[What do you mean, what are we doing online on Christmas
Day? What are YOU doing online on Christmas Day? What's
that? You're reading this in mid-January? Yeah? Then how
are we having this little conversation then? A series
of rhetorical questions, you say? Ah. I see.
Anyway, here follows the usual piebald motley harlequinade
that is MiniNTK. Strict traditionalists should press delete
and wait for the next scheduled NTK, which should be on
8/1/99. People who like to click on the blue words should
page down, because URLs settled in transit this issue.
PS MiniNTK are always longer than normal NTKs. The reason
for this is lost forever in the endless sands of time.]
__ __ _25/12/98 _ _ _____ _ __ <Xmas '98/New Year '99 special>
| \/ (_)_ __ (_) \ | |_ _| |/ / o Join! Mail 'subscribe ntknow'
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| | | | | | | | | |\ | | | | . \ o Website (+ archive) lives at:
|_| |_|_|_| |_|_|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\ o http://www.ntk.net/ >> HARD ANTI NEWS <<
seasonal adjustment disordering
[We're too bloated on our traditional Christmas meal
("Festive Vanilla" Frijj's and the first, tastiest batch of
Cadbury's Creme Eggs) to do any real work. So, like the
Economist or the New Scientist or the Blue Peter Annual,
we're giving you a special Newtonmas quiz instead. Read the
following (true) stories carefully and answer: which ones
are news and which, dear reader, are tended by her unruly
sibling ... antinews?]
It's the thought that counts: time for INDIN, the games
industry annual fundraiser, to reveal its bounty in a glossy
two page ad. All money gathered goes to worthy charities -
like the Prince's Trust, The Royal Marsden Hospitable
Children's Cancer Unit, Great Ormond Street - oh, and ELSPA,
the anti-piracy organisation. In fact, 100,000UKP of INDIN
money (or rather, the money entrusted by its donors) has
been hallmarked by the committee to go to ELSPA this year -
almost 10% of the total, and more than any other charity
with the exception of the Prince's Trust. Sure, charity
begins at home - but is this news or antinews?
Peace and goodwill: During the Iraqi airstrike, a PR company
phones around, suggesting an article on TOP GUN, the recent
USAF flight sim - "because of its topicality". Sick, yes.
But N or A?
Frank, incensed: This is an old one, but we thought we'd
sneak it out when he's not looking: RICHARD BARRY finally
calls. He's very upset and threatens to sue unless someone
apologises for all the jokes made regarding his poor
research skills. The people on the other end of the phone
offer their sympathies. Sadly, they explain, they're The
Register - and have never written about Barry in their
lives. N or A?
Galled: PETER MANDELSON, after pressure from citizens and
small businesses, finally withdraws internal DTI support for
key escrow in the forthcoming crypto legislation. If the spooks
want strong crypto controlled, they'll have to sort it
themselves. One week later... you know the rest - but
is that N or A?
And "Dyrrh": And finally, thanks to the eagle-eyed
reader who has noticed that the new look, unedited JON
KATZ uses "1" and "I" interchangeably, implying that he
writes his Slashdot pieces on a typewriter. N or A?
>> LONG RANGE TRACKING / NON-EVENT QUEUE <<
fancy schmancy necromancy
[Similarly... can't... quite... get up... to uncover this
week's new invitations and software. So we ground up bits of
Terence McKenna, fed it to Douglas Rushkoff, and then
examined his entrails to discover what'll be happening in
the *unforeseeable* future. PS SOME OF THIS MIGHT BE WRONG.]
>25/1/99 OPEN SOURCE: Believed to have suffered a stroke,
neurosurgeons reveal that RICHARD STALLMAN's left (creative)
brain hemisphere has declared differences with
his right (Emacs mode) cerebellum, and chosen to fork his own
consciousness. Split brains unicamerally declare that in
future, RMS will stand for "RMS's Multiple Stallmans". ERIC
S RAYMOND shrunk to size of bacterium, placed in tiny
intravascular submarine to negotiate.
>23/4/99 APPLE: In boardroom coup, STEVE JOBS sacks remaining Apple
and NeXT staff, installs voice talent from PIXAR in key
management posts. New Apple ad campaign uses tagline "It's
a bug, *and* a ninety minute feature". Success of iMac's
"child-oriented" design leads to new LCD monitor using a
Tinky-Winky form factor. Job's rumoured disdain for the
buying public confirmed when he refers to Macs as "The
Computer For The Rest of You".
>11/7/99 MICROSOFT: Growing bored with lack of real competition,
Redmond "leaks" more strategy briefings, leaves anonymous
management tips on NORVELL, COREL, and HOT DOG SOFTWARE
voicemail, checks Internet Explorer source into Mozilla
Project CVS. R&D supremo NATHAN MYRVOLD announces that
Microsoft will invest $3 billion in five year project to
cure his persistent lower back pain. BILL GATES' wife,
Melinda, divorces him on grounds that Gates children
stole elements of her "look and feel".
>9/10/99 SPACE: Timed to coincide with the release of STAR WARS
prequel, NASA scientists announce preliminary evidence for
the reality of "Force": also existence of Death Star within
Solar System. Details sketchy, say NASA, although suggest
additional funding "may refresh their memory".
>12/12/99 Y2K: Unforeseen effects of millennium bug include:
Animatronic Abraham Lincoln at Disney World does "Baby
Cha-Cha", anal leakage, National Lottery Grand Prize rolls
over to -5,234UKP, ancient gods become real, children freeze
and crash when learning days of week, sun falls into ocean,
technical experts in UK government *stop* thinking it's
1900, shares go down as well as up, NTK holds .NOT Awards.
