"...it was just the best fun ever. Keep your dreams alive,
your hearts open, and your hands on the keyboard... cuz even
on the web, Girls Do Rule!"
- "games for girls" company PURPLE MOON signs off
...and you know, after that summer, I was never the same again
>> HARD NEWS <<
Sunday, and somewhere off the coast of Iceland, a Teleglobe
cable snapped like taffy. And while mostly everyone
blundered through with only a few DNS slowdowns, JANET, the
academic network, treated the damage as permanent, and
rooted around for some excuses. Could have happened to
anyone, of course (anyone who hadn't forked out for some
redundant backup), but there's a special irony for JANET
users, who have are among the few to pay a per-byte charge
for transatlantic data transfer. Guaranteed quality of
service - wasn't that the billing everyone gives for priced
- Russian connectivity to MIRnet? Uh-oh...
- how come we never get student sit-ins for this stuff?
Eagerly awaited PlayStation game METAL GEAR SOLID sneaks
into our British retail installations today, a sprightly 6
months after its Japanese release - and surely of interest
to anyone who hasn't already been forced to get a pirate
copy following Konami's grey import clampdown. We know the
game is supposed to take things cautiously, but this is
ridiculous: Sony blame "localisation" for the delay, but
were able to launch a complete English language version for
the US market within two months of the Japanese original
- a fact conveniently ignored by the Brit magazines that all
but pleaded with you to wait for the official UK one.
- yeah, admittedly, there's NTSC to PAL recoding in there too
- but the art still looks like those terrible Zzap!64 covers
that were done by a relative of the publisher or something
And draconian Euro ISP-bashing is one thing, but when it's
combined with hilarious mistranslation humour, how *could*
we resist? THE REGISTER reports that Valentin Lacambre,
owner of French webspace provider Altern.Org, has chosen to
"return his apron" after legal actions taken against him for
copyrights infringed by members' pages, including nude pics
of model Estelle Halliday. A typically gallic tiff over a
beautiful woman, perhaps: Lacambre's Babelfish-translated
statement swiftly descends into a heart-rending description
of how his 48,000 accounts will either have to "go
disparaitre" or "transform itself into bibendum advertising
elsewhere". Though oddly, when you go to his site, his
English isn't that bad...
- is that why don't they link to http://www.altern.org ?
- meanwhile some Aussie ISPs want more than just caller ID
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
new BRITNEY SPEARS album includes "godawful ballad" titled
EMAIL MY HEART... http://www.lloydsbank.co.uk won't let you
use numbers or symbols in password... this week's pointless
email campaign: http://www.bpm.ai/~sameer/ - but don't go too
far: http://www.imrg.org/survey/questions/virgin.htm ...
maddest Y2K quote: "The DNS serial number is the key to the
problem, as many dates only use six digits to represent the
year in a byte with eight digits, the other two digits being
used to represent a negative or positive number. This means
that in 2000 several years will disappear, as they will no
longer exist" ("INS", NetworkNews) *or* "In the year 2000,
your computer will literally go back in time 100 years!" (BBC
kids' show "Short Change")... why are ISPA's press releases
always the worst formatted?... average monthly wage for
trainee coder in Moldova: UKP10... webmaster at
http://www.elonex.co.uk might not have spotted that
http://www.gvsystems.com/home/ took his gifs, till the
borrowed links showed up in his referrer logs...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Last we checked, Michael Moore's "culture jamming workshop"
at Channel 4 (Tue 1999-03-02, UKP10) was all sold out and,
let's face it, Jerry Springer "ringmastering" the stuck-up
weirdos at the Oxford Union (also Tue 1999-03-02, 8.30pm)
could get a bit *too* freaky. Fans of the adage "When I hear
the word 'culture', I reach for my gun" are instead directed
to Chris Burden's WHEN ROBOTS RULE: THE TWO MINUTE AIRPLANE
FACTORY at the (ahem) Tate Gallery, London SW1 - a "fully
automated assembly line manufacturing rubber-band-powered
aeroplanes from tissue paper, plastic and balsa wood". The
guy appears to be for real, a cross between Tim "The
Rudiments Of Wisdom" Hunkin and William "oops I just killed
my wife" Burroughs: his previous works include standing in
an art gallery and getting a friend to shoot him in the arm.
