_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
| \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ __1999-05-21_ o join! mail 'subscribe ntknow'
| \| | | | | ' / | '_ \ / _ \ \ /\ / / o to firstname.lastname@example.org
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "LUCAS: That's sort of why I say a benevolent despot is
the ideal ruler. He can actually get things done.
The idea that power corrupts is very true and it's
a big human who can get past that."
- from (suppressed?) New York Times interview at
...and we hear George is *looking* like Jabba these days, too
>> HARD NEWS <<
we sound like schnews
SORM-2, the Russian security service's plans to monitor the
Internet, finally broke this week, with one Volgograd ISP
manager, Nailj Murzahanov, deciding he'd had enough, and
suing the spooks in court. SORM-2 is a Tap-You-Yourself
policy by the cash-strapped KGB successors, the FSB: it
requires ISPs to connect their local FSB office for free to
their pipe, with agents able to sniff any and all packets
(incoming and outgoing) from the comforts of their offices.
Oh, and the ISPs have to provide free support and training.
Weirdly, in the year since the proposals were leaked, almost
none of Russia's 350+ ISPs have protested. Nailj, who runs
Bayard-Slavia Communications tried, and says he received
death threats and - almost as bad for a Russian - an
unscheduled audit from the dreaded tax police. Finally he
was given just one month to be the first ISP to implement
SORM. After that, the FSB cut off his feed. Now he's taking
them to court for constitutional improprieties. Nailj's
fellow sysadmins, though, remain quiet. But then, why
make a fuss? As Andrei Sibrant, of Moscow's Glasnet said
last year: "there is no reason for human rights groups who
know nothing about the business to provoke a conflict".
- and then they came for root
- still masters of terror, as the X.25 references will confirm
Wouldn't happen here, of course. So, in other news: European
Justice ministers are meeting next week to discuss the all
new ENFOPOL proposals. These are, you'll recall, a draft EU
ruling that would require all Internet Service Providers to
set up "high security interception interfaces inside their
premises". Interfaces which would, if feasible, be linked
remotely to government security agencies. But this time you
don't get the death threats and the taxmen. But then again,
we wouldn't know, because no ISP has complained yet.
- too busy stopping them outlawing Web-caching, we guess
- or trying to stop them introducing software patents...
- bloody human rights groups trying to provoke conflicts
So, in a depressing week for civ libs, what can you do to
cheer yourself up? Well, perhaps not peruse DUNCAN
CAMPBELL's ECHELON report, with its perky descriptions of
NSA taps at MAE-East and MAE-West, and happy-smiley
descriptions of transatlantic mass interception technology.
But we *do* like the suggestion that spun out of one of its
discoveries. You knew, we assume, that the non-American
versions of Lotus Notes encode 24 bits of their 64-bit
encryption key with the NSA's key (thus making it possible
for the NSA to crack European companies' private
communications)? No? Oh. Sorry. Well, anyway: why not spend
this weekend reverse-engineering it, to discover what the
NSA public key actually is? That way, everyone can change it
on their copies of Notes so that the NSA can't snoop. And we
can all send them secure messages about exactly what we
think about all of this unchecked, unbalanced, undiscussed,
unpriced and, we'd suggest, unhinged surveillance apparatus.
- your free hint
- hey, and if it's <56bits, we can *become* the NSA
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
N64 down to UKP49... AUSTRALIA gives up zoning DVDs ...
