_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
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- SCOTT MCNEALY, email@example.com, +01 650 960-1300
(to wife, in bathroom of personal residence, 1999-01-26 09:32:04)
>> HARD NEWS <<
with armed crews
The NATIONAL CRIMINAL INTELLIGENCE SERVICE helpfully pitched
into the no-really-very-soon-now cursed E-COMMERCE crypto
legislation. Director General John Abbott said that a number
of serious criminal cases had been hampered by the perps'
use of encryption. To back this up, three vague case studies
were presented. You know, even we lunatic extremists here at
NTK do accept this argument - that law enforcement needs
assistance in crypto cases. We become even more convinced
they need help when we see the NCIS picking three tales
where the proposed new law would be *no* use at all. All
three were nasty individuals (terrorists, child pornsters,
murderers, PGP users) encrypting data on their permanent
hard drives, an area where the new law has very little
purchase at all. So, two questions for the NCIS: how would a
voluntary system stop this (or do you want to make it
illegal to use any encryption, even on home computers,
without key escrow?). Secondly, why is it that none of the
cases address what everyone in business is worried about -
the deliberate weakening of encrypted communication over the
Internet? Getting into secret files, sure: desirable, but
impossible to enforce. Crippling of government-supported
commercial and personal transactions on the Net to allow
transparent tapping of anyone's communications? Possible,
but is that what you really want? Yeah? Then argue the case.
- no names, no pack drill
- memo to NCIS: scarier examples here
It's good to see that the new brooms at the TIMES
INTER//FACE section haven't damaged its reputation for
clear, honest, factual reporting. While we usually keep our
coverage of their work to Antinews, we thought this week's
excelled itself so admirably that we'd give you a full run
down. Inside: The supplement welcomes the arrival of the new
Star Wars prequels, featuring "Luke Skywalker and friends".
Evil virus writers are planning to tie-in their work with
the Y2K bug (what?). A "new online guide to virtually every
movie" is premiered: it's 1990's very own
http://www.imdb.com/. And finally, an impartial piece on
Open Source Software, which says "there are alarming
parallels between a fanatic organisation and the way the
Open Source movement can behave. Journalists have been known
to receive death threats for daring to question the
movement's ideology". Nigel Powell, journalist, writes that
Eric Raymond himself "flew into a rage" when Nigel suggested
that open source culture embodied the communist ideal. Well,
he seemed very calm a few minutes later when he discussed
"some clueless hack" with us. And we believe the words were
"oh, fuck off". Maybe you're not asking daring enough
questions? All this *and* Dr Keyboard - check the floor of
your nearest train carriage for that free copy now!
- Lotus launch $100 million marketing campaign? Hold the front page!
And finally... shopping around for local Internet access took
on a new dimension on Wednesday, when UUNET opened its
Manchester Point-of-Presence to incoming calls *and*
incoming cars. An out-of-control vehicle embedded
itself into in the wall of the Manchester Telecity building,
and ended up parked in the UUNet suite of machines. While
the machines did not suffer any downtime, Telecity
operations did manage to inform the UUNet technical staff
with a brief e-mail. "There is a car in your pop. All fine."
- okay, so it's a slow news week. You wanted the Lotus story, maybe?
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
YAHOO buys Geocities (maybe they're running out of webspace
or something)... OFFICIAL PLAYSTATION magazine claims "22
Exclusive Demos" on coverdisc, *14* of which are Yaroze
games from previous issues... new ENTERTAINMENT HEAT
magazine reads like ill-fated TV mag THE BOX... "Theft of
passwords and hacking does not violate HOTMAIL terms of
service", say HOTMAIL... RICHARD BARRY emails all Ziff-Davis
UK staff re Internet Watch Foundation, asks "does anyone
know the URL???" (qv altavista, hit number 1)... you don't
want to know what MICROSOFT are planning with the blueprints
from FASA INTERACTIVE... LOOT Exposed As Tool For Software
Pirates, reveals Exclusive ZDNet Investigation... Guardian
Online's LUCY ELLMAN still struggling with the CAPS LOCK
key... Big Mac-style carnage already reported on BURGER KING
free "Fryday"... reports say LEGO laying off 10% of Danish
workforce: problems prising them off the green base
reported... BILL GATES on course for 100 billion... Modern
Man Still has Primitive Sexual Instincts, reveals Reuters...
BEEB.COM sends 205k Windows game to all "beeb blurb"
subscribers - to distract from "the dull, the mundane and
the totally tedious" (process of downloading their mail?)...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Some slightly trickier-to-access events than usual: we're
not sure if Peter Sommer (the author formerly known as Hugo
"Hacker's Handbook" Cornwall) wants us to plug his COMPUTER
SECURITY COLLOQUIA, which resumed at the London School of
Economics last Monday - but if it's the sort of thing you
should be going to, we're sure you'll find a way. By
contrast, a tenner gets you into the not particularly
non-trade friendly BRITISH INTERNATIONAL TOY AND HOBBY FAIR
(Sat 1999-01-30 - Wed 1999-02-03, London Olympia). But if
you've got lots of inner children to amuse, we're hoping -
as ever - that the IEE's touring FARADAY LECTURE (until Thu
1999-03-28, venues nationwide) is a bit like an
electromagnetic Radio 1 Roadshow, with pumped-up PhD
students tossing dynamos and copper coil windings to a
hysterical pre-teen crowd.
