_ _ _____ _ __ <*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk>
| \ | |_ _| |/ / _ __ __1999-10-01_ o join! mail an empty message to
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| |\ | | | | . \ | | | | (_) \ v v / o website (+ archive) lives at:
|_| \_| |_| |_|\_\|_| |_|\___/ \_/\_/ o http://www.ntk.net/ "The *short*, perfectly creased suits running Nintendo were
always after the biggest action in the home console market.
It started with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in
1985, five years later replaced it with the SNES and five
years after that with the Saturn (sic)." [our emphasis]
- TIM WAPSHOTT offers unprejudiced analysis of where
Nintendo went wrong, Times Interface, 1999-09-29
..."hey, these Oriental games companies all look the same to me"...
>> HARD NEWS <<
Some feared the ancient tradition of expressing protest by
changing your website's background colour had been lost
forever, but not GREY DAY ( http://www.greyday.org ). Sadly,
their strategy of protecting online copyrights by making the
web more lynx-friendly didn't anticipate the registering of
similar (or more conventionally US spelled) domains - the
rather better-argued GRAY DAY ( http://www.grayday.org ),
for instance. The linked pages are equally self-defeating:
"Web Prestige" provides many appallingly designed logos
denouncing "bandwidth robbery" - the heinous sin of linking
to a graphic on someone else's server - plus an equal number
of exasperated complaints that *someone* has been linking to
these logos directly, ironically committing bandwidth
robbery in the course of ostensibly opposing it. And "Look,
But Don't Steal!" imaginatively selects, as an example of an
artist who shouldn't be copied, modified or spread online,
who else but... William Shakespeare! - a writer whose work
is a) indisputably in the public domain, and b) not exactly
noted for its strong anti-plagiarism stance.
- and here's the HTML you shouldn't use to link to them!
- where's the biro drawings of PSI Judge Anderson?
- hey, it's no "Dune Guy Day"
- in case you missed our contribution
Is the Bastard Operator From Hell, patron saint of the Scary
Devil Monastery and all wrong-thinking technical folk,
really dead? Otherwise sour-faced IT staff have been
blubbing uncontrollably the past few weeks regarding the
whereabouts of the BOFH, whose regular column in Network
Week ended abruptly with the disappearence of the Web site,
the magazine, and indeed the Bastard himself (last seen
heading towards a liftshaft worryingly called
"Reichenbach"). Nobody, though, can be more upset than mag
magnates VNU, who had recently bought the Network Week
property from competitors CMP - chiefly, some say, so that
they could get hold of the rights to BOFH for their own
luser mags. Of course that was before CMP UK casually
informed them (after the deal was signed) that the BOFH's
author had kept hold of his copyright - and what's more,
refused to do any deals with the new owners, despite 300%
wage rises and a brand new set of Luser Attitude
Readjustment Tools. Now, committing suicide just to spite
management is *exactly* how the BOFH would have wanted to
go, but fear not: with the BOFH's own BOFH still owning the
rights, there's always the chance that he could return on
the Web. And how could Simon possibly decline the chance for
a Y2K comeback?
- this archive wasn't important, was it?
Okay, so it's easy to knock TIMES INTERFACE, but surely we
can't have been the only ones who read their piece this week
that claimed, almost in passing, that Israel's WEIZMANN
INSTITUTE have built a "hand-held" quantum computing cracker
that can break RSA-512 in less than a second. Woah. Let's
just take a second to let that sink in. According to the
Times' unquotable sources, that means strong crypto is a
solved problem. Of course we're sceptical: sounds like the
spooks have, in their excitement, heard about Shamir's
TWINKLE prototype, got their photons tangled, and think
they've found the holy grail: a quantum computing solution
for *all* bit sizes. Perhaps the question is
not, how the hell did this happen, but why are the spooks
spreading this story now? Maybe they don't realise that the
protection against TWINKLE is to just up the bit size a
- most important IT story of the decade? Let's run it on the inside cover
- let's hope they're working as hard on quantum cryptography, eh?
- just when we were getting somewhere too
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
"Jesux hoax uncovered" boasts ZIFF-DAVIS, the only people to
fall for it ... NICK ROSEN claims in GUARDIAN "everyone will
be important for fifteen minutes" (your fifteen minutes were
up a long time ago, Nick) ... boo.com gets hit with e-mail
virus: so at least stuff's getting *into* their systems ...
