the DTI,
and ask to be put on a list. No e-mail, we said? Oh, no.
This is easier, they said. On Wednesday, Anne contacted us.
I'm being telephoned by people from all over the world every
two minutes, and I can't get any work done- Would you mind
if I gave you an e-mail address to contact instead? You
know, I think with a bit of training, they might just get it...
- oh, go on. If we push it, maybe they'll set up majordomo
- extrapolated to a general election, we'd have 30 million hits
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
JUSTIN PETERSEN arrested but not at that CIA secret spy base
after all... BAGHDAD WEBCAM a hoax... Title vs Body
discontinuity doh at http://www.ntk.net/doh/home981218.jpeg
... Stale bread not freshened by re-heating, uncovers the
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA... MICROSOFT chooses
BARNESANDNOBLE.COM as its official bookseller... LUCY ELLMAN
goes completely INSANE in GUARDIAN online SECTION... IETF
want to obsolete the ASCII standard... Australian exotic
dancer changes his name to BILL GATES ... nominative doh:
http://www.bogoff.com/ ... SONY sends out Xmas message to
all Vaio owners: puts everyone on the cc: list... someone
trademarks "LISTSERV" (R)... "Click on pop up" gets 5000
votes in TIME'S MAN OF THE YEAR contest... WALLPAPER does a
Y2K survival issue... FREESERVE at 700,000 customers...
http://www.ibm.com/IBM/year2000/ says 379 days to Y2K:
http://www.hp.com/year2000/ says 378... Do you Yahoo Iraq?
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Fancy a break from battling your way along confined shopping
aisles this weekend? Or prefer to be prepared in case you're
called up to spend the New Year digging tunnels in the
desert? Either way, you've got to respect the timing of the
UK LAN PARTY, whose all-day Quake II / Half Life big-prize
play-off this Sunday 20/12/98 seems to be a cut-down version
of their much-publicised 2-day "Quake-o-lympics", now
postponed to Feb. Hostilities commence at The Playing Fields
games cafe, London W1 (though we always thought that "The
Killing Fields" would be a rather more resonant name for
it), who have installed special "precision mousing surfaces"
for the occasion.
- After all, the battle of Waterloo was won...
- ...on the "playing fields" of Eton
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
As Stuart Houghton writes in response to the LiteStep plug
last week, coding Windows Explorer replacements seems to be
the new drug wiping out young Windows programmers' lives.
Cussedly, the best resource for these custom jobs
http://floach.pimpin.net , is down right now, so we'll have
to give you the next best thing, and save that for the New
Year. WIN 98 LITE isn't a new shell - it just lets you keep
the old, stable, Windows 95 one when upgrading to 98 and its
approach. Not only do you free up to 32MB of hard drive, not
only do folders load up in a fraction of the new, improved
time, but you are single-handedly disproving Microsoft's
court case whenever you boot. Objection - sustained!
-<smallprint>only works *before* you upgrade, though<smallprint>
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
... optical switches ahoy!... clip art of the Lord:
http://wwww.christart.com/... BT-CLICK doesn't work if you
withhold caller ID (not that we tried or anything)... so
that's where he went: http://www.joemcintyre.com/ ... avoid
Heinlein and still keep your "friend":
http://www.rinkworks.com/bookaminute/sff.shtml ... fork THE
GIMP? fork *you*! ... DIGICASH to "open license
arrangements" - about bloody time... URL of the Year:
http://www.fandommenace.com/ ... but someone else gets "Best
... time to buy up those Guy Fawkes stocks:
http://www.fromorbit.com/drutter/Bombs.html ... "knicker
bacon"? http://www.d-day2k.com/cgi-bin/swear.pl ... cut out
the middle Grey with http://www.alienabductions.com/ ...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
may contain strongly-typed language
TV>> the hour-long special of FRIENDS (9.30pm, Fri, C4)
features extra pilot footage, out-takes, and a "previously
unheard song from Phoebe", as if you needed any further
encouragement (not to watch it)... could those be CGI dice
rolling the soporific fate of Woody Harrelson, Demi Moore in
response to Robert Redford's INDECENT PROPOSAL (9.30pm, Fri,
BBC1)?... don't watch space-set Gremlins rip-off CRITTERS 4
(11.50pm, Fri, BBC1) with your Furby... and the same goes
for Doris Wishman's famously dodgy single-handed '60s
exploito-flick NUDE ON THE MOON (1.45pm, Fri, C4)...
