_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
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responsible for taking care of their own emotions, to know
when they're projecting, and when they have a real issue."
- DAVE WINER, living up to his surname
"...Customer support: key 1 for your emotions, 2 for projection..."
>> HARD NEWS <<
little to choose
Another week, another "prestigious" four hundred new media
awards ceremonies. Most desperate, it seemed, was the
British Interactive Media Association, where you got to dine
with a bunch of CD-ROM refugees claiming to be have been "in
new media for 17 years, darling", and a shortlist randomly
picked out of the .CO.UK root files. Their host: a singing
ventriloquist (hey, seventeen years ago, that *was*
multimedia). New Media Age was slightly better, though both
its choices and its home page's ALT tags seemed convinced it
was 1998. The Online Journalism Awards, in the face of
no-one entering, mostly divvied up the prizes among sites
run by its own judges. The New Statesman had McSpotlight and
shell.com up for the same Net Advocacy award: maybe Shell
has a cheeky "Slap A Nigerian Community Leader" game
somewhere. Uniquely, the MacSpot guys were frisked on the
way in, and had their extensive J18 coverage excised from
the presentation because "it wasn't appropriate" for Jack
Cunningham to see it. Mmm. Liberal. All in all, the usual
seasonal shambles: and there's still Yell and the
Interactive BAFTAs to go. (And no, we're not bitter: NTK's
agitprop sister site, STAND, won a NMA special commendation,
two NS gongs including the one McSpotlight should have got,
and we were on the bloody *judging* panel for the Online
Journalism ones. Perhaps the industry should all lay off
self-congratulatory awards for a bit, and see if we can't
spare some precious time to do some half-decent bloody
Websites for a change.)
- who *are* these people? And why do they use so much Flash?
- ok, not *all* the prizes
- how could you ever accuse us of being bitter
- be thankful it has any ALT tags at all
Hey! In the ISP world, is getting crazy, yes? The paying
customers of PIPEX scraped through a week with mail running
at postal speeds, the CURRANTBUN had a script kiddie
magicking out passwords through their own registration CGI
scripts like pennies from behind a child's ear, and even the
sainted FREESERVE had threats of major hack attack over the
weekend (although they didn't know it, because no-one at
their ISP PLANET remembered to tell them). But there's
crazier next week! That's when 4THENET, another ISP/Telco
you haven't heard of, starts offering to pay *you* to use
its services. Admittedly, the cashback works out at
something of the order of 25UKP for every 300UKP of calls,
so it's not exactly a bargain, and the Website has that eery
"DON'T TRUST ME! I BREAK MY OWN GIFS AND CANOT SPELL"
subliminals all overit, but you know. At least you know how
low they'll stoop to get your previous interconnect charges.
- MAKE $$$ SLOW ON THE INTERWEB!
This week's Sarky Audience Question: "I asked someone from
the Adobe booth how to draw a box using Photoshop 5.0, and
they gave me a big runaround, ending in 'use Illustrator'".
Congratulations, MORBUS IFF of disobey.com, who wins that
zipped tar of all our back issues that we promised him about
six months ago! Send *your* humiliating destruction of weak
and nervous corporate stooges to: email@example.com .
- if you've enjoyed this, you may like them
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
DOUGLAS ADAMS tells Paxman he's "not a SF writer"... Russian
fund-raising day for MIR brings in 50UKP... LUCAS "thinking
of using Japanese people extensively" in SW II... AZTEC -
now *officially* Falco... COMPUSERVE going free in 8 weeks
... all but one of the staff listed on SAATCHI AND SAATCHI'S
http://www.redkite.com/ have left... after 2 years'
research, WIMBLEDON interactive TV trial consists of showing
the other matches... Net.art browser NETOMAT rethinks the
structure of the Web, wows art critics, shows any idiot can
write a browser these days... next year's Yet Another PERL
Conference to be called YAPC 19100... EXCLUSIVE: REGISTER'S
MYSTIC MIKE IS ASTROLOGY LOON: http://www.magee.demon.co.uk/
... CONSERVATIVE PARTY website is "wierd", says Perl code:
... 2 weeks before UK release, www.starwars.co.uk registered
to HANKYMAN, still showing APACHE default page... world's
worst "SEARCH" button: http://www.fujitsu-europe.com ...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Oddly, physical attendance appears to be mandatory for
anyone who'd hoped to just send their avatar to the first VR
WORLD CONGRESS (1999-07-05/06/07, Hotel Le Plaza, Brussels,
Belgium), a veritable who's-still-going of this
once-thrilling Mondo 2000-championed field. Entrance appears
to be free, though that might just be a Babelfish artefact
(the European Commission subsidise anything classified as a
"Concertation Meeting" - good to see they've got their
finger on the pulse); you do, however, have to authorise
"Cyber Wizard" to debit your credit card. Sounds like
something that escaped from a mid '80s MUD - and, given this
crowd, we wouldn't be at all surprised...
