"This year we updated the PowerBook in May, the iBook in
July, the G4 replacing the G3 in August at Seybold, and
now the iMacs in October. I added up the time: in 148 days,
we've completely changed every product."
- STEVE JOBS, TIME Magazine
...often by just lowering the CPU speed and hoping no-one would notice
>> HARD NEWS <<
nothing to lose
In a week where LOCALTEL got rapped by the Advertising
Standards Authority (and Tempo announced they were
withdrawing the 0800 services CDs from their store), and
the extremely unresponsive 08004U gang got their shoulders
felt by Dundee's Trading Standards Officers, the "really
free" 0800 ISP market is looking like even more of a Del
and Rodney world than ever. So the entry of freewheeling
telco TELINCO isn't entirely unexpected. The telco has spent
the last few days noisily denying everything about
skunkworks STRAY DUCK project, except that it's probably
highly revolutionary, comes on a freephone number, and is
currently the subject of a somewhat naff teaser campaign on
www.strayduck.com. Theories, gentlemen? Given Telinco's
somewhat buccaneering approach to the telecommunications
market in the past - and the tempting but temporary IPO
conditions in the UK right now - we'd hazard another smoke-
and-mirrors payment system, funded by a speedy public
offering and a lot of frenetic press coverage. Oh, and a
pretty swift re-branding, if they've got any sense.
- at least the name will make the jokes easier
Wednesday saw the announcement on Nettime of the ICA's
latest network net work: "Warez Installation Art" - an ftp
server running on one of the New Media Centre's expensive
machines, aimed at "creating our own virtual warez based
community in celebration of the BBS gangs of the Eighties".
Who'd have thought that the ICA could manage to sponsor a
decent bit of net.art, for once? Certainly not the ICA, who
had no idea that someone had wandered in, cracked one of
their many idle Sun boxes and then published an open ftp
account for everyone to use. As is the way of all warez, the
site was removed after a few hours (in the interim, New
Media Centre staff were overheard wondering aloud why their
network was "so slow today"). There was, though, enough time
for the upload of few genuinely intriguing pieces of ANSI
art, a cracked MP3 encoder (for Linux!), and, de rigeur, the
GNU manifesto. Anyone attempting to upload a clue got
stopped by the ICA firewalls, apparently.
- after greyday, zero day
Two updates to last week's news: Lyndsay "Risk Digest"
Marshall wrote to point out a strong competitor for lamest
Net story prize to The Observer's white paper on virtual
drugs in the News Of The World. Extra points for a
gratuitous Johnny Mnemonic mention, as well as a full
picture of his cybernetically-enhanced sidekick, Professor
Kevinny Warwic. And JO CHIPCHASE wrote in - for once, not to
ask for unpaid help on an article she's writing - but to
complain about the the poor taste of our Paddington coverage
last week. It's a fair cop (although in our defence, you
should have seen what we were *going* to write). Still,
judging from the non-reaction to our Springfield massacre
funnies, time heals all wounds. While we're waiting, we'll
do the standard media trick of pointing to other people's
sick humour and tutting disapproval while you forward it to
- rife with drug addicts and other sick individuals
- ban this evil Internet now!
>> ANTI-NEWS <<
berating the obvious
"more than 3000" Euro Dreamcast online registrations
reported, 12 hours after going on sale - just 5,999,997,000
to go! ... "Password Thief Ransacks AOL": purest antinews
... MICROSOFT writes report using MICROSOFT WORD, crow Mac
fans ... ZIFF DAVIS claims new Pacman commercials feature
"Verne Troyer, who played Mini-Me in the latest Austin
Powers flick and TV star Mr. T in the '80": don't take
steroids, kids ... disgruntled ex-Website of the week:
http://www.cdealer.com/ ... Symphony #1 for Dot Matrix
Printers [see NTK 1999-10-01] wins "Best Canadian work in
the New Media category" ... servers behaving badly:
Macintosh app developers at MICROSOFT use Macs, crow Mac
fans ... trains not quite running to Internet time:
http://www.ntk.net/doh/19991015train.gif ... GUARDIAN
recommends sites with a "Secure Locket Layer (SLL)" -
especially if you have a cold ... DVD buyers search for
"one, chosen model" that can play THE MATRIX... LLOYDS TSB
take unorthodox view of a good password policies:
http://www.ntk.net/doh/19991015tsb.gif ... "BUS PLUNGE",
screams the London Evening Standard: chalk one up
for http://www.users.interport.net/~tcs/ ...