TELEDESIC - F-ff-ff-fff--aallc ... now we know one paperless
office - http://www.ntk.net/doh/dabs19990521.gif ... 2038 METEOR
to arrive just in time to prevent UNIX date bug... DEJANEWS
*still* using Apache beta, a year on [NTK 1999-06-05]... E3
full of people claiming to be "JOHN CARMACK - id software"
... SLATE advertising on Salon... a million jackpot if
you reach the end of http://www.camelot.co.uk/ ... REGISTER
too scaredy-cat to publish MI6 story ... "email@example.com"? Oh
God... BOL says "Just William & Girls" by Richmal Crompton
will be published in 2008: scweaming until it's Y2K ... ESR
begs hackers to heal divisions, work on kindness, declares
RMS to have poor personal hygiene... RICHARD BRANSON
wanders out of live Webcast "to go to toilet" ... "Perhaps
you remember when computer magazines routinely carried
'Build your own PC in five minutes' type features. Not any
more. Today, it's not worth it." - COMPUTER ACTIVE 20 May
page 110... "Next Issue - Do It Yourself. We tell you how
to build your own computer" - COMPUTER ACTIVE 20 May page 93
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Maybe someone's accidentally kicked over the server for this
weekend's festival of CAPOEIRA 2000 - the Brazilian
martial-arts/acrobatic-dancing hybrid popularised by Eddy
Gordo from Tekken 3, and Gun's "Steal Your Fire" video (at
The Rocket, 220 Holloway Rd, London N7, tel 0171 684 1260)
- or maybe it's one of those "blocking" moves
...apparently "Winn Schwartau" isn't a Dutch hacking tool,
but a highly respected non panic-monger in the steadily
grant-expanding field of INFOWAR CON '99 (1999-05-27/28,
Copthorne Tara Hotel, London)
- hey, you guys schwartau'd out my Windows!
...the EROTIC OSCARS and SEX MANIACS BALL (Sat 1999-05-22,
The "Pleasure Rooms", London N17) prey on the deviants lured
to London by INTERNET WORLD (1999-05-25/27, Earls Court 2)
- bgcolor="#ff0088". Mmm, *sexy*.
- "Try it. Touch it. Test it." Mmm, *sexier*.
...and at least one NTK staff member had agreed to speak at
this year's music-biz backslapping conference IN THE CITY
(1999-05-27/28, Glasgow Hilton), till it turned out they
weren't in the habit of paying accommodation or travel
expenses. That MP3 piracy must be hitting them harder than
- can't afford to update last year's site either?
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
"This SETI@HOME screensaver's rubbish. I've been running it
for weeks and haven't found a single alien", writes one
angry correspondent. "Oh, *sure* I'm looking for aliens with
my spare processor cycles. NASA=NSA man!" adds another.
Probably enough paranoia for us this week. Nonetheless at
least some of you should start training up on the peculiarly
hibernian SPACE INVADER screensaver, an emu-perfect
rendition of the 1978 classic. You know, just in case.
- we reckon we're just MPEG encoding the Arecibo CD collection
- come to ... Visual Basic...
Many fans had nothing but praise for its technical
achievement, but one critic in particular - NTK's Lloyd Wood
- felt the need to voice his disappointment over the
much-publicised "new chapter" in ASCIIMATION STAR WARS. "The
animation is amazing," Wood concedes, "particularly when you
read the FAQ and you realise that the author doesn't seem to
have heard of Unix terminal support, curses etc and he's
doing it all in a text editor and displaying chunks at a
time. He's not generating deltas." Concerned by the
creator's status as a lone auteur, Wood advises: "Somebody
find a copy of the Twilight Zone VT100 animation, send it to
him (and send me a copy), and explain how he can view it.
Then explain rendering deltas using terminal support so he
can do ASCII-MPEG, introduce non-flickery special effects,
and call it 'Star Wars - the Special Edition'".
- requires THX-enabled Java 1.1
- features excellent "N4rq V4d3r"
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
XSL vs CSS: let battle commence!... is this a joke? [Y/N]:
http://shadow.ieor.berkeley.edu/humor/ ... View Sourcing QNX
auctions... So, is PETER LLEWELLYN going into space, or
isn't he?... Whatever happened to JOEL FURR? Did he end up
like we all imagined he would?... one way to stamp out MAME
piracy, we guess: http://www.midwayarcade.com/locations ...
http://www.csd.uch.gr/~asidirop/pozdrav1.jpg ... Arf, arf!
ZENO humour: http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/~demon/ ... PATRICK
MOORE pronounces Websites as "w w w stop bbc stop co stop
uk" - and now must we all ... Death of USENET predicted:
http://x4.dejanews.com/=dnc/getdoc.xp?AN=339458840 ... still
spotting marketing people with "http:\\" in their sigs (step
forward this week, JULIE PEARCE, marketing manager of
Mediasurface) ... these aren't the PREQUELS you're looking
for? http://members.aol.com/moseisleym/sw-main.html ... here
are data-points your team leader has been requesting:
http://www.sun.com/sims/hotnews/outsource.jhtml is in the
lead) ... now the press furore is over: who's next?
http://www.insomniazine.co.uk/celebrities.html - or could
be decoys: http://members.tripod.co.uk/humphrey/william.htm ...