disappointingly, Isabel Allende's HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS
(10.30pm, Sat, BBC2) is not, repeat *not*, a magical realist
version of Ghostbusters... and TV creates more Titanic
mysteries than it solves, like why is that submarine show
called TITANIC LIVE (8pm, Sat, C4) when it actually happened
in August, and it wasn't even live then?... is the title of
TITANIC: BREAKING NEW GROUND, on the same night (11.45pm,
Sat, ITV), supposed to be ironic, or what?... and, now that
Ad & Joe have already had a pop, which out of the ones done
by Harry Enfield or French And Saunders will be the *worst
Titanic spoof of all time*, making slow death by
hypothermia/ drowning seem positively delightful by
comparison?... somehow, neither disturbing child-abuse
classic WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (5.45pm, Sun,
BBC2) nor lame Robin Williams remake TOYS (8pm, Sun, C4) are
as cynical as Bill Murray's sarcastic feelgooder SCROOGED
(11.35pm, Sun, BBC1)... Greg Proops (arguably the least
worst thing about that Space Cadets quiz show), Servalan,
and 3 Dr Who "companions" join CLIVE JAMES ON TV (10pm, Mon,
ITV) to make cheap gags about cheap sci-fi... Sandra Bullock
watches her future career slip downhill at quite an
impressive SPEED (9.30pm, Tue, BBC1)... and THIS BLOKE WALKS
INTO A BAR (11.05pm, Tue, C4) sees Bob Mortimer and Rowland
Rivron explain how alcohol helps their performances - by
getting audiences drunk enough to laugh at them... a porn
star, a fundamentalist, a UFO nut - surely there's a casting
agency specialising in recycling guests for LOUIS THEROUX'S
WEIRD CHRISTMAS (10.15pm, Wed, BBC2)... and C5 reaches the
logical conclusion of its liking for low budgets and
pseudo-serious smut, with a Christmas Russ Meyer season
starting with FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! (12.30am,
Christmas Eve, C5)...
FILM>> after the anti-climactic mid-week Mask Of Zorro
showings, no further info about which films to walk out of
after the STAR WARS TRAILER - and no longer bearing the
"Phantom Menace" subtitle, we note... groovy Antz-style cast
and many unnecessary songs pad out animated Ten Commandments
remake PRINCE OF EGYPT (imdb: biblical / kids-and-family)
(what about "based-on-novel"? - Ed.). MPAA rated it PG "for
intense depiction of thematic elements", which means the
very young may not appreciate the regular slaughterings of
the first-born... slightly more potential in widespread
weekend previews of ENEMY OF THE STATE (imdb: conspiracy /
political / surveillance / chase / fugitive), but not even
Will Smith, Gene Hackman or Jerry Bruckheimer can completely
get away with this by-the-numbers NSA actioner. And that
tagline "It's Not Paranoia if They're Really After You" -
surely "out to get you" is the proper folk-wisdom
ERROR OF FACT OR JUDGEMENT IN LINE 20. COMPILATION FAILED>>
A hastily-arranged bombing run of Iraq could not detract from
the fuck up last week, with Danny confusing 2.4Kbps with
2400 baud in the ISDN piece, the luser. Of cause, baud means
"symbols per second", so we *could* plead that that these
days the byte is the - no? Bugger... in related spazmulery,
we misspelt http://www.europa.com/~dogman/resume/ - and
we're assured "weke" signifies "week" in your Earth
language... we said Lufthansa, Feargal O'Farrell says
LOO-nassa: let's call the DANCING AT LUGHNASA off... and
finally, FUZZY GERDES added to Jay Gooby's earlier Wok Wok
observations (what *is* it with transatlantic noodle
consumers and their excellently onomatopoeic names?) by
sending photographic evidence *proving* that American have
little takeaway boxes for their "Asian" food.
So now prove it's not a video-grab from Seinfeld...
>> 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 "our only hope!"
NEED TO KNOW
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