Entrance (from Tue 1999-03-02) is free; assistants will be
catching the planes as they're launched and selling them to
punters for UKP5. And at least if you happen to get in the
way, there's less muzzle velocity this time.
Michael Moore info: firstname.lastname@example.org, voice: 0171 247 8881
- you could always stand outside dressed as a chicken
- not quite the voice of the disenfranchised working class
- anyone know what happened to that lego car factory?
We're always skeptical of events claiming to be "the biggest
thing to hit the European Quake scene" (that would be
"puberty", surely?) but we're assured that EUROQUAKE - The
"defacto European Quake Championships" are the real deal.
The actual UK team, not some goofs off Wireplay, will be
taking on Clan 9, who took down Thresh's clan, Death Row,
and it's all on LAN, so no whingeing about international
- no moaning about the puberty joke, either. Where's yAARGH
>> TRACKING <<
look what the mouse dragged in
Until recently, if you wanted a Windows secure shell
connection to your Unix box, correct medicinal procedure was
to download the official Data Fellows software, use it until
the trial period expired, try to crack it, fail, then give
up and install Linux. Nowadays, even that doesn't work,
because those same fellows of Data are trying to encourage
everyone to upgrade to their new SSH2 protocol (special
powers include ultra-secure complete-incompatibility-with-
the-ssh-your-Unix-box-uses mode), and only the most
outrageous warez dudes can find their original, working,
software. Thus, the sudden renaissance of TERATERM PRO, an
ancient Windows terminal program that has the singular
advantage of having an ssh plug-in. Okay, it's not new,
exactly, but one day soon you'll need to find it, and
careful observers will note that no new software has been
invented since Netscape 1.1N. And even that was just
Hypercard with a glowing 'N', right?
- caution, Americans! RSA don't want our stinking foreign
code in your PCs
- Japan, too. Smacks of World Government to me.
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
EBAY's lucrative slave-trade: http://18.104.22.168/kids.html
... this stuff gives us a headache: http://www.hedweb.com/ ...
new KFC ad set in heart of rival franchise territory,
SHEPHERD'S BUSH... justify that most tempting bugfix of all:
AMAZON files Michael Marshall Smith's "One Of Us" under
"Family & Health"... this week's monkey-themed Brit ONION
http://www.gorillagorillagorilla.freeserve.co.uk/ ... forget
"steps", it's the EMACS workout: http://www.bilbo.com/ (to
...subscribing to http://slab.org/void.html and checking
headers - higher X-MAILER to Outlook/AOL ratio, the better...
filth *everywhere*: http://www.global-image.com/eXonizer/ ...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> THE NEW ADDAMS FAMILY (5.40pm, Sat, ITV) will really have
to try to be as bad as The New Munsters ("We went to sleep
many years ago/ Now we're back with a brand new show!")... the
phrase CRIMSON TIDE (9pm, Sat, ITV) makes useful shorthand for
any office authority face-off situation, we find... "Make
Room! Make Room!" on your video for dullish Harry Harrison
Charlton Heston future euthanasia weepie SOYLENT GREEN (9pm,
Sat, C4)... apparently there's a massive Dr Who subtext in
repeated new gay soap QUEER AS FOLK (11.15pm, Sat, C4)...
