_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the UK>
| \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ __1999-02-19_ o join! mail 'subscribe ntknow'
| \| | | | | ' / | '_ \ / _ \ \ /\ / / o to firstname.lastname@example.org
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "Can we not take the things that are wonderful about C++
and marry them with an easier model?"
- Microsoft's Greg Leake on COOL
...Christ, it's already behaving like a rock star
>> HARD NEWS <<
little to amuse
Physics news: BRUCE PERENS, one of the co-creators of the
Open Source(TM) movement, recanted this week, and announced
in a burst of highly-energised e-mails that it *should* be
called Free Software after all. Alarmingly, this means
Bruce is now resigning from non-profit organisations faster
than he can found them: a self-sustaining chain reaction
that could well lead to him splitting his own body into its
constituent atoms. Watch for the resultant explosion on the
usual mailing lists: as ever, we're expecting a huge
release of light, heat, sound, nervous energy - but
strangely, no additional code. Which is odd, because that's
what all these efforts was supposed to generate.
- yeah, we read slashdot, no need to send us all their links
- UKP495 +VAT: should be freer than that, anyway
Pleasing largely for its sense of closure: you remember how
the EU thought that storing someone's IP number might
violate their data protection privacy? (Bad EU! No idea
about networking!) And how DIXONS FREESERVE alarmed
innocent users by demanding to see their CLIDs before
letting them email? (Bad Dixons! Encouraged us to make
numerous "CLID" jokes!) Yet two wrongs do seem to make a
right: a new Australian ruling could forbid ISPs down under
from collecting users' caller ID, stating that it
represents an unacceptable intrusion. Well, if there's a
worldwide flood of spam promoting Fosters and Vegemite, you
know who to blame.
- CIA (Connect Infobahn Australia)? Not sinister at all!
- rockin' for privacy
If you weren't sufficiently amused by our coverage last
week of the European Parliament's cache row - why not check
out their own EP NEWS (free with today's Independent). A
monthly round-up of all the EP has achieved (on *four*
tabloid sides!). It identifies the threat from "portable
double-deck copying machines" (swift reaction to
technological change, there) and "sophisticated technical
devices able to surf the net and download music files at
the drop of a hat without so much as a thank-you to the
recording artist" (generally we call them PCs). And that
the levy on blank media is "not even a tax where the payer
has no control how the money is spent". Euro MP Carole
Tongue thinks the tax will help artists living on the
breadline - ironic since unsigned musicians would probably
receive less from the tax than they'd pay just to
distribute their own demo cassettes. NTK is currently
lobbying for a tax on fan-fold paper.
http://www.europarl.eu.int/ - careful! no proxies!
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
consumers "confused" over difference between "organic" and
GENETICALLY MODIFIED foods... MARIAH CAREY not *that*
... BT "guarantee security" for "secure e-commerce
solution" via trustwise.com - with 40-bit keys?... 'nother
DEATH at DISNEY WORLD... "You are wasting your time with
this old browser!" chortles http://www.wastewatch.org.uk at
LYNX users... vote ADAM ANT at http://www.motm.co.uk/ ...
COMPUTING illustrates Y2k with MAD MAX pics... get em young:...
FORTUNECITY lose homepage drive *and* backup files... be
prepared: http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/sorry.html ...
BBC internal mail paralysed by "South Pole" ad, sent to
200k recipient list, many "replied to all"... "MICROSOFT to
integrate Michael Kinsley into foundations of Bill Gates'
house": http://www.slate.com/Readme/99-02-13/Readme.asp ...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
See below for what we made of his new nano-thriller, but
you can check out cheery New Scientist journo SIMON INGS in
the "meat" at his various readings, speakings and signings
around the country - often in friendly symbiosis with
fellow Brit-sciffers Michael Marshall Smith and Stephen
Baxter, and culminating in the terrifying-sounding
"Fabulous Harbours" night at Heffers in Cambridge (1999-03-
10), which also features Kim Newman (Britain's own Jack
Womack?) and Tom Holt (the poor man's Robert Rankin, if
such a thing is possible). In an act of cranial-jack-like
telepathy, when we asked Simon's press agent for any
"coming events", she uploaded his entire itinerary: to
discourage any cyber-stalkers out there, we've spared you
his precise train schedule and details of "light supper
with Steve Farrar of the Sunday Times".
