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- PETER COCHRANE, BT RESEARCH LABS, Daily Telegraph
...good to see a writer enjoying his work
>> HARD NEWS <<
an obvious ruse
To read the Proper Media, you'd assume that DEFCON 7.0
consisted exclusively of the Cult Of The Dead Cow rerouting
the Hoover Dam through Vegas, releasing the infamous
"trojan/virus/powerful remote administration utility" Back
Orifice 2000 ("Anyone curious enough to log on to their
website will find their computer automatically infected with
a virus." - The Guardian), then shooting each other. Allow
us to inject a few genuine highlights. Best quotes: BRUCE
SCHNEIER, who noted that "128 bits of symmetric key is
probably good enough 'for ever'", while BT's quantum key
exchange over ten miles of cable will be useful
"approximately never". The con's most cutting criticism
came from those fleeing STEVE "wearable computing" MANN's
demo: "Let's blow this shit - who wants to see some robot
guy?". Research Least Likely To Be Covered In The Mainstream
Media: ANGUS BLITTER's AFIRM - a hacker classification
system based, it appears, on AD&D character sheets. What was
that? Real hacks? Oh, okay - for that, we choose L0PHT's
exploit-in-progress against Intel's Nightshade/Nightlight
motherboards' Board Management Controller. Due to flaws in
their (plaintext) authentication system, L0pht has been
shutting down these babies with 50 bytes up the ethernet.
Not crash, not hang: but gracefully power down. As our
correspondent writes - fun to see that scale with broadcast
packets in a server farm. Did Intel learn nothing from the
- fear my weather fu
- that said, the BO2K CD-ROM does have CIH on it... doh!
- pronounced "botty kay"
- chaotic lawful +4 bullshit
In the US, they have a gameshow called WIN BEN STEIN'S
MONEY, starring the teacher from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
But in the UK, the alternative challenge is to Win MARK
BERNSTEIN'S Money, following news that lamer-loving BT
call-generator WIREPLAY has been sold to the never-say-Falco
Net.speculator who, regular readers will recall, was also
involved with VR-losers Virtuality, ill-judged online
games-monger E-ON, and the European version of GeoCities
(what does that require, exactly - making the "Athens"
subdir world-readable?). Wireplay went for "around UKP5.5m"
though, of course, if BT were to, say, introduce free local
weekend calls any time soon, that's hardly going to improve
- Bernstein's online gaming empire, circa 1996
- and you thought your CV made gripping reading
- UK version actually called "Win *Beadle's* Money". Christ.
SNAPPY QUESTIONS FOR DUMB ANSWERS>> (being an occasional
series encouraging readers to ruin press conferences by
asking smart-arse questions): ALISTAIR DABBS wins this week,
with his query at the Acrobat 4.0 launch earlier this year.
When Adobe's CHUCK GESCHKE demonstrated how the whole of
Apple UK's Website could be converted into a PDF, Alistair
asked if Chuck could see the irony of choosing the Apple
site for the demo, since this feature is only available in
the Windows version. Chuck's instant comeback: Adobe will
have added this function to Mac Acrobat 4.0 by launch
date. Impressive comeback? "I learnt fifteen minutes later
from a whispering Adobe product manager", reveals Alistair,
"that this was total bollocks, invented off the cuff by
Chuck in order to shut me up." Okay, folks: now it's up to
you to remind Chuck of his promise at every public
appearance. And remember: the demo is only over when you're
forced to leave the building.
- Had a cutting, sarcastic brush with the great? mail: email@example.com >> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
7 days before the E-COMMERCE BILL gets canned... IRA to
replace Man Utd in FA Cup: http://www.ntk.net/990716arse.gif
... forget DECLAN MCCULLAGH'S teenage hacker years - is
NetGravity's JOHN DANNER the former Apple ][ warez king?
... "Unfortunatily you have a browser that is not Y2k
compatibale or 4.x or above. This will be a site that will
allow people with ghetto browser can see" explains (surely not
*the*) http://www.iso.org ... beats scratching on the desk
with a compass: http://www.schools-directory.co.uk/ ...
CHANNEL 4 SITCOM FESTIVAL idea: oops vicar, aren't all these
people clients of the organiser's agent wife?... WIRED NEWS
excitedly discusses Robin Hood gay anti-news from "England's
Cardiff University"... "By not presenting any menuing options
until this page, and not requiring you to scroll pages, we
can try to ensure that you read all the content of the site"
says http://www.websitedesign.co.uk/ - for anyone who gets
that far... BBC ALERT alert... Babelfish, without the fish:
... LONDON UNDERGROUND stored the year in 2 bits? Doh!
