_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
| \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ __1999-03-19_ o join! mail 'subscribe ntknow'
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "Everyone was in the same place professionally. We got in a
circle and sang 'Kum-ba-yah.'."
- SALON politics writer explains rigorous selection process
...Someone's haemorrhaging cash, my Lord - Kum-ba-yah!
>> HARD NEWS <<
STEVE JOBS, always happy to hitch a publicity gift horse to
the Apple bandwagon, declared a sizeable chunk of the new
MacOS X Server kernel open source (sorry, *public* source).
Great timing, given that the lumpen linuxariat were about to
declare all-out war on the company for encoding the Star Wars
trailer using a proprietary Apple codec. Now all we have to do
is to wait for those hordes of eager Mac fans to get stuck in
and really cranking out the code. Come on, guys - it's got to
be easier than all that offset-litho nonsense!
-Mr Mackido: you know more about computers than Carmack! Code!
- Richard Littlejohn! John deLancey! DOUGLAS ADAMS!
CODE, DAMN YOU! CODE FOR FREE!
- Solaris? Netscape? How open to outside coding can you get?
- why Darwin isn't called "butthead biologist"
Stop! Oh, yes, wait a minute Mr Postman: 2 weeks before the
DTI deadline might sound like an odd time to launch your
commercial Trusted Third Party crypto service, but the
ROYAL MAIL seem pretty convinced that the DTI won't bring back
that key escrow requirement ("they see each other at a lot of
conferences"). Then again, though they're not hoarding keys
themselves, their site makes some faintly escrow-like claims
("Key backup and recovery is a straight forward commercial
necessity" - ViaCode FAQ) which may be fine for businesses, but
tricky to establish as a widely used standard. The Royal Mail
is controlled by the DTI, so maybe it's a stealthy back-door
attempt to convince the companies of Britain that hey, it's
*cool* to expose your privates...
-"...can prevent data being changed without notice by hackers"
- "Scrambling For Safety III", this Tue, LSE, free! (not
called "Trust Us To Have A Third Party", for obvious reasons)
Two weeks ago, DEMON Managing Director Roy Bliss mailed
all@demon about people who send rude mails to all@demon just
before leaving the company, naming one of them as "a tosser".
Then, as NTK went to press last week, news arrived that Roy
himself had quit - his previous message thus constituting a
rude mail to all@demon just before leaving the company.
Coincidence? Self-fulfilling prophecy? One of those email
viruses that your mum keeps warning you about? No cause for
concern as yet, but if you hear of another prominent ISP's MD
resigning in the next few days, don't say we didn't try and
- "don't be afraid to change horses mid-stream"
- Goodwins on that "jumped/pushed off horse" dichotomy
- origin of the infamous "Very Bad News" virus
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
HONG KONG cinemas close as piracy protest; critics counter
that kung-fu genre may have become "tired and repetitive"...
not quite a FACE "exclusive": http://www.lugnet.com/1999/ ...
TIMES INTERFACE attempts "movie poster" cover, using font-
substitution favourite - badly-tracked COURIER... via
sponsorship of NSPCC posters, MICROSOFT promise to "Stop
Cruelty To Children" - if adults accede to their demands...
notorious taste-merchant ARMANDO IANNUCCI slams "racist"
Jasper Carrott in Telegraph... MEPs who could have prevented
web caching ban mysteriously forced to resign... boffins
create FRANKEN-BABY (pic): http://www.ntk.net/teleg2/ ...
TIBERIAN SUN delayed again - Westwood hoarding energy to build
factory... COMPUTER WEEKLY claims "credit" for DTI proposals
... frankly, it's the "or die" bit we're worried about:
http://ANL.ngadcenter.net/ads/MSNPortalPhaseII/do_die_sq468x60.gif >> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Last time it was Eric Raymond, next week RICHARD STALLMAN -
you just can't keep those open-source gurus away from London's
fashionable Kensington! Mr Richard, or "rms" as he's known on
"the scene", will be paying his respects to Britain's lovely
lady Di, and popping into the many designer high-street
boutiques, before strutting his stuff on the haute-couture
catwalk erected by Cool Britannia style-gurus THE UK UNIX USER
GROUP, this Tue 1999-03-23, from 7pm, with a meal afterwards.
For once, pre-booking is not required and entrance is free,
though probably not to us after this coverage.
- is it just us, or are these guys over here all the time?
And if you want to know why we hate net artists so much, then
you want to get down to EXPO DESTRUCTO day (12noon-7pm, Sat
1999-03-20, "Open" Club, Charing Cross Rd, London, UKP3). It's
either an elaborately overblown promotional event for the
launch of Nettime compendium book README: ASCII CULTURE AND
THE REVENGE OF KNOWLEDGE (nice self-parodic title), a genuine
"post-media flea-market", or - yet more terrifyingly - both.