MARS CLIMATE OBSERVER error costs NASA 125 million dollars -
or is it pounds? ... DID - falco! ... I just wanted a beer -
http://www.ntk.net/doh/991001pub.gif not a gay beer, a jazz
beer, a soul beer, a real ale or, indeed, an afternoon
tipple with the charwoman ... BBC make dog's dinner out of
http://www.ntk.net/doh/991001woof.jpg ... new DEMON AUP bans
all "scanning software" - except their own
http://www.helpdesk.demon.net/aup/access.html ... RAZORFISH
sites using old NT version: bye-bye www.dome2000.co.uk,
www.oddbinns.co.uk, www.bae.co.uk ... no "comedy"
nominations at http://www.bafta.org/bafta/5_ie/5_NOMINEES.htm
IN ACCORDANCE WITH NTK PROPHECY ...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Not much "National Techies Day" action in this country,
unless you count an appearance by WILLIAM "GIBBO" GIBSON at
London's Forbidden Planet (New Oxford St, 5.30pm, Mon
1999-10-04 - we think), signing his new book (wahey) "All
Tomorrow's Parties", apparently a sequel to "Virtual Light"
(oh well). The slow-talking Canadian cyber-prophet is also
booked for the Cheltenham Festival of Literature at 2pm, Sat
1999-10-09, Everyman Theatre, Regent St, b/o 01242 227979 -
along with the UK's very own "Case", Bill Thompson.
- now Cheltenham: that's a real cyberpunk town...
Oddly, it's been a while since we've featured any of the
ICA's shameful "electronic art" efforts, but SYMPHONY NO.2
FOR DOT MATRIX PRINTERS sounds just low-tech enough to be
any good (12-6pm, 1999-10-05/07, ICA, London). Devised by -
more Canadians! - Thomas McIntosh and Emmanuel Madan, an
"orchestra" of a 12 dot matrix printers are "conducted" by a
network server through 12 "PCs", via the old trick of
this sort of thing usually elicits a comment from us along
the lines of "it's 'Yankee Doodle' on the TRS-80 all over
again" and we see no reason why it shouldn't this time.
- not quite "The Matrix" Bill Gibson had in mind
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
Nice to see the camberpunk's Microsoft-sponsored
anti-Tempest fonts [see NTK 1998-02-13] getting a commercial
airing in Demcom's STEGANOS II SECURITY SUITE. But wait,
there's more! The payware privacy pack also includes a
secure drive (vanquishable with just one keypress), a
password manager, and even a weird VRML file-management
system for your more Hollywood-driven paranoid fantasies.
Plus, of course, the eponymous steganographical features of
the old software - allowing you to invisibly hide data in
sound and images files. We still prefer SCRAMDISK (because
it's got a similar feature-set, comes with full source and
it's free), but, well, maybe you just love RC4 and want to
pay the license fees. It's German, so there are no export
restrictions on strength. Or there wouldn't be, if the
english ordering page didn't insist on sending you to a US
site. Hey, Fritz! We British are English too!
- ...although that's admittedly a very American thing to say
- not what MS wanted, we recall
- the author's name must be hidden in here somewhere
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
PHP TLC: http://www.php.net/request.php3 ... right you lot -
OUTSIDE! http://www.takeitoffline.com ... let's hope she
never does porno: http://home.sol.no/~lexiplut/nwt/ ... just
when you've stopped having PICTURE BOX theme tune nightmares
http://www.fenton1944.freeserve.co.uk/schools.htm ... Jay &
Silent Bob to cameo in SCREAM 3 ... and don't get us started
on TETRIS http://www.mrdandy.com/nastyvid2.htm ... PERL and
Dean: http://www.brunching.com/toys/toy-adcode.html ...
http://www.hit-n-run.com/cgi-bin/binks.cgi ... the
alternative computing security paradigm for swingers
http://www.waterken.com/BeachSex/ ... so would this be FREE
ADSL? http://www.freeserve.net/highspeedtrial/ADSL.htm ...
CORGI introduce "Presidential Cars" range with *that* JFK
open-topped limo (but what will the others be?) ... and the
Oscar for best fake fan site goes to DREAMWORK'S
http://www.galaxyquest.com/ ... latest obviously-made-up
Dreamcast titles: TYPING OF THE DEAD, and SPACE CHANNEL FIVE
... guaranteed conversation piece: GONORRHEA boxers:
guess they're used to being accused of being "a bit quiet"
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
the less rude http://www.ntk.net/tvgohome/ TV>> another trashy action import joins the C5 roster in the
form of movie spinoff LA FEMME NIKITA (10.50pm, Fri, C5) -
each week, they recruit a different junkie woman and train
her up into a lethal assassin - who then turns against
them!... Arnie sends himself up rather too well in
misunderstood po-mo Die Hard spoof THE LAST ACTION HERO
(9pm, Fri, ITV)... and apart from the long-overdue return
of the - now shopless - VIDS (rpt 1.15am, Mon, C4), there's
KYTV meets "The League Of Gentlemen" in hypnotically dark
genius news parody FOCUS NORTH (12.40am, Fri, C4)...
