_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
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|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "As usual, I'm living in a parallel universe - got tons of very
intelligent, interesting, thoughful, e-mail about this column
which, as usual, is being linked all over the place."
- JON KATZ, http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=99/05/29/2049226&cid=1232
...but in reality Jon is being used by aliens as a source of energy
>> HARD NEWS <<
R-r-r-rrunarahnd! This week's celebrity resignations: BRIAN
HOOK, programmer at id software, chief architect of the 3DFX
Glide API, and original singer of 911's "A Little Bit More";
RASTERMAN, creator of the Enlightenment Window manager,
GNOME project employee, lyricist for the Wailers; NATHAN
MYHRVOLD, head of Microsoft Research, no discernable
achievements, inspiration for mid-seventies novelty hit "I'm
Nathan Myhrvold And I Live in A Hole". Like everyone else,
we assumed they were taking each others' jobs (".plan: this
year, sink $5 billion R+D into new staff 'skins'"), but
it isn't turning out that way. Brian's gone to Ultima
rivals VERANT INTERACTIVE, Rasterman is taking some time off
to plot the "disappearance" of his old Redhat manager, and
Nathan... well, nobody's broken it to Nathan that he's going
yet. Despite rock-hard sources inside and outside Microsoft
saying that Ballmer's already put all his desktop dinosaurs
into bin liners, Nathan's still convinced that he's just
taking a few months holiday. Two points for Nathan to
consider: a) wasn't that *exactly* what he told Stephen
Hawking, just before he left him to work for Microsoft for
15 years? b) Doesn't he know Ballmer's sense of humour yet?
- "The Chef": Hurdy Borg! Borg! Borg!
- c) look what happened to the other dead guy
- strafe-hopping across the country
You may recall UK publishers SAVOY pioneering the legal
take on the graphic novel in 1992. Their comic MENG AND
ECKER was banned principally "because it was luridly bound
and therefore likely to attract attention from the less
literate". They're also known for being the original
sponsors of horror/sci-fi author M John Harrison, and
publishers of avant garde art and erotica by Michael
Moorcock, Sam Delany, and Charles "Silicon Man/ Anarchy
Online" Platt. After a brief period free from hassle,
Customs and Excise last month performed a suitably perverse
impoundment: they've seized unsold copies of exported copies
of Lord Horror, M&E, and their new abortion Reverbstorm, as
they're returned to the UK. Yup, books written and
printed in the UK, confiscated because they briefly
re-crossed a border. Just thought you should know that no
matter how bad it gets here on the Net, it's even crazier
in the real world.
- test cases in which people go to prison
- Net connection less tenuous than you thought
Boo, Demon, boo! Boo for denying USENET access to anyone
posting links to the infamous LAURENCE GODFREY fake postings
[NTK 1999-03-12] - archived by, ahem, "a popular discussion
group search engine". Of course, we'd feel a lot happier
laying into this craven spinelessness if we hadn't done
more or less the same thing, and heeded Laurence's sensible
encouragement to remove all our links to defamatory
postings about him three months ago. Our sympathies, then,
lie with Demon. Unless it really is impossible for them to
keep these links off the newsfeed: if indeed, attempting
to cancel these messages just makes them spread further...
- hmm. well, *maybe* we can link to this
- anyone for a Webring?
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
http://www.numberchange.org/who/index.html - those look a lot
like old-style numbers to us... INTERNIC voicemail on 001 703
742 4777 refers users to "https: backslash backslash"... 20TH
CENTURY FOX deny online Phantom Menace warez reached UK -
not according to the downloaders we've heard from... TOTAL
TELECOM send out Happy99.exe trojan, followed by effusive
apology... AMERICANS "so discouraged" by Earth's
environmental problems they have begun to "lose interest"...
TOP SHOP to launch free-calls ISP on 1999-06-14... WIRED
July: grrreat cover... NAVIGATOR and EXPLORER happily SSL
with sites that have an (entirely insecure) RSA public key
exponent of "1"... "MICROSOFT Joins Oasis" - hang on, that
can't be right... and it's *not* goodbye from them:
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
In perhaps an too-literal display of "doublethink", Simon Davies
reports that he won't be celebrating the anniversary of NINETEEN
EIGHTY-FOUR next Tues (1999-06-08) after all. But there's still
time to support Access All Areas stalwart Zap, who'll be running
his anti-authority FREE KEVIN protest outside London's US
Embassy (from 2pm Fri 1999-06-04, Grosvenor Square W1). More
info on Zap's update page, which excitingly duplicates the
"gotta go" terror of having the Feds hot on your tail...