- last year's dates; we're not that stupid
- you missed this too
- no link to http://mudhole.spodnet.uk.com/fist/simon.htmlhttp://www.iee.org.uk/Lectures/faracrnt.htm
- could feature quiz game "Who Wants To Be An Engineer?"
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
In accordance with prophecy [NTK 1999-01-08], SONY have
slapped an injunction on CONNECTIX for selling their PSX
emulator, and quite right too: software of that calibre
should stay where it belongs, being handed out for the hell
of it by obsessive coders. And, anyway, everyone we know has
moved on to the UltraHLE's N64 Emulator, which plays Zelda,
Mario, GoldenEye, on 200Mhz+ Pentiums with 3DFX+GLide at
30fps. The program, which is only 175850 bytes zipped, is titled
ultrahle.zip, has an md5sum of
3e3a77f10666d14cef069805dcb57cfd and is... oh. Oh it's gone.
Oh, well, I'm sure your cooler friends have backups. Looks
like we'll have to go back to playing with this port of Doom
for the TI-82 Graphing Calculator.
- you think we're making this stuff up, don't you
- NO PORTING TO THE TI-83 UNTIL THE PROJECT IS DONE
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
CNN Space Correspondent is called "Miles O'Brien": you don't
think? Nah... ebay for nuclear reactors:
http://www.usedturbines.com/#powerplants ... Microsoft
Linux... generic Monsanto slag-off "withdrawn from
publication" - but it's available on the Web:
http://www.gn.apc.org/ecologist/SeptOct/index.htm ... part
of the Animated Violent Deaths Webring:
http://www.stickmorgue.com/sticklightsaber.html ... VIRGIN
ENTERTAINMENT CENTRES... driving schools with TOYOTA
RAV-4s... more blusher, marca, more blusher:
Q in future BOND FILMS to be played by - Q from STAR TREK:
THE NEXT GENERATION... honey, I overclocked my keychain:
http://www.triptonics.com/keychain/ ... make the dino swear!
http://www.geekchic.com/~jpd/barney/ ... if you were the
size of Heath Bunting, would you have chosen the name
"SUPERWEED"?... N64's first music sim:
Larry Wall calls REBOL "a cute toy", John Lindal ponders OSS
- yup, we've found another Weblog to steal from: Scripting
News for Grown Ups at http://www.elj.com/new/ (thanks to
frequently plundered http://i.am/jorn for that) ...
meanwhile, out viral namesakes at http://www.memepool.com call on
the protection of http://smfa.edu/~kaiju/ and now do you see
why we don't credit as much we should?
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
may contain strongly-typed language
TV>> sounds like it's about the host's links to the Mob, but
GRAHAM NORTON - SO CONNECTED (10.30pm, Fri, C4) purports to
be a "best of" the last series, before (oh god) a new one
starts next week... equally high-pitched porn-fixated THE
RUPAUL SHOW (1.20am, Fri, C4) isn't part of 4Later's SCI-FI
MUTANTS strand (from 11.20pm, Sat, C4), featuring cult
Argentinian soft-core THE CURIOUS CASE OF DR HUMPP (1.15am,
Sat, C4)... but should keep you awake till the long-awaited
return of godlike video sarcasm POP-UP VIDEO (2.50am, Sat,
C4)... speaking of sci-fi mutants, not too sure about the
shape-changey girl and lame new theme music in the second
series of SPACE: 1999 (3.40pm, Sat, BBC2)... the shock
table-turning conclusion of ANIMAL MINDS (6pm, Sat, BBC2)
has chimps trying to measure the intelligence of Jane
Goodall... C4's WW2 season continues with Japanese
co-production TORA! TORA! TORA! (8.55pm, Sat, C4), after
painfully slow repeat of STATION X... we made the Namco gag
last time for the cinema re-release of Lee Marvin arty
hardman trip POINT BLANK (9pm, Sat, BBC2)... and DANCES WITH
WOLVES? (10.55pm, Sat, ITV) - smells-of-wee, more like...
