_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "Smart-gun technology uses either magnetic coding,
fingerprints, or radio signals to allow only the registered
owner of the gun to shoot."
- POLLY SPRENGER, Wired News
...but only the Chief Judge knows about the DNA imprint on the bullets!
[ http://www.wired.com/news/news/politics/story/19421.html ]
>> HARD NEWS <<
worn with use
So now we're being stampeded by ISP gift horses, all hiding
their mouths behind dainty little hankies. Just a week after
Tempo's revenue-defying free calls service, AOL
"accidentally" leaks news that they, too, are trialling a
flat-rate 0800 Internet service. An incredible money vacuum
if implemented - but who needs to do that when just the
rumour is keeping AOLers from bucking off to the freebie
ISPs? Sneaky? Even AOL can't compete on those stakes with
Freecall UK, who've been spamming their 0800 net access
offer across the uk.* newsgroups. A special, high-cost kind
of "free", this: in order to access the service, you have
to register four friends. Who, naturally, have to register
four of their friends who... Yes, it's nothing more than a
pyramid scheme for sucking up e-mail addresses. Well, at
least they've got a business plan.
- although they nicked it off sixdegrees.com
- they'll limit the hours. Won't they?
- no such thing as a free school lunch
Meanwhile, as the BT ADSL trial grinds on (latest excuse:
"we haven't got enough people"), those little guinea-pigs
are beginning to squeal. These days BT are spending so much
time tweaking their firewall to prevent home owners setting
up their own Web sites, they've seemingly forgotten a
firewall's original purpose: to protect its users. So as
their experimental subjects are raked by port scans and
exploits from the .edu e1eet cr3wz, so BT's competitors
quietly announce *their* full commercial rollout. As of
this week, you should be able to pick up a 512KB cable modem
ISP connection in Guildford for around 50UKP a month,
courtesy of cableco NTL. The company plans similar deals in
the rest of its franchise areas. Sure, we know they're just
charging people to trial their hardware (an extra 130UKP -
no Sky deals here) - but at least they're not actively trying
to shoot themselves in the foot.
- Northern Ireland to get flat rates before London. Chortle!
- hey, maybe it's the Home Office doing the hacking
UNCLE CLIVE says he wants to create a portable Linux machine
to take on the Microsoft hegemony, and who are we to stand
in his way? But don't get too excited too soon. Firstly,
despite all the excitement, Mr Sinclair (aged 58) is still
keeping an eye on his other, equally viable developments: a
new kind of folding bicycle and an idea for a personal
flying machine. Also, as Clive did not know that Linux
existed until a few weeks ago, he does have some catching up
to do. But mainly, we'll wait because the man who told him
about Linux was reputedly Chris Bidmead, veteran tech journo
and - more importantly, author of Logopolis, the Dr
Who episode that killed off Tom Baker. And if he can do that
for one geek hero...
- "This is the end, but the moment has been prepared for"
- our artist's impression of the new machine
- Microdrive finally working
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
US "TACO BELL locations will be transformed into Tatooine,
PIZZA HUT will be turned into Coruscant, and each KFC will
turn into Naboo"... TV ad for ROVER 400 claims car is
"catecholamine" agonist - what, like amphetamines and
cocaine?... SHAMIR beats own 512 bit crypto... AUSTRALIAN
phone-in sick day calls in a month late... "OVERWEIGHT
children can shed pounds by watching less television"
reports study... SKY giving away "free digibox" - which
secretly "phones home" at night... FUTURE PUBLISHING buys
bit of itself back from own founder - hope someone got a
good deal... "PALMPILOT damages handwriting" myth spread
by orange-containing-THC hoaxsters, SOUTH TO THE FUTURE:
http://www.sfbg.com/wire/ ... guardians of the future,
REGISTER.COM offering $299 per "medical" .md domain...
www8.org Website - done in PAGEMILL... tip to JONATHAN
ROSS: plugging the Mac in helps... who *are* these people?
... WIPO defends the helpless victims of cybersquatting:
global multinationals... FALCO! http://www.britstuff.com ...
EXPLOSION ravages heart of Soho, net obviously to blame:
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
From the looks of things, it's a *different* Peter Molyneux
who wrote to the Telegraph Connected section this week
bemoaning videogames' implicit message that "you will solve
any problem and obtain quick justice with a bullet" - fans of
Populous, Magic Carpet, and Dungeon Keeper will know that real
long-term solutions lie in accumulating "mana" and ruling your
village like a ruthless god. The "real" ex-Bullfrog MD
meanwhile continues his non-stop world tour of any remotely
game-related event at next week's E3 EXPO (from Thu 1999-05-
13, Los Angeles Convention Center), thrilling to such ground-
breaking treats as Star Wars Epsisode 1 games, Grand Turismo
2, a Dreamcast with a built-in modem, plus the narcoleptic
unveiling of not just Tomb Raider 4, but also the latest
dead-eyed non-entity to play the role of Lara Croft at public
- Tomb Raider/Witchblade reprints now UKP1.99. Phwoar, eh?