- 10 metres! 5 metres! They're in the room with us!
Neatly coinciding with Sunday's International Telecoms Boycott
(if someone rings up, and your answerphone gets it, do you call
it a "scab"?), the UK PC GAMING CHAMPIONSHIPS get under way at
the compulsory Playing Fields, London - and they've extended the
Brummie deadline so Quake-loving Midlanders can have a pop at
the big cash prizes...
- LANs don't count, right?
"Seen in the back of SFX classifieds" isn't usually a
recommendation, but with a line-up promising Ray "Maul" Park,
Warwick "ewok" Davis, and Gary "Empire" Kurtz, it might well be
worth queuing up outside Wolsey Hall, Windmill Lane, Cheshunt
(North London) for "EPISODE I - EMPIRE DAY" (Sun 1999-06-06,
UKP10, "hotline" on 01908 671138), even though the location
sounds more suited to a Women's Institute Bring-And-Buy Sale.
The caravan of courage (TM) proceeds to Bristol on the 11th, and
has not been "Lucas approved" - so maybe they'll show those
Phantom Menace VCDs...
- cached at Google; may have been canned
Oh, and "(Law)suits for you, sir" and "This week, I have been
mainly shutting down: warez sites" will be the oft-repeated
catchphrases at next week's FAST show, when the FEDERATION
AGAINST SOFTWARE THEFT hold their annual conference in
Bournemouth, 1999-06-09/10. Not too much to add to their basic
stance on piracy (they're against it, apparently), but the
session on NatWest's new "Magex" system might be entertaining:
an e-commerce pay-per-view system that has so revolutionised
intellectual property that they neglected to check if anyone
else had registered magex.com, which they now *share* with an
Italian construction company...
- does not use "warez" or "SNES ROMS" in its Meta tags
- which is nice
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
If you've found yourself stuffing more and more apps into
that little system tray on the bottom right of the WINDOWS
TASKBAR, then you'll no doubt be considering one of those
applications to tidy it all up. Alternatively, why not
download this monster German applet that lets you bloat the
box like an overstuffed turkey, with uptime readouts, system
temperatures, logfiles, and all the usual tat crammed in
there, plus parse Web pages using its own text-mauling
language. All even extend it by running external parsers -
"like REXX or PERL", the creators say helpfully. And then,
if you've got any RAM left, you can maybe run Notepad in
what's left of your screen.
- the emacs of systrays
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
http://members.tripod.com/serbad/ ... CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE 1.0:
http://www.2600.org.au/censorship-evasion.html ... BUTTER-
flavoured crisps... Helen Mirren *is* AYN RAND... STUNT CAR
RACER bounces back (and doesn't require Amiga with OpenGL card):
http://www.wyatt100.freeserve.co.uk/download.htm ... hey, what
happened to those WEBTV things?... complete FRIENDS Season 5
now up at http://www.geocities.com/TelevisionCity/Set/5799/ ...
FALCO: the "No 6" gift shop in The Prisoner Village... slightly
worrying GERMAN omission: http://ismb99.gmd.de/sol-eclipse.html
... Sir Christopher Cockerell dies: buried at sea *and* land...
www.portal.com and www.frontofficenews.com/lycos.htm tie the
WANKOMETER at 11.0; NTK regrets this correspondence is now
closed... can you get out the way of the sign, please?