... excellent DORLING KINDERSLEY warez from - uh oh:
http://www.dk.com/uk/shared/product_m_spread.asp?isbn=0751370584&pid=1 >> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Peer across a desolate grey landscape, abandoned by humans
since the mid-Seventies. And once you've made it to the
South Bank, why not drop into the Hayward Gallery, and check
out FULL MOON: APOLLO MISSION PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE LUNAR
LANDSCAPE? (1999-07-22 - 1999-09-19) Photographic artist
Michael "Earth" Light's prints are digitally scanned and
blown up from the original masters - not the third to fifth
generation Athena wall poster tat you're used to. The
selection is unique, too, from the 32,000 snaps taken, the
press release boasts, "by the astronauts themselves". And
if you fancy taking a sample or two home with you, the
accompanying coffee-table books aren't bad either:
apparently they developed a new ink to show off that, well,
inky blackness of space. After all, how much more black can
- None more.
- bet Light had to airbrush out the helicopters
Sadly, ill-health is preventing fantasy author Mary Gentle
from attending BAROQUON, the British Roleplaying Society
Convention at New Hall, Cambridge University, 1999-07-16/18
(there's more to life than d20s and "saving throws", you
know). Equally gothic are the plans of VOCALTEL agitators
to organise a mass coach trip to the offices of semi-
medieval ISP Localtel / Screaming.net next Fri (1999-07-23)
- details are currently sketchy (ie the old message archive
appears to be down); we thought advance warning was best as
it's taking them a week to get a working dial-up
- if you can read this, what are you complaining about?
- STOP PRESS: info rescued from regularly shut-down site
- they do have NTK's James Wallis, of whom more later
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
We do grind on about Windows replacement shells, don't we?
So what are our excuses for plugging GEOSHELL, Yet Another
Explorer for Win9x/NT? It's only 80KB? Yawn. It's GPL'd?
Yawny yawn yawn yawn. It's written by a Microsoft engineer,
whose day job still maintaining the original Explorer.exe?
- W-wha-wh-ha-hoo-wha indeed.
There's something quintessentially UNIXique about NGREP.
It's a stubby, simple tool, with thousands of potential (but
as yet unforeseen) uses. Also - and this has to be the
best indicator of a perfect CLI tool - you've already
guessed what it does from the name. Yes, it's a packet
sniffer which can pluck out regular expressions from network
traffic and pipe them to STDOUT. Like all things UNIX
(including UNIX), we expect someone will eventually pervert
this beautiful, theoretically and malicious tool for
non-evil and practical purposes. In the meantime - have fun.
- we reckon grep the word preceded grep the acronym
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
APACHE 10x speedup patch?... all natural FULLERENE... "How
do I sue ASK JEEVES for http://www.ntk.net/doh/jeeves.html ?"
(also quite helpful on RICKY MARTIN)... E-BAY auctions own
server: http://www.bobsfridge.com/skew.htm ... beware! CEO
Chan has AGENCY.COM root access... Rock, Paper, Scissors -
FRAGS: http://www.planetquake.com/axis/projects/rps/ ...
AD-BLOCKER-BLOCKER-BLOCKERS ... EMPIRE Pre-Emptively Strikes
Back: http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/ctf596.htm -
probably keeping an eye on PHANTOM PULP MENACE FICTION:
http://users.vei.net/jng/fcp/sw/sw1.html ... they're always
the best bits: http://www.adcritic.com ... leaves real
JAPANESE names untouched: http://www.stupid.com/japanese.htm
... last day of UKP29.99 PLAYSTATION games, console to go
69.99 in Sept?... and you think this description is obscure:
http://www.itknowledge.com/tpj/obfusc-4.html ... at last,
a doctoral student in "hyphal tensile strength" reviews
- a vital part of http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/www/hackdietf.html >> GEEK MEDIA <<
get out less
TV>> the Star Wars/ moon landing alignment prompts some
remarkable theming, with ITV's "futuristic" (ie Logan's Run-
inspired?) DIAL A DATE SPECIAL (12.40am, Fri, ITV), plus
4Later's double-buffering of classic queue docus STAR WARS
- or TATOOINE - OR BUST (12.05am, Fri, C4)... gorge
yourself on the feast of Kubrick/ Trumbull eco-weepie 2001:
A SPACE ODYSSEY (2.15pm, Sun, ITV) plus Trumbull/ R2D2
eco-weepie SILENT RUNNING (2.55pm, Sat, BBC2) - who could
forget that moving end sequence when the dome-ships join
Battlestar Galactica's rag-tag fleet?... attempts continue
to revive Gerry Anderson live-actioner UFO (4.20pm, Sat,
BBC2), and - of course - elderly car-chase caper THE DUKES
OF HAZZARD: REUNION! (5.50pm, Sun, C5)... then the whole
thing explosively decompresses in lame Sean Connery space
Western OUTLAND (10pm, Sat, C4)... rather than Lucas or
Spielberg, HOLLYWOOD'S MASTER OF MYTH (11.10pm, Sun, BBC2)
is actually Joseph Campbell - the man who pioneered the
revolutionary "character goes somewhere, does something"
school of screenwriting... but a quick reminder of how good
Spielberg used to be in JAWS (9pm, Sat, BBC1) - the
character had "evolved considerably" by the time he
re-appeared in THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (8pm, Wed, ITV)...