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
the less rude http://www.ntk.net/tvgohome/ TV>> a plot we can all relate to: three kids raise 100
dollars to see Melanie Griffith naked, then get her to marry
their dad when they realise they've been ripped off, in
consumer-conscious prostitution comedy MILK MONEY (10.55pm,
Fri, C4)... an unmissable sweeps episode of FRASIER (10pm,
Fri, C4)... plus, The Pretenders and country legend Steve
Earle headline what might be a special former heroin users'
edition of LATER WITH JOOLS HOLLAND (11.20pm, Fri, BBC2) -
though, in a way, aren't they all?... THE PASSWORD IS
COURAGE? (11.55am, Sat, BBC2) - no, the password must
contain at least one non-alphabetic character... Lea "Back
To The Future" Thompson and a cute robot accidentally blast
off in kiddie romp SPACECAMP (7.30pm, Sat, C4)... a double
treat for Jeff Daniels fans with DUMB AND DUMBER (6.20pm,
Sat, ITV) followed by pre-Scream film-within-film Woody
Allen farce THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO (2.35am, Sat, C5)...
let's hope John Carpenter's brain was taken over by
child-aliens when he "directed" sleepwalking Midwich Cuckoos
remake VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED (10.15pm, Sat, BBC1)... and the
man at the back said: "Everyone attack" - and it turned into
a BELGRADE BLITZ (7pm, Sat, C4) - with subsequent shorts
KOSOVO ONLINE (12.55am, Sat; 12midnight, Sun, C4) plus THE
WEB WAR (7.55pm, Mon-Fri, C4) featuring "well known
personalities" - what, Kate Humble? - nodding sagely at
amateur HTML propaganda... in accordance with prophecy,
there are indeed further yuks to be had in the form of
LEGEND OF FONG SAI-YUK II (2.25am, Sat, C4)... preceded by
nutty sounding alterno-fest DPROGAM (1am, Sat, C4), starring
Nick "UFO" Pope, Alexander "LSD" Shulgin, and Jah "terrible
bass player" Wobble... we're sure it's a hilarious insiders'
satire on Hollywood, but we still just don't "get" GET
SHORTY (10pm, Sun, C4)... it's *exactly* 1 year and 2 weeks
since C5 last showed lame Jeff "Lawnmower Man" Fahey VR
trash ADDICTED TO LOVE (9pm, Sun, C5) - not based around the
Matthew Broderick film based around the Robert Palmer song
of the same name... you're better off with sub-Harryhausen
ho-ho WARLORDS OF ATLANTIS (5.40pm, Sun, C4)... it's
obviously Jeff Fahey week on C5, as he pops up again in
terrorist train-pun LETHAL TENDER (9pm, Mon, C5)...
promising, gimmicky snuff thriller MUTE WITNESS (10.35pm,
Mon, C4) marks the debut of the director of An American
Werewolf In Paris... and maybe it's the presenters and
pet-owners who need their heads looking at in Philippa
Forrester prime-time animal therapy BARKING MAD (8pm, Tue,
BBC1)... not enough Jennifer Lopez in Snipes/ Harrelson
actioner MONEY TRAIN (9pm, Tue, C5)... not enough Will Smith
in Goldberg/ Danson "comedy" MADE IN AMERICA (7.25pm, Wed,
BBC1)... probably not much OJ Simpson in unsporting
clip-show WHEN ATHLETES ATTACK (10pm, Wed, ITV)... but last?
- and best? - of this run of POLICE SQUAD (7pm, Wed, C5)
features Drebin as a nightclub entertainer and the jokeless
punchline "I don't think I could take 67 more of those"...