- aka "interactive 3D" (avoids stigma now attached to "VR")
And surely some dumb bureaucrat somewhere will pay for you
to go to Secure Computing's BLACK HAT BRIEFINGS
(1999-07-07/08, Venetian Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas,
registration now $1,195): "vendor neutral" security
professionals, "underground" security specialists, and,
continuing the Spy-Vs-Spy theming, the NSA-organised "White
Hat" track as well. And you know how some airline tickets
are cheaper if you stay overnight on a Saturday? Well, then
you may as well stick around for free entry to Vegas hacker
fest DEFCON 7.0 too...
- "Do not be discourage [sic] by its splendor!"
- you know, we don't use the phrase "brilliant misguided youth" *enough*
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
REVENGE OF MOZILLA isn't, as you'd expect, an app that
rages futily through your files, installing BLINK tags
and non-standard HTML code at random, sprouting features and
interface changes faster than you can track, before cravenly
turning itself into the nearest AOL client pack. Oh no.
It's actually quite a nifty companion to the NTK-recommended
98Lite installation pack. 98Lite, as you no doubt recall,
lets you install Windows 98 without any of that disgusting
IE4.0/Folder Explorer overkill. REVENGE OF MOZILLA runs
through the remaining install, trimming down the unnecessary
registration entries. All 200Kb of them. Nift.
- here's where you end
- here's where you start
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
COLT + QWEST = QWOLT? CWEST?... what's worse: coke or
... CALL MINDER bug rumoured to play "all your messages" to
incoming callers... as if we didn't hate BT enough:
http://www.bt.be/survival/aday_fr.htm ... you'll go BLIND:
http://www.vuk.org/ascii/deep.htm ... ESTHER DYSON vs Esther
Rantzen: http://www.icannwatch.org/ ... repeating all Anakin's
lines in a JAMES EARL JONES voice... C|NET @ London...
... sweet like VINYL: http://www.cyberden.com/sleeves/ ...
stay away from the Himalaya rides, and STAY AWAY from CAR 19
http://members.aol.com/rides911/accidents.htm ... "topless"
game characters in GIANTS? Oh, spoil the fun of patches...
"Favourite programmer/mathematician: JOHN ROMERO"? -
http://www.intelligentfirm.com/eugenia/ ... online magic
EIGHTBALLing the Right Way: http://8ball.federated.com/ ...
DREAMCAST to have 60Mhz mode ... they watch, they learn,
they bear grudges: http://www.hackfurby.com/rebuild.html ...
not the 3D "models" you'd normally associate with the ELITE
author: http://www.cix.co.uk/~ibell/bodyart/models.htm ...
JAR-JAR love: http://www.landoverbaptist.org/news0899/jar.html
... and all hail the future leader of Planetary Government:
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> newly described by Radio Times as a "comedy series", we
fear 4Later's SPY GAMES (1.10am, Fri, C4) - featuring a
defence contractor and his "android son" - is in fact deadly
serious... Peter Cook highlights the dangers of both
e-democracy and set-top boxes in THE RISE AND RISE OF
MICHAEL RIMMER (1.10am, Fri, C5)... and Space:1999 fans are
saved from total cold turkey by a double-bill of
semi-official Anderson prequel UFO (3.25pm, Sat, BBC2) -
tough call against epic '60s variety Bilko cameo-fest IT'S A
MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD (2.10pm, Sat, ITV)... C4 dredges up
NOSTRADAMUS NIGHT (8.30pm, Sat, C4); BBC2's live coverage of
"the great king of terror" descending from the sky may be
postponed if the tennis over-runs... and C5 celebrates its
own apocalypse with a Rachel Talalay double-bill: non-Manga
electro-monster nonsense GHOST IN THE MACHINE (9pm, Sat,
C5), plus proto-Virgin Cola ad TANK GIRL (10.50pm, Sat, C5);
part of a "Sci-Five" weekend which also features RUSSELL
GRANT'S POSTCARDS (4.35am, Sat, C5) from a Dr Who
exhibition; friendly-grey propaganda CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE
THIRD KIND (9pm, Sun, C5); plus horrific-sounding MORWENNA
BANKS' SCI-FI SPECIAL (11.30pm, Sun, C5)... elsewhere, in
post-Duty-Free sitcom BARBARA (8pm, Sun, ITV), Gwen Taylor's
husband is "ambushed outside a Star Trek convention"... Y2K
week on satellite: "the Praetorians prematurely trigger the
Millennium Bug in an effort to create havoc with the world's
computers" in THE NET (10pm Sun, 8pm Wed, Sci-Fi) - how'd
they do that? Send the whole world forward in time? - plus a
similarly themed DILBERT (8pm, Thu, Sky1) featuring the
line: "The Millennium Bug! Are you telling me that Han
Solo's ship is here?"... another series of dayglo DIY
cycling inventor travelogue LOCAL HEROES (8pm, Mon, BBC2)
almost makes up for BBC2's dire Monday comedy line-up: a new
run of laugh-free copumentary OPERATION GOOD GUYS (9.30pm,
Mon, BBC2) sandwiched between repeats of GIMME GIMME GIMME
and THE ROYLE FAMILY... and last week's uncomfortably live
low-tech phone-in MICHAEL MOORE TALK SHOW (11.30pm, Tue, C4)
confirms that the chubby, now-bearded liberal commentator
mistakenly thinks he's a stand-up comedian... key cast
members begin to turn, dissing Lucas's "unspeakable"
dialogue in OMNIBUS: THE STORY OF STAR WARS (10pm, Wed,
BBC1)... and somehow it slipped beneath our radar, but we're
fairly sure that militarist-industrialist Grumman ad FLIGHT
OF THE INTRUDER (12am, Thu, BBC1) was postponed from its
original scheduling during the bombing of Kosovo...