fucking HACKERS (10pm, Mon, C5)... another fly-by for
dull-ish FOR THE LOVE OF - LUNAR CONSPIRACY (4am, Tue,
C4)... and, in what seems to be a new "chick TV" strand
on Weds, C4 have somehow resisted the temptation to combine
adjacent shows LOVE IN LEEDS (9pm, Wed, C4) and LOVE IN
THE 21ST CENTURY (9.30pm, Wed, C4) to create LOVE IN 21ST
FILM>> There *is* no "film". There is only STAR WARS -
whose box office, MCV reports, may receive a boost from
Sega fans keen to see the debut of the UK Dreamcast ads.
Oh, and in case anyone's still puzzling over last week's
wildly enthusiastic mystery review, it was of course
SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER AND UNCUT - as featured at
http://www.capalert.com/capreports/southpark.htm - and
not, as many of you thought, "Eyes Wide Shut" after all.
South Park *was* linked off their front page when we sent
out last week's issue, but subsequently disappeared -
disappointingly, not to rise again on the third day. We're
all going to burn in hell for this, you know...
SHINY ENTERTAINMENT>> many mags trying to boost summer
sales with either Star Wars covers or extra nudity (SKY's
"The Naked Issue", ESQUIRE's "Gail Porter: The Last Ever
Naked Pictures"), yet no-one's dared for the obvious double-
whammy: the cast of Star Wars, au naturel... still,
admittedly, the Adam & Joe SW bit in THE FACE isn't *too*
bad... we never read the media sections, so this may be
widely known; some anonymous tipster believes that EMAP has
bought ailing Face, Arena, Frank-publishers Wagadon for "16
million quid"... and good to see issue 3 of IPC's LATER is
saving cash by running exactly the same cover image as the
previous 2... isn't it about time you gave SFX another
chance, especially now they - and "Tomorrow's Technology
Today" stablemate, T3 - are touting their thrilling,
revolutionary web presences - clearly accustomed to the
far-off sciences of the future, it's taken them this long to
master basic tech of 3-4 years ago... someone involved in
new Haymarket rag THE NET complains that we didn't diss its
trade ads ("the worst I've ever seen"); his claim that the
mag "treats the net as a media, rather than a computer
related exercise" should, surely, speak for itself...
hopefully a bit more cutting-edge attitude from upcoming
CRAZYNET (due September from Freeway - not to be confused
with Fleetway), helmed by former "Bizarre" managing ed and
RPG self-publisher James Wallis. "Don't describe it as
'BIZARRE about the net'", advises James, "or I'll kill
you". Bring it on, big guy... oh, and this section just
wouldn't feel complete without slagging the latest OFFICIAL
PLAYSTATION MAGAZINE (UKP4.99), this month complementing
its shit reviews of shit games and cod Chris Morris-isms
with a dire "Analysis" piece on London's Namco World - ie
tests of up-to-the-minute coin-ops Alpine Racer 2, Time
Crisis 2, Tokyo Wars, and Prop Cycle. And what hard-hitting
revelations forced them to tear page 91 out of every issue?
Apparently, a Computer Exchange ad that offered a UKP99.99
Dreamcast if you trade in your Playstation. Let's not take
that "editorial independence" too far, eh?...
>> 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
"who are you calling hermetic?"
NEED TO KNOW
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