stagey Bosnian sniper drama SHOT THROUGH THE HEART (10.10pm,
Sun, BBC1) is not based around the Bon Jovi song with the
same opening line: "And you're too blame/ You give love a
*bad name* (Bad name!)"... if those Mariah Carey / Ike
Turner marriage rumours are true, maybe she should watch the
not-so rhetorical Tina biopic WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
(10pm, Sun, C4)... Mark "Dr Chinnery" Gatiss mines his
previous career as New Adventures Of Dr Who author when a
"thing" is dug up by THE LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN (9.30pm, Mon,
BBC2)... and those idiots who did the C4 Roswell alien
autopsy docu get a 3-part UFO series to solve the RIDDLE OF
THE SKIES (8pm, Mon, C4)... about as plausibly, the couple
who fooled the fly-on-the-wall crew last year claim to be
telling the truth this time on CUTTING EDGE (9pm, Mon,
C4)... just in time to be exposed again on TV hoax
investigation FAKING IT (10.30pm, Tue, C4) - believed to be
"the new media sabotage" (pardon?)... an inspirational,
rather more realistic attitude to home improvement with
three people who never do any housework in COMING CLEAN
(10.15pm, Tue, BBC2) ... and wholesome kiddie-script cuties
Sarah Jessica Parker - from FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR (2.35pm,
Sun, BBC2) - and Kim "Mannequin" Cattrall go all
"dirty-something" in frank, provocative etc SEX AND THE CITY
(10pm, Wed, C4)... David Koresh looks oddly like Bill Gates
in dramatic retelling of AMBUSH IN WACO (12.05am, Thu,
BBC1)... and surely HORIZON (9.30pm, Thu, BBC1) should be
paying more attention to classic sci-fi films when they
travel to the Arctic Circle to dig up a lethal virus buried
there since 1918...
FILM>> acclaimed playwright finds inspiration in other
people's material, extra-marital affairs - but that's enough
about Tom Stoppard because SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (imdb: 1500s
/ 1590s / biographical / historical) largely triumphs over
its O-level-flattering corny cod Tudor trappings, and is
directed by John Madden, author of the Megadrive's best-ever
American football game... not sure what kind of message
putting "It's bad. It's very bad" on the posters sends out,
but ultra-dark Shallow Grave-style accidental murder
"comedy" VERY BAD THINGS (MPAA: Rated R for strong, grisly
violence) is far more unpleasant than even the presence of
Christian Slater and Cameron Diaz would normally alert you
to... TWO GIRLS AND A GUY (MPAA: Rated NC-17 for a scene of
explicit sexuality) isn't the alternative title for Susan
Sarandon / Julia Roberts / Ed Harris weepie STEPMOM (MPAA:
Rated PG-13 for language and thematic elements), but a
talk-heavy sexual politics menage a trois with Robert
Downey, Heather Graham and Natasha "Mind Ripper" Wagner that
even sticks too many words into its tagline: "Thanks to his
two girlfriends/ Blake's about to learn a new sexual
position./ Honesty." Given the illustration, the "two
girlfriends" bit is redundant and defuses the double
punchline - we reckon they should have gone for: "Blake's
about to learn a new sexual position. Honesty" then, down at
the bottom of the poster in brackets: "(Thanks to his *two
FEEBDACK>> proof-reading motorbike consultant to the stars
PAUL BLEZ writes to complain about the mis-spellings of
"wander" and "meagre" in last week's issue, but missed our
slightly more embarrassing confusion between the Annals Of
Improbable Research and the Journal Of Irreproducible
Results in NTK 1999-01-15, and the missing "h" in "Cthulhu"
in NTK 1999-01-22. Or did we deliberately avoid spelling it
out in full, for fear of invoking the Old Ones
themselves?... similarly, the "Providence, Rhode Island"
reference in this DTI press release
http://www.dti.gov.uk/IBB/US/1999-01-014.html should "send a
shudder through any HP Lovecraft-aware crypto worriers",
says STUART HOUGHTON, the 70,000 per cent enhancement
offered by "Ntru" surely evidence of n-dimensional
tampering... the ubitiquous KRAGEN asks whether we *really*
meant to say that someone had *patented* Princess Diana,
instead of trademarking her virtual likeness? We're not sure
if we're even allowed to answer that... while we're at it,
we'll sneak in the corrigenda that SEGA DREAMCAST may be
water-cooled after all, just don't blame us if they start
blowing up if you leave them on all day... "Why doesn't Geek
Media include radio?", inquires SUE BROOM of the BBC Science
Unit (natch). "It does come in digital these days and for a
mere UKP700 you can listen in true DAB at home." Sadly, Sue,
our computers interfere with FM reception and we never
switch them off, so we know little of this "Logged On",
"Frontiers" or "new series on the brain" of which you speak.
Audio fans, keep us posted... and finally the remarkably
named BREMSTRAHLUNG X JONES informs us that, as far as he
can establish, "he's the only person who watches Buffy The
Vampire Slayer for reasons other than to masturbate at the
lead". He watches it "to masturbate at the slightly geeky
one"... you know, this is the kind of subscriber information
marketeers kill for...
>> 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 "rather tiresome" [Edge Magazine]
NEED TO KNOW
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