4LATER is, perhaps unsurprisingly, "on drugs" (from 12.30am,
Sat, C4), featuring THE TRIP (2.50am, Sat, C4): space techno
footage compiled by the guy who does the club page in some
editions of The Guardian Guide, plus timeless student-pleaser
THE CLANGERS (3.25am, Sat, C4)... otherwise provide your own
MST3K comments for BBC1's showing of TERROR FROM THE YEAR 5000
(1.45am, Sat, BBC1)... just after DWEEBS, LABYRINTH (2:55am,
Sun, C4) is a black and white Czech movie - and not the Bowie
Muppet-fest of the same name... Christian Slater is oddly
proud of his work in teen pirate DJ romp PUMP UP THE VOLUME
(10pm, Mon, C4) - oh dear... and NTK ed Danny O'Brien
inexplicably pops up presenting wacky new weekend travelogue
DOORS TO MANUAL (8.30pm, Wed, C4) - he assures us that the
title is what they say on planes when they land, and not a
Trek reference at all... the political comedy continues with
MICHAEL MOORE: THE AWFUL TRUTH (10.30pm, Wed, C4) - hopefully
TV Nation in all but name... followed by past-its-sell-by-date
MARK THOMAS COMEDY PRODUCT (11pm, Wed, C4)... complemented by
Sly Stallone's one-man eviction of the Russians from
Afghanistan in RAMBO III (10.10pm, Wed, C5)... oh, and there's
obviously an echo when you're standing on the hastily
scheduled EDGE OF ETERNITY (1.45pm, Fri, C4) - Radio Times
lists it as: "to come come come come come come come come come
FILM>> you've guessed it, Nora Ephron's low-tech cyber-romance
YOU'VE GOT MAIL (imdb: internet / new-york / bookstore ) is
indeed packed with sappy soppy stupidity that only an AOL user
could love. And *what is* shameful-looking Tom "rhyming slang"
Hanks fiddling with under the table in the ubiquitous press ad
and poster?... UL reference-spotting, Alicia Witt (Cybill's
sarcastic daughter), and "inventive death scenes" are the
memorable bits of latest production-line Scream-alike URBAN
LEGEND (imdb: serial-killer / teen / urban-legend / splatter)
- better than I Know What You Did Last Summer, if only 'cos
the killer wears a giant Adrian Mole-style coat... along with
George Clooney, John Travolta, and the rest of the world,
Jared Leto also appears for a minute or more among the near-3
hours of determinedly unconventional great-looking dreamy
nature-parable photo-poem THE THIN RED LINE (imdb: based-on-
novel / wwii), believed to be the first arty war flick for
chicks. Shame Krzysztof "Three Colours" Kieslowski isn't
around any more - what with this and Errol Morris's 1998
miscarriage of justice docu The Thin Blue Line
(unsatisfactorily adapted into Ben Elton's 1998 sitcom), he
could have finished off the whole epically wide-ranging
MAGS>> we're enjoying our free subscription to INTERNET.WORKS
- where else can you learn that WebObjects were designed by
the ever-prescient Steve Jobs in "the 1980s" (p33), and that
"over 8000 orders were taken [by UK AOL ecommerce] during the
Christmas period, with an average cost of UKP35 per item. The
total amount taken has yet to be calculated but it will
certainly be in the millions" (editorial, p5). Almost exactly
UKP 0.28m, according to those figures and a grasp of basic
multiplication... despite a cover featuring Lara "Annabel"
Croft and being racked with the games mags in some newsagents,
ACE *isn't* the return of "Advanced Computer Entertainment"
that your father might recall, but rather a games/footie/etc
mag that's "great for boys" - great for boys whose mums won't
let them buy Front, perhaps... the "Music For The Rollcage
Generation" music CD on the front of PLAYSTATION POWER crams
12 Peel Show-standard drum and bassy bits into its
disappointing all-one-track 27-minute runtime. Still, unlike
OFFICIAL PLAYSTATION MAGAZINE, at least the mag isn't half-
written in bad fake Japanese English, nor does it devote its
letters page to patronising its - apparently numerous - 12
year-old readers... issue 7.03 of WIRED completes its decline
into a new-jobs-list for men in suits, pix of the hottest new
desktop calculators, and fashion spreads of models dressed in
fanfold paper. Only reason to buy is Chuck D promising to
"ride the MP3 like a mutha-fuckin' cowboy" - "if you pirate
something of mine, I just have to make sure to do nine or ten
new things. I mean, you can't download me". There. Saved you
four quid... sadly, after they were so nice to us last month,
the new EDGE is largely tolerable, interviewing self-made DMA
games theorist Gary Penn, plus a bland Amiga retrospective.
Don't know the difference between Dune and Dune 2, though
(p55)... and the early ardour of "ENTERTAINMENT" HEAT now
seems to have cooled - apparently banned from reading (and
scooping) EMAP's monthlies, they seem to be seeking
inspiration elsewhere: http://www.ntk.net/heat/ . They do,
however, remain in the running for "Poorest Video-Grabs In A
Mass-Market Publication", going on to meet the winner of RADIO
TIMES vs TOTAL FILM...
>> 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 "most important [wrong URL]".
(Computer Weekly's "Alan Smithee")
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
Archive - http://www.ntk.net/
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(K) 1999 Special Projects. Non-business copying is fine,
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Tips, news and gossip to email@example.com. Cheers.