The list of attendees literally redefines the phrase "usual
suspects", like some nightmarish ICA outreach program, but if
even the GameBoy hacking turns out to be a disappointment,
it's not far from the representatively small-scale SMALL PRESS
FAIR (10am-5.30pm, Sat 1999-03-20, Waterloo Foyer, South Bank
Centre, London, free), so you needn't waste the whole day.
- Backspace, Urban 75, Mute, Heath Bunting, Christ...
- with Kinder Egg god/ Beer Frame importer Mark Pawson!
>> TRACKING <<
look what the mouse dragged in
Despite the "wearable" hypola that's funding it, MIT Media
Lab's REMEMBRANCE AGENT is a near-stable, usable, unobtrusive
background altavista of local files for Emacs users who've
swapped out their own long-term memory to cope with all those
key combos. You type away in one Emacs window; it throws up an
ongoing hitlist of relevant mail or plaintext files it's
uncovered in the other. Some understandable downsides, but
refresh-hungry largish indexes, semi-random ordering of hits,
lag, and an overly literal attitude only mildly detract from
RA's overall coolness. Non-emaxen may enjoy writing their own
front-end to the straightforward search engine. But then
again, if you enjoy that, you really should be using Emacs
- and if you liked Firefly, you might also like...
- similar, more practical software for the jwz fanboys
Really this belongs under the already bloated "Geek Media",
but so many people mailed us the "unreleased" beta GIF, it
really deserves a little section all of its own. TV GO HOME is
Britain's premier offensive TV listings page, updated
fortnightly, hosted by us, compiled by, uh, one of NTK's
favourite humourists - and anyone else furious about the so-
called prime-time schedules. ITV's the next target but, for
the moment, "feel free to download and attach to emails for
pals", advises our anonymous anti-telly activist.
- hey, at least we didn't have to shut him down first,
like that nasty business with the Demon Teletubbies
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
SIMPSONS KRUSTY COLA (in shops soon) proclaims "9 out of 10
children can't tell the difference!"... HALLOWEEN V: when's
Eric gonna pull on a hockey mask and *take them out*?... "I
have just ridden god": http://www.hydrothunder.com ... MATTEL
buys Purple Moon - Media Lab Semiotic Research Assistant
Barbie Available Q4 '99... they *sure* about that name?
http://www.neteugenics.com ... GENERAL PINOCHET spends house
arrest netsurfing - anyone know his email?... it's a party in
our browser all the time: http://www.internet-fiesta.org/ ...
sweepstakes for next editor of GUARDIAN ONLINE: Wavey Davey
Winder 100-1; Richard Barry 60-1; David Bowie 30-1; Doug
Rushkoff 25-1; Esther Dyson 2.1-1; TV's Azeem Azhar 7-2;
Jack Schofield again 5-1; faceless drone from elsewhere in
organisation who knows nothing about computers 5-3 fav...
"Regular and Large available in blue with red rainbow
suspenders ONLY": http://www.tdog.com/dogsox.htm... Java
BOOKMARKLETS ... SALON's Fabulous Kingdom of Gay Animals:
http://www.salonmagazine.com/it/feature/1999/03/cov_15featurea.html >> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> *they* got Oscar nominiated, now *you* have to suffer
their back catalogue: strangely not a whiff of Academy acclaim
for either ANOTHER 48 HOURS (10.30pm, Fri, BBC1) or hoop
dreamer BLUE CHIPS (12midnight, Fri, BBC1) - the latter
amusingly credited to one "Nicky Nolte" by the Radio Times...
following their crystal-clear explanation of PGP on Wed,
NEWSNIGHT (10.30pm, Fri, BBC1) takes on The Webbies... and XX-
chromo comedy SMACK THE PONY (9.30pm, Fri, C4) could be just
the lame sketch show that the Sally Phillips fan page has been
waiting for http://www.w2s.net/sally-phillips/ ... a female
onslaught of another kind in SPECIES (10pm, Sat, ITV) -
swiftly tracked by the empathic skills of super-sensitive
"Waiting To Exhale" director Forest Whitaker... John Peel
unlikely to question that "I build my own synths" nonsense on
his visit to Cornwall's Aphex Twin in SOUND OF THE SUBURBS
(12.20am, Sat, C4)... while BBC2 follows "Vegas Evening" and
"Bridget Jones Night" with a special racism season, including
nu-skool breakdancing fave LA HAINE (11.25pm, Sat, BBC2)...
Sunday morning hots up with not even NTK's own Danny O'Brien
daring to go head-to-head against new 10-part LEE AND
HERRING'S THIS MORNING WITH RICHARD NOT JUDY (12.15pm, Sun,
BBC2) - now Rod Hull-sketch free... and relocated to Glasgow,
the live-action G FORCE (11.20am, Sun, BBC2) retains few
elements of the animated Battle Of The Planets original...
noted trash connoisseur Jonathan Ross takes the chair at FILM
99 (10.15pm, Sun Oscar Preview; 10.55pm, Wed, BBC1) - can't
wait for the quotes on movie posters: "FWILLING: A NON-STOP
WOALA-COASTA WIDE" - BBC Film 99... SEINFELD bows out with
another bitterness-fuelled clip show (10pm, Mon, SkyOne)...
