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- Virgin Net internal press summary, 1999-04-06
...Freeserve giving Air Miles to defectors from AOL?
>> HARD NEWS <<
Sure, Open Source methods produce stable code: but what
about the people? ERIC S RAYMOND's warning that prominent
free software advocates were in danger of getting "burnt out"
took a sinister new turn this week, when Bruce Perens
relayed an e-mail from him onto the Debian Developers
mailing list. "If you ever again... insult me," trilled Eric
to his old Open Source pal, "and jeopardize the interests of
our entire tribe... I will find a way to make you regret it.
Watch your step." Not one to over-react to a flamewar, Bruce
promptly contacted the police, and warned everyone he knew
("Because I know Eric is a firearms enthusiast"). Later,
Bruce discovered, much to his surprise, that ESR "meant to
threaten me with 'defamation of character', not with any
kind of violence", and withdrew his concerns. Not so fast,
Bruce. He's been saying that he's under a lot of work pressure
- and it's always the quiet ones that keep to themselves...
I'd watch out for that Linus guy.
- understand my job, or the radio ham gets it
- when two tribes go to war...
- no Open Source definition in the new Jargon File (but this
whole "scary devil monastery" thing should freak BP out)
Is MICROSOFT being too modest in claiming to run its
business "@" the speed of thought? Take its tutorial on
using BackOffice to ban access to sites - if Microsoft
really stopped to think about the current anti-trust case,
it wouldn't have chosen "www.netscape.com" as the example
site to forbid, would it? And they were certainly quick
enough to change the example when the page started getting
extra hits... And what about Microsoft UK, who this week
launched a campaign aimed at convincing business leaders to
use the MS "Digital Nervous System" for their mission
critical work. After all that Melissa coverage, you'd think
they'd pause briefly to check they weren't including the
"Marker.A" macro virus in all the case studies, wouldn't
you? No! Too slow for MS!
- sure, it's changed now: but we'll have that Zapruder screenshot soon
- "send this page to a colleague". Hmm, think it did that by itself...
- "Speed, speed and more - GLERK!"
ICSTIS stands for the Independent Committee for the
Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services,
and is the group that self-regulates the premium rate phone
line industries (well, it sounds better than OFWANK). This
week, it suspended its rule that "services of a sexual
nature must not contain a visual element" (and if it does,
one foot must be on the floor at all times), following
pressure from "service providers and network operators". Now
we wonder: what "service provider" industry, eager to make
even more money off their phone lines, has the tech to offer
dirty pictures at the drop of the hat? And given that, which
one is going to have the chutzpah to do it first? We'd call
our contacts at the ISPs to comment, but we can't afford
their new rates. And they all speak so *slowly* nowadays...
- "excluding fax services"? I see a great need...
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
WEBTECHS.COM domain snatched - suddenly 33,000 "HTML
validation service" links point to a porn site... Learn with
TIMES INTERFACE, pt 1 - "Java is the software that made the
web possible" (1999-04-07)... SALON buys Well, e-commerce
now run by deadheads: http://www.ntk.net/doh/salon990904.gif
... Learn with TIMES INTERFACE, pt 2 - "less dangerous" virus
than Melissa mangles "the Bios chip, the device that
'warms up' your PC for readiness when it is first switched
on" (ibid)... staggeringly, OBSERVER believes "sun.com" to
be owned by "The Sun": http://www.ntk.net/doh/observ990904.gif
... BBC RADIO describes Melissa virus as "open source"
(that GPL gets more virus-like by the minute)... Learn with
TIMES INTERFACE, pt 3 - DR KEYBOARD provides extensive
description of differences between Zip files and Zip drives,
no doubt confusing punter who makes no mention of Zip drives
in his question... interesting set of meta tags you've got
there, http://www.itn.co.uk/ ... BBC WEBWISE, "the campaign
to give everyone the confidence to get the most from the
Internet" sends a 2.7MB JPG as invite to launch party...
military having trouble hanging on to the good spellers too?
... learn with TIMES INTERFACE, pt 4 - ANJANA AHUJA suggests
scientists work on "DNA" solution to Turing's Halting
Problem - Godel's Theorem also looking shaky?...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Of course, the big obstacle in defeating software piracy is
apathy: the apathy of the public towards something they
don't see as illegal, the apathy of law enforcement (ditto)
- and now the apathy of the games industry itself, who
can't be bothered to fund ELSPA's excitingly titled Crime
Unit. Last month trade mag MCV reported Sony's pledge of
UKP100,000 to the cause - if third parties could match its
donation. They couldn't - contributions (from 16 of ELSPA's
70 members) totalled only UKP76,000, but Sony paid up
anyway. If you'd like to add your 2 cents' worth, ELSPA are
holding an Extraordinary General Meeting at the Institute Of
Directors, 116 Pall Mall, London SW1 this Thu 1999-04-15, to
discuss raising the UKP500,000 their Crime Unit needs. No,
we don't expect "increasing revenue by selling better games
at lower prices" to be very high on the agenda, either.