- ask Marshall Smith if his new paperback, "One Of Us"...
- ...is based around the Abba song of the same name
>> TRACKING <<
look what the mouse dragged in
Another quiet day at the software cafe. Developers were
slowly sipping their Java, when MICROSOFT started waving
the J++ gun at them, loudly insisting "You're all gonna be
like Fonzie. And what's Fonzie like?" Uh... COOL? MS
dropping Java always seemed an empty threat while it was
the only sane way of using their Component Object Model, but
now plans for an alternative has reached that media-
critical "code name" phase. Provisionally dubbed "C++ Object
Oriented Language" (no, Bjarne Stroustrup didn't know what
that implies about C++ either) it "makes C++ programming
simpler". What? Messing with the one thing that keeps C++
coders above VB'ers in the programming pecking order? And
how "simple" will it be persuading Java database-app
developers to jump to a new language tied to a specific OS
and object model? Hey, according to the plan, by the time
Windows2000 gets deployed, that silly "cross-platform"
concept will be moot anyway.
- Haven't heard from you guys since '96. How's it going?
- zero code, but already more evangelists than SmallTalk
- we don't know what the language of the future will be,
but we know it'll be called "K-RAD"
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
anticipating next MPEG standard by registering mp5.com,
mp6.com, mp2k.com... http://www.snafu.de/~bigbang/poll.html
... CAPE CANAVERAL gets "321" area code - as assigned by
division of Lockheed... desperate MAC owners building own
, http://www.freeverse.com/ivase/ ... who needs widescreen:
http://www.simplecom.net/widefilm/flikfx/ ... DISNEY to buy
APPLE rumours at http://www.appleinsider.com/ (oh,
please)... alt.internet.providers.uk.free ... Y2K hampers
... big DEMON crypto thing soon... geek vs BOND at
http://www.ntk.net/bond/ ... PLAYSTATION 2000 to shift 55m
polygons/second vs Dreamcast's 6m... and stop sending us
patent 5501650 - MICROSOFT now officially own yo' ass:
http://www.patents.ibm.com/details?pn=US05819372__&language=en >> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> he isn't, but wouldn't it be weird if Kevin Bacon was
in wacky Will Smith class comedy SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION
(11.20pm, Fri, BBC2)?... the plot of LOOKER (2.55am, Fri,
C5) involves surgery and powerful computers - you can guess
the writer-director... and BBC2's Alan J Pakula tribute
continues with unconvincing conspiracy guff ALL THE
PRESIDENT'S MEN (11:25, Sat, BBC2) - like, as if!... C4
wheels out more sex and gore pretending to be a "Censored"
season - highlights: "groovy" EVIL DEAD II (11.50pm, Sat,
C4) and Keitel's BAD LIEUTENANT (11.20pm, Sun, C4) - but
nothing to touch psycho love-story THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
(10.55pm, Sat, ITV)... SUB ZERO (11am, Sun, BBC2) is the
new (20 min!) PC web-based "Adventure Game" for kids -
presumably not sponsored by the alcoholic beverage of the
same name - while fans of Sky's most homoerotic videogames
show should watch for the inflatable-looking Andy Collins
on PUMP IT UP (4.15pm, Fri, ITV)... Jan "Cally from Blake's
7" Chappell re-enacts the Stephen Lawrence enquiry in THE
COLOUR OF JUSTICE (10.10pm, Sun, BBC2)... there's
deliberately no laugh-track in gas ad spin-off MRS MERTON
AND MALCOLM (8.30pm, Mon, BBC1) - so it's not that there
just weren't any laughs... and SPACE: 1999 rebounds to its
6.40pm, Mon, BBC2 slot, though god knows what happened to
the glowing rocks episode they were supposed to show last
week - and where's the one with the whip-wielding cat-
women?... Independence Day stole the beginning off V (11pm,
Mon, C5), who stole it from Childhood's End... evil haxxor
Ian Morrison (aka reflex, aka P Hampton-Forbes - see NTK
1998-07-17) pops up on WORKERS AT WAR (10.15pm, Tue, BBC1)
- not to be confused with lame VR fest JOHNNY MNEMONIC
(9pm, Tue, C5)... squeaky Gillian Anderson lookalike Julie
Burchill fails to generate much controversy in CLOSE UP
(9.30pm, Tue, BBC2)... the excellent stolen-whistle/Father
Damo/crackwhores episode comes round again in FATHER TED
(10pm, Tue, C4)... good title, geeky Willow plot, dumb
effects and a nice closing scene in the "I Robot, You Jane"
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (6.40pm, Wed, BBC2)... and,
distracted by a tolerably medieval Christian Slater
performance, you never do get to find out THE NAME OF THE
ROSE (9pm, Wed, C5)...