>> EVENT QUEUE <<
goto's considered non-harmful
Security is (understandably) tight for Monday's BIG BROTHER
AWARDS (6.15pm, 1999-10-18, Clement House Building, LSE, 97
The Aldwych, London WC2A), with the UK's foremost privacy
activists insisting they need to know *exact* numbers - for
"catering". Still, you're probably only missing Mark Thomas
and some ranting Chumbawumba tribute band. If you prefer
your counter-cultural activities a little more free-form,
there's always the annual ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR (Saturday
1999-10-16, Conway Hall, Red Lion Sq, London WC1) - and if
you haven't already RSVPed about Wednesday's NTK Live/
g3EkNight crossover event, you're probably better off trying
to catch the webcast...
- nominee Esther Bull: no GIF available...
- classic web-design colours: #FFFFFF, #000000, #FF0000
- still, who needs #FF0000, when you have Capability Schmitt?
>> TRACKING <<
making good use of the things that we find
So, you're an AMAZON ASSOCIATE too? What did you spend your
profits on? Beach-side condo? Original Leonardo sketches? A
packet of Monster Munch? Given that these online book stores
can't even make a buck on the other 85%, might it be a
better idea to put your pennies to work on something more
worthwhile? Just like Amazon, GIVEQUICK is a non-profit
startup which redirects your affiliate revenues to the
charity of your choice. Admittedly, the choice at the moment
is very US-of-A-o-centric, but the kindly Webmasters promise
to introduce more "foreign" groups soon, and if you're a
British charity, I'm sure they'd oblige if you gave them a
ping. Note: BOL is not a charity. Despite appearances.
- oh, please, it's the only cash we make...
>> MEMEPOOL <<
hasta la altavista
cable porn: http://www.rockers.nu/trams/banners/ ... you bet
it is: http://www.pak.gov.pk/ ... does the Vatican know
about http://www.netcraft.com/whats/?host=www.ntma.ie ? ...
GARTH ENNIS not in Paddington crash, contrary to Net rumours
... that's not a coping strategy, that's a life skill:
http://www.unl.edu/conted/disted/hs/onehand.html ... it's
official: MICROSOFT WORKS now actively killing PENGUINS
IVAN POPE now breeding hideous genetically-mutated
super-warriors: http://www.ntk.net/antipope/ ... DIY APPLE
stories: http://www.mired.com/mac/mac_10_08_1999.html ...
DIY "have fun! make money! sack everyone!" triumphs:
>> GEEK MEDIA <<
the less rude http://www.ntk.net/tvgohome/
TV>> with their usual contempt for complex story arcs, ITV
runs definitive hidden-identity actioner DIE HARD (9pm, Fri,
ITV) then, same time next week, dire Jeremy Irons camp-fest
DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE (9pm, Fri, etc) - without the
vital character development of the second "bridging"
episode, Die Hard 2: Die Harder... sticking with the
classics, C5 wheels out FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!
(12.25am, Fri, C5) for the second time this year (last shown
Christmas Eve '98)... and Jason "George Costanza" Alexander
and Ron "Bakersfield PD" Eldard take some of the acting
pressure off Cameron Diaz in odd little dinner-party black
comedy THE LAST SUPPER (10pm, Sat, C4)... PAXMAN INTERVIEWS
BILL GATES (8pm, Sun, BBC2) - hopefully shouldn't be too
sycophantic - towards *Jeremy Paxman!*... endless cartoon
slot DOPE SHEET (12.20am, Sun, C4) returns with a look at
animation online (GIFs, Shockwave, Flash, you name it)...
