_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
| \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ __1999-04-02_ o join! mail 'subscribe ntknow'
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Cloning, genetic modification and exposure to radio energy
have good safety records and histories spanning 100 to 500
- PETER COCHRANE, Daily Telegraph, 1999-03-25
... yeah, Monsanto and the Illuminati go back a *long* way...
>> HARD NEWS <<
Remind us which stories were the April Fools again? Eric S
Raymond complaining of *too much exposure*? USER FRIENDLY,
BEDOPE and SEGFAULT closing due to legal threats (we were
going to join in on this joke, but after receiving three
legal notices this week, we want to save the shutdown e-mail
for when we really need it); NEAL STEPHENSON writes a 35,000
article extolling... BeOS?; JWZ quits Mozilla the day before
its birthday (he's still kidding us, right?); the DTI's
"Electronic Envoy" competition result postponed "due to
Yugoslavian conflict" (Slobodan was in the running?). Our
pick, though, has to be this whole Melissa virus story.
Let's see - MICROSOFT closes down external e-mail due to
rogue Word Macro trojan; FBI track down author thanks to
revious "unique Ethernet ID code stored in Word document"
goof. So, Gates is the hero of the day because his company's
software has too many bugs? Oh, that's just too good...
- if you do resign, can we have the "Open Source" trademark?
- hey, what's so funny?
- or "Why God created Editors"
- this could delay the export edition...
- Outlook & Word vs Evolution in Action
He's supposed to be "outrageous", but some viewers felt
GRAHAM NORTON took this a bit far when he rang up the
surprised "owner" of a glove fetish page on his TV show this
week and explained [exact wording]: "We emailed to the
people who put up your site and they gave me your number" -
surely violating even GeoCities' standards of data
protection privacy? Well, not if the guy they spoke to -
the plausible-sounding "firstname.lastname@example.org" - doesn't
actually exist. Dedicated porn-surfers here at NTK soon
found a remarkably similar glove page, differing only in
background graphic, contact details and lack of pic of Joan
Collins. The creator of this page denies all knowledge of
the show, leaving the obvious post-Vanessa speculation: who
was on the other end of that (admittedly hilarious) phone call?
- Mis-spell "GeoCities"! That'll throw 'em off the scent!
God knows why this is still making the news (the Advertising
Standards Authority adjudication is dated January) but good
to see the phoney war between AOL and DEMON shows no sign of
letting up . The ASA upheld AOL's complaint over Demon's
claims of being "the UK's number one Internet service
provider" and that "More people get on with us", believing
consumers would not understand Demon's distinction between
Online Service Providers and ISPs (well, AOL doesn't seem
to). Of course, it's all a bit academic now that Freeserve
has trounced them both, but next time AOL start running
those "No wonder we're number one" ads (or indeed, bang on
about how "free" they are), you know who to call...
- AOL last rapped for "520 free hours a month" deal
- Can I do my "Can I do my 'Number Two' joke?" joke? ((No - Ed) - Ed)
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
MELISSA virus produces hundreds of posts to zdnet.co.uk/news
... RICHARD BARBROOK salutes the NATO bombing on Nettime,
unaware just how many innocent net.artists live in
Belgrade... Mohamed Al-Fayed after fugging CLARANET... see
wishy-washy liberalism transform into uncompromising
socialism before your eyes http://www.scottish-labour.org.uk/
... Danish rap group releases STAR WARS tribute - in MP3...
PRINCE ANDREW to publish webzine... can't wait for this to
be reduced next week: http://www.ntk.net/easter/disco.jpg
... it's all a game at MSN: http://www.ntk.net/doh/msn990402.jpg
- or are they the names of the games? ... FURBY Happy Meals...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
We spent all that money getting that BAFTA "Special Mention"
and they didn't even send us a GIF for our webpage. But don't
let that dissuade you from entering the UK's NETMEDIA ONLINE
JOURNALISM AWARDS - if only to prevent "Best Sports Site"
from being a toss-up between Football 365 and CricInfo, just
like every other year. Deadline for entries is next Wed 1999-
04-07, and in a display of unflinching editorial integrity,
we won't be entering any of the categories - as we're helping
judge them. Be interesting to see how BBC News Online, ITN
Online, Reuters etc deal with that same dilemma...
- host: Eddie Izzard, Jeremy Paxman or Dominik Diamond?
- nice, but Robin "ArseHaus" Hunt is one of the judges too!
