_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
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| |\ | | | | . \ | | | | (_) \ v v / o website (+ archive) lives at:
|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "He [David Talbot, CEO of Salon] wants to go public; to
partner with any number of European media companies; to
start a Salon UK; a Salon Germany; he wants a Salon
- "The Salon Makeover", Wired 7.01
...he wants to watch where he leaves that Wired business plan
>> HARD NEWS <<
Cupertino Kool-Aid - now in five delicious flavours! STEVE
JOBS, CEO of the Thousand Year Interim, unveiled staggering
new technical innovations at MacWorld, with five new types
of plastic iMac cover. "We think", he declared, "the most
important question this year is going to be: What is your
favorite colo[u]r?". That bodes ill for anyone planning a
decent conversation with a Mac user, but then, when did
Apple product launchs ever help that? Collectors can now buy
iMacs in strawberry, original blueberry, grape, lime and
tangerine: all the colours of the Apple logo apart from, you
can't help but notice, "lemon yellow". Unconnected research
shows the new flashy G3s have beautiful organic lines, diddy
little round mice, no SCSI support, no serial port and no
floppy drive, but that's okay, because all the Mac
peripheral manufacturers will be going bust trying to
inventory all these new colours anyway. And what if you
- innovative new spelling of integer, too...
- "We don't wake up in the morning dreaming of world domination"
we live it!
Jobs also used the keynote to plug CONNECTIX's new
Playstation emulator - an instant solution for the Mac game
famine, he said. Connectix themselves were eyeing the exits.
Scared silly of a pre-launch injunction by Sony, the company
is now waiting for the cold hand of the multinational "fixers"
to fall. Their unofficial defence, should anyone ask before
shuriken-ing them to the walls and sending the pieces to
Tokyo, is this: Given that Sony make a loss on the PSX
itself and only make cash on game sales, they would be
fools to sue, wouldn't they? Unless, that is, somebody
points out that it's a *lot* easier to chip an emulator than
a black box. Hell, out here in insecure platform land, you
can't even tie down a pre-release PSX emulator beta for the
PC without... I think we've said too much.
- Well, it was here, all 110KB of it... called bleem.zip
- hold on, let me... you didn't see this, okay?
- bringing "gamers into contact with the seedier parts of the Net"
And pity now, if you did not pity them before, the citizens of
MILTON KEYNES. Many years ago, as a bright New Town, the
planners decided on a municipal TV cable system, free for
all. Economic fashions changed, though, from Maynard Keynes
to Milton Friedman, and that monopoly was privatised - to
that native son of the free market, British Telecom. They
set about charging 30 quid a year - even though both
satellite and RF alternatives were impossible for most
Keynesians, due to restrictive planning regulations and poor
signal strength. Imagine, then, the localised rejoicing when
the EC demanded that BT sell its franchise. The bidding is
up this month the MK's new Info-Laird. Surely anyone must be
better than BT? Guess what, Milton Keynes? Microsoft wants
the franchise. Oh, and Westminster? You're next.
- frying pan
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
NYT pronounces "Linux" like "Cynics" - we wish... LIAM drops
ten places in "most popular baby names" poll... INTERNETFCI
taking this Euro thing a bit too far at
http://www.thenet.co.uk/ ... MICROSOFT Tinky Winky
planned... +++ ATH for HAYES... GATES piemen fined 50UKP -
catch it again at http://www.ntk.net/gates/creamedgates.mpg
... Teens Can Refuse Gang Membership Without Serious Harm,
study reveals ... ABC News repeat "funny foreign film
re-titling" list: claim Chinese correspondent checked out
details... MICROSOFT BACKUP 95 proves to be incompatible
with Microsoft Backup 98... Hacker crew announce they've
changed their mind about declaring war on China, Iraq...
ZAPATA stocks leap after press release announces intention
to become an "Amazon associate"... MS buys MechWarrior,
plans to port exo-skeletons to Windows CE...
Cooking/Nutrition/Eating_disorders - so that's Bulimia as a
category of entertainment?... Linda Tripp welches on paying
for lindatripp.com ... .NET MAGAZINE plugs Ninfomania -
yeah? huh? We'll take you all on, we don't care...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Well, if you didn't make it to the CES, let SGI's "Visual
Computing Breakthrough" come to you, in a semi-simultaneous
worldwide launch next Mon 11/01/99. "Any workstation can do
graphics," SGI reveal, but "only one is designed to make you
say 'IT'S ALIVE'". Frankenstein/ NT comparisons aside, the
question that'll bring these events alive is apparently not
"When's the Linux port?" (soon, my children, soon) but "Why
is the Softimage performance so poor?"
- well, it's near the Star Trek Experience
- hope they do songs like for the Octane...