And if you can't afford the UKP300 entry fee for NetProject's
Nuremberg-style rally LINUX: THE WAY FORWARD (Tue 1999-05-11),
why not do what we do, and simply hide under the seats at the
end of each previous Linux gig at the Commonwealth Institute,
to emerge, blinking in the daylight, at the start of the next
one - usually not more than two or three weeks later? Luring
us out from our new-found troglodyte civilisation this time
are Mexican GNOME hacker Miguel de Icanza, the UK's Alan Cox
lecturing on e-commerce (what the!?! d'y'think he'll wear a
suit?), plus one of the few forms of popular entertainment
that can truly be said to be Open Source: a - hopefully
improvisational - jazz band.
- "MS", Riversoft: "The Jazz band was pretty good too"
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
You see, he *has* been busy. Jwz's definitive eye-candy,
XSCREENSAVER just hit its own little milestone: at last it
can do a mock green-screen terminal with phosphor-fade and
clunky fonts. Your choice of text, naturally. Plee-us: a
rendition of the latest HollywoodOS, using the effects
implemented by whoever's *really* Keanu Reeves' sysadmin in
- good to see him getting back to the important stuff
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
court throws out CRYPTO EXPORT LAW: deep cracks appear at
http://www.shmoo.com/~pablos/Cracking_DES/ ... MEP
CHRISTINE "Oddy Report" ODDY mysteriously resigns...
http://www.alltheweb.com/ run by http://www.fast.no/ , which
doesn't bode well for their scalability... hacking the
OpenGL driver to play QUAKE3 in wireframe... this "ripped,
hung and gay-curious" STEVE AUSTIN site *seems* unofficial:
http://www.majorrepairjob.com ... rips off NATIONAL LAMPOON
too: http://www.theweekly.co.uk ... DAVID BRAKE recommends
http://www.denizine.com/features/wank/intro.htm ... *compelled*
to do a tribute site (complete with link to parent company):
http://www.jilldando.co.uk/ ... ABANDONWARE... POEMS from
the revolution: http://artcontext.com/activism/linux.html
... COMPUTATIONAL MATTER... this ain't going to help the IPO:
http://ph1sh.fsn.net/antionline-mini-howto.txt ... PIXAR to
do TRON sequel?... whatever happened to OGGSQUISH?...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> Richard Nixon, Nicolai Ceaucescu, and now Noel Edmonds
joins the ranks of evil power-mongers who've used advanced
surveillance to monitor their subjects in THE WORLD OF THE
HIDDEN CAMERA (8.30pm, Fri, BBC1)... SOUTH PARK series 2
(9.30pm, Fri, C4) returns with "Cartman's Mom Is *Still* A
Dirty Slut"... and the instant-gratification society of
Logan's Run gets a little closer now you can phone in and
bid to go out with the individuals parading themselves on
DIAL A DATE (12.30am, Fri, most ITV as far as we can see)...
the US version of WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY? (10.03pm, Sat,
C4) is apparently the same show but with more Americans in
it - like you'd notice... here's hoping the first,
ever-pertinent ROBOCOP (10pm, Sat, ITV) isn't also the last
big-budget hard s/f film ever made... and "speed is just a
question of money - how fast do you want to go?" inquires
first-and-best aimless Scalextric smash-up MAD MAX (11.55pm,
Sat, ITV)... the "evil supernatural force" battling Greg
Evigan in ESCAPE TO NOWHERE (9pm, Sun, C5) turns out not to
be gravity after all... Mad Max director George Miller edges
closer to the Babe franchise in the form of THE NEVERENDING
STORY II: THE NEXT CHAPTER (5.55pm, Sun, C5)... or maybe he
could do a more action-packed sequel to Cronenberg's new
one, and call it Existenz II: Beyond VIDEODROME (10.30pm,
Sun, BBC2)... EQUINOX (9pm, Mon, C4) investigates sensitives
who can detect earthquakes many miles away - and not by
tuning to CNN... one assumes that the hopefuls in Cannes
indie-doc WAITING FOR HARVEY (9.30pm, Tue, BBC2) are
anticipating Miramax exec Harvey Weinstein, not the giant
invisible rabbit of the same name... and the MAKING OUT
(11.30pm, Tue, C4) aspired to by 7 Nottingham 20somethings
is "making their mark on the world", rather than - say -
copping off with each other... Louis Theroux returns for
another run of WEIRD WEEKENDS (9.30pm, Wed, BBC2)... someone
please stop giving Matt "George Dawes" Lucas cack-handed
comedy commissions like SIR BERNARD'S STATELY HOMES
(10.20pm, Wed, BBC2)... and after this week's "Last Rites",
Wednesday is clearly Tom Berenger night on C5, with the
B-list beefcake stumbling through the endless spotlights and
dry ice brought in by Ridley Scott to justify Mimi Rogers
hiring SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME (9pm, Wed, C5)...