a four-way movie face-off on Sat, with beneath-the-radar
Baldwin brother sci-fi MIND BREAKERS (10.55pm, Sat, C5)
losing out to superlative '70s pod people remake INVASION OF
THE BODY SNATCHERS (11.35pm, Sat, BBC1) - scariest ending
*ever*?... but first, Playstation inspiration THE DRIVER
(10pm, Sat, C4) goes head-on against simple but effective
Arnie shoot-em-up PREDATOR (9.55pm, Sat, ITV) - also "stars"
Last Action Hero writer Shane Black, and recently elected
Governor of Minnesota Jesse "The Body" Ventura (does the
line "goddam sexual tyrannosaur - like me")... speaking of
which, Spielberg's dullsville lesbian allegory JURASSIC PARK
(6pm, Sun, BBC1) has frankly far less interest - and fewer
Star Wars quotes - than pacey Helen Hunt CGI weatherfest
TWISTER (8pm, Wed, ITV)... while the BBC get their money's
worth out of all those Softimage licences with not just THE
MAKING OF WALKING WITH DINOSAURS (8pm, Wed, BBC1), but also
of course WALKING WITH DINOSAURS itself (8.30pm, Mon, BBC1)
- showing, uncoincidentally, the same night that OMNIBUS
profiles proto-punk has-beens Blondie (10.40pm, Mon, BBC1)...
FILM>> yup, a soppy kiddie plot, but interesting casting -
Jon Stewart, a more thuggish than usual Adam Sandler, a Joey
Lauren "Chasing Amy" Adams who you don't immediately want to
hit - plus enthusiastically misanthropic lines like "There's
a bright side to being up before 11 - we can catch McDonalds
Breakfast" help save father-son slacker man-comedy BIG DADDY
(http://www.capalert.com/capreports/ : repeated public
urination; rudeness to the elderly; leaving a five year old
boy in the care of two male homosexuals; homosexual patting
of genitals; homosexual statues; a general licentious
disregard for that which is traditionally proper) -
presumably just the first of a Rocky-style trilogy
documenting the childhood, rise to fame, then tragic fall of
popular UK '70s wrestler, Big Daddy... and, at last! THE
FINAL CUT (imdb: drama) is the Brit-made Blair Witch-esque
drama- school-improvised cinema-verite luvvie swearing fest
the world clearly hasn't been waiting for, directed by the
blokes behind laugh-free TV mockumentary "Operation Good
Guys" and featuring Jude "Gattaca" Law, Sadie "Shopping"
Frost, and Ray "fucking" Winstone (maybe Kathy Burke wasn't
SHINY ENTERTAINMENT>> not too quick off the mark, but we've
been busy counting how many times the first OFFICIAL
DREAMCAST MAGAZINE uses the word "Dreamcast", and it comes
to: 407 - an impressive average of 3.5 per page. Sources say
Sega are currently censoring "gratuitous swearing" (to avoid
offending that notoriously prudish 18-30 male demographic)
plus any mention of the console's now-mythical online
capabilities... the usual crop of curiosities spotted by you
on the newsstands: October's ish of INTERNET MAGAZINE
advocates registering domains with underscores in their
names ("A better version of the domain name would be
www.against_mercy_killing.com . You could also register
www.against_mercy_killings.com" - p125) - though surely that
would be a .org?... the heavily publicised THE NET (with
Natalie Umbrella on the front) reports Playstation games on
sale online for the bargain price of UKP22 (p46) - from a
games store in Ohio (chipping/ NTSC conversion are usually
extra)... while the ever-vigilant LLOYD WOOD inquires over
the curious usage of "World Exclusive" pioneered by MACUSER
on its current G4 cover story, merely weeks after the rest
of the world reviewed it... reports indicate the debut of
James "DON'T CALL IT 'BIZARRE' - BUT ON THE NET" Wallis' new
mag CRAZYNET *will* be at last arriving in stores next Wed
(1999-10-06)... but surely the boldest launch of the month
must go to the brand new unironically titled AMIGA ACTIVE
magazine (UKP4.95 with CDROM), whose press deadline must
have just missed the latest batch of "Amiga Now *Officially*
Dead" news stories. "The Future Of Computing!" proclaims the
cover, in staunch denial of all available evidence, while
the editorial goes on to make - perhaps incautious - use of
the phrases "shallow publications", "abysmal quality" and -
of course - "dwindling market"... talking of incautious,
first they go mad slagging off their masters COMPUTER TRADE
SHOPPER's masthead [NTK 1998-05-15] - now they're trying to
auction all their blagged gear at http://www.concordeuk.com/
- sources deny that the "charity" who benefits is their
recently removed ex-editor...
>> 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
"what they're surfing in the background behind Anne Robinson"
NEED TO KNOW
THEY STOLE OUR REVOLUTION. NOW WE'RE STEALING IT BACK.
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