- "I have a dream - and it's called a graphics pipe"
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
"It may not physically *be* a C64, but ethically it's
similar" wrote one comp.sys.cbm revisionist about the
WEB.IT. We spent forty-five seconds with one, physically if
not ethically. Extensive tests show cover of box to be
cardboard. Inside, it really does look like a C64 from a
reality where the Amiga never happened. It has a C= key.
It's got 16MB of RAM, 16MB ROM, and 2MB of flash ROM, but no
hard drive. PCMCIA, pen pad and infrared, but you have to
plug it into the telly. The CPU is an AMD variant called an
ELAN (not an Enterprise Elan?), which broadly equates to a
100Mhz 486. We have Lotus AmiPro, 1-2-3 Netscape 3.0, Lotus
Organiser, IBM PC-DOS (yes!), and Windows 3.1 - oh, and that
C64 emulator - in ROM. IBM, Lotus, Phoenix and AMD logos all
over the box, but no mention of Microsoft, until you read
the fine print that explains that Windows has been licensed
by IBM courtesy of a legal loophole that Microsoft can do
nothing about. Such pluck! Due in this country "uh, soon",
at "uh, 300UKP? 400?". Doomed to fail. But what glorious
protracted swansongs these Commodores machines do have.
- anyone got the rights to the PET?
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
relativistic nonlinear optics... BLUE JAM returns ...
location, location, location: ftp://opensores.thebunker.net/
... Jubilee line tubes to have "black box recorder"...
MCDONALDS runs out of Big Macs... what UFOlogists do on
their days off: http://www.synicon.com.au/sw/yhead/yhead.htm
... Best meme of 1999: Cypherpunk Porn
... real cypherpunk porn at: http://www.zks.net/ ... Which
of these images is not like the others?
... "one of the judges is the famous VF tetsujin and expert
Wolf player Bun Bun"... kind of want them to stay that way,
don't you - http://www.silentmajority.co.uk/ >> GEEK MEDIA <<
may contain strongly-typed language
TV>> Kathy Burke! The camp bloke off The Thin Blue Line! A
title borrowed, a la Knowing Me Knowing You, from an Abba
song! The portents are, we're sorry to say, not good for
dire-looking sex sitcom GIMME GIMME GIMME (9pm, Fri,
BBC2)... oh, and maybe they should set up a helpline for
those disappointed by the new series of freshly on-the-dole
FRASIER (10pm, Fri, C4)... C5 strays into actual '70s
soft-porn with EMMANUELLE (11.15pm, Fri, C5) to tempt you
away from the story of sci-fi synthers The Human League on
YOUNG GUNS (GO FOR IT) (11.20pm, Fri, BBC2) - apparently
Phil Oakey found one of those singer girls "working as a
waitress in a cocktail bar"... BBC2's "Time Season" warps
between HG Wells classic THE TIME MACHINE (2.15pm, Sat,
BBC2), mental perception docu WHAT MAKES US TICK (6.50pm,
Sat, BBC2) and, further taunting dedicated fans, a
completely out-of-sequence off-schedule flashback-based
SEINFELD (12.05am, Sat, BBC2)... ITV a little more honest
than usual about its peaktime offerings in
transmission-blooper clip show TV NIGHTMARES (9pm, Sat,
ITV)... and genuine serial fans will know that the "Scorpio"
guy in DIRTY HARRY (10.15pm, Sat, ITV) is based on the
real-life "Zodiac killer"... mysteriously, last year the BBC
showed the movie version of STARGATE (7.25pm, Sun, BBC1)
exactly 15 days later and 15 minutes earlier... it's a
repeat, but Steve Coogan has never been funnier as when
rabidly declaring I'M ALAN PARTRIDGE (10.40pm, Sun, BBC1)...