FILM>> this week's ultrableak feelbad movie is like the
Coen Brothers' snowbound Fargo crossed with John Sayles'
Lone Star - but with fewer laughs than both put together,
as bulky haggards Nick Nolte and James Coburn actor-wrassle
to determine who has the gravest AFFLICTION (imdb: based-on-
novel)... twenty-nothing Kathy Burke Camden wank THIS
YEAR'S LOVE (imdb: drama) is actually quite emptily
poignant, despite the damningly faint praise they've
neglected to edit out of the press quotes: A "sort of" Four
Weddings And A Funeral on acid - Tatler; "Could be" the
suprise hit of the year - Express On Sunday... a script by
the writer of Dead Poets Society directed by Stephen "Bill
& Ted" Herek gives some idea of the message-heavy
misconception of HOLY MAN (imdb: religion) - some funny
Eddie Murphy, Jeff Goldblum, Kelly Preston, spoofing that
super-obscure tricky comedy target, TV infomercials...
SUPPORT AMAZON IN THEIR "CASH FOR RECOMMENDATIONS" SHAME
[tacky "buy now!" links at http://www.ntk.net/books/ ]>>
densest, darkest, most deeply disturbing sci-fi of the year
(we hope): KW Jeter's NOIR (RRP 6.99, Amazon 4.79) chops
out the still-thrashing nervous systems of his previous Dr
Adder, Farewell Horizontal and mashes them in with the bits
they wouldn't let him put in Blade Runner 2. Is he really
proposing that warez doodz should be killed and have their
brains put into hi-fi cables? Net searches reveal: yes he
is... cutting himself a slice of that bestselling Rough
Guide To The Internet pie, Jim McClellan's CD-sized
GUARDIAN GUIDE TO THE INTERNET (RRP 6.99, Amazon 5.59)
seems aimed at people who consider themselves too smart,
liberal, or smooth for the "Rough" one. Occasionally FTP-
obsessed, replete with authentic "Grauniad" typos ("url to
follow" p27; "Net myths decontructed" p40; cyberpunk /
cypherpunk confusion p51), but he plugs NTK at least 3
times (p38; p336, p428), so he must have some idea... Simon
Ings' HEADLONG (RRP 5.99, Amazon 4.79) doesn't quite
overcome its moon-based, ruined-London, Neuromancer-
'fluenced, Greg Egan-lite nano-gineering gimickry, but much
better than this "early version" would had you believe
http://www.omnimag.com/archives/fiction/openvein/ ... not
much humour-to-page transfer in either Woody Allen's thick
COLLECTED PROSE (RRP 7.99, Amazon 6.39) or Steve Martin's
128-page PURE DRIVEL (RRP 9.99, Amazon 7.99), while THE
SEINFELD SCRIPTS (RRP 9.99, Amazon 7.99) are sadly limited
to just first and second series; only really mastered its
domain in seasons 3 and 4 (see - appallingly commented -
samples at http://seinfeld.sogaard.com/episodes/scripts/
)... and finally, conflicting reports as to whether Gary
Wolf's tell-all Wired story will be pro- or anti-Rossetto;
promisingly, however, should be titled BENGALI TYPHOON...
>> 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 "have-a-go super-heroes".
(nice to see guest / guest working fine)
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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