- please Sirs, can I have some more?
- not one of those April Fool shutdowns after all
- "Stuart Campbell" is the new "Dave Green", we hear
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
Continuing this summer's essential hardware, the first wave
of STAR WARS LEGO has completed its national roll-out and,
in the words of our correspondent, "[it] fuckin' *rocks*".
All 5 sets - Landspeeder, Speeder Bikes, Snowspeeder, X
Wing, TIE Fighter/Y-Wing - have well-thought-out playability
(2 speeder bikes for Endor chases), staggering attention to
detail (like they've digitised 3D models into Lego pixels or
something), plus 2 or 3 named minifigs and a profusion of
light sabres - these *are* the toys you're looking for. Our
reviewer adds: "Darth Vader [from TIE Fighter pack] is very
cute, and when you take his helmet off (which I can't do
without saying 'But you'll die' 'Nothing can stop that
now'), he has a little grey lego head which looks exactly
like a South Park zombie. The TIE fighter has realistic
coming-apart-in-your-hands action through the cunning use of
rivet bits, but the rebel scum fighters are bizarrely
designed to be invincible." Purists will appreciate this has
all been achieved using nearly no special new pieces -
biggest liberty is creating bricks in 1970s 'tan' - and
while prices may seem high (from about a fiver to nearly
UKP40), make sure you shop around: Forbidden Planet was a
couple of UKP pricier than, say, Beatties - itself 2 or 3
quid more than large Tescos or Toys 'R Us.
- your chance to vote for the Falcon
- note significance of the "grassy knoll"
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
http://www.cynicalbastards.com/ubs/ ... why not use COURIER?
http://www.sedg.freeserve.co.uk/league.htm ... "HITSLUTS"
... will swap STEALTH FIGHTER fragments for english lessons:
http://www.kosovo.net/ ... everything must go at eBay:
Kevin Smith's DOGMA *so good* that Disney are creating a new
company specifically to handle it (FilmFour to distribute in
UK)... "I hear that the MOZILLA party is still going on.
Apparently they couldn't get anyone out the door"... why
your big brother ended up like that:
... anyone have VIC KEEGAN as new ONLINE ed?... clearly healthy
ARCADE mag covermounts David Scheff's fab GAME OVER ...
wouldn't it be easier just to play QUAKE more slowly?:
... yup, *just* the right time to invest more money in
LineOne, BT... less surprising than http://www.freedomforum.org/
asking for COOKIES? How about the front page at
http://www.censorship.com/ ?... but for the grace of TRAMIEL:
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> the unusual vocal skills of WALDEN ON VILLAINS (7.30pm,
Fri, BBC2) seem to be suggesting Hitler "hoodwinked" the
entire German nation into Nazism - not to be confused by the
endless quest for "lebensraum" by Alan Titchmarsh's subsequent
GROUND FORCE (8pm, Fri, BBC1)... Reeves & Mortimer get their
shot at a mainstream goofy gameshow in FAMILIES AT WAR
(5.45pm, Sat, BBC1) - not to be confused with the subsequent
edition of CORRESPONDENT (7.15pm, Sat, BBC2), about a teenager
who murdered both his parents and a shop clerk... but all you
Blake's 7 fans will be naturally glued to the Scorpio-era pre-
Gauda Prime "Saturday Play" THE SYNDETON EXPERIMENT (3pm, Sat,
Radio 4)... when they got Davina McCall to host "an evening
designed to inflame passion", presumably "blind fury" wasn't
the one they had in mind: senseless millennium rug-rat gimmick
BIRTH RACE 2000 (from 9pm, Sat, ITV) of course takes its name
from the rather more tasteful Roger Corman slaughter-fest
"Death Race 2000" - and even offers hope to semi-fertile
couples in the form of Kevin Spacey wife-swapping chiller
CONSENTING ADULTS (11pm, Sat, ITV)... alternatively, get
impregnated by computer, proposes dire '70s "access violation"
techno tosh DEMON SEED (12midnight, Sun, BBC2) - not to be
confused with the subsequent FOR THE LOVE OF: TREES (2.25am,
Sun, C4)... early '90s John Woo 'Nam actioner BULLET IN THE
HEAD (1.05am, Sat, C4) earned its memorable review:
"Beautifully shot - *in the head!*"... Britain's prestigious
movie BAFTAS (9pm, Sun, BBC1) hail from former ECTS venue -
Islington's glamorous Business Design Centre... EQUINOX (9pm,
Mon, C4) gambles on whether we over-estimate certain risks -
tell that to the Mexican scrapyard that melt down a lethally
radioactive X-ray machine in docu shocker DISASTER (8pm, Mon,
BBC2)... and they don't make 'em like this any more - apparent
cult classic THE 5,000 FINGERS OF DR T (10.30am, Tue, BBC2)
features "500 boys imprisoned in an enormous piano, on which
they must practice 365 days a year"... "many animals are
sensitive to electric currents" claims SUPERNATURAL (8.30pm,
Tue, BBC1), as anyone who's ever dropped a goldfish in a
toaster can easily confirm... while anyone recovering from
that "special" RSI after Sarah Michelle Gellar's guest voicing
on KING OF THE HILL (7pm, Sun, SkyOne) should steel themselves
for the new double-buffering prospect of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE
SLAYER (6.45pm, Wed *and* Thu, BBC2)...