the BBC gets the cost-cutting idea, with Alexei Sayle
introducing a "War" comedy compilation in YOU CANNOT BE
SERIOUS (9.30pm, Mon, BBC2) plus Julie Walters hosting THE
STORY OF THE BRITISH SITCOM (10pm, Wed, BBC1)... and John Woo
blows up every helicopter in sight in semi-smug Travolta/
Slater chaser BROKEN ARROW (9pm, Tue, C5)... JD Salinger fails
to explain why Catcher In The Rye is the lone assassin's read
of choice in CLOSE UP (9.30pm, Tue, BBC2)... music soothes an
autistic child in YOUNG MUSICIANS (11.15pm, Wed, BBC2) - we
don't mean by obsessively cataloguing his record collection...
and, disappointingly, weird CGI live-action MYSTIC KNIGHTS OF
TIR NA NOG (Fri,16:30,ITV) does not appear to be based around
the ZX Spectrum game of the same name...
FILM>> known in the US as "Waking Ned Devine", feelgood sub-
Father Ted frolic WAKING NED (MPAA: PG for mild nudity,
language and thematic elements) highlights an alarming new
trend in removing surnames from the titles of UK releases -
see also the upcoming MIGHTY JOE (nee YOUNG). Extending this
to other films, "Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom" becomes
"Indiana And The Temple Of Doom", "Saving Private Ryan"
becomes "Saving Private", "Jerry Maguire" becomes the Seinfeld-
esque "Jerry", and "Sommersby" becomes simply "_________"...
still, if you like 'em dumb, they don't come any dumber than
dedicated disco loser comedy A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY (imdb:
based-on-tv-series / saturday-night-live) - Chazz Palminteri
took his name off the credits, yet left them on Jade... so our
tip: feuding neighbours Jeff "Tron" Bridges and Tim "Bob
Roberts" Robbins argue over lawn boundaries, noise curfews and
Whether Robbins Is A Mad Secret Terrorist Psycho-Bomber in
surprising sophisti-chiller ARLINGTON ROAD (imdb: america /
political / suburbia)...
HARD LIT ["buy now" links at http://www.ntk.net/books/ ]>>
Harry Harrison's re-release of Esperanto-tinged sci-fi
military engineering survival classic DEATHWORLD OMNIBUS (RRP
7.99, Amazon 6.39) comes on like Junior Dune vs M Banks' Use
Of Weapons - though last time we were in London Forbidden
Planet, they had a 1976 "Berkley SF" edition for 6 quid as
well... best reason to buy O'Reilly's OPEN SOURCES - VOICES
FROM THE OPEN SOURCE REVOLUTION (RRP 16.50, Amazon 13.20)
is to watch the usual gurus compete in politically-correct
licensing conditions on the frontispiece. Downhill after that,
with reprints and rehashed arguments: Paul Vixie injects some
engineering sense, and Stallman's piece stands out as a
graceful polemic - but then you can get that at
http://www.gnu.org/gnu/thegnuproject.html , can't you?...
sadly, for the majority of TREKS NOT TAKEN (RRP 6.99, Amazon
5.59), you can see why they weren't; parodies of ST:TNG in the
style of "literary greats" are intermittently slash-funny, but
never as good as the ones in WAR OF THE WORLDS: GLOBAL
DISPATCHES... Iain Banks recommending Tasmin Archer? - EMI
"SONGBOOK" series confirms your favourite writers have *even
worse* taste in music than you previously suspected
http://www.songbook-series.co.uk/ ... bestseller battlers: MY
LEGENDARY GIRLFRIEND (RRP 6.99, Amazon 5.59, Tesco 4.99) is
indeed as badly written as "the male Bridget Jones" (Daily
Express) would lead you to suspect - pseudo-geek introspection
from the only 20something in Britain who never says "fuck"...
much better '80s nostalgia 'n' attitude from Julie Burchill's
paperback borderline-coherent bio I KNEW I WAS RIGHT (RRP
6.99, Amazon 5.59) - featuring surprising revelations about
Teleg Connected columnist Charles Shaar Murray and would-be
cyberauthor Mick "Armageddon Crazy" Farren... looking forward
to Onion compilation OUR DUMB CENTURY (RRP 9.17, Amazon
8.25)... but currently unsure which we fear most: Jon Katz's
Powerbook-powered "spiritual oddyssey" RUNNING TO THE MOUNTAIN
(RRP 12.23, Amazon 11.01)... or Bill Gates' hack futurism
BUSINESS AT THE SPEED OF THOUGHT (RRP 18.99, Amazon 15.19) - a
subtle allusion to the 1987 Ultramagentic MC's track,
"Traveling At the Speed of Thought", perhaps? Well, perhaps
>> 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 moving tribute of all"
NINFOMANIA.COM "LINK TO US" APPEAL UPDATE
Target: 10,500 hits on AltaVista
0 TOTALISER 10,500
^-current total: 7 ...0.06% of the way there already!
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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