FILM>> who'd have guessed it: elderly Sean Connery clean-fun
bungee-crime ENTRAPMENT (imdb: computer-fraud / twist-in-the-
end / robbery / skyscraper / technology / double-cross /
computers / laser / insurance / master-thief / new-year's-eve)
turns out to be a load of arse - mainly Catherine Zeta-Grey's,
by all accounts... nor do we have particularly high hopes for
Brit-made cross-dressing Weird Science nerd-rescue teen smut
VIRTUAL SEXUALITY (bbfc: passed '15' for moderate sex
references and nudity), adapted from the kids' novel "Virtual
Sexual Reality" by (clearly her real name) "Chloe Rayban":
... on limited release, there's dependably Canadian black-
comedy psycho-drama Nostradamus schedule tie-in LAST NIGHT
(http://www.igs.net/~mtr/haiku-reviews.html : "The end of the
world/ occurs in six hours. Will we/ really miss it much?")
- stars David Cronenberg, Genevieve Bujold and touts the fact
that it *doesn't* have Bruce Willis trying to save the world
from an unspecified disaster. Yeah, that'll pull in the
punters... still, probably more fun than promo-director Hype
Williams' gang-banging crack-em-up BELLY (bbfc: passed '18'
for strong violence and language), featuring the long-awaited
acting debuts of Nas, DMX, Method Man from the Wu-Tang Clan
and TLC's Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins, and not - as far as we can
tell - based on the biography of the Tanya Donnelly indie-rock
band of the same name...
RED BOOK AUDIO>> no prizes for spotting that WHITNEY HOUSTON's
"My Love Is Your Love" ("/ so please close the door, love")
sounds like she's singing over Bob Marley's famed double-
negative imperative "No Woman, No Cry"; or that JASON NEVINS
VS CYPRESS HILL sounds exactly like Jason Nevins Vs Anyone
Else. But special NTK crypto-credits awarded for recognising
the opening line of the VENGABOYS toe-tapper "Boom, Boom,
Boom, Boom!!" as the tune from Abba's "Lay All Your Love On Me"
("I wasn't jealous before we met/ Now every woman I see is a
potential threat")... haven't downloaded the whole CHEMICAL
BROTHERS album yet, but that "Let Forever Be" track with Noel
"Galaga" Gallagher raises the exciting possibility that they
*could* just be this year's Jesus Jones. Excellent mind-
bending Michel Gondry video, too; show it to your f/x fan pals
and watch their brains dribble out their ears... DOM "THE
DOMINATOR" MCCLANE hasn't tired of this game either, sourcing
"Once In A Lifetime" - from notorious soundalike-merchants
TEXAS - back to "Hong Kong Garden" by Siouxsie And The
Banshees... and FI CRAIG points out that INTEL's ubiquitous 4-
note jingle is "a dead ringer for Hank Marvin's guitar riff on
Jean-Michel Jarre's Revolutions - track 2", thoughtfully
enclosing a WAV file for those of us who don't have that one
in our collections: http://www.ntk.net/ads/jarre.wav ...
international webdesign playboy MATT JONES meanwhile raises
the stakes, noting that "track 2 of the new BETA BAND LP
samples heavily from Disney's 1979 singularityfest The Black
Hole. *Kill* them, Maximillian!". Is that what they put in
when JIM STEINMAN wouldn't let them use "Total Eclipse Of The
Heart"?... and finally, in the "real CD" world: ex-PWEI/BRA
drummer FUZZ TOWNSHEND'S "Far In" album is out at last
[predicted NTK 1998-10-16], and should be showing up on MP3
searches soon; but WEIRD "AL" YANKOVIC's latest, "Running With
Scissors", is there already, featuring "Pretty Fly For A
Rabbi", "It's All About The Pentiums", and Phantom Menace
tribute "The Saga Begins", to the tune of "American Pie"
(what else?): http://www.sagabegins.com/ ...
>> 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
"100 issues on, getting the readers we deserve"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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