FILM>> this year, Danny "Young Americans / Judge Dredd"
Cannon is mainly watching his career go down the pan, in the
form of uninspired Jennifer Love Hewitt slasher yawn I STILL
KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (imdb: island / hook / storm /
sequel / teen / karaoke). Of course, the "What You Did"
refers to the same thing as the first film, but this takes
place a year later, so they should really have stuck with
the more technically correct "I Know What You Did Two
Summers Ago"... together at last: Ben Affleck, bonkers
Sandra Bullock, and the director of "Harriet The Spy",
making FORCES OF NATURE (MPAA: Rated PG-13 for sensuality,
language and a scene of drug use) not a major improvement on
those other extreme-metreology / romantic comedy road-movies
like Twister or Trains, Planes And Automobiles (that's
assuming the film doesn't get pulled 'cos of those people
getting killed in that hurricane)... disappointingly, Alexei
Sayle / Lisa Stansfield sax 'n' violence saga SWING (imdb:
comedy) doesn't seem to be a sequel to 1993's notoriously
poor "Swing Kids" about jazz dancers vs the Nazis... the
current imdb "comment of choice" describes Peter Mullan's
Glaswegian bereavement-farce ORPHANS as "Another Scottish
wee-drama" - unintentionally giving the impression it's a
drama about "wee"...so, on video: continuing the
straight-to-tape tradition of Robot Jox, Salute Of The
Jugger - and the still quite good Rollerball and Death Race
2000 - comes generically named-after-2000AD-voting-category
FUTURE SPORT (imdb: made for TV) - featuring usual
high-quality hallmarks Vanessa Williams, Wesley Snipes, Dean
"New Adventures Of Superman" Cain... and finally, not a wide
cinema release for untimely Yugoslav gypsy slapstick BLACK
CAT, WHITE CAT, but how could we resist imdb keywords like:
nouveaux-riches / train-robbery / train / pig /
arranged-marriage / river / drugs / cocaine / wedding /
love-at-first-sight / corruption / grotesque / shit-house /
sun-flower / body / money / geese / danube / cat / gypsy?...
HARD LIT [ "buy now" links at http://www.ntk.net/books/ ]>>
just to flaunt our revenue-busting editorial integrity, this
month: books we've previously recommended now available at
knock-down remainder prices (specifically at London's
"BookHouse" - branches in Charing Cross, Islington,
Greenwich)... I AM SPOCK (RRP 5.99, Amazon 4.79, Now 3.99) is
of course Leonard Nimoy's dialectical rebuke to his earlier,
better-known "I Am Not Spock". Comprehensive on Nimoy's post-
ST:TOS career, contains many alarming internal monologues
between him and the fictional character he played, fatal flaw:
constant repetition of the word "Spock" every other sentence
like some sacred Vulcan mantra... movie ubercritic Joe Queenan
plunges deep into pop culture's deepest cesspools in AMERICA
(RRP 6.99, Amazon 5.59, Now 1.99) - relentless one-note
misanthropy for anyone who loved The Unkindest Cut or If
You're Talking To Me Your Career Must Be In Trouble... and,
according to NTK 1997-07-25, "we didn't hate digital
travelogue HARD SOFT & WET (RRP 7.99, Amazon 6.39, Now 3.99)
anywhere near as much as we wanted to". Mildly overwritten
tell-all tales of the young Daniel Pemberton from occasional
Independent Network contributor Melanie McGrath - not as
terrible as journo Indra Sinha's surf-the-net, leave-your-wife
chronicle, THE CYBERGYPSIES (RRP 9.99, Amazon 7.99, not
remaindered yet - give it a while)... back with full price,
Freeman Dyson's THE SUN, THE GENOME AND THE INTERNET (RRP
15.99, Amazon 12.24) has the Old Man showing George and Esther
how futurism's done: Fluff adroitly switches gear from the old
space evangelism, and sticks the boot into biotech: quit
whining about grants, he chides, and get hacking DNA
sequencers out of cheap household appliances... and finally,
you gotta love the fair-use-emphasising title of THE SCIENCE
OF STAR WARS: AN ASTROPHYSICIST'S INDEPENDENT EXAMINATION OF
SPACE TRAVEL, ALIENS, PLANETS AND ROBOTS AS PORTRAYED IN THE
STAR WARS FILMS (RRP $22, Amazon 12.24), but you could
probably cobble the content together yourself from fan
sites... which can't be said of the envelope-pushing new
edition of THE STAR TREK COOKBOOK (RRP 12.99, Amazon 10.39) -
mouth-watering Federation, Klingon (and Borg?) recipes from
TOS, TNG, DS9...
>> 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
"Britain's primary source of anagram poetry about
queueing for 'The Phantom Menace':
Cheap Anthem To Men
Month men ate cheap.
Epoch at the Mann? Me?
Ah, netcam. Open them
Then encamp at home!
Chant the name! Poem!
The canon. The map. Me.
Match teen hope, man! "
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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