FILM>> you know, someone should make a film where the most
beautiful, desirable person in school turns out to have a
fantastically geeky side - but of course semi-amusing
Matthew Lillard ultra-conformity advert SHE'S ALL THAT
(imdb: teen / high-school / party / art-student / prom /
popularity / bet / makeover) has to be just like everyone
else, and does it the other way around. And it's directed by
a former choreographer - natch... Mark "Marky Mark" Wahlberg
continues his startling impersonation of that weird spanner
kid from your primary school when partnered with Chow
Yun-Fat in average police shoot-'em-up THE CORRUPTOR (imdb:
mafia / gangster / gangs / new-york / police / triad /
betrayal / boss / chase / chinatown / corrupt-cop)... while
the biggest con in Stanley "Big Night" Tucci's old-fashioned
farcical swindle-rama THE IMPOSTORS (imdb: 1930s /
screwball) is making you think it'll be any good... so, our
tip, salvaged from this week's wreckage: Sam Raimi swaps the
Evil Dead for the greed-fuelled living, in deceptively
uncomplicated Bill Paxton / Billy Bob Thornton wintry
chiller A SIMPLE PLAN (imdb: murder / fratricide / money /
pregnancy / small-town / snow / tragicomedy / stolen-money /
librarian / tragedy / fbi / police / hospital / accountant /
violence / twist-in-the-end / winter / based-on-novel /
brothers ) - like "Shallow Grave", but good... or maybe
Stephen King's most terrifying monster of all - Adolf
Hitler! - in Bryan "The Usual Suspects" Singer's predictably
harrowing David Schwimmer Nazi nutfest APT PUPIL (imdb:
adaptation / psychological / teen / nazi / holocaust /
evil). Can't imagine they'll be discussing its "Bloody
Revenge of Internet Nerds Obsessed With Holocaust And Nazis"
plot at Columbine High movie night any time soon...
"I THOUGHT I RECOGNISED YOUR FOUL TASTE">> first, as
promised, a round-up of fruit ices (and adulterants),
kicking off with reader TIM BANNISTER's timely
composition-analysis of WALLS' STAR WARS: EPISODE 1 "BATTLE
DROID" FLAVOUR LOLLY (UKP0.35): "purports to be apple
flavour... everyone I know thinks it tastes foul. It does
smell a bit like a urinal block... the most refreshing thing
in the freezer"... frozen north correspondent ALI DANIELS
claims WALLS' SOLERO SHOTS are merely CALIPPO SHOTS by
another name, and instead recommends TREATS' 5-ICE (price
unknown), a stripey 5-flavour giant Fruit Pastille-style
lolly which leaves you with "a useful 10" long piece of 1/4"
dowling, which you can use to poke your respected colleagues
in the side"... not much between the jelly blobs in NESTLE'S
A BUG'S LIFE and WALLS' MR SPOT; our award for excessive
innovation goes to NESTLE'S CRACKLER (about UKP0.45, Buzz
Lightyear on pack) - an "orange and cherry" water ice
containing what can best be described as a small,
bullet-shaped payload of frozen popping candy. Don't eat
it and let it melt of its own accord, and it collapses into
a purple mass of seething, fizzing protoplasm... similarly,
how much hot tea can you drink through the hollow chambers
of otherwise standard chocolate bar CADBURY'S DAIRY MILK
QUICK (UKP0.35) before it melts in on itself like a bad Dr
Who villain?... in other confectionery news, it is of course
"NESTLE'S special skill in combining chocolate, toffee and
biscuit that makes ROLO COOKIES (UKP0.28) so delicious" -
though much less biscuity than we expected, going from the
precedent of the Cookies & Caramel Rolo Eggs... over in
pudding corner, the "Chocolate flavour custard" variant of
BIRD'S SCOOPZ (UKP0.57) is perhaps the least violently
disappointing, followed by the strawberry Angel Delight one,
then the bizarre vanilla custard featuring apple-tainted
biscuits... while the junior MULLER YOGZ 4-PACK are perhaps
the most palatable of the "candy corner" yoghurts, in
various sugar-heavy flavours (though no "YOG SOGOTH" version
yet, Cthulhu fans!)... and finally, thanks to everyone who
sent in the result of the consumer referendum at
http://www.cocovote.com - if you hadn't guessed from the
widespead offloading of old boxes of "Choco Krispies", a
vast majority wanted them renamed COCO POPS - in accordance
with natural law. Apparently "almost one million votes were
cast", about the same number as in recent elections for the
>> 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 "culturally corrosive"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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