Capitalism trembles once again at the prospect of PHONE IN
SICK DAY (1999-04-06), a none too radical notion for those
of us with jobs in the media who've never done a decent
day's work in their lives. Greater slack should be available
at Bristol's UK COMIC FESTIVAL (from today 1999-04-02 to Sun
04-04), this year featuring Garth "Preacher" Ennis, Warren
"Transmetropolitan" Ellis, an army of ex-2000AD "art
droids", and a movie All Nighter of comics-based turkeys
like Judge Dredd and Howard The Duck. And speaking of
work-shy fops, the ICA is hosting some promo event for those
zany EMI Songbooks (Sat 1999-04-03, London SW1, UKP22), with
Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton and Ivor Cutler tempting you
away from the traditional Easter weekend DIY. Hey - Jesus
was a carpenter, after all.
- the new name for the unfortunately titled UKCAC
- what if they held a Phone In Sick Day and no-one turned up?
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
Yes, yes, yes - but *which* PALMPILOT? The chunky IIIx with
hackable expansion port, an acceptable 4MB of RAM, the
original sync socket (so you can use all your old
peripherals) and a plastic case around which you can still
mess with a Phillips screwdriver? Or the Palm V, with
its sleek, finger-thin exterior, "executive styling", a
backwards-incompatible sync socket, hermetically-sealed
chassis with imprisoned rechargeable batteries you can only
replenish by dragging the cradle around with you, and a
humiliatingly unexpandable 2MB? Case closed? Not quite. This
month, Japanese hacker Toshio Kashiwagi discovered that you
could dismantle the sealed V unit by using a hairdryer to
melt the sealant. An 8MB RAM chip could then be soldered
onto the board, and the two halves jammed together with
superglue to make fractionally fatter, but infinitely cooler
uber-five. Hours of warranty-invalidating fun that
pisses on any machismo hackery those IIIx guys could ever
contrive. Management types keen to fake geek credibility
can pay the guys at the euphemistically-named Electronic
Fast Integration Group $150 to do it for them, or $600 to
buy a pre-bloated V. At your own risk, natch.
- no user-serv,Reable parts, my ass
- cross my palm with silver
- smart money says wait for the phone pilot
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
Roy Gibney, Grimsby's £7.5m lotto winner, uses FREESERVE,
the cheapskate... let's see the OBSERVER try to shut down
http://info.anonymizer.com/kosovo.shtml ... haxploitation...
"Furby Hookers aren't the most experienced lovers, but the
more you play with them, the more they learn"
http://www.fishdot.org/furby/ ... getting seasonal on Uranus
- http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/1999/11/ ... winner of
AIRFIX "Web Warriors" battle LEGO Technic "Slizers" go on to
meet SONY robo-dog versus MATSUSHITA robo-cat in final...
more like this: http://tbtf.com/jaundiced/ ... LINUX and
MICROSOFT, living side by side on my keyboard, oh lord -
http://www.vmware.com/ ... is KINGPIN the sweariest game
ever? http://www.gangland.org/files/ ... cross-network
SMS... the GUARDIAN GUIDE DAILY... note to the the guys
behind http://www.occaviationandspace.edu/ - www.nato.com
still available ...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
the less rude http://www.ntk.net/tvgohome/ TV>> repeated LOCAL HEROES (7.30pm, Fri, BBC2) praises
Hornby and Meccano - a sort of weird post-war metallic lego,
as far as we can make out... FRASIER (10pm, Fri, C4) sports
a Woody - Harrelson, that is... uber-slacker drama REALITY
BITES (10.15pm, Fri, BBC2) could not be more early '90s if
it cast Winona Ryder, Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, and
Ethan Hawke - wait a minute, it does... all followed by
100th episode SEINFELD clip show (11.45pm, Fri, BBC2)...
"Cheggers" Chegwin runs down the TOP TEN NOVELTY ONE-HIT
WONDERS (9.30pm, Sat, C4), in a format that surely spells
doom for John Peel yawnathons like "Rock Family Trees"...
Lee & Herring are pulled off for Easter, leaving a choice of
new messiahs: Harrison Ford in BLADE RUNNER: DIRECTOR'S CUT
(9.40pm, Sun, C5)... Tom Hanks' all-American idiocy FORREST
GUMP (9.05pm, Sun, BBC1)... the "Tarantino-esque" RESERVOIR
DOGS (10pm, Sun, C4) - now contractually required to be
shown with Ringo Lam's inspirational CITY ON FIRE (12.40am,
Sun, C4) plus Brit knock-off FACE (10pm, Mon, BBC2)... or
Oliver Stone's JFK (10pm, Sun, BBC2) - followed by an Outer
Limits episode called "The Deprogrammers" (yeah, think about
it)... Pam "Mindy" Dawber TV satire STAY TUNED (2.35pm, Mon,
ITV) had the worst video-sleeve tagline in human history:
"Most people would love to get into television. Helen and
Roy have 24 hours to get out of it - literally!"... but when
UFO tosh ROSWELL (9pm, Mon, C4) opens with Kyle MacLachlan
and pals badly made up as old men, it (phew) means that the
rest of the film is in flashback, rather than - say - being
about a bunch of guys badly made up as old men... sod
Sylvester McCoy's TREK MASTERS quiz (various times, Sat-Mon,
SkyOne) - perhaps the most promising of yoof-TV video
diaries TRIBE (11.50pm, Mon, BBC2) is listed as "Boy Trek: a
group of girls join their local Star Trek fan club"... the
self-explanatory LIE DETECTOR (5pm & lunchtimes, Tue, ITV)
finds a brand new way of libelling members of the public...