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> a sniper holds 10,000 spectators hostage at a football game
- unless NRA spokesman Charlton Heston can arm everyone else in
the stadium given just a TWO MINUTE WARNING (11.25pm, Fri,
BBC1)... there's Mute Witness, and now BLIND WITNESS (9pm, Fri,
C5) - but no "Deaf-As-A-Post Witness", we note... and given
Brian Yuzna's dire subsquent output, the odd flesh-melting orgy
bits in SOCIETY (12.45am, Fri, BBC2) were probably fortituitous
accidents... after last week's two-parter, SPACE: 1999 (3.55pm,
Sat, BBC2) comes to an ignominious end in "The Dorcons"... set
your TV on fire to properly enjoy HENDRIX NIGHT (9pm, Sat,
BBC2)... regular Light Ent treat BEFORE THEY WERE FAMOUS (10pm,
Sat, BBC1) has Arnie on Magpie; JUNIOR (8pm, Sat, BBC1) sees him
bearing Emma Thompson's child - last shown approx 17 months ago
on 1998-01-11... and going from the http://www.ntk.net/killer
comments, they cut a lot out before showing the sensitive
Australians KILLER NET (10pm, Sat, C4)... the repeat of this
week's DAWSON'S CREEK (12.10pm, Sun, C4) has excellent life-
imitates-art-imitating-life plot - plus Rachel "She's All That"
Leigh Cook naked... the missing link between Dumb And Dumber and
There's Something About Mary, bawdy bowling slapstick KINGPIN
(10pm, Sun, C4) features Bill Murray, vile comb-overs and the
"milking" of a bull... while ALWAYS AND EVERYONE (9pm, Mon, ITV)
is - thank god - another hospital drama... interchangable
international docu UNDER THE SUN (9.30pm, Tue, BBC2) combines a
look at the traditional way of life of the Shaolin monks with
martial-arts whupass action... Dolph Lundgren pops out of "where
are they now?" file as THE PEACEKEEPER (9pm, Tue, C5)... Richard
E Grant and Samantha "Broken Arrow" Mathis are the two
unappealing losers and a baby in infantile feelgooder JACK &
SARAH (10pm, Wed, C4)... will they place that annoying pizza ad
in overrated Scorsese yawn GOODFELLAS (10pm, Wed, C5)?... and
your licence fees continue to advertise the bizarre sexual
services available on the streets of PADDINGTON GREEN (10.20pm,
FILM>> double Donald Sutherland treat this week, with the last
man left un-Bodysnatched battling lame cybernetic aliens and
Jamie Lee Curtis aboard all-at-sea actioner VIRUS (imdb: based-
on-comic / ship / electricity / typhoon / aliens / virus /
computers) - hugely derivative, but that doesn't seem to have
put anyone off "The Matrix"... dapper Don also pops up in
extended Nike ad WITHOUT LIMITS (imdb: running / biographical /
olympics) - "among the five finest movies about athletics ever
made" says one imdb comment; high praise indeed... Michelle
"who?" Pfeiffer's latest lost-child weepie sinks swiftly to THE
DEEP END OF THE OCEAN (imdb: based-on-novel) - not based around
Chris Searle's job-swap TV show of nearly the same name... plus
a (reluctant) plug for overhyped live-action rave cartoon HUMAN
TRAFFIC (imdb: UK) - somehow we doubt it really is "The last
great film of the 90s", unless you're a suspiciously thin
leather-faced 80s casualty still convinced that "style culture"
is in some way relevant or interesting...
ONE YEAR ON>> last June, ISPs were *reeling* from the
announcement of 1p/min BT CLICK [NTK 1998-06-12], while we
pointed out that Oftel had virtually sanctioned the whole thing
"on the understanding that the smarter ISPs would grab a Telco
license, and undercut it with free IP provision when they
started receiving telco-ish revenues from the phonecall
charges". Christ, we're smug... in other '98 (anti) news:
LABOUR's pre-election crypto policy "disappeared" from their
site... AIN'T IT COOL NEWS admitted that claims that 40% of Star
Wars 1 rushes were out-of-focus were "probably exaggerated"...
and EDGE magazine's "continued pursuit of excellence" included
the claim that the RIDGE RACER cabinet ran at "0.4FLOPS" - an
incredible 4/10ths of a floating point operation per second...
oh, that short, cruel summer: ftp clients strained under the
weight of IE 5.0 Developer Release, Apache 1.3.0, and Real
Network's Preview of RealPlayer G2... we reported rumours of
Shatner rapping Julius Caesar in FREE ENTERPRISE, and TV
NATION's "return to C4"... PANASONIC withdrew a kids'
wordprocessing program that swore fluently... the UK tooled up
with trade shows like the "International Chemical Warfare
Demilitarization Conference", "European Guns, Mortars and
Ammunition Symposium", and "Undersea Defence Technology
Europe"... while, among the stuff that never troubled our
mailfeed again were: The World's First QUAKE POETRY COMPETITION,
Keanu Reeves' beatnik road movie THE LAST TIME I COMMITTED
SUICIDE, and - presumably featuring George Dawes, Dennis Pennis,
and the usual gang of idiots - Channel 4's "new cruelty" sketch
>> 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 "never on a Sunday"
( http://www.unmetered.org.uk/ )
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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