sticking with lady-boys, unfortunate scheduling threatens to
confuse anyone who tunes into the transsexual taxi driver in
strange but funny THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN (9.30pm, Mon,
BBC2) while looking for the transsexual prostitute in London
docu-soap PADDINGTON GREEN (9.30pm, Mon, BBC1)... well, we
didn't think the William Gibson episode of The X Files was
that bad, at least compared to the hacker story in NASH
BRIDGES (10.40pm, Mon, ITV)... and Ken Loach's KES (10pm,
Mon, C4) depicts the tragedy of young geeks forced into
amateur falconry before low-cost home computers became
widely available... BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (6.45pm, Wed,
BBC2) perks up again with the virgin Xander vs preying
mantis episode... check http://www.schnews.org.uk/ for how
train hijacking made THE MARK THOMAS COMEDY PRODUCT (11pm,
Wed, C4) Britain's first light entertainment show with a
nuclear capability... and attention all borderline-clinical
musical prodigies! As SHINE proves (9.30pm, Thu, BBC1), all
you need is a good woman to take you in, listen to your
problems, then charge large crowds lots of money to come and
FILM>> by now you should be aware of the rich
disappointments within both STAR TREK: INSURRECTION (imdb:
youth / based-on-tv-series / futuristic / honor / patriotism
/ sequel / spacecraft / space / star-trek) and gross
made-for-TV Irvine Welsher THE ACID HOUSE (imdb:
based-on-novel), but this week's releases bring even greater
controversy... thoughtful but confused anti-American actioner
THE SIEGE (imdb: army / bombing / cia / fbi / new-york /
terrorism) has already caused US reviewers to question its
depiction of "Marshal Law" (sic), while the second issue of
"Arcade" magazine boldly and consistently spells the title
as "The Seige"... Gus Van Sant puts the "Master" back into
"Norman Bates" in his not entirely pointless PSYCHO (imdb:
based-on-novel / controversial / cult-favorites / detective
/ dominant-mother / rain / masturbation-scene / money /
mother / birds / dead / shower / house / murder / bathroom /
psychological / stolen-money / swamp / thief / toilet /
transvestitism) - a terrifying glimpse of what Hitchcock
could have achieved if only he'd been able to draw on acting
talent like Anne Heche and Vince Vaughn, had been able to
film it in colour (wait a minute, it was 1960, he could
have!), and had wanted to make it, inexplicably, much less
frightening... London-release mental mayhem PI (imdb:
paranoia / pi / self-mutilation / surreal / chaos-theory /
computers / cult-favorites / delusion / judaism / low-budget
/ mathematical-equation / mathematics) is far from perfect,
but steals from all the right places (a camera strapped to
the hero's chest, Jim Flint's Habitus, Arthur C Clarke's The
Nine Billion Names Of God). "Maybe Pi is the name of God,"
ponders one imdb comment. "Try pronouncing an infinite
random number!"... but infinitely preferable to Jane
Horrocks's follow-up to impersonating the whole Eastenders
cast in her stupid LITTLE VOICE (imdb: based-on-play). This
time she sings in such unerring mimicry of Judy Garland,
Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe etc that you're convinced
it's lip-syncing - wouldn't it have been cleverer to have
her doing songs that *they never actually sang* in their
distinctive style, like genius Elvis tribute act, The
THEY TRIED TO LAY THEIR "FOUL EGGS" IN OUR MOUTHS>> the
NESTLE ROLO COOKIES 'N' CARAMEL EGG is at least a step in
the right direction, but CADBURY continue senseless
experimentation in the form of their sickly oversweet ORANGE
EGG - like the standard Creme Egg (or Velvet - see [NTK
1998-01-23], but stuffed with yucky choccy-box filling...
continuing the Alien theme, big tip for '99 is CADBURY'S
YOWIE, the eco-friendly incitement to "collect a series of
easy-to-assemble replica creatures from within the chocolate
tummies of the lovable Yowie characters"... our current
chief source of Phenylalanine? HORLICKS MALTISSIMO low-cal
instant chocolate drink, available in plain, Mocha or
Tiramisu (can't wait for Buddy Holly TV ad: "if you knew/
Tiramisu"), and price-fighting those innumerable OPTIONS and
a CADBURY'S CARAMEL CHOCOLATE BREAK hybird we spotted
briefly last year... roving snack spotter LEE MAGUIRE is
first to report the truly dramatic sounding CRUNCHIE
EXPLOSION (UKP0.38): honeycomb slab replaced with
"granules", of which 7 per cent are Space Dust-style
"popping candy". Subject describes the experience as
"fantastic, like eating a Crunchie while it's still
alive"... while we await further confirmation of MATT
LOCKE's sighting of the (biscuit-free?) MUNCHIES BAR
(UKP1.20) - not to be confused with the shameless
counter-intuitive downsizing of MONSTER MUNCH: "From now
on, Monster Munch will come in New Bitesize, so there will
be more pieces in every bag, ensuring even more monstrous
fun every time!"... on the streets (of London at least):
redecoration of tasteful SEATTLE COFFEE HOUSEs as garish
STARBUCKS has begun, also slight price hike in the form of
discarded "small" size (though apparently they still have it
if you ask)... this month's taste abomination: even SMARTIES
(UKP0.30) aren't revealing what their new "Mystery Blue
Flavour" is supposed to be, because it's part of a
competition to win 100 PlayStations. Our current best guess:
blueberry bubblegum. Our backup option: just revolting...
>> 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
" under more bloody ISO8601 peer pressure from http://www.tbtf.com/ "
NEEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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