while self-explanatory new docu series MILLENNIUM: A
THOUSAND YEARS OF HISTORY (7.10pm, Mon, BBC2) doesn't seem
to be particularly closely based on the Chris Carter/ Lance
Henriksen sci-fi drama of the same name... "they're still
writing, but who cares?" is the theme of the first in a new
run of BOOKWORM (7.30pm, Tue, BBC2), featuring Sue "Adrian
Mole" Townsend and geneticist Steve "car advert" Jones...
and TOMORROW'S WORLD (7.30pm, Wed, BBC1) continues its slide
into terminal self-parody with a gadget to help a blind
driver break the land speed record, followed by an
essentially similar format in SPECULATE (8pm, Wed, BBC1),
where Gaby Roslin makes the audience guess the outcome of
bizarre challenges: eg which will fly further when fired
from a cannon - a bed or a bath?...
FILM>> maybe HEAT MAGAZINE has overlooked some of Samuel L
Jackson's previous work (eg little-known critics' favourite
"Pulp Fiction") causing them to trumpet "a virtual absence
of stars... who needs A-list names anyway" in their widely
distributed "40 Things You Must Not Miss This Autumn" flyer
mention of gorgeously daft CGI shark chaser DEEP BLUE SEA
(http://www.capalert.com/capreports/ : a foul mouth "pastor"
mixing vulgar talk with the Scriptures; urinating in the
open; shark consumption of another shark; drinking an
alcoholic beverage for relief; explosively startling
programming; stark insane terror; continuous threat). A cute
cast and a couple of genuine surprises contribute to Renny
"Die Hard 2" Harlin's most disciplined film yet, like Alien
4 done properly or something... anyway, bites the head off
GREGORY'S 2 GIRLS (imdb comment: "The worst film I have ever
seen") - John Gordon Sinclair (but not Clare Grogan)
returns as an adult teacher still besotted with schoolgirls;
a promising angle swiftly discarded in favour of a Famous
Five-style romp involving an evil electronics factory...
FOOD COURT>> reader MICHAEL MAYER is our expert witness for
the defence of the new DARK KIT KAT (normal Kit Kat price),
claiming "The chocolate is much better quality than usual
milk chocolate". The prosecution meanwhile rests on two key
facts: 1. The undeniably suspicious Vader-style invitation
to "Have a *dark* break" on the back, and 2. It's one of
three brands NESTLE is subjecting to what they call "Flavour
Craver" marketing: overwhelming the public with what they
think are their favourite flavours all in one go, other
current examples being of course all-orange SMARTIES and
all-red-and-black FRUIT PASTILLES - a revolting concept if
you try it too often... juries are mildly unimpressed with
the KFC TWISTER (2.49 solus; 3.49 with drink and fries) -
essentially slightly spicier chicken burger bits wrapped in
a tortilla rather than a bun, and a lot trickier to eat
without bits falling out than the attractive Cornetto-style
advertising suggests... some further fast-food updates at
the edible NTK tribute site http://www.gastropod.co.uk/
though, sadly, it's now gone on publishing hiatus (oh, so
often the way) before we had to upgrade it to "threat"...
interactive sweet of the week remains the CHUPA CHUPS
KIT-POP (some newsagents, a quid or so?) - the standard CC
lolly presented in ingenious flip-out Swiss Army knife
package, complete with ruler, biro, eraser and pencil...
and finally, largely to torment ZD Net's Chris Long, the
PIII 450 http://www.zdnet.co.uk/news/1999/34/ns-9575.html he
was once so cross about was this week spotted in some large
Sainsburys at UKP650 - positioned perilously close, perhaps,
to another well-thought-out new Sainsbury's line, Monster
Munch-style maize snacks that hold the dubious honour of
being maybe the 2000th product to call themselves
"Millennium Bugs". "EAT THEM UP BEFORE THEY WIPE YOU OUT!"
suggests the packet, threateningly (their capitals)...
>> 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
"leaving every other word from our sentences"
NEED TO KNOW
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