FILM>> daftoid Williamson/ Rodriguez romp THE FACULTY (imdb:
aliens / high-school / school) doesn't quite do for sci-fi
what Scream did for teen horror, but when it references
everything from Body Snatchers to The Thing to Star Trek 2:
The Wrath Of Khan, who could resist its slimy embrace?... just
when you thought Travolta/ Duvall legal weepie A CIVIL ACTION
(imdb: courtroom / toxic-waste) was a serious, un-
Hollwoodised, based-on-reality water pollution drama, they
spoil it by playing Talking Heads' "Take Me To The River" over
the end titles... unexpected arthouse queues for the
tantalising prospect of Ally "The Breakfast Club" Sheedy
drugging, seducing Radha "Catherine O'Brien from Neighbours"
Mitchell in artily shot snappy heroin cynicism HIGH ART (imdb:
lesbian / gay)... otherwise it's limited-release antics for
overblown benefits-fiddle THE RED VIOLIN (imdb: Canadian)...
the Notting-Hill set identity-searching DIY of BEDROOMS AND
HALLWAYS (imdb: gay)... moderately promising rap semi-
documentary SLAM (imdb: gangs / poetry / prison / urban) - not
featuring the young Craig Charles, thank christ... or
unacclaimed Parker/ Stone/ Ron Jeremy live-action ORGAZMO
(imdb: martial-arts / mormon / porn-industry / porn-makers),
for which "Airplane meets Boogie Nights" (Richard Galpin, FHM)
appears to be the most complimentary poster quote that didn't
come from "Kerrang!"...
FEEBDACK>> oddly, something about the combination of armchair
investigative journalism and actively seeking out pornography
prompted many readers to help the AOL GIRLS track down and
erase their shameful adult-linked past [NTK 1999-03-26],
though looks like the real AOL has been equally persuasive:
http://www.aol-girls.com ... still, the postings on other
people's sites are going to be a bit trickier to disappear -
see http://www.aol-girls.com/board/messages/2792.html - while
http://188.8.131.52/AOLgirls/PRESSRELEASE.html and the
source to http://www.aol-girls.com/linkspage.html are still
more revealing than one might hope - "Good to see SNES ROMS
holding their own on the list of kinky thrills and ultimate
depravities," writes NTK subscriber ADRIAN MOULDER. "Maybe the
meta tags are the Born Slippy-style lyrics for the girls' next
single?"... following speculation in NTK 1999-03-26, "is
American History X an Asterix character?" proposes BEN MOOR,
who'll be back next week with a round-up of new summer ice-
creams; mail us your sightings now... http://www.ojr.org has a
good debunk of the Sunday Business "Hackers Attack Skynet
Satellite" hoax [NTK 1999-03-05], while NTK's resident sky-
spotter LLOYD WOOD reckons this "US Masks Satellites Data"
story http://www.ntk.net/sats/ isn't an April Fool - though
it is largely pointless: what better targetting beacon than an
object that's constantly broadcasting GPS data?... and
finally, internecine warfare among NTK contribs called "Ian"
is hotting up, with reader IAN HOLMES requesting that we "stop
stop publishing [IAN] MILLER's memes. It makes him cocky",
citing http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Trailer/5735/ and
http://www.gingerspice.demon.co.uk/ as evidence of Miller's
"sad++" tendencies. Normally we wouldn't bow to these kinds of
threats, except Ian Holmes (the first one) was mailing from
the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and may therefore be the
world's first Ian with limited nuclear capability...
>> 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 "journalistic gob"
NEED TO KNOW
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