>> GIFT MEMEPOOL <<
what you want ain't what you got
Wanted: The Star Wars Cookbook from Amazon.com ... Got:
Legal Letters from http://www.barnes-and-noble.com/ ...
Wanted: sexual selection with artificial life at
http://www.ventrella.com/ ... Got: "Sexual" "selection"
"with" artificial "life" at:
... Wanted: A Hoberman Sphere from
http://www.hoberman.com/fold/sphere.html ... Got: A Cartman
Ovoid from http://www.mattelmedia.com/pooh/ (try with images
off)... Wanted: the animated outtakes at
http://www.abugslife.com/ ... Got: the over-animated losers
at http://www.bunderlife.com/ >> GEEK MEDIA <<
queen's gambit declined
TV>> Christmas Day, so you should never be more than two
remote clicks away from a cute film about animals - like the
original, less scary BABE (7pm, Fri, BBC1), or the original,
less scary THE FLY (12.40am, Fri, C4)... astound relatives
with your unveiling of the gay subtext to CASABLANCA
(3.10pm, Fri, BBC2) or, should you prefer an easier target,
Joe Orton bio PRICK UP YOUR EARS (12.45am, Fri, BBC2)...
plus a loathsome, frond-faced "child" enthralls adults to
carry out his evil bidding - but enough about the new Alan
Davies comedy, 'cos THE OMEN is clearly visible over "on the
other side" (10.35pm, Fri, C4)... the films are even better
on Boxing Day, with feature-length SUPER MARIO BROS
(11.45am, Sat, BBC1) bravely incorporating genuine power-up
mythos... Max Headroom completists will spot Matt Frewer in
Rick Moranis career-killer HONEY I SHRUNK THE KIDS (3.05pm,
Sun, ITV)... CASPER (2.50pm, Sat, BBC1) is terrible, but THE
NAKED GUN 2 1/2 (11.05pm, Sat, BBC1) is better than the
third one, just not as good as the first... and in A VIEW TO
A KILL (7.45pm, Sat, ITV), James Bond continues to hone his
skills at bringing in flamboyant, deranged criminal
masterminds who never invest in backup plans... are they
*sure* that 70 mins will be long enough for Fast Show sketch
spin-off gamekeeper drama TED AND RALPH (9.20pm, Sun,
BBC2)?... both protagonists of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (8.40pm,
Sun, C4) and the subsequent THE JOHNNY VEGAS TV SHOW
(10.35pm, Sun, C4) find solace in sculpture, though failed
light entertainer Vegas is funnier, weirder... oddly, geek
exploit of the week isn't THE ROYAL INSTITUTION CHRISTMAS
LECTURES - about "The Body" (lunchtime-ish, Mon-Fri, BBC2),
nor dullsville sequels STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME - with
the whales (1.40pm, Mon, BBC1) or INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST
CRUSADE - with Sean Connery (6.05pm, Mon, BBC1) but
hyper-dense Disney cyber-classic THE BLACK HOLE (10.30am,
Mon, BBC1)... and when SFX Magazine recently effused over
the "acting ability" on show in superb teen horror comedy
series BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (8pm, Wed, BBC2), one
suspects that what they meant to say was "teenage
FILM>> a wider outing for Enemy Of The State this week, but
otherwise it's the usual depressingly uplifting seasonal
fare... there's lush CGIs of heaven and hell (what, more
convincing than "Spawn"?) - but, as Hamlet might put it, the
presence of Robin Williams in treacly afterlife romance WHAT
DREAMS MAY COME (imdb: wife / angel / car-crash / death /
devil / dream / flashback / reincarnation / loss /
woman-painter / painting / colors / doctor / god / heaven /
hell / illusion / marriage / religion / search / soul-mates
/ soul / suicide) must give us pause. Like The Onion says,
"It is not yet known whether Williams plays a doctor or a
professor" - just remember: bearded Williams good;
clean-shaven Williams *bad!*... and brainy Culkin kid climbs
on top of dopey, conveniently giant classmate to create the
hybrid hero called THE MIGHTY (imdb: death / murder /
sickness / fireworks / grandparents / misfit / family /
friendship / outsider / symbiosis / handicap / king-arthur /
knights / quest / imagination). Also features Trek and
Terminator references; Sharon Stone, Harry Dean Stanton,
brief Gillian Anderson and Meat Loaf; and not to be confused
with current US release Mighty Joe Young, or upcoming UK
release Meet The Mighty Joe Black, or - oh never mind...
"TRIBUTE SITES">> A quieter year for NTK's merry band of
imitators, with the world eagerly awaiting the 9th issue of
THE LARD ENQUIRER (http://www.lard.com/html/enquirer_.htm )
- last expected 2/1/98 (sic)... Mike Masnick's UP-TO-DATE (
http://www.techdirt.com/uptodate/ ) now politely cites us in
his FAQ, and resembles a version of NTK with occasional
explanations instead of just ranting buzzwords (oh and you
can go back to using "Berating The Obvious", Mike, it's not
like we've trademarked it)... and finally, NINFOMANIA (
non-archived at http://www.ninfomania.com ) bravely
retaliated to our playful teasing of the last few weeks.
We're prepared to concede that they *did* know the Onion
Instant Win Airbag story was a spoof, considering the minor
updates they (or someone) carried out since everyone was
last sending it to each other approximately 2 years ago. But
they haven't yet answered our more pressing query: does that
mean that their music and book reviews might be spoofs too?
God bless them, readers - and us, and you - every one!
>> SMALL PRINT <<
Need to Know is a useful and interesting UK digest of things that
happened last year or probably won't happen next year. You can read it
on Friday afternoon or print it out and show grandma 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 "the best of ... what exactly?"
NEED TO KNOW
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