KNIGHT RIDER's pursuit of warez d00dz (7pm, Thu-Fri, C5)
fails to deter NTK staff from mocking ELSPA and Microsoft on
surprisingly open- minded consumer show ARE YOU BEING
CHEATED? (8pm, Tue, C5)... THE LAST TRAIN (9.45pm, Wed,
ITV) sounds like "This Post- Apocalyptic Life", featuring
the girl off that school comedy "Chalk" who talked like Sue
"Mel & Sue" Perkins... and Falklands burn victim Simon
Weston movingly updates us on his progress in SIMON's
JOURNEY (9.30pm, Thu, BBC1) - not to be confused with the
new series of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER (6.45pm, Thu,
FILM>> whatever Jake "Junior Ridley" Scott's costume-rocker
PLUNKETT & MACLEANE (imdb: British) might be, it certainly
isn't "a medieval Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels" (Nick
Fisher, The Sun) - for the simple reason that P&M is set in
1748, and the medieval era is widely considered to have
ended about 300 years earlier... yeah, OK, we meant no
*acting* Oscars for last week's Gods And Monsters -
especially not for Brendan Fraser, who extends his Encino
Man/ George Of The Jungle shtick to the same innocent abroad
in BLAST FROM THE PAST (MPAA: Rated PG-13 for brief
language, sex and drug references). Unlike, say, "Back To
The Future" (on now!, Fri, BBC1), these new '50s films - The
Truman Show, Pleasantville - never seem to realise that the
timeshift could be just an amusing detail rather than a
massive excuse for a plot... just what the world was
waiting for - *another* quirky look at life in an Italian
fascist death camp, this time with - wait for it! - Judi
Dench, Joan Plowright and Cher taking TEA WITH MUSSOLINI
(imdb: (1930s / 1940s / based-on- autobiography / wwii)...
SHINY ENTERTAINMENT>> WIRED 7.04, always up-to-the-minute,
runs Y2K cover story, instinctively blames software that is
"out of control"... redesigned 50th-issue SFX claims
Kubrick's "AI" is "still on the back burner" (p47), doesn't
seem at all horrified by the prospect of Kevin J Anderson co-
writing the "Dune" prequels. And where, oh where, is their
consumer-mag compulsory "What Our Ratings Mean" table for any
readers confused by their switch from A-E to 1 to 5 stars...
scourge of Usenet-naming (and Britain's best games
journalist) STUART CAMPBELL makes ARCADE almost worth
UKP2.70, with his top 50 "Top Players" in the games biz
including some surprise entries (Digitiser's Paul Rose at 12)
and an amusing icon system borrowed - if we're not mistaken -
from the "Night Of 100 Serial Killers" in ANSWER ME... we
also detect Campbell's fingerprints on the "Emulation
Rarities" piece in April's EDGE, which continues to redeem
itself with a John Carmack interview on subdivision surfaces
vs NURBS. Still confused about the difference between
"palpable" and "palatable", though (p79) - and surely it was
CRASH that did the SINCLAIR USER spoof, not ZZAP 64?
http://www.nvg.ntnu.no/sinclair/crashs19.htm (p61)... over on
Tower's "import" shelves, the Apple-acclaimed FRIGHT X #10
http://www.apple.com/publishing/design/frightx shows exactly
why you should never run reviews written by your breast-
fixated "Creative Director". Worse even than the "Driver" bit
in the current disc-disappointing OFFICIAL PLAYSTATION
MAGAZINE? Yes, worse even than that... MACUSER boasts that a
circulation of 28,643 keeps it UK market-leader - akin, one
distressed NTK reader points out, to boasting that "my dick
is 1 inch long!"... while MCV reports that STATION publishers
Rapide are not "going away", and fully expect to "trade out"
of their "difficult situation" - even if their site
http://www.rapide.co.uk doesn't exactly fill you with
>> SMALL PRINT <<
Need to Know is a useful and interesting UK digest of things that
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